Humanities 8 Course Syllabus

Mr. Stevens - Sections C and D



Mr. Tarbell - Sections A and B



8th Grade Website:

Description of Course

The Humanities curriculum focuses on the development of literate citizens who have the knowledge, skills and civic values needed to become active and reflective participants in our world today.  As part of an examination of American History, we will continually refer back to our guiding question, “What does it mean to be an American?” Students will study units investigating the Native Peoples, European Colonization, Revolution and Independence, Growth and Expansion: Native Genocide, The Civil War: Slavery and Reconstruction, and Civil Rights Today. These units will compel students to be critical readers of history, and encourage them to make meaningful connections to contemporary America.  Learning activities will include whole class and small group text study, collaborative investigations and experiences, culminating projects, and a social justice curriculum designed to inform and foster activism in the face of injustice.

Supporting our Humanities themes, the English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum is designed to develop highly competent independent and critical thinkers who are fully ready for the rigors of high school research, study, and writing.  The curriculum utilizes various literary and informational genres to increase proficiency in English language reading, listening, writing and oral expression. Students are taught powerful reading strategies that help them understand challenging literature and nonfiction texts, and dive deeply into the meaning of the text. There are three important components to the reading program:

1.     Whole-class guided text study

2.     Small-group and partner collaborative text study (ex. Literature Circles)

3.     Closely monitored and assessed independent reading

Independent Reading

Independent reading is an essential component of the reading and writing program. It is the expectation that all New LA humanities students have an independent reading book with them at all times, and be working towards their reading goals.

Books / Works utilized

  • A Young People's History of the United States, Volume 1: Columbus to the Spanish-American War by Rebecca Stefoff and Howard Zinn.

  • American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.

  • Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson.

  • “Hamilton” by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

  • History Alive!: The United States through Industrialism by Teachers’ Curriculum Institute.

  • Monster by Walter Dean Myers.

  • Sold by Patricia McCormick.

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

  • The Other Wes Moore:  One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Humanities 8 Focus Assessment Standards

Reading Standards: Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

Writing Standards: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

Speaking and Listening Standards: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Language Standards: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

New LA Assessment Policy

Homework: Homework is assigned on most nights and is graded for accuracy and completion.  


Late Work Policy: Teachers will accept missing assignments until two (2) weeks before the end of the grading period and grade them without penalty in assessing the knowledge or skills covered on the assignment. Late assignments will be flagged with an “L” (Late) in Powerschool. Points will not be deducted for late assignments, however late work will negatively impact a student’s Mission Standards grades.


Redo, Re-writes, and Make-up Work: In order to truly assess a student’s mastery of the standards, teachers will accept and reassess major assignments that have been revised or redone up to two (2) weeks before the end of a grading period. Students must consult their teacher prior to submitting work that has been redone.


Participation and Behavior Expectations

1.    Respect for Self and Others: 

  • Respect your and others’ right to learn

  • Come to class prepared with materials and completed homework and/or assignments

  • Take responsibility for your own actions

  • Be responsible to your group during collaborative work

  • Apply the "Thumper Rule": If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

  • Enter the classroom quietly and in control of your body

2. Engagement in the Community:

  • Be an active listener (eyes and ears on the speaker)

  • Respond to others ideas and opinions

  • 100% Participation 100% of the time

  • Be a willing participant in our learning community

  • Come to school in uniform and complying to all dress code specifications

3. Passion for Learning

  • Give your best effort on all of your work

  • Ask questions

  • Express your ideas and opinions in a positive way

  • Take risks in your learning! (If it feels uncomfortable, you are about to learn something new!)

4. Housekeeping and other procedures

  • Students may only use the restroom after the first ten minutes of class except after nutrition or lunch;

  • Students should only use the restroom during independent or group work time;

  • Students are NOT to use the restroom during direct instruction (unless it is an emergency, in which case, it is the student's responsibility to make sure they receive any information they missed during their time out of class);

  • Students MUST sign out using their planner and take the blue vest when going to the restroom.


No-Tolerance Policy

The following are expectations set by all teachers:

At New LA, students should learn in a distraction free classroom.  The following is a list of items that will not be tolerated on campus or in classrooms.

Any toys or hats will be taken and not given back until the end of the school year.

Chewing Gum
If caught chewing gum, you will be given a 5-minute clean-up duty after school.  If offense becomes habitual, more serious consequences will occur, such as parent contact or referral to office.

There will be no eating of any kind in the classroom (unless specified by a teacher).  If caught eating in the classroom, you will be asked to throw all food present in the trash.  If offenses continue, more serious consequences will occur.


Acceptable Use of Technology

Each student must have a completed Internet Safety, Acceptable Use & Chromebook Policy (“Policy”) on file.  Signatures of parents/guardians indicate an agreement to comply with New Los Angeles Charter School’s (“School”) standards and to honor the agreement they have signed.

  1. Only use a Chromebook when instructed to use it.

  2. Know your goal/objective when using the Chromebook.

  3. Lower the lid when the teacher/presenter is talking.

  4. Only use as instructed.

  5. Never leave your device unattended.

  6. Take care of your Chromebook:

  7. Make sure your hands are clean before using a Chromebook.

  8. Always have a clean/clear desktop.

  9. Water bottles must stay on the floor.

  10. No food or drinks (besides water) allowed in the classroom.

  11. Transition responsibly with your Chromebook:

  12. ALWAYS carry the Chromebook with TWO hands.

  13. When carrying a Chromebook, WALK to and from the cart.

  14. Chromebooks must be kept flat on your own desk at all times once taken out.

  15. Do not crowd around Chromebook carts – wait for your turn.

  16. Plug in your Chromebook when you return it to the cart.


1st offense: verbal warning

2nd offense: in-class time out

3rd offense: out of class time out (buddy room)

4th offense: office referral