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Middle School English: A Full Semester for 8th Graders

In this four-month full curriculum virtual semester students will get the same experiences with me as they would in a brick-and-mortar classroom. Activities will include reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, and so much more.
David Ginsberg
140 total reviews for this teacher
Completed by 2 learners
year olds
learners per class


Charged upfront
$10 per class
Meets 4x per week
Over 16 weeks
60 minutes per class
There are no open spots for this class, but you can request another time or scroll down to find more classes like this.


Class Experience

This class is taught in English.
Our learning goal should be to create classroom culture and community. We should be developing our critical thinking skills while honing our reading and writing abilities. These skills will be essential for all learners to one day go on to college, the military, and or the work force.
I have 5 + years teaching experience. I have a lifelong membership with the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. At the associate’s level at Southern Maine Community College, I studied Criminal Justice and Psychology, this included learning to professionally diagnose a patient with a mental disorder. I have a bachelor's degree in Educational Studies from Grand Canyon University, and a masters degree in history also from Grand Canyon University. I also have more than 20 credits in English.
Homework will be assigned each week. Most homework assignments will be to watch video resources and to read chapters of the assigned books.
All learners should also bring a paper and pencil to class. All learners should have access to the required books prior to class. The books can be purchased on the internet. All learners should also bring a paper and pencil to class. All Learners should have internet access. Some video watching assignments will take place on YouTube, Disney Plus, or Hulu.
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
I will provide grades as needed to satisfy homeschool requirements. Any grades provided will be formal letter grades such as A,B,C,D or F. Just as in public school an A is the highest passing grade, and an F is the lowest failing grade. 

Final evaluations of learning units will be project based rather than depending on written tests, this allows more creative freedom for learners to demonstrate skill mastery using a hands-on approach. 

All learners are required to participate in classroom discussions and activities. All learners must be respectful to each other and the teacher.
4 hours per week in class, and an estimated 1 - 2 hours per week outside of class.
Each book and story I have selected for our semester of learning has been used in public middle schools across America. Some are also included in the common core. These stories do include some mature themes that not all parents are comfortable with their children being exposed to. If you are not comfortable with these themes this might not be the right class for your children. If you are comfortable with your children learning about these themes, then it will be my pleasure to work with them in furthering their education. 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is about a Native American teenager who attends an all-white high school. The protagonist struggles with his racial identity as a Native American and life on an Indian reservation while trying to socially fit in at an all-white school. This book heavily focuses on racism and poverty which are very real issues still existing in America today.

Part Time Indian has been used as a teaching tool in public schools across America, it is also on the banned books list. The author Sherman Alexie is a Native American man, and he wrote the book based off of his own life experiences having grown on a reservation himself. Part Time Indian has also been placed on the banned books list. The book has received mixed reviews. Some critics praise the book for the protagonist’s ability to overcome hardship. Other critics discredit the book by saying that Sherman Alexie’s writing does not give enough of an in depth indigenous perspective, or his writing is one sided and doesn’t explore all perspectives of issues. Sherman Alexie has also been accused of and has admitted to multiple counts of sexual harassment. When reading his book, it is important to understand that by reading his book we are not justifying or condoning his actions.

We can talk about racism in our society in order to properly prevent it. We must be mindful of racism by acknowledging that it does exist. We want to make sure in reading Part Time Indian that we are not making generalizations about Native Americans. We want to make sure we are not labeling nay marginalized groups and that we are not contributing to stereotypes.

We will look at multiple perspectives when using Part Time Indian as a teaching tool. We will examine Native American history from a historical lens. We will look at primary sources such as court documents, newspaper articles, and if possible, we will have guest speakers to address the harmful effects of marginalization. All conversations should be open minded and not broad.

Banned books can be powerful teaching tools. The messages within them can be inspiring. We do not have to condone Sherman Alexie committing sexual harassment or any other criminal activities. We should not condone this. We can still learn from the greater concept of perseverance which is the message this books conveys. 

In my own lived experience, I have had to overcome very similar struggles to the protagonist of Part Time Indian. This book was a part of my own experience in public education and was a very inspirational story for me overall. I welcome your learner to join me in an unbiased analysis of this book in an educational and nonharmful way.

The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe is about a man who plots the murder of a friend out of revenge over an insult.

The Rise of The Governor is inspired by The Walking Dead comic books and television series. The story takes place in a zombie apocalypse. The Rise of The Governor follows the psychological journey of family man Phillip Blake who becomes a murderer in a post-apocalyptic world without law and order.

The focus of this semester will emphasize both the hero’s journey and the villain’s journey. Part Time Indian demonstrates the struggles of overcoming racism, poverty, and rising above personal hardships. While it tells the story of a Native American biased and the author is Native American the book is racially biased in favor of Native Americans. When reading this book, we will be exploring it as a literary analysis of the book from multiple perspectives. We will look at articles and reviews from other sources.

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor is rated 16 + by Common Sense Media. Our goal is not to glorify violence by reading this book but to understand why an ordinary man becomes a villain. There are some scenes with violence with humans killing zombies. If need be, some chapters may be skipped depending on the comfort level of some learners. It is important to remember this piece of literature is fictional and does not represent any real people or their actions. Our focus when reading this book should be on the Psychological journey the character experiences.

Both of these books represent both the heroes and the villain’s journeys because in everyday life we are tempted by negative influences such as our environments, peer pressures, societal expectations, etc. By understanding this we can either rise to become heroes or fall into villainy. 

The books we will be reading are The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe, and The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Jay Bonansinga and Robert Kirkman

Each learner will need a copy of these books for this class. The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe can be read for free on the internet from multiple sources. Some free audiobook versions of each of these stories also exist on YouTube. Most reading will take place outside of class.

All learners should also bring a paper and pencil to class.


David Ginsberg
Lives in the United States
Historian, Author, Artist, Pop Culture Fanatic, and Teacher.
140 total reviews
155 completed classes

About Me

Welcome to my profile,

My name is David Ginsberg and I live in southern Maine. I am very passionate about teaching and sharing my interests with my students. I believe that education is a lifelong process shared by teachers and students alike. My... 
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