Welcome

Curriculum 

The official curriculum text for the middle school gifted ELA classes is Springboard, the College Board’s suggested middle school pre-AP program of coursework. Beyond that, I will supplement from an extensive variety of great literature for instructional content, including novels. Materials are available for parents’ perusal at any time.

The gifted English Language Arts class is designed to help you become analytical readers, skilled writers, and critical thinkers. To accomplish this goal, the class curriculum includes the following:

Literature:  We will study a variety of literature with the intent of learning to analyze the writing of other authors and becoming better writers.

Writing: Writing is an important component of the middle school ELA class.  We will write on an almost-daily basis, starting with strong sentences and building to strong essays.

Vocabulary: In the gifted ELA class, we will study and memorize Greek and Latin roots of words - those pieces that form the foundation of much of the vocabulary of the English language.

Grammar: Understanding grammar is necessary for becoming a proficient, controlled writer and for analyzing other authors’ styles of writing. We will study the basic structure and correct usage of formal English.

Independent Reading: Independent reading is one of the best ways to improve reading, writing, and vocabulary, so independent literacy reading is a required, graded part of this class.  Reading assignments are due every week.

General Expectations

In the gifted, pre-AP ELA class, you are expected to do the best you possibly can. I look forward to a great year; the only way we can achieve greatness is through great effort. Your accomplishments in this class will be directly related to the amount of effort you are willing to exert.

Behavior Expectations

o Come prepared to learn. This means that every day you will bring a positive, eager-to-learn attitude and all supplies needed for class.

o Maintain an orderly environment. This includes remaining seated, walking slowly if there is a valid reason for being out of your seat, and speaking softly at all times.

o Treat others with the respect you expect for yourself. This includes a person’s feelings, belongings, and personal space. In other words, keep any contact - physical or verbal -positive.

o Follow all school rules. Please see the school-wide plan which identifies school rules and the level of consequence of each. 

Grading Policy

All grades are available online through the Student Progress Center.  If an I is recorded for a grade, this indicates that the you did not complete the assignment, but can make it up or turn it in. An E indicates that you are exempt or excused from completing an assignment; the E does not affect your grade average. If a grade is recorded as a 0, then you did not complete an assignment and may not turn it in because time to complete the assignment has expired.

In gifted ELA, the nine-weeks average will be computed and recorded in the Student Progress Center based upon grades from the following categories:

Announced Tests, Essays, and Projects: You will take tests throughout the year on the literary selections and skills which we study. These tests almost always include a short essay. Additionally, there will be several longer writing pieces and/or projects which will be graded.

Daily Grades, Quizzes, and Assignments:  Not every assignment you complete will be individually recorded in the Student Progress Center; some smaller activities and quizzes will be averaged together for a grade. If a grade is an averaged grade, I will note that in the grade center. 

Word Within the Word: You will take a stems quiz ONCE A WEEK on Friday unless I announce otherwise. I grade stems quizzes on a ten-point grading scale. Since these grades are already averaged, you MAY NOT retake them if you forget to study or do poorly on the test; HOWEVER, I do have a painful solution to bring up your grade - I will allow you to handwrite the stems you miss and their meanings ten (10) times each for 2/3 extra credit after the test.  For example, if you miss 23 stems on a 100 stems quiz, your grade would be a 77%, which is a C.  You could write those 23 stems ten times each and earn 2/3 of those points back (15.33), bringing your grade up to a 92 (A)!  My reason for allowing this is that I WANT YOU TO LEARN THESE either by studying them (the easier way) or by old-fashioned repetitive copying them.  

Four-Levels Analysis Grammar: Once a week, in addition to the stems quiz, you will take a quiz on which you will demonstrate your mastery of the Four Levels of Analysis content you’ve practiced up to that point in the year. I will record these weekly grades using an Excel spreadsheet, then record the AVERAGE as one grade for the nine-weeks.

Independent Reading: AR is worth one grade per nine-weeks period.