Curriculum Update :: October 2013


Artists in the clay elective began the course by investigating several hand building techniques, familiarizing and themselves with studio procedures . They recently finished up a slab building project in which they rolled slabs then cut and attached pieces using proper tools and techniques to create hollow three dimensional forms. Some artists went on to build with coils. Currently we are investigating the possibilities of additive and subtractive sculpture. Simply put it is using tools and hand manipulation to either add clay on to a form or take it away. Students are creating clay dolls either of themselves, a pop icon or an inspiring artist. This dolls will be built in pieces then glazed and assembled once fired. This project is extremely challenging and intense. Students are problem solving,evaluating and editing on a daily basis. At the same time, they a gaining a deep comprehension of the possibilities clay can offer to an artist. Once finished students will begin planning a personal project that demonstrated techniques taught in class.


Eighth grade queries have been written and practiced, and are ready to go! Each query will be presented by its author at a Monday assembly throughout the school year. Eighth grade English scholars are now ready to dive fully into the short story unit that began with Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” and will continue with other classics from the genre, including “The Necklace” and “The Most Dangerous Game.” Students will focus their reading on author choices and their impacts, expanding their knowledge of literary devices from last year to include the analysis of motif and theme. These observations will serve as the starting point for the first critical essay of the year. Students will also express their thinking about their independent reading choices using the dialectical journal model, enabling them to continually emphasize the connection between textual evidence and argumentation. Our study of vocabulary is ongoing, with the Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop series serving as the foundation for that work.


Team handbells is off to a great start! After finishing our hopes and dreams for the quarter, we began a quick music reading review. We touched on rhythm reading, reading notes in treble and bass clefs and introduced basic handbell ringing techniques. As we move through October, we will be highlighting and playing many different songs utilizing several different ringing techniques.


This month the 8th grade Latin students will be taking their first grammar quiz of the year, covering 2nd declension nouns and adjectives that end in –r. Once we have completed this lesson, we will move on to Lesson 15, which covers two different topics. First, we will learn how to conjugate the verb sum in the present tense. Sum means “I am,” and just like in English, it is the most irregular Latin verb. We will then learn the accusative of place to which, a type of prepositional phrase that expresses the place to which someone or something is going.


Eighth graders are diligently working on their introductory functions unit and will continue to in the beginning of October. The students are learning how many real-life situations can be expressed as a rule, equation, and a graph. Students will continue to construct, analyze and summarize various graphs to gain a better understanding of the general shapes specific types of functions should have. Also, students will be writing algebraic equations to decipher number sequences. Following the function unit, students will build on previous knowledge about inequalities and describe real-world situations where a range of answers exists. The young mathematicians will solve and graph compound inequalities including absolute value equations and inequalities. Further, students will measure their own physical fitness using equations and inequalities.


In Upper School PE we will continue to develop our physical fitness and work on core as well as muscular strength. The team sport we will be playing is touch football or flag football and the strategies that go along with offense and defense. We will also continue to play large group games like Chaotic Kickball and Defending the Throne that develop skill and teamwork. Fitness and skill development is an important part of all of our activities, but also sportsmanship and fair play.

Service Learning

This month the students in Service Learning will use the knowledge base they have acquired through their research as the foundation of their project planning. They will form small groups based on shared interests and begin to write their project proposals. These proposals will undergo many revisions as students strive to make them as detailed and professional as possible. Once their proposals are complete, students will begin preparing to carry out their projects. Each project will have a slightly different timeline, but by the end of the month, most groups will be close to completing their service project work.


The eighth grade will continue to explore Newton’s three laws of motion and how they relate to an understanding of flight in space exploration. They will also understand Earth’s and Mars’ place in the solar system. Building and launching Estes model rockets will be the main project focus of this month’s studies. With these launches, the students will experiment with fin designs while tracking altitude and trajectory of launches.

Social Studies

In October we will be diving deep into the roots of the Civil War. As always, we will be relying heavily on primary sources so that students learn to analyze, connect, and synthesize like actual historians. In attempt to understand the impact of the war on everyday Americans, each student will be assigned a real individual from that era to research. Each of the assigned individuals left a record in the form of a memoir, series of letters, or diary that will be the student's main source of information. Students will be challenged to draw conclusions from the source and then recreate a moment from the war by writing a creative historical narrative. We will use these pieces to create podcasts in iMovie. This month we will also prepare for and take the first Document Based Question (DBQ) assessment of the year.


In October, eighth grade Spanish students will continue to practice preterit structures and command forms in daily oral warm-up work to advance communication skills in oral and written work. Students will begin to gather a list of childhood activities and adjectives to describe what each student was like when they were younger. Students will memorize, study and practice the imperfect tense conjugation to explain childhood likes, dislikes and routines. Once students have studied the conjugation of both preterit tenses, the preterit and the imperfect they will begin to distinguish their distinct uses.


Friday, Oct. 18th, 6-9pm

NFS Auditorium

TASC is organizing a friendraiser to Sleepy Hollow at Active Acres Farm in Newtown. We will meet at 6 pm in the Auditorium to do some community service before heading over to the farm on the NFS bus. Parents should pick up their children at the farm at 9 pm. Look for details and a permission slip in the Tuesday Update.