Eighth Grade Language Arts


The art of communication – transmitting one idea to another person. It’s not just producing content, it’s not just speaking, it’s not just listening – it’s doing all of these well. The eighth grade language arts curriculum focuses on helping students articulate their thoughts clearly, efficiently, and accurately. They will develop a range of content – responses, articles, scripts, speeches, narratives, visual art, websites, videos, photo essays, poetry, three dimensional models, and finally, a class musical. They will practice writing on a device and writing by hand. All of this fulfills the goal of teaching our students to communicate well in a variety of formats. Get ready. We ’bout to create.

Texts and Resources

  • Mr. Santos will curate individual texts and design learning experiences in the Language Arts area.
  • Informational options
    • Seattle Public Library – Every middle school student is required to have a Seattle Public Library card and account with their PIN memorized. This is a critical piece in studying informational text and using public databases.
    • NEWSELA – This outlet is commonly used in school settings. It provides current news articles from a variety of sources and has the ability adjust the reading level of each story to fit a student’s level of needed rigor. Here at OLG, we use this not just in LA/Lit, but in content area classes as well.
    • Various articles, podcasts and documentaries curated by the teacher (and occasionally by the students).

Skills (in a nutshell)

  • Writing
    • Constructing clear, precise messages
    • Developing a writing process: brainstorming, drafting, resting and revising, sharing, revising and publishing
    • Conventions, grammar, mechanics, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, sentence structure
    • Developing and organizing ideas
    • Writing with style and tone appropriate for different audiences
    • Accurately employing new vocabulary words
    • Writing different modes: narrative, explanatory/expository, persuasive
    • Citing a variety of sources
  • Speaking and Listening
    • Small group discussion
    • Asking questions
    • Debate
    • Presentation skills – poise, voice, gestures, speed, life, eye contact, etc.
    • Paraphrasing and expanding on others’ ideas
    • Presenting in different formats for different audiences
    • Social behaviors and conversation

8th Grade Musical

Each year, 8th graders produce and perform a musical for the community. This unique learning experience requires all 8th graders to learn stage performance skills, including acting, dancing, singing, design, and more. Here are some of the elements of this project:

  • Auditions (November) – Read more, including Language Arts Learning Connections
  • Rehearsals and Choreography (January through Performance)
  • Set design (January through March)
  • Tech Week (Week of performance—attendance required)
  • Performance (Usually a Thursday in April or early May)

General Expectations

  1. Participate! Do so in your own way, whether raising your hand, writing descriptively, artistically, small group or large group. Just know that if you struggle in any of these areas, you’ll be encouraged =).
  2. Practice aloha (mutual love and respect). You’re middle schoolers. None of you know everything. The teacher doesn’t know everything either. We’re in a learning environment, so allow one another to make mistakes, both academic and social, and do not belittle someone for being imperfect. Be forgiving of self and others. Find ways to be helpful. And be grateful.
  3. Always do your best. Every assignment is doable if you put in the effort, which includes powering through struggle and communicating when you need help.
  4. Communicate. Your teacher is not some astral being projecting information to you from afar. We are your own personal resource for helping you learn. Take advantage of that!
  5. Do your own work. Don’t plagiarize. You will learn the difference between summarizing, paraphrasing and quoting. If your entire essay is a “quote without quotation marks,” that is blatant plagiarism, resulting in a zero on the assignment. I’d rather you NOT turn in an assignment or essay than turn in a copied one. It’s way more hassle for me, you and your parents. And your academic record!