The 8th grade English course centers around voice. The course begins with the classic Of Mice and Men. Students engage in a deep study of characters to discover how authors create complex, interrelated, and dynamic figures through writing. They also critique how authors address the voices of marginalized populations, especially within historical texts. Next, students read and write poetry to understand the power of word choice and poetic devices. In the contemporary fiction unit, students read and analyze the novel Bear Town through the lens of voice and truth. To conclude the year, students compose a “This I Believe” personal essay to voice a truth in their own lives. They will draw from our class readings, world events, personal experience, and their self-selected readings from throughout the year. Grammar instruction is integrated in each unit and focuses on the necessity for clarity to communicate effectively. For vocabulary development, students identify and collect words from their reading to incorporate into their speaking and writing. These lists are individualized and ask students to take ownership and be lifelong learners.