December Classroom Update

8th Grade English

Thank you for your continued support of your student's progress! Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions/concerns you may have!

End of the Nine Weeks

With only a few short weeks remaining in this semester, time is flying by! In English, we are wrapping up our work in Unit 2, related to the art of persuasion and the media. Please remember that students still have the opportunity to submit ANY work they are missing from this nine weeks up until the week of final exams. Those missing assignment(s) would be graded as a "50" in Skyward and would be marked as "missing". Additionally, students may reassess any low scoring assignment(s). Progress reports will be sent out again next week.


Lastly, we will soon start reviewing for semester exams, which in English will be a STAAR-style benchmark. We have been preparing for this all year, but students will also get a review for this exam in the near future. Please be talking to your student about setting up a study-plan for their exams so that they are well-prepared when it comes time to take the test, as these are worth approximately 14% of their overall semester grade. The administration will be sending out the final exam schedule soon.

Unit 4: Voices and Challenges (Important Information)

Next semester, we will start our next unit: Voices and Challenges. During this unit, students will explore some challenging times in our history, diverse perspectives on those events, and how the heroes/heroines of the age endured them. Here is an excerpt from the overview of this unit:


"The world has dark pages in its history, and at times the challenge of righting such immeasurable wrongs is impossible. A study of narratives about the Holocaust, whether nonfiction accounts or fictionalized accounts based on true events, will reveal the worst in human behavior. And yet, as Anne Frank, the most famous young victim of the Holocaust, wrote in her diary, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” In this unit, you will apply the lessons of the Holocaust and take action about a challenging issue in your school, in your community, or perhaps in the world."



To prepare for this unit, I wanted to relay some important information.


1. Students will be reading a Holocaust-related novel of their choice in small groups and participating in literature circles, like they did this semester with they Dystopian novels. They will be selecting these novels this week, and they will be responsible for purchasing or renting a copy of the novel they choose by January 2nd. The list of these books are on the syllabus, which students received at the start of the year, and a digital copy is also posted on my website.


2. All 8th graders will have the opportunity to go on a field trip to tour the Holocaust Museum on Thursday, January 19th. Students will receive a field trip permission slip this week that must be completed, signed, and returned with $8 (covering buses and the museum ticket) by December 16th in order to be eligible to attend this trip. Students will also participate in several activities that day once they return to campus to enhance their understanding of this topic. I am including this link to the museum website if you are interesting in learning more about our upcoming tour: http://www.dallasholocaustmuseum.org/about/contact

Level Change Window

If you believe your student needs to change the level of his/her English class from Pre-AP to On-Level for the Spring semester, or vice versa, he/she can take the opportunity to do so before the end of this grading period by completing a schedule change request form in the counseling office. If you have questions regarding whether this change would be beneficial for your student, please contact me.

Citizenship Grades

As a reminder, because my class is a standards-based grading classroom, I do not take points away from students' academic assignments in regards to their behavior (i.e.: no deduction for late points, students can re-assess all assignments up to a 100%, etc.). Therefore, students receive a Citizenship Grade on their report card that addresses their overall effort, engagement, and responsibility in class. The rubric for how this grade is assigned is on the syllabus that was issued at the beginning of the school year, and I am also including an image of it here for your reference. This is an excellent tool to gauge how well your student is doing in class, and to open the door for communication about that. Please let me know if you have any questions regarding the Citizenship Grade.

Holiday Food Drive

National Junior Honor Society is excited to again b​​e hosting an opportunity to share in our community this holiday season! In support of the GRACE Food Pantry, we will collect food items December 1st - December 8th in students' 2nd period classes. We consider it a great privilege to be able to do what we can to help others, and during the holidays, Grace plans to provide 440 meals to families in our community in need! With your support, HMS will be part of making a difference in a family's life.

Book Donations

With the holidays quickly approaching, this is a great time of the year to do some "re-gifting"! If you have any books that you or your student do not plan to read again, I would LOVE them as a donation to my classroom library. I am specifically requesting young adult literature because it is a genre that students greatly connect with, but I will accept any and all gently used books that you feel inclined to give! This will greatly help me support students as they continue to challenge themselves with independent reading through the GCISD Book Challenge. Thanks in advance for considering a book donation!