8th Grade 'Perspectives' (Unit 3 Overview)

Highlights of Unit 3: What Matters

In this unit, students will learn about standing up for one’s rights, considering what rights are worth standing up for and when to stand up for them. Students will read a variety of texts and view media as they discuss the Essential Question for the unit.


As a class, in small groups, and independently, students will work to answer the question When is it right to take a stand? 


What are some of the ways you could answer the question When is it right to take a stand?

What do these texts say about what matters? How do people know when the time is right to stand up?

Why do you think people standing up for their rights is so popular in the media and in books and film?




“Barrington Irving,

Pilot and Educator”

National Geographic

magazine article

“Three Cheers for the Nanny State” 

Sarah Conly 

opinion piece 

“Soda Ban? What About Personal Choice?”

Katrina Trinko

opinion piece


“Words Do Not Pay”

Chief Joseph


from Follow the

Rabbit–Proof Fence

Doris Pilkington


“The Moth Presents:

Aleeza Kazmi”


media: video


Your student can choose one of the following to read independently. 

from Through My Eyes

Ruby Bridges


The Unknown Citizen

W. H. Auden


Harriet Tubman:  Conductor on

the Underground Railroad

Ann Petry



Students will write a memoir on how and why it is important for people to make their own choices in life. Drawing on knowledge gained from the selections in this unit, personal experience and reflection, the students will discuss the positive outcomes for taking choices and their experiences with the challenges of expressing how they feel.

Whole-Class Learning Performance Task 45% 

After completing the Whole-Class section of the unit, your student will learn how to put together an argument in the form of a problem-and-solution essay. He or she will write an essay to answer the questions What is a problem you think needs to be solved? How would you solve it? 

End-of-Unit Performance-Based Assessment 45% 

At the end of the unit, your student will pull together his or her learning by completing a Performance-Based Assessment addressing the question in the form of a speech: What matters to you? Take a stand. In response to that question, he or she will write an argument and give an oral presentation to the class and visiting parents about global issues, world injustices and anything the students feel passionate about. 


Activities and assignments in Unit 3 will help your student meet the following Common Core State Standards for reading literature and informational texts, writing, and speaking and listening. Here are some key standards students will work toward mastering in this unit.


• Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.

• Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).

• Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

• Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation.


• Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

• Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.

• Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

Speaking and Listening

• Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

• Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

Thank you for your continuing support!