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Update from October 28, 2016

posted Nov 3, 2016, 3:46 PM by Rebecca Tapley   [ updated Nov 3, 2016, 3:46 PM by Benjamin Moss ]


This week was our final push with exponents. Whether it was multiplying exponents, dividing exponents, or using the power rule, 8th graders were doing it. They also dove into solving equations with square roots and cube roots, and got the hang of that quickly. Watch out scientific notation - here we come!


Our weekly session with published author Ellen Booraem focused on plot development.  Earlier, students explored character development. Students will be working on their first scenes next week as we begin Writers Group.

With the beginning of November comes the beginning of NaNoWriMo. Check out what this exciting national phenomenon is all about! On Monday, students will be setting personal word goals for their writing this month. The goal is for each student to set his/her personal goal to be achieved in the month of November, all 30 days.

Today the students wrote for 15 minutes on a topic of their choice. They tallied the number of words and will mathematically arrive at their particular goal for November. It is likely that some of the goals will be 20,000 words or more!


Our week was somewhat interrupted by finishing up with NWEA’s.

We have continued with “Out of Nowhere.”  The topics discussed this week included skinheads, religious differences, and how an individual religious/cultural choice can impact other people. This book is set in Maine and there is a heavy French influence in some characters, which brings Catholicism into the equation. Many discussions surround the various aspects of Catholicism, Muslim and atheist points of view. We discussed the various calendars used throughout the world, particularly Gregorian, Jewish and Islamic (Hijri calendar) calendars.

The topics we wrote about included what Frost meant by “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” We also read and discussed, “Infant” by William Blake. We discussed how children, historically, have not been allowed/ given a voice in many parts of our culture and how even today, there are parts of the world where children are not valued. We read and discussed “Dedication” by Jim Natal. Some students were moved by particular phrases and lines in this poem. We asked the student who made this selection to explain why it was her choice.The discussion was rich, entertaining and insightful. I think each of us learned something from it. I know I did.


This was our first complete week. Overall students did well on the assessment today.

A reminder:

Weekend - review the words in Chapter 2

Monday - we will go over the words in class

Monday homework - complete pages 12 and 13.

Tuesday - Hand in homework before 7:45 a.m.

Tuesday homework - Complete Sentence Check 1 on page 14.

Wednesday - Hand in homework before 7:45 a.m.

Wednesday homework - Complete Sentence Check 2 on pages 14 and 15

Thursday - Hand in homework before 7:45 a.m.

Thursday homework  - Complete Final Check on page 15.

Friday - Hand in homework before 7:45 a.m.

Friday - Results of assessment.


Students made nature journals this week and were introduced to the life and writing of Henry David Thoreau. We will be using these journals to explore what it means to be a naturalist in and out of the classroom. The students have also been enjoying playing WolfQuest and learning about the needs and behaviors of wolves.

Social Studies

Mr. Moss was taking part in professional development this week.  Students continued work on their ongoing projects. The 8th graders had the opportunity to Skype with Mr. Moss and an astronaut. They asked interesting questions and learned what it is like to be an astronaut. We look forward to having Mr. Moss back on Monday.