In preparation for the transition to Upper School, eighth graders will tackle important questions around themes of justice, society, and identity in literature while increasing the challenges of whole-class texts, independent reading and the skills of analysis, synthesis, and inference. Literature for the year begins in a seminar-style study of short fiction and poetry, examining the theme of carpe diem. Students will revisit the study of Shakespeare through the play Julius Caesar. Whole-class novels include the American classics Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck and To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee. Attention is given to all stages of the writing process—pre-writing, drafting, revision, editing, and publishing. Students write frequently, both formally and informally, in a variety of genres and modes: personal, analytical, and persuasive. Students actively and intentionally acquire new vocabulary through a yearlong study of Vocabulary from Classical Roots Book B, which is augmented with word lists taken from whole-class reading and participation in the WordMasters challenge. Word study includes emphasis on Latin and Greek roots, primary and secondary definitions, parts of speech, and analogies. Grammar, punctuation, and mechanics skills are taught using the Prentice Hall Grammar Handbook Grade 8 and applied in writing. Dropbox, discussion boards, email, presentation software, word processing, and other technology applications are used as tools to expand understanding, facilitate communication, and publish student work.