Weekly Updates - Cluster 6 (1/18)

1/18 - 1/28

Cluster Announcements

Students are bringing home a behavior contract, which needs to be signed by a parent or guardian and returned to school. This also has information about the second payment for the DC trip, which is due Feb 3.


For the next few weeks in ELA class, students will be working on their personal narrative writing skills. They will be introduced to a short text each week from an author (so far we’ve used Jason Reynolds and Stephen King) to model the types of writing and promote a specific prompt. Students are then asked to emulate the author in their own personal writing over the course of a few days- we want students to embrace that writing is a process that involves thought, planning, work, revision, and presenting.

By the end of each week, students will present their writing to their classmates. This is essential for many reasons. Students are able to experience (and celebrate) the talents of their peers, they are able to practice their presentation skills in front of an audience of their peers, and they are able to read a familiar text (their own writing) to practice their fluency skills. So far it has been a tremendous success.

Along with the personal narratives, students are using commonlit.org to strengthen their reading comprehension skills. Students are assigned short texts that loosely connect with the mini-write for the week. The program uses guided questions to track the reading understanding, along with multiple-choice questions at the end of the passage to gauge reading comprehension. The results are easily tracked and immediately presented to the student.

Finally, get out the PATS gear. It's playoff time!


With the end of Term 2 right around the corner (Jan 25), we’ll be wrapping up our genetics unit over the next two weeks. Next Thursday, Jan 20, students will take a cumulative test on everything we have covered this term. Extra, optional study materials are available here: Review Materials for Genetics Unit

We will also be wrapping up a genetics project that we started this week, in which students used their understanding of Mendelian genetics to breed a baby dragon, tracking nine specific traits from the dragon parents to the offspring. Many students have created their baby dragons, which are displayed as a beautiful flight of dragons in the classroom.

Big picture


Our Civics class has started the “Our Founding Documents” unit, and we’re learning about the early days of our country. Students are studying about the colonial era, the economies of the 13 colonies, and their geography. We also learned about colonial grievances against the English king, particularly the Intolerable Acts. Students did some historical fiction writing where they pretended to be a colonist complaining to a friend or family member about British unfairness! Students learned about the three parts of the Declaration of Independence, reading some difficult quotes from that document and matching them up to language 8th graders can understand. For a challenge, students can memorize the famous quote from the Declaration, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." We are still working to live up to this standard in the USA today.

Next week, we’ll be doing a “Fix It Day,” where students have the chance to assess and reflect on their current grades, and redo and revise assignments to better show their understanding of our content. We’ll also learn about the Articles of Confederation, and the purposes of government laid out in the Preamble to the Constitution.


8th grade math is now knee-deep in solving equations, including those requiring use of the Distributive Propertyand fractional coefficients. This work will be very beneficial for being ready for not just high school Algebra, but also Physics.

The Algebra class has begun their work with linear relationships, and the equations that define them. We will soon learn to manipulate equations for a desired variable. Think solving for Fahrenheit when given a formula for Celsius.

Reminder about Expectations

Please help your student remember our Cluster 6 Expectations:

Be Ready

  • Chromebook charged everyday

  • Earbuds away unless a teacher is asking you to listen to something

  • Phones away

Be Responsible

  • Bring notebook/binder/BOOK, computer and a pen/pencil to class

  • Complete daily homework

  • Complete projects

  • Complete make-up work, redos, and retakes

Be Respectful

  • Hands off other students, especially in hallway

  • Masks up

  • Hoods, hats off. This is school, not your house!

  • We are all on the same team, let’s help each other have a great year!

What do you get when you follow these rules?

  • Sit next to friends at lunch

  • Keep your phone and earbuds during the school day

  • Avoid assigned seat at assemblies

  • Earn grades that reflect your brainpower

  • Go to Washington DC or Watertown Week

  • Time for homework support on Tuesdays and Thursdays PM WIN

  • Avoid office referrals

  • Avoid lectures with teachers, Ms. Carle and Ms. Martin

  • Avoid detentions

  • Avoid extra guardian contact

  • Attend special events like dances, movies and student-faculty basketball game

  • More games during homeroom, less academic or behavior support

  • Choose what you want to do during WIN Fun Fridays

  • Make your 8th grade year positive!