Welcome to Team Novastar English Language Arts!


    This year we will be exploring some interesting and engaging units.  Each one is designed to encourage each of you to think, question, and learn about the themes we consider and the reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills we learn. The following outline gives you an idea of what we will be working on throughout the year, a general idea of the class format, and a brief description of grading.
    Students and/or Parents: If you ever have any questions concerning what we are learning or your progress in Comm Arts, please do not hesitate to contact me.  The best way is via email/Edmodo or if you prefer, call and leave a voicemail on my school phone.  Students can ask me questions anytime on any day via Edmodo.  I always do my best to get back to students right away; however, if a question is sent to me after 10 p.m., I cannot guarantee a response before the morning. I am more than happy to touch base with you as necessary. 
    Our Units
    We will work through three main thematic units this year.  You will find them listed below.  The other 8th grade English Language Arts teachers and I have worked hard to ensure a variety of reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills are incorporated in a way that allows the pieces to fit together. We will be working through the following three thematic units this year.
    • Building Bridges
    • Our Odyssey/Our Journey
    • Stirring Up Justice
    Daily Class Format
    Each day class will have a similar structure.  We will always have a bell ringer activity at the beginning of class to get started on right away.  Depending upon the learning goals we are focusing on, the class will have a focus on reading and/or be writing each day. Research shows a strong closing activity helps students hold on to the knowledge they have discovered that day in class, so each class will end with a closure activity.  Homework will always be posted on the daily agenda (students can access this from home via Google Drive) and usually Edmodo, too.   If students are ever absent, they have access to the daily agenda to get an idea of what they missed while away.
    **Parents, you can access everything your student does on Edmodo by registering for an Edmodo parent account.  You will be able to access content and resources posted from any classes that are using Edmodo, teacher feedback given through Edmodo, as well as any grades that are posted through Edmodo.  Find out how to do that by checking out this how-to web page put together by Edmodo to help parents register!  If you would like more info about what the parent account as to offer, please visit the informational page Edmodo has put together just for parents!  It is a great one-stop-shop for parents to stay up-to-date with what we're doing in ELA this year!**
    Reading and Writing Expectations
    This year, we are challenging students to read at least 8 pages a day.  Those 8 pages can be accomplished in a novel, piece of nonfiction, magazine, newspaper, or an online article/blog/story.  Ideally, I desire students to develop a love of reading, but I know for some students it will be the discipline of reading.  We know there are direct correlations between students' success in school and how much they read.  It is so important!
    Students will keep track of what they write electronically in Google Drive and a writing journal that will be used for Type 1 writing prompts in class.  To emphasize that writing is often a process, we will strive to utilize old drafts of writing throughout the year to revise and edit according to whatever writing skill we are currently working on.  It is my hope students will begin to see their growth throughout the year. 
    Your Grade
    Each marking period you will have a variety of both formative and summative assessments.  I have worked with the other 8th grade English Language Arts teachers to create common assessments that are aligned to the learning goals we are assessing.    
    At the end of the first week of school, I will be sending home a letter that speaks exactly to how grading works in 8th grade ELA.  I will also share a copy electronically, too. :)