Grades 6-8

In District 68, we offer students a comprehensive educational experience that provides students with a range of programs and services to meet their educational needs. This information is designed to provide you with an overview of the curriculum we offer our students.

Reading/Language Arts

Students’ experiences in Reading/Language Arts classrooms are centered on a reading and writing workshop approach that provides engaging balanced literacy instruction.  The workshop model includes instruction and practice in vocabulary, word study, comprehension, and writing.  Students interact with a wide variety of authentic and culturally relevant texts rather than through a single curricular resource.  The Illinois Learning Standards for ELA are followed in each grade level and are also supported in content areas such as Social Studies and Science.

Reading/Language Arts Learning Targets by Grade: 

6th Grade:

  • Define and identify perspective in literature (perspective of reader, perspective of author, perspective of characters) 
  • Consider that people have different perspectives that are influenced by aspects of their life (family, religion, politics, life experience, etc.)
  • Learn the literary terms of point of view, setting, conflict, and characterization.
  • Track character and plot development
  • Create engaging narratives that introduce the reader to a protagonist and a setting
  • Use appropriate narrative transition words and phrases
  • Use imagery through the use of sensory details 
  • Correctly punctuate and use purposeful dialogue with varied speech tags
  • Understand the use of commas when creating compound and complex sentences
  • Understand theme by tracking character changes, conflict development, and resolution
  • Research a topic with multiple sources and evaluate the credibility of a source
  • Refine a topic and write with a specific angle
  • Identify and craft specific text structures and text features
  • Plan and edit written work and use feedback to make revisions
  • Write complete claims and support them with evidence and reasoning
  • Understand the meaning of a variety of figurative language terms
  • Use figurative language in writing
  • Write a variety of poetry types
  • Understand the purpose of myths
  • Compare and contrast the same narrative in different media formats
  • Use root words to determine the meaning of unknown words
  • Retell a personal narrative in a written or oral format

7th Grade:

  • Analyze fiction for plot structure and literary elements such as characterization, conflict, and theme
  • Produce narrative writing that expresses an important theme, message, a “so what”
  • Understand the significance and utilization of nonfiction text in highlighting events, ideas, and people, in the past and present
  • Apply expository writing skills to authentic, real-world products.
  • Support arguments with direct evidence and logical reasoning. 
  • Analyze poetry and write poetry that connects to the reader using figurative language and other poetic devices  
  • Understand how a writer uses the voices and physical  interactions of characters to move the action of a plot toward a specific climax

8th Grade:

  • Determine a theme or central idea of a text 
  • Identify external and internal conflicts 
  • Analyze text evidence and draw  inferences 
  • Understand what a theme is, keywords, and common misconceptions 
  • Understand conflict and the different types of conflict
  • Identify different perspectives within a text 
  • Analyze how dialogue and incidents in a story reveals a character's perspective
  • Analyze the conflict, dialogue and incidents in a story and how they propel a story forward
  • Identify a symbol and analyze its significance within a text 
  • Create a symbol with significance
  • Identify the differences between a text and filmed production
  • Explain why the directors/actors made the changes they did
  • Evaluate the impact on the audience/story
  • Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works such as the Bible 
  • Describe how material from myths, traditional stories, and religious works is rendered new in modern works of fiction
  • Analyze how a character’s arc fits the hero’s journey in two different stages
  • Identify the different stages of the hero’s journey in a character’s arc.
  • Compose a creative and well-developed narrative that reflects a clear understanding of narrative technique and development
  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the writer utilizes logical organizational and idea development strategies that is appropriate to the task, purpose and audience 
  • Produce writing that strategically intrigues the reader so they are compelled to read on
  • Produce writing in which craft and style establish cohesion (flow of thoughts and writing) throughout the piece
  • Produce writing that is void of distracting errors (capitalization, spelling, basic punctuation, run-on sentences) and is ready to be published
  • Express ideas, opinions, feelings clearly when speaking to others
  • Encourage a successful discussion in which multiple peers can respond with different ideas to the question asked
  • Build on others’ ideas multiple times in class discussion, express thoughts clearly with relevant evidence, observations, or ideas
  • Engage in a debate on a topic against another team
  • Cite text evidence in order to support an argument
  • Develop an argument with relevant reasoning


The Carnegie middle school math program is grounded in research that seeks to understand how students learn and how to effectively facilitate this.  The curricular framework integrates brain science and practical instructional approaches by guiding students through engaging in real-world examples that encourages them to work together to solve problems, developing mathematical skills from student-specific independent practice, and demonstrating success with formative assessment opportunities that allow teachers to identify and accommodate student needs. It embraces flexible learning by combining Mathia, an adaptive independent practice software, and group instruction emphasizing collaborative student activities throughout the text. The curriculum provides opportunities for students to develop skills in the standards of mathematical practice and state content standards through multiple representations, mathematical habits of mind, and the idea of transfer.

Math Learning Targets by Grade


Students’ experiences in the 6-8 science classrooms are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and reflect a three-dimensional approach to explain phenomena or design solutions to problems. Lessons and units allow students to actively engage with the practices (Dimension 1) and apply the crosscutting concepts (Dimension 2) to deepen their understanding of core ideas (Dimension 3) across science disciplines. The practices describe behaviors that scientists engage in as they investigate and build models and theories about the natural world and the key set of engineering practices that engineers use as they design and build models and systems. Crosscutting concepts have applications across all domains of science. As such, they are a way of linking the different domains of science. Disciplinary core ideas focus the science curriculum, instruction and assessments on the most important aspects of science. Disciplinary ideas are grouped in four domains that will spiral through grades 6-8 and include: the physical sciences; the life sciences; the earth and space sciences; and engineering, technology and applications of science.  Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, students and teachers will interact with a new curricular resource, SEPUP.  Learn more about SEPUP by visiting this LINK.

Grade 6

Life Science: Ecology
Physical Science: The Effect of Force on Motion and Interaction of Matter and Energy
Earth Science: Patterns and Interactions in the Universe

Grade 7

Life Science: Animal Adaptations
Physical Science: Energy, Light and Sound
Earth Science: Dynamic Changing Earth: Inside Earth

Grade 8

Life Science: Genetics, Cells, Inherited Traits, DNA, and Current Genetic Issues
Physical Science: Interaction of Matter and Chemistry, Matter, Periodic Table of the Elements, Reactions, Acids and Base
Earth Science: Scientific Method

Social Studies

The Social Studies curriculum utilizes evidence based practices to support moving learning forward through inquiry and critical thinking. Students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade social studies will analyze multiple sources to inquire about historical, civic, economic, and geographical impacts on multiple cultures and regions. Students will be introduced to the inquiry process and skills of practicing questioning, using evidence, evaluating sources, and communicating conclusions. Inquiry skills are utilized to guide independent thinking and independent research to address multiple perspectives regarding human rights, politics, and economic impact on diverse societies.  Students will develop claims and utilize primary and secondary sources to support their learning of Civics, Economics, History, and Geography standards.  Students will assess historical and current events to identify how individuals and groups take action to address problems or promote change. Teachers will utilize differentiation strategies to support how students learn and develop their social studies skills. Standard based grading allows students to develop academically at an independent pace while being supported and evaluated with multiple forms of formative and summative assessments. 

Grade 6

The theme of 6th grade Social Studies is to explore how humans interact with different sources of power. Students will investigate topics that include interactions with the power of geography, government, economics, and history. Through the use of inquiry skills, students will consider the effects of human interaction with the environment, potential solutions to both global and local problems, causes of revolutions, changes caused by expansion, and the repercussions of laws and government. Students will demonstrate mastery of skills learned through the completion of formative and summative assessments.  All curriculum assessments are aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science.


Grade 7

The theme of 7th grade Social Studies is to explore the struggle for power and freedom through “hidden stories” of oppression and resistance in the shaping of U.S. History.  Students will investigate concepts of freedom, resistance, cause and effect, change and continuity, reform, and legacy. Through the use of inquiry skills, students will consider the “why” of history through questioning, seeking evidence from multiple perspectives, drawing conclusions, and supporting claims. Students will demonstrate mastery of skills learned through the completion of formative and summative assessments.  All curriculum assessments are aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science.

Grade 8

The theme of 8th grade Social Studies is to explore the connections to the world around us. Students will investigate topics that include modern and historical changemakers, social justice, consequences of government decisions, genocide, cultural geography, and financial literacy. Students will develop their inquiry skills to investigate how the actions of individuals and groups have an effect on themselves, others and/or the world.  Students will demonstrate mastery of skills learned through the completion of formative and summative assessments.  All curriculum assessments are aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science. 

Social Studies Learning Targets by Grade

Common Core State Standards

Illinois, along with 45 other states, adopted the Common Core State Standards to be used to guide teachers in what students at each grade-level need to learn in English/Language Arts. Each set of grade-level standards consists of literature, informational text as well as listening and speaking standards. The primary grades have standards for foundational skills. Grade-level standards build on knowledge and skills learned the previous year and create a stair-step progression across the K-8 instructional years.

Common Core State Standards Website


Additional Student Services and Programs

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