8th Grade English: Ms. Rauschenberg

8th Grade English Syllabus 2003-2004
(FAQ for students)

Rauschenberg Home Page


8th Grade English Page

Frequently Asked Questions about English Class

  • What is the point of English class? (we already speak it just fine) answer

  • What will our class routine be? answer

  • What will we be doing in English class this year? answer

  • What do you expect from us? Grades answer and Behavior answer

  • What will we need for this class? answer

  • How can we get help if we need it? answer

What is the point of English class? (We already speak the language, after all)

English is a mixed purpose class.  In terms of the old “3 Rs,” this class addresses two of the three: Reading & Writing.  Reading and writing are both skills that are necessary in life.  Beyond basic literacy (which you have, hopefully, already achieved), reading and writing are practical job skills and may even provide pleasure.

What we do in 8th grade English is based on our local curriculum and the state standards:

Ohio Department of Education Academic Content Standards for Language Arts

A. Phonemic Awareness, Word Recognition, and Fluency: This standard is mostly for grades K-3

B. Acquisition of Vocabulary: Students learn vocabulary through reading and conversing, using context clues, explanations, applying knowledge of word origins, parts, relationships, meanings 

C. Reading Process: Concepts of Print, Comprehension Strategies, and Self-Monitoring Strategies: Students develop and learn to apply strategies that help them to comprehend and interpret informational and literary texts.

D. Reading Applications: Informational, Technical and Persuasive Text: Students gain information from reading to learn about a subject, do a job, make decisions and accomplish tasks. 

E. Reading Applications: Literary Text: Students enhance their understanding of the human story by reading literary texts that represent a variety of authors, cultures and eras.

F. Writing Processes: Students’ writing improves when they practice the phases of the writing process. 

G. Writing Applications: Students learn to use different language, formatting and vocabulary for various types of writing 

H. Writing Conventions: Writing conventions include spelling, punctuation, grammar and other conventions associated with forms of written text. 

I. Research: Students define and investigate self-selected or assigned issues, topics and problems. 

J. Communications: Oral and Visual: Students learn to communicate effectively through speaking, listening and providing and interpreting visual images.

For more details about the benchmarks and indicators for these standards, click here.

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What will our class routine be?

This year I plan to try to follow a set routine, although many things will cause it to vary (holidays, snow days, assemblies, ...) We will start each class with a warm-up. M-W-F it will be a MUG exercise. T-Th it will be a writing prompt. Class will usually end with time to begin homework or read silently.
  • Monday: MUG -- focus on mechanics, usage, and grammar (Standard H, and sometimes G)

  • Tuesday: Text -- focus on literature and various texts (Standards D, E, and I)

  • Wednesday: Words -- focus on vocabulary (Standards A & B)

  • Thursday: Reading Workshop -- focus on reading strategies (Standard C), may include time for SSR 

  • Friday: Writing Workshop -- focus on written communication (Standards F & G)

Standard J will be addressed as it fits into the various activities we’re doing.

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What will we be doing in English class this year?

The overall plan for 8th grade English is as follows:
  • August & September: Unit One readings (Changing Perceptions), Introduction to Genre: Fiction, Parts of Speech
  • October: Unit One cont., Genre: Nonfiction, Parts of speech cont., independent reading
  • November: Unit Two readings (Critical Adjustments), The Outsiders *, Parts & Types of sentences
  • December:  Unit Two cont., Paragraph structure, research, presentation, independent reading
  • January: Finish Unit Two, Begin Unit Three (Battle for Control), Genre: Drama, The Diary of Anne Frank
  • February: Unit Three cont., persuasive writing & presentation, independent reading
  • March: Unit Thre cont., research, begin reading a group novel
  • April: Unit Four readings (Facing the Enemy), finish group novel
  • May/June: Finish Unit Four, presentation, independent reading

* Students will need to buy or borrow a copy of The Outsiders, by S. E. Hinton.  Copies are available at the school and local libraries and  bookstores. We  will provide copies of the other major readings for students to read at school.

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What do you expect from us? Academic Expectations

Your grades will be based on the following weights and categories:
  • 40 %  Daily Work
  • 40 %  Tests and/or Projects
  • 20 %  Independant Reading Response
Daily work includes work such as homework, quizzes, notebooks, writing journals, classwork, etc. The tests category will include major tests (usually two per quarter), projects, and/or presentations. The reading response is a little different each quarter; instructions will be handed out in class.

I try to keep students informed about their grades at all times.  I usually post grades weekly and can provide printouts showing current status, missing work, etc. on request (my grade book is normally updated weekly).

Make-up Work:  Students are responsible for make-up work.  That means that YOU need to find out what you missed if you were absent, what you need to turn in, and by when. School policy on make-up work is in the Agenda.

Late Work: Daily work that is turned in late will be accepted first semester only, and will be marked down for lateness. Work that is excessively late (more than ten school days) will not be accepted and will count as zero. Second semester late work will not be accepted.

8th Grade Exams:
In order to help our students be prepared for what they will face in high school, we give semester exams in all 8th grade classes. These exams will count 20% of the student’s grade for that nine weeks (second and fourth nine weeks).  For this class, that 20% will count as half of the 40% already allotted for major tests, projects, and presentations.

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What do you expect from us? Behavior Expectations

I expect my students to follow all Logan-Hocking Middle School rules and

Be responsible: you are here to learn: be prepared for class, bring needed materials, ask questions when you need to, do your homework, study for quizzes & tests, be in charge of your own make-up work, take charge of your own learning.  I can teach the material, but only you can learn it.  If this were the Olympics, you would be the athletes.  I'm just the coach and the score keeper.

Be respectful: Show respect for yourself, your classmates, your teacher, and the learning process. Be considerate.  Remain quiet unless you have permission to speak; stay in your seat unless you have permission to leave it. Get to class on time, wait to be dismissed.

Be a risk-taker: Don’t be afraid to speak out. Take chances. Try out what you’re learning. Have fun with this. Participate fully in the class. How much you get out of this class will depend very much on how much you’re willing to put in.

Consequences for violations of rules:
May include any of the following: warning, detention, sent to hall, phone call to parents, referral to office, depending on nature of violation.

Hopefully, we won’t have too much trouble with this, and we can concentrate on learning and education!!

Learning is not a spectator sport.   You are the players, I am just the coach.
In other words: I don’t “give” grades. You EARN them.

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What will we need for this class?

Bring with you every day:

You will need to have a writing instrument (pen or pencil) and blank paper. Your English textbook should come with you on Tuesdays.  You will also want to bring a book to read in case you finish a class activity early. If you don’t have something to read, you may choose something from my collection.

Keep in the classroom:

A one-inch or larger three-ring binder will be needed.  It should be organized into the following sections:
  1. MUG
  2. Literature Notes
  3. Vocabulary
  4. Reading Portfolio
  5. Writing Portfolio
Each section should be in chronological order — so every item should be dated. I will grade these notebooks once or twice a quarter.  I may announce it ahead of time, or I may grade the notebooks  “as is” with no warning.   The notebooks should be kept in the classroom unless you have permission to take them home, and should be up-to-date and organized at all times.

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How can we get help if we need it?

I believe that all students can learn and achieve. I will do everything that I can to help you succeed in this class. I will use multiple instructional methods to help you gain mastery of this subject.  I will consult with other experts (including you!) throughout this year to help you succeed. I want the best for YOU!
There are several ways outside of the classroom and normal class period that I can provide information and help for this class.

Homework assignments for my classes can be found through the pull-down menus on the district web site. This is a great place to go if you are absent or have missed class (or forgot your agenda at school).

Other information related to my English classes can be found through my web site.  It includes notes from class, practice games for vocabulary and terminology, and various other information.

This site is under construction and will be added to throughout the year. One of my professional goals for this year is to improve this web site, so if you have comments or suggestions, please let me know.

I am available for help before school, during tribe, or after school (except on Fridays).  I prefer that you make an appointment with me so that we can utilize the time effectively (and to make sure I don’t have another meeting scheduled).

I encourage you and your parents/guardians to e-mail me whenever you have questions or concerns.  My e-mail address is

You may also call me at the middle school: 385-8764.  The best time to reach me is at the end of the school day, 2:40-3:05 p.m.

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Questions? Comments?  Email me at jrauschenberg@loganhocking.k12.oh.us

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This page is provided to assist students and their parents in finding information related to what we're doing in class.  Information accessed on these links is not guaranteed or under my control in any fashion. I have accessed and checked each of these sites at least once, but they may have been altered since my last visit.   I believe these sources to be reputable, but cannot be held responsible for the contents of pages linked to through them.  Student access to the internet should always be under supervision.  Anyone finding inappropriate information on any of the web sites linked to from this page should inform me immediately through the e-mail address above.

These pages and their contents are the sole property of Jane M. Rauschenberg.  All rights reserved.