• Assessment

    In eighth grade, we administer several state and district level assessments in reading and math to aid teachers’ understanding of your child’s strengths and needs in order to design instruction accordingly. Students participate in AIMSWeb Reading Curriculum-Based Measurement, where they are asked to read grade-level passages to assess their accuracy. The AIMSWeb Math Concepts and Applications assessment focuses on mathematical concepts and how apply different strategies to problem-solve. MAP testing, aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards, assesses students in both reading and mathematics and is an adaptive test given in the spring.


    The Illinois State Board of Education requires the district to administer the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) assessment in the spring, which is built to evaluate students on the Illinois Learning Standards and measures whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers. All students are tested in English Language Arts and Mathematics. It is also required for eighth grade students to take the Illinois Science Assessment in the spring, which is aligned to our Illinois Learning Standards for science. The State Board of Education also requires the district to administer required fitness testing (FitnessGram) in the fall and spring as part of the physical education program. This assessment measures health-related fitness for youth through multiple tests measuring aerobic capacity, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility.


    Fine Arts

    Students will experience 4 exploratory courses for a quarter each. In 8th grade, students have the opportunity to take various exploratory courses in each discipline. Teachers design these specialty courses each year based on student interest. Examples might include Movie Mania and Improvisation in the discipline of Drama or Drawing & Painting and Sculpture in the discipline of Art. Students can take up to 2 courses in any one discipline. Students will be given the opportunity to indicate their interests at the end of their 7th grade year. Students are scheduled into 4 exploratory courses based on several considerations including class size and student interest. Teachers and Administration do their best to give students as many of their top rankings as possible. However, students may not be scheduled in their top 4 ranked exploratory courses depending on a variety of scheduling factors. Students in grades 5-8 also have the opportunity to join band. The band program offers students the chance to participate in a variety of ensembles that perform a wide range of music.




    Reading instruction in eighth grade includes the following:

    • Direct, explicit instruction in the strategies and skills of proficient reading
    • Opportunities to talk in response to texts
    • Study of multiple genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories)
    • Reading informational books and building a knowledge base and academic vocabulary through information reading
    • Assessment-based instruction including feedback that is tailored to students specific strengths and needs
    • Reading of increasingly complex texts
    • Access to books that allow students to have a high volume of high-success reading

    Our eighth grade classrooms utilize McDougal Littell Literature and teacher selected novels for reading instruction.



    Eighth grade classrooms utilize The Writers’ Express (WEX) for writing instruction.  The following are the three writing units:  Response to Nonfiction, Response to Fiction, and Personal Narrative. Students progress in skills and development within these key areas of writing.

    The Writers’ Express curriculum tracks each student’s progress through the carefully selected sequence of skills, using a cycle of daily, low-stakes practice assessments with targeted, authentic feedback.  This method allows students to work at their own pace, moving back and forth between technical skills and expressive abilities to develop distinctive writing voices with The WEX® Method.



    8th Grade Math

    Big Ideas Math

    The Big Ideas Math program, written by Ron Larson and Laurie Boswell, utilizes a research-based, balanced instructional approach that includes both discovery learning and scaffolded lessons. Big Ideas Math® is dedicated to the balanced approach to instruction. Activities and Explorations involve student-directed discovery learning, allowing students to develop conceptual understanding. The discovery learning is followed by scaffolded instruction, giving students the opportunity to utilize clear, precise mathematics language and structure.


    Curriculum Resource: Big Ideas

    Algebra I

    ISBN: 978-1608404520


    Algebra I Coursework

    Chapter 1: Solving Linear Equations

    Chapter 2: Graphing and Writing Linear Equations

    Chapter 3: Solving Linear Inequalities

    Chapter 4: Solving Systems of Linear Equations

    Chapter 5: Linear Functions

    Chapter 6: Exponential Equations and Functions

    Chapter 7: Polynomial Equations and Factoring

    Chapter 11: Rational Equations and Functions

    Chapter 9: Solving Quadratic Equations

    Chapter 10: Square Root Functions and Geometry


    8th grade Advanced Math


    District 25 partners with District 214 to provide students an aligned Geometry course that mirrors the content, rigor, and expectations of the Geometry offerings in District 214.  The Geometry course is offered at both South Middle School and Thomas Middle School instructed by one of the eighth grade math teachers.  The Glencoe text is the same textbook used in District 214 for the Geometry course.  With the successful completion of Geometry, Students have completed the equivalent of Honors Advanced Geometry.  This course appears on their District 25 transcript, but does not count as high school credit nor will it be present on their District 214 transcript.
    Curriculum Resource: Glencoe

    Geometry Common Core Edition

    ISBN: 978-0076639298


    Glencoe Coursework

    Chapter 1:  Tools of Geometry

    Chapter 3:  Parallel and Perpendicular Lines

    Chapter 2:  Reasoning and Proof

    Chapter 4:  Congruent Triangles

    Chapter 5:  Relationships in Triangles

    Chapter 6:  Quadrilaterals

    Chapter 7:  Proportions And Similarity

    Chapter 8:  Right Triangles and Trigonometry

    Chapter 10: Circles

    Chapter 11: Areas of Polygons and Circles

    Chapter 12: Extending Surface Area and Volume


    Physical Education

    Middle school students attend Physical Education classes every day in order to further develop their movement skills, teamwork, and physical fitness. During one quarter each year, middle school students join a Health class that incorporates physical activity but has a larger focus on nutrition, drug and alcohol awareness, personal and social responsibility, and self-management skills.

    Students in AHSD25 also engage in Health education programming provided by Robert Crown Center. These Health programs provide students with developmentally appropriate information regarding their sexual health. In 8th grade, students participate in a unit on Abstinence Education as a part of their Health class. This unit will be taught by their health teacher and will include a three-day presentation by an educator from the Robert Crown Center. The three-day presentation, titled Teen Sexual Health will cover the fundamentals of the male and female reproductive anatomy; the social, emotional, mental and physical development of adolescents; the negative consequences of risk taking behaviors; and emphasize abstinence being the safest and healthiest lifestyle choice.




    Through IQWST™ students investigate questions relevant to their lives by conducting investigations; collecting and analyzing data; developing and using models to explain phenomena, and engaging in argument from evidence in a literacy and discourse-rich environment. Lessons are organized into thematic units that support students as they build understanding of core ideas in science as well as understanding and use of scientific practices. Students also pursue their own original questions in units that integrate the fundamentals of Physical Sciences, Life Science, and Earth & Space Science.

    8th grade chemistry: How does food provide my body with energy?

    This introduction to chemistry targets ideas in the context of living systems. Specifically deepening understandings of the molecular aspects of how food provides energy, the chemical reactions and energy transformations that occur during photosynthesis and cellular respiration, biological processes that support chemical reactions and the interdependence of organisms in an environment.


    8th grade earth: How does earth change?

    This unit focuses on plate tectonics and builds key conceptual understandings including the conservation of matter, convection and energy transfer. To contextualize these concepts and scientific inquiry in real world situations, the unit focuses on case study sites with geologically interesting phenomena.


    8th grade physical: How will it move? (Force & Motion)

    This is a project based unit that contextualizes concepts dealing with forces and motion in students’ real world experiences. Each lesson helps students delve deeper into the science content to gain a better understanding of how forces influence motion, how to describe motion, and the relationship between forces and energy.


    8th grade life: Why do organisms look the way they do?

    This unit is organized around three clusters of ideas: heredity, variation within and between species, and natural selection. These clusters will focus on different levels of organization: the individual, species, and populations.


    Grade 8 will take the Illinois Science Assessment (ISA). This assessment is designed to measure student learning on the new Illinois Science Standards incorporating the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS that were adopted in 2014. The ISA is given online in a single testing session lasting approximately one hour. Each test will begin with reading passages, called scenarios, and will be followed by a series of test items. Some items will be open-ended, multiple-choice, multiple-select (more than one correct response), or involve dropdown selections. Each test will also include stand-alone, multiple-choice items that do not follow a scenario. For Grade 8, test items are aligned to Physical Science (PS), Life Science (LS), Earth/Space Science (ESS) and Engineering (ETS).


    Social Studies

    The middle grades provide a bridge between the elementary and high school experiences. Therefore, standards focus on the developmental need of middle grade students: to cultivate the critical thinking skills used by social scientists through the inquiry process. The disciplinary concepts of civics, economics, geography, and history are integrated within the curriculum.


    Aligning social studies to the Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science is a process that takes time. As such, grades 6-8 are ending a textbook cycle with Holt as their main resource. Beginning in 2017-2018, they will be using TCI History Alive! While the themes will be the same, chapter numbers and unit names will change.


    8th grade: Holt’s United States History - Civil War to the Present (ISBN:0-03-092302-6)

    Chapter 16 - Civil War

    Chapter 17 - Reconstruction

    Chapter 18 - Americans Move West

    Chapter 19 - The Industrial Age

    Chapter 20 - Immigrants and Urban Life

    Chapter 21 - The Progressive Spirit of Reform

    Chapter 22 - America as a World Power

    Chapter 23 - World War I

    Chapter 24 - The Roaring 20s

    Chapter 25 - The Great Depression

    Chapter 26 - World War II

    Chapter 27 - Early Year of the Cold War

    Chapter 28 – Civil Rights Era


    World Language

    Transitioning – Eighth Grade

    Unit 1: Ready to Contribute/ Careers: What is meaningful work? Why do we work?

    Students will discuss their interests and consider how those interests will impact future educational and career choices. They will begin by defining their workday in terms of what they do and how they feel about the routines of their days. They will then compare their school and family work schedules to schedules from the target cultures. They will complete an interest inventory and read about the skills that employers want. They will discuss professions that are essential to a community. They will consider careers that no longer exist and careers that may exist in the future.

     Unit 2: Consumerism: What is a necessity? What does it mean to be a responsible consumer?

    Students will begin the unit by identifying things that they need and the things that they want. They will discuss with others why they need and want certain things. They will compare what they have with what other families have around the world. They will inventory some of their own possessions and discuss their shopping habits — favorite articles of clothing, where items are made, where they shop and what influences their decision to purchase an item. Finally, they will look at various purchases and compare similarities and differences between their shopping experiences and those of others.

     Unit 3: Culinary Adventures: What role does food play in our lives?

    Students will explore the culinary world of the target culture. They will consider meals in restaurants and home kitchens. They will shop for foods and will have the opportunity to prepare food for their families. They will consider just how adventurous they are willing to be as they select culinary experiences that are of interest to them. They will explore the typical and not so typical foods that are part of local dining experiences. Finally, they will demonstrate an understanding of appropriate behaviors associated with dining in another culture.

     Unit 4: Community Connections: What is the impact of other cultures on our lives where we live?

    Students will become more aware of the target language presence in their local community. They will consider aspects of the target culture in their local community and the influence that the target language culture has had and continues to have. They will look at elements of their community that come from the target culture — the art, architecture, history, music, etc. In pairs or small groups, they will study one aspect in some detail. Finally, they will compare aspects of their community to similar aspects in a Chicago sister city. When possible the unit will include a field trip that allows students to experience aspects of what they have researched.