Grades 6-8 The Official Kickoff to Public Speaking!

This post contains all of the essential information for public speaking

Welcome to this year’s public speaking contest for grades 6-8.  Expressing ideas aloud in a clear and effective way is an important life skill! Students will have the opportunity to plan, develop, and deliver a speech to showcase these skills. Students will be spending the upcoming weeks working towards preparing a 4-5 minute speech. Additionally, we will be spending time in class practicing various oral communication skills (eye contact, inflection, effective use of gestures, etc.)

Important Due Dates

  • Topic Brainstorming Sheet Due: Monday 4/20
    • Choose topic + fill out topic brainstorming sheet (email your teacher with your choice by the end of the day)
  • Speech planner/Graphic Organizer Due: Friday 5/1
  • Introduction Paragraph Due: Friday 5/8
    • I will be providing students with feedback on each paragraph throughout the speech writing process
    • If students complete paragraphs early they can always move ahead and work on the next step in the process
  • Body Paragraph 1 Due: Wednesday 5/13
  • Body Paragraph 2 Due: Tuesday 5/19
  • Body Paragraph 3 Due: Friday 5/22
  • Conclusion Due: Wednesday 5/27
  • Class Presentations Begin: Tuesday 6/2
  • Self-Assessment/Reflection Due: 6/12
  • The date of the Public Speaking Finals has yet to be determined (TBD)

Click the links below to access important public speaking documents: 

2020 Public Speaking Student Package

      • This contains the public speaking writing process, tips, and requirements

2020 Public Speaking Due Dates Checklist

2020 Public Speaking Speech Planner Graphic Organizer

2020 Public Speaking Rubric

2020 Public Speaking Self-Reflection


Beneficial Resources:


Grades 6-8: I Can’t Decide on a Topic!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic Passover break. A few students have reached out and asked for some resources/websites that could provide a spark for a public speaking topic.

Reminder that students have been asked to complete the PS Topic Brainstorming Graphic Organizer by Monday, April 20th, 2020. The students must brainstorm 2-5 topics and decide the purpose of their speech for each topic. Once completed, this graphic organizer should be shared with Mr. Washerstein

Check out these public speaking topic brainstorming resources:

Grade 7: Novel Study Update

Today we had another fantastic discussion with the Grade 7 students. It’s time for us to “begin with the end in mind” and prepare for our future English classes.

Upcoming Schedule:

  1. Read Ch.8 & Ch. 9 by Monday 4/20 (yes…you need to continue reading over the break)
  2. Read Ch. 10 by Wednesday 4/22
  3. Read Ch. 11 & Ch. 12 (finish the book) by Monday 4/27
  4. Complete Character Web Assignment by Friday 5/1

Grades 6-8: Intro to Public Speaking

Today we will discuss public speaking! We will review the different types of speeches (informative, entertaining, and persuasive). Students will receive more information about public speaking (due dates, check-in dates, etc.) after Passover.

Click the links below to access our first public speaking sources:

Intro to Public Speaking Slideshow

PS Topic Brainstorming Graphic Organizer

Task: Students will complete their Brainstorming Graphic Organizer by 4/20 

        • The students must brainstorm 2-5 topics and decide the purpose of their speech for each topic. 

Grade 6: Understanding Theme

As we continue to work on our Exhilarating Reading Adventure Project, our class is focusing on diving deeper into various literary elements that appear in novels. Last week we discussed characterization (direct & indirect), mood, and theme.

Today we are going to continue to explore theme identification. We will complete the first example together as a class. Then students will have time to complete the last two examples independently.

Click here to access the assignment: Identifying the Theme Practice

When trying to identify the theme of a story or novel think about the following:

  • What life lesson/idea is the author trying to teach the reader?
  • How can this lesson/idea from the “small world of the story” be applied to the “real world”?
          • Think about the big picture
  • The theme is not going to be stated directly
          • You will need to make an inference (read between the lines)

Grades 6-8: You Can’t Apparate Out of this Digital Escape Room

Welcome to all wizards, muggles, trolls, and goblins! The Triwizard Tournament might be over, but today competition awaits middle school students at OJCS. A muggle librarian named Sydney Krawiec from McMurray, PA (Pennsylvania) created this adventure. You may keep your wand at the ready, but wait for Professor Washerstein to send you own your way. Which student will emerge victorious from each house (grade) at OJCS? Even Professor Trelawney can’t predict that!

Please do not access the link to this activity prior to receiving the official “Go” in class. 

Click the link below to access a unique journey:

Hogwarts Digital Escape Room

When you have escaped, please report back to the Google Meet to log your time with Professor Washerstein. He will be timing each student as they complete their journey. 

This new online escape room is basically a Harry-Potter themed ...


Grade 7: Outsiders Update

Welcome back to another week of online learning. I have been thoroughly impressed during our novel study discussions thus far. I enjoy hearing the opinions and insight that each member of our classroom community has to offer during these chats.

Please review the following due dates:

  1. First ReadWorks Assignment (Monday 3/30)
  2. Ch. 6 of The Outsiders must be read before class on Tuesday (3/31)
  3. Ch. 7 of The Outsiders must be read before class on Thursday (4/2)
  4. You should be continually working on the Character Web Assignment which will be due upon the completion of the novel.

Grade 7: Sign Up For ReadWorks Today! (First Reading Assignment Due: Monday 3/30)

Good morning! As mentioned in the email that was sent out a few moments ago, please sign up for a ReadWorks account today.

Here are the steps for signing up:

1. Have students go to

2. Students should sign in with their OJCS Google account.

3. Students enter class code: QKK6RB

We will be using this program to complete various reading comprehension exercises. Please note that students will be reading different articles and questions depending on their ZPD and Instructional Reading Level. These will be assigned for homework as we continue to build comprehension skills throughout our distance learning lessons.

Grade 8: Adding a Refutation/Counter Argument

Goal: Compares/contrasts perspectives, considers counterarguments or opposing positions, and draws original and thoughtful conclusions with future implications.

Similar to the debate, understanding the counterargument is beneficial when writing an argumentative research paper.

How can you incorporate this writing style in your paper?

Step 1: Acknowledging a common point made by the opposition (other side)

Step 2: Refuting or arguing why that point is not valid based on research

Step 3: Connecting back to the thesis


Check out these sources for additional help: