Mrs. Brandy Spielman

What's Going On in ELA: It's December! The students are all very busy getting as much reading and writing in before Christmas break as possible. The advanced class is writing an argumentative essay on a controversial issue of their choice. As they write, they are also working through grammar lessons including work with punctuating sentence types, verbals, vague pronouns, and misplaced modifiers. Their final paper will be due December 12th. Periods 4 and 5 of general ELA are spending the month finishing the book Flesh and Blood So Cheap. This book was the kickoff of our unit on reading and analyzing nonfiction. Their big test for the book is currently scheduled for December 14th. Period 6 of general ELA will be finishing Flesh and Blood So Cheap near the beginning of the month. Their test is scheduled for December 7th. They will then spend the remainder of the month working with persuasive nonfiction and completing a TDA on the techniques authors use to persuade their readers. This writing will be due on December 18th. All classes will complete Exact Path testing the week prior to break. This testing allows me to determine if the students are progressing with their reading skills throughout the course of the year. Happy Holidays! Professional Introduction:

The 2018-2019 school year marks my tenth year teaching at WAMS, and my eleventh year teaching overall.  I graduated from Dickinson College in 2008 with a major in English and minors in education and dance/theater.  In 2015 I graduated from Wilkes University with a master’s in reading, and this year I will finish a second masters through Marygrove College in special populations.  In addition to teaching 8th grade ELA, I serve as the ELA curriculum writer for the middle school. I was the 2017 Waynesboro teacher of the year, and the runner-up for the 2018 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year.


Link to parent portal to check grades and upcoming assignments:

Link to curriculum:

8th Grade Advanced ELA Syllabus Period 3


This class is designed to challenge students who have demonstrated advanced abilities in the areas of reading and writing.  Upon successful completion of the course, students will receive a high school ELA credit.


At the end of this course, students will be able to…

            Read, interpret, and critique grade level literature

            Read and understand classic literature both literally and figuratively

            Read and analyze both classic and modern poetry

            Read and evaluate various works of nonfiction

            Write argumentative essays at an advanced level

            Write text dependent analysis essays at an advanced level

            Understand and accurately use grade-level conventions of language


Course readings

            The Giver                                                                    Lois Lowry

            The Outsiders                                                              S.E. Hinton

            Summer of my German Soldier                                 Bette Green

            Kidnapped                                                                  Robert Louis Stevenson

            Flesh and Blood So Cheap                                         Albert Marrin

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde           Robert Louis Stevenson

            Frankenstein                                                               Mary Shelley

            Tales of Mystery and Imagination                             Edgar Allan Poe

            The Diary of Anne Frank                                           Frances Goodrich/Albert Hackett


Course modules

            Module 1         “Does young adult literature accurately portray adolescence?”

            Module 2         “How do critical moments in history impact the world?”

            Module 3         “How do horror stories speak to key components of human psychology?”

            Module 4         “How are young people shaped by their place in history?”


Teacher contact information

            Brandy Spielman       


            717-762-1191 ext 3145

Mrs. Spielman’s ELA Class Syllabus ​Periods 4, 5, 6



Welcome to ELA on team 8A!  My goal this year is for each of my students to grow as readers and writers through instruction that is tailored to their current individual abilities and needs.  To accomplish this goal, we will be reading and writing extensively throughout the course of the year.  Regardless of whether students traditionally excel or struggle with language arts, they will be challenged with work at their level that will allow them to leave my class a better reader or writer than they were when they began.


Reading List:

All books will be provided by the library.  Not all students will read every book here, but this is a comprehensive list of every book that could be used this year.  If parents have any questions or concerns about the novels, please contact me before September 1st in order to arrange an alternative reading selection.

The Giver  Lois Lowry                                  

Flesh and Blood So Cheap  Albert Marrin    

The Outsiders S.E. Hinton                             

Summer of my German Soldier Bette Greene           



I will follow the grading policy outlined in the student handbook.  Students will receive 50% for any assignment submitted late.  They will have two days to submit late assignments for half credit.  Grades will be weighted by category with the following weights:

            tests/quizzes 40%                                word gen writing 10%

            classwork/participation 20%              writing assignments/projects 20%

            homework 10%


Contact Information:

I update my teacher website the first of every month with class information.  It can be found through the district webpage.  I can most easily be reached through my e-mail:  If you would like a conference, I am available to meet from 2:30-3:00 every day.  I look forward to working with parents and students closely throughout this school year!






Class Contract:

Our class operates on the basic value that all students should grow as readers and writers every day.  In order to adhere to this value, there are certain rules in place to ensure that this learning happens.


1. Students should come to class prepared.  This means having a writing implement, completed homework, a charged chromebook, and any necessary books or materials.

Why?  When students are not prepared, valuable learning time is wasted getting them ready for that day’s class.

2. Students should have their heads up and pay attention throughout the entire class.

Why?  Everyone has something to learn in this class, but it cannot  be learned if students are not mentally present.

3. Students should put forth their best effort on every assignment.

Why?  Everyone has to put in hard work in order to learn.  If students don’t do their best, people will never know what they’re capable of doing.

4. Students should accept failure in themselves and in others.

Why?  Failure is how people grow.  If students don’t occasionally make mistakes, they are not really learning anything.  If they can already do something perfectly, there is no need to do it.

5. Students should be quiet when others are talking, be it the teacher or another student.

Why?  Unnecessary chatter is a distraction to the entire class, and distracted students obviously do not learn as well.

6. Students should speak to others and participate in discussions respectfully.

Why?  Brain science shows that the brain does not work as well when it is worried about embarrassment.  Students should always feel safe to share their thoughts.

7. Students should keep their hands to themselves.

Why?  Brain science again shows that the brain does not work well when it is worried about safety of self or belongings.  Taking items from another person, even as a joke, will not be tolerated.  Pushing and shoving others, even as a joke, will not be tolerated. 

8. Students should treat the room and all materials in it respectfully.

Why?  This room is the students’ home for at least an hour every day, and it is to be a positive place where materials needed for learning can be found easily. 


This contract applies to every person in the room, students and teacher alike.  Students who struggle to comply with the contract may be placed on an individual contract as necessary.

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