May's school-wide theme is:  DEALING   WITH   DISAPPOINTMENT 
Greetings PS 8 Families,
As the principal of P.S. 8 - The Isaac Varian School, it is my pleasure to welcome you back to a new, exciting year of school. At P.S. 8, we strive for excellence and have high expectations for our students. We are focused on creating a learning environment that is safe, respectful, and engaging and our goal is to develop responsible and dedicated students that are prepared for the demands necessary to be successful in the 21st century.  We welcome your feedback, and I hope you visit our site often for the latest news and school events.
Claudia Tahiraj-Sadrija

*Illustration courtesy of Mrs. Jen

PS 8 Proud Lions Newsletter

April/May, 2018

3-5 Literacy Reading & Writing Coach - Ms. McCosh

Dear Parents,
During Reading Workshop your third graders have begun their Animal Research Clubs where they will learn to synthesize related information from at least two sources. They then will write about the animal they are researching. Your fourth graders are studying historical fiction. They are entering settings where buffalo roam the Great Plains inhabited by Lakota Indians, where people struggle to put food on their tables during the Great Depression, where a plague of grasshoppers descended on our prairie lands and destroyed crops –leaving farmers with no food to eat and no source of income, and many other times and places in history. Your fifth graders are also learning about the past. They are studying the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King, Thurgood Marshall and Rosa Parks are just some of the people they will encounter during this Unit of Study. The Montgomery Bus Boycott and other protests that led to change will also be discussed. 

K-2 Universal Literacy Coach - Ms. Blackwood

A Glimpse into PS 8’s K-2 Reading and Writing Units


Reading: The students will be building stronger reading muscles and gaining more super powers during reading time by learning more reading strategies to help support them while reading level B- D books.
Writing: The students will be focused on writing opinion pieces in various forms such as letter writing, petitions, and posters.

First Grade:

Reading: The students will be meeting characters and learning lessons, such as role- playing while deepening their comprehension.
Writing: The students will have a choice of writing different genres independently.

Second Grade:

Reading: The students will be reading and role- playing different folktales and fairytales.
Writing: The student will be creating their own fairytale and fantasy stories.

Some Comprehension Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

Questions to ask before reading:

  • Can you look at the pictures and predict what you think will happen in this book?
  • What do you already know about this book?
  • What does the cover tell you about the book?

Questions to ask during reading:

  • Why do you think the character did that?
  • What would you have done if you were the character?
  • As you read, what are you wondering about?

Questions to ask after reading:

  • Describe how a character changed throughout the story?
  • Which of the characters did you like best? Why?
  • Were your predictions about the story correct?

If you have any questions, please reach out to me via email at or stop by room 202. I look forward to working with you!

K-5 Mathematics Coach - Ms. Chang

K: Students analyze, compare, and create 2-D and 3-D shapes. They use position words (above, below, beside, in front of, behind, etc.) to describe the position of various familiar objects in relation to surrounding objects. Students also analyze and compare 3-D shapes. They learn how to determine if a solid figure can roll, stack, or slide.

1: Students tell time to the hour using analog and digital clocks. Students use attributes to match shapes. They understand that 2-D shapes, such as triangles, circles, rectangles, and squares, have attributes that define them and make them different from one another. They understand how to determine the number of straight sides or vertices of a shape.

2: Students estimate measures and use a ruler, meter stick, or tape measure to measure length and height to the nearest centimeter or meter, and measure the length and height of objects in inches, feet, and yards.

3: Students measure the area of a shape by counting the number of square units that cover a region. They learn the amount of space inside a shape is its area. They learn to find the area of a square and a rectangle. Students understand that the area of a figure is the amount of surface that is covered.

4: Students identify and describe points, lines, and planes. They recognize and draw lines, rays, and angles with different measures. They explore points, lines, line segments, and rays in preparation for learning about angles. They use a protractor to measure angles. They identify angles as acute, obtuse, right or straight.

5: Students identify and classify polygons and triangles. They sort a variety of quadrilaterals to develop the hierarchy for quadrilaterals. They classify 2- dimensional shapes into categories based on their properties. Students identify and graph points on a coordinate grid.

K-5 Science - Ms. Pacelli

The Kindergarteners at P.S. 8 are currently learning about the life cycles of living things.  They have been focusing on animals that are "Oviparous", which are animals that hatch from eggs.  The First graders at P.S.8 have been learning about animals, with a focus on, predators and prey.  The first graders have been involved in a non fiction activity where they had to identify simple food chains. They are also including non fiction writing with their projects.

K-5 Science - Ms. Rivas

Third graders have been learning and engaged in many hands-on experiments bringing Science fun to the classrooms. They have been learning The Physics of Sound. Experiments include investigations of pitch, frequency and vibrations. Students have made many discoveries. Some of these discoveries include using tuning forks, making "telephones" using twine and two cups, and they have even played an African instrument called the Kalimba, to distinguish different pitches.

Second graders have been learning Balance and Motion. The students have created mobiles using straws, rubber bands, paperclips and small cardboard pieces. This allowed the students to work cooperatively with the focus of maintaining a balance with their construction. They also experimented with creating tops and spinners, discovering different ways to make things go faster or slower. They learned that there are many factors that create movement and balance.

K-5 Science - Ms. Lukaj

Grade 4 - It's Electric!

What do you think of when you hear the word electricity? Chances are you might be thinking of Benjamin Franklin’s famous kite experiment or Thomas Edison‘s improvement on the light bulb. But in reality, it was the Greeks (600 B.C) who found that rubbing a piece of amber with fur/cloth, gave amber the ability to attract small pieces of straw. What they discovered was static electricity (the electricity that makes your clothes cling, gives you fly-away hair and zaps you when you grab a metal door handle). The Greek word for amber is electron.

Our 4th grade students have been “charged” to build and compare simple circuits with a focus on how connections are made. They used trial and error to build a circuit that lights a bulb. They learned that a D-cell (battery) is a source of electric energy, a bulb is an energy receiver that produces light, and a circuit is a pathway through which electric current flows. They used a switch to turn a motor on and off and build a circuit to test whether objects are conductors or insulators. The students learned that materials which allow the flow of electricity are conductors. For example, all metal objects and water are conductors. They also learned that materials that stop the flow of electricity such as rubber, plastic, and wood are insulators. The students were surprised to find that even though a small paper clip is made of metal, it didn’t conduct electricity. After discussing it amongst themselves, they realized that the plastic cover was an insulator and that is why it didn’t conduct electricity. They hypothesized that a metal paper clip without any covering would be a conductor. They tested their theory and to their delight, they were proved correct.

They are excited to continue working with electricity. They will construct and compare series and parallel circuits before they dive into water!

Grade 5 - Landforms

Earth is an amazing place. Great forces are constantly shaping and reshaping the face of the planet. Some of these forces form mountains and ridges. While others such as moving water and wind wear down the land and fill in irregularities on planet Earth’s surface. Our 5th grade students have been investigating Landforms. They have made observations on what happens to earth materials when water flows over them. They were amazed to learn that the Grand Canyon was created by erosion and deposition. They have used scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations, build explanations, and communicate/share their results with both teacher and peers. They have enjoyed making a splash with their investigations. To find out about erosion, the students set up the stream table with earth materials and the water source. They ran a liter of water through the system and focused their observations on the process of erosion. The students learn that erosion involves 2 processes; Weathering (wearing away of the earth materials by water, wind, or ice) and Transport (the movement of earth materials by water, wind, or ice) The 5th grade will continue to work on Landforms and they are excited to build mountains!


A few interesting articles on this month's theme:

Disappointment is Good by Psychology Today
Helping Kids Deal with Disappointment by Parents Magazine
Life's Little Lessons by PBS Kids 

  • There will be NO SCHOOL for students on June 7th and June 11th.
  • Eid al-Fitr is on June 15th. School will be CLOSED.
  • The Kindergarten Carnival is on June 19th.
  • Upcoming Field Day events at Oval Park

    • 2nd Grade - June 5
    • 3rd Grade - June 14
    • 4th Grade - June 19th
    • 5th Grade - June 21st

    Upcoming 5th Grade events

    • Graduation practice on June 6
    • Graduation on June 13
    • 5th Grade Dance on June 20
    • 5th Grade Field Day on June 21

    The LAST DAY OF SCHOOL is June 26th. Report cards will be given out this day at dismissal.

Let's celebrate! The following classes had the BEST ATTENDANCE in April:

Kindergarten: TIE! K-402 and K-407 with 93.7%
First Grade: 1-127 with 94.0%
Second Grade: 2/3-225 again with 94.0%
Third Grade: TIE! 3-204 and 3-206 with 94.6%
Fourth Grade: 4-106B again with 92.0%
Fifth Grade: TIE! 5-301 and 5-309 with 94.0%

Overall, FIFTH GRADE took back the top spot for the best attendance at 92.1%.
However, MS. GRIFFIN's third grade class, 3-204, tied with MS. FLEMING and MS. VENTICINQUE's third grade class, 3-206, for the top class attendance this month!


  • Assembly Schedule

    Class assemblies are starting for grades 2 through 5. Please use the chart below to find your child's class.

     March 282-125 & 2-130 

     April 204-307 
     April 24 3-204 

     May 44-203 & 4-227 
     May 83-222, 3-226, & 3/4-305
     May 152-126 
     May 184-221, 4-106B, & 4/3-205 
     May 222-124 & 2/3-225
     May 254-224 & 4-223 
     May 293-120, 3-201, & 3-206 

     June 1 5-104A & 5-104B

    Posted Apr 11, 2018, 5:05 AM by Justin Russello
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  • All About Gardens - Ms. McCarthy's Kindergarten Class

    Our brains are growing faster than our plants!

    Ms. McCarthy's class of Kindergarteners had a wonderful time exploring gardens! After exploring 
    nonfiction books about gardens, the students studied different types of gardens and what they offer. Using images and texts, the children developed their green thumbs by becoming garden experts and planting their own flower seeds! A variety of their planning and writing work is on display on this board. This beautiful and flowery board can be found outside class 407 in the Minischool.
    Posted Apr 18, 2018, 10:14 AM by Justin Russello
Showing posts 1 - 1 of 11. View more »
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