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2018/2019 8th Grade Literature & Language Arts Unit Overview 

Unit & Focus  Essential Questions  Featured Text  Summative 

Reviews (mini-unit)  How do writers create authentic reviews?  Assorted reviews-formal and blogs  Review 
  What is “style”? (tone, audience, diction)  Annotations and 

Fiction with a focus  What keeps a society or community together?  Book club novels including: S​ hip Breaker,  Literary Analysis 
on Dystopian  How is science fiction cautionary?  Across The Universe, Scythe, The Hunger  Annotated 
Literature (Science  How free are we to make our own decisions?  Games, Ready Player One, The Uglies, 1984,   Bibliography 
Fiction)  How important is it for people to have choices?  “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson  Speaking and 
In a perfect world, is fair equal?  “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury  Listening  
“Examination Day” By Henry Sleser 

Non-Fiction,  Does our justice system serve all people fairly?    Serial ​podcast  Note-taking 
Argument &  How does our justice use evidence?  Related materials   Mock Trial  
Research focusing  What does power have to do with fairness and justice?    Research 
on Social Justice    Vocabulary 
Speaking and 

Poetry  How does poetry contribute to personal  Louder than a Bomb​ - Documentary  Literary Analysis 
expression?  Young Chicago Authors - in house teaching  (Poetry Portfolio) 
How does an author create voice?  artists (3-day workshop)  Writing of poetry  
How does reading poetry teach us about myself and others?  Assorted modern and classic poems  Figurative Language 
In communicating with others, how do we use literal and  Speaking and 
figurative language to write, speak, and present effectively?   Listening 
How does the use of voice empower an individual?    
Memoir, fiction,  Am I my brother’s keeper?  Various novel studies including:  Research 
historical  How can I recognize human integrity?  Berlin Boxing Club  Collaborative digital 
fiction-Genocide  What are my responsibilities to understanding history and  The Book Thief  writing and 
making connections to the past?  Between Shades of Gray  publishing  
What is community? How are decisions made about who  A Long Way Gone  Speaking and 
belongs and who is excluded?  What is the What  Listening  
What choices do people make in the face of injustice?  Broken Memory 
(These questions kind of come back to our first unit!)  Forgotten Fire 
What is the purpose of remembering? What are the  Never Fall Down 
consequences of forgetting?   
What can we, as individuals, groups and nations, do to 
prevent massive acts of violence in the future? 

Fiction & Research -  What can I learn about myself and others from the books I  Various novel studies including:  Literary Analysis 
Culture and Identity  read?  Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel   Research 
Do I see myself in the books I read?   Piecing Me Together   PSA Project 
Am I accurately portrayed?  Far From the Tree   Vocabulary 
Do I see people who are different from me in the books I  All American Boys   Reading Rubrics 
read? Are they accurately portrayed?  The Hate U Give   Speaking and 
How can we make connections to other cultures in order to  I’ll Give You the Sun   Listening 
better understand our own identity?  The Sun Is Also a Star  
How have some people and groups had to struggle to  All We Have Left  
maintain their identities?  The First Rule of Punk  

Fiction in the form of  Why do authors adapt traditional tales?  “Where Are You Going, Where Have You  Literary Analysis  
short stories, myths,  What do traditional tales teach us about a culture’s beliefs?  Been” by Joyce Carol Oates  Narrative Writing - 
and traditional tales  In what ways do stories illustrate the belief systems and  Various stories by The Brothers Grimm,  genre study 
customs of the cultures that create them?  Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Perrault,  Speaking and 
What influence do “traditional stories” have on our literature  and others.  Listening 
today?    Grammar 
How and why have “traditional” stories changed and been  Assessment 

Grammar - done  Sentence Variety  Formative 

throughout each  Comma, semicolon, colon  assessments and 
unit.  Active/Passive Voice  quizzes throughout 
Appositives/Dash  the units. Trimester 
Mood – Verbals  assessment for all 
etymology   8th graders at the 
MLA citation  end of trimester  
common spelling errors