• Dear Parents,

     Hello and welcome to eighth grade on Team UCLA! I will be your child’s English teacher this year and am so excited to begin this amazing journey. As we devour and dissect various delicious pieces of literature, I will be working primarily on growing your child’s listening, speaking, reading, writing, and critical thinking capacities while also weaving in various technology skills. Our focus this year is to infuse in all of our children a growth mindset that centers on the idea that improving one’s understanding and skills, not merely acquiring good grades, is the desired outcome. Therefore, milestones that mark progress will be recognized and celebrated. We need and want our children to be constantly striving to seek their own personal best.

    Helpful hints to share with your child:

    Participate!   There are countless activities on campus for students to be involved in such as Team Spirit Days* (GO UCLA!), Husky Fridays, after school clubs, dances, etc. Students who get involved feel connected. Students who feel connected experience greater success and confidence in school.

    *On team spirit days, students wear either solid yellow or blue shirts: the colors of UCLA. Or they can support our team fundraiser by buying a TEAM UCLA spirit shirt for $12.00 (cash only) from Ms. Maras in room 207. Shirts will be available for sale starting the first day of school and come in adult sizes: S, M, L, XLG, XXLG.

    Show respect! Students who are respectful (follow school rules, demonstrate good character, are on time to class, have supplies, care about others, show friendliness) find themselves respected by others too.

    Be prepared! Bring a CHARGED chromebook, single subject spiral notebook for English only, notebook paper, 2 pencils, 2 blue or black pens, 4 highlighters (preferably in different colors), 1 red or other colored pen to class daily to be ready for any given task.

    Ask for help! I am available to tutor after school most days Tuesday through Thursday and before school by appointment only. If you need to contact me, the best way is via email at maras@cajonvalley.net. Please note time is given in class for students to record weekly homework assignments in their planners and that most homework and instructions can be found in Google Classroom. There is also a section for comments and questions in Google classroom—when a student posts, I am immediately notified. I make every effort to answer questions as soon as possible. Please refer to Google Classroom and Q/Zangle for updates on academic progress.

    Be prompt with work! Students will be expected to turn work in on time, but should that not happen, students will have five days to complete it for ½ credit provided that the work is done well. Please note that computer difficulties are not an excuse for a student not meeting a deadline. While it is unfortunate, students need to get into the habit of completing their work several days prior to a deadline. 

    Be here! Attendance is critical! But should your child ever be absent, please note that he or she is responsible for getting missed assignments and arranging for make-up quizzes and tests. This can be done either before school or, even better, in Period 0 on the day of his/her return. If your child will be absent for more than three days, please know that you can request homework to be sent to the front office for parent pick-up in order to prevent your child from falling too far behind.

    Communicating is the key to a successful 8th grade year; therefore, if at any time you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to meeting you in person at Back to School Night. It is going to be a great year!                                                     


    Stephanie Maras                 




    Our text is Holt Literature for 8th Grade. We will read short stories, plays, informational materials, and poems in this anthology.

    We are going to read at least three books this year-one per trimester:

    The Giver, The Diary of Anne Frank, Call of the Wild and other selections for Honor classes. 

    Additionally, students will be asked to complete independent reading every night. So there will always be homework for this class: READING. As the old adage goes, “Students who read are those who succeed!” Students need to be prepared for activities that use independent reading throughout the year. 


    Students will be writing a lot this semester. We will be studying various types of writing including:

    • Response to Literature
    • Narrative
    • Argument
    • Informational
    • Creative Writing—poetry, journal entries, etc.
    • Art History Research Project

     Grammar and Spelling – We will use Holt Language and additional activities.


    Students will study Latin and Greek roots and be tested on mastering the meaning and proper spelling of these words. Vocabulary practice for this activity will be ongoing. Additional vocabulary will be acquired through our literature selections with a learning emphasis on the following:

    • Context Clues
    • Figurative Language
    • Words with multiple meanings

    Speaking and Listening

    Students will make oral presentations throughout the year including oral book reports, group, and individual projects.