Honors English 8

Unit I: Characters Inside Out, 1st Nine Weeks

Introduction to Writing Literary Analysis

In this first unit, students are introduced to writing essays of literary analysis, which is an entirely new type of writing for them. Although the students have done mini-versions of this type of writing in 6th and 7th graders, this will be the first real experience.


We will begin by teaching the students how to craft an insightful thesis and a well-written example, using AEC as an acronym to help explain the process of analysis--this means that for every 1 example, a writer should have...



  • an ACTION, establishing a background for the evidence;
  • EVIDENCE, meaning an actual direct quote from the text supporting his or her thesis;
  • and CONNECTION, multiple sentences specifically explaining the logic behind how his evidence supports his thesis.


We will then move toward writing a solid paragraph of literary analysis with the O'Henry short story, "Ransom of Red Chief" and build toward writing a complete essay focused on a character in the novel, And Then There Were None.



The students will work toward mastering this new genre of writing before the year end.

Grades to Expect

Daily Grades



  • Writing Territory Draft 1 – 8/29
  • Characters in Poetry AEC Statement – 9/2
  • SSR Response – due by 9/7
  • And Then There Were None Reading Check – 9/19
  • Prepositional Phrases Quizlet – 9/23
  • And Then There Were None Reading Check & Vocab. Quizlet – 9/26
  • SSR Response – due by 9/28
  • Language Study Exit Card –10/4
  • SSR Response – due 10/12



Major Grades


  • “Ransom of Red Chief” Interpretive Response – due 9/12
  • Language Study Assessment – due 10/12
  • And Then There Were None essay – due 10/14 (counts as 2 major assessment grades)



*Please be aware that dates are subject to change. Parent Portal is the most up-to-date reference for what is happening in the classroom and our primary way of communicating with parents.

SSR Response Options

Time spent reading and discussing self-selected books is one of the most important experiences students can have in the school setting. Extensive research shows that this type of reading is engaging and motivating, increases comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary, and – perhaps even more importantly – grows students who find joy in reading.


Students spend 10 minutes a day reading their SSR novels during English class, and they should be reading for at least an additional hour, if not more, over the course of each week. We anticipate that students are reading at least three novels a nine weeks between time spent each day in class and time spent reading independently.


Students were provided with a list of options for SSR Responses, and they are expected to complete 3 SSR responses during each nine weeks. For each due date, they may choose ONE activity to complete from the list.

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And Then There Were None Literary Analysis Essay

In a literary analysis, the student's goal is to explain his/her personal interpretation of a particular aspect of a piece of fiction. In this case, students will be focusing on characters, character development, and characterization found in the novel And Then There Were None. The students' interpretation comes from the thinking, writing, and discussing work they completed during the reading.


This assignment invites students to show their understanding of the novel And Then There Were None by writing a 2+ page analysis response that focuses on one single character or one idea that involves many characters.


A thesis statement for a single character analysis might look like this:

In the novel Under My Sun, Strom Banks encounters many generous and friendly people, but he only learns to become a kind-hearted person himself when he finally realizes how much his family really loves him.


A thesis statement for a single concept and multiple characters might look like this:

Throughout the story Blinking Red, the major and minor characters all keep very important secrets. Some keep the secrets for good reasons, and others keep them to protect their own evil ways.

Scoring Guide

Essays are graded holistically, based on how the identified characteristics work together to create a paper that:

- Is interesting to read and engaging – a meaningful attempt at literary analysis

- Is appropriate for this unit of study

- Has a strong, focused thesis

- Is insightful and thoughtful

- Uses a logical organizational structure with connected ideas

- Has strong word choice, sentence development, and appropriate use of conventions


A+ 100, A 95

Highly successful and effective. Shows exceptional understanding of concepts, knowledge, and skills.


A- 90, B 85

Successful and effective. Shows adequate understanding of concepts, knowledge, and skills.


B- 80, C 75

Partially successful and/or effective. Shows limited understanding of concepts, knowledge, and skills.


Fix, 65

Unsuccessful. Come to tutorials for extra help. Revise and re-submit.

Language Study Assessment

Learning Targets


  • Analyze and model a sentence for structure, conventions, and grammar
  • Identify and write using subject verb agreement.
  • Identify and write with a variety of phrases and clauses.
  • Memorize and identify helping verbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and subject/object pronouns
  • Use a variety of correctly structured sentences.


In Preparation for the Language Assessment

Students should review their notes in their journals. Write summaries of all Cornell Notes on each topic: prepositional phrases, pronouns, verbs, and sentence types. They should review the mentor sentences that accompany ATTWN. Lastly, they should look over the study guide, which will be handed out a week in advance of the quiz.


Note: Grammar Practice resources are listed under "Resources" on our class website (www.tinyurl.com/rmshela8).

Grammar List to Memorize

Attached below is a link the list that the 8th graders need to be actively working on memorizing, beginning with prepositions and helping verbs.

Sing Along and Help Your Child Memorize His or Her Helping Verbs & Prepositions!

HelpingVerbsSong
The Preposition Song