Welcome to 8th Grade English Language Arts! On this page you can read all about the 'how' and 'why' of my ELA classes--my goals, methods, and how we can work together to support our students' learning.
Goals I hope for nothing less than to...
- create deep learners, who come to school with a love of learning and the confidence and autonomy to seek answers to their questions
- foster an avid and independent love for books and reading in your child
- develop autonomy and competency in writing that will prepare learners for high school
- encourage your child to see themself as an author who writes in a range of authentic forms, both creative pieces and essays, to address real-world themes and issues that matter to them
- cultivate a vibrant, loving community of readers and writers
...and, most importantly:
6. to ensure that each learner who enters my classroom feels seen, known, valued, and empowered for exactly who they are--every day.
Methods Middle schoolers need structure in order to direct their energy and build competence and confidence in literacy. Therefore, we follow two predictable routines in English Language Arts:
Writing Workshop: Students will compose their own writing projects with significant choice over topic and style. Following the Units of Study Writing Workshop curriculum, learners will receive daily craft mini-lessons from me and ample practice time to continue developing a technically skilled, authentic written voice they can use to express their ideas across a variety of genres. What I want to see here is that students follow a full writing process; that they develop their own purposes for writing; and that they master an ever-expanding repertoire of techniques.
Reading Workshop: What makes you a better reader? More reading! For this reason, every student should be in the middle of a book of their own choice at all times. Following the Units of Study Reading Workshop curriculum, each learner will receive skills mini-lessons and one-on-one conferences with me focused on their readership, as well as ample, required time to read in class and at home. Ideally, each learner will read many, many books over the school year—in fact, many more books than they would read in a traditional English classroom and with a great deal more ownership (and, hopefully, enthusiasm).
For the Folks at Home: My Expectations and How You Can Support Your Child
- The basic expectation for homework is that, in addition to other assignments, each learner will read their book for 30 minutes every night (including the weekend). I will expecteach learner to bring their book back to class the next day, further ahead in the reading. Please aid in the transfer of your child’s book from the bed, desk, or nightstand back to the backpack.
- Assist them in locating a quiet, focused place and time in order to read--not in front of a screen. Ask them what it means to be in 'the reading zone'.
- Please do not edit your child's writing; if they are to build confidence, stamina, and resilience as a writer, it must be their words that receive my feedback.
- Ask your child about what they're currently reading and how they're liking it! And, if they express interest in a book or topic you might not expect, support them in exploring it! If we want them to develop an independent, lifelong reading habit, it’s important that we respect their choices for their own reading. (They will have plenty of time to tackle The Great Gatsby in high school!)
- Share your own reading life, in whatever languages .
Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or would like to learn more about what's happening in our community of readers and writers. I am grateful for your partnership!
Yours sincerely, and with best wishes for a year of joy and learning,
Gemini Middle School