• Dear Parents and Guardians,


    Hello and welcome to eighth grade!  I will be your child’s English teacher this year and am excited about beginning this amazing journey.  As we devour and dissect various delicious pieces of literature, I will be working primarily to build your child’s listening, speaking, reading, writing, and critical thinking capacities while also weaving in various technological 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 strive constantly 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 Husky Fridays (wear your blue), after-school clubs, dances, etc.  Students who get involved feel connected.  Students who feel connected experience greater success and confidence in school.


    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! Students need to bring a CHARGED Chromebook, a folder set apart for English papers, loose notebook paper, 2 pencils, pencil sharpener or extra mechanical lead, 1 blue or black pens, 4 highlighters (preferably in different colors), and 1 red colored pen to class daily to be ready for any given task.


    Ask for help! I am available to tutor after school Tuesday through Thursday by appointment only and most days before school.  If you need to contact me, the best way is via email at marassheltons@cajonvalley.net.  Please note that 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. In addition, once the second trimester begins, no late work will be expected unless a student has an official district document stating otherwise. This is to prepare students for high school.


    Be here!  Attendance is critical!  But should your child 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  (Advisory Class) 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.  It is going to be a great year!        Hope to see you at our Back to School Night which is scheduled for Thursday, September 15 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Please mark your calendars.                     



    Stephanie Maras Shelton



    Cut along the dotted line and return the bottom section only.


    I have read the English introduction letter and am aware of the supplies that would be helpful for English class.


    _______________________________________            ________         _________________________________________________

    Name of Student (Please print first and last name.)          Period             Parent Signature









    Our texts include Holt Literature for 8th Grade, StudySync, iReady, Newsela, and various additional ones. We will be reading short stories, plays, informational materials, famous speeches, excerpts of well-known texts, and poems through these texts.


    We aim to read at least three books this year-one per trimester:  At this time, we are considering Flowers for Algernon, The Diary of Anne Frank, and Schooled among other selections for English 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 focusing on Latin roots.



    Students will study Latin and Greek roots and will  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:

    • Academic Language
    • Figurative Language
    • Context Clues
    • Words with multiple meanings


    Speaking and Listening

    Students will make oral presentations throughout the year.  This will include group and individual projects.