Year 8 Language A (English) Course Overview 2017-2018



“Inspiring critical and creative thinkers, communicators and lifelong readers”


Length/ Timing


Summative Assessment


3) “Prejudice and Perspective” – Narrative perspective in ‘The Outsiders’

Perspective:  How does point of view affect my opinion of someone or something?


GC Identities and relationships

8 weeks


Sep – Oct


In this unit students will read S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders whilst exploring the concepts of perspective and prejudice.  Students will examine the importance of who the narrator of a story is and what role this plays in constructing ‘truth’. Students will analyse themes of perspective and prejudice in The Outsiders before crafting narratives of their own - from multiple points of view.

  • The Outsiders - analytical essay
  • Creative writing – first person narrative


 “The Outsiders”, news podcasts and non-fiction texts

2) “Changing Minds, Changing Worlds” – Pathos and emotional affect in poetry and advertisements

Aesthetics: How do words ‘move’ me?


GC: Personal and cultural expression

8 weeks


Nov - Dec

In this unit students will read a number of different poems and advertisements with the specific aim of investigating how purposeful use of persuasive techniques can produce an emotional response in the reader. Students will demonstrate their understanding of such concepts in a comparative oral screencast about an individually selected poem and advertisement before composing their own original piece.

  • Comparative oral presentation (ad vs poem)
  • Creative poem → ad project


Selected poems and ads


1) “Illusions and Insights” – Fantasy, magical realism and make-believe


Creativity: What role does fantasy play in our real world?


GC: Personal and cultural expression

8 weeks


Jan - Feb

In this unit we explore the relationship between the real world and fantasy.  We will read an independently chosen fantasy novel and examine the genre, investigating how fantastic people, places and things can actually represent realistic themes from our own world. Students will first analyse the symbols and themes in the novel before producing their own piece of descriptive fantasy writing to represent a real world theme.

  • Themes in a fantasy novel – analytical essay
  • Descriptive writing (fantasy)


Texts: TBD

4) “Communication and Conflict” – Communication, Relationships and Conflict


Connections:  What is a ‘healthy’ relationship?  How can careful communication help resolve conflicts in relationships?


GC Identities and relationships

8 weeks


Mar – April


In this unit students will read Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. We will be focusing on the relationships between the characters in the play, using them to highlight what constitutes healthy and unhealthy relationships. Students will demonstrate understanding by comparing a variety of informative and persuasive text types before choosing one to advise someone on how to solve a conflict in their relationship.

  • Advisory text
  • Dramatic scene



 “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and selected non-fiction texts

Supplementary Material 2017-2018

Vocabulary and Spelling

In addition to key unit vocabulary, students will be expected to add five words per week to their Quizlet accounts under the card set ‘Grade 8 Vocabulary’. These words can come from their own reading books, a provided list, or even from a thesaurus. Time will be given in class for entering these words as well as for quizzes.  Spelling practice is incorporated into the testing feature of this application and some spelling strategies will be taught to the students.


Grammar will mainly be taught ‘in context’. This means that we teach specific language features that are particular to whichever text type we are currently studying. For example, if we are learning about persuasive texts, we may discuss ‘modal verbs’. However, if the teacher notices a common grammatical error in the students’ writing, a stand-alone lesson may be taught to address the issue. Students will be required to learn about and address common grammar mistakes in their writing during drafting sessions using online and textbook resources.

Wider reading

In order to develop the habits of lifelong readers, grade 8 students will participate in the D.E.A.R programme (‘drop everything and read’). In each class, students will be given approximately ten minutes to read their own books. It is expected that students always have a ‘book in their bag’ for this purpose. Students can also read if they happen to finish a particular learning activity early. It is also expected that each week students read regularly at home to achieve their own reading goals and this will often take the place of explicitly assigned homework.


According the YIS homework policy, students in year 8 should be studying for about 80 minutes at home each night. In English class, homework will only be explicitly assigned for:

If no homework has been explicitly assigned, students are expected to read their own books. In addition, students could also review the content of that day’s lessons or even practice the skills that have been taught.