Below can be found the principles and philosophy we follow with respect to the different subject areas of the Curriculum.
Eighth grade Algebra I is essentially the same as seventh grade Algebra. Teachers seek to conduct their classes with regard to the maturity level and learning needs of their students. Students make connections between traditional abstract concepts and their applications to the real world. Emphasis is placed on reading and writing as well as calculating mathematics problems in a wide variety of applications. This course incorporates visual and manipulative aids as well as technology such as graphing calculators and computers.
The advanced algebra course is designed for students that have already been introduced to first year algebra. There are two main goals for this class. First, the class serves as a comprehensive background check for all algebra skills and essential concepts. With the varied applications and honors-level skill development, students are required to grow their abilities horizontally, using their complete understanding of algebraic thinking to broaden their scope of problem solving and continue their development to confidently address the abstract ideas in mathematics. Cumulative assessments are taken weekly to ensure skill mastery and proper application. Secondly, the course is designed for students to take the major themes of algebra 1 and carry them forward into geometry and algebra II. Students will experience the natural extensions of their algebra learning in systems, quadratics, rational expressions, exponential functions, etc. into some major areas of higher level mathematics.
A fast-paced course in which students who have mastered the skills developed in Algebra I use those skills as a springboard in a rigorous setting. Topics include factoring and solving 3rd degree and higher polynomials, matrices, logarithms and trigonometry.
The theme of eighth grade literature is "The Journey". This theme resonates with adolescents who are engrossed in their own journeys, both literal and figurative. Students read about characters who actually travel to another place and/or journey from the world of the adolescent to that of the adult. Euripides' Iphigenia explores the world of the Greeks and an adolescent's role in serving her country. Students also read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens to explore the writing style of the 19th century and to compare that style to the style of the 20th century's A Separate Peace. Reading both of these novels also reminds the students and teachers that the journey to adulthood was difficult in the mid-1800s, in ways at once similar and different from the journey made by adolescents today. Sandra Cisneros' House on Mango Street explores the theme of "fitting in", a theme with which all eighth graders can identify. Students read The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's exploration of young love, which teaches the students how to enjoy his rich language. Short story selections from the Little Worlds textbook acquaint students with first person narrative tales which reflect the difficulties in the task of growing up and learning to live in an imperfect adult world. Poetry selections are rich and varied and cover Shakespeare's sonnets to 20th century free verse. Eighth graders analyze writing styles of many authors and seek their own styles and voices in writing.
Eighth Grade Project:
Students need not only to learn how to conduct research, but also effectively communicate those ideas in visual and written forms using traditional and modern media. The Eighth Grade Project will serve as the culminating Project for all of our 8th grade students, affording them the opportunity to acquire and apply skills from a variety of disciplines into a single project. Much more than a traditional research paper, it would not only integrate diverse disciplines, but also introduce students to a wide variety of presentation and collaboration skills and technologies.
Students will participate in a number of hands-on skills workshops over the first quarter, followed by a selection of their final project in which they employ their newly learned skills, some optional and some mandatory, depending on their topic and target audience. By the end of the first quarter, many students will have identified personal strengths which they can then leverage during the final project. While the first quarter was structured around workshops, the second quarter will focus primarily on planning and carrying out the main project by implementing many of the workshop skills.
Five elements are required in the final project: a written component, a video component, a publishing component, a presentation, and a written validation and reflection.
During the first quarter, eighth graders complete their study of Canadian History in the post World War II era, bringing them up to modern day America. The rest of the year is spent studying the Canadian government including: the foundations, importance, and meaning of our Constitution; the rights and responsibilities of citizenship; political parties and interest groups; the election process; and the functions and powers of the different branches of our national government. Current events and topical issues are addressed during the course of the year.
Students are introduced to the Francophone language and culture. The skills of listening, reading and writing are integrated by extensive use of visual aids, videos, games, activities, and frequent practice in the language laboratory. During the fist year, students learn to master the basic structure of French grammar. Students are immersed in the language.
The four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing are interwoven throughout the German I course. There is great emphasis on oral communication. Through classroom immersion in the language and an integrated video program, students are introduced to the language and culture of the German-speaking world. German grammar is largely learned in context and as German is based on a case system, it can often reinforce the understanding of English grammar also. By the end of the German 1 course, students are able to communicate effectively in spoken and written German and have a firm foundation on which to base their continued study.
Physical Science is a broad survey science course covering the general categories of matter and energy. Matter topics introduced and developed include solids, liquids, gases, atomic structure, elements, the periodic table, mixtures, compounds, and chemical reactions. Energy topics introduced and developed include motion, work, power, simple machines, electricity, magnetism, heat, sound, and light. Laboratory investigations play a primary role in the study of physical science in the eighth grade.
All eighth graders take full year courses in Canadian Civics, English, Literature, Mathematics, Science, and a foreign language of their choice. In addition, they take a one semester course in English Grammar, Computer, Drama, Music and Physical Education.