Team Gryphon - 4th Quarter News

The End is Near and New Beginnings Await

It is hard to believe, but as I write this newsletter there are only 33 days left of 8th grade. We are already at the end of the second week of the 4th quarter with only six more to go. As you read through the information we have included, you will see that it is going to be a very full and busy two months. It is important for the students to finish strong. Please continue to encourage them be present, be engaged, do their best work, and seek us out if they have questions. We want to thank you for entrusting your student to us this year and are excited to be sending them on to high school where we know they will thrive and be successful.

PARCC Testing 4/11 - 4/14

PARCC testing begins next week. Some of the reminders the office has been conveying to students leading up to next week are: 1) get plenty of rest 2) eat a good breakfast 3) be on time 4)bring a book for reading after the test 5)have a set of head phones for audio portions 6)leave all electronic devices at home, including cell phones

Students will still have their electives each day and there will be core time. The schedule for core time and electives is included in the following link. Also, if it is necessary for students to have their phones with them next week the teachers on Team Gryphon will be collecting them prior to testing and putting them away in a secure location until testing is completed for the day. This allows the students to have their phones if needed, but also allows for the security of the testing environment.

Class News and Updates

Math: For students in Math 8, we are working on chapter 8 in the textbook which is on Transformations. They are learning about translations, reflections, rotations, and dilations. Expect students to have homework at least two to three times a week on this topic. Homework is updated on my classroom calendar weekly.

Algebra 1: We have completed the section on Quadratics. We are now discussing Square Root Functions. Students have been working on creating posters to compare various square root functions. We will also be learning about solving square root equations. After PARCC testing, students will learn about Rational Functions, which will take us through the rest of April.

PARCC testing is next week 4/11-4/14. We will be reviewing previous concepts later this week to prepare. Students are welcome to see me before/after school or during advisement for extra help on homework assignments or any class activities.

Social Studies:

The End of Slavery is Nigh!

This week in Social Studies we are researching abolitionists and the Underground Railroad in a series of activities including a webquest. The webquest is an well done, interactive experience and I hope you will visit it with your student. All materials are linked on my weekly agenda and in Google Classroom.

We are also beginning the novel Chasing Lincoln’s Killer in class this week. The reading and most of the work will be done in class, but there will be some out of class writing assignments associated with the book. I will have the books available for students to read if they finish early with PARCC Tests.

All of this is leading up to our Civil War Unit which we begin in mid-April. This topic is fascinating to me and I hope students will share what we do in class with you. As always, I welcome you to visit the classroom at any time. An outline of daily activities is posted on my weekly agenda.

Language Arts

We are reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a mystery. I assume most know the critical part of the story about the connection between Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll. The students do not know the connection yet, so please try to allow your child to lead the conversation in order to not give too much away. Because coding is our focus, students will not have a paper book to read. Each chapter, or group of chapters, will be presented as a packet. This allows student to show their thinking directly on the text.

At this time, students are quite puzzled about the reasons behind Dr. Jekyll's strange will. Students are asking great clarifying questions and spending time documenting their thinking as they read (coding the text). There is a focus on including text evidence (specific events or quotes) from the text to support their ideas. We will also have creative activities to show our thinking as we read, including cartoons, letter writing, talk shows.

In vocabulary, we will focus on root words.


Following 8th grade PARCC testing next week, Health class will be finishing up the 'Disease Prevention' unit with a unit test. From there we will move on to 'Reproductive Health', where we will cover topics such as Dating Boundaries & Healthy Relationships, Refusal Skills, Reproductive Systems, STD's Contraception, and Abstinence.


For the duration of 4th quarter we will be covering our unit on Physics. Specifically, Newton's 3 Laws, energy transfer, and motion. So far we have defined motion and looked at the differences between speed and acceleration. Over the next few day we will identify forces and evaluate how they impact motion leading us into the basis of Newton's Laws. After PARCC testing next week we will be conducting several inquiry activities to test these laws and introduce our Rocket Project. This will take us through the month and into the start of May. The month of May will see us launching our rockets and experimenting with energy transfer via the construction and testing of catapults. We will end our unit and year with our team wide "Egg Drop."