Amherst-Pelham Regional School District

                                                                        District Curriculum Overview


Subject: English                                           Course: English Language Arts                           Grade Level: Eighth

Concepts/Enduring Understandings/Themes


Unit Content/Skills

Essential Activities/Agreements

Humanity is made up of several factors, including our aspirations and treating others with dignity.  If either factor is missing, humanity is lost.


§          Critically thinking about literature: interpretation, inference, characterization

§         Comprehension strategies to understand and connect to literature

§         Study characteristics of fiction and literary devices

§         Analyze film as a text, like a book; compare/contrast film and book

§         Grammar in context

§         Vocabulary in context

§         Writing to analyze, inform, explain, and persuade

§         Journaling as writing to learn; this reflective writing allows the writer to explore and clarify ideas.

§         Writing Process

Core texts:

Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck


Writing Agreements:

Analytical Essay

Change is an inevitable part of life.  With intent, we can make change transformational.



Literature Circle

§         Characterization

§         Formal small group discussion

§         Writing to analyze, inform, and explain

§         Reflective writing

§         Writing Process

§         Creative writing

Book Agreements:

1 or more Transformations Lit Circle books


Speaking out effectively against injustice creates empowerment.

Speaking Out

Literature Circle

§         Formal oral presentation: speeches

§         Consider audience, style, message in reading and writing

§         Analyze characterization in literature

§         Grammar in context

§         Formal small group discussion

§         Cooperation and group work

§         Writing to explain, inform, persuade

§         Writing process

Core text:

The DreamKeeper and Other Poems – Langston Hughes


Book Agreements:

1 or more Speaking Out Lit Circle books


Writing Agreements:


Our personal experiences can be meaningful to others and when shared honestly have the potential to change and impact others’ lives.

Coming of Age Narratives


Short Story

§         Identifying theme

§         Grammar in context

§         Experiment with language

§         Analyze mentor texts and apply to own writing

§         Develop voice

§         Writing Process

§         Narrative writing, including description and dialogue

§         Elements of fiction and short story

§         Reflective writing

Core text:

America Street: A Multicultural Anthology of Stories edited by Anne Mazer


Writing Agreements:

Personal Narrative



§         Know and identify the elements of drama: dialogue, stage directions, dramatic elements