5 Week Update for 8th Grade English

After reading Jill Gough’s recent blog post sharing Trinity teachers’ EL’s for 4th grade, I thought that would be a great way to check in with parents at my 5 week mark. What should your child know and be able to do by now because of his work in English 8?  At the end of the first 5 weeks, students in my 8th grade English Class should be able to say “I can..” to all of the following Essential Learnings:


  • I can use names of my peers and specific characters in discussion.
  • I can be courteous in discussion.
  • I can use evidence from the text in discussion.

Reading Comprehension

  • I can assess how well I  comprehend what I read.
  • I can identify and employ strategies to help me with my reading comprehension.


  • I can use Presentation (MLA format) in my writing consistently.
  • I can use Organization in a Literary Analysis Paper ( which includes a loose outline of a paper with Intro, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusion, and Topic Sentences).
  • I can develop my Ideas in a Literary Analysis Paper  by using quotes from a source.


  • I can use technology responsibly by Evaluating Websites.
  • I can cite sources with parenthetical citations and works cited.
  • I can tell you the difference between a Works Cited and a Bibliography.
  • I can explain Copyright and Plagiarism Rules.


  • I can consistently be on time to class.
  • I can turn in my work on time.

To summatively assess these skills, we are working on a research project (in conjunction with a research project in Science which will mutually reinforce the research skills learned) where the students are looking at the semester long essential questions through the lens of To Kill a Mockingbird and another popular current “text” of their choice (TV, Movie, Cartoon, Novel, etc):

How does literature (or another type of text) act as a window to the cultural values of its time? How does literature (or another type of text) act as a mirror to our own culture? What values hold steady over time? Why?

For the rest of the semester: we will continue our work on the following Essential Learnings  as we read and discuss and write about Homer’s The Odyssey:

Discussion Skills

  • I can participate in a balanced way.
  • I can build on another’s comment.
  • I can ask questions.

Literary Ananalysis Writing

  • I can use a hook to start my introduction.
  • I can end my introduction with a specific, arguable thesis statement.
  • I can organize my body paragraphs with topic sentences, lead-ins, quotes, and lead-outs.
  • I can organize my conclusion so that it answers the So What? question.
  • I can annotate a text to help me understand.
  • I can identify and explain the following literary devices: catalogue, epithet, flashback, direct characterization, indirect characterization, allusion, invocation to the muse, in medias res, narrative poem, prose, poetry, free verse, symbolism, hyperbole.
  • I can analyze what I read.
  • I can comprehend difficult texts.

Look for more updates at the 9 week, 13, and 18 week mark!

This entry was posted in Education, Standards Based Grading and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to 5 Week Update for 8th Grade English

  1. Orette Bristol Sampson says:

    Thank you! I’m very excited to see what the kids produce for the project.

    • epdwilliams says:

      I am looking forward to it as well. They seem to be very engrossed in their research right now, and their papers are growing!

  2. jplgough says:

    P…This is GREAT! Thanks so much for sharing your thinking and questions. I love how you have scaffolded the learning targets to illuminate for students how (and that) they can discuss, comprehend, write, research, assume responsibility, and analyze. There is much for me to learn about my own writing by reflecting and assessing myself using these “I can…” statements.

    I look forward to seeing the next iteration at week 9.

    • epdwilliams says:

      Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂 I’m so glad I can still learn from you even though you’re down the street instead of up the stairs! 🙂 Gotta love the blogging and learning world!

  3. Pingback: In an “I can …” culture: Embracing “What if” and “Yet“ | Experiments in Learning by Doing

  4. Pingback: 9 Week Update for 8th Grade English | Superfluous Thoughts

  5. Pingback: 14 Week Update for 8th Grade English Class | Superfluous Thoughts

  6. Pingback: In an “I can …” culture: Embracing “What if” and “Yet” (TBT Remix) | Experiments in Learning by Doing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s