Course Overview

8th Grade English Language Arts
Mrs. Spangler
2020 - 2021

Contact information:


phone: 619-956-5169

Course Overview:

Each student will improve and gain mastery across a range of skills as a reflective and evaluative reader, influential writer, effective speaker, and active listener. I uphold the vision and goal of equipping students with strong skill sets for and at the 8th grade level - and for the readiness for high school to support the mindset of college, career, and civic life. We will delve into challenging, meaningful, creative, and fun learning experiences!

Common Core Learning Experiences:

  • A balance of reading informational and literary texts and appreciating various text structures
  • Knowledge in the disciplines through text rather than the teacher
  • A staircase of complexity with the teacher facilitating close reading and facilitating writing various genres appropriate to task, purpose, and audience
  • Evidence based conversations (accountable talk) about text and learning experiences to produce thoughtful verbal and written responses
  • Writing from sources, emphasizing textual based evidence to inform or make arguments
  • Building academic vocabulary and accessing grade level complexity of text

Curriculum and Supplemental Materials:

  • Amplify ELA & ELD, California Edition
  • Scholastic Scope Text Selections
  • Select Novels and Informational Text
  • The Teachers College Reading & Writing Project from Columbia University
  • 6 + 1 Traits of Writing
  • Technology Resources

Google Classroom:

We use Google Classroom as a way to communicate, send and receive work, and use the many tools Google provides for fun and worthy learning experiences.

Assignment Policies:

  • Students are expected to check Google Classroom daily for ELA assignments. Google Classroom is a place of workflow for us so that students can access assignments, criteria sheets, grading rubrics, communicate with me, and submit their work. As an option, students might find it helpful to write down their assignments in a planner or notebook of some kind. Assignments and due dates are always posted in our classroom and on Google Classroom.
  • Due dates must be met! Turning assignments in on time is mandatory for the 8th grade expectations of college, career, and civic readiness. It’s important to know that due dates are clearly set and agreed upon as a class.
  • The consequence of not meeting a due date is that full credit is not awarded. Exceptions are made for special circumstances, such as illness, that are confirmed with a parent and by me.
  • Homework is not typically assigned daily in our ELA class, but it is assigned as needed to complete activities we are working on in class; reading, writing, presentations, and projects. Reading is an exception to this; students should read every day.

Standards Based Grading:

Our 8th Grade English Language Arts class follows a "Standards Based" grading system. "Standards Based" grading reflects student levels of achievement on individual, Common Core specific standards in the categories of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. With each learning experience, there is a learning target. Students will be aware of what standard(s) they are working towards and will be able to see where they are making progress with the Common Core scoring rubric of 4,3,2,1 as shown:

Assessment Scores for Assignments:

4 = exceeding the standard; above grade level expectations

3 = meeting the standard; proficient at grade level expectations

2 = approaching the standard; working towards grade level expectations

1 = below the standard; far below grade level expectations

This rubric can empower students with awareness of which standards they might exceed, meet, approach, or fall below grade level on tasks. Students will build a clear understanding of their specific skill set of strengths and will be able to recognize skill sets they need to practice and target progress. As the teacher, this assessment rubric also helps me facilitate differentiated learning, set goals, and monitor progress for each student. In the gradebook, the assignments will have specific standards attached to identify which skill(s) is being assessed and how well the student is performing to the standard(s).

A decimal system will be used to help identify grades in the gradebook as follows:

4.0 -- 3.6 = 100% ~ 90% = A+ ~ A-

3.5 -- 3.2 = 88% ~ 80% = B+ ~ B-

3.1 -- 2.8 = 78% ~ 70% = C+ ~ C-

2.7 -- 2.4 = 68% ~ 60% = D+ ~ D-

2.3 -- 1.0 = 58% ~ 25% = F