Back to School
8th Grade Otto Middle School
Fall School Newsletter
Wow! We are off to a splendid start this year. It’s so good to be back with all the students. It was wonderful to see so many parents at our Open House. The 8th grade team was excited to meet the people who know our kids best! During the first six weeks the teachers have noticed all students have been very focused on how to strengthen their ability to learn and succeed. More to come as we continue our journey into the second six weeks. Enjoy these beautiful autumn days.
Fall Book fair will run from September 14-18.
Last year, the staff began studying the work of Carol Dweck on mindset by reading the book Mindsets in the Classroom by Mary Cay Ricci. Watch the video below and start learning how you can help your child develop their growth mindset.
Football and Volleyball
Many of our 8th graders will be taking to the football field and volleyball court starting this week. Look for the schedules in our Otto ENEWS.
8th Grade Department
Grant Wilson - 8th Grade Counselor
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / 469-752-85181. Taught Math and Social Studies. Have worked in Counseling at Otto for 3 years
2. Currently Reading - ‘Teach With Your Strengths’
3. Hobbies – Spending time with family, going to movies, watching college football
Bonny Pan - Math 8 and BLAST
1. Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (TWU) and Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction with emphasis in Math (UTA)
2. Currently reading Teaching with Your Strengths
3. Hobbies – reading, cook, coming up with new ideas in the classroom
Kaci McDaniel - Math 8, Algebra, MATH ROCKS 8
1. Bachelor’s in Math Education from Texas Tech University and have taught high school math and middle school math.
2. Currently reading – Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
3. Hobbies – reading, crafting, and being outdoors
Rosie Coleman - Algebra 1 and Math 8
1. Bachelors of Science in Mathematics from SFASU
2. Currently reading - Balancing it all & Reshaping it all - Candance Cameron Bure. I plan on buying her latest book soon!
3. Hobbies - Coaching swimming at Oak Point, baking goodies, working out, and spending time with family. :)
Robert Keahey - US History and PACE 8
1. University of Houston majored in Media Production, 4 years teaching
2. Currently reading -Cities on the Plain by Cormac, The Collected Writings ( so Far) of Rick Wormeli, Fierce Patriot, the Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman by Robert L. O'Connell
3. Hobbies - Reading, music, and playing guitar
Brent Truitt - Social Studies
1. Southwestern University......B. S. In Education and University of Houston.....M. Ed. In Curriculum and Instruction
2. Currently reading Historical and Science fiction books
3. Hobbies - Kayaking on area waterways and surviving grandchildren
Zeshan Khan - US History
1. Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Studies from UNT
2. Currently reading - Teach with your Strengths
3. Hobbies - working out, tennis, and spending time with family and friends.
Courtney Langdon - English 8 and Athletics
Contact - Courtney.Langdon@pisd.edu / 469-752-8579
1. I was a long term substitute at Otto last year and this is my first official year teaching here. I taught Communication courses during my Masters’ program at Auburn. I went to Auburn University (WAR EAGLE!) and received a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Communication and also received a Masters of Arts in Communication.
2. Currently reading - So many books. I am beginning the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan right now and I am reading Unwind by Neal Shusterman in my Reading class. I also just finished the entire Harry Potter series, which I know is a favorite among my students.
3. Hobbies - I love to cook and read. I hang out with my husband and dog, coincidentally named Otto. I am a newly wed and my husband and I are currently building our first house!
1. Plano East grad 1999. Associate's Degree from Richland College. Bachelors in General Studies: English, Psychology, and Criminal Justice from North Texas.
2. Currently reading - Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper and If I Stay by Gayle Forman
3. Hobbies - Spending time with my family, soccer, reading and trivia.
Torrey Gragg - Science
Contact - Torrey.Gragg@pisd.edu / 469-752-8583
1. Graduated from Cornell University
2. Currently reading innumerable websites .
3. Hobbies An occasional gamer and sports fan. From Oklahoma City, OK
1. 3rd year at Otto Teaching Science and 10+ years in Plano teaching Math. Bachelor of Science and Masters in Education from Texas A&M - Commerce
2. Currently reading - They Enemy Inside by Steve Martini and The Escape by David Baldacci
3. Hobbies - Soccer and Football
First Six Weeks At A Glance
This six weeks, 8th grade English will be focusing on characterization in fiction and poetry in our “Characters Inside Out” unit. Students will apply "The Language of Character" terminology to analyze short stories and poems in class, and they will earn summative grades for several reading responses. Our Cumulative Assessment Project for this unit is called “My So-Called Life,” an original short story focused on the development of characters.
This six weeks will be a fun and exciting exploration into chemistry and the Universe. In the chemistry unit we will review elements and compounds while learning about chemical formulas and the intricacies of the periodic table. We will also discuss chemical reactions and science safety. From there we will begin talking about the Universe, beginning with waves, and how sound and light travel through our surroundings. This should be an eye opening adventure for students as they learn new and exciting details about the world around them.
Math 8 and Algebra 1
In Math 8, we are learning about the number system and will soon be exploring the Pythagorean Theorem. Students will be converting between standard and Scientific Notation and identifying and grouping numbers according to their characteristics. Students will learn how to use the Pythagorean Theorem to model and solve real world problems.
This six weeks Algebra 1 will be writing and solving single variable equations and inequalities while determining the domain and range of a function. Afterwards we will focus on evaluating functions using more than one element in their domains. Lastly we will identify terms and write formulas for the nth term of an arithmetic sequence.
In the first six weeks, students will be studying the effects of geography on the development of colonial America. Students will analyze the reasons for exploration and the importance of political, economic, and social factors upon the formation of the thirteen colonies. Students will compare early American colonization to new space colonization. We will conclude the unit with our first essay of the year, reflecting on the themes of the unit – geography and economy of the 13 original colonies.