English Language Arts

8th Grade

Course Summary

In 8th grade, students explore a timeless question: are human beings fundamentally good or evil? Through careful study of classic and contemporary texts, 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. Students will grapple with some of the darkest events of the 20th century, and contemplate their power as young people to create the future they wish to see.

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Unit 1

28 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

24 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

28 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

23 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

21 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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