2018-2019 Syllabus

Russell O. Brackman Middle School

English Language Arts - Syllabus


Course Information                                                       Teacher Information

English Language Arts (ELA)                                       Ms. Christina Dente

Class Location: Room #N120                                        Phone: (609)-698-5880 Ext. 4058

                                                                                    Email: cdente@barnegatschools.com
                                                                                    Teacher Website:


Course Description

Effective English Language Arts education provides students with an integrated program of reading comprehension and writing.  This program is designed to foster competent use of literal and inferential comprehension skills and coherent writing skills.  Each unit has a clear focus on reading literature and informational texts, writing types and foundation skills.  The thematic approach of each unit requires the use of these skills, and these targeted proficiencies are developed through direct instruction and student interaction.


The curriculum is aligned to the NJSLS for English. Varied activities detailed in the curriculum, include suggested options for differentiation and best practices. The curriculum incorporates progress indicators and methods of assessment.


Students will utilize both literal and inferential skills to analyze fictional and nonfiction texts, make connections to themselves and to the real world. Students will employ writing skills and connections to compose narratives, explanatory (informative), and argumentative essays.


Course Competencies/ Learning Objectives

Students who successfully complete Grade 8 English Language Arts will be competent in the following areas:

●Students will be able to analyze and evaluate varied genres as specified in the 4 units of study.
●Students will be able to write narratives, explanatory and evidence-supported argumentative essays including the necessary components of the writing types and following the standards of coherent writing.
●Students will be able to participate effectively in one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led discussions by actively listening and responding verbally.
●Students will be able to view varied media sources such as Ted Talks and diverse videos, determine relevant information, and draw conclusions based on the presented material.
●Students will be able to utilize technology constructively to acquire information and to effectively express ideas and concepts.


Course Texts / Online Resources

Prentice Hall Literature Language and Literacy Grade 8


Required Materials

A prepared student must have a 3-ringed binder (exclusively used for ELA), loose leaf paper, and writing utensils (black or blue pens & pencils)


Attendance Policy

Regular and prompt class attendance is an essential part of the educational experience.  The Barnegat Township School District expects students to be responsible and exercise good judgment regarding attendance and absences.  Students accept full responsibility for ensuring that they complete any/all work missed due to absences.


Course Topic Outlines


Content Area: English Language Arts

Course Title: ELA

Grade Level: 8

Unit 1: Truth & Individuality

45 days

Unit 2: Conflict & Perseverance

45 days

Unit 3: Community & Relevance

45 days

Unit 4: Consequences & Acceptance

45 days


Student Grades

The grading system for this course is based on the category weights listed in each department’s policy.  For this course, those weights are listed below.   Each marking period, students will have a minimum of three (3) Major Assessments and five (5) Minor Assessments (explained below).  Homework is graded for completion, and Class Participation is assessed using the district rubric.


                                                                             On Grade Level                            

Major Assessments

50% of marking period grade

Minor Assessments

30% of marking period grade

Class Participation

10% of marking period grade


10% of marking period grade

Class Participation Rubric

Meets or Exceeds


100 - 93

The student:

● ensures that the class is a community of respect;

● consistently arrives prepared for class;

● voluntarily participates on a consistent basis;

● consistently remains focused and on task;

● initiates and sustains discussion;

● evaluates and responds to peer points;

● consistently demonstrates leadership in collaborative activities.

Approaches Expectations

92 - 85

The student:

● recognizes the class as a community of respect;

● usually arrives prepared for class;

● willingly participates on a regular basis;

● remains focused and on-task on a regular basis;

● contributes to discussion on a regular basis;

● listens to and responds to peer points;

● contributes to collaborative activities on a consistent basis.

Does Not Meet Expectations

84 - 70


The student:

● fails to recognize the class as a community of respect;

● frequently arrives unprepared for class;

● rarely participates, even when called upon;

● lacks focus and rarely remains on task;

● rarely engages in discussion;

● reacts to peer points rather than responds;

● rarely engages in collaborative activities.


  • Examples of Major Assessments include items that are summative in nature, such as: tests, projects, research papers, prose-constructed response timed writings, formal presentations, reports, or any other type of assessment used to capture evidence of learning at the culmination of a unit of study.
  • Examples of Minor Assessments include items that are formative in nature, such as: quizzes, exit tickets, in class worksheets, Do Nows, or any other type of assessment that is diagnostic in nature and used to guide instruction and provide ongoing feedback to students.
  • Note: grades for individual assignments are entered into Genesis for the marking period in which the assignment is assigned and collected, and not a subsequent marking period.
  • Extra credit is not available in this course.
  • In this course, it is expected that students will submit only their best work, and teachers reserve the right not to accept work that is substantially below what a student is capable of producing.








Plagiarism, Cheating, and Academic Integrity

The Barnegat Township School District places a strong emphasis on students’ integrity, and the district will not tolerate instances of academic dishonesty.  Plagiarism is the practice of copying words, sentences, images, or ideas for use in written or oral assessments without giving proper credit to the source.  Cheating is defined as the giving or receiving of illegal help on anything that has been determined by the teacher to be an individual effort.  Both are considered serious offenses and are subject to consequences described in the Student Handbook and Board Policy #5701.


Classroom Expectations  

1. All school rules and policies apply to this class.

2. The teacher and students will work collaboratively for a respectful, safe classroom.

3. Students will come to class on time, prepared, and ready to learn.

4. Students will complete all assignments, including homework, by all deadlines.  Make-up work is only accepted after an excused absence.  It is your responsibility to see me for your work before or after school.

5. Students will actively participation in class discussions and other activities in order to enhance their learning experiences.

6. Cell phones, iPods, or any other personal electronic devices are PROHIBITED in class at any time.


Extra Help and Support

Parents/guardians and/or students can request extra help. As the teacher, I can also suggest the student would benefit from this assistance. If the student needs additional help, there are a variety of options including: Before/after school help sessions and peer tutoring from NJHS students.



I have read and understand the syllabus for ELA.




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