Mr. Marks's 8th Grade Page

Back to School Night

Literature and Language Arts

  • Core LiteratureMy Perspectives (anthology), some short stories and poems selected by Mr. Marks, and the following possible Core novels: The Giver, To Be A Slave, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Should time permit, we will also read Farewell to Manzanar.
  • Students will do close reading (analyzing, highlighting, and annotating fiction and nonfiction), literary analysis exercises, and finding and using textual evidence to support a point of view.
  • Vocabulary – Vocabulary words come from My Perspectives and some of the novels we read. When we read from the novels, vocabulary assignments will be given online. Students will be presented with vocabulary words, hear them pronounced, learn their definitions, and learn special usages of the words. A corresponding worksheet will be given for each video.
  • Writing Curriculum – Students will learn specific writing strategies at the sentence and paragraph level to add depth and complexity to their ideas. Additionally, students will learn concise and effective writing in short and long formats. They will be working on short and long pieces over brief and extended time periods. These include writing short fictional and nonfictional pieces using research-based evidence to support a point of view.
  • Enrichment—Students will do one enrichment project for the books The Giver and possibly Farewell to Manzanar. Enrichment projects allow students to explore their talents by creatively representing an aspect of each Core novel.
  • Maker Space Project—students will work in groups to construct memorials based off what they learned from To Be A Slave. 

Social Studies

  • History Alive! and Discovering Our Past
  • Unit Packets—Students will use unit packets, which require them to respond to factual and reflective questions. They will create maps. They will make visual representations of historical figures, make comic strips, charts, and graphic organizers. Some of these are done as class activities. The information learned in each packet is used for completing projects and preparing for quizzes and tests.
  • Every unit packet must have a creative visual cover that can be attached or drawn directly on the first page of each packet. Each cover should depict something from the time period covered in a given packet.
  • Students will study
    • Colonial America & Revolution
    • The Constitution
    • The Early Republic
    • Jacksonian Democracy & Manifest Destiny
    • The West
    • Slavery & Reform
    • Civil War & Reconstruction
    • Gilded Age & Progressive Era


  • Homework is generally assigned Monday through Thursday. Some assignments are due the next day; others are due days, weeks, or even a month ahead. Students are expected to manage their time. Being able to manage time is an essential skill needed for middle school, high school, and life. Students who have not managed their time wisely may have homework on Fridays or over the weekend.
  • Our district policy is for eighth graders to do no more than 50 minutes of homework a night for their Core class. If your child is regularly doing more than 50 minutes of homework for Core, either his or her time isn’t being managed properly (in the classroom and/or at home), or there is some other problem that needs to be addressed.
  • According to department policy, if a student does not have a homework assignment completed by the due date, the assignment is accepted up to one week after the due date. Department policy states that late work will earn a maximum of 50%. Late projects and other large assignments are accepted up to a week late for no more than 70% credit; after one week, for no more than 50% credit, and after two weeks, projects will not be accepted. Late work will not be accepted during the last week of each grading period.
  • Please make sure your child is vigilant in checking his or her scores in Power School. No changes in scores will be made after I have submitted semester grades.

Thursday Envelopes

  • Thursday Envelopes are sent home Thursday and must be brought back by Friday. I use Thursday Envelopes to return corrected work. Students should take the work home and save their exams, packets, and large writing assignments for future reference. Please ask your child to show you his/her Thursday Envelope every Thursday if you are curious about his/her work.

Office Hours

  • Starting next week, I will begin my office hours Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 3:10 to 4:00. I have set up these office hours for parent meetings, or for students seeking tutoring in the Core subjects. Please make an appointment with me before coming to one of my office hours. There will be no office hours on SLCT days.


  • A big part of eighth grade is helping students develop confidence—academic confidence, social-emotional confidence, and the confidence they will need to face and overcome challenges. In the classroom, at least, this means students must learn to advocate for themselves. Self-advocacy is a life skill. It is necessary for success not only in high school, but also in life. I will encourage students to come and speak with me if they have a problem and/or need help. I ask you to please encourage your child to see me if he or she needs help academically or otherwise. I’m here to help. Together, we can help your child be confident, successful, and happy.