The eighth grade English curriculum continues to build upon students’ knowledge and is designed to help them become more effective writers and readers. Throughout the year, students are taught how to incorporate the traits of effective writing and write in a variety of formats including personal, narrative, expository, persuasive, and poetry. Students are exposed to a variety of reading genres to help them become effective readers who are able to appreciate different writing techniques. Vocabulary acquisition is facilitated through the study of words in context and in isolation. Students learn words in context and study them through root word study and complete the Daily Grammar Program.
In eighth grade, students explore the history of the United States during the late 19th century through much of the 20th century. They examine the historical eras of industrialization, immigration, progressivism, the 1920’s, the Great Depression, World War II, and the Civil Rights Movement. Students examine the role of government, equality and citizen rights, decisions made, movements of change, and economic growth/decline for each topic/era. Eighth grade students do not rely on a text book; instead investigate each topic utilizing internet resources, historical images, films, political cartoons, primary/secondary sources, and literature. In addition, students develop expository writing, research, organization, and study and critical thinking skills throughout the year.
All eighth grade students are enrolled either in Algebra 1 or Geometry. Placement of the student in the proper course and level is an important decision and requires discussion with the math department. The program is designed to enable students to change levels at various times in their schooling. They are separated by gender, a practice that has many academic and social benefits for both girls and boys. Problem solving is stressed and students are encouraged to participate in algebra and geometry contests.
In Spanish and French in the eighth grade, there is a heavy emphasis on the structure of the language. Speaking, reading, writing, and listening are addressed through a multifaceted approach that augments normal daily activities with guided essays, films, and follow-up discussions. Students continue to develop awareness of the Spanish/French speaking areas of the world through exposure to authentic materials such as videos, blogs, and music.
The course requires an increasing mastery of vocabulary and essential inflections and syntax. Students learn to think more logically as well as to memorize, analyze, organize, and correlate. A keener appreciation of the indebtedness of English to Latin is gained.
Eighth grade science is an introduction to the multidisciplinary field of environmental science. Using specific environmental examples as a springboard, students are challenged to use their scientific knowledge to critically evaluate global environmental issues. Topics include basic chemistry, energy conservation, global warming, ozone pollution, availability of clean fresh water and coastline, and species conservation. Significant emphasis is placed on evaluating multiple sides of an argument and understanding the complexity of the issues we face today. Encouraging students to become working scientists is the overarching goal of the science department. A unique and dynamic thematic curriculum at each grade level provides a springboard to develop scientific thinkers and problem solvers. Our curriculum allows students to make authentic connections to the world around them and to previous scientific knowledge. Technology serves as a platform to explore and research topics generated by both students and faculty. Critical reading strategies and study skills are reinforced.
The computer program continues to be integrated within all disciplines in the Middle School and computer skills and applications are taught by all of our teachers. Faculty use our three computer labs and two laptop carts to help students use the computer in the daily production of their work.
All Middle School students participate in the arts on a daily basis. In eighth grade, students continue their participation in their fine arts selection from seventh grade, completing two years of a concentrated study in band, choir, drama, orchestra, or visual arts.
All Middle School students participate in physical education every day. The program concentrates on a student’s physical fitness level with emphasis placed on improvement. Students run a timed mile every three weeks and are tested on their upper body strength. In eighth grade, students can choose their activities, which include baseball (boys), dance (girls), ultimate Frisbee (boys), volleyball, football, soccer, lacrosse, basketball, biking, crossfit, circus, and aerobics.
In eighth grade, students review the male and female reproductive systems, as well as learn about the viruses that cause AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Students also learn and practice decision-making skills in postponing sexual involvement.
Eighth grade guidance classes are taught by our full-time Middle School guidance counselor as needed. Topics are based on the developmental needs of the students and address relevant and current issues. In addition, support groups are offered at all grade levels. Topics range from students who are experiencing a change in their family structure, students who are new to our school, or any other identified need. Students are invited to the group on a voluntary basis and develop skills to help them adjust to the changes in their life in a positive way. Students in these groups provide support for one another and are bound by the rules to keep all discussions in confidence.