14 Week Update for 8th Grade English Class

These past five weeks have simply flown by! Granted, the speed may have something to do with all the class we have been missing due to testing week, the Awesome 8th grade Blue Ridge trip, and the fact that Thanksgiving Break starts next week. Whew!  We haven’t had that many summative assessments this grading period (aka grades) because we’ve been doing a lot of formative work with writing.

The students have had some time to sit down and reflect on their progress again, so parents, please look at their student progress cards and their grade reports with their averages for each essential learning as well as their overall averages. This will give you a more well-rounded picture of what they’ve been up to recently!

Once again, in case you’re wondering, here are the “I can” statements for the 3rd parking period.  students in my 8th grade English Class should be able to say “I can..” to all of the Essential Learnings from the 5 week mark, the 9 week mark, as well as the following:


  • I can identify or explain the following literary devices: in medias res, invocation to the muse, epithet, catalogue, narrative poem, epic, epic simile, direct characterization, indirect characterization, allusion, flashback, myth, hexameter, and meter.
  • I can explain what I have read to others (ask your students to show you the BitStrips Project for chapters 13-18 of The Odyssey).


  • I can write a thesis.
  • I can write a hook.
  • I can write a full introductory paragraph.
  • I can write topic sentences.
  • I can choose quotes to support my topic sentences.
  • I can write lead-ins to my quotes.
  • I can write lead-outs that analyze.
  • I can write a concluding paragraph.
  • I can organize and compose a literary analysis essay.


  • I can consistently be on time to class.
  • I can turn in my work on time.
  • I can be proactive about coming to office hours when I earn a 1 or a 2 or I don’t understand a concept.


  • I can use line, shape, color and other visual elements to communicate a story in the same way that I would use words.
  • I can identify how an author/artist uses line, shape, color and other visual elements to communicate a story.

To all of these elements, your son should be able to say, “yes I can.” We will continue to build on these skills throughout the next part of the semester as we move into the next 5 week period.

One of the focuses of our time these last few weeks has been the bit-strip projects, where students are learning to play with Visual Presentation through making comic strips of one of the chapters of The Odyssey. Ask your son about this fun project involving reading comprehension skills, analysis, and presentation! They are sharing their comics this week.

Coming up in the next 5 weeks, we will continue to flesh out the literary analysis paper on The Odyssey, focusing on the question: How does The Odyssey act as a window to the culture of ancient Greece? How does it act as a mirror to our time? What values hold steady over time? Why? Students have chosen one Greek value they see playing out in The Odyssey and are using that as a guide for literary analysis and research.  We will also be focusing on comma rules for the paper- specifically comma usage with independent clauses, dependent clauses, and lists.

Coming up in the next few weeks, our focus will be on finishing the paper, and then we will be enjoying a little bit of poetry before we begin exam review! During the poetry time, we will be playing with literary devices, form, and sound to mimic the great poets who have come before!

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