Wednesday, September 23, 2009


HW Smith will be hosting an Open House tomorrow evening from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Parents and families will have an opportunity to meet their child's teachers and gain valuable information about each class. We hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

25-Book Assignment

Students again this year will be responsible for reading twenty-five books over the course of the year. Students will also need to write and submit a short summary of the book read in order to receive credit. Unlike last year when students could read all of the books on their own time just as long as they were finished by June 1st, 2009, this year students are required to read a certain number of books per academic quarter. The first deadline is October 30th, 2009. Students should read SIX books by this date. For those students who turned in the Summer Reading Assignment, he or she is only required to read four additional books for this quarter. Happy reading!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

As part of the Summer Reading Assignment, 8th grade students were required to read the Ambrose Bierce classic, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." Students will have the opportunity to watch the film during their lunch on Monday and Tuesday or watch it at their leisure using the links below.

Welcome Back!

Ms. Short would like to welcome back all of her students and their families to a brand new, fun filled year of learning. She would also like to extend a special welcome to those students and families just joining the HW Smith family this year. Below you will find the course outline for 8th grade English Language Arts. As always, if you have any questions or comments please contact Ms. Short via email at or phone at 435-4279.

1. Explore both fiction and non-fiction texts in a variety of literary genres including novels, poetry, folklore, drama, short stories, and the like
2. Build vocabulary by developing a wide-range of word recognition strategies
3. Explore literary elements such as imagery, characterization, point of view, foreshadowing, conflict, etc.
4. Use comprehension strategies to monitor own reading and clarify meaning of text
5. Use a variety of note-taking strategies to record significant details from informational and literary texts, lectures, and listening selections
6. Utilize a variety of graphic organizers to both plan and organize writing as well as enhance comprehension of written texts
7. Review and use all aspects of the writing process to compose a variety of texts for both student-selected and teacher-selected purposes
8. Explore the various types of text structure in order organize and categorize information for a variety of purposes
9. Review and utilize the conventions of the English language including proper spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar
10. Utilize technology in a variety of meaningful ways in order to enhance comprehension as well as publish written texts

25% Class Work
25% Class Participation and Preparedness
25% Assessments (Tests and Quizzes)
25% Homework

The text for 8th grade English Language Arts is Glencoe’s Literature: Course Three. However, students will be using a number of supplemental texts and resources provided by the school to enhance their learning of the 8th grade curriculum. In addition, students with computer access can log into the class blog at to find additional resources related to the topics of study.

Students are expected to turn in all work on its due date. Students who turn in work a day late will be subject to a 25% penalty. Work that is more than one week late will not be accepted. Special consideration will be made for students who are out for an extended period of time due to personal illness or any other excused absence. It is the responsibility of the student to get any missed work and obtain assistance from Ms. Short to compete it if needed.

All students in the Syracuse City School District are required to read twenty-five books over the course of the school year. Students who begin this assignment prior to their eighth grade year may obtain credit for those books read during the summer. Each book must be at least one-hundred pages in length. Books that are longer than one-hundred pages do not count for more than one book. If a child reads a 200 page book, it does not count as two books read. After finishing the book, students need to prepare a summary that includes the book’s title and author as well as a brief review of the important characters and events.