8th Grade

NFS Curriculum Update :: May & June, 2015

English

Eighth grade English students are finishing out the year with a study of poetry and memoir. Examining mentor texts from the perspective of both critical scholars and writers themselves, students will think closely about author choices and techniques, then consider how best to utilize those same practices to create an effect in their own poetry. Topics covered include rhyme scheme, meter, scansion, syntax, and theme. Our work with poetry will extend to the final exam, a two-part assessment that will require students to explicate a novel poem, in addition to covering vocabulary and grammar topics. Finally, eighth grade writers will work to bring meaning to memory as they craft their “small moment” speeches. Students will draft, revise, and finely hone these personal reflections for presentation at Graduation, 2015. The final products will encapsulate each individual’s Newtown Friends School experience.

LATIN

This month the eighth grade Latin students will finish their work with Lesson XX, which means that they will be able to work with verbs of all four conjugations in the present and perfect tenses! As we complete this lesson, we will also begin our culminating composition project, a piece which allows students a great deal of freedom in their choice of topic and format while requiring them to synthesize many of the grammatical constructions they have learned since sixth grade. Even though creating their compositions will help students prepare for their final exam at the end of the month, we will also engage in some in-class activities to review the concepts we have learned throughout the years. Between our projects and our exam preparations, we have plenty to keep us busy through the end of the school year!

MATH

On Level


Eighth graders are finishing up simplifying and performing operations with radical expressions. This involves mastery of perfect squares, factors, rules of exponents, and combining like-terms. Mathematicians will then dissect the components of quadratic functions by identifying the vertex, line of symmetry and direction of the graph as well as determining the constraints on the function’s domain and range. Students will also calculate the roots, x-intercepts, of the function by graphing, completing the square, and using the quadratic formula. Toward the end of the month, eighth graders will simplify, solve, and graph rational functions. As a culminating activity, synthesizers will compare and contrast the various types of functions learned in the past two years.

In preparation for the final exam, students chose a specific concept to design an instructional video, song, or board game. With the planning phase in full motion, the masterpieces will be uploaded to my YouTube channel for peers to use as a resource. Board games will be played in class.


Advanced


Mathematicians will continue graphing, solving, and analyzing quadratic functions. This includes finding the solutions to quadratic equations by graphing, completing the square, and using the quadratic formula. Next, students will write and solve quadratic systems using similar methods utilized in solving linear systems. As a culminating activity, mathematicians will compare and contrast the various types of functions learned in the past year, including square root and logarithmic functions.

In preparation for the final exam, students chose a specific concept to design an instructional video, song, or board game. With the planning phase in full motion, the masterpieces will be uploaded to my YouTube channel for peers to use as a resource. Board games will be played in class.

MUSICAL THEATER

Sarah and I have had such a wonderful time working with this cast. May is a very busy month for us. Along with our regular in class rehearsals, a small selection of cast members will have a rehearsal from 3:30-5pm on Friday, May 8th and all of us will have an all day rehearsal on Tuesday, May 19 from 8:10am-3:30pm. I can’t wait for you to see this show on Friday, May 29th! You will be receiving an email from me detailing the costuming soon. Thank you for sharing your child with us!

P.E.

We will begin May with the conclusion of the badminton unit. We have worked on and practiced various aspects of the game including serving, volleying and team play and will end with a tournament. We will also review Field Day activities. The class will discuss various forms of leadership that can be seen during Field Day, good sportsmanship that should be displayed during Field Day, and the concepts teamwork, community and healthy competition. The school year will end with a unit on softball and softball type activities as well as large group outdoor games.

SCIENCE

The eighth graders just began their robotics unit. During this unit, they will be working with Lego Mindstorm EV3 robotics system. They will not only build multiple types of robots that will perform different tasks, but they will have to program the robots to accomplish those tasks. The students will have three tests and three quizzes during this unit. They will be graded on how well their robots accomplish the tasks set out by the teacher. Pop quizzes will also be given to individual team members to make sure everyone is learning and understanding all concepts. Since they will be working in teams, the grade the robot gets will be the grade for both team members. There is a huge amount of accountability to each other during this unit. At the conclusion of the unit, students will study for a comprehensive assessment covering all concepts covered throughout the year.

SOCIAL STUDIES

Students will be given the opportunity to combine all of their social science skills into overcoming one challenge. They will write a personal research essay about a topic of their own interest. They will be expected to research, plan, and argue a thesis that they have developed entirely on their own. I expect students to take advantage of their creativity and their diverse range of interests to write this essay. The students will conclude the year by writing a Document-Based Question (DBQ) Essay based on the Social Change movements that we have covered throughout the year. This essay will be cumulative. The eighth graders have shown a great deal of growth over the last three years. I have high hopes that this essay will show them more than capable of succeeding on the high school level.

SPANISH

The first week in May, the class will present their “Las enfermedades skit” to complete the illness unit. Students will then learn the final structure of the course, the conditional tense. They will learn how to explain what they would do using phrases like: me gustaría, iría, and prepositional phrases like: si tuviera, si habría and si fuera… Other work will include review work of previously learned structures and vocabulary in preparation for the final exam of Spanish 1 course. The immersion classroom will be a busy place in terms of reaching for the highest standard in oral communication. The expectation will be for each student to try their very best to express all needs and wants in Spanish throughout the class period.

TECH STUDIO

Students successfully completed basic design projects using Google SketchUp and were excited to print their creations with our MakerBot 3-d printers. This month we will be exploring LegoRobotics, specifically the WeDo kits and software. Students will work in teams to master the technology and plan a 2.5 hour hands-on robotics workshop for third graders. Our first ever NFS Robotics Day is scheduled for Tuesday, May 19th. While our peers are rehearsing Music Man Jr., we will be teaching third grade friends all about robotics. Students will document the experience using a variety of digital tools. We will end the year with time for further exploration of robotics, 3-d design, and coding.
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UPCOMING DATES

Monday, May 4 - Friday, May 8 - Spirit Week

Saturday, May 9 - Alumni & Family Day

Thursday, May 14 - Field Day

Tuesday, May 19 - All Day Rehearsal for Music Man Jr. & Tech Studio Robotics Day

Tuesday, May 26 - Friday, May 29 - Exams

Friday, May 29 - Music Man Jr. Show

Monday, June 1 - Alumni Breakfast for 8th Grade Students

Tuesday, June 2 - Thursday, June 4 - Williamsburg Trip

Friday, June 5 - Graduation Dance

Tuesday, June 9 - Graduation