Region In Review

June 5, 2020

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The Eighth Grade Class has grown leaps and bounds this year.

While distance learning did create a new challenge, this group of hardworking students rose to the occasion. Here is a look back at some of the great things they did this year in their classes.

What Was It Like To Be An Eighth Grader In 2020?

At a recent class meeting, Shepaug eighth graders talked about their experiences over the last three months. They were asked a few questions, and this is what they had to say:

What was hard about this spring?

"Missing normal eighth-grade events; going to school online; not being able to see my friends; not being able to end the year together; not having contact with people; screen time(!); focusing while I’m around my pets; adapting to a new way of learning; missing field trips and special events; missing spring sports, and more."

What was good about this spring?

"I learned how to bake; meeting everyone’s pets; we all came together more; I learned wood carving; I spent more time drawing; I like seeing my friends online; and more."

What did you learn about yourself?

"I actually like school; I enjoy alone time; I like going for walks; I am capable of being independent; I am more social than I knew; I like lunchtime at school; I need to think more positively; I am very self-sufficient; I need to make memories in whatever situation I’m in; I need to be patient; and more."

As you can see, the 2020’s eighth-graders are special. They are resilient,

reflective, and ready for the next steps in life, quarantine or not!

Spanish with Senora Holst-Grubbe

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Eighth-grade Spanish students continued on their path to proficiency in language acquisition. During this school year, students have learned and used new vocabulary useful in real-life situations, and have continued their reading of level-appropriate novels. A cultural highlight was a November field trip to see the Hispanic Flamenco Ballet, where professional Latin musicians and dancers demonstrated traditional dance from around the Spanish-speaking world. And how to culminate the experience? A trip to Puerto Vallarta Restaurant in Danbury.

Pictures speak volumes in any language!

Science with Mrs. Schuck

This year in Science the eighth graders strengthened their understanding of the natural world. Students investigated many phenomena from how bioengineers design medical devices such as a bionic ear, to how bacteria evolve to become antibiotic resistant in our study of genetics and evolution. Students designed and conducted their own investigations, engineered their own devices, and communicated their findings in a variety of ways. The student’s favorite experiences this year were dissecting the frog as part of our Human Body unit, and extracting DNA out of a strawberry in our Genetics unit.

Art with Mrs. Wright

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The eighth-grade Art students participated in an interdisciplinary Art and Science unit during distance learning this year. In Science, students learned about the structure and function of flowers. Simultaneously, in Art, students photographed, sketched and created collages of their observations of flowers in the natural world.

Chorus with Mrs. Harvison

Our Chorus classes were presented with a unique challenge in distance learning. However, our eighth graders have stepped up to the challenge of singing as a virtual choir. Check out their latest work in the “SVS Virtual Music Hall”.

Physical Education with Mr. Conway & Mrs. Stuart

Throughout distance learning, eighth-grade students were exposed to a variety of exercises and workout styles. Students had the chance to participate in some new and unique opportunities. They chose new skills to learn and created their own games. Students also had the opportunity to learn to use a compass, as well as how to build shelters.

Project Lead the Way with Ms. Gambino

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Eighth-grade Project Lead the Way classes offered students many inquiry-based project-driven opportunities in which they gained a deeper understanding of engineering through robotics and automation. Students persevered through intense challenges by learning how to isolate variables one at a time as they immersed in developing processes and strategies for problem-solving that were focused on grit and determination while overcoming their obstacles. Students built and programmed VEX automated machines and learned how to code in RobotC. Distance learning students programmed virtual robots with VR-VEX challenges.

Grade 8 Math with Mrs. Blum

This year in Grade 8 Math, we conquered squares and square roots! Most students enjoyed graphing linear equations when they were in slope intercept form, y = mx + b. We were able to solve systems of equations (two or more linear equations) by graphing, substitution or elimination. We worked with Geometry - finding different transformations: translation, rotation, reflection and dilations. Please ask your student which transformations preserve the size of the shape! Finally, we worked with the Pythagorean Theorem - this could only be used with a certain type of triangle, right? :)

Language Arts with Ms. Pearce & Ms. Phoenix

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In Language Arts, the eighth graders have been making their way through American Literature. Some texts they have been working with are "The Masque of the Red Death" and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." Aside from reading and writing about these texts, students have also been able to act out scenes from the texts to bring them to life.

While Distance Learning, students have looked at several graphic novels, and even created their own. They also created their own graphic novel scenes. Some students chose to imagine their own stories, while others adapted stories they have read this year. Students presented to one another on Zoom and walked us through the choices they had to make as artists and authors!

Grade 8 Algebra with Mrs. Blum

In Grade 8 Algebra, we took time to learn the difference between linear functions, quadratic functions and exponential functions. We graphed these different types of functions and found their solutions, the x-intercepts. We solved systems of equations towards the beginning of the year. Now, we are working with quadratics, whose graphs make a parabola - we don't know whether to "smile" or to "frown".

Agriscience with Mrs. Trovato

Mrs. Trovato's eighth-grade Agriscience students have been studying the evolution of food trends throughout history and their potential to impact the future. They have explored NASA food preparation, researched important figures who have influenced the food science industry as well as permaculture, and sustainability. By utilizing virtual reviews of Disney's Epcot, students were able to investigate the various aspects of sustainable food systems and new advances in food production.

Food Scientist Skit

Social Studies with Mr. Scarola

Eighth-grade American History students have endeavored this year to learn how to Think Like a Historian! Students have studied historical events from the pre-Columbian era, up through the colonial period, and ending with a study of the civil war. Students gather evidence, and like scientists, students develop theories, like a storyteller. Finally, students take a stand, like a lawyer, using evidence to defend their position. Students have studied the U.S. Constitution, and have earned a solid basic working knowledge about their rights and how our government works.

From the Counselor, Kelly Norris

School Counselors talk about grit and determination often when working with students. If there is one thing that I have learned during this Spring 2020, with this eighth grade class, it is that they have been listening. Our students have persevered and shown a level of resilience that can’t be taught in a traditional classroom. They have overcome obstacles like missing their friends, missing their sports teams, and having to figure out new digital learning styles. They have missed the opportunity for eighth-grade “perks” like trips to Boston, Holiday Hill, and having the eighth-grade dinner dance.

Their grit and determination has shown that they can consistently show up every day for class even from their bedrooms. They can still participate with teachers and classmates, even if their microphones glitch, through chat and non-verbal feedback buttons. They have grown to be creative and flexible. Our eighth-grade students have grown to self-advocate and problem solve more in these three months than I could have ever hoped or dreamed before moving on to become high school students. I am so proud to have been able to watch and participate in the process. I believe, without a doubt, that this process through Distance Learning will forever shape their learning careers. They have the tools that will carry with them further than just the halls of Shepaug.

Congratulations eighth graders, you made it!

Shepaug Summer Reading

"American Born Chinese" - Our Summer 2020 All-School Read!

We are happy to announce that American Born Chinese, an action-packed graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang, has been selected as our all-school read this summer.

American Born Chinese was the winner of the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award, an American Library Association literary award that annually recognizes the "best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit."

Learn more about this book at:

Visit the author's website at: Gene Yang

Summer Reading Expectations

Here are the summer reading assignments for all incoming students in grades 6 through 12:

  • Read and enjoy American Born Chinese. Discussions will take place in the fall; no written work is required over the summer. A creative assignment will be given in your Language Arts class, and discussions will take place when we return to school.

  • Read a second book of your choice. Explore! Try a new genre! Challenge yourself or just escape into a comfortable classic. Find recommendations by clicking on the blue button below. And don't forget that eBooks and audiobooks are available on Overdrive!

  • When we return to school, students will be asked to connect their free-choice summer reading to one of the Shepaug Learner Outcomes (Core Values and Guiding Beliefs). Textual evidence will be required to support your connection, so you may want to take brief notes as you read. You will also be able to bring your book to class for reference.

The Shepaug Learner Outcomes are as follows:

Engaging in the Creative Process, Solving Problems, Defending Conclusions and Judgments, and Answering a Call to Citizenship.

Take me to some book recommendations!

Discover your next favorite book here!

Fliers & Upcoming Events

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Region 12 Calendar

June 8 - Building Committee E-Meeting at 11a

June 15 - Virtual Aloha, Grade 5 - BFS

June 15 - Curriculum & Educational Program Committee E-Mtg at 6p

June 15 - Board of Education E-Meeting at 7p

June 16 - Virtual Aloha, Grade 5 - WPS

June 20 - Shepaug Graduation Day

June 25 - Virtual Halos Evening at 7p

Follow Region 12 on our social media channels for updates and information!

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The Region 12 community educates, challenges, and inspires all learners to become compassionate, creative, and courageous individuals who are empowered by the knowledge, character, and perseverance to achieve their greatest potential within the global society.

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