6-8th Grade English Language Arts for the Gifted
About Ms. Gray’s classes
During our school year, we will explore our language through reading and writing about both literary and informational text. At the end of this course, you will be able to read, understand, explain, and analyze increasingly complex texts; and further develop skills & understandings mastered in preceding grades.*
*from Louisiana Student Standards for ELA
To experience daily success in this class, you will need to bring the following items:
- current unit of study materials, such as novel and printed resources
- binder (2 tabs for ELA: “handouts” & “vocabulary”) and composition notebook
- pens, pencils, & highlighters
- loose Leaf paper-lots and lots of paper
- school planner or personal assignment book
- a positive attitude and willingness to learn
- Useful Apps: Youree Drive App, Kindle, Overdrive and Libby (library apps), Kahoot, Quizlet, Thinglink, Skitch, Phonto, Pic Collage, SimpleMind, SoundCloud, Google Classroom & Drive & Docs & Slides, Dropbox, LibriVox, GeauxVote, Snapverter, Remind, PointsScanFree, EdPuzzle
- Google Classroom — https://classroom.google.com
- Louisiana Department of Education website — www.louisianabelieves.com
- Youree Drive Middle School website – www.youreedrive.com
Syllabus by Grade Levels
6th Grade Coursework
Please sign up for our class’ Remind.com account by following these directions:
1st Unit: Survival
Anchor Text: Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen
Students read literary and informational texts to understand how positive thinking, slowing down to think clearly, problem solving, and constant vigilance support survival in the face of grave danger and overwhelming odds. Students express their understanding of characters in literature by analyzing the struggle of man versus nature and the life lessons we can learn from others’ survival situations.
2nd Unit: Identity
Anchor Text: The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare
Students read to understand the influence of family expectations and religious values on the development of one’s personal identity. Students express their understanding of how informational texts in coordination with literary texts enhance their comprehension of time periods and the theme and setting of the novel.
3rd Unit: Overcoming Adversity
Anchor Text: Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse
Students read to understand how people respond to adversity, the lessons that can be learned from hardship and failure, and what happens when we take good fortune for granted. Students express their understanding of the social and environmental issues farmers faced in the 1930s, noting how reading literary and informational texts enhances their understanding of the topic.
4th Unit: Perseverance
Anchor Text: Steve Jobs Commencement Address, Stanford University
Students read about the role of failure in success. Students understand that success takes hard work, deliberate practice, and the ability to learn from failures and persevere. They express their understanding by exploring how an author’s word choice, use of evidence, and selected organization reflect a text’s purpose and then by writing their own personal narrative based on the models.
7th Grade Coursework
Please sign up for our class Remind.com account by following these directions:
1st Unit: Utopian Society
Anchor Text: The Giver, by Lois Lowry (Students will also read several student selected companion novels.)
Students read dystopian literature and related informational texts to understand how individual perspectives are shaped by knowledge and memory and to determine whether perfection is worth the sacrifice. Students express their understanding by analyzing how a theme is developed through characters and their contrasting points of view and also comparing and contrasting the themes of similar texts.
2nd Unit: Impact of Literature on Society
Anchor Text: A Christmas Carol
Students read literary and informational texts about the meaning and redemption found through selflessness and valuing people over material possessions. Students understand how writers use stories to teach us these lessons and how characters’ choices affect the plot and build the theme of a story. Students express their understanding by exploring how literature resonates with readers and has “staying power,” becoming a part of our language, culture, and moral code.
3rd Unit: American Civil War Society
Anchor Text: Behind the Scenes, or 30 Years a Slave and 4 Years in the White House, by Elizabeth Keckley (This textbook is available at school and does not need to be purchased. We will also read several student selected companion novels.)
Students read literary and informational texts about the Civil War, a tumultuous period in our country’s history. Students understand that by examining different perspectives through various accounts, real and fictional, they can gain a deeper understanding of the time period and express their understanding through identifying and then comparing and contrasting different accounts of people, events, and ideas of the time.
4th Unit: World War Society
Anchor Text: “Memoir”—details available online at louisianabelieves.com. (This textbook is available at school and does not need to be purchased. We will also read several student selected companion novels.)
8th Grade Coursework
Please sign up for our Remind.com class by following these directions:
1st Unit: IQ
Anchor Text: “Flowers for Algernon” short story by Daniel Keys; additional student-chosen companion texts (Text available in classroom textboo.k)
Students read literary and informational texts about knowledge and intelligence to understand what happens when humans try to manipulate the minds of others and how our understanding of intelligence has evolved over time. Students express their understanding of these ideas by exploring how authors draw on traditional stories and develop characters and themes to teach us about ourselves and others.
2nd Unit: Voice
Anchor Text: “The Tell Tale Heart” short story by Edgar Allen Poe; additional student-chosen companion texts (Text available in classroom textbook.)
Students read literary and informational texts to understand the role of the narrator and point of view. Students also understand how the narrative voice of a text can blur the line between fact and fiction. Students express their understanding through writing in different points of view and examining motives and bias in various media.
3rd Unit: Economy
Anchor Text: Sugar Changed the World:A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science, by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos
Students read informational texts about the historical significance of the sugar industry.
4th Unit: Holocaust
Anchor Text: Night, by Elie Wiesel; additional student-chosen companion texts
Students read texts focusing on the tolls of war on society – individuals and nations – and explore the potential of conflict to rob innocence while forging identity. Students will explore the human attempt to make sense of the tragedies of war by means of connecting to others, often through art. This unit can connect to Social Studies. The literary focus for this unit will be analysis of a drama.
Each unit is subject to change and modification, as necessary.
- Tests and quizzes will be announced and posted in class and online.
- Benchmark and progress achievement tests will not be announced and will be on-going throughout the year, culminating in the LEAP in April & May.
Policies and Procedures
- Prompt – This means you enter the classroom quietly, on time, and ready to learn.
- Prepared – Have your materials ready, complete all assignments, and study for tests.
- Polite – Always, always treat others with respect and kindness.
You will receive your grades from a variety of different sources:
class assignments projects quizzes
homework assignments tests daily bell ringer activity
Make-up & Late Work:
- In accordance to CPSB policy, if you have an excused absence, you will receive three days to make-up your assignment(s) (homework, tests, quizzes, etc.) for full credit.
- It is your responsibility to get the make-up work for the day(s) that you missed and turn it in.
- Late work due to unexcused absences or student apathy will be accepted for partial credit of the original grade. The partial credit will be based upon type of assignment, point value, and date of submission.
If you have any concerns throughout the year, please to contact me, via our remind.com text messages, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the school office at 868-5324. You will receive notice at least 2 weeks prior to IEP meetings. To schedule a conference, please contact our 6th grade counselor, Ms. Duke, at 364-3092.
“If people cannot write well, they cannot think well,
and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them.”