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Grade 8 Course Offerings

Click on the arrows below to expand the subject areas for a full list of Grade 8 course options. You may also navigate offerings by clicking on the subjects listed in the menu on the left side of this screen or in the menu dropdown on your mobile device. Each subject page also includes additional information on course pathways. These pathways are visual guides to help students and parents/guardians understand how students can progress through a subject area.

Visual Arts

Art 8
The 8th-grade art curriculum is designed for thirty-six weeks of studio work with classes meeting daily. The year-long course demands that the curriculum be well balanced and versatile to provide an experience to meet the needs of a variety of students. The MYP art program objectives allow for creativity and inventiveness through learning experiences and interdisciplinary units.

Visual arts expose students to: drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, fabric design, mixed- media, two-dimensional and three-dimensional media, ceramics, sculpture, and crafts. Students study art history, art criticism, and aesthetics, and develop skills for lifelong learning and appreciation for the visual arts and art careers. MYP Process Journals are also used to aid student growth and creativity. Throughout the year-long course, students will be provided with opportunities for service learning projects that will utilize their developing visual arts skills and explorations. By participating in these visual adventures, students will discover multiple avenues for communication and relations building in a supportive and safe environment.

The MYP Assessment for the Visual Arts 8th-grade year-long course includes:
  • Criterion A: Knowing and Understanding
  • Criterion B: Developing skills
  • Criterion C: Thinking creatively
  • Criterion D: Responding

Design

Design 8
In 8th grade, Design students will solve problems and complete tasks by using technology and the IB Design Cycle, which requires students to investigate a problem, plan a solution, design and create the solution and then evaluate the success of that solution.  This will be an engaging, hands-on class, which will allow students to apply the problem-solving and collaboration skills that they are gaining throughout the IB program to real-world situations.  Every Design class will meet the IB design curriculum standards and will incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) best practices and community partnerships. 

Individuals & Societies

Individuals & Societies 8
U.S. Studies from 1492 to 1877: Exploration through Reconstruction
The historical focus continues in the eighth grade with the study of European exploration and the early years of the United States. This study incorporates all four social studies strands into a chronologic view of the development of the United States. Students examine how historic events are shaped by geographic, social, cultural, economic, and political factors.

Language & Literature

Language & Literature 8
Achievement focus: examination of literature, including non-fiction and fiction, drama, and poetry; projects involving written and oral presentation; continuing study of grammar, usage, and mechanics reinforcing language communication and application to writing development;  study of vocabulary; successful development and completion of a showcase writing portfolio, including, a literary analysis, a persuasive research essay,  two creative piece, and a reflection; reading independently.

Skills and Attitudes Leading to Student Success:
  • Enjoys reading, writing, and working with language
  • Understands the writing process
  • Exhibits mastery of a unified, coherent expository paragraph
  • Has average reading comprehension and understanding
  • Is able to read and understand reading assignments of 10-20 pages per night, depending on the work studied
  • Has some understanding of proper grammar, usage, and mechanics
  • Has competent organizational skills
  • Assumes ownership of regularly assigned homework
  • Is able to contribute appropriately and meaningfully to the discussion of literature
  • Is able to engage in collaborative small group discussions and work sessions


Reading Workshop: Intervention

Criteria for Placement in Reading Workshop Classes

We offer an intervention program because reading is vital for success across subjects and content areas. Students are enrolled in a workshop class when they are identified as significantly below grade level in reading. We consider the following criteria when recommending placement in a workshop class.

  • Student did not pass the reading section of the state assessment.
  • Student who has consistently scored below the 35th percentile on MAP reading assessment (District benchmark)
  • Recommendation by student's Language & Literature teacher
Reading Goals
Reading instruction focuses on strategies that will help students acquire specific fluency, comprehension and vocabulary skills.

Foundational Reading Strategies & Skills
  • Comprehension monitoring
  • Retelling
  • Developing vocabulary
  • Asking and answering questions
  • Identifying main idea and details
  • Analyzing characters
  • Analyzing relationships
  • Inferring
  • Summarizing
  • Evaluating
  • Using text features
  • Understanding text structure

Math and Reading Workshop
We offer this intervention course if a student needs both reading and math support as described above, and in the math section of this Academic Planning Guide.

Language Acquisition

French I (Grades 7 & 8)

Students will be introduced to the French language and the cultures of the French-speaking world. Listening, speaking, reading, writing, and culture are the necessary components of language learning. These skills will be practiced through a variety of age-appropriate activities that focus on using French as a means of real-life communication. The vocabulary and grammatical structures introduced in the seventh grade will help prepare students for their continued study of French.

 

French II (Grade 8)

Students continue to develop their language proficiency. Greater emphasis is placed on oral and written communication. The vocabulary and grammatical skills emphasized provide the opportunity for students to speak and write about themselves and the world around them. Students learn about cultural topics such as the French fashion industry and the contributions of France to global culinary culture, as well as pursuing a year-long portfolio project about a French-speaking place of their choosing. 

 

German I (Grades 7 & 8)

This highly contextualized course is designed to get students to use their language. Multiple modes of communication (reading, writing, listening and speaking) will be developed in culturally rich units that leverage current trends in video, music and print resources. Vocabulary and grammar will be taught through global themes such as identities and relationships, personal and cultural expression, and globalization. Students will be highly encouraged to use their language in class and to explore German culture in our community. The foundation created in German I will prepare students for continued study in German II and beyond.

 

German II (Grade 8)

This course continues to build upon students’ foundational skills in German. Students will interpret and respond to a variety of authentic sources. More independent and reflective written tasks will allow students to make connections to what they interpret. Vocabulary and grammar will continue to be taught through global themes such as aesthetics, communications and media, and globalization. 

 

Latin I (Grades 7 & 8)

Latin encompasses a three-pronged approach to the study of the language. First, students will work on prefixes and word roots to increase their English vocabulary. Next, students will study basic Latin vocabulary and grammar to prepare for further study at the eighth grade level. Finally, students will have many opportunities to learn about Roman mythology, culture, and civilization. The curriculum strands are developed through a wide variety of activities, games, dialogues, and projects, which engage Middle School students in active learning.

 

Latin II (Grade 8)

The continuation of Latin at the Middle School provides students with an opportunity to increase their Latin and English vocabularies and transfer their basic language skills to English or to the study of another language. Students continue to work on increasingly complex Latin grammar and vocabulary, translation, word derivation, and reading skills. Students will also study, in greater depth, the mythology and history of the Romans and Greeks so that they will be able to understand classical civilizations as well as their influence on our government, philosophy, literature, and arts.

 

Mandarin I (Grades 7 & 8)

Students in Mandarin I will expand their exposure to Chinese culture with greater emphasis on the development of reading, writing and oral communication skills. These skills will be practiced through a variety of age-appropriate activities using phonetic "pinyin" and "simplified" Chinese characters. The initial stage of Chinese language learning emphasizes imitation and repetition, which students will practice in the context of class activities and projects.

 

Mandarin II (Grade 8)

Students in 8th Grade Chinese will continue to develop their language proficiency in reading, written and oral communication skills. Vocabulary and grammatical skills introduced in the seventh grade will be enhanced enabling students to describe themselves and the world around them. Cultural themes will include examining festive family-centric holidays like Chinese New Year's, and exploring world-class cities like Beijing and Shanghai.   

 

Spanish I (Grades 7 & 8)

Students in Spanish I will continue to study the Spanish language and the Spanish-speaking world at a rigorous pace. Listening, speaking, reading, writing, and culture are the necessary components of language learning. These skills will be practiced through a variety of age-appropriate activities that focus on using Spanish as a means of real-life communication. The vocabulary and grammatical structures introduced will help prepare students for their continued study of Spanish. 

 

Spanish II (Grade 8)

In Spanish II, students will continue to develop reading, writing, listening and speaking proficiency. Students learn vocabulary and grammar at a rigorous pace in this high school level course. This provides opportunities for students to speak and write about themselves and the world. Students continue to explore the Spanish-speaking cultures. 

 

Exploratory Language (Grades 7 & 8)

Students who are new to the district and/or new to language will join the Exploratory Language course that introduces students to two languages, which are taught for one semester each. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of each language studied, with a special emphasis on conversational language and the study of cultures. Upon completion of this course, students are welcome to take a level-one course in the language of their choice. The languages offered may change from year to year.

Mathematics

Algebra I
This is the primary mathematics course for 8th grade students. Students in this course will learn standards associated with the Ohio High School Algebra 1 curriculum. They will build on the skills learned in Pre-Algebra and apply them to the five areas of critical focus: reasoning with equations, linear and exponential relationships, descriptive statistics, expressions and equations, and quadratic functions and modeling. Each unit will encourage modeling and real-world application. Students will learn how to use a graphing calculator.

Unit topics include a study of: 
  • Equivalent Expressions and forms of equations
  • Polynomial expressions and equations 
  • Statistical analysis using two data sets
  • Creating, comparing and solving functions to model linear, exponential and quadratic relationships
  • Solving systems of equations and inequalities
 
Math 8
This course is designed for unique situations that cause a student to be unable to take Algebra, the basic course for Shaker 8th graders.The primary goals of the course are consistent with the 8th grade Ohio State Standards in Mathematics. Topics include an in-depth study of: expressions involving radicals and integer exponents, creating models and making comparisons of linear and nonlinear functional relationships, solving and analyzing pairs of linear equations, statistical analysis using line of best fit, application of Pythagorean Theorem, congruence and similarity within transformations and solving problems involving volume of cylinders, cones and spheres. Real-world applications will be used to develop a deep understanding of each topic. Students completing this course with an A or B may be recommended for the Honors level courses at the High School.
 
9 Honors Math
9 Honors Math is intended for students who completed Algebra 1 in middle school with an A or B. Unit Topics: Congruence, Proof, and Constructions; Similarity, Proof and Trigonometry; Extending to Three Dimensions; Connecting Algebra and Geometry through Coordinates; Circles with and without Coordinates; Applications of Probability; and Foundations of Intermediate Algebra. A graphing calculator is required. A TI-89 Titanium graphing calculator is recommended for students who plan on taking AP Calculus AB or BC as seniors. Otherwise, a TI-84 Plus is acceptable.

Math Workshop Classes: Intervention and Support
Philosophy: The demanding world of the 21st century requires everyone to have basic literacy, computation and communication skills in order to gain knowledge, to become lifelong learners and to collaborate effectively with others. In our intervention workshop classes, students receive support in developing foundational literacy and mathematics skills in order to achieve success in school and beyond the classroom. The ultimate goal of these classes is to produce global citizens who are self-confident and self-motivated members of society who understand that communication skills are vital to their own success and the success of others. We offer a Math Workshop Class, Reading Workshop Class and a Math & Reading Combination Class. 

Criteria for Placement in Math Workshop Class: We offer an intervention program because math is vital for success across subject and content areas. Students are enrolled in a workshop class when they are identified as significantly below grade level in math. We consider the following criteria when recommending placement in a workshop class.
  • Student did not pass the math section of the state assessment
  • Student who has consistently scored below the 35th percentile on MAP on math assessment (district benchmark)
  • Recommendation by student’s Math teachers

Math Goals: Math instruction focuses on strategies that will help students acquire basic fact fluency skills, mental math strategies and support connections for Pre-Algebra or Algebra courses.


Foundational Math Strategies & Skills:
  • Number sense
  • Number and pattern relationships
  • Operation sense and computation
  • Fractions, decimals and percents
  • Proportional reasoning (Math 7 connection)
  • Algebra (Math 8 connection)
Math and Reading Workshop: We offer this intervention course if a student needs both reading and math support as described above (and in the reading section of this Academic Planning Guide).

Music

8th Grade Choir
The eighth grade choir is a vocal singing ensemble available for students who audition and who are preparing for high school level singing literature. This group is reserved for students who have adequate music reading skills and proficient singing technique. Sight reading skills will be developed, and performances outside of the normal school setting such as large group contest occur on a regular basis.
 
7th & 8th Grade Orchestra
The Shaker Heights Middle School orchestra provides exciting musical experiences for students who play violin, viola, cello, string bass, piano, or harp. Daily class rehearsals involve learning about instrument mechanics, sound production, tuning, scales in various keys, fingering, and numerous concepts including ensemble techniques in the basic musical elements of rhythm, harmony, melody, and style. Preparation for performances in assemblies, school concerts, and community settings fosters group skills in listening, awareness, cooperation, and responsibility. Additional opportunities to work in small ensembles of duets, trios, and quartets assist in the development of critical listening skills, creativity of expression, and continued musical growth.
 
7th & 8th Grade Symphonic Winds
The 7th and 8th Grade Symphonic Winds consist of students in their third and fourth years of instruction. Membership is by band director recommendation. It is highly recommended that the symphonic students study privately on their instruments so that they can master the advanced literature performed with the group. These ensembles are designed to have ideal instrumentation and balance. These bands routinely perform music from the Ohio Music Education Association’s Middle School class A through High School class B level. The Symphonic Winds perform music from a variety of styles and time periods. The Symphonic Winds perform in scheduled evening concerts for the public in the fall, winter, and spring. Students in these groups are encouraged to participate in the Shaker Chamber Music Festival and OMEA sponsored Honors band.
 
7th & 8th Grade Concert Winds
The 7th and 8th Grade Concert Winds consist of students in their third and fourth years of instruction. Membership in these groups is determined by band director recommendation. These ensembles are designed to develop and nurture the student’s emerging musical skills. The Concert Winds also provide an opportunity for students to transfer instruments for the purpose of improving the balance and instrumentation of the band. This band routinely performs music from the Ohio Music Education Association’s Middle School A through High School class C level. It is highly recommended that students in this band study privately on their instruments due to the challenging nature of the literature performed with the group. The 7th and 8th Grade Concert Winds perform music from a variety of styles and time periods. The bands perform in scheduled concerts for the public in the fall, winter, and spring.
 
7th & 8th Grade Concert Bands
The 7th Grade and 8th Grade Concert Bands are composed of students in their second, third, and fourth years of instruction. Membership in these bands is determined by instrumentation and each student’s individual contribution. The Concert Bands place an emphasis on the fundamentals of musicianship and band performance, with opportunities to transfer instruments to improve the balance and instrumentation of the band. The Concert Bands perform music from a variety of styles and time periods as well as literature from the Ohio Music Education Associations’ Middle School class B and C levels. The bands perform scheduled concerts for the public in the fall, winter and spring.
 
7th & 8th Grade Jazz Ensembles
The 7th and 8th Grade Jazz Ensembles rehearse a minimum of 90 minutes per week. These classes provide students with the opportunity to study and perform music within the jazz idiom, including swing, blues, rock, ballads, shuffles, waltzes, funk, and fusion styles. All students will develop the fundamentals of the art of improvisation and will have the opportunity to solo within the jazz group. Performances can include jazz festivals, middle school assemblies, elementary school field trips, jazz clinics, and the Shaker band department’s “Evening of Jazz.” Membership is open to students enrolled in the middle school bands who play a standard jazz instrument (Alto, Tenor, or Baritone Saxophone; Trumpet, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, Piano, Drums, Electric Guitar, and Bass Guitar).

Physical & Health Education

Physical Education
The Shaker Heights Physical Education Course of Study is aligned with the following standards developed by the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE):
  • Demonstrates competency in motor skills and movement patterns needed to perform a variety of physical activities (Motor Skills).
  • Demonstrates understanding of movement concepts, principles, strategies, and tactics as they apply movement to the learning and performance of physical activities (Performance Concepts).
  • Participates regularly in physical activities (Active Lifestyles).
  • Achieves and maintains a health-enhancing level of physical fitness (Physical Fitness).
  • Exhibits the responsible personal and social behavior of respect for one’s self and others in physical activity settings (Personal/Social Skills).
  • Values physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, and social interaction (Values Physical Activity).

Science

Integrated Sciences 8
In Integrated Sciences 8 classes, students will explore Earth science, physical science, genetics, evolution, and scientific measurement. Students will continue to develop their reading ability and will learn how to write more advanced laboratory reports. Students are expected to apply mathematical operations and to examine scientific data. Students should be able to apply what they have learned to real world situations.