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Grade VIII

There are four Grade VIII classes with 16 students in each class.

About Grade VIII

List of 9 items.

  • Grade VIII Central Subject: Democracy and Immigration in the United States

    Naturally embedded in any academic curriculum are human themes. In keeping with Shady Hill School’s traditions, we aim to integrate within all subjects themes regarding character, values, respect for self and others, and the responsibility children have as members of the community.

    The Grade VIII course in Central Subject examines events in American history from multiple perspectives, especially those of immigrants and migrants. Throughout the course, students put themselves into the shoes of others, looking for ways to connect the past with the present, and to connect the people they are studying with themselves. Students learn to develop thoughtful opinions that are supported and illustrated with evidence from our texts, as well as expressed with clarity and insight.
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  • Mathematics In Grade VIII: Algebra

    (Four 50-minute periods per week)

    The Middle School mathematics program at Shady Hill guides students in constructing new mathematical knowledge built upon deep understanding and prior learning. The program provides students with meaningful learning experiences through discovery and exploration, complemented by the formalization of requisite algorithms and skill work. Students work both independently and collaboratively in class. They develop skills in problem–solving, and they further their ability to communicate and justify their reasoning. They are encouraged to represent their thinking in both oral and written form. Students make connections to mathematical ideas and to real-world experiences. The use of manipulatives and technology allows students to move from concrete to abstract thinking in the ongoing development of mathematical ideas.

    The Eighth Grade math curriculum consists of a full year of algebraic study. Graphing and word problems are woven into every unit. Topics include evaluation and simplification of polynomials, solution of linear equations with one and two variables, solution of quadratic equations, algebraic fractions, absolute value, inequalities, radicals, and coordinate geometry. Throughout the year, students are asked to apply these skills and concepts to solve problems in real-world situations. Graphing calculator software is used to model practical applications of algebraic concepts.

    In the Eighth Grade students are placed in one of three Math courses. Two prepare students to take either Geometry or Algebra II during their ninth-grade year, with the enriched section demanding more independent study. The Essentials Class covers fundamentally the same material as the regular classes and streamlines instruction to focus on the essential skills and concepts of each topic within the Algebra I curriculum.
  • Science In Grade VIII

    (Four 50-minute periods per week)

    PACE: Physical and Chemical Explorations is a course designed to immerse all Grade VIII students in the process of scientific discovery about the stuff of which the physical world is made. It draws on many content areas, including physics, chemistry, and robotics. This discovery-based course challenges students to think deeply about the kinds of questions that can be answered through experimentation and design. For example: Which is a more effective way of cooling a hot liquid, stirring it, or blowing on it? Can you use what you’ve learned about heating and cooling to design an effective cocoa cooler? Through hands-on inquiry, students expand their understanding of how matter, forces, and energy interact. 
  • World Languages In Grade VIII

    (Four 50-minute periods per week)

    After choosing a language to study in Grade VII, students continue their work in French, Mandarin, or Spanish in Grade VIII.
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  • Physical Education & Athletics In Grade VIII

     - Three 90-minute periods per week plus games
    Students in Grades VI, VII, and VIII have opportunities to compete in a full interscholastic athletic program. Shady Hill offers ten interscholastic sports (cross country, field hockey, soccer, flag football, basketball, ice hockey, lacrosse, tennis, track and field, and ultimate frisbee), fielding approximately 24 teams. Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade students are required to participate on at least one Shady Hill interscholastic team per year. 

    PHYSICAL EDUCATION - Five 50-minute periods per cycle
    Students in Grades VI, VII, and VIII have opportunities to engage in and deeply explore rich and diverse physical activities during the school day, and participate in regular dismissal. Shady Hill offers yoga, fencing, fitness, and intramural sports as electives during select trimesters. Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade students may choose one or two electives per year, one per trimester. These students will also participate in at least one Shady Hill interscholastic team per year. We believe our Middle School Physical Education program brings choice and balance, and an overall robust experience to our oldest students.

    Students who participate seriously in year-round sports and athletic endeavors not offered by the school may apply for a full-year exemption. In all parts of the program, there is a three-pronged emphasis: the pursuit of fitness, cognitive understanding of concepts, and the development of self-confidence. The ultimate goal is to gain team and personal success while modeling Shady Hill’s core values. 
  • Visual & Performing Arts In Grade VIII

    ELECTIVES Three 100-minute periods per 10 days
    The Arts are presented in Seventh and Eighth Grade as a three-term program taught by Shady Hill School music, studio and shop teachers, other Middle School faculty, and several professional artists and musicians from outside the school community. Students are expected to enroll in a variety of courses in both Visual and Performing Arts before leaving Shady Hill. In 2018-19, courses offered include: Hip-Hop Dance, Comedy, Filmmaking, Jazz Band, Rock Band, Hip-Hop Songwriting, Intro to Guitar, Costume Design, Pottery, Photography, Drawing, Animation, Design, Shop, Metalworking, and Oil Painting.

    The Fall Play and Winter Musical are Arts Electives that require some additional time commitment. Students in the casts of the Play and Musical will rehearse occasionally on Wednesday and Friday afternoons, and on some Saturdays throughout the term. All participating Eighth Graders will be required to be at some after-school rehearsals in the two weeks immediately prior to performances.

    ENSEMBLES One 50-minute period per week
    Gold Chorus and Gold Orchestra will meet during one academic block per cycle. These ensembles will perform several times during the school year at school assemblies. Students in grades VII and VIII who are a part of the school ensemble program may audition for the MMEA Eastern Division Junior District honors Band, Chorus, or Orchestra in January. Gold Jazz Band, for experienced seventh and eighth-grade musicians, meets once weekly for rehearsal after dismissal for one hour. These students also perform several times during the school year at school assemblies, evening concerts, and some off-campus venues.
  • Middle School Community

    (One 50-minute Assembly per week)

    Assembly is a regular time designated for Middle School students, faculty, and staff to build and maintain community. A variety of activities are scheduled during this time, from large group games and icebreakers to classroom sharing and performances by visiting artists and outside speakers.

    (Two 10-minute Morning Meetings per week) 

    Weekly meetings of Grades V-VIII, led by Grade VIII students, provide opportunities for school and division-related announcements, class sharing, and brief performances. This informal blend of news, information, and entertainment build community spirit and Middle School unity. In addition, these meetings feature Eighth Grade “declamations” of original written compositions.
  • Technology In Grade VIII

    Today’s technology is well suited to support Shady Hill’s emphasis on creative, student-centered, project-based learning. Using laptops, class sets of iPads, and campus-wide wireless network, Eighth Grade students employ a range of software and internet-based programs that enable collaboration, research, data collection, digital storytelling, and mastery of skills. Examples of the types of software that students will use over the course of the year include: Inspiration, iMovie, Garage Band, Comic Life, Keynote, Google Earth, and Google SketchUp; as well as Internet-based programs such as Voicethread, Quizlet, Google Docs, and Sheppard Software. By integrating technology into the classroom and the existing curriculum, as opposed to teaching it as a stand-alone course, students are able to learn new ways to demonstrate their knowledge while gaining an understanding of the practical application of the tools themselves.
  • Library In Grade VIII

    Library time for Eighth Graders includes librarian book recommendations, book discussions, research instruction, and Quiet Reading, an independent reading program supported by the librarians but overseen by the Gradehead. Students also meet with a librarian on a flexible basis for research support and instruction using both print and online resources.

Grade VIII Faculty

List of 17 members.

  • Photo of Ivana Brown

    Ivana Brown 

    Grade VIII Gradehead
  • Photo of Jody Coleman

    Jody Coleman 

    Grade VIII Gradehead
    Rhode Island College - B.A.
    Brown University - M.A.
    University of Rhode Island - M.A.
    Brown University - Ph.D.
  • Photo of Ross FitzGerald

    Ross FitzGerald 

    Grade VIII Gradehead
    Haverford College - B.A.
    Harvard University Graduate School of Education - M.Ed.
  • Photo of Paran Quigley

    Paran Quigley 

    Grade VIII Gradehead
    Brown University - M.A.
    University of Vermont - B.A.
  • Photo of Barbara Bratzel

    Barbara Bratzel 

    Science Teacher/HUB/Makerspace Integrator
    Oberlin College - B.A.
    Tufts University - M.A.T.
  • Photo of Melissa Carver

    Melissa Carver 

    Director of Athletics and Physical Education
    Springfield College
    Lehman College - Master's
  • Photo of Sara Fromme

    Sara Fromme 

    Mandarin Teacher
    Chinese Cultural University - BFA
    Oklahoma City University - MBA
  • Photo of Pat Horn

    Pat Horn 

    French Teacher
    SUNY - Plattsburgh - B.S.
    SUNY - Plattsburgh - M.A.
  • Photo of Jody Kopple

    Jody Kopple 

    Library Director
    Earlham College - B.A.
    Antioch College - M.Ed.
    Pratt Institute - M.L.S.
  • Photo of Jeannie Laplante

    Jeannie Laplante 

    Science Teacher
    Middlebury College - B.A.
    Southern Connecticut State University - M.Ed.
  • Photo of Suzanne Locke

    Suzanne Locke 

    Mathematics Teacher
    Lafayette College - A.B.
  • Photo of Heidi McCune

    Heidi McCune 

    Assistant Director of Athletics
    California University of Pennsylvania - M.S.
    Loyola Marymount University - B.A.
  • Photo of Brendan Murphy

    Brendan Murphy 

    PE Teacher
    University of New Hampshire - B.S.
  • Photo of Jake Nunes

    Jake Nunes 

    Mathematics Teacher
    Princeton University - B.A.
    Bank Street College of Education - M.S.Ed.
  • Photo of Karen Shakman

    Karen Shakman 

    Middle School English Enrichment Teacher
  • Photo of Stephanie Travers

    Stephanie Travers 

    Grades B-V Physical Education Curriculum Coordinatior
    Springfield College - B.S.
    Springfield College - M.Ed.
  • Photo of William Yepes

    William Yepes 

    Spanish Teacher, World Languages Chair
    Corporacion University - B.A.
    University of Massachusetts Boston - M.S.
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