8th Grade Religion:

Eighth Grade Religion seeks to apply the lesson taught in the previous classes at Our Lady of Refuge to the issues of our modern world. The class focuses heavily on Vatican I and Vatican II and the teachings that have come from them. The class also examines the importance and difficulties of ecumenism and delves into a discussion of the meaning of faith. The class ends with a focus on marriage, confirmation, and Catholic teachings on social justice as the Eighth Graders exit Our Lady of Refuge and enter High School.

8th Grade Social Studies:

Eighth Grade Social Studies is dedicated to the history of the United States from the discovery of the Americas by European explorers to the American Civil War. The course focuses heavily on the American Revolution, and creation and debate surrounding the Constitution. The class advances examining the foundation of an American culture and the first waves of immigrants to come to the United States. Following this, the class spends time looking at the separate American identities formed in the different regions of the United States such as the North, Midwest, West, and South. The discussion of American and regional identity leads into the final portion of the class on the debates over slavery, the secession of the South, and outbreak of the Civil War.

 8th Grade Language Arts:

Students will read, reflect, and respond to various forms of grade-appropriate literature.  A special emphasis will be placed on the author’s use of dialogue to propel plot and develop characters.  By 8th grade, a student is expected to cite evidence that strongly supports an analysis of text and determine an inference compared to what is stated explicitly. Clearly and consistently Identifying the author’s use of a variety of literary techniques and the impact they have on the content of the text will be emphasized. Understanding word choice and its impact on tone will be reinforced. 

Comprehension strategies will include the following: individual and class reflection, vocabulary study and using context clues, an understanding of author’s techniques, recognizing author’s purpose, and focusing on specific word choice including connotative meaning and its impact on the writing. Students will focus on understanding the use of figurative language and what is being implied. The student will need to understand what is implied by certain word choice versus what is stated explicitly.  Comparing and contrasting various forms of writing within different cultures and determining common themes will be explored.

The impact of writing, speaking, and storytelling will be analyzed. Students will incorporate a study of different genres and present findings as to what was the author’s purpose, what was the lasting impact of the selection, and who was the intended audience. 

Using informational text, students will identify an argument and determine if the claim is a sound one based on evidence presented. Compare and contrast the benefits and/or disadvantages of different forms of media used. After reading a selection, the student will analyze and decide if the information provided was enough to develop and support the topic.   By the end of 8th grade, the student should be at the high end of text complexity for grades 6-8.  

Writing in the 8th grade will include both writing that takes place over time and shorter pieces of writing. Focusing on writing a well-organized argument with a clear and concise thesis will be the goal. Formal tone and detailed support throughout an essay that has a used various resources to cite evidence will be the expectation for the 8th grade. 

Narrative writing that includes a well-developed plot, characterization, and dialogue is expected. Special attention will be given in developing and using varied literary techniques to move a plot along on in a logical sequence.  The class’ goal will be to use vivid words and phrases that convey clear sensory details throughout the narrative.

8th Grade Science:

In 8th grade, our students are taught the California State Standards which emphasize Physical Science. Our school uses CK-12.org as our main curriculum. Each student has their school-issued ipad to gain access to this exciting, updated program. These standards explore the many concepts and ideas of anything physical. We start off the year with units in motion, force and machines. The students explore simple machines and build several of their own in different labs, using motion and force. Mid-year we dive into heat, energy and sound. We have a fun sound lab that is always a favorite! Next we learn about electricity, currents and matter. We end the year exploring chemical reactions and learning about the periodic table of elements. The lab for this unit is a student favorite because we use candy to create and organize a periodic table. It is an exciting year in 8th grade!