1. Disclosure

Disclosure Document

Name_________________________ Due____________ Period________

8th Grade English

Ms. Hoffmann, Payson Junior High School

Email:  leanne.hoffman@nebo.edu

Class curriculum is centered on the Common Core


My website (under transition) which includes this Disclosure (#1 on the top left menu), a copy of the Honors Contract, Critic’s Corner Checklist, the Portfolio Rubric, essay specifics, etc., can be found under “Assignments” at  http://leanne-hoffman.sites.nebo.edu/home

Required Materials (kept in the classroom)

Due Friday, August 22nd. No points after Monday, August 25th:

  • 2 writing utensils (black/blue ink pens or sharpened pencils)

  • 1—One inch, 3-ring, hardcover binder (must be left in the classroom) (about $1 at Walmart :-)

  • Dividers with tabs (minimum 6) to go in binder (they can be home-made)

  • 50+ pages lined loose-leaf notebook paper for weekly bell work and assignments that you will hand in. If you buy this paper in a spiral notebook, please tear it out along the perforation and put it in your folder BEFORE you bring it to class.

Grade Break-Down and Grade Fluctuation

  • 5% Attendance

  • 25% On Task/Preparedness/Bell Work/Participation

  • 70% Tasks/Assessments/Behavior

At the beginning of any term, your grade plummets when you miss an assignment. For example, if there is only one 5 point assignment, and you don’t turn it in, you will have an F or I (for Incomplete) after I enter the 0 or “M” for that assignment. It is not the end of world and you grade will rise as more points are entered. It does affect your freedom during Den time, though. And if it’s not something that can be made up, you can read in my class during Den until more assignments are due, graded, and entered.  During those first few weeks, your grade can go rapidly between an A and an F from one day to the next. Note:  Even though attendance only counts as 5% of the grade, if you miss a day or two at the beginning of the term, you will have an F until additional points are entered.

Classroom Expectations. Citizenship, Personal Responsibility

  • Don’t be Tardy!--You need to be in your seat reading or working when the bell begins ringing. If you have to get up after the bell starts to ring to get your book, binder, pen/pencil, etc.--or if you are not reading, not doing the bell work, or are off-task immediately after the bell--you are tardy. If you have to go to your locker to get anything (including a pencil), you are late. Don’t ask if you can go. Just go and sign the tardy log. Tardies can be made up by coming to my class during Den time and reading. To get the tardy erased, you must sign the Den log, and be on-task reading, the entire 20 minutes.

  • Follow instructions. If you are here physically, but not on-task, I might ask you to go to an alternative location or have a time-out to complete an alternative assignment.

  • Don’t make a problem; if you have a problem--fix it (talk to me and I maybe I can help). Disruptive behavior, lying, plagiarizing, bullying, disrespect--can all result in a “U” citizenship grade.

  • Students should take responsibility for their class performance and practice problem-solving skills. If you need to know what assignments are missing, look them up on SIS. If you still have questions, ask a peer. If you still have questions, THEN ask me to clarify. Please do not ask me to look up something that you can look up.

Bell Work/Participation

If you miss a day, excused or not, you can typically make up the Bell Work points with a half page journal entry (for each day missed). This is a poor substitute for verbal in-class lessons and participation. Bell Work and Participation points are entered at the beginning of the week and are subtracted when you don’t earn the points, or miss days.  If you are in class, but not reading, or on-task WHEN the bell rings, you can lose these points. The points can not be made up.

Late Work

Late assignments create A LOT of extra work for both of us. I grade late assignments when I can, which might not always as quick as you would like (usually on the weekends). Oral class presentations can NOT be made-up (interrupts the flow of lessons after the window closes). Group work can NOT be made up (there’s just no way to recreate the group opportunity). The points for some assignments can be made-up by completing alternative assignments that are usually more challenging. Weekly Reading Logs, due every Friday, can not be turned in late because they show weekly accountability--but students can make up some reading points by reading in my classroom during Den (must sign-in and be focused). Most essays are due on Fridays. Late assignments are worth 50%.

If an essay doesn’t meet minimum criteria for grading, or is late, you must hand in a hard copy of the paper to let me know it is ready to be graded--though it still needs to be typed and shared in Google Drive.


Reading at home, and turning in assigned essays, are standard assignments that are due on time whether you attend class or not (there is flexibility in the case of illness/emergencies).  If you miss a Friday, for full points, you can turn your reading log in on Monday with ABSENT written across the top.  Tests/Quizzes and some larger assignments can be made up within five days after you return to school.

Often I get requests through the office, or individually from students or parents, for missed work. Missed work is usually in-class discussion and participation. I use very few worksheets or assignments I can actually send home. The perception that in-class instruction can be replicated through a worksheet is troubling. When you are absent, you have missed a 45-minute class period--which is almost impossible to re-teach on an individual level.  I’d like to believe that most student learning takes place in class during discussion, exploration, and application (sometimes as a group or in teams) of topics and concepts.

Because every class is different, and the pace of every class varies, it is difficult for me to tell you ahead of time what we will be doing in the future.  Please ask how to make-up missed points when you return from your absence, ask other students, and please do not ask me to explain a missed assignment during class. If you need individual instruction, please see me during Grizzly Den or after school on Tuesday or Thursday.


You should  read 150 pages or more at home weekly. See Reading section of Disclosure. I realize that you are trying to balance your school academic demands with other responsibilities and activities. Because of this, I try to keep homework at a minimum. However, in addition to reading nightly at home, you will have some written homework and/or research. Also, much of the Year-end Identity Portfolio will be homework.


I love that you are interested in a good grade! I suggest checking your grade online at least once a week with your parents (www.nebo.edu--choose the student pull-down menu). You have a student ID # and an SIS password. Be self-sufficient—please don’t ask me what assignments you are missing until you look them up.  You must click on “English” to see what assignments have zeros.  If you still have questions, then ask me during Grizzly Den, after school, or email me about the SPECIFIC assignment you have questions about.  No generic “What am I missing?” queries.  

Note: I often enter assignments in advance so you know what’s coming up.  If I haven't graded an assignment, it will be blank--that doesn't mean it is really "missing," but it will show up “missing” if you click on the "missing assignment" option on SIS. The blanks do not affect your grade. If I have graded an assignment, and did not get one from you, it will have a zero or an “M” (missing). Please LOOK FOR THE ZEROS and “M’s”, NOT THE BLANKS. It will have a “1” or a “2” if I received it, but it is not done, or doesn’t meet minimum requirements for grading (to show I’ve seen it, but it isn’t sufficiently completed to grade).

Reading, the 40 Book Club, Exploring Genres, Logs

The most effective way to improve English language skills is to read. For an “A” grade in English, you need to read 25 pages a day, six days a week, or any combination of days and times that gets you up to 150 pages per week (from a book on your reading level). You might be a “B” home reader, or a “C” home reader. That’s okay. All reading will increase your speed and comprehension. Listening to a book is not the same as reading it yourself--YOU must do the reading.  On your Home Weekly Reading Logs, I need to see how many pages, and out of what book you are reading. If you like, you can also include the time, so I can see how long it takes you, but I MUST see the page numbers for you to receive credit. Weekly logs are due every Friday. I will not call for them, just drop them in the basket at the beginning or end of class. I do not take Weekly Reading Bookmarks late (it defeats the purpose: showing you read consistently). Before turning in the weekly logs, record the pages, and any book you’ve completed on  your Term Reading Log. When I return the weekly logs,  attach them to the Term Reading Log in your binder. The weekly logs do not require a parent signature; the term log does require a parent signature.

Every student is expected to read 40 books within specific genres during the school year, so plan on reading a book a week, 10 books a term. At the end of each term you earn 3 points for every book, up to 10 books. Sometimes this takes some juggling--talk to me, sometimes I can help. Books have to be at your reading level or approved by me--but they don’t always have to be long.  If you would like more information on the 40 Book Club, see Donalyn Miller’s “The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child “ and/or check out her blog in Teacher Magazine (online). To help you read 40 books by the end of the year, we will read in class every chance we get—so you MUST have a reading book at your desk EVERY DAY. Over the year you should read the following genres (I will give you a Genre Tracking Sheet to keep in your class binder and the list can be found on my website online):

  1. 1 Poetry Anthology (collection of poetry)

  2. 2 Poetic Fiction (written in poetic form--stanzas, rhythm, etc.)

  3. 1 Traditional (belief which includes Greek or other myth, cultural tradition, religion, some fantasy)

  4. 1 Book that has been made into a movie (not a book written after the movie)

  5. 1 Mystery

  6. 1 Science Fiction (set in the future; warps reality, sometimes extraterrestrial)

  7. 1 Biography (a true story about a real person)

  8. 1 Autobiography (the author wrote the book about his/her own life)

  9. 1 Non-Fiction (true, how to, fact, etc.)

  10. 1 Fantasy

  11. 1 Western

  12. 1 Drama (a book written in script/dialogue for a play)

  13. 1 Award Winner (such as the Newbery, Pulitzer, etc.)

  14. 1 short book of stories, or multiple abridged stories in one book

  15. 2 books in a series (you can already be mid-series)

  16. 1  Multi-cultural/diversity

  17. 1 Historical Fiction (set at least 50 years in the past)

  18. 1 Realistic Fiction (real stories with contemporary characters and situations)

  19. 1 Holocaust/WWII

  20. 2 Classics (Honor Students: at least 1 needs to be an unabridged original classic)

  21. 17 Chapter books on your reading level

Class Library, In-Class Reading, Book bins

  • The purpose of the classroom library is to provide students of broad reading levels, and a wide range of interests, with a large variety of texts from which to choose. It is not possible for me to read and be familiar with every book you choose from the class library, the school library, the public library, or from home. I strongly suggest parents skim the book, read reviews, discuss it with you, and if possible, read the book themselves. Signatures on the disclosure indicate that you will properly check-out books, treat them respectfully, return them in a timely manner, and will pay replacement fees for lost books. A book taken off the shelf and at your desk or taken out of the room, without being checked out, can result in a U for citizenship.

  • I provide bins so you don’t have to carry a book back and forth to class--storage--but I do not monitor the bins, and I can’t be responsible for books left in the bins. If you don’t trust the bins, bring a book every day. It must be your own, or checked out of the class library--no quick grabs off the shelf.

Writing Proficiency and Standard-Based Grades

I can not grade an essay until it meets minimum criteria (requirements are accessible on my website online). Basics include things such as MLA format (which I will teach you), capitalizing proper nouns, periods, other punctuation, spell-check, complete sentences, paragraphs, a beginning, middle and end, etc., and specific new (clarified and taught) skills. If your assignment does not meet minimum criteria, you will receive an “I” or a “1” which will negatively affect your grade until you turn it back in (corrected  and revised to grade level writing), notify me by handing in a hard-copy, and I am able to grade it. After it meets minimum criteria--which is holding you accountable for basic writing skills hopefully mastered in grade school--THEN I can grade it for the specific skills you are practicing for that specific 8th grade essay--skills such as organization, figurative language, character development, dialogue, source citation, rhetorical argument, etc.

Similar to learning an instrument, writing is a process--a skill--not a task (like the answer to a math problem or filling in the blank in science) that gets the grade the first time you attempt it. Usually, writing requires multiple revisions and editing before it meets requirements. Don’t fall in love with the first thing you put down on the paper.

Grades are symbols that reflect what I value as a teacher, your  effort, ability, and a strong work ethic. No matter how much you learn in school, if you don’t turn in the work, or don’t turn it in on time, there are few visible rewards (in class or in life) for what you have learned; what you know. I have to admit, I value learning over grades--but we live in a culture of tangible symbols. You want a jump start in life? Learn to navigate hoops, red tape, standard expectations, etc.  to earn basic credit--but ohmygosh--keep going. Stretch. Go beyond minimum requirements.

Typed Essays, Google Docs, District gmail

  • Written assignments need to be typed. Because we live in a technological age, it is important that you are technologically competitive. Keyboarding is a basic—and it makes revising and editing SO much easier. Embrace it.  

  • Written assignments are rarely due the next day, so you have time to negotiate and solve technical issues that arise--unless you wait until the day or weekend before it is due. Ouch! Late is late.

  • All essays need a parent response and a peer response in Google Drive (comments)  before I read it (to grade).  No one should ever make changes/revise your assignment itself. Talk to me if you have a problem meeting this request.

  • All students have a gmail account through the Nebo School District. You access Google Drive/Docs through this gmail account.  All essays and many other assignments must be on a Google Doc. To use Google Docs/Drive, you do need to use Google Chrome. Google Chrome is a search engine, and only takes a minute to download. If you try to use Internet Explorer or Firefox, Google Drive is glitchy. If you don’t have Internet at home, the computer lab is open during Grizzly Den, and there are computers in the school library you can use before and sometimes after school.

  • Always “share” your document with me. Otherwise it is as if you didn’t hand it in, and I can’t grade it.

  • Never delete your Google Doc even after it is graded.  Sometimes we practice additional skills using the same document and I don’t want you to have to type a completely new assignment from scratch. You will also need a copy of all your essays for your year-end portfolio.

The due date for all classroom materials and the disclosure is

Friday, August 22, 2014

No points will be given for late disclosures or classroom materials after Monday, August 25, 2014.

Please sign below indicating you have read and understand everything.  Please return the entire disclosure for full points so you can keep it in your English binder for reference. You and your parents can access the disclosure online by googling Leanne Hoffman Nebo.  On the menu on the left side of the website, the disclosure is #1 under the welcome section. I can also share it with you upon request.

__________________________    ___________________________

Student Signature                                  Parent/Guardian Signature

PJHS 8th Grade Honors English

Honors Class

  • Projects--In 8th grade, Honor requirements include a 30-Hour Project. The projects can be research or writing based. If you are researching a skill or talent you already have, you can count only five hours of actual participation--and these hours must be documented by “field” notes that record what you are doing, what is going on around you, and why. Hourly logs must be logged AS THE HOURS ARE COMPLETED--not after-the-fact. You will present your project in an oral presentation (must have some type of visual product for the presentation) to the class at the end of the year.

  • Critics Corner--You will attend an approved outside PJHS event, high school level or above (usually musical or drama) twice a year. Attend the events 1st Term and 2nd Term; reviews are due on specified dates (shared on Google Drive) 2nd Term and 3rd Term (they can be written up immediately after attendance, but may require revision). The review format is editorial review style. It is NOT a summary (although highlighting main events is usually necessary). The review should be a critical analysis, about 4 paragraphs, 1.25-1.5  pages, MLA format, with an interesting lead, strong voice, and definitive opinion. Most religious, dance, musical events (except for musicals), and movies,  do not meet criteria. In addition to practicing cultural/public etiquette, the objective is for you to experience a dramatic event that you can analyze in respect to character and plot development and to report on in by polishing an authentic, publishable review.