8th Grade English

Welcome to the English Department Eighth Grade Page

English Language Arts is divided into three categories – Literature, Composition, and Language Study.


The 8th grade English Language Arts curriculum at Concord Middle School focuses on the following questions:

  • What makes a just society?
  • How does the individual impact society?
  • What does the writer want the reader to know, understand, believe, feel?

Eighth graders study 12 Angry Men by Reginald Rose, The Giver by Lois Lowry,  Animal Farm by George Orwell, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shalespeare. Further, the students select additional novels for independent small group and individual exploration. These titles include but are not limited to Anthem by Ayn Rand, Lost Horizon by James Milton, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, The Cure by Sonia Levitin, and Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.   Beyond the utopian/dystopian novels, the students read numerous short stories and poems.  Throughout these literature units, students write multi-paragraph analytical essays and reader’s response journals.   Finally, each trimester students must engage in independent reading, referred to as “Required Outside Reading.”


The English department at Concord Middle School encourages constant, demanding, and diverse writing experiences. The students respond to open ended questions. Some assignments are initiated and completed within the classroom setting. Longer assignments require significant time outside of the classroom and result in three to five paragraphs or pages. They require individual planning, organization, and effort. The rubrics address the formulation of a thesis statement, depth of analysis, topic development, organization, identification and elaboration of support, the connection of support to thesis, transition from idea to idea as well as paragraph to paragraph, sophistication of word choice, and the clarity of sentence structure. In terms of creative writing, the students write an original short story in the second half of the year. Students must word process all written assignments and demonstrate competent editing skills for sentence clarity, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar.


Grammar instruction focuses on sentence structure and variety as well as internal punctuation, with a particular emphasis on comma use.  Students also engage in ongoing, cumulative vocabulary instruction.