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8th Grade

Independent Critical Thinking, Deepening Capacity for Judgment, Heightened Responsibility

“The theme of eighth grade may be summed up as ‘Polarities’. Virtually everything that we study is approached from two perspectives, or, at least, leads the student to see for him or herself that there may be two good answers for any problem, two sides to any one issue... This emphasis on duality arises as the curriculum tries to meet, nourish, and perhaps balance the powerful forces of the eighth grader’s developing emotional life. It is the nature of the emotional life to manifest in paired opposites: sympathy and antipathy, joy and sorrow, love and hate, good and evil... Even the muscles that the students are developing and studying in their anatomy block, with their remarkable capacity to support a broad range of movements, are themselves reflections of this duality.” (Eugene Schwartz, Millennial Child, 2005)

Eighth grade marks the culmination of the eight-year Primary School journey, and it brings the students to a crossroads as their time with their primary teacher ends. The work becomes more challenging in preparation for the independent thinking that will be expected in the years to come. Teachers from the High School teach the eighth graders in their area of expertise. This is also the year when Main Lessons may conclude with formal and graded tests. The work is precise and filled with many layers, be it the lofty language of Shakespeare or the complex processes of Organic Chemistry. During this year, the students step wholeheartedly into adolescence. With this leap comes a deepening capacity for judgment, a call to greater responsibility, and the quest to discover who they are and what they will become. As the students leave the Grades School, their sense of authority turns inwards, and they begin to look for direction within themselves.

If the seventh grader can be said to be on a voyage of discovery, the eight grader can be thought of as a revolutionary. Revolutionary periods are studied in history, the world in geography, the short story in Language Arts and the Platonic Solids in Geometry. Anatomy and Physiology add to the student’s knowledge of himself, and Meteorology adds to his or her understanding of the greater world. The students continue to find artistic expression in chorus, playing an instrument, and working with their hands in sewing and woodwork. At the end of the year, each student presents a project that has been worked on independently throughout the year, and the class together presents a major play, often from Shakespeare. How far the students have traveled from that first day of being introduced to straight and curved lines! The student is now ready to be launched into high school and beyond, with skills, poise, and intention.

Special Subjects

FOREIGN LANGUAGE: German & Spanish (Conversational, Literature, Grammar and Vocabulary), Latin & Greek, Life in Greece & Rome

PRACTICAL ARTS: Woodworking, Machine Sewing

EURYTHMY: Music: Recorder, Singing, Orchestra, Chorus (Elizabethan Song, Negro Spirituals), Electives

8th Grade

Viorica Comaniciu

Grade 8 Teacher