8Th Grade Basic English Syllabus

8Th Grade Basic English Syllabus

8th Grade Basic English Syllabus

Mrs. Amanda Terry

George West Junior High


Welcome to George West Junior High and Mrs. Terry’s Basic English Class. This class is designed to assist you, the learner, as you make the transition between elementary writing to a new level of creative genius and more in depth writing. We will continue to cover basic skills with our daily warm-ups, like punctuation, capitalization, and general errors in writing. All the things you covered in elementary will continue to be explained and practiced – topics like spelling, grammar, sentences, parts of speech – and we will be looking at these in further depth for greater mastery. You will also explore deeper writing and learn how to use the Four-Square Method to develop creative and fun stories.

Supplies Needed

Binder: (1) 2 inch binder that will be used for English ONLY.

Five notebook dividers: These can be plastic with pockets or paper. Students’ choice.


Grading pen: A red pen for grading papers.

Paper: Extra lined paper if needed.

100 page spiral notebook: To be kept in binder at all times.

Highlighters: Any color.

Student Expectations

Each student will bring to class each day:

  • Binder
  • Pen/Pencils/ grading pen/highlighter
  • AR book

Students must be in their seats with their materials for class and be working on the warm-up by the time the tardy bell rings. Students who chose not to be prepared will be counted tardy, as they will have to go back and get their needed supplies.

Students are expected to behave appropriately. I expect us all to use proper manners (please, thank you, kindness, good hygiene) so that we can all thrive in a safe, fun learning environment. Mainly, the rules are:

  • Respect everyone!
  • Encourage others.
  • Be attentive.
  • Listen.
  • Do your best!

We will discuss some social behavior issues on the first day so that everyone is familiar with exactly what is expected of them in this class.

Students are expected to ask questions when anything is confusing or when they need help.


Classroom Procedures

Entering the Room

Students, you will wait outside the door, along the wall, until you are greeted by Mrs. Terry and allowed to enter. NO STUDENT IS TO EVER ENTER THE CLASSROOM IF THEY DO NOT HAVE PERMISSION or IF THE TEACHER IS NOT THERE.

Please be quiet in the hallway as you wait. Stay along the wall so you don’t disturb other students passing to get to their classes.

Upon entering the classroom, you will immediately begin working on the warm-up activity. Directions will be displayed on the Smart Board. You will also need to sharpen pencils, turn in homework, get extra credit, etc. at this time.


Movement within the classroom should be kept to a minimum and there should be NO movement when Mrs. Terry is teaching. Wait for a break in the lesson to use the sharpener, trashcan, get tissues, get scratch paper, etc.

Pencils may be sharpened at any time as long as it does not interfere with teaching. Please do NOT sharpen pencils while someone is speaking. You do not need to ask for permission to sharpen pencils.

You may throw trash in the trashcan at any time, as long as it is NOT during Mrs. Terry’s lesson. You are to walk to the trashcan and put the trash inside…we do NOT throw things in Mrs. Terry’s classroom.

Once permission is obtained, you will fill out your Hall Pass if you need to go to the restroom, locker, office, etc. You will only be allowed to leave the room if we are NOT in the middle of a lesson. If permission is granted, Mrs. Terry will sign the pass you have filled out correctly. THE STUDENT MUST BE IN POSSESSION OF THE PASS WHILE OUT OF THE ROOM. If permission is denied, the student will return to their seat. End of discussion.

Students may move to a different location in the classroom for independent work. If you are disturbing others in your new location, you will return to your assigned desk.

Give Me Five Signal

When I need to get the entire class’s attention, or with small disturbances while teaching, I will use my hand to indicate “Give me Five”. As soon as you notice this, you will stop what you are doing, including talking, face me, and give me thumbs up to indicate your understanding.

Give me Five LOOKS like – my hand up with either 1, 2, 3, 4, or all 5 fingers held up.

If you see 1 – that means your EYES should be one me.

If you see 2 – that means your MOUTH should be closed.

If you see 3 – that means your BODY should be still.

If you see 4 – that means your HANDS should be to yourself.

If you see 5 – that means your EARS should be open.

We will go over these the first week of school and practice daily.

When the bell rings

The bell does not dismiss you. Mrs. Terry dismisses you. The bell signals to Mrs. Terry that instruction time is over. You will wait until she tells you to leave.

Turning in Work

Completed or corrected work goes in the six-tiered box at the back of the room in the slot for your class period. This is where Mrs. Terry will pick up work to grade. If your work does not get into the correct slot, then that is a big problem - for you.

Free Time

There is usually no free time left in a class period, unless a student has completed all assigned work early. If this is the case, you may choose to read your AR book, do extra credit, make corrections on assignments, do work from another class, take an AR test, or organize your binder.

Daily Report Cards

Mrs. Terry will fill out a Daily Report Card for you each day. On this it will indicate your grades below 70 and will have any homework listed for you. These will include all classes and only one report will be given each day. There is also a section to indicate your behavior. These must be taken home each night to be signed by your parents. It is my way to stay in touch with them and advise them of what we are doing in class each day. You will NOT receive any reports on Fridays. If you have returned all signed reports for the week, Mrs. Terry will replace a low grade with a 100 in the gradebook. It is to your advantage to keep up with these reports.

If you are Absent

There is a “What you Missed” section on Mrs. Terry’s side wall. All work and notes done on days a student was absent can be found there. It is YOUR responsibility to get missing work and complete it on time, according to the Student Handbook. Mrs. Terry will remind you as well as have notes for you on your Daily Report Cards.

Other procedures will be practiced as we encounter them, such as what to do during a fire drill, etc.

Grading Policy

Grading Weight:

25% Unit tests, special projects, quizzes, and vocabulary tests

50% Daily practice, class work, binder

25% Six-week exams

Grading Summary:

Quizzes: Quizzes are usually given on Fridays. These are used to quickly check students’ current level of mastery on the current topic.

Class work: Class work is done ONLY in class, as the name implies, and serves as independent practice. Students will be graded on what they complete in the time they are given. They are not penalized for not finishing every problem, because different students work at different paces.

Binder: A binder must be kept and brought to class each day. Please see binder guidelines on the next page.

Unit tests: Unit tests will be given at the end of each unit of study. We may review in some manner the day before, however, everything that needs to be studied to ensure success on the test is found in the student’s binder; therefore review sessions are not guaranteed.

Projects: A project will be assigned each six-week period. Projects allow for creative expression of the topics we cover in class. For ELAR, these projects will be combined with our story board group project for each story read in class. The project is due the Wednesday before the last Friday of the six weeks. Opportunities for bonus points will be available.

Six-week exam: These are STAAR-M style tests that will cover everything learned in class to date, including all past topics in other six-week periods. The tests will resemble what the students would encounter on their STAAR-M test in the Spring.

Accommodations and modifications: If a student qualifies for and is entitled to any accommodations or modifications, these will be used on a daily basis in class and on all tests and exams.

Extra Credit: Extra credit is available for all students each six weeks. Any student may do any or all of the pages available each six weeks and the work is not due until the end of the six week period. Each page can be done ONLY once. Extra credit counts only in the six weeks in which it was made available.

Corrections: Students may correct any class work, homework, tests or quizzes. Corrected answers, with all work shown, will receive half-credit back for the first attempt at corrections, and ¼ -credit back for the second attempt. Corrections will not be accepted after the second attempt. Corrections must be done in pen and must be done on correction paper. SIX-WEEK EXAMS CANNOT BE CORRECTED.

Progress Reports: Progress reports go out on the Monday after the third week of the six-week period.

Other Grading Notes:

  1. All work MUST be done in pen. Brainstorming and prewriting may be done in pencil to allow for corrections.
  2. Name and date MUST be on all papers in the upper right-hand corner. No name results in a deduction of 10 points on the assignment.
  3. Answers must be written in the designated spaces. If there is no designated space, answers will be boxed in.
  4. Work must be neat and easy to find, follow and read.

Late Work Policy: From the GWJH Handbook:

Late work is defined as any assignment that is not turned in on the day in which the assignment is due.

The purpose of the deadline is to set expectations that students will learn to meet deadlines as a part of a real-life skill. Points will be deducted for each day that the work is late. If the total is 100 points, one day late begins at 90 points; two days late begins at 80 points. After the second day, work will be accepted but recorded as a zero (0) if a grade is being taken. Exception – Assignments and projects that are assigned two weeks or more prior to the due date, will be accepted after the due date but will be recorded as a zero if a grade is being taken. Points will not be deducted after the due date for long term projects.

Meeting deadlines is a real-life skill that can be practiced and reinforced. Teachers are discouraged from allowing a student additional time, except for extenuating circumstances or designation on a student‘s IEP.

Extenuating circumstances may occur that are directly out of the student‘s control and prevent them from completing and returning assignments. Students are to inform the teacher of any such circumstances that prevented them from returning homework. Teachers may grant exceptions to this regulation.

Make Up Work: From the GWJH Handbook:

Make-up work is available to all students. Students shall receive credit for satisfactory make-up work after an absence, but may receive a zero for any assignment or test not made up within the allotted time (as indicated in the guideline 3 below).

1. Students who miss work in class due to an absence (excused, unexcused or suspension) are permitted to make up work.

2. A student is required to make up all work missed while absent. Teachers will provide the student with a packet of missed work when a student returns from an absence.

3. For work assigned when a student is absent, one (1) day is given for each day missed up to a maximum of five (5) days, except for extenuating circumstances.

1 day absent – 1 school day after return to school

2 days absent – 2 school days after return to school

3 days absent – 3 school days after return to school

4 days absent – 4 school days after return to school

5 days absent – 5 school days after return to school

Ex. If absent on Monday, work is due on Wednesday.

If absent Monday and Tuesday, work is due Friday.

4. Work, projects, or tests assigned when a student is present will be taken immediately upon return to the next scheduled class. Teachers should announce major assignments or scheduled tests at least 2 days in advance; therefore students who are absent have a general idea as to what class work or scheduled tests are in progress during the absence. Some teacher discretion should be used in cases involving more severe situations, such as illnesses, etc.

5. Make-up tests should be scheduled before or after school. Make-up tests may be given during class at the teacher‘s discretion. If a student is absent from a schedule make-up exam on two occasions, he/she may be given a zero for that exam.

6. A student should make prior arrangements with the teacher for making up missed work when he/she anticipates being absent (school activity, doctor/dental appointment, etc.).

7. After an absence, students may contact the school to secure assignments which are not available from classmates with the understanding assignments may not be available until the end of the next school day.

8. Exceptions for extenuating circumstances may be granted by the campus administration.

ELA Binder Guidelines

The ELA binder is to be brought to class each day and taken home each night.

At the front of the binder, before the dividers, you will have:

  1. Binder cover sheet, with your name and class period. You may be creative with this and decorate it if you wish.
  1. Current grade sheet.
  1. This syllabus with signature page attached.
  1. Spiral notebook.

Use your dividers for these 5 sections:

  1. Reading: This will consist of the stories we read in class
  1. Writing: Four-square writing papers
  1. Vocabulary / Word Study: Our new words we learn will go here.
  1. STAAR: Any STAAR practice done in class or any tips or strategy notes will be kept in here.
  1. Handouts: Any important papers that you are given during the year.

Binders MAY be collected periodically at unannounced times. Students will be given a daily grade for keeping their notebook organized.

Parent Signature and Acknowledgement

I have read and understand this syllabus and will agree to help my child by signing daily report cards and keeping in touch with Mrs. Terry.


Student Signature and Acknowledgement

I have read and understand this syllabus and I promise to work very hard in Mrs. Terry’s class. I will bring back my daily report cards and will talk to my family each day about my day in school.