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ELA Curriculum Maps K-8

Course Description: 7th grade Language Arts is designed to deepen students’ understanding of active reading, critical thinking and thoughtful responding, in both writing and speaking. Students are introduced to a variety of texts and genres. Using classic short stories, such as “The Monkey’s Paw”, student choice Dystopian novels, classics such as The Outsiders, informational readings, media, vocabulary study through the study of Greek and Latin roots , choice novels which expose students to other cultures, students  reflect on the world, people, and themselves.   Utilizing student-led learning, students have the guidance of the teacher but also think and reflect independently and with their peers.  The students develop their writing skills through a variety of products such as journaling, narrative, formal papers, brief-writes, and media presentations.


Overarching Essential Question: 

  1. How is our understanding of culture and society constructed through and by language?
  2. What is literature supposed to do?
  3. What influences a writer to create?
  4. What are the characteristics or elements that cause a piece of literature to endure?
  5. What distinguishes a good read from great literature?

Curricular Objectives:

  1. Students will be able to read and to make inferences using  relevant text to support those inferences.
  2. Students will be able to interact appropriately with the text through annotation and discussion.
  3. Students will produce clear and coherent writing, in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
 
Unit 1: Elements of Fiction
Essential and Focus Questions
  • How do authors show human nature through stories?
  • How do authors create effective stories which give insight into the human condition?
  • Why do authors use literary devices?
  • How can I understand myself and others through reading?
 
Unit Objectives
  • Students will analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g. how setting shapes the characters or plot) (RL.7.3)
  • Students will cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text (RL.7.1)
  • Students will write an informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content (W.7.2)
    • Students will introduce analyses clearly, previewing what is to follow in the rest of their essays.
    • Students will develop the topic with relevant quotations from their short stories.
    • Students will use appropriate transitions to show cohesion and the relationships among ideas..
    • Students will establish and maintain a formal style.
    • Students will provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the explanation I  presented.
Unit Texts

Mentor-Whole Class:

“The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs 


“The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury 


Student Choices:

“Three Skeleton Key” by George G. Toudouze


“The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell


“The Lady or the Tiger” by Frank Stockton


“The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs


“After Twenty Years” by O. Henry


“The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty


“Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe


“Seventh Grade” by Gary Soto


“The Landlady” by Roald Dahl


“Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl

 

Unit 2: Narrative Writing

Essential and Focus Questions

 

  • Why do people tell stories?
  • How do I make my story more interesting to my reader?
  • What kind of organization could be used for narrative writing?
  • How does editing and revising improve writing?
 
Unit Objectives
  • Students will read and analyze mentor texts  teacher models in order to understand how an author uses narrative techniques to develop a story. 
  • Students will write a personal narrative.
  • Students will keep a writer’s journal documenting their process.
  • Students will practice developing setting, character, scenes, dialogue, conflict, theme, editing and revision.
 
Unit Texts
  • “Thirteen and a Half” by Rachel Vail
  • Christmas Carol adapted narrative version
  • Teacher Models 
 
 

 

 

Grade 8 English Language Arts

Course Description:  Grade Eight English/Language Arts curriculum is designed to cultivate the reading and writing lives of all of our students. Students are immersed in literacy through  rich and rigorous learning experiences. The curriculum addresses all aspects of communication including reading, writing, usage and mechanics, grammar,  speaking  and listening, vocabulary, and research.

8th grade readers deepen their knowledge of texts by: analyzing  literary components, examining text structures, developing vocabulary knowledge through context, and applying literary lenses. Students use technology to commun  Collapsible

 

Grade 8 English Language Arts

Course Description:  Grade Eight English/Language Arts curriculum is designed to cultivate the reading and writing lives of all of our students. Students are immersed in literacy through  rich and rigorous learning experiences. The curriculum addresses all aspects of communication including reading, writing, usage and mechanics, grammar,  speaking  and listening, vocabulary, and research.

8th grade readers deepen their knowledge of texts by: analyzing  literary components, examining text structures, developing vocabulary knowledge through context, and applying literary lenses. Students use technology to communicate, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and create.

The 8th grade writer develops competency in many types of writing including but not limited to: narrative, informational,  and argument forms. Students deepen their knowledge of the essential skills of the writing  process by planning for intended audiences and purposes, studying exemplary texts, drafting, elaborating, revising, reimagining, and editing for precision.

We believe in the value of dynamic literary experiences through a combination of student-centered learning and teacher supported inquiry. To that end, all students in 8th grade will share in common, grade-­level literary experiences,  AND they will have many opportunities to make their own choices throughout the year.

 

Overarching Essential Questions: 

  1. What is literature supposed to do, and how do authors create meaning?  
  2. How can language be powerful and how can we create powerful language?
  3. Where does the meaning of a text reside? Within the text, within the reader, or in the transaction that occurs between them?
  4. How does great writing transcend all cultures, times, and places?

Curricular Objectives:

  1. Students will use relevant support to productively annotate and discuss the reading in order to make meaning of the text. 
  2. Students will use voice to produce clear and stylistic writing appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  3. Students will synthesize and evaluate information from a variety of sources in order to develop their own perspective.
  4. Students will identify and analyze universal themes and connect to text, self and world.

 

Unit 1: Narrative

 

Essential and Focus Questions:

  1. What makes for good storytelling?
  2. What makes fictional narrative different from other types of writing?
  3. What are the main characteristics of a short story?
  4. How do I make my story more interesting to my readers?
  5. What kind of structure(s) could be used for this form of writing?
  6. What role does/can figurative and/or sensory language play in fictional narrative writing?
  7. Why is the revision process an essential step in fiction writing?

 

Unit Objectives: Students will . .

  • Study the narrative structure  in a given story, “The Scholarship Jacket”
  • Demonstrate mastery of story elements by identifying and tracking them in a story.
  • Craft their own narrative using “FROG” as a mentor text.

 

Choice Texts Include:

My First Free Summer

Sucker

The Treasure of Lemon Brown

Shaving

The Medicine Bag

The Rights to the Streets of Memphis

Names Nombres

 

Unit 2. Ethical Decisions and Moral Choices

Essential and Focus Questions:

  1. What is morality and what are the factors that have an impact on the development of our morality?
  2. How do our values and beliefs shape who we are as individuals and influence our behavior?
  3. What are the causes and consequences of prejudice and how does an individual’s response to it reveal his/her morals, ethics, and values?

Unit Objectives:

    • Define Morality, Prejudice and Ethics, and Values and Beliefs
    • Create an individual moral compass and examine their own thinking about morality
    • Read a chosen text analyzing the components of the narrative (Exposition, characters, conflict) and the moral decision-making of the main character.
    • Keep a dialectical journal recording and responding to the elements of fiction and the moral quandaries and decisions of characters.
    • Examine moral scenarios in a series of Do-Nows
    • Participate in book clubs to share thinking and perspectives.
    • Complete a Moral Compass project on the main character in their book during the final two days of the unit

 

Choice Texts Include:

Indian No MoreMcManis

Crackback, Coy

Red KayakCummings

Crossing LinesVolponi

The Ninth Ward (Adv), Rhodes

The Only Road, Diaz 

Crazy Horse Electric Game, Crutcher

MonsterMyers

Miracle in the AndesParrando and Rause

Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks, Banks

 

Unit 3: Dystopian Societies

Essential and Focus Questions

    1. How can societal rules help or hurt us?
    2. How can society balance individualism with responsibility to the community?
    3. What aspects of utopias and dystopias exist in current society?
    4. When should one conform to the wishes or rules of others?
    5. How do personal choices impact a society?

 

Unit Objectives: Students will . .

    • Define Utopia
    • Examine how utopias become dystopias
    • Complete text-dependent critical reading questions citing evidence to support responses
    • Complete single paragraph analyses of character, theme, toe, and mood in preparation for a literary essay.
    • Read a whole class novel (The Giver or Fahrenheit 451)
    • Make relevant connections between the novel and our world
    • Complete a literary essay on a topic of choice.
    •  

Unit Texts:

“The Pedestrian” and “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury
“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson
The Giver by Lois Lowry (L2)
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (L3)

 

Unit 4: Survivors of the Holocaust

Essential and Focus Questions:

  1. What is the relationship between our stories and our identity? How does adversity shape who we are, and who we will become?
  2. How do individuals respond to systematic brutality, persecution, and violence? How can silence and indifference perpetuate violence?
  3. Why is it important to tell and listen to stories about the Holocaust and how does knowledge of the past allow people to make better decisions about the future?

Unit Objectives: Students will . .

    • Understand the historical background of the holocaust through several multi-media experiences
      • View The Wave (to understand the attraction of Nazism)
      • View a holocaust background powerpoint
      • Participate in multi-media stations
      • Read and analyze diary entries
    • Participate in a perspective activity
    • Analyze power in conflict
    • “The Past is always with us.” Analyze the contemporaeity of the Holocaust through current NYT articles on hate crimes
    • Complete synthesis writing

 

Unit Texts and Resources:

L2 whole class text: Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
L3 whole class text: Night by Elie Weisel
Articles from The New York Times 
Resources from The US Holocaust Museum
The Wave (40 minute video from 1983) 
Diary entries from Facing History and Ourselves

 

Unit 5: Voices of Civil Rights

Essential and Focus Questions

  1. How can one use their voice to effect social change? 
  2. What rhetorical techniques do speakers use to appeal to an audience?
  3. How can poetry serve as a medium of self-expression?
  4. How can we use different modes of writing to analyze the same content?

 

Unit Objectives: Students will . .

    • Practice inference through Walker’s “The Flowers”
    • Examine the historical record in primary sources stations on
Jim Crow Laws
Black Panther Party
Little Rock Rally
March on Wasington 
Poor People’s Campaign 
Voting Rights Act 1965
    • Examine and understand rhetorical strategies and how they are utilized in speeches.

 

Unit Resources and Texts:

“Flowers” Alice Walker
Nonviolence: The Only Road to Freedom, May 4, 1966,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The Ballot or the Bullet,” Malcolm X, April 3, 1964 
Dudley Randal’s “Ballad of Birmingham” 
Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird”
Rita Dove’s “Rosa”
Langston Hughes’ “I, too” 
Jacqueline Woodson’s “February 12, 1963”

 

Unit 6: Argument Writing

Essential Question(s):

  1. How does a writer craft a convincing argument?
  2. What rhetorical techniques can be used to sway audience opinion?
  3. How can evidence support a claim and make an argument stronger?
  4. How can acknowledging a counterclaim enhance an argument?

 

Unit Objectives: Students will . .

    • Understand what makes a powerful argument.
    • Craft clear, arguable claims and subtopics
    • Understand the differences between reliable and unreliable resources
    • Understand what makes a powerful quote
    • Understand counterclaim
    • Craft a claim using a thesis generator
    • Use a graphic organizer for all writing

Unit Resources:

Sample arguments
Teacher models
Cell Phone Essay

 

Unit 7: Midsummer Night’s Dream (time permitting)

Essential Questions:

    1. How do the decisions and actions of characters reveal their personalities?
    2. What are the positive and negative impacts of chaos?
    3. What is creativity, and what is its importance for the individual?
    4. How does comedy both reflect and subvert human nature and reality?

 

Unit Objectives: Students Will . .

    • Develop an interpretation through active reading
    • Perform a scene
    • Deepen understanding of plot elements through reading Shakespeare
    • Examine the ways in which comedy differs from other art forms
    • Use a graphic organizer to track character and plot development.

  icate, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and create.

The 8th grade writer develops competency in many types of writing including but not limited to: narrative, informational,  and argument forms. Students deepen their knowledge of the essential skills of the writing  process by planning for intended audiences and purposes, studying exemplary texts, drafting, elaborating, revising, reimagining, and editing for precision.

We believe in the value of dynamic literary experiences through a combination of student-centered learning and teacher supported inquiry. To that end, all students in 8th grade will share in common, grade-­level literary experiences,  AND they will have many opportunities to make their own choices throughout the year.

 

Overarching Essential Questions: 

  1. What is literature supposed to do, and how do authors create meaning?  
  2. How can language be powerful and how can we create powerful language?
  3. Where does the meaning of a text reside? Within the text, within the reader, or in the transaction that occurs between them?
  4. How does great writing transcend all cultures, times, and places?

Curricular Objectives:

  1. Students will use relevant support to productively annotate and discuss the reading in order to make meaning of the text. 
  2. Students will use voice to produce clear and stylistic writing appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  3. Students will synthesize and evaluate information from a variety of sources in order to develop their own perspective.
  4. Students will identify and analyze universal themes and connect to text, self and world.

 

Unit 1: Narrative

 

Essential and Focus Questions:

  1. What makes for good storytelling?
  2. What makes fictional narrative different from other types of writing?
  3. What are the main characteristics of a short story?
  4. How do I make my story more interesting to my readers?
  5. What kind of structure(s) could be used for this form of writing?
  6. What role does/can figurative and/or sensory language play in fictional narrative writing?
  7. Why is the revision process an essential step in fiction writing?

 

Unit Objectives: Students will . .

  • Study the narrative structure  in a given story, “The Scholarship Jacket”
  • Demonstrate mastery of story elements by identifying and tracking them in a story.
  • Craft their own narrative using “FROG” as a mentor text.

 

Choice Texts Include:

My First Free Summer

Sucker

The Treasure of Lemon Brown

Shaving

The Medicine Bag

The Rights to the Streets of Memphis

Names Nombres

 

Unit 2. Ethical Decisions and Moral Choices

Essential and Focus Questions:

  1. What is morality and what are the factors that have an impact on the development of our morality?
  2. How do our values and beliefs shape who we are as individuals and influence our behavior?
  3. What are the causes and consequences of prejudice and how does an individual’s response to it reveal his/her morals, ethics, and values?

Unit Objectives:

    • Define Morality, Prejudice and Ethics, and Values and Beliefs
    • Create an individual moral compass and examine their own thinking about morality
    • Read a chosen text analyzing the components of the narrative (Exposition, characters, conflict) and the moral decision-making of the main character.
    • Keep a dialectical journal recording and responding to the elements of fiction and the moral quandaries and decisions of characters.
    • Examine moral scenarios in a series of Do-Nows
    • Participate in book clubs to share thinking and perspectives.
    • Complete a Moral Compass project on the main character in their book during the final two days of the unit

 

Choice Texts Include:

Indian No MoreMcManis

Crackback, Coy

Red KayakCummings

Crossing LinesVolponi

The Ninth Ward (Adv), Rhodes

The Only Road, Diaz 

Crazy Horse Electric Game, Crutcher

MonsterMyers

Miracle in the AndesParrando and Rause

Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks, Banks

 

Unit 3: Dystopian Societies

Essential and Focus Questions

    1. How can societal rules help or hurt us?
    2. How can society balance individualism with responsibility to the community?
    3. What aspects of utopias and dystopias exist in current society?
    4. When should one conform to the wishes or rules of others?
    5. How do personal choices impact a society?

 

Unit Objectives: Students will . .

    • Define Utopia
    • Examine how utopias become dystopias
    • Complete text-dependent critical reading questions citing evidence to support responses
    • Complete single paragraph analyses of character, theme, toe, and mood in preparation for a literary essay.
    • Read a whole class novel (The Giver or Fahrenheit 451)
    • Make relevant connections between the novel and our world
    • Complete a literary essay on a topic of choice.
    •  

Unit Texts:

“The Pedestrian” and “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury
“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson
The Giver by Lois Lowry (L2)
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (L3)

 

Unit 4: Survivors of the Holocaust

Essential and Focus Questions:

  1. What is the relationship between our stories and our identity? How does adversity shape who we are, and who we will become?
  2. How do individuals respond to systematic brutality, persecution, and violence? How can silence and indifference perpetuate violence?
  3. Why is it important to tell and listen to stories about the Holocaust and how does knowledge of the past allow people to make better decisions about the future?

Unit Objectives: Students will . .

    • Understand the historical background of the holocaust through several multi-media experiences
      • View The Wave (to understand the attraction of Nazism)
      • View a holocaust background powerpoint
      • Participate in multi-media stations
      • Read and analyze diary entries
    • Participate in a perspective activity
    • Analyze power in conflict
    • “The Past is always with us.” Analyze the contemporaeity of the Holocaust through current NYT articles on hate crimes
    • Complete synthesis writing

 

Unit Texts and Resources:

L2 whole class text: Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
L3 whole class text: Night by Elie Weisel
Articles from The New York Times 
Resources from The US Holocaust Museum
The Wave (40 minute video from 1983) 
Diary entries from Facing History and Ourselves

 

Unit 5: Voices of Civil Rights

Essential and Focus Questions

  1. How can one use their voice to effect social change? 
  2. What rhetorical techniques do speakers use to appeal to an audience?
  3. How can poetry serve as a medium of self-expression?
  4. How can we use different modes of writing to analyze the same content?

 

Unit Objectives: Students will . .

    • Practice inference through Walker’s “The Flowers”
    • Examine the historical record in primary sources stations on
Jim Crow Laws
Black Panther Party
Little Rock Rally
March on Wasington 
Poor People’s Campaign 
Voting Rights Act 1965
    • Examine and understand rhetorical strategies and how they are utilized in speeches.

 

Unit Resources and Texts:

“Flowers” Alice Walker
Nonviolence: The Only Road to Freedom, May 4, 1966,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The Ballot or the Bullet,” Malcolm X, April 3, 1964 
Dudley Randal’s “Ballad of Birmingham” 
Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird”
Rita Dove’s “Rosa”
Langston Hughes’ “I, too” 
Jacqueline Woodson’s “February 12, 1963”

 

Unit 6: Argument Writing

Essential Question(s):

  1. How does a writer craft a convincing argument?
  2. What rhetorical techniques can be used to sway audience opinion?
  3. How can evidence support a claim and make an argument stronger?
  4. How can acknowledging a counterclaim enhance an argument?

 

Unit Objectives: Students will . .

    • Understand what makes a powerful argument.
    • Craft clear, arguable claims and subtopics
    • Understand the differences between reliable and unreliable resources
    • Understand what makes a powerful quote
    • Understand counterclaim
    • Craft a claim using a thesis generator
    • Use a graphic organizer for all writing

Unit Resources:

Sample arguments
Teacher models
Cell Phone Essay

 

Unit 7: Midsummer Night’s Dream (time permitting)

Essential Questions:

    1. How do the decisions and actions of characters reveal their personalities?
    2. What are the positive and negative impacts of chaos?
    3. What is creativity, and what is its importance for the individual?
    4. How does comedy both reflect and subvert human nature and reality?

 

Unit Objectives: Students Will . .

    • Develop an interpretation through active reading
    • Perform a scene
    • Deepen understanding of plot elements through reading Shakespeare
    • Examine the ways in which comedy differs from other art forms
    • Use a graphic organizer to track character and plot development.