Grade 8 Language Arts

December 6, 2019 | Brent Harris

Language Arts
Grade 8

Mr. Brent Harris
[email protected]

Course Description

Through essays, exhibitions, daily reading of a variety of texts, and grammar, vocabulary, and spelling, students will learn skills for writing effectively and with confidence for many different audiences. Students will also develop strategies for building reading fluency and comprehension while completing high volume reading across several genres.

Academic Exhibitions for Grade 8

Art Exhibition: Fall Term
Service and Leadership Exhibition: Winter Term
Math Exhibition: Spring Term
Final Exhibition: Spring Term

Units of Study

Literacy & Literature

Independent Reading

  • Independence: Daily reading, 30+ minutes per night; one book per week.
  • Wide Reading: Choosing books from given list and reading multiple genres and authors
  • Fluency: Reading high volumes at a growing rate
  • Comprehension: Weekly book talks

Literature Studies

  • Fall Term: Independent Reading and Short Stories
  • Mini-term: Julius Caesar (Shakespeare)
  • Winter Term I: The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Winter Term II: Orbiting Jupiter (Gary Schmidt)
  • Spring Term: Short Story Unit

Literary Critique

  • Frequent writing in reader’s notebook, classroom participation, reading groups, and reader’s responses every three weeks.


Writing & Composition

Grammar and Mechanics

  • Vocabulary: Wordly Wise 3000
  • Grammar: Write Source 2000 Daily Language Workouts and

Fall Term

  • High School Application Essay
  • Writing about Reading

Winter Term

  • Literary Essay

Spring Term

  • Journalism
  • Final Graduation Exhibition

Graded Work

  • Daily vocabulary, spelling, and grammar
  • Independent Reading (with reading logs) and weekly reading responses
  • Class texts
  • Essays
  • Quizzes and tests
  • Class participation
  • Reader’s and Writer’s Notebooks

Homework and Due Dates

Homework Overview

  • All homework and assignments should be completed before the start of class on the day they are due.
  • There will not be time to print at the beginning of class, so in order to be prepared, all assignments must be printed before class.
  • Many writing assignments will be started in class, but, often, students will be asked to finish assignments at home.
  • Independent reading will happen at school and at home, so IR books must come to school every day.
  • Most assignments, handouts, and essential information will be shared on Google Classroom.
  • Look at the Blog and Google Classroom for homework
  • Specific due dates for essays and projects will be made available in class and on the blog at least two weeks before the assignment is due.

Daily Homework

  • IR books should be read for 30+ minutes every day.
  • Entries should be made weekly in the reading notebook.
  • Complete vocabulary and grammar assignments.
  • If we have a Vocabulary test, it will take place on Friday.

Homework due every Friday

  • Book talks in Advisory Groups

Brent Harris

Teacher, Grade 7; Language Arts, Seventh and Eighth Grades

Brent Harris has been teaching Middle School students since 2015. He loves teaching students how to understand the world through literature and writing. He teaches English Language Arts, but he likes to teach other things too! Both of Mr. Harris' parents are educators, and despite trying his hardest to avoid following in his parents’ footsteps, he graduated from Calvin College with a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in English Education and a Minor in Physical Education; as a result, Brent is a great argument piece for any “Nature versus Nurture” debate.

In addition to teaching, Mr. Harris enjoys playing guitar and drums, listening to music, spending time outside, playing sports, and hanging out with his kind and loving wife, Lauren. A native of Ontario, Canada, Mr. Harris stays true to all the Canadian stereotypes by being extremely kind and perpetually sorry. He has been a director and counselor at multiple children’s camps in Canada and Michigan, and he appreciates the idea of teaching students and campers in a place where there is freedom to entertain new ideas and try out new things. Mr. Harris has enjoyed coaching volleyball, soccer, and baseball, and while he loves nature, he is being slowly converted into a city boy.

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