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Junior High School
Picture Missing
Miss O'Brien
8th Grade Language Arts
and Reading Seminar - Liberty Jr. High

Language Arts Class Overview

Language arts class is a combination of reading, writing, and grammar skills.  Because so much material is covered in one class, language arts meets every day for a full 63 minutes.  This class combines traditional language arts studies, and gives the students major decision-making responsibilities in the learning process.  Empowering students about their learning often leads to greater interest and motivation.

 In the reading portion of the class, I will select reading material designed to teach reading strategies and literary concepts.  Together as a class, students will read and discuss novels and explore several other genres (short stories, poetry, drama, etc.).  Students will demonstrate their ability to comprehend, analyze, and recognize literary devices in their novels by completing papers, conferences, and projects.

 In the grammar/writing portion of the class, students will complete exercises designed to review capitalization, punctuation, parts of speech, correct usage, and sentence structure.  They will keep a writing portfolio that will include argumentative, explanatory, and narrative writing.  At the end of the school year, they will complete an autobiographical project based on "The Hero's Journey."  Students will also be exposed to logical-thinking and reasoning activities which will improve their ability to write clearly and concisely.

Form and Function

Form and Function

Why Grammar?

By 8th grade, students are expected to recognize and understand the basic parts of speech which include prepositions, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, interjections, conjunctions, and verbs.  We do spend time reviewing these parts of speech in the form of anticipatory activities called D.O.L.s or daily oral language exercises.

My ultimate goal for the year is to teach students how to better understand the function of the parts of speech in order to become better writers.  Once students understand how intricately the parts of speech all work together in a sentence, they can begin to craft and manipulate language in a way which is both clever and authentic.

All words have both a form and a function:

"Form" simply means "part of speech." "Function" refers to the job a form does in any particular sentence.  Sometimes forms of words only have one job or function.  Other forms, such as nouns, can perform several different functions in a sentence.  The chart below is my grammar textbook!  Students will use this chart for their D.O.L.s all year.  The Form/Function chart is truly the the key to understanding grammar.




Subject – Beginning of clause or phrase

Direct Object – comes after action verbs

Indirect Object – comes after action verbs but before the direct object

Object of Preposition – comes after prepositions.

Predicate Noun – comes after linking verbs



Same jobs as nouns (subject / object pronouns only – see above)

Adjective (possessive pronouns only)




Articles (a, an, the)

Predicate Adjective – comes after linking verbs


(Action, Linking, Helping)







(coordinating, subordinating, correlative)






Grammar Units

Grammar Units

  • Intro to Form and Function
  • Sentence Structure / Comma usage
  • Verbs: direct and indirect objects, predicate nouns and predicate adjectives
  • Verbals:  prepositional phrases as adjectives and adverbs, noun clauses, adjective clauses, adverb clauses, infinitives, gerunds, participles
Writing Assignments

Writing Assignments

Most writing topics students will choose themselves.  Writing assignments will correspond to the reading units.  The following types of writing will be completed this school year:
  • Explanatory/Expository essays in the form of literary analysis
  • Reading response essays
  • Argumentative/Persuasive essays
  • Narrative stories (Family Legend paper and Hero's Journey papers)
  • Poetry
  • Hero's Journey Scrapbook Project
Novel List

Novel List

The following is a list of novels and plays that may be read in class this year.

The Outsiders 
Of Mice and Men
The Hunger Games
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Hound of the Baskervilles
The Diary of Anne Frank
Various literature circle books