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Welcome to 8th Grade Honors English!


Language and Literacy Ms. Adler - 08 2019-2020

Hello students, welcome to 8th grade honors English. This course is designed, as many English
courses are, to enhance your reading and writing abilities. However, we will be doing this through
learning about social, and racial justice, inclusion, the society we live in, diversity, and a lot of
reflection on our own ideologies. My hope is that when you walk into my classroom door you feel as
though you are in a safe, loving, welcoming place where we want to hear YOUR thoughts! You can
walk through my door knowing that you are accepted for you are, and we will celebrate each one of
you! My hope is then that you can walk out of my door with your mind expanded, a noticeable growth
in yourself, willing to speak out, and with a feeling that you can make a difference in the society in
which you will live in and interact with throughout life. We will be interacting with many texts of
diverse viewpoints, which for many of you this will be a first and I am so excited to your conductor on
your learning train of this.


1. Together, we will set classroom
UNIT 1: • Learn about who you are, expectations. A caring, open,
WEEKS 1-3 historically. comfortable, loving environment.
• Understand your culture and relate 2. Interview a grandparent, or older
it to your past experiences. relative. Take notes during this
• Understand your classmates’ culture time.
and background. 3. With your groups of 5, discuss your
• Remember to always keep an open interview with one another.
mind, be caring, and be kind. 4. Create a poster or short PowerPoint
and share 3 things about your
background with the class.
5. Write a poem about who you are!
6. Write a language, and culture
autobiography. What are your
differences that make you unique?
(2 pages- double spaced). We will
have workshop time in class.
1. We will watch a Ted Talk. “What it
UNIT 2: • Begin learning about racial takes to be racially literate” by Priya
WEEKS 4-8 justice. Vulchi and Winona Guo.
• Learn about how racism is still
present today by hearing about lchi_and_winona_guo_what_it_take
other people’s stories. s_to_be_racially_literate
• Share stories of your own (if you 2. Read 15 stories out of the book The
have any). Please feel comfortable Classroom Index by Priya Vulchi
to share, we will all gain insight and Winona Guo. (One every day
from your story. for 2-3 weeks). We will talk about
them in class every day by giving a
UNIT 2 • Compare/contrast your summary, our reactions, and our
CONTINUED… background to someone in the thoughts.
book The Classroom Index. 3. Option A- Write your own
• By comparing/contrasting it (personal) story like those that we
forces us to put into retrospect our read. No fictional stories! This is a
lives, and our privileges. space for those of you (or have
• Understand why we must stand relatives) who have dealt with
for racial justice. injustice to talk about it, share it,
• Understand how we can stand for and help others realize how
diversity, acceptance, and prevalent it still is today.
inclusion. Option B- Write about and compare
• Share our growing knowledge an event in your life to one that you
with one another. read about.
• Reflect on ourselves. Option C- Write about and contrast
your background to those in the
• Reflect on the stories we read
4. Together, we will compose a
classroom list of things that we can
do everyday to fight for racial
5. Write a letter in response to
someone in the book The
Classroom Index.
-What do you want to say to them?
-How can we make them feel
appreciated, represented, and equal?
1. Our main goal for this week is to
UNIT 3: WEEK • This week we will learn and talk realize how many cultures have
9 about racism throughout history. been affected by racism. To learn
• We will learn about a variety of about how our society was and still
races that have been affected and is unjust.
continue to be affected by racism 2. We will watch this video to give us
and/or social injustice. an idea of racism around the world-
3. We will watch the movie The Boy
in the Striped Pajamas. Afterwards
we will reflect on what we watched.
1. Each group will read about 1 chapter
UNIT 4: WEEKS • We will split into literacy reading in two days (depending on your books
10-13 groups of 4 to 5 people (You will chapters). The first day of each new
pick 3 books from my list and I chapter will be allocated for a reading
will assign groups based on your day, in class. The second will be to
responses). Below you will find talk with your groups about the book
what group will read which book. so far.
• Group A: The Hate U Give by 2. Take notes, highlight, underline.
Angie Thomas 3. After each chapter, write a one
Group B: This Side of Home by paragraph summary, and your
Renee Watson thoughts. You will turn these in as
you read so I can ensure you are

Group C: The Absolutely True keeping up with the book. No wrong
Diary of a Part-Time Indian by answers, only opinions.
Sherman Alexie 4. Think about and write about how the
Group D: The Book Thief by group of people in your book is being
Markus Zusak affected whether they are Black,
Group E: Ask Me No Question by Indian, Jewish, Mexican, Hawaiian, or
Marina Budhos anything else. How does racism make
Group F: The Revolution of them feel or what position does it put
Evelyn by Sonia Manzano these groups in?
1. Create a PowerPoint with your
UNIT 5: WEEKS • Reflect on what you read. group to talk to the rest of the class
13-14 • Share with the class about your about your book. Things to include
book. are…summary, themes, how this
• These weeks will be group affects the characters, and your
presentations. reactions.
-You will be given 1 week to work
on these presentations and then the
following week we will present.
1. We will watch this video on how
UNIT 6: WEEK • Within this unit, we will explore kids see race-
15 children’s book that celebrate
diversity. GPVNJgfDwpw&t=294s
• This will give us a new 2. Read these books (I will provide
perspective on how we early we them) in class.
can advocate for racial justice, -All Are Welcome written by
inclusion and diversity through Alexandrea Penfold
teaching others. -A is For Activist and Counting on
• We will talk about the importance Community by Innosanto Nagara
of teaching the younger -The Day You Begin by Jacqueline
generations in order for society to Woodson
change. -Lovely by Jess Hong
• Hint- kids are more immersed into -Same but Different by Jenny Sue
racism than we may think. Kostecki-Shaw
• Remember, kids will be the -The Skin you Live In written by
world’s leaders someday. Michael Tyler
-Families, Families, Families! By
Suzanne Lang and Max Lang
3. Write your own short children’s
book celebrating diversity and
acknowledging the importance of it.
-when writing yours think about
what you liked so much from the
children’s book we read. What drew
your attention to the book? How is
it different than other children’s
books that you have read before?

UNIT 7: WEEK • Self-reflect. -Have you changed 1. Together, we will come up with
16 after reading your group literacy ways that we can fight for racial
book? Have you begun to be more justice after learning about ways
accepting about differences? that other people do.

• Learn about what we can do. 2. Write a poem about what you can
Change begins with one person, do to move society in a positive
we will learn about how we can direction.
allocate for a change, and how we 3. Remember the poem we wrote on
can create an accepting society. the first week about who you are?
Let’s revisit that poem and write a
new one!
4. Write a self-reflection. How have
you changed? How will you
allocate for racial justice?

• -A notebook only to be used only in this class.
• -The Book: The Classroom Index by Guo and Vulchi.
• -Your group literacy book.

• Understand what racial justice is.
• Understand diversity, and equality and the importance of them.
• Understand those terms in relation to our society today, and in the world’s past.
• Understand how people, all over the world, have been and still are affected by racism.
• Understand how to be an activist for change.
• Understand why it is crucial for little kids to read books celebrating diversity. (they will run the
world’s future).
• Have skills to empower others through our voices and writings.


I grew up in Macomb, Michigan. This area is classified as suburban and since 1970 has had a
steadily rising population (Public School Review). I attended school within the Chippewa Valley School
district. Within this district I went to Dakota high school, which was and continues to be, the most
populated high school in Michigan. Thus, I graduated with over 700 other students, but only knowing 1/3
of them. Attending school with so many other students was a learning point that allowed me to hear and
see into the lives of so many different opinions and viewpoints. Although it allowed me to hear 700 other
viewpoints, I was still limited. Within Chippewa valley schools, 79% of the student population is White,
10% is Black, 4% is Hispanic, 3% is Asian, and around .01% is American Indian (Public School
Review). With statistics like those, I was truly not immersed into other races, backgrounds, or ethnicities
growing up. It was not until I attended Michigan State University for college that I really felt diversity
amongst me. It became so important to my classes, and to me to help me grow as an individual. Being
assimilated and introduced to so much diversity became one of my greatest learning curves thus far. My
entire world expanded as my mind was opened to hearing, seeing, and learning about people from all
around the world and their knowledge that they had to share. This changed me as a person and as an
educator, for the better. I became aware of the lack of diversity in which I was exposed to growing up and

how much that affected me regarding advocating for real world social change and racial justice, and
overall being a more accepting human. I don’t want my future students (you!) to go all the way through
schooling and not be introduced to diversity until college level. That idea is absurd when I am supposed
to be preparing you for the world! Additionally, with having that many students in my graduating class it
prepared me for what the real world was like outside of high school; a world where I am just one single
person living a life amongst several other individuals. We are all just one single person living ordinary
lives but, we have the ability to live extraordinary within ourselves and our communities in which we live
in. Our voices alone may seem dim, but when combined with others, they can spread a light onto new
ideas, they can spark social changes, they can gain acceptance, and most importantly, they can stand for
racial justice/equality. Our voices can be activists towards a better society, and in this class, I hope to
teach you how to use your voice.
Continuing, for our class, I want to hear your voices, your ideas, your thoughts, your knowledge,
and your experiences as we learn about new topics. This will not only help you grow, it will help your
fellow classmates and, believe it or not, it will extremely help me! Every class I teach is a learning
opportunity for me that you provide me with. Just because I am older than you does not mean that I am
all done learning! Learning never stops, you will come across this idea you go grow older 😉 (and come
to love it). With that being said, I am extremely grateful to have you all in my class. Furthermore, I
would like you all to know that I am here for you. I am here for you to talk to whether it is about our
school work, your social life within school, your home-life, or any issues you want to talk about, I am
here to help. Please feel free to reach out to me either in person, before/after classes, or through email to
schedule a time to chat in person.
Another small tad-bit of information, I do allow snacks within my classroom and water
bottles. At least once per week I will try to bring a snack for everyone, but in the event that I do not you
are always welcome to bring one of your own. Learning happens far easier when our stomachs are full!
….and here is one of my favorite poems…

“Today you are you, that is truer than true.

There is no one alive who is you-er than you.
Shout aloud, I am glad to be what I am.
Thank goodness I’m not a ham, or a clam, or a dusty old jar of gooseberry jam.
I am what I am, what a great thing to be.
If I say so myself, happy everyday to me!”
-Dr. Seuss

…Additionally, here are some Dr. Seuss life lessons!

“1. Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
2. ’Why fit in when you were born to stand out?’
3. You have brains in your head. you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction
you choose.
4. Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those you matter
don’t mind.
5. Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered.”
-Dr. Seuss

You will be graded on all assignments turned into me, as well as your active participation and
contributions to our class and towards your group. (I have written in green every assignment that will be
turned in for points). For a lot of our assignments there are no “right” answers, I am looking for your
ideas and progress throughout this class. The last main proportion of your grade will come from being
prepared for class discussions.

96-100% = A+
93-95% = A
90-92% = A-
86-89% = B+
83-85% = B
79-82% = B-
76-78% = C+
73-75% = C
70-72% = C-
67-69% = D+
63-66% = D
60-62% = D- …ANYTHING lower will result in a failing grade. But I believe in you all😊

Dr. Seuss. (2015). A quote by Dr. Seuss. Retrieved February 27, 2019, from
Dr. Seuss. (2013, July 17). 5 Lessons in Life from Dr. Seuss. Retrieved February 27, 2019, from
CNN. (2012, April 02). Retrieved February 28, 2019, from
Guo, W. Vulchi, P. (2017, November). Retrieved February 27, 2019, from
Herman, M. (Director), & Boyne, J. (Writer). (2008). The Boy in the Striped Pajamas [Video file].
United States: Miramax Films. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
Perlman, S. (2017, September 3). How Two Teenagers Created a Textbook for Racial Literacy.
Retrieved February 24, 2019, from
Public School Review. (2016). Chippewa Valley School District. Retrieved February 20, 2019, from
Thatswhytv. (2015, August 18). Retrieved February 27, 2019, from