K12ELA008: English Language Arts 8

Course Syllabus for "K12ELA008: English Language Arts 8"

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Eighth-grade English Language Arts will provide you with a strong foundation for high school. Grounded in Common Core State Standards, the content of this course emphasizes critical reading, writing, and thinking. You will read and analyze high-quality literary and informational texts. You will write original texts in multiple genres. Language and its conventions will be emphasized throughout, and opportunities to examine the spoken word will be provided as well. Whether you choose to pursue higher education or the world of work, or both, you will be expected to have certain basic skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. While you probably won’t be expected to write a poem on command, you will have to be able to express yourself clearly when you write and speak. This course includes challenging material which will help you build the skills you need to begin high school. As you progress through your remaining years as a student, you will continue to add and build upon the skills and knowledge you gain from this course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Evaluate similar themes in literary works of different genres.
  • Use reading comprehension strategies to acquire new information.
  • Write original texts by following the steps of the writing process.
  • Generate ideas for writing shorter and longer pieces of writing.
  • Show understanding of conventions of language, including grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.
  • Define unfamiliar words by using context clues and/or knowledge of Greek and Latin roots, and increase academic vocabulary.
  • Identify the characteristics of good oral presentations, and create original presentations.
  • Use listening skills for a variety of purposes, including note-taking.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

√    Have competency in the English language.

√    Have completed seventh-grade English.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

Course Information

Welcome to Grade 8 English Language Arts. This course consists of five thematic units. Each unit utilizes high quality literary works to help you build your reading skills. There are several writing tasks, intended to review skills you have probably already learned, while also learning important new concepts. Speaking, listening, and language skills are incorporated into each unit.
Course Designer: Ms. Tracy Derrell
Primary Resources: This course has been created using free online texts and tutorials. All of the texts come from Books Should Be Free, while most of the tutorials are from SOPHIA and MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching).

Requirements for Completion: In order to successfully complete this course, you will need to work through all of the assigned readings and associated tasks. In addition to the assignments, which will help you learn the skills and concepts from each unit, you will need to complete brief assessments. Each unit includes two assessments, one focusing on reading and writing, and the other one focusing on speaking, listening, and language. Though the final exam will be the only graded task, completing the assignments and assessments is necessary, as they will help you evaluate your learning.
In order to pass the course, you must earn a grade of 70% or higher on the final exam. You may take the exam more than once, if necessary.
Time Commitment: Completing this course should take you a total of approximately 69 hours. Each unit includes a “Time Advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit. It is recommended you devote about an hour a day, five days a week, to working your way through the course. This is the same amount of time you’d spend in a typical English class. If you are able to complete your studying at the same time every day, this will go a long way toward helping you develop strong study habits.
Tips/Suggestions: There will be many occasions where you will need to take notes, and you will also frequently be writing responses to literature. You should have an ample supply of pens and pencils, as well as paper. A loose-leaf notebook may provide you with the most flexibility for organizing your notes; making a divider for each unit is a good idea. Some of the readings will be challenging; if needed, you can complete them in multiple sittings. 

How to take notes in a digital text:

If you are using a computer, you can use Scrible, which is a toolbar that you save as a link. It allows you to edit any webpage by highlighting sections, leaving notes, changing the color of text, and so forth. As you work your way through Saylor’s courses, Scrible allows you to leave the pen and notepad at home and take notes directly on the screen you’re learning from. Save a tree and Scrible away! 

Adobe Reader App (Android) or (iOS)
If you are using an iPad, iPhone, or any android type device, you can use the Adobe Reader app. Similar to Scrible, the Adobe Reader app will allow you to highlight, draw on, and add text to PDFs (one form of media Scrible does not work on). For example, say you’re taking K12ELA11: American Literature which relies heavily on Scott McLean's Writing for Success text, one of Saylor.org’s many complete texts available on our Bookshelf. If you had this app downloaded to your mobile device, you could import that PDF text and voilà!
It’s easy to mark up the text for later review.
This has the same idea as Scrible and the Adobe Reader App, but this tool lets you take notes on videos. With this tool, you can say goodbye to constantly pausing the video lecture you’re watching to take notes. It features side-by-side note taking, and it’s all saved in the cloud!

If you have an iPad, you may want to use GoodNotes, which is an app that allows you to write notes, highlight text, and export your files to Dropbox for continued use on other devices. GoodNotes also allows you to import files from iTunes, which means you can access all Saylor files currently uploaded to iTunes U.
Evernote is an app available for Windows, Macintosh, Android, and iOS devices. The app allows you to import documents that you can then annotate, highlight, and save for later reference. Evernote also updates documents across all of your devices, so if you are working on your iPad and decide to switch to your computer, you can start right where you left off.
If you have a NOOK tablet, you can create notes and highlight text right in the device. Just right click inside a text and begin writing notes. If you want to highlight, you can drag your finger across the text, and right click to highlight. 


Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.