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8th Grade Update

8th Grade Update
Posted on 09/27/2016
Field Day

At the start of this year we started off the second day of school with a field day. This allowed the entire 8th grade to get together in the gym for a series of games and challenges. Students participated in a silent birthday line-up where they attempted to line up according to their birthday month. This first challenge went over pretty well and everyone did a great job participating. Mr. McDonald and Mr. Cutler ran games in the gym for the students and then everyone was able to enjoy the outside field and playground. It was a great start to the week!

Staying Organized in 8th Grade

The 8th grade team considers high school preparedness an essential part of the work during this last year of middle school. This includes building the strong student skills necessary for juggling all the required academic work. Therefore, we will be working with students all year on planning and organization strategies. Each teacher's syllabus included a list of materials every student needs for that particular class. Teachers also have dedicated spots in their rooms for students to submit work, as well as pick up work they missed due to absences. We also spend time teaching students how to use Aspen to keep track of their grades. Google Classroom is another tool that Ms. Chung uses to communicate with her students and post assignments and handouts. (Other teachers will utilize Google Classroom in different ways this year and at CRLS.) Finally, we use Advisory and core class time throughout the year to model and practice strategies for organization, including how and where to record the "to do" list of homework assignments for each class. For example, if using the agenda book the school provides isn't a strategy that works for some students, they are allowed to use their phones to take a picture of the homework board or set a reminder.

Eighth Graders Perform Skits on Passion

Much of the first three days of school is spent building Advisory communities, so students school-wide feel they have a small team of adults and peers they can return to every day. In 8th grade, students are also tasked with writing skits related to one of the Putnam Avenue Core Values (Passion, Pride, Ownership, Balance, Perseverance) to be performed during the school-wide assembly at the end of the first week of school. This year, the entire school community is focusing on our core value of Passion for Academic Excellence and Social Justice. As such, each advisory's skit addressed the question "What does academic excellence and social justice mean to me?"

Performing in front of the entire student body is challenging for students, as is working together in new teams of peers to create something to perform. How will we get our message across? Who will speak on stage? What will we say? How can we come to an agreement as a group on what is important to us? Advisors are there to guide students, but generally step back and let the students fulfill their roles as leaders of the school. This year's performances included a video, a call and response poetry recital, and multiple skits about the do's and don'ts of being a strong student and community member. In the end, students feel like they've met the first challenge of their final year as middle schoolers.