8th Grade Courses

The following courses are available to eighth graders.

Chinese B

A continuation of Chinese A, in Chinese B students continue to develop their fluency in the language. This course exposes students to Chinese through comprehensible input, including oral, written, and visual storytelling. The input-based approach to acquiring language focuses on the instruction of vocabulary in a highly contextualized manner. By keeping the conversation/story engaging and compelling, the learner is distracted from consciously trying to memorize vocabulary. Class time centers around developing fluency and students are encouraged to use their language skills wholistically. Emphasis is placed on fluency over precision, with a focus on students being comfortable communicating in more detail in Chinese.

English 8

Eighth grade English picks up where seventh grade English left off, concentrating on many of the same strands of language arts: literature, writing, vocabulary, grammar, and discussion. The curriculum focuses on identity, with narratives involving adolescent characters in the process of maturing. Literary selections include West Side Story, Romeo and Juliet, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, as well as various short stories, poems, and independent reading selections. Students respond to readings in a variety of manners: collaborative projects, personal reflections, expository essays, and creative compositions. During or after each reading, students undertake creative writing projects and a structured essay. The creative writing assignments allows individual freedom, stimulates imagination, and inspires risk-taking. The structured, expository pieces prompt students to reflect on and respond to their readings and will typically adhere to the five-paragraph format with the iterative process involving brainstorming, outlining, drafting, and revising. In general, emphasis is placed on development of creative problem-solving, collaboration, and study skills.

Possible texts: Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare; Persepolis by Satrapi; The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger; The Outsiders by Hinton; short stories, poems, and independent reading choices are also part of the course.

French B

A continuation of French A, in French B students continue to develop their fluency in the language. This course exposes students to French through comprehensible input, including oral, written, and visual storytelling. The input-based approach to acquiring language focuses on the instruction of vocabulary in a highly contextualized manner. By keeping the conversation/story engaging and compelling, the learner is distracted from consciously trying to memorize vocabulary. Class time centers around developing fluency and students are encouraged to use their language skills wholistically. Emphasis is placed on fluency over precision, with a focus on students being comfortable communicating in more detail in French.

French C

A continuation of French B, in French C students continue to develop their fluency in the language. This course exposes students to French through comprehensible input, including oral, written, and visual storytelling. The input-based approach to acquiring language focuses on the instruction of vocabulary in a highly contextualized manner. By keeping the conversation/story engaging and compelling, the learner is distracted from consciously trying to memorize vocabulary. Class time centers around developing fluency and students are encouraged to use their language skills wholistically. Emphasis is placed on fluency over precision, with a focus on students being comfortable communicating in more detail and elaborating on their ideas entirely in French.

History 8 - Ideologies

In the name of their ideologies, people and nations have changed the world, imposed their views and beliefs on other people, overthrown governments and subjugated populations. At other times, ideologies have encouraged others to fight for freedom and a better life for the marginalized. This class will look at some of the major ideas that shaped the world and the role people played in advancing their own beliefs. Using a thematic approach, students will learn about systems of beliefs, quests for power and empires, revolutions and global challenges that the world face today. The objectives of the course are to engage students in critical thinking on political, economic, and socio-cultural changes, to provide diverse perspectives on history, and to bring awareness of interdependence and shared humanity.

Math 8 - Algebra

In this course, students will work with real numbers, solve equations, factor polynomials, analyze linear and quadratic functions and apply algebraic skills to a variety of problems. Reading for understanding and generating strategies for problem solving are skills which are emphasized throughout the year. Students will build their abilities to use more sophisticated mathematical language.

All students should expect to dig deeply into topics, tackling unfamiliar problems that require the integration of many different skills. Students will be faced with new challenges on a regular basis and will have opportunities to work both collaboratively and independently.

Music

As part of our Instrumental Music curriculum all students learn how to play an instrument or hone their skills if they are already accomplished musicians.  Using orchestra and chorus as a model for collaboration, students learn instrument technique and musicianship skills, through practicing and rehearsing a range of repertoire.  They begin by test driving each instrument (trumpet, trombone, tuba, cello, violin, viola, voice, percussion, flute, clarinet) before being matched with an ensemble, taking into consideration the student’s interest, feedback from the teachers, and the needs of the ensemble.  Students meet both in their smaller ensembles (Brass, Strings, Chorus, Percussion, Woodwinds) and come together to collaborate regularly in rehearsals and three music exhibits per year.  The ensembles are comprised of 6th, 7th, and 8th grades and are highly differentiated, allowing beginners and advanced students to thrive together by learning multiple parts of the same piece of music.  Although this is a music program that builds technical skills and artistry, the impact goes far beyond music, focusing on collaboration, creative problem solving, empathy, and leadership skills.  

Science 8 - Current Global Issues in Science

Breaking News: Energy. Resources. Climate science. Ocean issues. Genetics. Infectious diseases. Science topics regularly grace today’s headlines. In 8th grade, we approach these and other current issues with a scientific lens to develop critical thinking strategies and science literacy skills. As we study the science behind current global issues, we explore how science is communicated, the controversies that arise, and how we as critical thinkers can engage with current issues through informed action and agency.  

Spanish B

A continuation of Spanish A, in Spanish B students continue to develop their fluency in the language. This course exposes students to Spanish through comprehensible input, including oral, written, and visual storytelling. The input-based approach to acquiring language focuses on the instruction of vocabulary in a highly contextualized manner. By keeping the conversation/story engaging and compelling, the learner is distracted from consciously trying to memorize vocabulary. Class time centers around developing fluency and students are encouraged to use their language skills wholistically. Emphasis is placed on fluency over precision, with a focus on students being comfortable communicating in more detail in Spanish.

Spanish C

A continuation of Spanish B, in Spanish C students continue to develop their fluency in the language. This course exposes students to Spanish through comprehensible input, including oral, written, and visual storytelling. The input-based approach to acquiring language focuses on the instruction of vocabulary in a highly contextualized manner. By keeping the conversation/story engaging and compelling, the learner is distracted from consciously trying to memorize vocabulary. Class time centers around developing fluency and students are encouraged to use their language skills wholistically. Emphasis is placed on fluency over precision, with a focus on students being comfortable communicating in more detail and elaborating on their ideas entirely in Spanish.

Theater Arts 8

In grade 8, students practice theatre as a collaborative art form, learning more about the processes of making, developing, and performing theatre. Students will work to create believable characters through improvisation and scripted work, express themselves physically and vocally, write and develop original dramatic work that is linked to or informed by other disciplines, and explore the roles and responsibilities of the director. Through ensemble games and warm-ups, students will continue to develop awareness of and responsibility for the ensemble and to build their collaboration skills. Students will also continue to expand their ability to evaluate and shape their own work, as well as the work of others, through continuous feedback, critique, and reflection.

Visual Arts 8

Where do I fit in in the world around me? How can I begin to navigate this world using visual art and process as a starting point? In 8th grade, students will continue to build upon their brainstorming skills as they begin to have more input into their art work. Students learn about artists who react to their surroundings and materials and in turn impact others. The line between art and daily life can be blurry at times as students react to nontraditional materials and places for art work. Leaving middle school, each student will have the confidence and skill set needed to move forward as a growing artist.