8th Grade


RELIGION:  Ms. Frazzini

Christ Our Life: The Church Then and Now, Loyola Press, 2016.

The eighth grade program involves use of the Bible, specifically the Acts of the Apostle, student texts and journaling as tools for individual growth.  God’s love as revealed in the Church is the theme for this level and is presented in a manner meant to enhance each student’s knowledge and appreciation of the Catholic Church.  Three units develop the mystery of God’s love, a study of Church history, and a broadening of witnessing and responding to God’s love.  A second book, Confirmed in the Spirit, Loyola Press, 2014, is used throughout Confirmation preparation in conjunction with a Confirmation Journal.  These tools help the student understand and become aware of what is involved in making the decision to be confirmed.  Central to this program is the commitment to service for others.  The Benziger Family Life book is used to help eighth graders deal with interpersonal relationships and helps them develop moral discernment skills necessary for establishing respectful relationships and making informed and healthy life choices. We will also focus on such topics as developing strong and effective communication skills, making an examination of conscience, managing emotions, assessing personal attitudes, and witnessing fruits of the Holy Spirit, practicing social skills, and planning for the future



The Writer’s Craft,  McDougal Littell

In Language Arts, students will have opportunities to write memoirs, eye-witness accounts, persuasive essays, poetry, and character analysis essays.  Using the writer’s workshop model, students will have opportunities to self-edit, peer-edit, and revise based on teacher feedback. The class will utilize library resources, develop research techniques and develop engaging group and individual presentations. In addition, students will have bi-weekly assessments of vocabulary and grammar concepts. The writing will be collected into portfolios that enables students to assess and monitor their individual progress. During the year students will have opportunities to improve written and oral communication skills for academic success.



The Writer’s Craft,  McDougal Littell.1998

Mrs. Widmaier has a small English class that covers the 8th grade common core standards according to student need. English assignments follow the Collins Writing Program. This program enables students to become comfortable thinking and writing to develop the essential writing skills for academic success. English projects correlate with the English lessons in the eighth grade general education classroom. The eighth grade text, The Writer’s Craft is used. The small group environment allows for extra drill, instruction, and practice.  Support is provided in other subject areas as needed.


READING:  Ms. Roberts

Literature  McDougal Littell, Inc., 2008.

In eighth grade literature class, students will implement reading strategies to improve their comprehension and analysis of various genres: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama.  Students, in particular, will learn to annotate their reading, develop inquiry questions, predict based on evidence, connect the text to other works, evaluate the writer’s techniques, and infer information.  The class will read the following novels:  The Outsiders, Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World, Hitler Youth, and To Kill a Mockingbird. In addition to class novels, students will read excerpts from literary greats such as Edgar Allen Poe, Ray Bradbury, and Emily Dickinson.  Also students will develop vocabulary skills through their independent reading and established course curriculum. Throughout the course, the students will continue to develop their reading, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills, as well as gain an appreciation for outstanding literature.



Literature  McDougal Littell, Inc., 2008.

There are two reading resource groups for eighth grade.  The Just Words Wilson Reading Program provides a multisensory study of word structure for students who have gaps in their reading fluency and spelling proficiency. The 8th grade comprehension group applies reading strategies to improve understanding and fluency of a broad range of reading materials. Drills emphasizing critical thinking and word analysis are essential in this class. To practice their reading skills, students are assigned short reading passages from the eighth grade novels with questions for homework.




Math in Focus: Singapore Math - Course 3

The curriculum and instructional strategies that are applied within the 8th grade regular elementary Algebra program are based upon the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics for Illinois.  This multifaceted approach is designed to deliver student support across the text, develop study, note-taking, and organizational skills, utilize math vocabulary appropriately, and foster an understanding of the math content covered in preparation for high school learning.  Students are expected to develop reading, writing, and computational skill sets in addition to high-order thinking skills within beginning elementary algebra topics that prepare them to utilize background knowledge that they have acquired and to then readily apply it to increasingly difficult tasks within real-world topics.  A focus within class will be on preparing students to practice test-taking skill sets, and also to develop these skills to readily apply to higher-stakes testing situations, such as the HSPT and other entrance and/or placement examinations for high school.

The course may build upon daily interventions and prerequisite skill sets, foster test preparation and assessment skills, and utilize online and/or additional resource materials as necessary to address individual and/or group needs for students.  Students will develop their overall understanding and problem solving for variables, function patterns, graphs, rational numbers, solving equations, solving inequalities, working with graphs and functions, linear equations and their graphs, exponents and exponential functions, polynomials and factoring.  Systems of equations, and radical and rational expressions and functions will be explored dependent upon student pacing.


ACCELERATED MATH:  Ms. Coakley & Mr. Okimoto

Math in Focus: Singapore Math - Course 3

The students in this class will study Algebra with a focus on reading, speaking, thinking and writing algebraically while working with expressions, polynomials, exponents, linear equations, graphing of linear equations, factoring and solving quadratic equations. Homework will be given daily to reinforce concepts and to have students use their higher level thinking skills in this fast paced class. Math in Focus addresses topics in greater depth at each grade level, including “brain at work” and enrichment problems for the students to complete. This year your student will learn about using the properties of exponents to simplify expressions, writing numbers in scientific notation, and solving equations, including systems of equations. They will also learn about working with linear functions, solving problems using the Pythagorean Theorem, using geometric transformations, working with congruent and similar figures, in addition to finding probabilities.


Algebra II, McGraw Hill-Glencoe, 2014

Grade 8  advanced will be studying the math curriculum for Algebra II.  The areas of concentration will consist of equations and inequalities, linear relations and functions, systems of equations and inequalities, quadratic functions and relations, polynomials and polynomial functional, inverses and radical functions and relations, exponential and logarithmic functions and relations, rational functions and relations, conic sections, sequences and series, statistics and probability, and trigonometric functions, identities, and equations.  Students in this class will be learning math at a faster pace and on a deeper level through class discussions, collaboration, and investigation.  Homework is given every night including weekends to reinforce concepts and to have the students use their higher level thinking skills.



Textbook: Math In Focus: Singapore Math - Course 3

The resource math group will cover eighth grade material in a small group setting. Emphasis will be placed on the mastery of grade level concepts. Students will participate in daily drills, practice, and instruction on a more individualized basis.


SOCIAL STUDIES:  Mrs. Hoversen

The American Republic Since 1877, Glencoe, 2007.

Eighth graders continue to study U.S. history, from the Civil War to the present.  In preparation for high school, students are taught outlining, critical thinking, and debating skills.  They also engage in more advanced discussion, dealing with the cause and effect relationship of events.  Each week students will discuss current events via the internet and CultureGrams, an online Geography resource program.   Illinois Constitution is taught during one trimester of the school year.  Appropriate notes and handouts will be given to students in preparation for class and for passing the Illinois Constitution test, which is required by the state of Illinois.


SCIENCE:  Mrs. Stypka 

Textbook: Science Dimensions series, Module I (Energy and Energy Transfer), Module J (Chemistry), and Module K(Forces, Motion, and Fields) and Module L (Waves and Their Applications); Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2018.

Each textbook is what is called interactive which means students write in them constantly  The textbooks, enhanced with videos, virtual labs, simulations are more, are also available online.

Eighth grade is the study of Physical Science, the study of matter and energy. Generally, students work in one book at a time.  The textbook follows the science and engineering concepts and practices specified by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  A consistent practice is learning how to argue scientifically.  Students follow the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning method to defend their claim. The 8th grade begin their learning by becoming comfortable with lab safety. The Engineering Design Process is also introduced which will be used in various activities.   The curriculum is enhanced by laboratory demonstrations and hands-on experiments.  Science World magazine exposes students to the latest applications of science and technology.



Students will demonstrate the knowledge of physical fitness concepts, principles and strategies to improve health and performance.  The student will be graded on their participation, cooperation and in coming prepared for class, in the proper gym attire, including gym shoes.


MUSIC:  Ms. Elko

As this is the students’ last year of music at Saint Paul of the Cross School, the music curriculum will be a year exploring the history of American Popular Music. The purpose of choosing a topic of popular music is to engage students in a topic in which they are familiar with as well as expose them to popular music from all ages in the United States. This way students can connect with people of other generations and backgrounds, while understanding that popular music comes in all styles, sounds and genres. Students will be engaged directly through composition, singing and listening activities that will deepen their understanding of how popular music is written, so they may then listen for similarities and differences in the music they listen to every day. In this students will explore American popular music at the beginning of the 20th century through today of various genres. Students will be assessed on their understanding of learned concepts and their development as singers and instrumentalists.


SPANISH:  Mrs. Mejicanos

The Spanish program at St. Paul of the Cross School is designed to develop basic communication skills, with a final goal of confidently communicating in Spanish. The Spanish curriculum is designed to meet the requirements of both the National and State Foreign Language Learning standards. Thematic units integrate both culture and vocabulary. This approach also aids students in listening, reading and writing skills.

Eighth grade students use a book as their main tool to polish their grammar and spelling.

The goal is language acquisition, which happens through comprehensible input with a variety of fun and interesting activities. The exposure to a foreign language helps students develop an awareness of other cultures, preparing them not only to interact with other people, but to increase sensitivity and understanding of values, customs, and traditions of others. All students are encouraged to participate in class to help them acquire not only language proficiency, but comprehension as well. Students are further encouraged to make an effort to study the language outside of class to practice their skills.

8th grade themes:

Students use a Spanish book to work in class and complete homework.  Lessons are complemented with worksheets and manipulatives.  Spanish class main focus is writing and oral communication. Previous years’ themes continue to be revisited and used frequently in lessons.  Individual and group projects are used to acquire proficiency in different circumstances.

Spanish assessment:

Students are assessed based on teacher’s observation, checklists, projects, and quizzes. Students will be able to understand the spoken target language in the classroom setting, when high frequency vocabulary is used. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between practices, products, and perspectives of Spanish culture. Students will be able to understand written and spoken Spanish.  Students will be able to present information, concepts, and ideas on familiar topics to an audience.

Quizzes are schedule one week after the end of the book’s chapter or a theme.  Projects are graded based on the presentation and how the assignment rubrics were followed.


ART:  Ms. Kelly

The art program at St. Paul of the Cross School is designed for students to perceive, create, and appreciate the visual arts. Students will gain an understanding of the variety of ways that artists function in society.  Projects are based on art history and cultural art with a strong emphasis on the elements of art (line, color, shape, texture, etc.) and the principles of design (balance, contrast, pattern, unity, etc.)  Students experience a wide assortment of media in both two and three dimensional art production.  Problem solving skills as well as the development of fine motor skills are intrinsic to the art experience.  Project assessment includes the following criteria:

1.Knowledge of the elements of art and principles of design.

2.Understanding the relationships among media, tools, technology, and processes.

3.  Skills when creating art using different media.

8th Grade – Projects are designed to take an extended period of time to complete from conception to final product.  Focus is on design and good craftsmanship using a variety of two and three dimensional media.  Units include but are not limited to clay houses, color designs, symbolic self-portraits, and cultural art.