Grade 8

Curriculum Guide


6 periods per week

Eighth Grade English/Language Arts course applies the skills acquired in previous grades to expand and develop the literacy, language, writing, and speaking skills necessary to successfully meet the challenge of the High School English program.


Students will continue to use the writing process which has been firmly established in grades 5, 6, and 7. In addition to creative writing, 8th grade students will learn to plan, organize, and compose a limited literary analysis essay, an expository essay, and a persuasive argument. Research writing skills, including appropriate citations, will be emphasized.


As a class, the grade 8 students will read a selection of short stories and poetry, two novels, and a play. Vocabulary is introduced through the topics and works of literature studied as a class. Students will advance their recognition and analysis of various elements of literature including characterization, setting, conflict, theme, and symbolism. Non-fiction texts, documentary photographs, and films enhance the study of literature. At least two individualized independent reading assignments--one fiction and one nonfiction-- may be assigned during the year. 8th grade students are also encouraged to participate in the library’s Sakura Medal program and to select challenging nonfiction and fiction from the extensive choice available in the school and classroom library.


Topics of specific emphasis in 8th grade include avoiding sentence errors, combining sentences, parallel construction, appositives, verbals, and mechanics. Students will be provided with a writing handbook as well as online resources for improving their mastery of grammar and mechanics.


Students are further encouraged to express themselves with accuracy, clarity, and coherence in class and group discussions as well as in dramatic reading, oral interpretations, formal and informal presentations, and media projects.


  • “The Most Dangerous Game” (Richard Connell); “Top Man” (James Ramsey Ullman); “The Demon Lover” (Elizabeth Bowen); “Our Neighbor’s House” (Emily Carroll); “Miriam” (Truman Capote)
  • A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream (William Shakespeare)
  • a selection of African-American poetry
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Writing Handbook: Write Source 2000

Student Learning Expectations (CCSS.ELA LITERACY)

By the end of grade 8, a student should be able to . . .

  • cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot.
  • analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.
  • write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
  • write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
  • produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources, quoting or paraphrasing the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
  • present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • use technology to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.


5 periods per week

At each level, the mathematics program introduces and develops new topics and skills while building on the skills previously learned. Its aim is to develop an appreciation of the power and beauty of mathematics at appropriate levels of concrete and abstract development. Scientific calculators are introduced as a tool in addition to mental mathematics, and problem-solving is used throughout the course.

Grade Eight is divided into Enriched and Standard groups after careful consideration by the Head of Department, with smaller class sizes for the Standard groups. Each group covers the same course work allowing students to make a smooth transition from one group to the other where necessary.

  • Number and Computation - learn and use rules of exponents/indices, work with scientific notation, calculate percentage increase and decrease and interest, use scale factor, review perimeters, areas, surface area, volume, ratio and rates
  • Measurement and geometry - use Pythagoras’ Theorem, work with angles on parallel lines, identify congruent triangles and similar figures, learn trigonometric ratios to find sides and angles of right triangles
  • Probability and Statistics - predict outcomes, draw Venn diagrams and use them to solve problems, learn set notation, revisit the terminology of various graphs and averages, review stem-and-leaf plots, and learn to find the five-number summary and draw a boxplot
  • Algebra and Functions - plot points, find lengths of lines and their slopes, solve linear equations and simultaneous linear equations, work with speed and distance-time graphs, expand and factor quadratic expressions, solve quadratic equations, graph functions

Main Text

  • Australian Signpost Mathematics New South Wales 9


Daily, consolidating classwork, reviewing for tests, and pursuing a practical investigation


6 periods per week

This course is an introduction to the physical principles at the foundation of all sciences. It is designed to offer a strong introduction to the Physical Sciences - Chemistry, Physics and Earth Science. There is also a focus on accuracy and good scientific practice throughout the year, and preparation for science studies in High School. Considerable emphasis is placed on laboratory work.

The topics covered are:

  1. Units and Density - After a general introduction to Standard International units of measurement, some are used in a practical study of density.
  2. Matter - The movement of particles is used to explain the properties of solids, liquids and gases. We study the differences between elements, mixtures and compounds.
  3. Earth Science 1 - The Earth's structure, plate tectonics, continental drift, earthquakes and volcanoes.
  4. Forensic Science - An investigation of the scientific principles and techniques that are used by Crime Scene Investigators. The collection of evidence and how it is used in a court of law. Many case studies are given to the students to investigate and the topic has a great deal of practical work.
  5. The Periodic Table - The internal structure of atoms and how elements are arranged in the periodic table and the trends in the properties of the elements in the table.
  6. Earth Science 2 - Investigation of the rock types, the rock cycle, and weathering and erosion.
  7. Separating Techniques - This topic includes experiments and demonstrations to show how substances are separated from one another. A quantitative understanding of how much one substance dissolves in another is included.
  8. Temperature and Effects of Heating - The difference between heat and temperature is described, and the Kelvin scale is introduced. The expansion of materials is also studied in this topic.
  9. Heat Transfer & Weather - This topic involves the study of conduction, convection and radiation. The physics of the atmosphere is used to explain worldwide climate and weather. Weather maps are interpreted.

Homework and Assignments

These will include:

  • Laboratory reports
  • Oral and multimedia presentations
  • Research
  • Practice and review questions
  • Reading


When calculating the semester grade a 50% weighting is given to unit tests and a 50% weighting to other class work and homework assignments. The final grade for the year is 40% Semester 1 grade, 40% Semester 2 grade and 20% for the exam.

Social Studies

5 periods per week

The eighth grade curriculum is a general survey course that traces the history of Africa and Pre-Colombian America from prehistoric times to 1500. The themes that will be examined include the influence of geography and cultural diffusion on the development of selected civilizations as well as the causes for the rise and decline of selected civilizations. The importance of anthropology and archaeology will also be examined.

Some of the course objectives are:

  • To understand why civilizations first appeared along river systems
  • To develop and hone skills to read charts, maps, and graphs
  • To discuss the cultural contributions of the people of these areas
  • To analyze how culture traits are transferred and transformed
  • To look at artifacts from the past cultures and their purpose while comparing to the tools we use today
  • To trace the development of hominids
  • To analyze the causes for the rise and decline of selected civilizations
  • To analyze the role of technology in the rise and fall of civilizations
  • To find similarities and differences between the different civilizations


  • Research
  • Analysis of documents
  • Map work
  • Written work


  • History Chronicles
  • Research papers
  • Writing exercises
  • Group projects
  • Presentations


The eighth grade language classes are scheduled together. All three languages offered are timetabled simultaneously.

JAPANESE: 4 periods per week

The International School of the Sacred Heart offers two Japanese programs: as a Second Language (JS-for non-Japanese speakers) and Japanese as a First Language (JF-for Japanese speakers)

Japanese as a Second Language

The aim of this course is for students to acquire sufficient competence in Japanese to meet their communicative needs, to gain knowledge and appreciation of Japanese culture and to enjoy using the language so that they may become life-long learners. Students will acquire sufficient competence in Japanese by developing all four language skills. Students are placed in different levels according to their language ability. Classroom activities include oral, reading, writing, role-play, skits, interviews, essays, journals, projects, presentations, etc.

Japanese as a First Language

This course is designed for native Japanese speakers and follows the Japanese language curriculum program used in the Japanese schools. Students follow a balanced program, which incorporates development in the four language skills. Students develop critical thinking, linguistic sensibility and sensitivity through reading of fiction and nonfiction, appreciating poetry and writing on varied topics. Kanji skill is developed as well as relevant and accurate expressions in writing and speaking. Students are given the opportunity to connect with their own experience and to foster a positive attitude to Japanese culture and other cultures. Teachers use varied methodology in class and students are placed in levels according to their language ability.

FRENCH: 4 periods per week

Language as communication is the basic concept of the French program. There are four levels offered to students who are placed according to their proficiency in the four language skills. Students will learn to read, to talk and to write about a variety of topics beginning with themselves and reaching out to the world around them. Grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary are presented in dialogues, descriptions, short stories, poems, small plays, drill exercises, educational games, songs, as well as using videos and Internet resources. They are integrated through specific projects and productions (dialogues, descriptions…). Emphasis is placed on vocabulary expansion, verb tense mastery and pronunciation. Students are encouraged to extend their language skills beyond the program when possible Within the study of the language students will also get to discover French culture, as well as other cultures include in the French speaking world known as La Francophonie. Each year, the French Department focuses on one country from the Francophonie and organizes events and workshops in relation to this country, in order to deepen the understanding of students, as well as to make the language alive.

The levels taught are in line with DELF’s exams of French Ministry of Education and the levels of the Council of Europe' s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL).

Reference Book: Et Toi 1 Manuel + Exercise book. (A1 of CECR) or Et Toi 2 Manuel + Exercise book. (A2.1 of CECR)

Homework: Text comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, reading and writing

ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE: 4 periods per week

A student enrolled in the ESL (Language) program has additional English language instruction while other students are taking French or Japanese. ESL students use these periods for theme-based English language study with a communicative and genre-based focus. Content material is often based on the themes and the language skills addressed in mainstream classes.

ESL students in this program have generally achieved a strong communicative competence in their interpersonal use of language. However, because their academic language skills are still developing, additional ESL instruction is needed. This course aims to develop academic reading and writing skills, in particular. As student independence is also one of the goals of the ESL program, these classes also aim to further develop learning-how-to-learn skills, as well as compensatory strategies to enable students to continue to learn language independently. Instruction and assessment focus on skills which enable students to self-monitor, self-correct, and self-assess in order to become active and independent language learners.

Once a student has acquired a level of competency that allows her to function in the content areas along with her peers, she may transfer from the program to take either Japanese or French, provided there is a suitable class available.

Creative and Performing Arts

ART: 2 periods per week for one semester

The course aims to promote an enjoyment and appreciation of art while developing the necessary skills to enable the realization of successful works of art. Students will complete projects that give them experience in the areas of drawing, painting, and design. Emphasis is placed on both creativity and skill development. By teacher demonstration and practice students will learn to use art materials, equipment and techniques with confidence and proficiency. The development and improvement of observational skills will be encouraged as well as the ability to develop a thoughtful, original, and well-composed finished piece.

DRAMA: 2 period per week for one semester

Students examine all aspects of status interaction both in everyday communication and in Drama. Encompassing eye, body and verbal language, students create improvised scenes to illustrate each point. As the students become more adept they are encouraged to try out comedy scenes to stretch their ability. The students are then asked to apply their skills to a short drama script by Harold Pinter called The Applicant and a scene performance from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.

HOME ECONOMICS: 2 periods per week for one semester

This is a one-year course that all students take in either grade 7 or 8. Three major units are taught: cooking, child development and interior design. In cooking, the recipes are more complicated than G6. In child development, they acquire basic knowledge of development stages of infant and child and how children play, and practice reading books to them. In interior design, the basic elements of design and color scheme are introduced. Highlights include cooking demonstration speech, working with kindergarteners and planning a room design. They also take the American Red Cross CPR, AED, First Aid course and will receive the Certificate after successful completion.

MUSIC: 1 period per week for one year

Students will increase their ability to use sensory experience to comprehend music. Using their skills to participate in music, they will apply their knowledge of concepts, theories and process. Students will continue to express themselves creatively through music, and to make informal judgments about music and its relationship to the histories, cultures, and environments of the world's people. In addition, this course focuses on opera.

NEEDLEWORK: 2 periods per week for one year

Needlework is required of all students in the 7th and 8th grades. This class is taught for two semesters and report cards are issued at the end of each semester. The purpose of this course is to teach each student the basics of sewing and needlework and to make an article of clothing, which will be featured in the Spring Fashion Show.

POTTERY: 2 periods per week for one semester

Advanced wheel exposure is gained at this level using the 25 wheels available in the pottery room. Classes are structured in a way that encourage creativity but also skill development. The core theme is photography and clay. Photo silk screen, thrown photo frames, relief sculpture, digital portraiture, computer image manipulation are topics that we address at this level. Students also create their own chess sets or invented board games in clay.


There are three Values programs in Grade Eight.

Christianity: 1 period per week (All year)

This is a non-denominational Christian based course to encourage students to consider their own faith and to explore what having a religious view of life means. Students will reflect on their own experience and beliefs as well as the experiences and beliefs of others through the themes of Communication, Celebration and Values. Students will be considering ideas about prayer, freedom and responsibility, decision making and reconciliation.

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the history and fundamental beliefs of some of the major world religions. Students are encouraged to discover and define the values by which they live, to manifest concern and respect for others, to reflect on their own behavior and to value prayer and worship. An understanding of the common strands in all religions is fostered.

Personal Education: 1 period per week (Semester One)

The personal education course focuses on developing self-awareness, self-confidence and a sense of personal responsibility. It will concentrate on the skills of working with, relating to others and coping with the changing society in which we live. It will explore a range of issues that relate to our physical, social and emotional well-being, as well as trying to address issues of paramount concern to students. Students will be given a say in the topics we cover building relevance and usefulness of the sessions.

World Religions: 1 period per week (Semester Two)

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the history and fundamental beliefs of some of the major world religions. Students are encouraged to discover and define the values by which they live, to manifest concern and respect for others, to reflect on their own behavior and to value prayer and worship. An understanding of the common strands in all religions is fostered. During this year, Buddhism is the major faith that is studied.

Physical Education

3 periods per week

The Physical Education program promotes mental, physical, emotional and social development through guided sports activities. The students work in an educational environment which promotes an enjoyment of sport and provides opportunities for students of all levels to improve their skills, ability and understanding in the sport or activity being studied.

In Grade 8 students participate in a number of sports and activities covering skills, game play, rules and strategies.

Incorporated within the program is extensive fitness testing.

Inter-Scholastic League Sports

All students are encouraged to participate in the Sacred Heart sports teams, which practice after school and compete against other international schools in the Tokyo area on Saturdays.

Fall Sports Season (Sep - Nov)

  • Volleyball
  • Cross-Country

Winter Sports Season (Nov - Feb)

  • 7 aside Soccer
  • Netball

Spring Sports Season (March - May)

  • Track and Field
  • Basketball