English Language Arts

8th Grade

8th Grade ELA Course Summary

In 8th Grade English Language Arts, students explore the question of whether human beings are fundamentally good or evil. Students will consider how access to power influences human behavior, and how everyday people respond in the face of unjust leadership, violent oppression, and cruelty through careful study of classic and contemporary texts: All American Boys, Night, The Diary of Anne Frank, Animal Farm, Wicked History, Persepolis, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, and additional supporting texts: articles, poems, and digital media. Across the 5 units, students deepen their writing skills through argumentative, informational, and narrative tasks, and continue to build their academic vocabularies, speaking and listening skills, and social-emotional competencies.

Throughout the course, students address all ELA Common Core Standards as they engage with increasingly complex texts, participate in class discussions, and write daily. Each unit helps build students’ knowledge and understanding of the world around them through thematically organized core and supplemental texts, embedded writing instruction and extended writing assignments in response to Essential Questions, and daily opportunities to engage in multiple tiers of academic discourse

After completing the 8th grade ELA course, students will have the reading, writing, and speaking and listening skills, and the relevant background knowledge to set them up for success in high school ELA. 

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Unit 1

27 Lessons

Facing Prejudice: All American Boys

Students explore the American experience through the eyes of two young men–one white and one Black—connected through an incident of police brutality.

Unit 2

28 Lessons

Encountering Evil: Night

Students explore human nature through the memoir of Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor who vividly describes the horrors he experienced.

Unit 3

32 Lessons

Abusing Power: Animal Farm and Wicked History

Students explore human nature through careful study of the Russian Revolution, focusing on the ways in which leaders manipulated and oppressed their own people.

Unit 4

21 Lessons

Surviving Repression: Persepolis

Students explore human nature through the story of a young girl coming of age during the Iranian Revolution, and the challenges she faced during this violent, turbulent time.

Unit 5

23 Lessons

Facing Calamity: Climate Change Facts and Fictions

Students explore human nature by studying the climate crisis and its causes and impact, and the role of government, businesses, and individuals in finding solutions.

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