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8th Grade Humanities (Formerly known as Viewpoints):
Curriculum and Expectations
Watertown Middle School
Mrs. Sam Morris (617) 926-7783 (ext. 1110); email@example.com
Welcome to 8th grade Humanities! This should be an exciting and challenging year for all of us. I spent the summer working with a team of teachers to update and enhance the curriculum, and I can assure you that it is both fascinating and demanding. I will help you in any way I can, but your success depends on you. If you do your best work, stay organized, and ask for help when you need it, you will flourish. I truly believe that by stretching yourself and keeping an open mind you will surprise yourself with the things you can accomplish, and as a result, you will love this class!
The Humanities class is an integrated study of World History and English Language Arts. The following are some of the topics we will study:
Units of Study: We will begin the year by exploring a unit called Facing History and Ourselves, which is a study of the Holocaust and Human Behavior. Later in the year we will be studying China; World Religions and the Rise of Islam; and Medieval Europe.
Essential Questions: We will frame our study of history with the following yearlong questions: How does understanding history help us to understand our world and ourselves today? What kind of leadership/government leads to a just society? How do the forces of integrity, justice and empathy counter violence and hatred? What can we learn about a culture/time from its literature, art, and music? How can individual choices make a difference?
English Language Arts:
Reading: We will read a variety of genres and types of literature, including novels, short stories, memoirs, folk tales, drama, and poetry, including Night, Habibi, The Kite Rider, The Good Earth, and Ties that Bind: Ties that Break. I also require students to engage in ongoing independent reading.
Writing: We will be writing every day, and again, exploring many different genres. You will keep a “journal” or writer’s notebook, as well as complete a variety of writing assignments: poetry, short stories, persuasive pieces and research projects. We will use the writing process to move selected writing pieces from seed ideas to published pieces by revising, editing, and conferencing.
Word Study and Mechanics: Vocabulary development and grammar instruction will be taught in the context of writing.
Essential Questions: We will focus our study of English around the following yearlong questions: How can you connect your own personal experiences, interests, passions, or ideals to your work? What common themes (ideas, problems, truths) can we find in literature from different places and times? How does writing help you as a reader, and how does reading help you as a writer? How do the different elements of a piece of writing work together to make a whole? How can you use your reading and writing skills to improve the quality of all of your work?