An independent day school serving grades K-12 | St. Paul, MN

Grade 8

Grade 8 students are the leaders of the Middle School. Their social needs have settled down a bit, and they learn how to balance social and academic priorities more effectively.

In Grade 8, advisors and faculty work to create opportunities for student autonomy, creativity, and leadership. Students are now becoming well-versed in the ability to reflect on their learning and plan meaningful short-term goals for themselves. During the Grade 8 year, responsibility and accountability shift almost entirely to the student, and the student takes part in most conversations about his or her learning. Through appropriate, incremental steps, the Grade 8 faculty works to prepare students for the increased expectations and requirements of the Upper School.

By Grade 8, students often have good insight into their own learning skills and take pride in their work. The practice of reflection and work review has become a part of their normal routine, and students work towards independence in setting reasonable goals. Most have developed organizational strategies that help them plan for long-term projects and look ahead to congested times in their schedule. Grade 8 is an opportunity for students to try new strategies, receive feedback, and alter their habits as they settle into an academic routine that best suits their learning styles and needs. Students at this age typically want to be in charge of their learning and are more willing to meet with their teachers independently when they have a question or concern. The experiential learning opportunities that are part of the Grade 8 curriculum are also designed to foster students' independence as they move towards the Upper School.

As in other grades, teachers may send home academic progress reports to note unsatisfactory work, or a sudden change in habit or performance over the course of the trimester. Copies of these reports go to the advisor and to the grade-level team leader, who confer with students. Students also continue to receive grade reports at the conclusion of a unit, such as in math or science. This provides an opportunity for discussion at home about the student’s standing in a given class and potential areas for improvement. 

Overview

Subject Areas

The Grade 8 Courage Retreat is hosted by Youth Frontiers and incorporates high energy, activities, small groups, and sharing in order to inspire students to take positive risks in order to make a healthy difference for themselves and their communities.

Each fall, Grade 8 students plan and host a Naturalization Ceremony for community members obtaining American citizenship as part of the students' Social Studies unit on immigration.

The Human Density Experiment is a favorite eighth-grade tradition in which several students dunk themselves in a human-size "test tube" and then use the skills they've learned in science class to calculate density.

Grade 8 students take part in a week-long language immersion experience each year. During immersion week, students spend time immersed in their language of study—Chinese, French, German or Spanish—playing games, cooking native foods, studying cultures, and practicing their language and conversational skills.

Field trips to places like the Baaken Museum (pictured above) are incorporated in each grade-level to build on classroom knowledge and to provide new opportunities for learning through experience.

The eighth grade "Sludge" unit is a favorite, investigative experiment for students in which they are given the task of separating a sludge mixture using all the lab skills they've acquired since the beginning of the year.

The end of the year is full of milestones for each division. In the Middle School, eighth-grade students celebrate the transition to the Upper School with the annual Grade 8 Moving On Ceremony.