Eighth Grade - St. Joseph School Seattle
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Eighth Grade

Eighth grade

To prepare students for the challenges of high school level English, eighth grade ELA will: engage students in intensive hands-on writing instruction to model and demystify the writing process; teach students about audience and purpose in writing; encourage growth through meaningful feedback; and use their understanding of grammar, usage, and mechanics to produce written pieces that address Common Core learning standards.

Eighth grade literature students turn outwards and engage with diverse, globally-focused narratives. The goal is to encourage students to broaden their view of the world and engage with text in a critical, analytic, and academic manner. At its foundation, eighth grade literature focuses on identity versus society. Specifically, how characters-and all of us-relate and are sometimes challenged by societal expectations and norms. Over the course of the year, the literature class integrates reading and writing skills, critical questioning and discussion skills, vocabulary, and literary terms and genres. All curriculum is Common Core aligned.

With a splash of U.S. geography, a dash of presidential impact, and a dollop of innovation during wartime, students delve into the tumult and the prosperity of America's history. Students read from primary source documents, continue their development of writing skills, and engage in critical thinking discussions, such as those based on Supreme Court Landmark Cases. Through the study of all the presidents, presentations on the expansion of the nation, and researching and writing short biographies, students will gain a greater appreciation of American history. The class uses the History Alive curriculum, ‘The United States through Modern Times.


This course focuses on developing fluency with rational numbers and proportional relationships. Students will extend their elementary skills and begin to learn algebra concepts that serve as a transition into formal Algebra and Geometry. Students will learn to think flexibly about relationships among fractions, decimals, and percents. Students will learn to recognize and generate equivalent expressions and solve single-variable equations and inequalities. Students will investigate and explore mathematical ideas and develop multiple strategies for analyzing complex situations. Students will analyze situations verbally, numerically, graphically, and symbolically. Students will apply mathematical skills and make meaningful connections to their life experiences. Along with the textbook students will be able to utilize ALEKS a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course.

Algebra 1

Algebra 1 is intended to introduce students to the fundamental theory and structure of Algebra and to build a foundation for all higher math classes. It is a prerequisite for geometry and Algebra II. The content of the course includes: the study of the four fundamental operations with rational numbers, the study of solving equations and systems of equations, inequalities, quadratics, word problems, the study of graphing, the study of functions, and the study of polynomials. The Course will include direct class instruction, group work, homework, quizzes and tests.


There is a prerequisite of Algebra 1 prior to acceptance into course. Students will study 2 and 3-dimensional geometry, parallel and perpendicular lines, congruence, similarity, logical connections and transformation. There is a strong emphasis on math reasoning through informal and formal proofs which requires a thorough understanding of math vocabulary and properties. It focuses on the Common Core Standards for High School Geometry and utilizes the Big Ideas Geometry textbook along with ALEKS Geometry course.

In the eighth grade, the focus is on Catholic Social Teaching and Church History. Throughout the year there is an emphasis on the Liturgy, the Liturgical Calendar, the sacred times of Advent and Lent, and what it means to Live as a Catholic Christian in the world today. Students demonstrate learning through daily work, reflections, tests, and projects. Students work towards being able to look at the world using their faith to guide their decisions. Catholic teachings and traditions will be reinforced to give students a base on which their faith can continue to grow and be enriched in the future. The hope is that the students become more engaged in their faith journey and become inspired and confident enough to live out their faith in an often challenging world.

Eighth grade science is a year-long, Next Generation Science Standards-based course in Earth Science. Its purpose is to activate the intellectual curiosity of adolescent learners about their world and the wonders of science. Students develop their inquiry skills as they explore science concepts. Students will be asked to observe, infer, predict, collect data, communicate, collaborate, and problem solve around Earth Science topics. These topics include Weather and Climate Systems, Earth’s Dynamic Systems, and Space Systems and Exploration.