Woodside School offers a very broad and enriching academic program.  Below you will find information on each of the core classes offered to 8th grade students. For detailed information on each of the core subjects, please click on the links below.  The Woodside School Handbook also details every course.  

English-Language ArtsTop of Page

This course prepares students for a successful academic experience that ensures a strong transition to High School.  The Common Core Standards calls for high levels of writing proficiency requiring sequential, explicit instruction through mini-lessons designed to give students repeated opportunities to practice writing for varied audiences.  In addition, lessons to build a strong understanding of grammar skills help enhance a student's ability to communicate effectively and clearly.  

The core literature program enables students to learn proper analysis of novels, short stories, and poetry and to apply insights gained from literature to their lives.  The core literature program also provides the basis for the vocabulary studied and is vital to the success of the writing program as it serves to promote lively class discussion utilizing higher level thinking skills.  At all times, students are encouraged to be active participants in the learning process.  Listening and speaking skills are emphasized in both formal presentation and informal discussions. 

Along with reading many of the core literature titles listed below, students will read selections from the state adopted texts.  
  • To Kill a Mockingbird 
  • Julius Caesar
  • The Diary of Anne Frank
  • Black Boy
  • The Secret Life of Bees
A variety of teacher prepared instruction and Columbia University's Teacher College Writing Units of Study are used to assist students in refining and practicing the process of writing to create clear and coherent pieces that engage the reader and show an awareness of audience and purpose.  The Units of Study include Personal Narrative, Literary Essay, Research-Based Information Writing, and Argument Writing.  Students will write multi-paragraph essays within these genres that contain formal introductions, detailed descriptions, and supporting textual evidence using precise language.  A variety of effective organizational structures such as comparison and contrast, categorical, spatial order, and order of importance will be used in the writing of the essays. Students will also revise essays for content, organization, word choice, and consistency of ideas, and edit for spelling, punctuation, and grammar.  

MathematicsTop of Page

The 8th grade mathematics curriculum matches the school's philosophy that all students meet or exceed the California Common Core State Standards for Algebra I so that they will be confident problem solvers, eager to learn, and inspired to pursue advanced studies in math and science.  This is an accelerated course for all 8th grade students.  

The domains covered include:
  • Rations and Proportional Relationships
  • Number System
  • Expressions and Equations
  • Geometry
  • Statistics and Probability  
A small group of students who successfully advanced through Algebra I in the 7th grade will take Geometry.  The goal is for all students to meet or exceed the California Common Core State Standards for Geometry so that they will be confident problem solvers, eager to learn, and inspired to pursue advanced studies in math and science.  

The domains covered include:
  • Inductive and Deductive Reasoning 
  • Proofs and Problem Solving
  • Congruence
  • Similarity, Right Triangles and Trigonometry
  • Expressing Geometric Properties with Equations 

ScienceTop of Page

Science is the study of the patterns and rhythms of the Universe.  Through observations, using all of our five senses, we can interpret our surroundings in order to make predictions that are useful in our lives.

There are two ways to learn science.  The first is to read about the great scientific discoveries of the past.  The other is to discover the laws and facts of the world around us through investigation and experimentation.  The first leads to useful knowledge that we can apply to our lives.  The second method also produces this useful information, but has the added benefit of teaching critical thinking skills that we can use in all aspects of our lives.  

This course will allow students to use both methods of teaching science, but relies heavily on investigation and experimentation. Science students learn by doing.  In this way we give them the required knowledge and skills necessary for a productive future. 

8th grade students use the CPO program Focus on Physical Science.  Topics and investigations will incorporate the use of the scientific method, inquiry, and measurements. In chemistry, the topics include atomic theory of matter; the Periodic Table of Elements; chemical bonding; acids, bases and solutions; chemical reactions; and the chemistry of living systems.  In their study of physics, students will learn about Newton's Laws; motion; and the forces of gravity and equilibrium.  Astronomy is also introduced in physical science. 

Social Studies
Top of Page

Woodside Elementary School District adopted TCI’s (Teacher’s Curriculum Institute) Social Studies Alive! curriculum for grades K-8. TCI is located in Mountain View and has been supporting teachers for decades in making social studies come alive for students. Our approach includes Hands-On Activities that engage students in big questions, as well as inquiry-based lessons that help students develop critical thinking skills and master essential knowledge
For Eighth Grade Students, the textbook is History Alive! The United States Through Industrialism. 
Units Include:
  • Foundations of History
  • America Before and After Colonization
  • Revolution in the Colonies
  • Forming a New Nation
  • Launching the New Republic
  • An Expanding Nation
  • Americans in the Mid-1800s
  • The Union Challenged
  • Migration and Industry
  • A Modern Nation Emerges

SpanishTop of Page

Students in 8th grade Spanish can expect to learn the vocabulary and grammar necessary to describe the person you were in the past, as well as the person you will be in the future. Students will develop the speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills to communicate in a manner that is appropriate for an early-intermediate to intermediate Spanish speaker. This course will be taught in accordance with the World Language Content Standards for California Public Schools ( The class will be conducted primarily in Spanish, and mastery will be demonstrated through a series of quizzes, tests, presentations, skits, role-plays, essays, art, and cultural products.  

MandarinTop of Page

8th grade Mandarin class is designed for students at the intermediate level of Chinese.  The goal is to expand students' vocabulary and promote their Chinese language proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing and to prepare them for High School.  At the end of the school year, students are able to communicate, read, and write in Chinese on a variety of topics. They will also gain knowledge of and develop insight into Chinese culture and important philosophical ideas and values in Chinese societies.

Students are at the early intermediate fluency stage as they matriculate to High School. The class is taught preparing students for their High School studies, especially the writing skills. The amount of writing in this 8th grade Mandarin course increases greatly during the school year.  

Music - Percussion (Optional)Top of Page

8th grade students who elect to take music instead of physical fitness twice each week will explore the world of percussion.  Using Western, non-Western, and found instruments, students will work as a group to explore sound, develop a strong rhythmic sense, and create pieces to perform.  This class will also emphasize learning about global cultural concepts such as ritual and the importance of tradition.   

Physical EducationTop of Page

The Woodside physical education program consists of developmentally appropriate lessons with activities that are in alignment with the California State Content Standards.  The course is designed to create maximum opportunities for development of skills, knowledge, health-related fitness and ultimately, the confidence to enjoy an active healthy lifestyle.  This course helps students develop habits for lifetime fitness and health.  The class focuses on cooperation, respect, communication, trust, and fun.  

Woodside School provides a diverse physical education program that includes cooperative activities, non-traditional games, and movement and rhythms suited to the capacities and limitations of all students.  The physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of all students is emphasized.    

The course goals are as follows:
  • Develop social skills and positive behaviors as they relate to physical education.
  • Value physical education and its lifetime importance.
  • Increase skill proficiency in various activities and games.
  • Improve self-esteem by participation in challenging activities.  
  • Build cognitive learning and problem-solving through fitness journals, written work, and projects.
  • Develop self-evaluation skills through assessment. 

Physical Fitness (Optional)Top of Page

All 8th grade students receive a diverse physical education program that includes cooperative activities, non-traditional games, and movement and rhythms suited to the capacities and limitations of all students. The physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of all students is emphasized. 

The optional Physical fitness course allows students additional time on physical education activities and personalized training on new and exciting games.  

Learning CenterTop of Page

Woodside School provides a full continuum of Special Education services when a student meets the eligibility criteria mandated by the State of California.  These services are individually designed and based on the student's unique learning needs.  The Special Education staff works closely with parents and the Woodside School Student Study Team to identify and refer students for a Special Education assessment.  

Students in the Learning Center work towards their individual goals, and they learn strategies for staying organized, time-management, completing homework assignments, task completion, researching and editing skills, comprehension strategies, and test taking skills.  

ArtTop of Page

Art education provides opportunities for creativity, self-expression, and communication.  It gives students the chance to explore, describe, analyze and interpret visual materials, and make connections to other subject areas including themselves.  Art has been the foundation of world cultures since the beginning of time.  To understand art is to understand our humanity.

The art curriculum is a sequential skills-based program that focuses on the appreciation and production of art, and the study of art history.  The art program works closely with classroom teachers to integrate art throughout the curriculum.  The following standards are covered throughout the school year:  artistic perception, creative expression, historical and cultural context, aesthetic valuing, and connections, relationships, and applications.  

Design ThinkingTop of Page

Students will use design practices to develop their abilities in understanding others, analyzing challenges, and reflecting on their own work. 

The 8th grade students work all year with the entire Middle School staff on their Exit Projects.  Each student conducts a site interview and visit in relation to a specific organization.  The focus then turns to ideas for prototyping and student and user feedback. At the 8th-grade level, projects will be more independent and students will be able to work on a number of topics within San Mateo County.  Additionally, students may use the following technologies in their projects: Arduino/Raspberry Pi, HTML/CSS, Adobe Creative Suite, SketchUp, iMovie, Final Cut Pro, and InVision.

Social-Emotional LearningTop of Page

Social and Emotional Learning in the Middle School is provided through the Advisory program.  Advisory provides a supportive environment and an outlet to voice concerns and to benefit from the collective wisdom of the group.  Lessons for Advisory class focus on SEL skills and the overall concepts of Know Yourself, Choose Yourself, and Give Yourself.  After a lesson is introduced, the class is primarily student driven.

Classes meet two times per month and advisors are available on an as-needed basis for students between classes.  A grade of Pass/No Pass is given for Advisory as well as a citizenship grade.  While all students are encouraged to participate verbally, the Advisory teacher understands that students have varying levels of comfort with certain types of discussions and that students fall across a wide spectrum of introversion and extroversion.