Course Information

English 8 combines strands of Communication Arts and Literacy into a unified block.  While students practice reading lessons which include whole-group work, book clubs and independent reading, they are challenged to increase the volume of their reading.  This challenge is increased with an emphasis on more complex texts and a specific aim of incorporating a great variety of nonfiction.  Readers apply independent reading strategies, developing critical thinking skills by analyzing text through close-reading.  At the Grade 8 level, there is an initiative to closely coordinate the reading and writing aspects of English.  Not only do students respond in writing to independent reading, they also use writing as a way of learning and thinking about nonfiction materials, including activities that cross the lines between disciplines (e.g. English and Social Studies).  Another emphasis in the Communication Arts strand is the development of vocabulary and more sophisticated sentence structure.  In tandem, these broaden the abilities to both understand and communicate about the kinds of texts students will face in the future.  

Historical literacy This course addresses the college and career readiness needs of students while nurturing the academic and thinking capacities required for competent citizenry. By combining the practices of

social studies and ELA, students approach history as much more than a chronological pageant of consecutive events. Instead, we endeavor to engage in the actual practice of history and join the great dialogue of historical inquiry. Students gain expertise in using documentary evidence, evaluating sources, contextualizing, corroborating, and detecting bias. Students learn to read complex historical text, to use reading and writing as a springboard for deep learning, and to engage in meaningful and genuine questioning and argument.