Jefferson Middle School

8th Grade


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Writing and vocabulary development are taught in conjunction with the students’ study of short stories, poetry, drama, and the novel. The major goal in writing is the effective planning and development of singleand multiparagraph papers. Grammar principles are reviewed and refined.

Advanced English 8

Advanced English proceeds at an accelerated pace, reads novels and plays of increased difficulty, and writes more complex essays. 

Students begin eighthgrade math with an introduction to Algebra. Students evaluate algebraic expressions, solve oneand twostep equations, solve and graph inequalities, and graph functions. Instruction also includes areas such as integers, geometry, rational numbers, analyzing data, problem solving, perimeter, and area. All computational skills, such as operations with fractions, decimals, and percents, are reviewed throughout the course. Students must be prepared to enter Algebra in ninth grade.


Pushing at a faster pace, students begin eighth-grade math with an introduction to Algebra. Students evaluate algebraic expressions, solve one-and two-step equations, solve and graph inequalities, and graph functions. Instruction also includes areas such as integers, geometry, rational numbers, analyzing data, problem solving, perimeter, and area. All computational skills, such as operations with fractions, decimals, and percents, are reviewed throughout the course. Students will begin working on Algebra skills for transition to the high school. 


Algebra is a course for students showing innate talent and advanced mathematics skills. It is designed for students who have mastered arithmetic skills and who intend to pursue a fouror fiveyear “advanced track” math curriculum. Students in eighth grade Algebra are expected to maintain an average grade of “B“. Students take the Tennessee Algebra I End of Course Exam.


Prerequisites: A minimum grade of B in Algebra I in the 7th grade. This is a comprehensive course that covers plane, solid, and analytic geometry concepts with a strong emphasis on formal proofs. Students take the Tennessee Geometry End of Course Exam.

American History-

Eighth grade American History examines the development of the United States from the Native American period to the early 20th century. Major units of study include Native American cultures, European exploration, colonization, the American Revolution, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the Early National Period, Westward Expansion, Slavery, and the Civil War and Reconstruction periods. The history and development of Tennessee are also explored. The course includes handson and research projects, presentations, lectures, debates, role play, map study and discussion of current events each with an emphasis on developing students’ critical thinking and writing skills and their knowledge of American history. *An optional fourday field trip to Charlottesville, Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, Virginia is being planned for Fall Break.


This course consists of a survey of disciplinary core ideas in Physics, Earth Science, and Life Science.Topics in Physics include motion, forces, electricity, magnetism, waves, sound, light, and space.Topics covered in Earth Science are minerals, rocks, plate tectonics, mountains, earthquakes, and the Earth’s interior.Topics in Life Science are natural selection, evidence for common ancestry, evolution, and how organisms are classified. Since the disciplinary core ideas taught in this course are intertwined with science and engineering practices, a strong lab emphasis is maintained through pre-lab discussions, laboratory experiences, and post-lab analysis in addition to working in a team or partner format.

Physical Education

The physical education program is an instructional class that teaches students the fundamentals of team sports, the importance of regular physical fitness, and lifetime wellness activities. Emphasis is placed on activities that condition students in physical strength and endurance as well as the development of coordination and physical skills.Students are required to have a set of physical education clothes for participation.Required PE clothes consist of midthigh length shorts with an elastic band or drawstring, a solid white, solid gray, solid royal blue, solid yellow, OR any Jefferson Eagles tshirt, athletic socks, and a pair of tennis shoes.Per JMS dress code, no spandex/compression leggings, pants, or capris are allowed to be worn in PE classes.Students also have the opportunity to have their own PE locker, which requires a combination lock.Students are required to participate and dress out in proper physical education clothes. Students must have a written note from a physician to be excused from PE.


Courses Alternating with 8th grade P. E.classes:


This is a term course. This course teaches students technology literacy skills. Students are taught 3Dimensional Software Skills and in a research and development unit, students design and build CO2 cars. CO2 cars are raced the last week of class.

Career Exploration

Critical Thinking for Careers is designed to assist students in practicing critical thinking skills necessary to excel in future coursework and occupations. Students will learn about existing high school, college, and career pathways, and how to successfully transition into them. In Oak Ridge Schools, we are implementing ProjectBased Learning (PBL) as an engaging instructional approach for learning these 21st century career skills. This course will emphasize academic learning goals and competencies that focus specifically on exercising critical thinking skills and problemsolving in careers.

Computer Applications

8th grade classes will rotate through the computer class for one nine week period. During the nine weeks students will learn to manipulate the following programs: MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Art Rotation

This is a term course alternating with P.E. class. This class will be a continuation of many concepts that students learned in seventh grade art with an emphasis being placed on the structures found in a piece of art. During this grading period students will focus primarily on creating a threedimensional artwork as well as integrating aspects learned in the other rotation courses.



**Attention: Elective courses are ONLY available if a student is not in the RTI (Response to Intervention) program for Reading or Math. If a student is placed in RTI, they will be removed from their elective until they have shown growth in the supported subject area. Should you have any questions concerning RTI, a student’s placement, or how a student can move out of RTI, please contact Stephanie Hope or John Smith at 8654259301.


Art 8 includes art production, aesthetics, criticism, and art history. Students will also have the opportunity to broaden their appreciation for visual art through a trip a local museum during the school year. Students exhibit their work in local, regional, and national exhibits and competitions. The yearlong class is divided into media units: drawing, painting, sculpture, computer graphics, commercial art and printmaking. The art department sometimes provides an ArtistinResidence program for 8th graders.


Experienced Band members will prepare a wide variety of band music for evening concerts, school assemblies, and athletic events. Through these experiences, students will continue to develop their musicianship skills.In addition to a band method book, each student is required to have black dress pants, black socks, and black dress shoes to complete the band uniform.Percussionists must have a prescribed set of mallets and accessories.As part of the course grade, students are expected to attend all scheduled band events.Students have the opportunity to participate in East Tennessee School Band clinics, soloensemble and concert festivals as well as an out of town competition performance. *The band instructor’s recommendation is required to take this course. Seventh graders with no prior band experience that are interested in joining band should contact the band director.


The primary focus of Chorus 8 is performing choral music in concert. Students will learn the basics of singing in the traditional choral method, including reading and interpreting choral music notation, developing breath control, singing scales, sightsinging, harmonizing, expanding vocal range, and maintaining vocal health. As part of the course grade, students are expected to perform in concerts, some of which occur outside of school hours. Students are required to have black dress shoes: boys also need black dress pants. A few previously worn girls’ shoes are available to borrow. Students who wish to join Chorus 8 need to have completed one school year of chorus prior to 8th grade or perform an audition for Ms. Wilson. Please see Ms. Wilson to set up an audition.

Career Exploration
Creative Exploration for Careers is designed to assist students in discovering their personal strengths and abilities, understanding the opportunities available to help them excel in different career areas. Students will develop technical career skills such as resume building and oral/written communications. Upon completion of this course, students will know and exhibit a wide range of soft skills such as teamwork, creative thinking, and problem solving. Students will take a deeper dive into exploring high school, college, and career pathways, and how to successfully transition into them. This course utilizes ProjectBased Learning (PBL) as an engaging instructional approach, placing equal emphasis on academic learning goals and the soft skills that employers across all industries have identified as essential for career success.


Orchestra is for students with some prior string instrument experience. Students learn bowing techniques, vibrato, shifting, good sound production and proper intonation. Students perform at school and in area concerts. Orchestra students participate in East Tennessee school orchestra events as well as travel to an outofstate orchestra competition. *The orchestra director’s recommendation is required to take this class.

Introduction to Business and Marketing 7/8-

Real Life Application elective that focuses on everyday skills that are needed to succeed in the business world. Students will recognize the need to set goals and will pursue those goals in their virtual world from getting their first job to retirement. Students will learn to fill out forms, apply for a job, and balance a checkbook. Students will gain an understanding of credit in activities such as buying a car and a home. Students will experience the need for creating and maintaining a budget using basic accounting skills. Students will study supply & demand, free enterprise, technological awareness, technical writing, not taking, and basic communication skills. High school credit is available for this course now upon successful completion of an end of course assessment. Students may only earn one credit for this course either as a 7th or 8th grader.

Project Lead the Way (PTLW)-

This is a yearlong activityoriented course (formerly called World of Manufacturing). Students will explore math, science, and advanced technology such as technology design and modeling; model bridge building, tower building and flight design; and an introduction to mechanical skills and automation. Priority for this class will be given to students who have successfully completed Project Lead the Way (PLTW)7/Aeronautics.

World Languages- French or Spanish

Students are able to enroll in Spanish 1 or French 1 for the 7th and 8th grade years, provided they are in strong academic standing and have received a teacher recommendation. The Level 1 course begins in 7th grade and finishes at the end of the 8th grade year*. While this course spans two academic years, it is the same course and curriculum as Level 1 Spanish or French at Oak Ridge High School. This twoyear program is designed for younger students to master Level 1 proficiency at a slower pace, while maintaining the rigors of a high school course. At the end of the 8th grade year, students will take an EndofCourse exam. Passing the EOC exam and maintaining an A or B in the class will enable students to earn a high school Level 1 credit in Spanish or French**. Choosing to accept credit is optional. If the student declines credit, the student will still be able to advance to the next language level at Oak Ridge High School, provided he/she has the recommendation of his/her World Language teacher.

*Students are unable to enroll in 8th grade Spanish or French if they were not previously enrolled in the 7th grade Spanish or French class.

**Students need 2 high school language credits, of the same language as a graduation requirement. Students are highly encourage to take more than 2 years of a language, especially if they are planning on attending college.

Study Hall

Study Hall is designed to teach students various academic skills necessary for success at the middle school level. Students can receive help in organization, notetaking, planning study time, active study strategies, and grade averaging. They are encouraged to take increasing personal responsibility for their own learning. Small group setting allows for individual problem solving and troubleshooting with everyday academic obstacles. Students are enrolled based on greatest academic need.


Students that are interested in being a student aide will need to communicate with the teacher they would like to aide. The teacher must send an email to 7th and 8th grade school counselor. Grades and office referrals will be reviewed and determined if the class will fit in the student’s schedule.



RTI (Response to Intervention) is a multitier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning needs.

Tier 1- The Whole Class

In the general education classroom; the teacher measures everyone’s skills. This is known as a universal screening that is given 3 times a year to the whole school (Fall, Winter, and Spring) to determine the students that fall at the 25th percentile or below for extra Tier 1 support. If your child falls at or below the 25th percentile your child will be placed in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 class in the areas of Math or English to provide more support because they are performing below their grade level. The screening helps the teacher work with students in small groups based on their skill levels. The school will let you know if your child is struggling and will update you on his/her RTI progress. In some schools, the majority of students need Tier 1 instructional support because their reading and math skills are not at grade level. During the intervention, the RTI team monitors students’ progress to see who might need additional support. Many students respond successfully to Tier 1 support and achieve gradelevel expectations.

Tier 2- Small Group Interventions (25th percentile11th percentile)

If your child isn’t making adequate progress in Tier 1, he/she will start to receive more targeted help. This is in addition to the regular classroom instruction (Tier 1), not a replacement for it. Tier 2 interventions take place every day during a designated period and students won’t miss any core instruction in the classroom. During these extra help sessions, he/she will be taught in small groups using a different method than in Tier 1 because the first method wasn’t successful. The teacher may also ask you to work with your child at home on certain skills.The school will monitor your child’s progress so it’s clear whether the Tier 2 intervention is helping through 4 ½ week progress reports sent by the school.

Tier 3: Intensive Interventions (at or below 10th percentile)

Typically, only a small percentage of the class will require Tier 3 support. In many schools, though, that number is much higher. If your child needs Tier 3 support, it will be tailored to his/her needs. Every day he/she will receive oneonone instruction or work in very small groups.Your child will continue to spend most of the day in the general education classroom. If he/she doesn’t make adequate progress in Tier 3, it’s likely that the school will recommend an evaluation for special education services. Core Focus(English or Math) This class is for those students that score close to the 25th percentile or the teacher has identified will benefit from extra support with current core classes. Students will be able to work on homework intermittently during the week and may need reteaching of Tier 1 instruction.