8th Grade English
The eighth-grade English class emphasizes vocabulary acquisition, mastery of grammar concepts, the development of writing skills, and the analytical study of literature. The curriculum begins during the summer when students read selected books from a list provided. Throughout the year, the students read literature collectively within their class, but also engage in independent reading projects based on self-selected texts. The class collectively reads the following: “Where There’s a Wall” by Joy Kogawa, “Poem 479” by Emily Dickinson, “Poem 383” by Emily Dickinson, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, “A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes, “Dreams” by Langston Hughes, “kitchenette building” by Gwendolyn Brooks, “Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins, “Forgetfulness” by Billy Collins, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Othello by William Shakespeare, and self-selected nonfiction articles and books in preparation for research writing. The writing component interweaves all areas of the English curriculum. Formal assessments in writing include essays in response to literature, persuasive speeches, research-based assignments, paragraph-length responses to reading, blogging, creative writing, and research-based essays or a final research paper. The English curriculum reinforces grammar concepts through weekly lessons and assessments. For grammar, the eighth-grade students study the following concepts presented in the book Language Network (McDougal Littell): parts of speech, agreement, compliments, capitalization, punctuation, phrases, clauses, and diagramming. For vocabulary, the students engage in interactive and customized vocabulary training through an online program called Membean. During training, they are introduced to new vocabulary and through adaptive reinforcement software, Membean is able to customize the learning process for the students. The vocabulary assessments are based on the student’s individualized word list. Finally, in the first semester only during COMMON TIME, eighth-grade students prepare for the standardized tests for entrance into private high schools by completing exercises in the Barron’s review book for the ISEE (4th edition). The review of materials and skills necessary for success on standardized tests enables the students to approach the entrance exams with confidence.