PRMS 8th Grade

Posted by Dr. Brian Miller on 5/16/2022 2:45:00 PM

Live Morning Announcements
Morning announcements are produced live each day at PRMS. The program can involve between 20 - 30 students at any time. Since today was National Barbeque Day, Mrs. Murslack and Mr. Clack had a special plan for this celebratory day which included a charcoal grill and hot dogs…perfect for the heavy rain!


Middle School Model
Led by Dr. Kristofic and Mr. Minsinger, PRMS is one of 14 exemplary Middle Grades Schools in Pennsylvania that has been re-designated as a PA Don Eichhorn “School to Watch” as part of a recognition program developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. It is one of only two schools in Pennsylvania to earn re-designation for the fifth time. Interdepartmental teaming is a key tenet of the model. Students are organized into one of three teams at the eighth and seventh-grade levels. For most eighth grade students, they follow a bell schedule that includes: English, Math, Science, Social Studies, World Language, Health/Physical Education, Music (Band, Chorus, and/or Orchestra) and/or Academic Support, and a nine-week cycle of Business, Automation/Robotics, Art and Family & Consumer Science.

As part of the Holocaust Unit, students are reading a play related to The Diary of a Young Girl by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. Students started class with a “pop quiz” from Mrs. Pfeifer related to Act 1 of the play (e.g., author’s purpose, responding to questions using text evidence, comparing/contrasting character traits, and drawing inferences).  Students were then organized into three groups to meet various learning goals. This play was based on the actual diary and won the 1956 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Orchestra (or Band, Chorus, or Academic Support)
On this day, I had the opportunity to join the eighth-grade orchestra with Mrs. Piroth and Mr. Belchick. This class meets on either an “A” or “B” day schedule. After tuning and talking, the students performed scales as a warm-up and also discussed aspects of music theory related to the D Major scale. They then practiced two pieces that will be performed in late May or early June for third-grade students at Hance, Richland, and Wexford. The purpose of those visits is to help students gain exposure and interest in potentially joining the program at Eden Hall. At PRMS, students may select more than one form of music (i.e., band, chorus, or orchestra). Other students remain in homeroom for an academic support period.


ArtartIn art, students are creating a “monster” drawing to practice value/blend with colored pencils. Ms. Angeloff demonstrated the use of thick and thin lines to create variation in the work. This technique allowed students to ensure visual texture and patterns. Students were able to work independently. The department is also working to hang artwork for display in the building.

Physical Science
It is “coaster” week! The learning goals include (1) describing forces acting on an object (gravity and friction) and(2) exploring and explaining the transformation of energy during a roller-coaster ride. As one of the class warm-up activities, Mr. Kantz included a volleyball demonstration with students (young and old). Students were able to demonstrate and describe the principles of balanced force, inertia, potential energy, kinetic energy, gravity, and gravitational force. As a lab activity, the students are now working in pairs to apply principles to the design of an energy skate park via Chromebooks and an interactive website. The website then allows each group to run a simulation to see the correlation between potential and kinetic energy.


Many students begin the first year of world language instruction in eighth grade. After exploring French, German, and Spanish in seventh grade, students then make an informed choice for eighth grade. Madame Kelly opened class with a quick check for understanding (and retention) from a lesson last week. Then, the learning goal in this class then focused on the use of ER and IR verbs. Students reviewed vocabulary and subject-verb agreement. In this class, there was a student participating from home via Google Meet. When students got into pairs or groups of three, the technology allowed them to work together in a similar manner to all in-person students.

Today’s learning goal is to practice simplifying rational expressions. Students review and submit homework. When simplifying expressions, students are able to “cancel.” Ms. Cekella then provided students with a guided practice lesson to help reinforce some critical skills for the Algebra 1 Keystone Exam. As eighth-graders in this course, the students participate in both the PSSA Mathematics assessment and the Keystone Exam for Algebra 1.


Health/Physical Education
Eighth-grade students alternate on the “A” and “B” schedules for health or physical education. Mr. Wolfe and Mrs. Warrick combined classes for today. In physical education, students participated in a dynamic warm-up - in a refreshing light rain - before making the choice between softball or walking.

Social Studies
In this American history course, students have been studying George Washington. Today’s learning goal was to identify the causes and effects of the development of political parties. Mr. Bailey shared background information to explain that the first parties were the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. Students engaged in an activity to read an abridged version of President George Washington’s Farewell Address (1796). In this learning activity, students were asked to summarize the address to more clearly understand the key points.

The day moves quickly at PRMS. Despite the bell schedule and number of courses, students also have plenty of time to talk to friends and classmates. It was evident through the courses today that teachers are focused on positive relationships with students and a positive environment in the classroom. It was also clear that the students continue to demonstrate growth and maturity as they progress through the grades. Due to testing, I was a bit “out of order” today and will be with seventh grade later this week.