8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents,

This is our last Friday note of the year, and it is with mixed emotions that we write these final thoughts about the year and this terrific class.

This morning’s Family Circle meetings were certainly a highlight of the week. We met with another Family Circle to share projects about the all-school theme, which included songs, obstacle courses, scavenger hunts, and many other survival-themed activities. Rainbow Day ensued at the park, and we enjoyed a variety of relay races in our mixed-age groups. We ended the morning with Field Day in which the fourth through eighth grades competed in various tasks. It was a beautiful day to be out of doors!

We spent our last day at The Schuylkill Center on Tuesday. It was an opportunity to learn about the effects of water runoff in the city, to finish poetry anthologies, and to hike one last time to favorite spots.

Final activities this week included completing the poetry anthologies, a science test, an algebra overview, and memorial project presentations in cultural studies. Students will receive an “ultimate” checklist to be completed during the final week of school, giving them an opportunity to touch base with all their teachers to help the final clean up and say goodbye.

We look forward to sharing the poetry anthologies on Monday!

Cleaning classrooms and rehearsals for graduation will continue apace. Bags to transport artwork, classwork, and belongings are needed next week. On Thursday, June 8, students will have breakfast together here at school to celebrate the handing out of writing folders in their advisories. These are folders kept from kindergarten onward, collecting writing and artwork from the beginning and end of each year. Be expecting them to come home with students on Thursday. Ashley’s advisees are bringing in bagels, spreads, and juices; Ethan’s advisees are bringing in donuts and muffins; and Emily’s advisees are bringing fruit, paper plates, plastic cups, and utensils. Please remember not to include nuts, pineapple or melon in a fruit mixture and that several gluten-free options would be welcome.

We hope to see everyone on Thursday evening (students should be in their seats at 6:30 p.m.; the program begins at 6:45 p.m.) at Part I of graduation. See “All Things Graduation 2017” for details regarding dress, times, and protocols. Friday’s Part 2 begins promptly at 9 a.m. (students are to be here no later than 8:30 a.m.). The 8th graders are doing wonderful jobs with their graduation speeches and performances.

Thank you all for being such active, thoughtful, and supportive partners in this year’s journey. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Warmly,

Emily, Ashley, Ethan, and Wendy

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Families,

It was wonderful to see so many of you at Tuesday’s pancake breakfast! We hope you not only enjoyed Jeffrey’s culinary expertise but also the pictures of our graduates throughout their years at The Philadelphia School. A big thank you to Kate Riccardi, whose photographs provided us with this journey through the TPS experience.

For the past few weeks, we have been visiting our old home bases at The Schuylkill Center, which have inspired some wonderful reminiscing. Next Tuesday will be our final trip there, so students should come dressed for whatever the weather holds. It’s a bad tick season this year, so make sure your children are continuing to do tick checks when they return home.

Memorial projects occupied cultural studies time this week. Students looked at work from previous years and started thinking about their own projects, which they will be presenting in class on Thursday, 6/1 and Friday, 6/2. 

In language arts, we finished reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and students wrote thoughtful responses to a selection of essay questions. Most of them chose to discuss whether Huck Finn should be banned from schools or libraries or be read in an expurgated version. Their response was a resounding “No!” They also closed out their year-long study of Latin with a test on Thursday, and they were proud of how much they’ve learned about the language, culture, and etymological connections to English and Spanish.

In math class, students took their quadratics unit test on Monday. On Wednesday, we had a guest speaker: Dr. Jonathan Tannen, a director at Econsult Solutions, Inc. (and Ethan’s brother). Jonathan led a session during which students explored ways to use math to analyze the influence of different factors on municipal judicial elections.

Our studies in science turned from climate change discussions to solutions, looking at habits that society and individuals can examine with the help of methods from innovation and ancient ways. Look for a test on content and a closing project next week. 

On Thursday, June 8, students will have breakfast together at school to celebrate the handing out of writing folders in their advisories. These are folders kept from kindergarten onward, collecting writing and artwork from the beginning and end of each year. Expect them to come home with students on that Thursday. Ashley’s advisees are bringing bagels, spreads, and juice; Ethan’s advisees are bringing donuts, muffins, and other breakfast pastries; and Emily’s advisees are bringing fruit, paper products, and utensils. Please DO NOT include any peanuts or tree nuts in the baked goods, nor any pineapple in a fruit mixture. 

The students have chosen their graduation songs, continue to polish their speeches, and will begin practicing in the gym next week. Starting this week, there should be no more absences.

Some great news — Emily’s recovery from her surgery continues to go well, and she plans to return this Tuesday, May 30, right on schedule. We can’t wait to have her back!

Have a great long weekend!

Ashley, Ethan, Wendy, and Judith

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear 8th Grade Families,

Today marks the last full week of school at TPS for our 8th graders, and it was a busy one! In cultural studies, we have finished reading Warriors Don't Cry, but our discussions about civil rights continue. Next week, students will begin to plan their memorial projects for the Little Rock Nine.

By Monday, we will have finished reading Huckleberry Finn. The students are taking full advantage of the rich thematic material that the text affords, making connections to their work in cultural studies, other works of literature that they've read, and the present day. We are continuing our poetry study — this week's featured poet (and, of course, writer of every stripe) was James Baldwin. We are also busily reviewing vocabulary, grammar, and etymology in preparation for our Latin final, which is next Thursday.

In math class this week, students examined the utility of vertex/standard/factored forms and applied the solving methods that they have learned to answer story problems. Their quadratics unit test is on Monday.

The sustainability study continues in science as we wrap up our unit on waste and begin a student-requested, timely investigation into climate change. In the coming weeks, we will be looking at habits that affect our carbon footprint on the individual, city, country and global scale. We will be examining and recreating some of the key ice core data for climate change, mapping areas vulnerable to rising sea levels, and looking at how to take action as a concerned citizen.  

There are a number of events coming up at which we hope you will join us! The 8th Grade Pancake Breakfast is next Tuesday from 8:20 to 9:15 a.m. in the Garage. This event kicks off graduation activities and gives you an opportunity to see teachers from all units who have worked with this class, as well as to enjoy a slide show from the early years on through 8th grade. Please let us know if you will be joining us! Afterward, the students will head out to The Schuylkill Center for one of their last visits.

Please do come to EATS tonight. This community event raises significant funds for financial aid and development.

We also hope to see you at the FUN (Annual) Meeting on Sunday, May 21, from 1–3 p.m. in the Garage, where you'll learn more about the future of TPS.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Ashley, Ethan, Wendy and Judith

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Families,

We had another eventful week! This morning, we enjoyed hearing a recital of various after-school ensembles during Encuentro. It was another "last moment" as we congratulated our eighth grade musicians who, we hope, will continue to pursue their musical studies in high school.

On Tuesday, we heard from Deborah Gordon Klehr, attorney and TPS parent, about the challenges that minors face in the judicial system. Our students were understandably invested in this topic and had a number of thoughtful questions.

On Thursday afternoon, our Shakespeareans enthusiastically supported the third graders at their end-of-year play. Those 8th graders who had taken part in the third-grade play at TPS still remember their parts, their songs, and in some cases, their lines!

We spent some time working on our graduation speeches, the first draft of which is due on Monday, May 15. We can't wait to share them with you in a few short weeks.

In keeping with the all-school theme, next week our 8th graders will all be trained in hands-only CPR.  According to the American Heart Association, hands-only CPR has been shown to be as effective as conventional CPR for cardiac arrest (outside of hospitals); it can double or even triple a victim’s chance of survival.  

Our students will be trained in this valuable skill by the Youth Heart Watch Program at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (http://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/youth-heart-watch).  Their trainers will work with students for an hour to train them in identifying and responding to cardiac events.  In addition, our students will hear from the family member of TPS students whose life was saved thanks to bystander CPR.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Ashley, Ethan, Wendy, and Judith

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Families,

This morning we enjoyed meeting in our Family Circles. We will meet in this grouping once more on Friday, June 2, to share the projects and activities we’ve created around our all-school theme.

This week in cultural studies we have been looking at the role the leaders (President Eisenhower and Governor Faubus) played in influencing the events surrounding the integration of Central High School in Little Rock. Next week we will focus on the role of the media, reading excerpts from The Race Beat: The Press, The Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff.

In language arts, we have been continuing our discussions about Huckleberry Finn, refining our Latin grammar, and working on our poetry anthologies. Our Thursday poetry spotlight focused on the work of Danez Smith.

In math class, students have been exploring methods used to solve quadratic equations. This culminated in deriving the quadratic formula on Wednesday. Students are fine-tuning their use of the formula we derived, and putting it to memory as next week we will apply our knowledge of quadratics to solving quadratic word problems.

In science, we are continuing our study of sustainability, wrapping up our unit on waste, and beginning a student-requested investigation into climate change. In the coming weeks, we will be looking at habits that affect our carbon footprint on the individual, city, country, and global scale. We will be examining and recreating some of the key ice core data for climate change, mapping areas vulnerable to rising sea levels, and looking at how to take action as a concerned citizen.  

On Tuesday we look forward to meeting Attorney Deborah Gordon Klehr in our Monthly Constitutional to talk about children’s rights. This will be our last Monthly Constitutional for the year, and we thank all our participants for giving us such powerful insights into the workings of the Constitution in a variety of settings.

Some graduation reminders: first drafts of graduation speeches will be due by May 15, and the 8th grade Pancake Breakfast is scheduled for Tuesday, May 23, from 8:20 to 9:15 a.m. Please RSVP to the Pancake Breakfast invitation if you have not done so. (Please respect the deadline. Thanks.)

If your child has signed up to go to this evening's Student Council Spring Fling, please remind them to bring $3. Students must be signed in and out of the event, so please be patient, especially at pick-up time. Students may not use their phones except to communicate with you! 

Finally, we wanted to let you know that Emily’s hip surgery went beautifully — we look forward to welcoming her back at the end of May!

Have a wonderful weekend,

Ashley, Ethan, Wendy, and Judith

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents,

It’s been a busy week in which we have actually had five consecutive days of school!

On Tuesday, Theresa Timlin, parent of TPS alumnus Joseph DiGiuseppe and federal Department of Labor administrative judge, was our Monthly Constitutional speaker. She engaged students in conversation about wage equity and labor law. When asked about her path to this career, she stressed that being a clear and effective writer was a critical piece of her preparation, a message that pleased the teachers in the audience.

Graduation preparations this week focused on finding large themes and illustrating those themes with small, meaningful moments. Lois brought a variety of speeches from earlier years for students to practice speaking aloud and to think about what worked (or didn’t) about these pieces. Students will have the opportunity to work on their speeches or introductions to musical performances during the school day, but they are encouraged to do some good thinking about topics over the weekend. First drafts of speeches are due by May 15.

Students are bringing home an envelope with invitations in it; each family receives 6 tickets to the Friday Graduation Ceremony (dual-household families receive 7 tickets - they are in one envelope).  If the graduate has a sibling who attends TPS, a ticket does not have to be used for the sibling.  The Thursday evening Teacher Presentation ceremony does not require tickets. Detailed information about graduation will be emailed to you next week.

The Student Council-sponsored Spring Fling will take place on Friday, May 5, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Permission slips, which were sent home with your child, are due no later than Monday, May 1. Here is a link to the permission slip.  

A reminder that the 8th grade Pancake Breakfast is scheduled for Tuesday, May 23, from 8:20 to 9:15 a.m. This a wonderful opportunity to see other parents, to greet current and former teachers, and to see an amazing slide show of these students through their school years. Please RSVP to the Pancake Breakfast invitation if you have not done so; we need to know how many pancakes to make!

Wednesday afternoon we attended the dress rehearsal of The Marriage of Figaro at the Academy of Music. This was the culmination of the students’ study of opera as an art form in music classes this semester. Being able to see the technical support that opera requires was truly impressive, and, of course, the singing and acting were wonderful.

On a more personal note, I (Emily) will be taking a medical leave of absence to have my left hip replaced. The surgery will take place on May 3, and I will be away from TPS for three to four weeks. Former TPS middle school teacher Judith Parker (with whom I worked for nearly two decades!) will take my cultural studies classes, and Wendy will take on the duties of advisor to my crew of ten. My colleagues Ethan and Ashley will also be pitching in when necessary. I am hopeful that I will be able to return after Memorial Day and participate fully in graduation activities. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Have a restful weekend!

Emily, Ashley, Ethan, and Wendy

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents, 

Thank you for coming to conferences this week! It was inspiring to see our eighth graders lead these discussions with such honesty, humor, and thoughtfulness. It is difficult to realize that this is the last of many years of conferencing with some of you, and it is a pleasure to see how ready the students are for their high school adventures.

May is soon upon us. The students are counting the days (some the minutes) until graduation (conversations seem to center on what to wear and how high the heels can be). Lois West came this week to share the graduation rehearsal schedule; speech writing and performance work will begin in ernest soon. Students will work with Lois, Ashley, Genvieve Shields, and Emily on speeches and performances. We want to make sure that students are in school all day every day after the Memorial Day break as these rehearsals depend on full attendance. With Shannon Coulter, the students are choosing the music for their anthem, processional, and recessional. 

In language arts, students began reading and discussing The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, writing nightly reflections and learning about Mark Twain, the time period, and the history of the book's critical reception. They are continuing to work on their poetry anthologies both at The Schuylkill Center and in class as various members of the faculty and staff stop in to share their favorite poems. In Latin, students are continuing to build an impressive vocabulary and cementing their understanding of case endings and verb tenses.

In cultural studies, students will begin reading Melba Pattillo Beal’s memoir Warriors Don’t Cry and relating her account to primary source documents that reveal the story behind the desegregation of Central High School in Arkansas in 1957. In math students wrapped up their in-class work on quadratic story projects on Thursday and will be presenting them on Monday before continuing their exploration of quadratic functions. In science, students completed their waste projects for display at Earth Day.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Emily, Ashley, Ethan, and Wendy

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents,

Just a short note since the students are in Washington and enjoying both the many attractions of the nation’s capital and also this unbelievable spring-like weather!

A reminder that student-led conferences will be held next week: Ashley’s advisees on Monday, Ethan’s on Wednesday, and Emily’s on Thursday, unless you have made other arrangements. Please come directly to the Middle School; most conferences will be held in Ethan’s room as classes will be going on all around us.

On Wednesday, April 26, the eighth grade will be attending the dress rehearsal of The Marriage of Figaro, the opera they have been studying in music this term. We will leave TPS after lunch and return to TPS at 5:45 p.m. Remind your child to dress appropriately (no shorts or hats).

Please continue to monitor homework by making sure two hours are available for that work. There are a number of long-term projects under way; please inquire about progress on those fronts. In addition to nightly assignments, there are weekly journals due (personal journals on Friday; SSR journals to advisors this month delivered first thing Monday mornings). There is also the expectation that students are reading for 20 to 40 minutes each night. There is never no homework!

Have a restful weekend!

Emily, Wendy, Ethan, and Ashley

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents, 

We are happy to be back after the Cuba trip and spring break adventures.

In language arts students have begun to collect poems for their anthology project as well as launch a study of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn after we return from Washington. In cultural studies we are digging into civil rights, beginning with a look at the effect of Brown v. Board of Education on schooling in the United States with particular focus on the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock in 1957.

In science we are applying the introductory chemistry we explored in the fall to all we learned about earth systems this winter in our new sustainability unit. This week we started off with the four rules of creating a sustainable system to prepare for our deeper focus in on the topics of waste and climate change. In mathematics, students have started a new unit exploring quadratic functions, their graphs, and their applications. This week is building the foundation for a project in which students will write their own stories incorporating components of quadratics.

We began this morning in Family Circles and worked on our projects to share in June related to the all-school theme, "From Surviving to Thriving in the City, Country, and Classroom." It is such fun working with students of all ages; those kindergartners are particularly talented!

We are all set for our trip to Washington on Thursday and Friday, April 13 and 14!  Students have permission slips for you to sign this weekend due Monday, April 10, which includes an order form for supper Thursday night.

  • We leave TPS promptly for Washington at 7:30 a.m. (students must be here by 7:15 am so we can depart on time). Students should bring lunch with them.  We ask that students dress comfortably but professionally. No shorts, flip-flops, revealing tops, or clothing with holes. We will be meeting with people in business attire.
  • Our first stop in DC is the CNN studios to meet with Jake Tapper (TPS alum) for a discussion of fake news, the First Amendment, and other issues related to journalism today. In preparation, we encourage you and your 8th grader to watch some segments of Jake's show on CNN - many are available online.  
  • We will also have the opportunity to meet with members of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s staff, who will take us onto the House floor and meet with us to discuss the issues our students researched for their cultural studies reports. 
  • Later in the afternoon we will visit the Newseum, devoted to the celebration of the First Amendment, to explore a variety of exhibits that make clear the power of the media. After an early dinner, we will tour several monuments, including the Vietnam Memorial, in preparation for the final monument project in cultural studies. Overnight we will stay at the 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
  • Friday will begin with a visit the Folger Shakespeare Library to view their extensive Shakespeare memorabilia and perhaps a peek at the replica of the Rose Theater; after lunch at the Capitol we will go to the Smithsonian American Art Museum to enjoy a tour called "We the People."
  • We expect to leave DC at around 2:30 p.m.; we should arrive back at TPS around 6:30 p.m.

This spring promises to be busy with athletic events, final projects, and preparation for graduation. We teachers have noticed a dramatic slippage in the completion of homework lately. Please help us by ensuring that there is a two-hour block of time each night devoted to homework. Some students continue to need support getting their work into the backpacks to bring to school; others need our help making sure they have the materials needed to do that work. Please check assignment books to ensure that homework is being written down. Together we can work to keep this last two months positive and productive.

We are hopeful that all yearbook ads and artwork have been sent in. Let us know if there are any problems or delays.

Reminder: Permission slips for Washington and for the trip to see "The Marriage of Figaro" on April 26 are due on Monday, April 10.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Emily, Ashley, Ethan, and Wendy

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents, 

Our last day of mini-courses certainly made for an exciting last gasp before Cuba. Congratulations to eighth graders who led successful mini courses this week: T’Kaiyah Thompson and Vanessa Bruno-Williams (Bumps, Set, Spike); Ella Webb and Olivia Garces (Fashion Design Basics); Luke Cooper, Jakob Cantor, and Eitan Barash (Breakfast Foods); Sally Diallo and Tiara Andrews (TLC Living); Diego Spielman-Rodriguez and Isaiah Waddington (Basketball with the Pros); and Jules Nasser (Harry Potter). A special thank you to the teachers who mentored these endeavors.

We look forward to seeing you at conferences in April and planning together for a positive and fruitful ending to the year! Please let us know if there have been any changes in your schedule.

Please purchase a congratulatory ad in the 2017 Yearbook! Reservations for ad space were due today (March 17), but to date we have very few in hand! The last day to send them in is next Wednesday; we need to place them in the book before spring break.

A reminder that there is ongoing work over the break, a task that several students have wisely used this week to address! Students’ Cuba memoirs are due April 3. In math, Ethan has posted a sample placement test that all students should take and note what areas need review. In preparation for the poetry anthology project this spring, students should have a journal of at least thirty pages to collect favorite poems and poetry that they will write themselves. If they have an anthology from previous years that they would like to continue to use, that would be fine.

As final decisions are made about high schools, please let us know. And as placement tests are taken, we’d love to know about how they went. 

We wish our travelers a wonderfully warm week in Cuba!

Emily, Ashley, Ethan, and Wendy

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents, 

Most students are breathing a sigh of relief now that they have handed in their cultural studies research projects, and all students are looking forward to a week of mini courses! Schedules were handed out at our afternoon meeting; the focus during the Grade/Decisions block will be preparations for the trip to Cuba. Special thanks are due to Jess Ford, who did yeoman’s service in slotting students into courses and producing individual schedules. If you have not had time to do so, make sure to look at the catalog of offerings next week!

On Tuesday morning we enjoyed a visit from Mitchell Orenstein, TPS parent and Professor of Central and East European politics in the Slavic Department at the University of Pennsylvania and an associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University.  His published work focuses on the political economy and international affairs of Central and Eastern Europe. Mitchell came as our Monthly Constitutional speaker to engage our students in conversation about the political history of Cuba.

We trust that everyone has now signed up for an April conference or has contacted the advisor about any issues with the assigned day. Please contact your child’s advisor should there be any changes in your schedule, as this affects not only the teacher but the child who will be leading the conference.

Please purchase a congratulatory ad in the 2017 Yearbook! Templates are available on the school blog to help make creating the ad easy. March 17 is the deadline for purchasing and submitting an ad.

There is homework over spring break! Cuba memoirs are due April 3. In preparation for the poetry anthology project this spring, students should have a journal of at least 30 pages to collect favorite poems and poetry that they will write themselves. If they have an anthology from previous years that they would like to continue to use, that would be fine. For math, there is a sample math placement test posted. Students are to complete it and identify concepts they need to refresh for themselves before taking their respective high school placement tests.

Continue to let us know about high school news and decisions. 

Emily, Ashley, Ethan, and Wendy

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents, 

We are delighted to have Wendy back in our midst. We also get to see little Tommy in the mornings along with big brother Connor. Science is alive and well once again in the Middle School.

Although many of us are still basking in the glow of the Shakespeare Festival, getting back to a more normal school routine has been both difficult and reassuring for our young scholars. Next week’s schedule includes a test in math and a quiz in Latin, research report presentations in cultural studies, memoir reading and writing in language arts, and mini reports in science. The research paper and completed project binder are due Friday, March 10.

Thank you to all who took the time to respond to SSR journals during the month of February. It is wonderful to see the wide range of books that the adults in our community are enjoying; it makes a difference to students (whether they choose to acknowledge it or not) that reading for pleasure is an activity that transcends the walls of school.

As part of preparations for Cuba, we look forward to a visit from Mitchell Orenstein, TPS parent and professor of Central and East European politics in the Slavic Department at the University of Pennsylvania, as our Monthly Constitutional speaker Tuesday, March 7, to engage our students in conversation about the political situation in Cuba and the transition from communism to capitalism.

For those of you who have not signed up for the April student-led conferences, links that allow you to do so were in last week's note below (please remember that you child must attend, as well). Students will receive their mini-course schedules for the week of March 13 on Friday, March 10. Thank you for working with your child on making these difficult choices!

You should have received an email and a flier from the class with details about advertisements for the yearbook. These are messages from family and friends congratulating the soon-to-be graduates. Please note that the final deadline for these ads is March 17. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Emily, Ashley, Ethan, and Wendy

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents, 

The Shakespeare Festival ends this evening, and what a festival it has been! The plays were terrific, in large part due to the students’ hard work and the combined forces of the classroom teachers, the art and music specialists, and Brooke Behmke, our intrepid acting coach. We are looking forward to our cast party on Monday; please remind your child about what element of that sundae extravaganza he or she has promised to bring.

We are happy that Wendy will be returning from maternity leave on Monday, February 27! Regular classes will resume with science focused on preparation for encountering the unique ecosystems of Cuba.

We are looking forward to New York City on Tuesday to visit the Cuba exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. Please remember that students must arrive no later than 6:45 a.m. so we can depart promptly at 7:00 a.m. We will return at 5:00 p.m. and dismiss according to the permission slip you have provided us.

Students are counting the days until the Cuba trip! In preparation for this trip, students will be working in Spanish, science, and language arts to understand the history, culture, and natural environment they will encounter. Please ask for updates about what they are learning.

Look out for an 8th Grade Yearbook Ad form next Monday. Your child will bring one home, and you will also receive an email linked to one. The yearbook is distributed free to 8th graders, but they do need your support to finance its production. 

We look forward to meeting with parents at student-led conferences in April. (All other grades have their conferences in late March – you will soon receive links to their conference sign-ups.) Ashley’s advisees’ conferences will be on Monday, April 17; Ethan’s on Wednesday, April 19; and Emily’s on Thursday, April 20. Please choose a time to meet using the advisor’s Doodle poll; remember your child will be present at the conference, as well. 

For Ashley’s advisees:  http://doodle.com/poll/uguxmd5tn56ft6ad

For Ethan’s advisees:  http://doodle.com/poll/s57x56vxp6qku9d9

For Emily’s advisees: http://doodle.com/poll/ay5qc6h3aihc4rv7

Please continue to let us know about high school decisions. We are eager to track data about acceptances, wait lists, and denials so we can better help others through this process.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Emily, Ashley, Ethan, and Wendy

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents,

Yet another short week, but a full agenda! As the Shakespeare Festival approaches next week, we are hopeful that our actors will spend the weekend reviewing their lines. For our evening performances, we would like the actors and production helpers to meet in the Garage at 6:00 p.m. to dress and prepare for the show. On Thursday, those who need to stay at school between 3:30 and 6:00 are welcome in study hall and MSAS. Please bring an extra sandwich for dinner. On Friday, we will have an alumni reunion at 5:30 p.m., and 8th graders who need to stay are welcome to join in the reception and enjoy the snacks. Please, no absences next week.

We hope everyone signed up for mini courses and that parents have reviewed and okayed the choices made.

A reminder that the set breakdown and the cast party will occur on Monday, February 27. Please ask your child what he or she signed up to bring in.

We are also looking forward to the Tuesday, February 28, trip to New York. Students need to be here by 6:45 a.m. for a 7:00 a.m. departure. Please look for a field trip permission form that needs to be filled in and returned by February 24.

Has your child asked you to be a second draft reader for his or her cultural study research paper? If not, please ask which adult will be reading that report. If your child is in CS A, the draft will arrive Monday, February 27, and need to be returned by Thursday, March 2. If your child is in CS B, the draft will arrive on Wednesday, March 1, and returned Friday, March 3.

Student-led conferences will take place the week of April 17 due to the trip to Cuba. Be on the lookout for a Doodle poll to sign up for that conference (remember that your child must attend).

Our overnight trip to Washington will be on Thursday and Friday, April 13 and 14. We’ll depart at 7:00 a.m. and return on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Emily, Ethan, Ashley, and Wendy

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents, 

We hope everyone enjoyed yesterday’s snow day! It was a great time to get caught up on those first drafts due today and practice lines for Shakespeare.

A reminder that on Sunday we will have our run-through for each play. The Midsummer cast will rehearse from 9:00 a.m. to noon, and the Julius Caesar cast will rehearse from noon to 3:00 p.m. in the Garage. We are expecting everyone to attend.

Next week we will be running tech rehearsals for the Shakespeare Festival on Tuesday (Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Thursday (Julius Caesar). It is important that all cast members are present. The Festival itself begins Wednesday, February 22, with Midsummer performing at 9:15 a.m. and Julius Caesar showing at 1:05 p.m. On Thursday Julius Caesar will have performances at 9:15 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Midsummer will perform on Friday at 9:15 a.m. and at 7:00 p.m. You are welcome at any of the performances, but the evening performances are ones that we plan for adult audiences.

We will celebrate the end of our play and Shakespeare study with an ice cream sundae party on Monday, February 27, at 12:30 p.m. Emily’s advisees will bring in chocolate and vanilla ice cream and sorbet; Ethan’s advisees will bring whipped cream and toppings; and Ashley’s advisees will bring beverages, bowls, spoons, and cups.

Work on the yearbook has begun, and students are designing their personal pages. High-resolution pictures are still needed for these personal pages. Information about parent messages (we call them "ads"), which help fund the yearbook, will be sent soon.

Mini Courses will be held the week of March 13. The catalog of offerings is almost finished and will be published early next week. Please take some time to review the options with your child.

Thank you all for responding to letters in your child’s SSR journal. It is important that our students know that reading for pleasure is an activity we all value.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Emily, Ethan, Ashley, and Wendy

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents, 

The School District will email families of public school applicants the news about acceptances today, according to their website. Please note that you must confirm the acceptance within five (5) days. Please follow the instructions given carefully.

We are looking forward to the boys basketball tournament at TPS on Saturday, as well as the MathCounts competition at Temple University! The TPS invitational wrestling competition will be in the Garage this coming Sunday. 

A reminder that we have a Sunday rehearsal for Shakespeare planned for February 12: Midsummer will rehearse from 9 to noon; Caesar will rehearse from noon to 3 in the Garage.

We had the opportunity to reconnect with family group members at Friday’s Family Circle meeting. We are in the process of planning a culminating project for the all-school theme, From Surviving to Thriving in the City, Country, and Classroom. Family Circles will partner up and provide some sort of sharing or activity that is inspired by the theme. Ask your child what some of the ideas are.

Tuesday’s Monthly Constitutional speaker will be Catherine Carr, former Executive Director of Community Legal Services and mother of our own Ethan Tannen. She will discuss the shortcomings of a justice system that provides lawyers in criminal cases but not in civil cases.

Rehearsals for the Shakespeare Festival continue to delight! We thank Brooke Behmke for his theatrical expertise in helping with movement and working with individual students. Alas, there are still some players who need more practice with lines. PLEASE run lines with your child this weekend; learning cues is an important part of the process!

The cultural studies research project has reached the first draft stage. Students will be working on drafts next week; two (2) copies of the draft, detailed outline, and bibliography are due on Friday, February 10. We will then take a break during the Shakespeare Festival and resume work on the research project February 27, moving the essay towards a final draft and working on the presentation to classmates. Students need an adult reader for the second draft the week of February 27. Please encourage your child to arrange for that reader soon.

A reminder that we are taking a field trip to New York on Tuesday, February 28 to see the Cuba exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. We will leave TPS at 7 am by charter bus and depart NYC at 2 pm in hopes of being back at TPS by 4:30. Please let us know if your child will be absent for any reason since the tickets for this event are pricey.

Please continue to let Ashley and Emily know about news from high schools and about any decisions you make. If you are certain about your choice, please let the other schools know of that decision as soon as possible so that they can release that space to another student. It continues to be important that we be sensitive to those students who have not heard from schools. We have instructed students to refrain from asking individuals about school news and choices and that those who choose to share their news to do so in a low-key manner. We have also made it clear that no disparaging remarks be made about schools that students have turned down. We would hope you will join us in talking to your children about how emotional this time of year can be.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Emily, Ashley, Ethan, and Wendy

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents, 

February has snuck up on us once again! This is always an event-packed month, filled with high school announcements, sports and academic tournaments, play rehearsals, and research presentations! To help you sort through myriad details, we offer this overview of the month:

Saturday, February 4: Boys basketball tournament at TPS; MathCounts Competition at Temple University

Sunday, February 5: Tiger Wrestling tournament at TPS

Monday, February 6: Work begins on the first draft of the research report.

Friday, February 10:  First draft of research report is due.

Sunday, February 12: Midsummer rehearsal in Garage from 9:00 to noon; Caesar from noon to 3:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 14:  Student Council sponsored Talent Show; tech rehearsal for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (no absences, please)

Thursday, February 16:  Research presentation proposal due; tech rehearsal for Julius Caesar (no absences, please)

Tuesday, February 21: Shakespeare Festival final rehearsals (no absences, please)

Wednesday though Friday, February 22-24:  Shakespeare Festival (no absences, please)

Monday, February 27/Wednesday, March  1: Second draft of research paper due; handed to adult reviewer

Tuesday, February 28:  Field trip to NYC to see Cuba exhibit at the Museum of Natural History

Monday-Friday, March 6-10:  Research report presentations

Friday, March 10:  Final project due (binder, paper with cover, all notes)

Monday-Friday, March 13-17:  Mini-Courses

Please let Ashley and Emily know about news from high schools and about any decisions you make. If you are certain about your choice, please let the other schools know of that decision as soon as possible so that they can release that space to another student. It is always a good idea for students to write a thank-you letter to the schools they decline. It leaves such a positive impression, and should you at a later date decide that you want to make a different choice for a sophomore, junior, or senior year, admission committees often review these earlier portfolios.

During the month of February students will be writing to parents in their SSR journals, so be expecting letters by Friday of each week in February; answers are due back at school on Monday mornings. Feel free to read previous letters to catch up on all the interesting reading projects undertaken since last you wrote to your child in October.

On Saturday, April 29, Agnes Irwin will host Tech Savvy — a day-long science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career conference for 6th-9th grade girls and their parents. For the girls, this will be a day of interactive, hands-on STEM workshops that will introduce them to female scientists and engineers, as well as workshops to teach “savvy skills,” such as financial literacy, self-advocacy/interview skills, and creative problem-solving. Families are also invited to attend a separate parent program, which will include sessions on the college process and how to encourage girls in STEM, as well as time to visit student STEM workshops and resource tables staffed by representatives from colleges/universities and STEM-related organizations in the Philadelphia area. The program will run 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. on April 29, and the cost to attend is $20 for students and $10 for parents. Agnus Irwin will post a link for online registration on their site in March. Questions? Contact Matt Murray in our Tech Department.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Emily, Ashley, Ethan, and Wendy

 

JOIN THE TARA PROJECT

TPS is looking for a group of 6-10 middle school students who would be interested in making a connection with students in India. Interested students would join Monday morning Skype sessions in Justine's office starting the first week of February. Breakfast will be provided. Here are the scheduled dates:

February 6, 7:10 a.m.
February 13, 7:10 a.m.
February 27, 7:10 a.m.
March 6, 7:10 a.m.
March 13, 8:10 a.m.
March 20, 8:10 a.m.

For more information, click here. If you are interested in participating in this exchange, please email Jena Croxford at jcroxford@tpschool.org. 

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents, 

We’d like to thank those of you who participated in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service project, creating meals for the homeless. Thanks to Lavonia Waddington and her volunteers, the event has been a yearly endeavor that has included more and more of our school community in this important work.

In cultural studies students continued their research by taking notes and organizing their preliminary outlines. Our next deadline is Friday, January 27, when the bulk of their notes taken on at least five sources of information, two of which must be books, are due. Students have been reminded that library books are due on either January 26 or 27; they can be renewed online, if needed, for another three weeks. Books can be returned to any branch of the Free Library.

In math class, students have been learning function notation and exploring exponential functions. This has spurred conversations about orders of magnitude and immense numbers in an effort to make sense of how big some of the numbers we've been encountering really are.

The Shakespeare Festival is in full production mode! Beginning next week, students will be working twice a week in production groupings. We’re adding music to our plays. The scenery and prop group is hard at work creating our stage sets; costumers are looking for items of clothing. Programs featuring original art are also in the works. Parents are invited to our evening performances on Thursday, February 23, at 7:00 p.m., for Julius Caesar and Friday, February 24, at 7:00 p.m., for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Plays last about an hour and a half.

As you begin to hear from high schools, please keep us informed. Should your child receive an acceptance from the school you all agree is the first choice, please let the other schools know of your decision. That way students who do want spots at those other schools can move out of the wait pools. Handwritten thank you notes from students to those other schools are always appreciated!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Emily, Ethan, Ashley, and Wendy

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents,

Short week and so a short note! It has been a busy week filled with Shakespeare rehearsals, cultural studies research work, and lots of Latin and math. We are lucky once again this year to have Brooke Behmke join us for Shakespeare. Brooke is an actor and father of twin daughters Beyan and Senait in the third grade. He has extensive Shakespeare experience, as well as training in stage combat and choreography. This is his fifth year with us, and we are so grateful.

Over the long weekend we hope students are taking this opportunity to memorize their lines for Shakespeare and do a lot of reading related to their research reports. The month of January goes quickly, and this is a great time to get ahead on project work.

We hope to see many of you on Monday in the Garage to help with sandwich making for area shelters!

Have a restful weekend.

Emily, Ethan, Ashley, and Wendy

8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents, 

Happy New Year from all of us! We’ve had opportunities this week to hear about all sorts of holiday adventures. For the most part, students have dug into their studies with new energy, which is wonderful to see. We enjoyed hearing about their vacation reading and look forward to lively SSR journals about new authors and genres chosen for the new year.

Rehearsals have begun in earnest for the Shakespeare Festival’s presentations of Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We are expecting students to be busy learning lines; we’ll send a sheet home soon asking you to sign off that you have heard your child reciting his or her lines by heart! We will be using language arts class time for rehearsals; students will continue to have weekly Latin homework, as well as personal journals and SSR reading and letter writing. In addition, we will have a weekend run-through on Sunday, February 12 (Midsummer from 9:00 a.m. to noon, and Caesar from noon to 3:00 p.m.). The performances for parents will be on Thursday, February 23, at 7:00 p.m. for Julius Caesar and Friday, February 24, at 7:00 p.m. for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. If this date does not work with your schedule, we have daytime performances which you are welcome to attend: Wednesday, February 22, at 9:15 a.m. for Midsummer and 1:05 p.m. for Julius Caesar; Thursday, February 23, at 9:15 a.m. for Julius Caesar; Friday, February 24, at 9:15 a.m. for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

In cultural studies we have begun research reports rooted in our study of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Tuesday’s field trip to the National Constitution Center launched our research project and allowed us to participate in a quiz game on the Bill of Rights and a workshop on First Amendment issues. We had productive trips to the Central Library on Thursday and Friday and gathered texts appropriate to our topics. Having valid library cards gives students access to myriad databases from home and school, as well as the ability to check out important books. 

Emily and Ashley would like to know what you hear from high schools. Schools will be rolling out their acceptances over the next two months, and this makes it hard for all our students as they wait to hear any news. We’ve asked everyone to be mindful of others’ feelings and to take care of each other. If your family has a clear first choice at this time, please let us know so we can advocate on your child’s behalf.

As we look forward to the spring, a note about field trips. On Tuesday, February 28, we will head to New York to the American Museum of Natural History to see an exhibit on Cuba. Many thanks to Susan Mac Low and her father, Mordecai Mac Low, for bringing this opportunity to our attention and arranging for us to meet with museum curators. We will be heading to Washington on Thursday and Friday, April 13 and 14, for a visit to the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Newseum, Congress, and a meeting with Jake Tapper, TPS alumnus and news journalist.

Have a restful weekend!

Emily, Ashley, Ethan, and Wendy