The following courses are available to eighth graders.

English 8

The 8th grade English course focuses on identity, with narratives involving adolescent characters reflecting on their interactions and experiences, responding to injustice, and questioning the status quo. Students respond to readings in a variety of modes: collaborative projects, personal reflections, expository essays, and creative compositions. The creative assignments allow individual freedom, stimulate imagination, and inspire risk-taking. Expository pieces prompt students to reflect on and respond to their readings and typically adhere to the five-paragraph format with the iterative process involving brainstorming, outlining, drafting, and revising. Students are encouraged to explore original modes of expression such as song, video, and visual arts. In general, emphasis is placed on development of creative problem-solving, collaboration, and study skills.

Possible texts: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros; In the Heights by Quiara Alegria Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda; The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger; I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson; Every Day by David Levithan; The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton; short stories, poems, and independent reading choices are also part of the course.

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, empires, revolutions, and global challenges that the world faces 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

Students will focus their mathematical development on quantitative relationships, expressions and equations, and functions. They will develop fluency writing, interpreting, and translating between mathematical models. Students will explore polynomials, equations, inequalities, and systems. Students will learn function notation and language for describing characteristics of functions. They will compare and contrast the key characteristics of linear, exponential, and quadratic functions and they will select from among these functions to model and solve problems.

Emphasis is placed on communication in verbal and written form, creative problem-solving, and reasoning skills. Willingness to take risks and persevering through challenges are also major themes of the course. Inquiry-learning through projects, technology, and collaboration support the curriculum.

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, 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.  Those with previous experience in percussion can audition to join the percussion section which joins with the brass and woodwind ensembles for their combined rehearsals. The ensembles comprising 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

Energy. Resources. Climate Science. Space Exploration. Genetics. Science topics regularly grace today’s headlines. In Science 8, we approach these and other current issues with a scientific lens to develop critical thinking, research, and science literacy skills. As we study the science behind current global issues, we explore how to support scientific claims with evidence, how to communicate scientific understanding, and how we as critical thinkers can engage with current issues through informed action and advocacy.

Theater Arts 8

In 8th grade, students practice theatre as a collaborative art form, learning more about the processes of making, developing, and performing theater. Students 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 continue to develop an awareness of and responsibility for the ensemble and to build their collaboration skills. Students 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. The culmination of the class is a self-designed Final Project, where students create, rehearse, and present a body of work that represents their growth and understanding as a Theater Arts student.

Visual Arts 8

How can I begin to navigate this world using visual art and process as a starting point? In 8th grade, students continue to build upon their brainstorming skills and  learn about artists as they respond to themes such as Time, Text in Art, Creating Space, and Objects in/as Art . The line between art and daily life can be blurry at times as students react to nontraditional materials and processes.