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Grade 8: Let’s Debate Vaping (Debate will take place next Thursday 9/26)

The Grade 8 students each were asked to submit five topics that they would be interested in debating. Today we narrowed down the choices and voted on our topic.

Topic: Vaping should be illegal

Group 1: Aidan, Talia, Kiera, Jayson (Pro-debating for vaping to be illegal) 

Group 2: Max, Jessie, Zoe, Ari, Lior (Con-debating for vaping to remain legal)

Teams will divide up the debate responsibilities amongst their peers. One member of each team will be responsible for the following roles:

Opening statement

Presenting the argument


Crossfire questions

Closing Statement

As explained the in the document below, students will earn a group grade for the debate as well as an individual mark. Please re-read the rubric as you begin to prepare for the debate. Each student is responsible for conducting research, analyzing and finding credible sources (expert testimonies, statistics, etc.) citing their sources, preparing at least three main points, and developing questions prior to the debate. We will review the essential elements and skills necessary to create a strong debate in class.

This unit will also prepare students for their debate in Dr. Marcovitz’s Jewish Studies class. In Jewish Studies, the debate will focus on appropriate attire and modesty.

Debate strategies and information can found in the Google Slides presentation below:

Grade 8 Debate Prep

Please note that the students will need to work diligently in-class and at home to adequately prepare for their debate!

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Grades 6-8: Never Fear Public Speaking Is Here!

Welcome to this year’s public speaking contest for grades 4 – 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. Today the materials were shared with students via an information packet. Students will be spending the upcoming weeks working towards preparing a 4-5 minute speech. To ensure that each step is being followed at home, parents are being asked to sign their student’s checklist as they prepare items for each due date. I will also be signing each student’s checklist as I provide feedback along the way!

Please note: Each link contains a Google Doc that allows “view only” access. Please make a copy of the document to save your work to your Google Drive.

This link contains the checklist that contains each due date for the every part of the assignment.

List your possible topics here. Be sure to include your intended purpose for the speech. Are you looking to inform, persuade, or entertain your audience?  Please remember that your topic needs to be chosen/topic brainstorming sheet completed by the end of the day on Wednesday, March 27th.

This document contains the detailed steps that can be used to prepare for public speaking.

Students will be required to create and submit a speech planning graphic organizer. I have supplied students with an example of what their organizer might look like when it is complete. I have also provided a blank graphic organizer for student for students to edit electronically. This assignment will be due on Friday, March 29th.

Please review this rubric to see how you will be marked for your speech. Remember to think with the end in mind…review the rubric prior to writing your speech!

After you have given your speech during the class presentation sessions, students will complete a reflection.

Assignments for Monday 3/4

Grade 8 Pd.1-Read the next chapter of Lord of the Flies

Grade 8 Pd.2- Work on 60 Second Pitch

Grade 6 Pd. 3- Work on 60 Second Pitch (Guest Speaker at 10:30AM)


Grade 6 Pd. 4- Guest Speaker/Work on 60 Second Pitch

Grade 8 Pd. 5- Answer the following reflection questions regarding our Holocaust Unit. After you have completed this task, you may work independently on either Steam Fair or the 60 Second Pitch Assignment.

  1. What surprised you so far in our study of the Holocaust? Explain
  2. What can you/should you do with what you have learned from this unit? Explain
  3. What was the most important thing you have learned thus far in our Jewish Studies course? Explain

Grade 7 Pd. 6- Finish the drawing/creative piece relating to the first chapter of Perkei Avot. Those who turned in these assignments can find them on the window behind my desk (on top of the blue binder). Coloring materials can be found in the closet (put back neatly)

After you have completed this task, you may work independently on either Steam Fair or the 60 Second Pitch Assignment.



Grade 7 Pd. 8 Work on 60 Second Pitch


Grade 8 Short Story 1: The Sniper

Today we will begin reading and analyzing “The Sniper”. This thrilling short story written by Liam O’Flaherty, encompasses many of the literary elements we have discussed in class regarding short stories. I have attached the short story and comprehension/analysis questions. This week we are focusing on being able to recognize the theme of a short story.

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Library Workshop: Credibility of Websites (Building Research Skills)

Happy Monday! This week during the allotted library period of each English class, we will be venturing down to the library. Brigitte has prepared a variety of workshops for the middle school students to help reinforce and build new research skills. These links will be used this week to help assess whether or not a website is credible.

Information Credibility Exercise

Fake News Exercise    

Read Theory

This year we will again be utilizing the ReadyTheory Program in Language Arts!

ReadTheory is a K-12 online reading comprehension program that assesses reading ability and builds reading comprehension by providing texts for students to read at a “just right” level. Over 1,000 informational and narrative passages are leveled by grade and Lexile level. ReadTheory’s algorithm senses student performance and is able to adapt to fit reading needs. As students read and answer quiz questions, ReadTheory presents passages (either more complex or less) that aim to find and establish the right level for each student. It’s web-based and usable on both desktop and mobile devices, so students can access their accounts wherever they are.

ReadTheory assignments will be given as homework assignments and will be monitored and assessed frequently.


Login in/Sharing Set Up:

  1. Students navigate to in their internet browser on any device (computer, tablet, mobile).
  2. Students sign up.
  3. Students log in.
  4. Students go to the the “My Teachers” page.
    1. Students enter YOUR NAME AND THEN MY EMAIL address 
  5. Students click the “Send Invitation” button.

Independent Reading Project! (Grades 6, 7, and 8)

Good afternoon students and parents!

Today students have been given the assignment packet for the Independent Reading Project. Many students are excited about the opportunity to read, review, and create a presentation about a book of their choosing! My goal is that students begin to read a minimum of 30 minutes per night. The only requirements regarding novel selection are that: the book has a minimum of 150 pages, the book adequately meets the reading level needs of the student, and that the book has not already been made into a movie.

For those students who need further instruction/accommodations for this assignment please reach out to me! I am more than happy to help modify this assignment to best meet the needs of each of our students at OJCS! Email me at   with any questions, comments, or concerns.

This assignment has been divided into a few key dates:

  • Book must be chosen and approved by Friday October 5th
  • Book must be read completely by Friday October 26th
  • Turn in Part A (Book Report Form) and Part B (Summary) on Monday October 29th
  • Part C (Creative Piece) Due on Wednesday November 7th (Presentations begin that day)
    • Only choose ONE option for Part C

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OJCS Library Catalog (Check it out!)

We are so excited to announce that the OJCS Library catalog is now online! Students and teachers will have access to browse our collection from their classrooms, home, or even on your device as there is an app available for download.

Click the link below to access our library:

Log Ins for students and staff are uniform: first letter of first name, a period, then last name.  Password is books

So for example mine would be:

Username: m.washerstein

Password: books

Here is an example of what a full record in the new system looks like…

Teachers will have the ability to create book lists for their students and students will be able to write book reviews!