Skip to main content

Eighth Grade English Language Arts Resources

CURRICULUM MAP

Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Video
Know when to use verbs in the active voice or the passive voice. The active voice shows the subject acting. The passive voice shows something else acting on the subject. Most writers consider the active voice more colorful and avoid the passive voice unless necessary.
Skill: Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8L1   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Document
Students will learn spelling rules and conventions that pertain to i before e, plurals of nouns ending in y, homophones, and the suffix -tion. They will complete an activity in which they identify and revise misspelled words in sentences.
Skill: Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8L2   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Video
Watch singer/songwriter Jayanthi Kyle performs “That’s How the River Flows” on the sunny banks of the Mississippi River with guitarist Wes Burdine.
Kyle is the vocalist in several Twin Cities bands including Black Audience, Jayanthi Kyle and the Crybabies, Romantica, Gospel Machine and Davis Bain Band.
Skill: Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8L3   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Video
Explore the difference between tone and mood in this animated video from WNET through definitions and examples from poetry and prose. Discussion questions below help students to further apply their understanding before analyzing a text.
Skills: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words or phrases based on grade 8 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.
Georgia Standards: ELAGSE8L4, ELAGSE8L5, ELAGSE8RL5
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Lesson Plan
This activity helps students understand how General William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea was one of the most controversial aspects of the later phases of the Civil War. Sent by Ulysses S. Grant to create havoc and destruction of all resources that would be beneficial to the enemy, Sherman began his Atlanta Campaign in May 1864. Students will view a video clip from Ken Burns: The Civil War that explains how after capturing Atlanta, Sherman marched his army to the sea, capturing the city of Savannah in December, and then marching through South Carolina into North Carolina. Students will then analyze two primary sources. Student questions follow, which can be used for general class discussion or individual assessment. Answers to the questions are included.
Skills: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words or phrases based on grade 8 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
Georgia Standards: ELAGSE8L4, ELAGSE8RI2, ELAGSE8RI3, ELAGSE8RI4   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Video
Enduring love is the underlying theme of Jack London's story of a dog, Buck, who is kidnapped and forced to pull a sled in Alaska, and who is ultimately saved by the trapper John Thornton. Chelsea Clinton speaks of her fondness for the book, which she first read in junior high school; her perspective on the novel was different from the boys', who saw it as strictly an adventure tale.
Skills: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Acquire and accurately use grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
Georgia Standards: ELAGSE8L5, ELAGSE8L6  
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Interactive Lesson
This interactive lesson, based on the series Breaking Views, frames the controversial issues of fake news and trust in the media with the historical context of yellow journalism and sensationalist reporting. In addition to learning more about how fake news has evolved over the years, students will learn strategies for improving their media literacy and will be able to identify both credible and non-credible news sources. After they complete the lesson students will be better prepared to critically analyze media using the Five Key Questions of media literacy, which will become a point of enduring understanding that young people need in order to be better 21st century digital citizens in an era saturated by information.
Skills: Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).
Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation.
Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
Georgia Standards: ELAGSE8RI1, ELAGSE8RI3, ELAGSE8RI6, ELAGSE8RI8, ELAGSE8RI9, ELAGSE8SL2
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Video
In this video segment from Poetry Everywhere, two-time Pulitzer Prize nominated poet Lucille Clifton reads her poem “won’t you celebrate with me.” Drawing from Whitman, the Bible, and the tradition of the sonnet, the poem invites readers to explore themes of identity, race, and gender.
Skill: By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8RI10   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Lesson Plan
Students use a T-chart to take notes on the similarities and differences among elephants. With partners, they organize their notes and construct a Venn diagram with illustrations.
Skills: Analyze in detail the structure of a specific paragraph in a text, including the role of particular sentences in developing and refining a key concept.
Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
Georgia Standards: ELAGSE8RI5, ELAGSE8RI6  
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Video
View a brief history of journalism and how it is changing in the in the digital age. This student break out module features interviews with correspondents from PBS NewsHour as well as professional journalists across a range of media.
Skill: Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8RI7   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Interactive Lesson
Students develop and present an evidence-based argument about a change they would like to bring about at their school to make it a healthier place for all students. In this interactive lesson designed for both full-class and individual or small-group work, students examine a similar effort, chronicled in BASIC BLACK: Youth Fighting Fat, in which a group of concerned Boston teens seeks to address the problem of obesity in their community.
Skills: Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 8 Language Standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.)
Georgia Standards: ELAGSE8RI8, ELAGSE8SL6  
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Video
Explore how authors use setting to establish the time, place, and social conditions in which a story takes place in this short animated video from WNET.
Skills: Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a theme and/or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.
Georgia Standards: ELAGSE8RL1, ELAGSE8RL2  
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Video
In this video from the American Masters film Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart, students learn how the play A Raisin in the Sun explores the impact of dreams deferred. Inspired by the famous Langston Hughes poem “Harlem,” Lorraine Hansberry brings the poem to life in the form of the Younger family in 1950s Chicago. This resource works best during a study of the play at a point when students are already familiar with the main characters and the central conflict of the story. Using discussion questions, teachings tips, and a student handout, students analyze the connections between the poem and the play.
Skills: Determine a theme and/or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Georgia Standards: ELAGSE8RL2, ELAGSE8RL4, ELAGSE8RL10
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Interactive Lesson
In this interactive lesson supporting literacy skills, students examine what Anne Frank’s writing and a video dramatization of her diary reveal about her character and how it changed while she was in hiding. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore an English language arts focus on character change. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities.
Skills: Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 8 Language Standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.)
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
Georgia Standards: ELAGSE8RL3, ELAGSE8SL6, ELAGSE8W2
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Interactive Lesson
In this interactive lesson, discover how literary techniques like figurative language, imagery, and symbolism contribute to the overall meaning of a poem. Explore how a poet establishes and builds on a theme. Learn how to tell the difference between tone and mood. Through a close reading of Maya Angelou’s famous poem “Caged Bird” (1983), practice unpacking the language of poetry while learning about some of the various tools a writer can utilize when writing a poem.
Skills: Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Georgia Standards: ELAGSE8RL5, ELAGSE8RL10  
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Video
As students explore this pivotal scene from the MASTERPIECE 2003 production of Our Town, they examine the play’s themes about legacy and memory. The Stage Manager, played by Paul Newman, reflects on what should go in the cornerstone of a new bank in Grover’s Corners, a small New Hampshire town in the early 20th century. He celebrates the value of people’s everyday lives. See Teaching Tips for how to use the video in the classroom.
Skills: Analyze how differences in the points of view of characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.
Analyze the extent to which a filmed or live production of a story or drama stays faithful to or departs from the text or script, evaluating the choices made by the director or actors.
Georgia Standards: ELAGSE8RL6, ELAGSE8RL7  
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Video
Students examine the meaning of marriage and the role it plays in civilization in this scene from the MASTERPIECE 2003 production of the play, Our Town. The Stage Manager (played by Paul Newman) delivers a brief sermon just before the marriage of Emily and George, the two youthful protagonists of the play. The Stage Manager acknowledges that marriage is considered a sacrament by some, yet it can also cause confusion and uncertainty.
Skill: Analyze the extent to which a filmed or live production of a story or drama stays faithful to or departs from the text or script, evaluating the choices made by the director or actors.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8RL7   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Interactive
Mission US is a multimedia project featuring free interactive adventure games set in different eras of U.S. history. The second game, "Flight to Freedom," takes place in northern Kentucky and southern Ohio, and begins in summer 1848. The game is divided into five parts, as well as a framing prologue and epilogue. Students play this interactive adventure game and assume the role of Lucy. As the game opens, Lucy is a young enslaved person on the King family’s plantation outside of Lexington.
Skill: Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works such as the Bible, including describing how the material is rendered new.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8RL9   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Video
Explore the Harlem Writers Guild, the oldest African American writers association in the world, in this video from American Masters | Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise. Teaching tips suggest asking students to research the Harlem Writers Guild and to think about writing as part of a community.
Skills: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Georgia Standards: ELAGSE8SL1, ELAGSE8W10   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Video
Do a quick Google search on how social media affects your mood, and the results make it seem like all the social media platforms will plunge you into depression. Facebook shows everyone’s perfect life and exotic vacations. Expertly curated selfies abound on Instagram. But, if you look at the actual research, the results aren’t that simple. In this Above the Noise video, host Myles Bess breaks down the science and cuts through the hype about the link between depression and social media use, and looks at how different social media platforms may affect your brain in different ways.
Skill: Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8SL2   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Lesson Plan
Students compare and contrast their perspectives on raising gorillas in captivity with their peers and with scientists. They summarize their perspectives and the perspectives of others.
Skill: Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8SL3   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Lesson Plan
The activity provides students with a broad overview of the history, structure, and accomplishments of the United Nations. Students review an overview of the institution and develop brief presentations in a group activity following a set of discussion questions.
Skill: Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8SL4   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Lesson Plan
Students watch a video segment, take notes and follow directions to create both a diagram with captions and a drawing that communicates information about camouflaging.
Skill: Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8SL5   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Media Gallery
The Gettysburg Address is known as one of the greatest speeches in American History. The compilation lesson gives you the tools to teach this incredibly powerful speech in your own classroom. Utilizing video from Ken Burn's seminal documentary Civil War as well as the 90-minute documentary The Address, this gallery has the tools to demonstrate the speech to your classroom and engage your students with some of the most famous words from one of the nation's most respected leaders.
Skill: Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 8 Language Standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.)
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8SL6   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Video
Building an argument takes planning, skill, and a good topic. This engaging video demonstrates with clever illustrations and narrative coaching, the steps in building an exemplar essay, from creating a hook and analyzing evidence, to convincing the audience with an actionable conclusion.
Skill: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8W1   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Lesson Plan
There are two types of popularity: likability and status. Likability is more important in elementary school, while status begins reigning supreme in adolescence. But being likable or having status during the teen years can be indicators of problems or successes post graduation. Teens who have status in high school more often have a harder time with romantic, professional and social relationships later as adults. Conversely, being likable and having strong friendships as a teen is an indicator of higher self-worth, and career happiness and success in the following decade. This Lowdown lesson looks at the pros and cons of popularity and how being popular as a teen affects people later in life.
Skill: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8W1   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Lesson Plan
In this lesson, students will use one of the major tools of a historian: personal letters. These primary source materials provide firsthand evidence of events and information on the perspective, cognition, values, and attitudes of the person writing the letter.
Skill: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8W2   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Lesson Plan
In this lesson, students watch a video that explores how a Native American saying, “walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins,” relates to the practice of empathy. As a class and in small groups, students examine a well-known fairy tale, Cinderella, to try to “walk a mile” in the shoes of each character.
Skill: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8W3   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Video
It only takes a few notes of Sarah MacLachlan’s “Angel” over images of homeless dogs and cats to trigger our tear ducts. Heartbreaking visuals aside, what makes the song itself so sad? What is it musically about a song that makes it sound sad? Hosts Nahre Sol and LA Buckner hear from experts and break down the components of sad-sounding music, creating their own somber composition.
Skills: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language Standards 1–3 up to and including grade 8.)
Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
Georgia Standards: ELAGSE8W4, ELAGSE8W5, ELAGSE8W7, ELAGSE8W8   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Activity
Inspired by the Stepping Up video series featuring four young people working for real change in their communities, support students who are passionate about an issue and have taken action to share their stories to inspire others. Use the following activity to encourage students to submit video, audio or written piece to KQED Youth Media Challenge.
Skill: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing & present the relationships between info and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8W6   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Video
Not every topic warrants a “both sides” approach. Some viewpoints are simply not backed by empirical evidence or are based on false ideas. Journalists and anyone who work with facts have to be careful not to present them as legit debates. If they do, they are creating a “false equivalence.” False equivalence: what does it mean, and why is it helping to spread misinformation online?
Skill: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8W9   
 
 
Source: PBS Learning Media
Resource Type: Lesson Plans
Explore lesson plans for To Kill a Mockingbird and background information about the educators featured in the series In Search of the Novel.
Skill: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Georgia Standard: ELAGSE8W9