May 17th

Dear Eighth Grade Families,
This week was an outstanding first week of Service Learning! Eighth graders got outside “the Gordon bubble” and started working three hours a day, five days a week at twelve different organizations across our community.
Students are working and learning at:
Amos House
Crossroads Rhode Island
Hennessey Elementary School
Higher Ground International
Highlander Charter School
John Hope Settlement House
McAuley House
Osamequin Farm
Pleasant View Elementary School
Progreso Latino
Providence Children’s Museum
Resources for Human Development
Please make sure to mark your calendars for Thursday, June 6th at 5:30pm for CJ Buckley Experiential Learning Night. On this important evening, all eighth graders will present their learning about their Service Learning work.
The Class of 2019 also started rehearsing for their graduation song this week. A huge thank you to Bill Beaudoin and Susan Hodgin for so much time and effort to prepare the eighth graders for their final performance together.
Field Day and Bike to School Day is set for Friday May, 31st with the following Friday, June 7th as the rain date.
Here are a few pictures from this week.


We look forward to the three and half weeks of school for the Class of 2019. Please reach out to your child’s advisor with any questions between now and and the end of the year.
– Luke, Gabe, Emilia,  Irene, and Milly

May 3rd Newsletter

Dear 8th grade families,

On Wednesday night many of our 8th graders performed in handbells, the percussion ensemble, choral ensemble, G-notes, and the band.  The concert was incredible!! Additionally, 8th graders have officially finished their last electives and next week is their final week of regularly scheduled classes!  On Monday morning we will explain all of the different service learning options and on Monday night parents will need to sign the paper on which students will have ranked their top choices. Please remind your eighth grader that there are a lot of factors that go into student’s placements for service learning.


5/9 Math Final and last day of regular classes

5/10 Grandfriends Day 

5/13 First Day of Service Learning

5/17 Open Mic Night

5/31 Field Day and Bike to School Day

6/6 CJ Buckley Night  of Experiential Learning( all 8th graders required to attend)

6/12 Commencement

In Humanities…

8th graders have been fully immersed in their research projects over the last several weeks.  After some lessons on media literacy and how to identify bias in articles, students dove into their topics and began to build an argument to answer their research questions. We dissected several theories on the why crime has dropped in the United States over the last 30 years as a model for how to construct and evaluate arguments about complex sociological questions.  Students built their arguments through an iterative process in which they were constantly re-evaluating their evidence and identifying arguments that might contradict their thesis. After reading essays by 8th graders from previous years, students turned their outlines into first drafts and then conducted intensive peer reviews of their classmates’ work where they gave each other feedback and made suggestions on how to finish up their final drafts next week.  Ask your 8th graders what their arguments are!

In Math…

Students are synthesizing all of the topics learned in Algebra 1 this year. They have been learning how to prepare for a final exams. They have old tests to review, a final exam notecard to create, and practice problems to complete. Discuss with them other ways to prepare for exams.

In French…

Les résultats du Grand Concours 2019 sont arrivés!

Notre classe de Français a très bien réussi cette année: 4 prix: médailles d’argent et de bronze, 2 certificats de Mention d’Honneur et 2 certificats de Mérite (Niveau 1).

Les étudiants ont déjà reçu leurs certificats en classe.

Félicitations à tous!

In Spanish…

The eighth graders have been working on identifying their favorite Spanish word and drawing a picture that represents that word. They are also writing a paragraph explaining the reason (s) why they chose their word and their illustration. Finally, the students are preparing a special song to share with the middle school during our E Day (Día de Español) celebration on May 15 during the Middle School Meeting.

In Science…

students continued to dive deep into understanding the following topics within expert groups: using DNA to trace human migration, using mathematics and logic to calculate the number of common ancestors, using genetics to explain human diversity and variation, and using maps and evolution to explain the biology of skin color.  Students concluding their work in expert groups by collaborating to create a lesson to teach their colleagues from other expert groups. Students practice synthesizing and summarizing key ideas, communicating clearly, and creating educational resources to demonstrate their own understanding of the topics they explored. Ask your child to describe how their lesson went.


In Arts Electives…

Winter/Spring Arts Electives came to a wonderful close this week, with several culminating experiences:
The Spring Concert was an impressive 90-minute display by fifty-seven 7th and 8th grade students (plus their 5th and 6th grade counterparts!), who performed an astounding range of repertoire. Choral Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Band, Handbell Ensemble, and G Notes presented work with three-or-four complex pieces of music each; by the end of the evening the audience was literally dancing joyfully in the aisles!
Visual Arts
Four Visual Art electives completed final projects this week: Ancient Cultures, Functional ware, Animals in Art, and Sculpture. The Visual Arts team has carefully curated spaces throughout the school for us all to enjoy the work of the 7th and 8th grade students — as well as all other grades. Please grab a cup of coffee this week or next and wander the halls throughout the building to see impressive pieces of drawing, painting, collage, and three-dimensional work.
We have a newly-minted group of improv artists! Please join us on May 17th for Gordon School Open Mic night, where a group of these intrepid performers will share their skills. Also, mark your calendars for next week’s production of “Shrek, the Musical Jr,” which was fully designed and produced by the Ready Set Design! elective. Look for a display of their process in the theater lobby next week.
It is going to be a super-exciting and busy end of year for your kids. We are looking forward to sharing this time together. Have a great weekend!
Luke, Gabe, Emilia, Irene,and Milly

April 15th Newsletter

Dear Eighth Grade Families-

Your children attended spirit week with tremendous enthusiasm. Here are a few images from the week.

Upcoming Dates to Know:

5/1 Middle School Spring Concert at 6:30pm

5/9 Math Final and last day of regular classes

5/10 Grandfriends Day 

5/13 First Day of Service Learning

5/31 Field Day and Bike to School Day

6/6 CJ Buckley Night  of Experiential Learning( all 8th graders required to attend)

6/12 Commencement

In Algebra…

Students are learning how to simplify rational expressions. 8th graders will be introduced to the the last new topic of the year on Monday and will soon begin to prepare for the final which will be held on May 9th. Students will be using various different study techniques to review content and get ready for the assessment. Please help your child get organized and think about best ways to prepare.

In Science…

Based on the timeline they reconstructed, they made connections to the racial categories in U.S. censuses that they had previously learned about and tried to answer questions such as “Why do we classify light-skinned African Americans as Black but dark-skinned Greeks as white and dark-skinned Indians as Asian?”

This past week, students have been conducting investigations of their own in expert groups. These have included the biology of skin color, human variation, shared ancestry and DNA, and human migration. In the process, we have practicing asking and answering open-ended critical thinking questions and summarizing key concepts using supporting details. Ask your child to summarize their learning from the last two weeks.

In Humanities…

8th graders have begun their research essays based on race, inequality and their impact on a topic of their choosing.  Students have begun investigating a wide range of topics, including racism in the video game industry, racial disparities in health outcomes,  housing segregation in Providence, and racial discrimination in the fashion and technology sectors. After they finalize their research questions, students will craft an argument using research and evidence to support their thesis. This assignment empowers students to marshal all of their learning about race from the past few months and apply to something they are passionate about.  We’ve also begun our small group literature study. Students have been placed in groups of 4 or 5 where they will read a novel together and have discussions about the reading in class every other day. Think of it like book group for 8th graders! We spent a lot of time last week practicing how to have meaningful, respectful discussions about literature using George Orwell’s Shooting an Elephant as a model text. Ask your 8th grader about what they’re reading!

In French…


French students finished watching and discussing the film, Hop. Next week they will be preparing for the French final exam the week of April 29th. The scores of the National French (LGC) exam are also due to arrive shortly. Students may continue to take niveau 2 of the exam in high school.


In Spanish…

After a few weeks of practice, the eighth graders were relieved to finish taking their National Spanish Exams. They are now using the many language skills they have learned and are watching the movie titled Bajo la misma Luna -Under the same moon- based on an immigration story from México. The film is in Spanish and portrays the struggles an immigrant family goes through and, in this case, has a happy ending. We delved into the plot and reviewed some of the intricate characteristics of the movie, resulting in very interesting discussion.

With spring here, classes wrapping up and kids feeling mixed emotions about the end of their time at Gordon,  please check in with your children to think through how they will continue to remain engaged in their learning, stay focused and continue to bring their best selves to their final weeks here .

Have a restful long weekend!!

-Luke, Gabe, Emilia, Irene, and Milly



April 5th Newsletter

Dear Eighth Grade Families-

Each advisory this year has taken on the responsibility of planning something for the Gordon School community. The Horton advisory is planning a fun-filled spirit week for the week of April 15th.

Here is the plan:

April 15th Mixmatch/Crazy Hair day
April 16th Character Day ( Dress up as a character from a book or movie)
April 17th Sports team day
April 18th Pajama day
That evening there will be a showing of the movie The Princess Bride @5:45. Pizza will be provided for those who want it for $2.00 and will be served @5:30, Sign ups for the evening will be done at each grade level next week. Parents should be at school by 7:30 to pick up their children.

Other important dates coming up:

April 12th: 8th grade dance at Moses Brown

May 9th @ 8:10 : Math Final

May 10th: Grandfriends Day

May 13th: First Day of Service Learning

June 6th @5:30: Cj Buckley Experiential Learning Night: Each student will be presenting about their service learning work.

June 12th @5:30: Commencement

In science …


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In humanities…

8th graders spent last week capturing their reflections of the Civil Rights Trip in their memory books.  The kids filled their scrapbooks and binders with photos, mementos and, most importantly, their reflections about what they learned and how they can “keep marching” for social justice and civil rights.  We’ve also moved into contemporary issues of mass incarceration, Confederate monuments, the debate over reparations, racial wealth gaps, and the lack of progress for certain marginalized communities in the United States. The students read Op-Eds from major newspapers and practiced identifying the author’s thesis and evaluating the merits of their arguments.  All of this prepared them draft and complete their own Op-Eds on topics related to our study of the Civil Rights Movements and how we should learn about our nation’s history. Over the next month, students will take on their major civil rights research essay. They will pursue a topic of their choosing, draft research questions, and conduct intensive research to craft their own argument about race and inequality in the United States.

In math …

Students took a test this week on solving radical equations. During this unit they learned about the use of the Pythagorean Theorem and many were able to understand how the quadratic formula was derived. We are about to start our last chapter of the year which will tie together many of the concepts students learned this year.  Please look out for tests and notebook checks coming home to get signed!

In french…

French students participated in the last week’s Citizenship panel as they listened to the many stories of immigration to the US. We will continue our study of Francophone immigration through a story of a family from Burundi living in Brussels, Belgium in the film, Hop.

In spanish…

The eighth graders have been practicing and sharpening their skills in order to take the National Spanish Exam next week. They are using testing questions from previous tests provided by the National Spanish Testing Center. The students will be taking two sections: The Vocabulary/Grammar and Reading/Listening. The eighth graders are diligent and have been asking relevant questions concerning the exam.

In arts electives…

In the last month of the second semester for Electives, the arts classrooms are energized, with lots of activity in every classroom.


Mark your calendars! Music electives (Band, Choral Ensemble, Handbell Ensemble, and Percussion) and G-Notes are gearing up for their Spring Concert on Wed. May 1 at 6:30 p.m. Details of warmup arrival times for each group will be sent in an email soon. In the meantime, encourage your child to practice and (for singers) memorize their repertoire. Handbell students should NOT be practicing at home (tee-hee!), and they’ve been doing a wonderful job of using occasional snack/recess blocks to work on their individual parts.


Ready, Set, Design has started enthusiastic work on the 3rd-4thgrade play, Shrek, The Musical Jr.! After watching select scenes from a recording of the Broadway version, students worked on conceptualizing the design elements. First, we devoted a session to “electrics” (essentially, lighting elements), creating small set models from construction paper and wooden blocks lit by flashlights.  We then created mood boards, using both images found online as well as three-dimensional elements representing color, texture, and shape. This provides direction as we move into designing the specific elements of lighting, set, props, and wardrobe.

Improvising and Devising class continues to build a tremendous toolkit of skills! 

Since March break, we have worked on the concept of the “platform” – the stable situation that exists before the start of an improvised story. Students improvise from a variety of prompts, including predetermined characters and motivations. Additionally, we have begun work on creating “what comes next” stories by beginning with variations on a physical tableau, and devising from there. This is a class of very engaged and capable storytellers!!

Here are some beautiful pieces from our animals in art elective.



We hope you have a great weekend and look forward to seeing your children on Monday!

-Luke, Gabe,Emilia, Irene, and Milly

March 8th Newsletter

Dear Eighth Grade Families,

As many of you have heard, we had an amazing trip with your kids last week! Part of Gordon’s mission sums up our journey so beautifully. “Child by child, the Gordon School community cultivates successful students by inspiring joyful learning, encouraging intellectual leadership, fostering an empathic spirit and stimulating a drive for positive societal impact. ” In each planned experience on the trip, kids demonstrated their care for their community, true interest in learning, and their desire to be connected to each other.  Please check out Geoff’s blogposts  from each day of the trip. 

We are excited to welcome author Supriya Kelkar for a guest writing workshop on April 2! Please check her out, and consider reading her novel, Ahimsa, with your child over break. We have a limited supply of discounted copies here at school!

Now that we are back to school, students immersed themselves again into all their academic, music, athletic and social activities.

In Math…


After a few groups created catapults that successfully hit the target, we are now moving on to a new unit of simplifying radical expressions.  Additionally, this week students will learn how to derive the quadratic formula!!

In Science…

To build on their learning of the sickle cell trait and the genes that determine whether an individual will be resistant to malaria or afflicted with sickle cell disease, students worked collaboratively to build the structure of a DNA molecule.
They identified the parts that created the “backbone” of the double helix as well as the “rungs” of the “twisted ladder.” A crosscutting concept in science is that of structure and function.


Once their molecules were built, students continued to collaborate and constructed the genome of a “Crazy Creature” based on a variety of genes. They worked to answer the question, “How are DNA, genes, and chromosomes related?”


To show the relationship between these structures, students drew a karyotype of their creature’s genome and distinguished between homologous pairs and diploid sets.

Finally, students learned how to create concept maps in order to be able to link all these important ideas and explain their foundational understanding of heredity and DNA.

In Modern Language…

Español, 8 de marzo 2019

Spanish students are busy reviewing concepts they learned in class, and preparing for the National Spanish Exam (NSE) in April. In addition, students spent this week taking practice tests and identifying where they need extra practice. The test comprises of  two sections: Vocabulary/Grammar and Reading/Listening. TIn order to best prepare for this exam, students took the practice tests at their level to become familiarized with the format and types of questions they would encounter on the exam.

Français, 8 mai 2019: Le Grand Concours

French students have been preparing for the National French Exam (LGC) over the last several weeks. The exam comprises of two sections: Vocabulary/Grammar and Reading/Listening. The questions presented vary from year to year, and include a variety of topics. In order to best prepare for this exam, students took the practice tests at their level to become familiarized with the format and types of questions they would encounter on the exam.

French students will have taken the exam before the break, as the deadline for the exam is March 18th!

Bon courage à tous!

In Electives…

Music Electives

Students in Choral Ensemble and Handbell Ensemble are working hard and feeling positive about their improvement! Please encourage your student to listen (multiple times!) to their repertoire on Ms. Hodgin’s website during spring break. After break, they will need to set up times outside of class to practice handbells and sing with their featured group partners.

Theatre Electives

Students in Ready, Set, Design! enjoyed seeing their set designs become reality in The Wizards of Oz; the project moved from conceptual drawings, to scale floor plans and elevations, to wooden 3-dimensional models, to a real life set. All completely designed and principally built by 8th graders!
Improvising and Devising continues to be an energetic and generative class, with specific work continuing on the concepts of “Yes, and …,” “accepting an offer,” and “what comes next.” Students are hoping to perform some of their class exercises at the next No Fear Friday Open Mic  in April.


Thank you for sharing your wonderful children with us and we hope you have a wonderful March break!

-Luke, Gabe, Emilia, Irene and Milly

February 15th Newsletter

Dear Eighth Grade Families,

We are almost ready to go on our trip! All forms are due by February 19th. Please send them in with your child or bring them in to the parent meeting on February 19th. Please also remember to provide all necessary medicines ahead of time so that Sandy can distribute them to family group leaders. 

Upcoming events in February:

2/18 President’s Day – NO SCHOOL

2/19 Parent Meeting about the Civil Rights Trip (8:15)

2/21-2/23 The Wizards Of Oz Performances

2/23 Girls and Boys Basketball Tournaments at Wheeler Farm

2/25-2/28 Eighth Grade Civil Rights Trip! ( 4AM at TF GREEN!)

In Math…

Students took a test on solving and graphing quadratics this week.  Parent/guardian signatures and test corrections are due on Wednesday so be on the lookout!  Prior to the civil rights trip,  students will be applying their newly acquired solving quadratics skills in the creation of a catapult.  Students will be working as a team to create a catapult that is consistent and can hit a designated target.

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In Science …

Students have been using sickle cell disease to investigate how natural selection favors certain traits due to given environmental pressures. Students took on different roles as individuals with normal hemoglobin, individuals who were carriers for the mutated hemoglobin S gene, or individuals who were afflicted with sickle cell disease because both the genes they inherited from the sperm and egg had the mutation. They simulated the struggle for survival in each individual during a malaria outbreak in a community that did not have access to health care.  The struggle for survival requires individuals to live long enough to have offspring and pass on their traits. Students discovered that they had varying rates of survival depending on the genes they had in regions where malaria is prevalent. Ask your child to explain the relationship between the prevalence of carriers of the mutated hemoglobin S gene in regions where malaria is common.

In French…

French student finished reading, writing and discussing the book, Otto, set during WW2 to the present day in Germany and America. Otto, a cherished stuffed bear and friend of David and Oskar who tells the story of the three and how they suffered and survived the war.
At the end of the story, Oskar recognizes Otto in the window of an antique shop in America, and there unfolds the reuniting of the three.
It was a challenging and authentic French children’s book, and students worked through past tenses and vocabulary to formulate their ideas and questions in writing and orally. They really enjoyed learning about personal family stories of families through a child’s perspective.


In Spanish…

The eighth graders spent a week learning about Afro-Latinos. They listened to music and learned about their history including the triangular trading system. They wrote summaries of the topic. The students also learned about using grammar and conjugation of verbs in Spanish. They are revising the preterite and imperfect tenses as well as regular and irregular verbs.

Thank you for sharing your wonderful children with us and we will take good care of them on the trip! Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
-Luke, Gabe, Emilia, Irene, and Milly

February 1st Newsletter

Dear Eighth grade families,

Last week, we had a wonderful celebration to honor Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Students in the eighth grade led a workshop titled Open Session in which younger students were given the opportunity to share challenges or joys going on in their lives and get feedback from their peers. It was a huge success and your children led our middle schoolers so beautifully in this process.


This week the annual Geography Bee was held and one of our very own eighth graders won the school wide competition!


Thursday, 2/7 is Gordon Spirit Day! Right after school, middle school students have the opportunity to cheer on both undefeated Boys and Girls A basketball teams! Students will be supervised at the games and the after school care for this event is free from 3:20-5:30pm. Students can also get their faces painted in Gordon green during study hall, and get a slice of pizza before the game thanks to the GCA!  

Students need to sign up with their advisors by Monday, 2/4 so we have an accurate head count and order the right amount of pizza. Students will be signed out to families directly from the gym between 3:30-5:30pm. Please see Gabe Burnstein with any questions.

In math…

Students are learning to graph quadratic equations. They did an activity using an online graphing application called Desmos to predict whether a basketball will go in or out when a person took a shot. They made initial predictions and then refined their guess based on the arc the parabola took.  Students realized that not all data is linear, and sometimes quadratics are a better representation of a given set of data. At the end of this unit students will be asked to create a catapult that should be able to aim a projectile at a specified target.


In French…

We began our global migration unit with exploring and discussing the role of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Students are currently reading, writing and discussing topics based on the book, Otto: une autobiographie d’un ours en peluche by Tomi Ungerer.  


In Spanish…

The eighth graders continued learning about the struggles of the Matamoros family during the Civil War in Spain. They are learning new vocabulary within every chapter and soon will discover new characters and events as the family flees to France. As part of the unit, they will also be exploring conjugation of verbs as well as discussing the events that surface with every chapter.

In Science…

Considering multiple perspectives is an important part of examining the validity of claims. Students played Darwin and Lamarck having a conversation about the inheritance of traits and the appearance of adaptive traits.
Students investigated the role of mutations and heredity in the occurrence of traits that lead to adaptation and natural selection.
But that wasn’t enough. In science models and simulations help us to investigate phenomena that we cannot directly observe.
In reflecting on the outcomes of their investigation, students considered an unlikely perspective (Martin Luther King Jr.) on the inheritance (Darwin) or acquisition (Lamarck) of traits that are beneficial for social survival.
After much practice making handmade graphs, students practiced using Google Sheets to display and analyze their data from the investigation. Ask your child what their big takeaways are from science these last two weeks.

In Humanities…

8th graders are immersed in our exploration of the Civil Rights Movement! We’ve studied the Brown vs. Board of Education decision, the unintended consequences of school desegregation, white resistance in the South to school integration, and the murder of Emmett Till.  Students have been grappling with definitions of the different types of racism and prejudice to understand the nuances of these different forms of bigotry. During our discussion of Emmett Till’s murder, we examined the controversy around Dana Schutz’s painting Open Casket, and debated the merits of the arguments of her critics and supporters. We thought about how our own identities impact how we engage with this history. We also learned about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Dr. King’s transformation from a 26-year-old unknown pastor the international civil rights icon. 8th graders also wrapped up their Gandhi essays this week and evaluated each other’s final drafts to determine which 6 students would have their essays submitted to URI’s Gandhi essay contest.  Congrats to Gabe, Izzy, Sophia, Luke, Eva, and Abby for having their essays selected by their classmates.  We’ll know in a few weeks if any of our students were selected as finalists!

Upcoming Events:

2/8 5:00 PM Open Mic Night

2/19 8:15 AM Parent Meeting about the upcoming Civil Rights Trip

2/21-2/23 Middle School Musical

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us. Have a great weekend!

Luke, Gabe, Emilia, Irene, and Milly

January 18th Newsletter

Dear Eighth grade families,

Welcome back! If your kids haven’t told you yet, we have a new member of our Gordon community. Mr. Ray had his 3rd little one, named Damon Junior (!!)

It hasn’t taken us long to get back in the midst of learning. Here are some descriptions of the learning happening in each class.

In Humanities…

We wrapped up our study of the Holocaust and World War II with an examination of Pearl Harbor, Japanese Internment, and the bombing of Japan at the end of the war.  Last week, 8th graders began the civil rights unit as we count down to our trip to Georgia and Alabama on February 25th! We began with a close read of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, a discussion of Reconstruction, and the progress that African Americans made in the years immediately following the Civil War.  We examined the rise the of Jim Crow laws in the South and corresponding reign of terror when thousands of African Americans were lynched in the United States. Using the Equal Justice Initiative’s lynching curriculum, 8th graders read harrowing accounts of several lynchings, reviewed charts and graphs about lynching in America, and explored popular cultures use of African American stereotypes through advertisements,  minstrel shows, and DW Griffith’s Birth of a Nation.  Students also listened to Billie Holiday’s haunting rendition of Strange Fruit and analyzed the lyrics.  Follow this link to hear the story of the lynching of Anthony Crawford, the impact of this trauma on his descendants, and EJI’s efforts to memorialize him. Next week, we’ll look at the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, and convict leasing as we prepare to study the Civil Rights Movement in depth.  Finally, 8th graders spent part of this week drafting their Gandhi essays for a contest for URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. Once the essays are finished, students will review each other’s essays and we will select three from each section to be submitted to URI on January 30th!

In Science …


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In Math…

Long awaited quadratics are here! Though students don’t officially know what that truly means yet, they have been learning how to multiply and factor polynomials.  They are in the process of learning a variety of strategies to factor. Below you will see students making study guides to help them prepare for the test next week.

Additionally this week, we continued our work on the stock market project. Students are learning to use spreadsheets to track their earnings (and losses) and will be creating graphs to display the information. Ask your child how their investments are doing!

In French…

screen shot 2019-01-16 at 8.50.43 am

Le Grand Concours (National French Exam) est arrivé! Les étudiants se sont déjà inscrits et ils sont en train de réviser vocabulaire et structures grammaticales pour l’examen en mars. Bonne Année!

In Spanish…

In eighth grade, students continue to learn about cultural and historical aspects about Spain as well as apply new vocabulary and structures in their written descriptions of the book, La Hija del Sastre. They are also engaged during class discussions about the Matamoros family hardships and intrinsic dilemmas during Franco’s fascist regime.


Thank you for sharing your wonderful children with us. We hope you have a relaxing long weekend and we will see you on Tuesday!


Luke Anderson, Gabe Burnstein, Emilia Carillo, Irene Horton, and Milly Massey




December 14th Newsletter

Dear Eighth grade Families,

We are coming to the close of the first semester. We have one more week left! Next Friday the winter assembly starts at 10AM . Please feel free to join us.

In Science



After designing various toys that illustrated both potential and kinetic energy, students turned their efforts to designing and carrying out a controlled experiment to answer some question related to what aspects of their toy influence PE and KE. Their work culminated in a draft lab report, their first full-length lab report. Students received feedback on their first attempt and made revisions to improve their writing skills.


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This week also marked the beginning of Robotics. Ask your child to share their goals for this unit.

In Math..

Students are studying exponents and exponential growth and decay functions.  One question you could pose to your children to test their understanding of exponential growth:Would you rather have have a penny a day for a month or a million dollars today?

Students have begun the stock market game as well. They will be making their first investments over the next 2 weeks. Please talk with them at home about companies they are thinking of investing in and why they might make those choices.

In Humanities…

To conclude our unit on feminism, 8th graders researched a women’s rights activists and prepared a presentation to teach their classmates about their feminist and her contributions to the struggle for gender equality.  From Alice Paul to Eleanor Roosevelt to Simone de Beauvoir to Audre Lorde to bell hooks to Tarana Burke (the founder of the #metoo Movement), students read deeply about their activist and prepared detailed presentations while creating their own definitions of an activist.  Last week, we began our study of the Weimar Republic, the rise of Hitler, and the Holocaust. 8th graders have impressed with their thoughtful engagement with the readings and discussions. One of the many questions we’ve considered: How could a society allow itself to slide into the madness that gripped Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 40s? This week, we began reading Elie Wiesel’s memoir Night, a raw account of the horror he experienced at several concentration camps in Poland in 1944-1945.  This is a challenging read on many levels but our 8th graders have handled it with maturity. Please feel free to ask them about how they are processing the reading and our discussions in class. Towards the end of next week, we’ll wrap up by watching Roberto Benigni’s powerful film Life is Beautiful.

In French…

Students have finished reading, discussing and reenacting their first novel in French, La terre est ronde. The novel is about a French teenager in Strasbourg, whose family is from Senegal. Marquat loves to study and hopes to attend university one day. He has few friends in high school and feels people judge him by his skin color. When Marquat confronts an episode of racism at his friend’s birthday party, he soon discovers that he has friends who respect and support him. Students are completing their semester project based on the novel with a choice of writing a final original chapter or crafting a farcebook page of one of main characters in the novel. à la prochaine! Bonne Année à tous.

terre est ronde (1)

In Spanish…

The eighth graders finished their mid-book project where they were asked to pursue one of three avenues. They can either write the next chapter of the book using the knowledge they attained in previous chapters, or create journal entries in Spanish as they do weekly in the “Libro de Vida,” but this time from the point of view of Emilia, the main character. The last choice was to create a fictional Facebook page for Emilia using the information given by the author. In addition, they are attentively working on reviewing vocabulary and practicing Spanish phrases to use in class.

In Electives…

We are entering the final week of the first semester elective program, and have many culminating experiences awaiting!


The Handbell Ensemble helped the entire school feel the excitement of winter this past Monday by caroling through the hallways. Students in the ensemble participated in the 6th Interfaith Memorial Vigil for Victims of Gun Violence at the First Unitarian Church in Providence on Thursday, Dec 13th.

Music electives (with the help of the 5th and 6th grade ensembles) will share an evening of music at the Winter Concert on Wednesday, 12/19. Please check the email that was sent to families for information about arrival times for warmups.

Visual Art

Much joyful work is happening in the art studios as students bring the semester to a close and prepare work for the Winter Art Show in January!

Theater and Dance

Traditions in Tap students cannot wait to present a brief number at the all-school assembly on Friday, 12/21!

Acting student are finishing scene study projects, and will share some of their work informally in The Commons on Wednesday, 12/19 during the elective period.

New electives courses will be selected on the first day back at school after winter break.
Wishing you  a restful and rejuvenating weekend!
-Luke, Gabe, Emilia, Irene and Milly