Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy Holidays

No school December 23 - January 1, 2014
School resumes January 2, 2014

American Revolution Unit

During the month of December, eighth grade teachers collaborated on an interdisciplinary unit on the American Revolution.  In civics class, students researched the life of a real or fictional person from the Revolutionary era and the perspective that individual might have had in the debate over independence.  Students then played the role of this character in a “Revolutionary Town Hall” that allowed students to experience the difficult task of forming a consensus for or against declaring our independence. 

In reading class, students continued to practice their close reading skills by grappling with two complex texts, The Declaration of Independence and “A Loyalist’s Rebuttal to the Declaration” by Thomas Hutchinson.   In addition, eighth grade Book Clubs read a historical fiction text that took place during the Revolutionary Era.  Some students portrayed characters from these books during the Town Hall in civics.  In English, eighth graders wrote an argumentative paper that asked them to analyze whether the Founding Fathers should be considered patriots or traitors.  Using evidence from primary source documents, students were asked to build an argument that would depict their own interpretation of historical events.  Finally, Book Clubs generated a background information resource for their historical fiction novel.  Each student researched an American Revolution topic referenced in their Book Club novel.  Then, they collaboratively developed a multi-media presentation using web-based Prezi as a tool to teach their topics to their classmates.  

American Revolution Historical Fiction Book Clubs

Civics Extra Credit opportunity

Students are invited to write a 500-1000 word essay on the current debate over the role of the federal government in food regulation.  An informational letter was sent home with students last month.  Students' essays must be emailed to me at by Monday, January 6 in order to earn the fifteen bonus points.   More information on the essay contest can be found at:


8th Grade Pays it forward

8th grade started to "pay it forward" this week by baking cookies for Avonworth Meals on Wheels.  Math and English classes worked together to convert a recipe for sugar cookies, then bake and decorate.  Students also wrote notes to accompany the cookies that will be delivered to seniors in our neighborhood over the holiday season. We were inspired by the movie Nicky's Family to do something positive and cookie baking is just the beginning!  Stay tuned for future pay it forward events!

Permission form for English class

Dear parents,
Happy holidays!  I hope this message finds you well. I am currently working towards my National Board Certification.  Part of that process requires that I submit student work and video entries of classroom activities to evaluate my impact on student learning.  To this end, I have sent home with your student a permission form that will allow me to use your student’s work (with all names withheld) and your student’s image and voice (again, anonymously) in these portfolio entries.  Please know, however, that the primary focus of these submissions is my instruction, and not your student.

The permission slip I sent home on Wednesday outlines all of the legal details of this information so please review the letter first.  The permission slips are on the back of that letter.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have and thank you in advance for your consideration.

Best regards,

Emily Hickman

December issue of The Herd

The latest issue of The Herd is now available online! The newspaper club welcomes new members as well as contributing authors, photographs, and cartoonists. See Mrs. Abate or Mr. Haskins for more details.

Some of the highlights:
  • Spirit Week
  • Chorus concert

New Year = New science notebook

Students in science 8 will start the New Year with their next science notebook. The first notebook contains the notes and learning activities covering motion, force, and energy. Our next two nine-week periods will cover the topics of chemistry and engineering.

Many students started the school year with two notebooks. Some students have stored their spare notebook in the lab. Others have kept their spare notebook at home. Students are being asked to come to class on January 2, 2014 with their new notebook!

Students need to have their spare composition book for science class on 1/02/14!

Events and Dates

Friday, December 20
[Event] Children’s Hospital Auction

Monday, December 23 through Wednesday, January 1, 2014
 No School - Winter Vacation
 Happy Holidays! 
 Happy New Year! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014
  School back in session

Monday, January 6, 2014
 [Social Studies] Extra Credit Essay DUE
 Wednesday, January 8, 2014
  AR due date

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
 2nd Nine-weeks ends
Thursday, January 16, 2014
 3rd Nine-weeks begins
Monday, January 20, 2014
 No School - Teacher In-service ACT 80
The 8th grade homework calendar is available on our Edline page.

Students learn about altruism from the Nicky's Family experience

JFilm moderator reviews the concepts shown in the film Nicky's Family. 

The 8th grade viewed the documentary Nicky’s Family, a true story about a British man who helped organize the rescue of almost 700 Jewish children out of Czechoslovakia and Slovakia in the days leading up to World War II.  This powerful film tells the story of Sir Nicholas Winton, the children he rescued, and the generations that were impacted by his humble and heroic gesture. This starts the 8th grade focus on opportunities to "Pay It Forward."

AR due date Countdown

AR Due Date January 8. Read your AR book!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Field Trip Tomorrow

The Nicky's Family field trip is tomorrow. Be sure to bring money to purchase a lunch or have a bagged lunch

This week...

Wednesday, December 18
 [Math] PNC Price Index due Dec 18
 [Science] Quiz: Sound and Light on Wednesday
Thursday, December 19
 [Social Studies] Chapter 5 TEST
Friday, December 20
 [English] Final Draft due Dec 20 (but feel free to turn it in early!)
 [Math] Study Island - Graphing Assignment Due Dec 20
 [Event] Children's Hospital Free Care Fund Auction Today
 Have a fun, safe vacation. See you next year!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Events and Dates

Friday, December 13
 [Events] ***Postponed*** Children's Hospital Auction
 Tuesday, December 17
 [Event] 10:00 am Nicky's Family Movie (Field Trip) 

Wednesday, December 18
7:00pm  District Chorus Concert
[Science] Quiz: Light and Sound

Thursday, December 19
[Social Studies] Chapter 5 Test

Friday, December 20
[Event] Children’s Hospital Auction

Monday, December 23 through Wednesday, January 1, 2014
 No School - Winter Vacation

Thursday, January 2, 2014
  School back in session

The 8th grade homework calendar is available on our Edline page.