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. NWEA MAP testing, aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards, assesses students in both reading and mathematics and is an adaptive test given three times a year.
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 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.
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 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. Students receieve early high school credit upon successful completion of this course.
Curriculum Resource: Glencoe
Geometry Common Core Edition
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
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.
STCMS: Science and Technology Concepts Middle School (STCMS) begins with students exploring phenomena, moves them towards planning investigations and designing solutions to real world issues. This curriculum will engage students in authentic science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) experiences through hands-on learning, science notebooking and a deep dive into content. As students explore the various aspects of science, STCMS will prepare them to be the next generation of scientifically literate citizens.
Electricity, Waves, and Information Transfer: In this unit, students design and test real-world technologies, excellent contexts for investigating electricity, information transfer, and waves characteristics. Additionally, electric circuits make excellent models for studying the role of electricity in an animal’s ability to sense and respond to the environment.
Earth’s Dynamic Systems: Earth is a dynamic place, and changes—large and small—occur all around us. Changes like erosion occur gradually, while others, like an earthquake, may occur suddenly. Our ability to anticipate these changes and their effects is vital for maintaining our way of life. This unit explores how geologic processes affect the surface of our planet and how we can use evidence to describe its history and predict its future. Join us as we use models and construct explanations about Earth’s dynamic systems!
Genes and Molecular Machines: Why do some children look like their parents while others do not? How do we determine what traits will be passed from one generation to the next? All living organisms reproduce and pass their traits to their offspring. In understanding how these traits are inherited, humans can influence the traits that organisms have. Join us as we gather evidence and make predictions about reproduction and heredity!
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).
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.
Foundational to the social studies curriculum is the textbook and auxiliary resources that help support both teachers and students. TCI’s History Alive! programs transform middle school social studies into a multi-faceted learning experience. TCI lessons start with an Essential Question, and incorporate graphic notetaking, groupwork, and hands on discovery. Students are the center of instruction that taps a variety of learning styles, allowing students of all abilities to learn and succeed.
Quarter 1: Westward Expansion and the Rise of Industry
Quarter 2: WWI and beyond
Quarter 3: WWII, the Cold War and more
Quarter 4: Civil Rights and Contemporary America
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.