Eighth Grade

November Curriculum Update :: Newtown Friends School


Digital Arts students will continue to develop their Adobe Photoshop skills with a "Layers of Me" self-portrait project. Students will create an 11x17" piece with a portrait, an abstract background, and a minimum of five meaningful symbols or images. Artful use of brushes, layer styles, filters, and opacity will enable students to design vivid, visual snapshots of who they are at this moment in time. The quarter will end with time for personal mini-projects and reflection.


The analytical writing process is underway for eighth grade English students, who will focus on the placement and execution of elements as they write their first critical essays of the year. Students will select a short story from our recent unit and examine the development of a theme therein. For now, structure is paramount in writing instruction, as writers add essential groundwork to their repertoires. Going forward, they will leverage this foundation to grow increasingly sophisticated ideas and further develop their voices as writers. Dialectical reading journals about independent reading selections also require evidence-based argumentation, allowing students to repeatedly practice this essential writing skill. As readers, students will continue to explore different literary genres in the next major literature unit, a study of Elie Wiesel’s emotionally challenging but incredibly impactful memoir, Night. We have also begun the first of several grammar units of the year with a study of modifiers and their placement within sentences.


Throughout October, we highlighted and played many different songs utilizing several different ringing techniques. We narrowed down our choices to five songs and are looking forward to performing those songs on our last day of class. We are working on playing together as a team, which is more difficult than it sounds! It takes a lot of hard work and concentration to play the right bell at the right time with the correct ringing or malloting technique. We would love for you to come hear us play on Friday, November 14th at 9:30am.


This month the eighth grade Latin students will complete their work for Lesson XV, which introduces the present tense of the verb sum. As the most common linking verb in Latin and a highly irregular verb, this is a very important topic! In this lesson we will also work with prepositional phrases that relate to place, reviewing the ablatives of place where and place from which and learning the accusative of place to which. We will then be ready to start Lesson XVI, which covers 2nd declension neuter nouns. This knowledge will greatly expand the pool of nouns that students are able to recognize in their reading and use in their compostions.


On Level

Many real-world scenarios can be described as a linear system. This month, we will begin solving linear systems by graphing, substitution, and elimination. We will also examine the constraints of these real-world scenarios and make predictions about future occurrences. The critical thinkers will use his and her graphing calculators as a resource and learn significant key sequences for this unit. After solving several, provided word problems, the analysts will begin brainstorming about topics for their own linear systems projects they would like to investigate in December.


We will continue solving linear systems using graphing, substitution, and elimination. The two variable, two equation linear systems will evolve into systems with three variables, three or more equations, and linear inequalities. Analysts will determine the constraints of the real-world scenario systems and explain the why the constraints exist. Also, the students will gain a deeper understanding of three variable systems by using substitution or elimination to write equivalent equations until one variable is isolated. Toward the end of the month, students will brainstorm and begin working on their own linear systems projects.


In Upper School PE we will be finishing European team handball, which is a combination of soccer and basketball. We will also introduce a dodgeball unit, which will include variations known as Doctor Dodgeball, Israeli Dodgeball, and Four Team Dodgeball. Throughout the month we will also play large group activities like Atlantic City Baseball and Alaskan Kickball to develop students' athletic skills and agility. Fitness and skill development are always an important part of all of our activities, but there is also emphasis on sportsmanship and fair play.


The eighth graders are beginning their exploration of physics, motion, and force. They will begin their studies with a quick recap of the concept of speed using inclined planes and matchbox cars. They will then study velocity, acceleration, Newton’s Laws of Motion, friction, gravity, momentum, and fluid dynamics within the context of labs and projects that will help illustrate each concept. Students will learn how these concepts work together to make things happen in our world.


The Service Learners will wrap up the quarter by actually carrying out the final steps of the projects they have worked so hard to plan! These projects cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from climate change to homelessness to animal abuse. They also feature different formats—some groups are writing children’s picture books and sharing them with Lower School classes, some groups are preparing hands-on activities to teach our kindergarten classes about important issues, and some groups are creating informative brochures and writing letters to newspapers and politicians. Once students have carried out their projects, they will complete a culminating reflection about their service experience. Then the next groups of Service Learners will come in and start the whole process over again, beginning by researching issues in the world which are important to them.


In November the eighth grade social studies students will learn more about the tragedy that is the Holocaust or Shoah. We will explore the roots of anti-Semitism in Europe as well as the horrible distortion of science that the Nazis attempted to employ. In October the eighth graders completed their first full DBQ essay. It took a lot of writing and rewriting but they really outshone themselves. The students are currently working on a research DBQ project that will help them to better understand an important World War II figure of their own interest. Students will learn how to perform close readings on primary source documents, outline long-form essays, and create strong and nuanced arguments.


In November, students will focus on distinguishing and using the numerous tenses we are presently learning and have learned: present tense, present progressive, future, past progressive, imperfect or preterit, and to add to the mix, the imperative mood to state commands. We will review key words in sentences that give a clue as to what tense should be applied: ahora, ayer, siempre, de repente, etc. This will assist students' abilities to produce more accurately the proper structure. To complete our work with commands, students will present skits with different scenarios where the imperative mood will need to be produced. They will use commands in the affirmative and negative forms and demonstrate knowledge of the change in conjugations in this mood. A comparison of the transportation, diet, farming methods, clothing, and other cultural aspects of the Inca culture to the current culture will be researched and presented. Students will use the comparative structures as well as the imperfect/preterit tense to complete the descriptions of their findings. From November on, the objective will be to include the many structures learned, when appropriate, to create and present more detailed communication.