Mrs. Judith Shilstone

8th Grade Homeroom/6th-8th Language Arts
Welcome to Middle School Language Arts! Students in Middle School have classes in grammar, spelling, composition, reading, and speaking experiences. Programs have been developed from sequential curriculum from the lower grades. We have successfully prepared students to enter the next level of their education, high school.

What's Happening in 8th Grade Homeroom/6th-8th Language Arts

Welcome to the new school year.

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Some important dates to remember this fall:

STAR Testing will begin the week of September 4th.  Please do not schedule any high school Shadow appointments for that week.

Back to School Night is September 13th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.  I am looking forward to meeting you then.



Recent Kindergarten Buddy Activities

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The 8th Grade has recently done some fun Buddy activities.  In January 8th Graders brought their favorite picture story book from their childhood to read to their Buddy.  Pillows and stuffed animals helped to create the cozy atmosphere.

In February we gathered for a Valentines Day celebration, dipping strawberries in melted chocolate, then making cards for each other.

Academic Decathlon

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The 2017 – 2018 Academic Decathlon Team has been selected and is now meeting with coaches for the new curriculum:  Space.
The competition for the grammar schools of the Archdiocese will be held on March 3, 2018 at St. Pius School in Redwood City.








Important Dates to Remember

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September  5 – 8  STAR Testing for 8th Grade

September 7  Back to School Night

September 14 High School Information Night for 7th and 8th Grade Parents

Ongoing – 8th Grade Parents should make their 3 excused high school Shadow appointments as soon as possible as dates fill up quickly.


Middle School Language Arts strives to build on what has come before in the earlier grades and to develop new skills using the sequential texts as well as a variety of activities to accommodate different learning styles.

Reading:  To develop a love of literature from the reading of short stories, poetry, novels, and student-selected material from a variety of genre.


• Students answer comprehension questions in the McDougal Littell literature series, Junior Great

Books, and selected literature as well as discussion in Literature Circles and Socratic Circles.

 • Vocabulary enrichment is enhanced through the words of poets, authors, playwrights whose works the students read.

Language Arts

• To integrate spelling, handwriting, grammar, oral language and writing into the curriculum using

the ELA/Common Core Standards.


  • Daily Journal writing
  • Literature Log entries where students write their observations on what they have read
  • Poetry analysis and writing of Haiku, diamonte, cinquain, couplet, and limerick poems
  • Compositions (expository, impromptu, creative, and research)
  • Mastery of one unit (the words are written in sentences, 10 per week) in the San Mateo Spelling Program with emphasis on the 25 list words in the sentences which share a common rule - such as all list word have the same prefix
  • Handwriting practice
  • Study 0f English grammar which includes workbook activities,  sentence diagrams, study of participles, gerunds, and infinitives, capitalization and punctuation rules
  • Oral speaking assignments:  book commercials, speeches, debates, storytelling, play dialogue, poetry memorization
  • Integration of technology for essay writing, research, assembling poetry anthologies


Please refer to the Middle School Teachers' Homework Page.


6th Graders read a variety of short stories emphasizing characters, novels such as Lois Lowry's "The Giver,"  and Francisco Jiminez's "Breaking Through," poetry, and a Literature Circle novel of their choice.  Students also focus on a Young Adult writer to present in an author project, and a Book Commercial for the class.

7th Graders begin with a short story unit also, then read Robert C. O'Brien's "Z for Zachariah," Ray Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles," and a Literature Circle book selection.  For a unit on storytelling students also read a wide variety of oral tradition literature for readiness to learn a story to tell the class. For Black History Month students "Warriors Don't Cry" which is the story of the Little Rock 9 school integration.

8th Grades also start with a short story unit to learn literary terms used by authors like Truman Capote, Jack London, and Shirley Jackson.  A unit of Jack London stories and one of his novels such as "White Fang" or "Call of the Wild" is read, followed by a trip to Jack London State Park to learn more about the life of the author.  We learn about social justice by reading Harper Lee's " To Kill a Mockingbird," and Anne Frank's "The Diary of a Young Girl."