Welcome letter

Desert Thunder School “Soaring To the Top . . . Learning, Learning, Learning”

August 2015

Dear 8th Grade Parents/Guardians,

The eighth grade teachers are looking forward to seeing your students this fall.  This next year will be their last year in elementary school.  Since high school is their next step, the 8th grade teachers have very high expectations for you students.  They will be held to a much higher standard then they have been before.  It is our job to help prepare your students for what they will face in high school and we take that responsibility very seriously.  Here are a few ideas of what you have to expect next year in your student’s classes. We will also share some helpful ideas to help you prepare your student for 8th grade this summer.

Social Studies in 8th grade is very exciting.  There are five strands to the Social Studies standards: American History, World History, Civics/Government, Geography, and Economics.  In American and World History, we cover everything from WWII through present times.  In Civics/Government, the students will be studying the establishment of our country’s constitution, the structure of government, the election process, and the duties of citizens.  In Geography, we study different types of maps, globes, charts, and examine different countries relations, politics, and social influences.  In Economics, they will discover the basics of economics and finance.  There is so much material to cover this up coming year in social studies.  However, many topics that are covered can be much better understood if the students are hearing about it at home.  So many conflicts and wars took place in the 20th century, and we will study most of them.  So to help prepare your students this summer, please share any experiences or knowledge with your students that may be available to you.  Also, discuss the news with your students.  This will help them to better understand the material that we will cover so that they can be more successful in the upcoming year. 

As your child comes to the 8th grade, there are a few things that you can help with to better prepare them for Math class. First and foremost – it will come at them FAST!!  Try to get them mentally prepared for a pace that is rigorous.  Encourage them to stay on top of the work – even if it means coming in before school for help. Doing the homework daily GREATLY increases the chances for success!   We will cover the common core standards that deal with the number system, expressions, equations, functions, geometry, and statistics and probability.  This is an overview of the year and will prepare them for the upcoming 2015 PARCC Assessment which will be taking the place of AIMS.  Finally, your student should know their basic math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, & division) inside and out! These facts really are what everything else builds upon. There are many websites out there to help your student with these. We encourage you to find one that meets the individual needs of your child.

Language Arts is a mixture of reading and writing.  Students will be learning how to read, analyze, and write short stories, poetry, and a variety of essays.  Also, we focus on building the students’ vocabulary. It is important that the students learn the meaning of the words and how to use them in context. Responding to literature, forming an argument, and citing information from text will also be a focus of 8th grade students.  Language Arts is an essential area of learning.  All content areas require Reading and Writing.  Students will be using what is taught in Language Arts in all of their other classes.

The eighth grade science curriculum is based on four major strands of study, which are physical science, chemistry, animal adaptations, and heredity. Throughout each unit the students will be working with the scientific method to reach a deeper understanding of each topic and to explore how they relate to the world. Fortunately, the curriculum runs parallel to the freshman science curriculum. If students are successful in the 8th grade science class they will be successful in high school science classes. Though eighth grade standards are a building block to all future science classes they also introduce students to the world of science and shows them that science is a changing subject and each person can make a difference in the lives of others. To prepare for this years class it is highly encouraged that students watch television shows on channels such as Discovery, TLC, the History Channel. Students should also read the newspaper to ensure they are aware of things that are happening around the world. Science is everywhere and the more students know about events in their world the more they will be able to connect to the science curriculum.

Sincerely,

8th Grade Team