8th Grade Newsletter

December 2017

Dear Class of 2018 Families,

It’s December and we are now approaching the halfway mark of the second marking period of your senior year at Mott Hall II!  Progress reports will be distributed THIS THURSDAY, 12/14/17 so please ask your scholars for those.  

Classroom News:


Ms. Julien-Ndjiki




Current Unit of Study: Literary Study

At present, scholars in eighth grade English Language Arts have their heads in Mark Haddon’s novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Their using notice and note signposts - a way of annotating text as they read.  At the same time, they’re rehearsing the use of conjunctions to enhance their sentences and extend their thinking.

Upcoming Extended Writing Assignment: Beginning in January, scholars will delve into the world of literary essay with a twist! They’ll not only practice essay writing using The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, but they’ll also use books of their own to explore writing an essay.

How to Support Your Scholar: Encourage your scholar to move towards using conjunctions when they speak like but, because, so, AND, or.

Office Hours: Mondays from 1:15 - 2:00 in room 415 or by appointment


Ms. Stassfurth




Current Unit of Study: 8th Grade Math: Linear Functions & Rate of Change. Regents Algebra I: Group Project on Linear & Piece-wise Functions.

Upcoming Assessments: Students in the 8th Grade Math classes took a quiz and completed a partner mini-project last week; their next assessment will be next week on comparing rates of change. Stay tuned to Engrade for exact date. Students in Regents Algebra I took their unit tests Friday and are now beginning a unit-ending project on linear and piece-wise functions.

How to Support Your Scholar: Please consult the eighth-grade math resources sheet sent via e-mail on December 6 (and distributed at parent conferences). This is a list of hand-selected resources to help your scholar!

Office Hours: There is math extra-help after school every Wednesday from 2:45-3:30 in room 409 with Ms. Stassfurth.  


Mr. Shetia/Ms. Chao






Current Unit of Study:

  • Genetics: we have started the genetic unit this month and we are going to work on the following genetic topics; DNA structure, DNA replication and transcription, protein synthesis, and mutation.
  • Ecology (Human Impact & Designing Solutions to Environmental Problems):  Alpha Wolves Scholars are in Chapter 5 of the Next Generation Science Standards aligned national curriculum developed by the American Museum of Natural History and the Lawrence Hall of Science in California.  Scholars are working to develop solutions to problems created by humans impacting the environment.

Upcoming Assessments:  

  • Alpha Wolves - Chapter 5 Assessment on December 21, 2017
  • All other classes - cell unit test on Friday December 15, 2017

How to Support Your Scholar:  Please review the cell study guide and the lab reports with your scholars and use the Barron’s review book “red book” and the following great online resources that your scholar can use to prepare for the Regents exam are:



Office Hours: Every Wednesday during lunchtime in room 407

Social Studies

Ms. Fletcher




Current Unit of Study: Progressive Era

Scholars are wrapping up their projects comparing issues in the Progressive Era to the present day.  When we’ve concluded this unit, we’ll begin looking at America’s growing role in world affairs by examining the Spanish-American War, the Philippine-American War, and World War I.

Upcoming Assessments: Progressive Era Project Due December 13!

How to Support Your Scholar:  Discuss ways in which the United States interacts with other nations today through economics, politics, culture, and the military.

Office Hours:  Tuesday at lunch in room 405


Ms. Stampoulis




Current Unit of Study: Ballet

Scholars are developing their understanding of ballet movement and history. They will soon be creating their own dance works using their knowledge of ballet technique.

How to Support Your Scholar: Encourage your scholar to be an active and focused participant in dance class! Review ballet terminology at home.

Office Hours: Tuesdays at lunch


Ms. Feder




Current Unit of Study: Technique and Keyboard Skills

Finger drills. Quarter notes and eighth notes, hands separately, chord progressions, standard and popular repertoire

Singing holiday songs and rhythmic patterns on the djembe

Office Hours: Fridays during lunch

ICT Teacher/8th Grade Team Leader

Ms. Chao




I co-teach all four of the core content subjects:  Math, Science, ELA and Social Studies.

If your scholar needs support in classwork, homework or organization, they can drop in during my office hours or make an appointment to see me any other day of the week.  

Office Hours:  Wednesdays during lunch and by appointment in Room 409

Coming Up This Month:

  • New Explorations classes - Tuesday, December 12
  • 2nd MP Progress Reports - Thursday, December 14
  • ACE Day - Thursday, December 21
  • Winter Recess: Monday, December 25 through Monday, January 1 (return to school on January 2)

Paperwork & Permission Slips:

  • 2nd MP Progress Reports - Thursday, December 14
  • 8th Grade Merit System:  Signed letters are now PAST DUE as of 11/30/17.  If you have not returned this signed letter, please do so ASAP!!!!
  • 8th Grade Dues Letters:  Signed letters are now PAST DUE as of 11/30/17.  If you have not returned this signed letter, please do so ASAP!!!!

From the School Counselors

 High School Information

  • All high school applications are now past due. Please put them in your  highschool folder in your homeroom.
  • Please put all high school documents, letters of recommendation requests in the high school folder located in your homeroom
  • Please submit all letters of recommendation requests as soon as possible to Mrs. Gorman.

Any questions, please email at bgorman@motthall2.org  or see Mrs. Gorman in room 420A


Dear 8th grade Families:

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will be presenting to our 8th grade scholars on Tuesday, December 12th during their Latin classes.  NAMI is the largest organization which helps to build and improve those lives who are affected with mental illness.  


"Ending The Silence" is a program which helps middle schoolers understand mental illness.  The speakers will discuss warning signs and help to clear up myths about mental illness.  During the presentation, scholars will get to hear from someone who has a mental illness and what life is like for him/her.  

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Robbins - jrobbins@motthall2.org

OPERATION AGUA! Mott Hall II’s Hurricane committee has launched our first fundraising campaign for Hurricane Maria.  Our scholars will be raising money for Operation Agua, which provides water filtration for those families who do not have drinking water in Puerto Rico.  Scholars will hear all about this campaign during assemblies prior to Thanksgiving.  There was also an email sent explaining the drive.  Any questions, please contact Ms. Robbins - jrobbins@motthall2.org


Dear 8th grade families:

On Tuesday, December 19th, Law and Justice Institute, will be presenting to our scholars, during their ELA class.  LJI is a 5-week program that seeks to inspire, grow, support, mentor and educate, those scholars who may seek and pursue careers in law.  Scholars will learn about the criminal justice system; work with judges and attorneys; participate in mock trials; attend field trips, and much more!  Please see link for more information.  And feel free to contact Ms. Robbins.  https://legaloutreach.org/?page_id=155

8th Grade Action Shots:

Stay tuned for more 8th grade action shots...Coming Soon!