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Units of Study in Argument, Information, and Narrative Writing, Grade 8

A Common Core Workshop Curriculum

By Lucy Calkins, Teachers College Reading & Writing Project, Mary Ehrenworth, Cornelius Minor, Kate Roberts, Katy Wischow, Julie Shepherd, Audra Robb, Gerrit Jones-Rooy

Eighth graders begin the year with a unit focused on investigative journalism, writing vivid narratives on social activism. Writers elevate their skills as literary essayists in the second unit, making arguments and counterarguments about themes in texts. In the final unit, students craft research-based position papers, using principled arguments, drawing on evidence, and addressing multiple perspectives. 

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About the Grade 8 Units

Eighth grade is the year your writers will tackle writing for social activism and writing to illuminate complexity. In their first unit of study, Investigative Journalism, students learn to use sharp observations of life to write news and investigative articles about meaningful topics, crafting vivid narratives and elaborating multiple perspectives. They’ll write to shine a light on issues in their community and to actively stir their readers to take action. Then in Unit 2, The Literary Essay: Analyzing Craft and Theme, students return to literary essays, writing arguments and counterarguments about themes in texts, supporting their positions with details of plot, character, and author’s craft. Eighth graders conclude with Unit 3, Position Papers: Research and Argument. In this unit students learn to compose principled arguments by drawing on evidence, contextualizing their positions, and addressing multiple perspectives.

About the Series

Like the K–5 Units of Study series, the Middle School Units of Study series not only provides a coherent, systematic curriculum in the three types of writing mandated by the Common Core—opinion/argument, information, and narrative writing—it also reflects the latest research on data-based, responsive instruction.

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