Grades 6-8: Language Arts Summer Review

Check out some of the summer reading recommendations from Brigitte: Summer Reading Recommendations

In addition, for those who want to practice their writing skills over the summer, check out these writing prompts:

Creative Writing Prompts

Personal Narrative Writing Prompts

Students are encouraged to post their writing pieces on their blogs over the summer.

Grades 6-8: Wrapping Up The Year

All parents should find their way to campus at some point on Thursday-Friday, July 2nd-3rd from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM to pick up all your children’s belongings and to drop off anything that belongs to the school (like LIBRARY BOOKS) at curbside in front of the school. 

All desks and lockers will have been emptied, bagged, and labeled and members of the Admin Team will be there to assist.

Grades 6-8: Public Speaking Finalists

All of the speeches this year were incredible! Each and every student should be proud of their accomplishments. As a judge it was incredibly hard to choose who would be moving on to the finals.  Remember that these events are opportunities to grow and further your develop your learning skills. Later today I will be sharing individual rubrics with each student.

The 2020 Middle School Public Speaking Finalists are:

Grade 8

    • Ari Kotkowski
    • Talia Cherun
    • Jessica Ages

Grade 7

    • Jenny Peters
    • Maayan Shrem
    • Yamaya Newman

Grade 6

    • Audrey Baker
    • Maya Spanglet
    • Samara Spivock



  1. When are the finals?

The Public Speaking Finals will be held on Friday, June 12, 2020.

The Grade 4 & 5 Public Speaking Finals will be held from 9:00-10:30AM

The Middle School Public Speaking Finals will be held from 11:30 AM-1:00PM


2. Can family members, friends, and other loved ones watch the finals this year?

Yes! We will be sharing more information throughout the week as to how we will be broadcasting the 2020 Public Speaking Finals.


Grades 6-8: Public Speaking Update

The end is near! At this point, students should have their rough draft complete. The majority of students have received feedback on their third body paragraph and conclusion this week. The remaining students will be receiving their feedback tonight.

Tomorrow we will decide the order of our public speaking class presentations. Please note that in-class presentations will begin on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020. If a student is not prepared to go on the date of their presentation they will be docked 10 points. 

Please click the link below to access tips, suggestions, and the public speaking rubric:

Washerstein Public Speaking Google Slides Presentation


Public Speaking FAQ’s:

    1. When are the finals?

The Public Speaking Finals will be held on Friday, June 12, 2020.

The Grade 4 & 5 Public Speaking Finals will be held from 9:00-10:30AM

The Middle School Public Speaking Finals will be held from 11:30 AM-1:00PM

2. Do I need to sit or stand for the presentation of my speech?

The choice is yours! Students will have the opportunity to either sit or stand. Remember that you want your audience to see any meaningful gestures you incorporate into your speech.

3. How long does my speech need to be?

The speech should fall within the 4-5 minute time frame. There is a 10 second barrier (both over and under) before any points are deducted. Once you have surpassed that barrier, students will lose one mark for every 10 seconds they are short/over.

4. Do I need to make cue cards?

The choice is yours! Students will be able to use cue cards if that method suits them in their presentation style. You could also memorize your speech entirely (for those that are able to). Lastly, since we are presenting in a digital context this year, students can also have their speeches up on their computer. It is important to note that we must be able to see your face/body throughout the entirety of your speech. Remember that eye contact is key!

Grade 8: The Great Gatsby Update

This week we sat down and looked at the calendar in order to plan out a reading schedule for the remainder of the trimester. Students will continue to annotate/complete various that are associated assignments with each chapter.

Great Gatsby Reading Schedule

Ch. 3: Due Monday (5/11)

Ch. 4: Due Monday (5/18)

Ch. 5: Due Friday (5/22)

Ch 6: Due Tuesday (5/26)

Ch 7: Due Monday (6/1)

Ch.8 + Ch. 9: Due Monday (6/8)


Grade 8: The Great Gatsby Update (Ch.2 due Monday 5/4)

This week we had a fantastic discussion regarding the first chapter of The Great Gatsby. The Grade 8 students are diving into annotation and developing a system that meets their needs/learning style.

Students will need to complete and annotate Ch. 2 by Monday (5/4). We will continue to focus on characterization this week. Students should be adding to their character chart as they read. Additionally, students should be recording and defining unfamiliar vocabulary terms as they read.

The annotation key, characterization chart, and vocabulary term graphic organizer can all be located here:


Grades 6-8: Upcoming Due Dates for English

Grade 8

    • Finalize public speaking topic and email Mr. Washerstein by Friday (4/24)
    • Read and annotate Ch. 1 of The Great Gatsby by Monday (4/27)
          • Remember to fill out the characterization chart as you read
    • Public speaking speech planner graphic organizer due Friday (5/1)


Grade 7

    • Finalize public speaking topic and email Mr. Washerstein by Friday (4/24)
    • Finish reading The Outsiders (Ch. 11 and Ch. 12) by Monday (4/27)
    • The Outsiders Character Web Assignment due Friday (5/1)
    • Public speaking speech planner graphic organizer due Friday (5/1)
    • The Outsiders Culminating Activity due Monday (5/11)


Grade 6

    • Finalize public speaking topic and email Mr. Washerstein by Friday (4/24)
    • Exhilarating Reading Adventure Project (artifact and blog post) due by Friday (5/1)
    • Public speaking speech planner graphic organizer due Friday (5/1)

Grade 8: The Great Gatsby Novel Study

This week we will begin our novel study of The Great Gatsby. Throughout the duration of the novel, students will participate in a variety of different activities. The first skills that we will focus on are annotation and characterization. We will spend time in class discussing the era of the 1920’s prior to reading the novel.

Great Gatsby Annotation/Characterization Guide

Great Gatsby Novel Study Google Slides


Click here to access the audiobook component: Great Gatsby Audiobook Google Doc

*Reminder: You still need to follow along with the text in order to effectively annotate/enhance reading comprehension.

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: