Good books for 8th ELA?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by stlchica, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. stlchica

    stlchica Rookie

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    Jul 10, 2007

    I'll be teaching 8th grade ELA for the first time. What literature (i.e. novels, poems, etc.) are good for this grade level? :confused:
     
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  3. hapyeaster

    hapyeaster Rookie

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    Jul 10, 2007

    Diary of Anne Frank, Langston Hughes - poetry, Whirligig, Touching Spirit Bear, Homecoming, Bull Run, Slam, Bronx Masquerade

    This will be my 2nd year, so I am still looking for good things, too!
     
  4. ValinFW

    ValinFW Comrade

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    Jul 11, 2007

    I'll be starting my 15th year of teaching in August. 11 of them have been in 8th grade ELA. Here's how I usually approach my year:

    1. Short story unit. Sometimes I make them copy notes over elements of fiction/short stories, sometimes I just run them off and go over them. I pick and choose pieces from our lit book. Some of the stories are fabulous...others, not so much! I absolutely LOVE teaching "The Tell-Tale Heart", "The Lady, or the Tiger?", "Rules of the Game", and "Raymond's Run". The other pieces I can take or leave. Find stories in your adoption that you really like, and combine them with ones you think the kids will like.

    2. Novels vary from year to year. I have taught The Giver, Johnny Tremain, Across Five Aprils, Nothing But the Truth, My Brother Sam is Dead. I like to try and coordinate with my history teachers (US to 1865 in TX), hence the war novels.

    3. Poetry is pretty much the same as my short story unit. We analyze poetry using the TPCASST method. I'll give you more info. about that if you'd like.

    That's pretty much it, as far as the literature goes! Hope it helps! :p

    Oh! I forgot! I also teach the play version of The Diary of Anne Frank. It's pretty much a staple in our district at 8th grade. It's also been in every 8th grade anthology I've ever seen!
     
  5. msb

    msb Rookie

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    Jul 11, 2007

    Hello! What is the TPCASST method for poetry? I'm really interested in finding what that is about.

    Thanks! :)
     
  6. ValinFW

    ValinFW Comrade

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    Jul 11, 2007

    Here is what I give my kids when we start this process. I know, it says pre-AP, but I use it for on-level, too.;)

    Poetry Analysis
    TPCASTT

    One way that we can better understand poetry is to analyze it. In our pre-AP classes, we use an analysis called TPCASTT. This is an acronym which is explained below. The TPCASTT method can be used as a format for writing a short analysis essay about a poem. Rely on what you find in the poem, what the words say, and how the poetic devices increase the meaning.


    Title--Think about the meaning of the title before reading the poem.

    Paraphrase--Translate the poem into your own words.

    Connotation--Look for meaning in the poem beyond the paraphrase by finding all poetic devices such as alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhythm, rhyme, simile, metaphor, personification, symbolism, diction, point of view, etc.

    Attitude--What is the speaker’s tone? What is the poet’s tone? (They might not be the same.)

    Shifts--Point out the changes in who is speaking or in tone.

    Title--Think about the title again. Has the meaning of the title changed after studying the poem?

    Theme--What is the poet trying to say? What idea is being communicated? (NOT what happened in the poem!)
     
  7. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 11, 2007

    Valin, I also use TPCASST with my high school kids! It is very effective for an introduction into poetry analysis.

    By the way, I LOVE And Nothing But the Truth! I've taught that with freshman before. It's very timely.

    The good thing about teaching literature is that there is SO MUCH available out there on the net. If you Google any piece you are teaching with the phrase "Lessons" after it, you are *bound* to find something. There's a lot out there to purchase as well.
     
  8. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 11, 2007

    Valin, one note about your TPCASST explanation...

    For the P: Paraphrasing, we really focus on teaching them to try to translate not interpret. That's an important distinction. The analysis can only come really after you have an almost literal understanding of the piece. I don't know if that idea is too advanced for middle schoolers... It's a hard idea for my juniors to wrap their brains around, and it takes LOTS of practice (with simple poetry first), but once they get it, it makes a world of difference in the results they produce later when we really start interpreting.
     
  9. ValinFW

    ValinFW Comrade

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    Jul 11, 2007

    I figure that, with 8th graders, I'm doing well to get them to put it in their own words, instead of just recopying it!:rolleyes:
     
  10. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 11, 2007

    LOL, Valin! I can understand that! It's still a challenge with juniors! :p
     
  11. msb

    msb Rookie

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    Jul 11, 2007


    Thank you, ValinFW for the explanation of the TPCASST! I will create a handout or notes for the students to use.

    With poetry, I usually start off with brief poems, such as "Dreams" by Langston Hughes and a few that they can relate, such as Sara Teasdale's poetry, "After Love". My 8th graders also have difficulty paraphrasing and putting it into their own words. Sometimes I don't give them the title of the poem and ask them what the title should be. I then ask them to explain why they chose the title; it's always an interesting exercise to use with my students because they usually come up with different titles for the poem.
     
  12. ValinFW

    ValinFW Comrade

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    Jul 11, 2007

    Ooooh! I like that! I'm stealing it, k?:cool:
     
  13. msb

    msb Rookie

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    Jul 11, 2007

    No problem! :D I don't know where I got the idea...probably from someone else! :D
     
  14. bridge

    bridge Rookie

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    Jul 12, 2007

    I'm assuming that ELA means English Language Arts?????? Please let me know for sure. Different states use different terms for things.
     
  15. ValinFW

    ValinFW Comrade

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    Jul 12, 2007

    Yep!:)
     
  16. crayonfan

    crayonfan Companion

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    Jul 12, 2007

    Another book is the Outsiders. This is an excellent book for 8th grade
     
  17. aceighthgrade

    aceighthgrade Rookie

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    Jul 24, 2007

    I like the TPCASTT! That is great! Could you use this with prose instead of poetry?
     
  18. carlea

    carlea Comrade

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    Jul 24, 2007

    This will be my first year teaching 8th grade Lang. Arts too! These are great ideas! Thank you so much for sharing!
     
  19. ValinFW

    ValinFW Comrade

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    Jul 25, 2007

    I suppose you could. It would take longer than it does with a poem, though. There are so me short story ideas here:
    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=40261
     
  20. willsgirl

    willsgirl Comrade

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    Aug 4, 2007

    A friend of mine (we worked together in same school) taught Jerry Spinelli's Star Girl last year to 8th grade. They really seemed to like it. If there is budget enough in my new school this year, I will more than likely teach it as well (she gave me her very extensive unit!)

    This is a great book about individuality and being unique. Made me cry.
     
  21. msb

    msb Rookie

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    Aug 6, 2007

    Hi, Willsgirl! I love that book! Can you possibly PM me the unit for Stargirl? I like the fact that it was written from a guy's perspective... :)

    Anything you could send me for that novel would be great.

    Thanks,

    MSB
     
  22. willsgirl

    willsgirl Comrade

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    Aug 6, 2007

    It's huge and is a bound hard copy (about 50 pages), not digitized. If you have specifics, let me know and I'll see what I can type up and send.

    It is a good bood, isn't it?:wub:
     
  23. Mrs.G

    Mrs.G Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2007

    I love to teach, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Diary of Anne Frank, Animal Farm, Monster, Flowers for Algernon, Great Expectations, Tuesday's With Morrie, Hoops, House on Mango Street, Death of A Salesman, Midnight Summer's Dream, etc... The list could go on, but those are a few that come to mind when I think about teaching whole class novels and plays. Hope that helps!!
     

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