Welcome to Eighth Grade

The final year at Blue Oak includes many large and and integrated projects showcasing the culmination of study in middle school.

In English and social studies this includes, Mock Trial, Mock Congress, Women’s History Writing and Celebration, and a Decades project. In math there is the Water Park and Write Your Own Textbook projects and looking outward towards careers in math and Real World Systems. In art class, the Shoe Project and Fashion Show are highlights enjoyed by all. The year finishes with a spectacular overnight trip to Yosemite and, of course, a beautiful graduation ceremony created by the 8th grade class themselves. This often includes original musical compositions and works of writing.

Eighth Grade Social and Emotional Standards (C.A.R.E.S.)

  • Cooperation: Is able to make and keep friends, works with others toward a common goal, resolves differences quickly, cooperates as a group leader or as a member of the group
  • Assertiveness: Expresses strong emotions or opinions effectively, is able to seek help, shows openness and honesty, persists through challenging events, takes initiative to do what’s right, makes choices they feel good about later
  • Responsibility: Selects the best option among choices for a suitable outcome, holds oneself accountable, demonstrates social, civic and digital responsibility, takes care of property
  • Empathy: Recognizes and manages one’s own emotions and recognizes the emotions of others, respects and values diversity in others. Respects different cultural norms, is aware of the impact of one’s actions on others
  • Self-control: Adheres to social, behavioral, and moral standards, manages overwhelming thoughts and emotions, controls impulses and delays gratification, shows hope and perseverance
multiracial-elementary school boys studying while studying
Eighth Grade Mathematics
  • Shares and writes mathematical reasoning and processes
  • Attends to precision, reviews strategies, steps, and calculations for accuracy
  • Makes connections between projects and real-life scenarios to mathematical concepts
  • Writes and calculates numbers using scientific notation
  • Identifies rational and irrational numbers and approximates square roots
  • Identifies and evaluates radicals and integer exponents
  • Writes equations of and graphs proportional relationships
  • Analyzes and solves system of equations by graphing, substitution, and elimination
  • Uses mathematical operations on polynomials
  • Defines, evaluates, compares, uses, and graphs functions to represent relationships between values
  • Identifies and describes congruence and similarity through figure transformations
  • Understands and applies the Pythagorean Theorem
  • Solves quadratic equations by factoring, completing the square, and using the quadratic formula
  • Solves problems related to volume of cylinders, cones, and spheres
Eighth Grade Literacy
  • Speaking and Listening

    • Follows agreed-upon rules for discussion
    • Balances speaking and listening in cooperative group work
    • Balances speaking and listening in whole-class discussions
    • Demonstrates effective presentation skills

    Reading

    • Reads and prepares for class discussion
    • Determines the meaning of words and phrases presented within units
    • Understands, identifies, and uses literary devices presented within units
    • Demonstrates comprehension by summarizing, analyzing, and forming opinions based on textual evidence
    • Demonstrates comprehension by asking and answering literal, interpretive, and evaluative questions

    Writing

    • Follows the conventions of standard English grammar, punctuation, and spelling
    • Employs pre-writing, editing and revising to complete work
    • Utilizes appropriate writing techniques and fulfills requirements to address topics
    • Writes stories that include vivid descriptions and clear storylines
    • Writes narrative essays that build toward a conclusion or personal statement
    • Writes expository essays that are informative and cohesive
    • Writes persuasive essays that support a position
    • Creates poetry that incorporates classic techniques
Eighth Grade Science
  • Develops reasonable hypotheses, asks relevant questions
  • Devises a step-by-step procedure to solve problems and make decisions
  • Works safely and collaboratively to develop solutions to scientific problems
  • Accurately collects, records, analyzes, evaluates and presents data
  • Uses data to support conclusions
  • Demonstrates understanding of content and key concepts in current units of study
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the use and care of standard laboratory equipment
Eighth Grade Social Studies
  • Demonstrates understanding of content and key concepts in current units
  • Displays knowledge of the physical geography pertaining to units
  • Demonstrates effective time-management skills and responsibility for long-term projects
  • Engages in interactive projects in a manner that shows meticulous preparation so that the end product meets all requirements
Eighth Grade Visual Art
  • Manipulate color through the use of various artistic media, practice a variety of techniques for mixing, blending, and layering colors
  • Demonstrates complex use of the elements and principles and naturally implements them in art
  • Explores and sustains creative solutions and problems to an assignment. Sustains effort throughout a process.
  • Synthesizes and relates knowledge and personal experiences that are reflected in their art
  • Uses constructive feedback and critique to deeply engage in the artistic process
  • Analyzes artwork using the language of visual art including vocabulary terms, the elements of art, and principles of design
  • Uses presentation skills with increasing efficacy
  • Uses social, cultural, environmental conditions to inspire creative process
  • Analyzes, interprets, and selects own artistic work for presentation
Eighth Grade Spanish
  • Accurately asks and responds to conversational questions
  • Expresses feelings, agreement, disagreement and opinions in the target language
  • Expresses affirmative and negative statements on familiar topics
  • Recalls and uses previously taught vocabulary
  • Expresses possession using singular and plural possessive adjectives
  • Uses reflexive verbs and indirect object pronouns
  • Uses the correct conjugations for -AR, -ER, -IR regular verbs in the present tense
  • Uses the correct conjugations for a variety of irregular verbs in the present tense
  • Uses the correct conjugations for some basic stem-changing verbs in the present tense
  • Uses the correct conjugations for regular verbs in the past tense
  • Understands and interprets written language with the ability to present in the target language on a variety of topics
  • Practice cultural components through music, dance, cuisine, and celebrations
Eighth Grade Music
  • Demonstrates beginning to intermediate technique on applied instrument
  • Performs as part of an ensemble and works with other members of the group
  • Demonstrates an analytical ear and is able to identify instrumentation, style, and the main musical ideas of a work
  • Is able to identify excerpts from the selected repertoire
  • Demonstrates an understanding of basic music fundamentals and terminology, including an understanding of music notation
  • Maintains a steady beat while singing and/or playing an instrument
  • Maintains focus during lessons and uses class time productively
  • Shows respect for the instruments and equipment
  • Participates fully and shares musical ideas
Eighth Grade Physical Education
  • Performs flexibility and strengthening exercises with proper form
  • Demonstrates offensive and defensive skills and strategies in team physical activities
  • Shows self-control by accepting a controversial decision by an official
  • Organizes and works cooperatively with a group to achieve the goals of the group
  • Models support toward individuals of all ability levels
  • Engages in sportsmanship and accepts wins and losses with awareness of others
  • Describes the role of physical activity and nutrition in achieving physical fitness
  • Participates productively in group physical activities and games
  • Plans and implements a personal physical fitness workout in collaboration with the teacher
  • Shows ability to focus the mind during Yoga instruction
  • Demonstrates progress with Yoga form, flexibility & strength
multiracial-elementary school boys studying while studying
Advisory

Advisory at Blue Oak is meant to be a time and space for community and growth. At the middle school, our 6th graders are in grade-specific advisories to allow for strong transitions. Our 7th and 8th graders are combined to support community building in our older middle school grades. Additionally, our advisors meet weekly to promote consistency in all advisories and build connectedness. Based on “The Advisory Book: Building a Community of Learners in Grades 5-9” by Linda Crawford, students at BOS participate in a variety of lessons and activities to explore themselves, their school community, and the larger world.

Life Skills

The Middle School Life Skills Program works in conjunction with the Advisory Program and explicitly teaches curriculum to guide students through the school years and beyond. Topics like time management, study space organization, and self reflection, both personal and academic are sample areas of focus. Students use real life articles and examples to apply and practice life skills with the support or caring teachers who know them well.

Exploratories

“The middle school student may be a walking contradiction, but the opportunity to change the shape of their brains is still one of our greatest challenges—and our greatest opportunities.” -David Vawter

Middle school is a time of growth and discovery, and the Middle School Exploratories allow students to choose their own classes within the academic day. Students appreciate the ability to have a voice in their education, the option to learn practical skills and explore topics that could lead to defining a career path. Teaching them early to have a sense of ownership prepares them to be better decision-makers in the future.

The new Blue Oak Exploratory Model gives opportunities for deeper research and inquiry around a specific topic. Exploratory options are grouped into four categories: STEAM, Arts & Letters, Body & Movement, Service. Many offerings could be placed in more than one of these categories.
As we continue to develop this program, we are hoping to include other adults in the community with passions and knowledge to share. Parents, guardians, and other friends of the Blue Oak community are welcome to lead an exploratory (usually about 8 weeks long) or partner with a faculty member to be a guest presenter or co-teacher.

High School Readiness

At Blue Oak, we understand that the transition process to high school is an opportunity for self-reflection and discovery as well as a chance to learn more about thoughtful decision-making. To support this process, our eighth graders participate in a High School Readiness Program. Our primary goal in this program is to support students as they reflect on their aspirations and goals for their education and to help them consider these aspects to find their best high school “fit.”

The high school transition process officially begins in the late spring of the seventh-grade year when families are invited to an evening meeting to learn about what lies ahead in the high school process and their role in the process. Students begin preparing for the high school application process in the fall of eighth grade during the weekly High School Readiness Program.

In the High School Readiness Program, students have the opportunity to:
Explore application process informational resources and ways to track their progress in the high school selection journey
Attend informational meetings with representatives from prospective high schools
Develop specific skills to write their essays for high school applications
Practice interviewing skills for their applicant interviews