Week of October 2, 2017


Students continued writing their memoirs and learned about Introspection. Memoirs are due next week. Below is an example of introspection, which should be italicized:

Next week will be peer editing and Book Club 4. Then the final memoir will be turned in. Below is the rubric once again:

Social Studies

Students finished annotating the UN packet. Test on this next week. They are expected to have completed annotating the packet to qualify for re-assessment.


The students wrapped up the discussion on the Dive Reflex investigation. They were also expected to have completed their graph (using Google Sheets) on the combined data for different classes. Then, they explored the question, “How do organisms process information detected from the environment? A sample CER about Dive Reflex was shared:  In the future, students will write their own CER for every lab investigation.

“The dive reflex is a phenomenon in which your body manages to lower the amount of oxygen while the face is exposed to cold water, slowing down one’s heart rate. This allows the body to effectively use energy while it is not getting a constant production of oxygen. The cold water is detected through thermoreceptors in the skin which detect change in temperature, touch, and pressure. This phenomenon was replicated in a classroom situation, and a grade level average was collected, proving this dive reflex to be true on its overall effect on heart rate. Looking at evidence, the average resting heart rate for 8th grade was around 79 beats per minute. During the dive reflex when the face was exposed to ice water, the average heartbeat slowed to around 66 beats per minute. This means there was a decrease of an average of 13 beats per minute after the dive reflex was activated.”

Students were given an introduction to systems using toys.  Next week students will learn about the nervous system using the “systems framework”. Assessment will be an analogy of a system.


Gr. 8 took the quiz on exponents and some blocks have started the unit on scientific notation. Next week will be a continuation of scientific notation. The next unit test will be on rational and irrational numbers plus exponents and scientific notation.

Week of September 25, 2017


Students continued having mini-lessons on narrative writing techniques for their memoirs which are due the week of October 9. Next week, they will learn about introspection techniques and scene three will be due before they go for CWW.

Social Studies

Gr. 8 continued reading and annotating the UN packet.  Videos were also shown about the League of Nations and Treaty of Versailles. Quiz on the UN packet will be on the week of October 9.  The quiz will have three parts: multiple choice questions about facts; comprehension short answer questions; and the students’ best closed and open evaluation questions from the UN packet.

Next week, students will read pages 13-17. Students who need support in understanding the packet can watch WWI, League of Nations, WWII, and United Nations on BrainPop. Username and password have been shared with the students. They can email me if they need help.


Students investigated the Dive Reflex. Students collected data and organized and presented data using Google Sheets. It is expected that Gr. 8 will know how to use Google Sheets to present data and graphs.

This investigation concluded their exploration of the question “How do organisms detect, process and respond to information?” Next week will be wrap up of dive reflex detecting information and introduction to memory modeling. Performance task will be about creating a model – an analogy for systems.


Gr. 8 had their MAP testing and a practice quiz.  Next week will be the quiz on exponents. After that, students will work on scientific notation.

Week of September 18, 2017


Memoir performance task was discussed and the scaffold was shared.  See last week’s post for the rubric. Memoirs are due on Oct. 12 for Blocks B and C and Oct. 13 for Blocks DGH. Next week, students will have mini lessons on overusing descriptions, using the senses to write, and punctuating dialogue.  Part 2 of the scaffold is due on the first session of the following week before CWW.  Students should also be ready with Book Club Meeting 3 with their notes on MCRS in their reading notebook (see photo below):

Social Studies

United Nations packet was introduced with a quizlet for the vocabulary words. Next week students will continue reading and annotating the UN packet up to page 12.  They annotate by doing the following:

  • changing the font of unknown words into red and writing the definition on the comment box
  • highlighting important details
  • writing a connection
  • asking the following questions: wonder, knowledge, comprehension, closed, and open evaluation

Quiz on this packet will be on October 12/13.

Read and Respond #1 is due next Friday by 8 pm and the summary will be submitted to turnitin. The article for the Read and Respond has been posted on Google Classroom.


Gr. 8 worked on the different stations to answer the question: How do organisms detect, process, and respond to information from the environment?

Students then summarized what they have learned:

Science notebook will be checked and graded using the rubric below for organization in learning habits:

Next week will be about the dive reflex experiment and the nervous system.


Gr. 8 reviewed the rules of exponents.  Next week will be MAP testing and practice for the test. Here is a practice quiz from Ms. Deveza. Quiz will be on Oct. 3 for Block A; Oct. 10 for Block H.

Week of September 11, 2017


Book club due dates for the chunk has been given and students wrote the dates in their planner. Baseline writing assessment was also given back. Next week will be MAP testing, Book Club 2 and introduction to the Memoir performance task, which will be due on the week of October 9: Oct. 12 for Blocks B and C and Oct. 13 for Blocks DGH. Here is a scaffold for the performance task and below is the rubric:

Social Studies

For CEFL watch CNN 10 Mon-Thurs; Al Jazeera on Fridays every other week; and Our Little Earth every Friday. Causes of WWI were discussed. Next week is MAP testing and discussion of the United Nations packet.  Here is the differentiated UN packet.

The first Read and Respond will be due on September 25.  An article from Newsela will be given and the students can choose their Lexile level.


A phenomenon about some animals was introduced and the students looked for their own phenomenon to find out if the behavior of the organism was innate or learned.  Students worked on different stations to answer the question: How do organisms detect, process, and respond to information from the environment?  Here’s a quizlet for the vocabulary words in this unit. Next week, they will complete the station activities, create an information processing model and work on the Nervous System.


Rules of Exponents was discussed. Next week will be about negative exponents and a review of all the exponent properties.  Quiz on the exponents will be after the MAP testing.

Week of September 4, 2017


Memoir and DADI have been discussed and students have revised their birthday moments after peer review. Book club choices were revealed.  Students were given their books and they are expected to read 20 pages a day or enough to finish the assigned chunk per week. They are also required to write the 10 (8 plus all the connections) Metacognitive Reading Strategies that they use while reading their book club book chuck in their reading notebook.

Next week will be the MCRS quiz, where they will read a story and write a comment on ALL the 8 strategies.  They need to have the following labels: Identify, Apply, and Explain.  Examples of comments are in the Google Classrooms on the story, The Glass Castle. Students will also re-write their small moments focusing on DADI.

How to comment on the MCRS.

Social Studies

Read and Respond Rubric has been shared.  Students also finished their first quiz. Gr. 8 should know that CEFL questions (which starts next week) will be selected from these three sites: CNN10, Aljazeera in pictures, and Our Little Earth.

Next week will be about World War I to give the students a background on how the United Nations was formed. They will summarize the MAIN  reasons for the war and take Cornell notes. World War I will not be assessed.


Gr. 8 talked about how science works based on their two labs: thirsty candle and modified thirsty candle.

They were also shown how to make a model to explain their investigation like they would do on a test that measures Transfer of Learning.  To explain the collapsing can (see photo below), for example, the model below the photo would get a grade of 7:

Next week, they will continue learning about how organisms know what they know.  The slides are in Google Classroom for this new unit on Information Processing.


Gr. 8 had their first quiz on rational and irrational numbers.  Exponents was introduced and will be continued to next week.  See below for some help on this topic.  Quiz on this will be after the MAP test.

Week of August 28, 2017


Gr. 8 learned about Voice and how it improves their writing.  The expectation is for them to write one small moment about their birthday in preparation for writing a memoir.  They are reminded that their writing should not be a simple re-telling. Students also chose their book club for this quarter and they are expected to read 20 pages a day. The MCRS quiz has been moved to the following week.

Next week, they will read “The Glass Castle“, which is their mentor text for writing a memoir. They will also learn about the narrative techniques –DADI (Dialogue, Action, Description, Introspection), which should be reflected in their memoirs. A quiz on the Metacognitive Reading Strategies will also be given.

Social Studies

Students spent a lot of time working on the Read and Respond template by using the MCRS, writing comments, and asking questions representing each level of questioning.  Next week will be the quiz, which is exactly like the Read and Respond.  See last week’s post on how to make a comment. It is very important for the students to ask the right kind of questions. Please refer to the flowchart below on how to determine the levels of questions. On the quiz, they will be given an article and they are to ask all the kinds of questions. After the quiz, students will be introduced to the Structured Academic Controversy, which is how they will debate on controversial issues by presenting both sides.


Students presented their modified Thirsty Candle experiment to their peers and learned more about the nature of science. They have been reminded once again not to use personal pronouns in their report and to use more scientific terms in their reasoning.   Next week, they will go into the information processing model to answer the question, how do organisms know what they know? It is important for the students to review how to use Google sheets to make charts and graphs.


Students learned how to convert repeating decimals into fractions.  Next week, they will have a quiz and here is a practice test by Ms. Kath Deveza and here are the answers.  The actual test is very similar to the practice test.

Week of August 21, 2017


Students applied the Metacognitive Reading Strategies on the story, Eleven, by commenting on the side.  There will be a quiz on this on the week of September 4. Students will read a story and comment using the MCRS. See below on how to do this.

How to comment on the MCRS.

MCRS Identify Apply Explain

Book club choices were also introduced.  Formative writing on their birthday small moment was assigned for homework.  Next week, voice will be introduced and students will revise their small moments writing about their birthday.  This is in preparation for writing their memoir for their performance task.

Social Studies

Gr. 8 continued learning about how to complete the Read and Respond template by writing side note comment on an opinion or connection.  Levels of Questioning was also introduced. Next week, a full Read and Respond will be done in class in preparation for the test on the week of September 4.  Students will be given an article and they will apply the interactive reading strategies and write comments on an opinion and connection, as well as ask a question based on all the levels of questioning. Then, they will write a summary of the article.

Below is an example of how to write the comments:

R and R comments


Students finished their modified thirsty candle experiments and wrote their lab reports.  Writing the CER (Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning) took longer than expected so the information processing lesson will be moved to next week.


Gr. 8 learned about irrational numbers, ordering irrational numbers, and how to approximate square roots.

Approximating square roots

Next week, the lesson will be on converting repeating decimals to a fraction.  There will be a quiz on the week of September 4.

Repeating Decimals to Fraction


Week of August 14, 2017


Gr. 8 finished their writing sample and visited the MS library to check out the new books.

MS Library

Next week, they will talk about the Metacognitive Reading Strategies through the story, Eleven by Sandra Cisneros. They will also choose their book for the book club.  Students are expected to read 20 pages a day. For writing, they will start their small moments which will eventually lead them to write their memoir.

Social Studies

Students worked on summarizing from a video source and avoiding plagiarism.  Read and Respond bi-monthly assignment was introduced and will be discussed more next week. The students have to read a news article from  Newsela and use the metacognitive reading strategies to understand the article. Afterward, they are to write a summary. Next week, levels of questioning will be introduced and the CEFL (Current Events Football League) teams will be announced. Students should watch CNN10 from Monday to Thursday to compete in the CEFL.


Gr. 8 continued to discuss the Thirsty Candle Experiment and talked about the concept of heat, pressure, and particles.  Then they came up with their own experiment to modify the Thirsty Candle Experiment.

Modified Thirsty Candle

Next week, the topic will be on Information Processing. See below for the expectation in their lab experiment explanation and notebook format.

Science Notebook


Gr. 8 worked on changing fractions to decimal and decimals to fractions.  They also ordered rational numbers from least to greatest.

Human Number Line

Next week, they will go into Irrational Numbers.

Week of August 7, 2017


This week, Gr. 8 read “Where I’m From” and they started to write their own version. Next week, their poem, “Where I’m From” is due and a writing sample will be collected from the students. The students do not have to prepare for this as this is not graded and the goal is just to see what the students can write without any help. They will also take a trip to the MS library and they must have a book that they like to read with them.

Social Studies

Gr. 8 discussed the importance of critical thinking that will be expected throughout the year. The bottom line is that there is no right answer, but what is important is to have a stance (thesis) about a topic and give support in the form of logic and credible, research based evidence. Over the next few weeks, the students will have a boot camp on the following skills:

Here is the presentation on summarizing.  Students are expected to watch the news every day and Middle School Library should be bookmarked for research.

Next week will be about more summarizing and avoiding plagiarism.  Students will also sign up on turnitin.  Then, students will be introduced to CEFL to encourage them to watch and read the news every day.  Finally, Gr. 8 will be introduced to the Interactive Reading strategies.


Students went right away into performing science experiments to get them into thinking that science is doing; not memorizing.  They did the “Disappearing Coin” and the “Thirsty Candle” experiments and they talked about reflection, refraction, vacuum, gas, bubble, and oxygen.

Next week, they will talk about Information Processing, specifically, stimulus, response, the brain, learning, and the information processing model. Students are to bookmark Mr. Pasamba’s site, which is updated on weekends.


This week students took a pre-test to find out their levels for instruction purposes.  Next week, they will learn about Fractions, Decimals, and Rational Numbers.


Dear Parents,

I hope that you all had a restful summer break and that you are ready for school year 2017-2018!

We have a team of teachers to help support your child throughout the year in their core classes (English, Math, Social Studies, and Science):  Kathryn Deveza  (Teacher Assistant), Rhea Layosa (Educational Assistant), and myself, Maricel San Agustin, Learning Support Teacher for Gr. 8.

We work as a team to help all students, but the Educational Assistant is mainly to support the assigned student.  Our team works closely with all of the Gr. 8 teachers to advocate for your child’s needs.  We accomplish this by working in the core classrooms every day.  Great pride is taken in finding the right balance in supporting their needs while challenging them academically on their level.

I will be using this blog to communicate with you, so please bookmark this site.  This is updated on Friday afternoons.  You will find a short overview of what has been happening along with a look at what is coming up in each core curriculum class.  I will also post resources that are helpful for that week. I wish to particularly invite you to look at the Homework calendar often as all the assignments in the core subjects will be posted there on the day that they are due. Many parents find this very helpful when their child comes home and says, “I don’t have any homework” every night. Planners will be distributed on August 7, the first day of school.  It is very important for you to check the planners every day as that will communicate to your child the importance of school work and of being organized.

Many students take the Strategies Instruction class (SI) to help support learning and develop skills. In SI we take the time to help with organization, learning strategies, skills development, and task specific instruction. We do not use class time to complete homework. The class time is fully dedicated to improving and learning additional skills.

I look forward to meeting you all during the Open House on August 23, 2017.

I will be setting up goal meetings with you and your child soon. In the meantime, please feel free to schedule a meeting with me using this link if you have pressing concerns.  I always look forward to meeting with parents because they are the expert on their child.


Mrs. San Agustin

Room 3004