Creative Ways to Teach 8th Grade Language Arts
Definition Show and Tell
- Use creativity to expose eighth-graders to challenging vocabulary to prepare for high school. Instead of writing vocabulary definitions, the student shows the definition to the class. For example, to introduce the word, tepid, the student fills a cup with lukewarm water and presents it to the class to represent the word. This activity helps students remember and internalize meanings to actually learn vocabulary terms.
Teacher for a Day
- Divide the class into cooperative groups of four and assign each group a section of text to read. Each member of the group assumes a role as summarizer, questioner, clarifier and predictor. The group studies the section it is responsible for and develops an activity to teach the section to the class. Using the four roles of reciprocal teaching helps the group better understand the text to present it to peers.
- Use figurative language to add depth to writing and add an element of comedy. The student divides a sheet of paper into four sections and creates four puns. He may also use some well-known puns. An example would be, "She had a boyfriend with a wooden leg, but broke it off." The student illustrates each pun. Hang these around the classroom for students to perform a gallery walk to read the various puns.
Who Am I?
- The student chooses a character from a story or novel he has studied during the year. He then performs a role play and transforms himself into that character, assuming the character's dress and speech. His peers have to guess which character he has become. The student analyzes the character traits of appearance, personality, the character's role in the text, and dialogue.