Ms. Erica Brannon, Science
The start of school is just around the corner, and I hope you’re starting to get excited about exploring science together this year! One of my favorite things about teaching science is all the opportunities it provides for students to learn through hands on activities. Not only is hands-on learning fun, numerous studies have shown that students learn better, are more motivated, and perform better on assessments when given the opportunity to learn through hands on activities as compared to textbook or lecture approaches. It is my goal to get students moving around, building, and exploring in my class daily. One of students’ favorite hands-on activities we do is build a Rube Goldberg machine. A Rube Goldberg machine is a device that completes a simple task using a complex process of chain reactions. This is the culminating activity in our Forces, Motion, and Simple Machines unit because it allows students to call upon their knowledge in these three areas to create a real, working, Rube Goldberg Machine! Here’s a comic version of a Rube Goldberg machine, which could be especially useful in getting your kids (or yourself) up and ready for school on time for the first day!☺
Mr. Greg Conrad, Humanities
I’m looking forward to beginning our year with returning and new students. I had a great summer and hope everyone else did as well. As you read this begin thinking about any history you experienced over the summer; maybe you traveled to an historic site or learned about your family’s background on a trip to visit grandparents. History is all around us, keep your eyes open.
We begin our year with studies surrounding the US Constitution mostly focused on the Bill of Rights. This is an interesting, timely, and important subject with all that is happening in US politics and the presidential race. There are frequent and important connections to individual rights brought up constantly, think of the debate over the 2nd amendment as a great example. We’ll explore and discuss rights of individuals vs. rights and protection of society. Our main project is a mock trial. Students will take on the roles of attorneys for the prosecution and defense with one student portraying an individual accused of a crime. After lots of prep we’ll go to trial with an unknown outcome, the jury will decide the fate of the defendant based on how each team presents their case. The outcome is different each year. I’ll send out a request for volunteers with a background in law shortly after the beginning of the year to parents. What an exciting way to begin our school year. See y’all soon.
Mrs. Amanda Holdredge, Language Arts
Hello, returning students, and a big welcome to our new 8th graders! I can’t wait to see everyone. I hope you’re enjoying the final days of a great summer, and students, I trust that you’ve wrapped up your summer reading assignment on S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, due the first day of school. If you have any questions about the assignment, please feel free to email me. It’s going to be a great year in Language Arts. We start the year with the classic short story “Flowers for Algernon” and an opinion writing piece surrounding the ethical questions raised in the story; the persuasive strategies we’ll cover offer some really nice tie-ins to the mock trial you’ll be doing with Mr. Conrad in Humanities. See you next week!
Mr. Joe Kennedy, Math
The first day of school is right around the corner and I know some of you are wondering if you have all the materials you need for all of your classes. Remember that SPS supplies all the basic necessities the students need for all of their classes (binders, notebooks, paper, pencils, etc.), so there is no need to run out and buy 10,000 pencils and a 10 inch binder to keep all your materials in. We did all the shopping for you. The one item you will need to purchase this year is a calculator. Any calculator will do, but I suggest a scientific calculator which runs about $10. We do have calculators on the iPads, but iPads are not allowed during testing, so it’s very important to have access to a calculator during our assessments. I looking forward to seeing you all next week.