8th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Eighth Grade Parents,

We had a wonderful trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Tuesday to study Modern and Contemporary American art. Discussions centered on how contemporary artists are often social and artistic critics. We are so thankful to Ah-Young Kim, Manager of School Visits and TPS parent, for facilitating this program for us each year.

The Winterfest celebration at the Schuylkill Center was a big success. It was a treat for TPS faculty and families to be back at the Schuylkill Center to enjoy an afternoon of crafts, seeing the animals that the Center cares for, and using the lanterns made on a twilight hike. Thank you to Virginia Friedman, who took the lead in organizing this event on our end.

We were delighted to see many of you at the Winter Concert on Wednesday. It was certainly a terrific musical experience and our official start to winter break.

On Thursday, we were treated to Ken Ludwig’s production of Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery at the Suzanne Roberts Theater. What a perfect addition to our Mystery theme explorations this year! Particularly timely was the question-and-answer period with some of the actors after the performance; our eighth grade actors got good tips on stagecraft, how the actors approached learning their lines, and how they constructed their characters in this fast-paced comedy.

Language arts classes continued a first read-through of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and The Taming of the Shrew with opportunities to audition for the larger roles during lunch and recess. Students completed a survey that helped Ashley and Wendy cast both plays and organize production groups to meet during art and music times on Mondays and Thursdays (props and scenery, costumes and makeup, lighting technology and program, and music and dance) at the end of January. Students learned which roles they were assigned this afternoon, and we hope that our actors will begin to learn their parts over winter break.

IMPORTANT PUERTO RICO TRIP INFORMATION:  Today your child will be bringing home a packet of forms that need to be filled out, as well as additional information about the Puerto Rico trip. Please ask your child for the packet this evening.  (The contents of the packet will not be online until after winter break.) 

Everyone should have a good book to read over winter break, and there are a variety of ways to respond to that reading due on January 4. In addition, students should be thinking about their cultural studies research project, which will begin when we get back. The topic needs to be about some aspect of the Bill of Rights (issues, people, institutions). If your child needs to get or to renew his or her library card, the winter break is a great time to get that done.

On Tuesday, January 5 we will spend the morning at the National Constitution Center as a kick off to our research projects. We will be going to the Central Library on the Thursday or Friday when we get back from the vacation to work with their resources, so students with cards will be able to take books out. The card also allows access to the variety of databases for research the library system affords. In addition, students will need a three-hole binder with eight dividers to hold their research materials and drafts. Index cards and a box or accordion folder to hold them will be needed for note taking as well.

There are three small assignments over winter break for science  relating to Operation Red Panda as well.

  • Each student’s Operation Red Panda committee has a To Do list for break. Students need to keep in touch with other members and fulfill any duties that have been agreed upon.
  • Each student will write a short (half page to full page) blog post for the social media committee on one assigned topic.
  • Each student will fill out the packaging scavenger hunt on one trip out to a store (any kind of store, including grocery.) Extra hunt forms will be posted on Edmodo.
  • And we hope every student will help promote the viral campaign as much as possible over break!

Many thanks to all of you for the generous gift cards to area booksellers. Please know how much we appreciate your thoughtfulness and rest assured we put those cards to good use over the holidays and throughout the year.

Have a wonderful vacation!

Emily, Ashley, Ethan, and Wendy

P.S. An important note from your children:

Recently, the 8th grade class has been learning about sustainability and the waste system. While we are continuing lessons about how different waste types affect our world, we’ve been conducting some research on red pandas. As part of our project, we are working specifically to reduce junk mail. Junk mail causes mass deforestation around the world (100 million trees per year) and severely affects the lives of many animals, especially the red pandas. Red pandas in Nepal are now categorized as an endangered species mostly due to American junk mail production.  

Our class decided to begin a campaign, called Operation Red Panda, for individuals “de-list” (unsubscribe) from receiving junk mail and ultimately save the red pandas. Our project is part of the Philadelphia Zoo’s UNLESS competition. Our goal is to get 5,000 people to stop receiving junk mail. 

Thank you from the 8th grade students! 

Please consider visiting our website to get rid of your junk mail and to learn more at: