Mrs. Stephens

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Through our exploration of literature from around the world, 8th grade English students will be reading and reflecting on literature selections that focus on themes we encounter in our lives. In this class we will make connections between literature and ourselves, develop our reading, writing, critical thinking, and speaking skills, and strengthen our vocabulary and grammar knowledge. We will learn to analyze literature, to read for deeper meaning, and to think critically about what we read. We will build upon our knowledge of narrative, persuasive, analytical and informative writing styles, while learning to incorporate clearly defined thesis statements, textual evidence, smooth transitions, and various organizational strategies into our writing. Our intention in 8th grade English is to prepare for high school, college, and beyond.


  1. To improve overall reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.

  2. To expand our knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar.

  3. To maintain effective study habits and organizational skills.

  4. To gain a strong foundation in English for uses in future classes and endeavors.

  5. To foster an appreciation for literature and reading.


Mirrors and Windows Literature Book (log in code: lvqaftn at

Laying the Foundation

Google Classroom


Touching Spirit Bear Ben Mikaelson

House on Mango Street Sandra Cisneros

The Giver Lois Lowry

The Book Thief Markus Zusak

Killing Mr. Griffin Lois Duncan

*Note: Novel selections are subject to change based on student needs and/or availability. *


  1. 5 Subject Spiral Notebook

  2. Wide ruled paper

  3. Pens, pencils, highlighters, markers, scissors

  4. Glue bottle and tape rolls

  5. Colored pencils

  6. 1 box tissue (for classroom use)


  1. Arrive to class on time.

  2. Follow instructions the first time they are given.

  3. Listen to others when they are speaking.

  4. Raise your hand and wait to be called on before speaking.

  5. Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself.

  6. Be polite, helpful and kind.


FIRST TIME: Verbal Warning and documented warning.

SECOND TIME: Detention and a phone call home.

THIRD TIME: Detention, Parent/teachers/student conference and counselor Referral.

FOURTH TIME: Discipline referral to office. Parents contacted.

Severe disruptions/Level II Infractions: Students sent to office immediately with a discipline referral and parents called.


Positive praise (daily)

Positive phone calls home (random)

Various “surprise” treats and rewards.


To be successful in class, you must be in class. When you are not here, you miss valuable information and we miss you.


Find or make a new friend in this class. Your class buddy can help you with assignments outside of class, fill you in on what you missed during an absence, and be your study partner.  Be sure to exchange contact information with your class buddy.


Tardiness is unnecessary and unacceptable. When you are tardy, you are to pick up a tardy slip from the front office. Subsequent tardiness will result in detentions from the administrators, phone calls home, meetings with parents, referrals.

If you do come to class after the bell, please enter the room quietly, sign in, take your seat quickly, and join in the classroom activity. Be inconspicuous!


  1. Enter the classroom calmly.

  2. Take your assigned seat.

  3. Take out necessary materials for class.

  4. Begin SSR or bell ringer.


  • Your homework assignment each night will be to read for 20-30 minutes. The purpose of this standing assignment is to help you to improve your reading skills in preparation for high school and college classes,  to ensure that you meet your AR Goal each six weeks, and to spark (or stoke) a love of reading in you.

    • A reading log must be turned in weekly for a minor grade.

  • SAT Vocabulary should be studied daily at home to prepare for weekly tests. Use for flashcards, games and quizzes.

    • Search for dstephens23 and join my class for easy access to each lesson.


  • AR is an important part of our class curriculum and is worth 40% of your grade. It is your responsibility to read and test.  You are expected to meet or exceed your AR goal each six weeks.  Goals are as follows:

    • Pre-AP Students: Based on reading level but no less than 15 points (subject to change at teacher’s discretion)

    • Regular Classes: Based on reading level but no less than 10 points (subject to change at teacher’s discretion)

1. Excused Absences-Students with an Excused Absence will have the opportunity to make up missed work at the rate of 1 day for 1 day missed, with a maximum of 5 days. Students who are absent had prior notice of a major or minor assignment must complete the assignment on the 1st day back to school. Student will receive a 0 for any major or minor assignment not made up within the allotted time.

2. Unexcused Absences-Students with an Unexcused Absence may not make up missed work. However, if the unexcused absence is determined to be caused by extenuating circumstances, makeup work may be allowed. The grade for the makeup work will be no higher than a 70.

3. Failing Major Assignments-All students will have up to 3 additional school days to redo a failing major assignment, but the grade will be no higher than a 70.

4. Late Major Assignments-All students will have 3 additional days to make up a major assignment if late (with a progressive grade penalty of 10 points per day).


Semester exams will be comprehensive and count as 20% of the semester grade.  Should the semester exam cause a student to fail the semester, the student has the option of retesting. The student must retest within 3 days, and the retest will be the sole responsibility of the student. The retest grade will be no higher than a 70. 

*Check Mrs. Stephen’s Google Classroom after absences for missed assignments, news, and information.

Parent Signature: ___________________________________   Student Signature:________________________________