English Language Arts 8

Course Description

Semester A

In this exciting course, students will master the subtle and complex art of the Standard American English writing style, allowing them to express their ideas more clearly and effectively than ever before. As students become experts on sentence structure, verb tenses and punctuation, they’ll learn not only what the grammar rules are, but the logic behind them. Alongside this rigorous language instruction, students will analyze the poetry of legendary writers such as Seamus Heaney, Robert Frost, and Jane Kenyon. In addition, they will practice effective research techniques and prepare complete and polished reports and essays. Their work will also cover formal letter writing, biographical essays, and creating a bibliography. Students will use strategies such as the Sign and Design Mind and Clustering to help form their ideas and develop stories and arguments. Entertaining videos and diverse reading selections provide a wealth of information. Peer discussions and teacher feedback also contribute to help students learn the processes needed to become more effective writers

Semester B

The purpose of this course is to build upon the skills presented in English 8A and enhance the focus and style of academic writing. Students continue to develop advanced traits of formal language through challenging activities and exercises that get at the heart of precise communication. Through careful study of parts of speech, verb forms, and sentence clauses, students will be prepared to write at the High School level without distracting errors that get in the way of self expression. Students will complete six units of varying topics, comprised of five lessons each. Besides grammar instruction, each unit encourages a love of literature with captivating and age-appropriate novels and stories. Detailed Novel Study Guides challenge students to go beyond basics like plot and setting to really analyze and engage with literature. In addition, the student will outline, draft and revise a polished research paper, while learning the importance of avoiding plagiarism, citing sources, and organizing arguments. This ability to craft a strong thesis and prove it with evidence will equip students for creative and logical writing in high School and beyond.

Course Requirements

Grade Level

8th Grade


Required Novels:

  • The Pearl
  • Diary of a Young Girl

Optional Novels (Choose 2):

  • My Brother Sam Is Dead
  • Across Five Aprils
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
  • That Was Then, This Is Now
  • The House of Dies Drear


2 Semesters



Technology Skills

  • Internet Navigation
  • Word Processing
  • Email Communication

Semester A

Major Concepts:

  • Short Stories
  • Clustering and Brainstorming
  • Sensory Details
  • Poetry
  • Precision of Vocabulary
  • Parts of Speech

Semester B

Major Concepts:

  • Communication of Ideas
  • Sentences as Complete Thoughts
  • Research Essays
  • Source Citation and Bibliographies
  • Thesis Sentences
  • Outlining
  • Grammar and Usage