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8th Grade

IS 289 middle school offers an inclusive curriculum for all. In the 8th grade, students continue their studies in these subjects: Literacy, Math, Science, Social Studies, Spanish, Music, Art, and Physical Education.

During the 8th grade students are also offered extensive guidance and support with the high school application process.

For more information, please visit our What's Happening Blog, Faculty List, High School Application Info, Trip Information

Social Studies


Christina DiZebba (

Literacy at I.S. 289 follows the workshop model. There are two parts to our work together: Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop. In both strands the class begins with a mini-lesson on a strategy the students can use in their on-going reading and writing work. The bulk of class time is spent engaged in this work.

In eighth grade we explore the power of literacy, asking ourselves, “What do we want to make visible in our reading, writing and talk?” Students are encouraged to look critically at their worlds and search for ways that they can imagine and facilitate change - change in themselves, in their peer groups, in their communities.

In order to pursue these goals, 8th graders pay attention to the specific. Whether we are reading closely to develop more sophisticated understandings in nonfiction and interpretations in fiction, or learning how to use image, metaphor and anecdote to convey compelling ideas in poetry and essay, we are learning to use the specific as a way of expressing ideas in effective and powerful ways.

Writing Units of Study Include: Mentorship Study (genre choices: memoir, essay, poetry), Journey of Thought Essay, Poetry, Open Genre Craft Study, Writing for Standardized Tests, Writing for Social Action

Reading Units of Study Include: Skinny Books/ Big Ideas, Developing Independent Courses of Study, Poetry Analysis, Close Reading of Short Texts, Fantasy to Dystopia Book Clubs, Critical Reading

Assessment/Evaluation: A student’s work in literacy class is assessed in a variety of ways. Reading is graded using unit rubrics to assess: students’ partner and group talk about texts; writing about reading; and reading strategies demonstrated in one-on-one conferences with the teacher. In writing, notebooks, drafting and published pieces are graded using rubrics that outline criteria for meeting eighth grade exit standards.


Johnny Yan (

In 8th Grade, there will be an emphasis on the following strands: number analysis, expressions and equations, functions, geometry and statistics/probability. We based all our studies from CMP3 (Connected Mathematics Project 3), an investigative and well-researched approach to learning mathematics. Throughout the school year, students work collaboratively on problems to reach a deeper understanding of abstract concepts and apply them to real life examples and/or projects.

Unit 1- Linear Functions and The Lines They Form

Unit 2 - Linear Models

Unit 3 -Symbolic Manipulations

Unit 4 - Transformations and Angle Relationships

Unit 5 - Understanding Numbers

Unit 6 - Pythagorean Theorem


  • There is homework every day.

  • Homework is either a handout or an ACE question from the CMP3 book. All homework needs to be turned in.

  • Unless otherwise specified, homework will be due the next school day during the math class period.

  • Homework is accepted one day late. If the homework is more than one day late, I will still take it and provide feedback; however, this will impact work habits grade on the progress report.


Jaclyn Maricle (

In eighth grade, the science curriculum is all about constancy and change. The units fit together to tell a story about how things can remain constant in our universe while other things continuously adapt and change. We begin the year discussing Force and Motion and will pick up where 6th grade curriculum left off by defining Newton’s Laws of Motion. We will then apply these laws to the movement of objects in our solar system. The next challenge will be to shift our thinking from the vast solar system to the minute innards of cells. We will discuss how these tiny units of life are the driving force behind reproduction and evolution. We will finish our curriculum by discussing a range of topics that tie the seemingly slow human evolution in with the more rapid impacts humans have on the environment. Throughout these units the students will engage in authentic tasks and collaborate to create solutions. They will acquire and practice the skills and ways of thinking that they will need for high school science and beyond.

Social Studies

Patrick Hector (

Unit One: The Election
Unit Two: Race and Membership in America
Unit Three: The Unfinished Civil War
Unit Four: Becoming American: The Immigrant Experience
Unit Five: The World at War: Why We Fight


Jennie Kelly (

The 8th grade Spanish course is designed to foster Spanish fluency primarily through comprehensible input language learning method. Comprehensible input presents students with highly-interactive stories that create immersion in the classroom. We focus on acquiring high-frequency vocabulary--words that are commonly used in everyday conversation. Students develop their reading skills through Spanish novels designed for language learners. Catchy songs that reinforce vocabulary acquisition help students feel confident speaking in Spanish.


Barbara Kariya (

By adolescence, youngsters have developed powerful new thoughts and feelings that challenge established world-views. As experiences become increasingly conflicting and diverse, so art making becomes a safe arena for experimenting in the construction of new relationships between inner and outer realities. Painting, drawing, collage, printmaking, and art appreciation become important vehicles for testing ideas, making judgments, forming values and exercising curiosity. In particular, the exploration of new and different ideas about the representation of three-dimensional space helps youngsters express new points of view about themselves and their worlds.

In the 8th grade we concentrate on careers in art.


Mary Cherney (woodwind /
John Blevins (brass /
Jennifer Axelson (strings /

Students have the choice of participating in the music program for two periods per week. Instrument choices include: Flute, oboe, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, trumpet and trombone. Students will develop instrumental proficiency and music literacy through Western classical music and will have the opportunity to perform as part of an orchestra

In the 8th grade students further refine their musical skills in chamber orchestra and full orchestra settings and continue to learn more advanced scales and repertoire. Sight reading, proper intonation, phrasing, and musical interpretation will be developed.

Further opportunities for music loving students can be found through our free Manhattan Youth After-School program.

Physical Education

James Herlihy (

The Physical Education program at IS289 introduces students to the fundamentals of team and individual sports, which include skills, rules, and strategies associated with the different sports. In addition, students take part in general physical conditioning activities and fitness. The program promotes qualities such as, cooperation, leadership, fair play, enthusiasm for physical activity and friendly competition.

Through our Manhattan Youth after school program IS289 students have the opportunity to take part in the competitive Manhattan middle school sports leagues. A wide range of Junior Varsity and Varsity sport teams are offered, led by our experienced and skilled coaches. Teams include: soccer, football, basketball, baseball, softball, track and field.

8th Grade Trip

At IS 289, 8th Graders have the opportunity to take part in an exciting overnight trip to Indian Head Retreat and Adventure Camp in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania

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