Language Arts: New digital literacy curriculum was introduced in 2016 in grades 7 & 8. ELA (English-Language Arts) curriculum follows CA Common Core. In Literature, students are exposed to a variety of genres. A digital library can be accessed from any linked account. Critical thinking skills are developed through regular discussion. A focus is placed on evidence-based writing. Conventions of language are taught in conjunction with the literature.
Math: 8th graders focus on three critical areas in Math class: (1) to formulate and reason about expressions and equations, (2) to grasp the concept of a function and use functions to describe quantitative relationships, and (3) to analyze two- and three-dimensional space and figures and apply the Pythagorean Theorem. Adv. Math: For children who excel in math, we offer a high school level Algebra 1 course. Virtually all of our Advanced Math students test out of high school Algebra 1 as freshmen.
Religion: 8th graders explore our Church history and examine their role within the Church community, now and in the future. They understand that they are called to further the kingdom by living the Good News of the Gospel. They live out the Gospel message by reaching out to children, families, and the elderly throughout the year.
Science: We have adopted the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards). We use the on-line program STEMscopes by Accelerate Learning. STEMscopes follows the 5 E’s approach: Engage (access prior knowledge and address misconceptions), Explore (carry out investigations and activities), Explain (watch videos, surf the web), Elaborate (read topical articles, career connections), and Evaluate (through tests, project and/or presentations.
Social Studies: In History the 8th graders explore the ideas, issues, and events from the framing of the Constitution through the Civil War. Lessons start with a big idea, Essential Question, and incorporate graphic notetaking, groupwork, and step-by-step discovery. Students are the center of instruction that taps into a variety of learning styles, allowing students of all abilities to learn.
Technology: Students use Microsoft Office projects for projects and reports, advance their skills in Adobe Photoshop doing photo editing, effects and retouching. They create and edit multimedia slideshows/short movies in iMovie. Dedicated 1:1 iPads are utilized across the curriculum, both in the classwork and homework.
Fine Arts: Students learn music for Mass and Prayer Services. And are invited to join Music Ministry, School Choir, and Band.
Art: Bi-monthly classes allow for long term projects where students are able to study specific mediums and techniques in depth. Additional art vocabulary and art appreciation give students a well-rounded visual arts experience before moving on to high school.
Physical Education: The PE program features both weekly aerobics and traditional physical education classes. Our focus is on the development of healthy lifestyle habits, fitness, cross-functional athletic skills and sportsmanship to encourage a life -long interest in sports athletics.
Spanish: We continue the high school Spanish 1 program. Grade 8 receives two periods of Spanish per week. We work on oral communication and grammar while doing some special projects.
Library: Students enjoy time in the library twice every month covering short stories, poetry, and diagramming sentences.
Mrs. Heissenbuttel has been teaching since 1987, and at SJC since 2001. She has a BA from UC Berkeley, Teaching Credential from SF State, and MA in Educational Administration from Santa Clara University.
Aide: Ms. Poirier is the 8th grade aide. A graduate of SJC’s Class of 2010, she has been co-director of our Extended Care Program since 2016. She is currently finishing her undergraduate work at San Jose State University and has ALWAYS wished to become a teacher.