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Grade 8 GT

Unit 1: Freedom, Education, and the Narrative
In this unit, students read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass as well as additional texts that focus on the issue of civil rights from several periods of American history. With these texts, students will read closely and learn annotation skills to analyze how authors develop main ideas and messages through the use of rhetorical devices. Finally, they will compose an analysis of Douglass's use of rhetoric and structure to form a connection between the ideas of freedom and education. 

Unit 2: The Humorist and The Suspense Artist
In this unit, students will read A Midsummer Night's Dream as well as either Dracula or The Princess Bride to examine how authors create humor and suspense in text.  During the study of selected texts, students will examine the development of the narrative through the purposeful use literary techniques intended to create either humor or suspense. The unit ends with students writing an analysis of Edgar Allan Poe's use of literary devices to create an effect on the reader in "The Tell Tale Heart" and "The Raven."  

Unit 3: Fact and Fiction in Conspiracies and Narratives
In this unit, students examine various conspiracy theories and the means by which authors organize and present their viewpoints. Students read Chasing Lincoln's Killer as a basis for comparative analysis of the theories behind Lincoln's assassination as well as The Killer Angels to analyze and compare narrative structures. The unit culminates with the composition of an original ending to Chasing Lincoln's Killer using plausible alternative theories as a basis for their ideas.

Unit 4: The Challenge of Expressing Our Views
In this unit, students will engage in literary study and analysis through various approaches to literary criticism. The teacher will allow students to exercise choice in the selection of an appropriate text for study and analysis through the lens of one of the critical approaches to literature. At the end of the unit, students will compose an essay in which they evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of conflicting arguments of literary critique. 

Click here to view the Grade 8 GT Year at a Glance document

Note: The BCPS ELA curriculum provides teachers and students with choices that allow for personalized, responsive, and engaging instruction. Students should read the majority of the unit's novel-length work(s) outside of class time. The suggested unit sequences and text options may vary.