Hi-Cap 8 Humanities Syllabus 2015


Hi-Cap Humanities 8 Syllabus



The humanities curriculum integrates the Common Core State Standards for English language arts with the Common Core State Standards for literacy in history/social studies. For specific social studies content, the curriculum follows the Washington State Standards. If you would like a more comprehensive view of the standards, please go to my web page and click on links. The language arts' components focus on reading literature and informational texts, writing, language, and speaking and listening skills. The social studies' components focus on early U.S. History from the formation of colonies to Reconstruction as well as government, civics, and geography.

While seventh grade is a transition from elementary school, eighth grade is the transition to high school. It’s the opportunity to hone academic skills and behaviors, and acquire prerequisite knowledge for high school classes.


Throughout the year, students will improve reading comprehension, analyze primary sources, and identify literary devices (similes, metaphors, personification, allusion, irony, hyperbole, etc).

Non-fiction works and various fiction genres such fantasy, historical fiction, realistic fiction, and poetry will be read. Students will read as a class, in groups, and independently.

To promote independent reading, students choose their own texts with the permission of their parents, which is separate from assigned reading for the whole class.

Projects will often accompany the reading to enhance their understanding and creativity.


Students will develop higher level writing skills, such as creating a clear claim (thesis statement), constructing support, and writing a well-structured essay. Audience, tone of voice and its consistency, clarity, transitions, and word choice will also be stressed. All components of the writing process will be reinforced through prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.

Writing will include narrative, expository, and argumentative essays, and students will experience self, peer, and teacher evaluation of their writing. Instruction and assessment of writing will be organized around content, style, conventions, and formatting requirements.


Students will employ conventions of Standard English, knowledge of language, and vocabulary acquisition and its use within the reading, writing, and speaking/listening standards. Specifically, students will widen their use of active verbs, address inconsistencies in verb tense and pronoun antecedent agreement, use proper punctuation, spell common and academic vocabulary correctly, and consider other grammatical topics. When vocabulary study does not accompany an assigned reading book, students will be immersed in a comprehensive study of the Wordly Wise vocabulary program. Students will be quizzed on the vocabulary words and their spellings, and they will be expected to use studied words in their writing and speaking.

Speaking and Listening:

Students will learn to communicate ideas and information with clarity. Also, students will use non-verbal communication skills, such as eye contact, posture, and gestures to strengthen their presentation. Students will prepare individual and group presentations relating to their reading, writing, and social studies activities. In addition, students will be introduced to various forms of presentations, including speeches, seminars, and debates. Lastly, students will learn to evaluate their work, as well as their peers’ work.

Units of Study for U.S. History

Early Colonization

Revolutionary War


Westward Expansion

Industrialization (prior to Civil War)

Civil War and Reconstruction

*Geography, civics, economics, slavery, and Native cultures will be studied throughout the units.


History Alive: United States through Industrialism

Holt: United States History (will not cover all topics in text)

Collections (English Language Arts textbook) and a consumable close reader for text analysis

Snapshots (nonfiction and fiction stories)

Wordly Wise, Book 9 ($10.00 cash or check to ESD #15))

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Excerpts from the Narrative of Sojourner Truth

A selection of Civil War novels and nonfiction works

*BTM has not received notification of which


novel(s) will be sent to us, so there may be an additional fiction book.


*supplemental reading at level of students’ comprehension

*video clips and films (like Roots and Glory)

*primary sources such as photos, diaries, original newspaper articles, etc.

*teacher made and commercially available materials

Supplies: (for everyday use)

*A binder for all classes, but use dividers/folders for Humanities (test/quizzes, classwork/notes, and projects/homework)

*Loose-leaf paper

*Colored pencils, #2 pencils, and blue, black, and red pens

*Highlighters and Expo markers (4 different colors)

*Reading Post-Its/Flags of various sizes for novel studies


*Independent reading book

*USB flash drive and mouse are optional


Quizzes/Tests=30% Essays/Projects =30%

Grading System:

A 100 % - 93 %

B 86.99% - 83%

C 75.99% - 73%

F 64.99 % or below

Class Work=25% Homework =15%

A- 92.99% - 90% B+ 89.99% -87%

B- 82.99% - 80% C+ 79.99% - 76%

C- 72.99% - 70% D 69.99% - 65%


As your student’s Humanities teacher, it is my goal to provide a positive and stimulating environment that encourages independence, creativity, and critical thinking. It is also my hope that students will increase their understanding and skill level in English and social studies.

Please sign below acknowledging that you have read the letter and accompanying syllabus.

Please also send in $10 (cash or check to ESD #15) for your student to purchase a Wordly Wise book, a comprehensive vocabulary study program. The program supports students’ vocabulary growth and development and will assist him/her in writing, reading, and test preparation for high school. If anyone needs a scholarship provided, please let Ms. Poole or Ms. Daniels know. Thank you very much!

Student Signature_____________________________

Parent Signature______________________________ Date_______________

Hi-Cap Humanities 8 Video Policy

Being a Humanities teacher, I greatly value videos that correspond to and supplement the curriculum. For example, I show the movie Roots (about slavery) in segments throughout the year as they pertain to the current unit of study, and I show Glory (R) during our Civil War unit. With the exception of Glory, all videos are rated PG, PG-13, or are not rated (i.e. documentaries like

Roots). With difficult subject matter, please be assured that I will edit and/or discuss the material as needed. I often stop to discuss specific content to check for understanding and to discuss the subject matter as it relates to U.S. History. In addition, I may show short video clips to enhance what I am teaching, and typically they are used to illuminate various perspectives in history. Please sign below to authorize your child to participate in the viewing of videos in this class. Thank you!

My child may participate in the viewing of videos in his/her humanities class.

My child may not participate in the viewing of videos in his/her humanities class and may complete an alternate assignment.

Student’s Name (please print):________________________________________

Parent's Name (please print): ________________________________________

Parent’s Signature:


*If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at

[email protected]