The Phoenix Team 8th Grade: English Language Arts, U.S. HISTORY, Algebra Relations, and Earth Science

"No matter how many times we burst into flames, we can always rise from the ashes." ~Anonymous

Table of Contents

  1. Contact Information: Who teaches what? How can you contact us?
  2. Current Units: What is happening in our classrooms? Don't forget to follow us on social media to see for yourself; links have been provided!
  3. Grading Rubrics: How are our students being assessed?
  4. Get to Know Our Team: What types of personalities are educating our students?
1. Team Members

U.S. History

Mr. Steven Dodge

Ext. 3409

English Language Arts

Ms. Kaci Lauritzen

Ext. 3411

Algebra Relations

Ms. Alannah Blair

Ext. 3413

Earth Science

Mr. Rolland Yoakum

Ext. 3400

2. Current Units
"The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives." ~Robert John Meehan

What are Our Students Learning?

U.S. History

Current Unit

We are currently learning about the U.S. Constitution. We are covering the framers of the Constitution and the three branches of government. Handouts and activities are provided in class. A google classroom code is provided for each student to keep up on links for extra research projects.

English Language Arts

Current Unit

We are currently reading The Diary of Anne Frank and studying World War II and the Holocaust.


  • Summarizing
  • Research
  • Informative Writing
Algebra Relations

Current UniT

In Algebra Relations, we are currently exploring Laws of Exponents. We are learning the five rules: Product Rule, Quotient Rule, Power to a Power Rule, Negative Exponents, and Zero Exponents. These rules tell students how to simplify exponents with the same base.

Earth Science

Current Unit

We are doing Volcanoes & Earthquakes.

3. Grading Rubrics
4. Get to Know Our Team

Mr. Dodge

I am most importantly a family guy. I have an awesome wife, Nancy and three awesome kids: Sophie who just turned 24, Claire who is 22 and Forest who is 18. My favorite activity is spending time with family. My next favorite thing is learning and sharing my learning with others. That is why I became a teacher. I have been teaching for 12 years. My subject area is Social Studies. Other hobbies would include playing guitar, and working out.

Ms. Lauritzen

Hello! My name is Kaci Lauritzen and I am a third-year teacher and this is my third year at ESMS. I graduated from Park University with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Secondary Education/English. Currently, I am attending Park University again to achieve my Master's as a Reading Specialist. I was born and raised in the Kansas City area, but on the Kansas side. I have lived in Missouri for two years now.

Yes, I enjoy reading and writing, but I also love to craft and work on DIY projects around my apartment. Currently, my DIY obsession is making large paper flowers. My other passion in life is pizza! 🌹🍕🌺

Ms. Blair

My name is Alannah Blair. This is my second year teaching 8th grade math. I coach high school cross country and middle school track. I have a dog named Dora. I love to run and travel. I will run my first full marathon in December of 2016.

Mr. Yoakum

Everything you use in your life comes from the earth. The clothes you’re wearing, the chair you’re sitting on, and the device you are using right now all came from the earth. It either grew on, or was dug out of the earth, and all of it tells a story. It can be a big story, like why continents have the shape they do, or it can be a smaller story, like why the city of Excelsior Springs is so hilly, and why the water here is famous.

My name is Rolland Yoakum, and I study the stories the earth tells. I worked as a geologist all over the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Chile before deciding to become a teacher. I have learned a lot from my own teachers and textbooks in high school and college, but I learned more from the women and men I met and worked with who were interested and curious about what they saw every day. I’m looking forward to sharing that interest and curiosity, and to learning from each other this year.

I am married to a very patient woman, who puts up with my large rock collection. We have two boys who graduated from high school this year. I enjoy reading, running, traveling, and drinking coffee, all to excess.


Created with images by Unsplash - "day planner calendar organizer" • Eric Fischer - "The World Showing British Empire in Red (1922)" • Pezibear - "book font old" • Wokandapix - "calculator math mathematics" • ColiN00B - "planet earth globe" • Sean MacEntee - "iPad"

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