Language Arts

Grade 8: Writing

Planning: Term #

Tracking: Ach. Level

Overall Expectations





1. generate, gather, and organize ideas and information to write for an intended purpose and audience;





2. draft and revise their writing, using a variety of informational, literary, and graphic forms and stylistic elements appropriate for the purpose and audience;





3. use editing, proofreading, and publishing skills and strategies, and knowledge of language conventions, to correct errors, refine expression, and present their work effectively;





4. reflect on and identify their strengths as writers, areas for improvement, and the strategies they found most helpful at different stages in the writing process.





Specific Expectations





1. Developing and Organizing





Purpose and Audience: 1.1 identify the topic, purpose, and audience for more complex writing forms (e.g., a personal memoir about the school experience to share with classmates, family, and friends at graduation; a report on a topic of current interest in the style of a newspaper article, including headlines, for a school or community newspaper; a campaign flyer or brochure to promote a candidate for school government)





Developing Ideas: 1.2 generate ideas about more challenging topics and identify those most appropriate to the purpose





Research: 1.3 gather information to support ideas for writing, using a variety of strategies and a wide range of print and electronic sources (e.g., produce a plan and timeline for carrying out research tasks; interview people with knowledge of the topic; identify and use graphic and multimedia resources; record sources used and information gathered in a form that makes it easy to understand and retrieve)





Classifying Ideas: 1.4 sort and classify ideas and information for their writing in a variety of ways that allow them to manipulate information and see different combinations and relationships in their data (e.g., by using electronic graphic organizers, tables, charts)





Organizing Ideas: 1.5 identify and order main ideas and supporting details and group them into units that could be used to develop a summary, a debate, or a report of several paragraphs, using a variety of strategies (e.g., making jot notes; making sketchboard outlines of a procedure or series of events) and organizational patterns (e.g., combined/multiple orders such as order of importance and cause and effect)





Review: 1.6 determine whether the ideas and information they have gathered are relevant, appropriate, and sufficiently specific for the purpose, and do more planning and research if necessary (e.g., check for depth and breadth of coverage of the topic)





2. Using Knowledge of Form and Style in Writing





Form: 2.1 write complex texts of a variety of lengths using a wide range of forms (e.g., a memoir of a significant Canadian; a report comparing the economies of two nations and explaining how a new industry might affect each nation's economy; briefing notes for an oral debate outlining both sides of an argument, including appeals to both logic and emotion; a narrative in the style of a particular author, adding to or extending a text by that author; an original satirical, science-fiction, or realistic fiction piece modelled on the structures and conventions of the genre; a free verse or narrative poem, or a limerick)





Voice: 2.2 establish a distinctive voice in their writing appropriate to the subject and audience, (e.g., use emotive language to persuade the audience to share their feelings, and explain the effect they think it will have on the audience)





Word Choice: 2.3 regularly use vivid and/or figurative language and innovative expressions in their writing (e.g., adjective phrases: The car with the fluorescent red racing stripe; adverb phrases: He walked with the gait of a sailor; specialized vocabulary and terminology; analogies and idioms). Teacher prompt: "Identify three language choices you have made and explain the effect they will have on a reader."





Sentence Fluency: 2.4 vary sentence types and structures for different purposes (e.g., to alter the pace or mood), with a focus on using a range of relative pronouns (e.g., who, which), subordinate conjunctions (e.g., whenever, because, although), and both the active and passive voice





Point of View: 2.5 identify their point of view and other possible points of view, evaluate other points of view, and find ways to respond to other points of view, if appropriate

Teacher prompt: "How can you address in your writing the questions that would come from others who hold a different point of view?"





Preparing for Revision: 2.6 identify elements in their writing that need improvement, selectively using feedback from the teacher and peers, with a focus on depth of content and appropriateness of tone. Teacher prompts: "Are there any key ideas that are missing or need more explanation?" "Does your writing have an identifiable tone (e.g., sincerity, humour, horror, irony, pathos)? Is the tone appropriate to the subject matter? Does it accurately reflect your point of view?"





Revision: 2.7 make revisions to improve the content, clarity, and interest of their written work, using a variety of strategies (e.g., use sticky notes while rereading to record questions and ideas; cut and paste to improve logic of organization; add or substitute words and phrases, including vocabulary from other subject areas; use idioms, figurative language, and rhetorical devices such as analogy to achieve particular effects; adjust sentence length, type, and complexity to suit the audience and purpose; use patterns such as repetition with variations to emphasize important points and hold the attention of the audience. Teacher prompt: "Could you use two different sentence lengths and patterns to highlight the two points of view in your argument?"





Producing Drafts: 2.8 produce revised draft pieces of writing to meet identified criteria based on the expectations (e.g., adequate development of information and ideas, logical organization, appropriate use of form and style, appropriate use of conventions)





3. Applying Knowledge of Language Conventions and Presenting Written Work Effectively





Spelling Familiar Words: 3.1 spell familiar words correctly (e.g., words from their oral vocabulary, anchor charts, and shared-, guided-, and independent- reading texts; words used regularly in instruction across the curriculum)





Spelling Unfamiliar Words: 3.2 spell unfamiliar words using a variety of strategies that involve understanding sound-symbol relationships, word structures, word meanings, and generalizations about spelling (e.g., orally emphasize differences in easily confused words: affect/effect, technicality/technically; compare complicated words to words with known letter patterns; use knowledge of the history of a word to help spell it: sheep herder/shepherd; use knowledge of familiar words to spell technical terms)





Vocabulary: 3.3 confirm spellings and word meanings or word choice using a wide variety of resources appropriate for the purpose (e.g., locate entry words, pronunciation keys, prefixes, and information about word origins in online and print dictionaries, including thematic dictionaries such as a dictionary of synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms, a science dictionary)





Punctuation: 3.4 use punctuation appropriately to communicate their intended meaning in more complex writing forms, including forms specific to different subjects across the curriculum, with a focus on the use of: commas to separate introductory phrases from the main part of a sentence and to separate words, phrases, and clauses in a series; quotation marks to distinguish words being discussed as words and to indicate titles; ellipses (...) and dashes to indicate sentence breaks, ambiguities, or parenthetical statements





Grammar: 3.5 use parts of speech correctly to communicate their meaning clearly, with a focus on subject/verb agreement and the use of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions





Proofreading: 3.6 proofread and correct their writing using guidelines developed with peers and the teacher (e.g., an editing checklist specific to the writing task)





Publishing: 3.7 use a wide range of appropriate elements of effective presentation in the finished product, including print, script, different fonts, graphics, and layout (e.g., use legible printing and cursive writing; use an imaginative text layout, drawings, and a table of contents in a class poetry anthology for the school library; use a spreadsheet to display detailed specific information)





Producing Finished Works: 3.8 produce pieces of published work to meet identified criteria based on the expectations (e.g., adequacy of information and ideas, logic and effectiveness of organization, effective use of form and stylistic elements, appropriate use of conventions, effective presentation)





4. Reflecting on Writing Skills and Strategies





Metacognition: 4.1 identify a variety of strategies they used before, during, and after writing, explain which ones were most helpful, and suggest future steps they can take to improve as writers (e.g., use a three-column reflection journal to monitor the writing process: What I learned/How I learned it/How I can use it). Teacher prompt: "Explain how you used your writer's notebook/journal to help you identify your strengths as a writer and your next steps for writing."





Interconnected Skills: 4.2 describe how their skills in listening, speaking, reading, viewing, and representing help in their development as writers. Teacher prompts: "How does assuming the role of the reader of your own writing help you revise your writing?" "How do you think listening to oral texts has helped you become a better writer?" "How can reading texts from different cultures improve your writing?"





Portfolio: 4.3 select pieces of writing that they think reflect their growth and competence as writers and explain the reasons for their choice





 Expectations: Copyright The Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2006.  Format: Copyright B.Phillips, 1998.