8th Grade

ENGLISH

English 8 - Introduction to Literature

Eighth-grade students read and study a variety of literature, including Lord of the Flies, The Giver, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a selection of classic and contemporary poetry. These texts allow students to explore themes of the individual’s place in a community and the relationship between natural order and civilized order. Formal vocabulary and grammar study begins, and a portfolio approach to writing develops the student’s ability in composition, persuasive writing, and the analytical essay.

MATHEMATICS

Pre-Algebra

This course is designed to provide the necessary foundation to assist students in the transition from elementary mathematics to Algebra.  Students discover the underlying concepts and principles of algebra and geometry and how they relate.  Topics include percents, probability, statistics, multi-step equations, geometric relationships and formula, and the coordinate plane.  An exploratory and discovery approach will be emphasized in this course.

Algebra I (Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra)

This course serves as the first in the sequence of college preparatory mathematics.  Concepts are introduced in the context of real-world problems in order to increase the conceptual development of the student.  This course covers graphs in the coordinate plane, linear equations and inequalities, radicals, polynomials, quadratics, and data analysis. The concept of functions is emphasized using graphical, verbal, numerical, and algebraic methods.

Geometry (Prerequisite: Algebra I)

This class emphasizes two- and three-dimensional reasoning skills, coordinate and transformational geometry, the use of geometric models to solve problems, and algebraic connections in Geometry. Concepts are introduced in the context of real-world problems in order to increase conceptual development. A variety of application problems and problem-solving skills are included. This course covers properties of geometric figures, coordinate geometry, constructions, introduction to Trigonometry, informal proofs, and cultural, artistic and historical contexts of Geometry. Students will need a computer for this class and use of Geogebra and Google SketchUp.

SCIENCE

Earth Science

This course introduces students to the basic concepts of Earth Science.  Specific topics include mapping Earth’s surface; minerals, rocks and the rock cycle; plate tectonics, earthquakes, and volcanoes; surface processes; Earth’s freshwater and saltwater systems; weather and climate; and astronomy.  Class discussions and written homework assignments emphasize mastery of topics.  Frequent field activities and exercises encourage students to master and use inquiry and critical thinking skills.  Projects are designed to allow students to explore topics in depth and to develop skills in organization, the use of library/media center and online resources, and writing carefully documented science reports.

SOCIAL STUDIES

World Cultures and Geography

This class examines the cultures and geography of the continents and major nations of the world in order to provide students with a perspective on “global” issues, such as the environment, human rights, and economic interdependence. Students have the chance to learn how location and topography can affect a country’s culture and interaction with the rest of the world.  The class emphasizes the development of map skills, knowledge of specific locations, and an appreciation for the cultures of the world.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE

Latin I

Latin I introduces students to Latin vocabulary, sentence construction, grammatical rules, syntax and the richness of Roman culture.  Students acquire beginning translation and construction skills for the written word, as well as learn proper pronunciation and inflection for oral reading.  This is a proficiency-based course, which provides active practice in listening, speaking, reading and writing in the Latin language.  It is also enriched with numerous elements of the Roman civilization, including daily life, customs, architecture, and historical relevance.  

Note: All 8th grade students who are not enrolled in ESOL are required to take Latin I unless they have enough language experience to be placed in French or Spanish or an upper-level Latin course.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

In ESOL, students will participate in an in-depth study of vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structures found in the English language. This study will be developed on an assessment of students’ language needs. Students will study a variety of vocabulary terms that will be centered on the themes outlined within our textbooks, as well as within readings done during class. Similarly, students will discuss grammar topics that will be based on student need, while reviewing basic grammatical structures, such as sentence formation, through more complex concepts such as adverb clauses and discourse connectors. As a class, students will consistently work in all of the language domains, including speaking, reading, writing, listening, and culture. Students’ culture studies will consist not only of the culture of the United States, but the distinct personal cultures that each student brings to the ESOL class. Students will encounter a focus on practical application of the English language, in the hopes that as they complete their year in ESOL, students will feel as though their comfort level, fluency, and knowledge about the English language and cultures will have increased greatly.

FINE ARTS

Art I

Art I is an entry-level art class designed for students in grades 8-12 who have no prior art credits at the secondary level.  Through opportunities and challenges in the studio arts of drawing, painting and sculpture, students will gain artistic knowledge and skills.  The emphasis of the course is on art production.  Art history is integrated into the curriculum through the study of various artists and art periods, usually as they relate to the students’ projects.

Singing I

This class is open to all skill levels and offers individual and group voice coaching and performance opportunities for young singers.  Students receive individualized instruction tailored to their musical ability and singing experience, and are assigned time slots for daily practice during the class period. Because classes are typically small, students receive one-on-one coaching in vocal technique, proper breathing, posture, tone and diction, and are encouraged to explore classical, blues, jazz, pop and Broadway musical styles.  In addition, the instructor provides an introduction to music theory, sight singing, solfeggio, music listening and ear training, all of which contribute to well-rounded training for high school musicians.  Students will track and analyze their own musical growth in a detailed journal or blog.

Throughout the year there are opportunities to participate in several performing events, including Family and Friends Weekend; school assemblies; holiday concerts; fall and winter recitals and the Spring Honors Ceremony. Miller School of Albemarle students may enroll in Singing Class for up to five academic years.

Studio Music I

Open to instrumentalists of all skill levels, this class offers individual and ensemble coaching and performance opportunities.  Students receive instruction tailored to their musical ability and playing experience, and are assigned time slots for daily practice during the class period. Because classes are typically small, students receive one-on-one coaching in instrumental technique to include articulation, bowing, proper breathing, posture, tone production, and are encouraged to explore classical, blues, jazz, pop and global musical styles.  In addition, the instructor provides an introduction to music theory, sight reading, music listening and ear training, all of which contribute to well-rounded training for high school musicians.  Students will track and analyze their own musical growth in a detailed journal or blog.

Throughout the year there are opportunities to participate in several performing events, including Family and Friends Weekend; school assemblies; holiday concerts; fall and winter recitals and the Spring Honors Ceremony.  Young pianists, in particular, have frequent chances to accompany other students. Miller School of Albemarle students may enroll in Studio Music Class for up to five academic years.