Current in the Classroom:

Part-Time Indian / Kira-Kira

During this unit students will choose which novel best suits their interests, either Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and Cynthia Kadohata’s Kira-Kira. Students will develop fundamental skills for independent learning including how to read a text (novel, poem, article, documentary, news story, etc.) and communicate clearly about their ideas on the pieces read. They will also develop collaborative skills based upon listening to other students’ ideas, evaluating those ideas, and building new understandings and questions based on the results of the process.


The essential question students will consider throughout is: “How do communities and their expectations shape our lives?” While considering this, students will compare and contrast their own experiences to each novel’s protagonist in an attempt to understand themselves and their own communities, as well as the characters’ lives in the novel. We will also explore the themes of race and identity, prejudice, growing-up in the face of adversity, and how hope and hard work is essential to any success.


The Mysteries of

8th Grade English Revealed


Clear, precise writing and speaking are reflections of a mind that thinks logically and clearly. In this course you will develop an analytical mind by using various strategies, texts, and projects that push you to examine friends, families, lives and communities in comparison to the texts being studied.


You will analyze everything from the rhetorical techniques in advertising, to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Kira-Kira, and To Kill a Mockingbird. We will also use poetry, literary nonfiction, blogs, drama, metaphor, and the hero’s journey pattern through mythology, popular culture, and your own life. We will also examine the evolution of mythology over time, and across cultures with an emphasis on the rhetorical aspects that are meant to influence their societies. You will practice perspective taking to better understand the world from as many points of view as possible, and begin to find your place in it.


Essential questions focus on how communities shape who we become, as well as how internal and external expectations shape how we view ourselves. Writing as an evolutionary process is central to the class and you will be learning revision, vocabulary, and grammar within the context of your own writing.


You will also have an audience as class presentations become central. To move your audience you will make arguments using various rhetorical techniques, you will perform and entertain, give and accept critiques, and rewrite with ambition towards reaching your potential.

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