St John Berchmans - Junior High
St John Berchmans' junior high is commited to keeping you informed about what is happening academically and beyond with our students. We will add new content weekly, so look around and see what is happening here.
- The junior high team.
Week 39: June 6, 2018
Wow only two days left! We had a lot of fun at field day yesterday including dodge ball and Haas Park. Tonight is graduation at 6pm - hope to see you there! Friday is the last day of school for 6-7 grade with dismissal at 1 pm. Congratulations to all those who won awards this year!
In 6th - 8th Grade Religion, the students have been learning about family life. The students were suppose to take home the Parent section for your review.
Week 38: May 30, 2018
We are almost at the end of the year! There are a few final events to be aware of. Tomorrow night (May 31st) is the SJB Sports banquet at 6:00 PM. Next Tuesday (June 5th) is the School Field Day. Students can dress down but should come in SJB spirit wear. Next Wednesday (June 6th) is the 8th Grade Graduation Ceremony at 6 PM and their last day of school at SJB! The 8th graders will also be going on their class trip on May 4th. The last official day of school for 6th and 7th grade and the day will end at 1 PM. Lastly, please make sure your student brings in all their iPad tech (chargers, cases, etc.) back to school. 8th Grade will be turning their iPads tomorrow afternoon. 6th and 7th grade will be turning their iPads on Monday (June 4th).
In 6th Grade Social Studies, the students have been learning about the Crusades and the interactions between the differing religious views of Christianity and Islam. This topic, has also brought us to the discussion of modern terrorism and other crimes committed in the name of religion. The students have also learned about the roles of knights and lords in Europe and how the feudal system works. Parents, ask your 6th grader to explain what the Feudalism system is.
In 7th Grade Social Studies, the students have been learning about the state of Illinois’ government as well as Chicago’s government. The students have analyzed information from the Illinois Constitution, compared the structure of state and national governments, and identified how the government functions on the local level. We have also discussed the difference between political parties and ideologies. Parents, ask your 7th grader to explain what the difference between and political party and ideology is.
In 8th Grade Social Studies, the students have been learning about the effects of the Cold War on America and the Soviet Union. The students have compared the effects of Proxy Wars to one another and have seen how the differing political ideologies of Democracy and Communism were against each other in the Cold War. The students have also learned about the Civil Rights Movement and the usage of non-violent protest. Parents, ask your 8th grader why the Cold War is called “Cold” and ask to see their “We Didn’t Start the Fire” Projects.
Week 37: May 24, 2018
Jesus Christ Superstar!
First, let me thank all the parents for their patience with out LATE return from the show. It was a miscommunication with the bus company and lots of traffic. Thanks.
Second, It was a wonderful show. The kids liked it overall. Here are a few things some of them had to say:
- "I liked it because it expressed the relationship of Judas and Jesus which I had never really seen before."
- "Mary Magdalene had a good song, and you believed that she loved Jesus and wasn't afraid to show it."
- "My favorite part of the show was the last super; I liked that they reenacted the famous painting."
There are only two weeks left of school before summer vacation! Less, if you are a parent of an 8th grader. Can you believe it? While that means we are close, it does not mean we are finished with school. Please remind your students that we will be learning up until the end, so don't give up yet.
Check the calendar page for the events to come.
Academic Highlights - reading and language arts
The 8th grade are reading the play version of The Diary of Anne Frank to finish up our unit on the Holocaust. It's great to watch this class of mostly boys embrace the roles of a play with five female characters and five male characters. They have one last grammar test on subject-verb agreement scheduled for Thursday next week.
The 7th graders are my movie making class, so they are working on a making a movie of the next scene of a Ray Bradbury story expressing mood and style. I love watching them make movies. They get so engaged and excited. I know these will be blockbusters. Their final grammar test, also on subject-verb agreement will be Friday of next week.
The 6th graders need to finish reading The Giver this weekend, so if you don't see your child reading, please remind him or her. They have been very excited and engaged as we've read. They debated the merits of this "perfect" community, free of pain and problem. Many decided that the lack of pain was not worth sacrificing choice, color, love, or family. Ask your child what he or she thinks now as the book comes to an end. The final Giver test will be on Thursday next week. There is a section of vocabulary on the test, and I can speak from experience that this is a struggle for many of the 6th graders. Start reviewing early and look back at the words and how they impact the story. The 6th graders will finish their language arts course with a unit on commas. It's been a quick unit, that will end with a quiz next Friday.
Week 36: May 16, 2018
The junior high will be attending a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Lyric Opera house on Thursday, May 17th. The show begins at 1:30 and ends at 3:45, so it will be a longer day, but an exceptionally exciting and worthwhile trip. Students are asked to wear dress clothes to school that day.
Sunday is Pentecost and a family Mass with the Art show following. Please come and see how hard the students and Ms. Petie have been working in Art. Since the students will be wearing their school uniform to Mass, they can dress down in spirit wear on Monday.
The 8th grade Math class is creating and interpreting Stem & Leaf Plots, Box and Whisker Plots, and Venn diagrams. Ask your child what the upper and lower quartile means on a Box and Whisker Plot.
In 7th grade Math, they are using and creating tables, rules, and graphs. They are also finding simple and compound interest on loans and deposits. They are reviewing how to create frequency tables, histograms, line plots, and spreadsheets to analyze data. Ask your child why a frequency table is helpful to create before a Histogram.
The 6th grade Math class are learning about rational numbers, square roots, and the Pythagorean theorem. They are also learning about probability, sample space, and complements. Ask your child what the inverse operation of squaring a number is or what a perfect square is.
In Religion, all classes will be learning and discussing Family Life over the next 2 weeks. Specifically, the 8th grade reviewed Pentecost . Ask your child what the gift of tongues is. The 7th grade is learning the Cardinal and Theological Virtues, the 4 Marks of the Church, the Creed, and the Archangels. Ask your child who the Archangels are and what they are known for. The 6th grade are learning about the birth of Jesus, the Holy Family, and John the Baptist. Ask your children why Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.
Week 35: May 10, 2018
Around the World Night is tonight at 6 PM! The junior high students have been doing great work getting the rooms organized and decorated for the event. We hope to see you at the event and let you see all the research the students have done!
Next week there are two field trips to be aware of. For the 8th Grade, there is a stock market field trip on the 15th (next Tuesday) and for the whole junior high, we will be going to see Jesus Christ Superstar at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on the 17th (next Thursday). Both field trips need a signed permission slip, and the students must dress in fancier clothes for Jesus Christ Super Star. Similar to what they would wear for a picture day.
In 6th Grade science, the students have finished discussing energy types and will be taking a test next Tuesday. The students also participated in a fun solar oven lab with the third graders, where they constructed their own pizza box ovens and tracked temperature changes as they attempted to melt chocolate and marshmallows. We have also been leaning about which types of energy have kinetic or potential functions. The 6th Grade was also hard at work on their around the world night decorations and transformed are classroom into an Argentinian cafe. Ask your 6th grader to tell you what is the relationship between mechanical energy and kinetic and potential energy.
In 7th Grade Science, the students have been studying the differences and similarities between plants and animals in regards to biology. The students have learned how organisms are classified based upon many different criteria and have researched how life cycles map out the natural progression for all kinds of organisms. In Social Studies, the students have been working extremely hard in preparation for their Federal Constitution test next Tuesday. The test is 100 Questions long, so I would encourage the students to set aside some time this weekend to study. I will also be doing a review session on Monday.
In 8th Grade Science, the students have begun discussing the processes of Mitosis and Meiosis and how both these cell functions contribute to the development of humans. The students have diagramed how cells develop and multiply in complex organisms and how their chromosomes determine their body types and features. Parents, ask your 8th grader to explain what the difference between mitosis and meiosis is.
Week 34: May 3, 2018
The junior high will be attending a Prayer Service for child abuse prevention Friday, May 4th. This trip was coordinated by a former SJB student, Mayra Figueroa, and the archdiocese. As part of the prayer service, Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools’ students will plant pinwheels in the Healing Garden to raise awareness for all the efforts that archdiocesan principals, priests, teachers, staff and volunteers make to support and protect all children in our schools, parishes, and communities. We use the pinwheel as the national symbol of child abuse prevention efforts.
I am very excited to announce that the junior high will be attending a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Lyric Opera house on Thursday, May 17th. The show begins at 1:30 and ends at 3:45, so it will be a longer day, but an exceptionally exciting and worthwhile trip. I am finalizing out transportation, and a permission slip will be sent home next week.
I would like to start with a HUGE thank you to Mr. John Roket who led the students in our final STEM challenge, to design an app that would improve our world. He was an amazing instructor, and the kids learned so much.
The students developed and presented at prototypes of apps they felt would be helpful to their world. There was an app to promote recycling; one to run your errands, two designed to help with time management (very useful to the junior high student), and the winning group designed an app to help instantly translate text messages to individuals with language barriers: Global Connections. All groups exceeded our expectations, and work diligently through the entire process. Ask your child what app they developed and why.
Academic Highlights - Reading
This week the 8th graders finished Night by Elie Wiesel. It was a powerful memoir about Elie's experiences in a concentration camp. The students enjoyed the novel and asked hard questions about that time in World history. It was rewarding unit for all. They will complete the unit with a short persuasive essay answering the question, "Did Elie Wiesel survive?" This questions makes the students think not only about the story but the meaning of words like survival and even freedom. Ask them what they think and why.
The 7th graders are about ten days away from finishing The Book Thief. It must feel as if we've been reading this for months (we have), but they are doing an outstanding job of connecting all the images, symbols, and foreshadowing from earlier in the book to now. There will be two final projects for this novel: a group project and an essay.
The 6th graders began their final novel, The Giver, yesterday. The Giver is a dystopian novel written by Lois Lowry; the same author as Number the Stars. It is one of my favorite novels to teach because it asks the question, "what would you give up in order to never be hurt?" The students enjoy the book and the discussions that go along with them. As the weeks continue ask your students about the book and what they think of "the community."
Language Arts - All three grades are working of different units of grammar. 6th is focusing on word usage with homophones, homonyms, and other commonly misused words. 7th grade's unit deals with clauses: independant and dependant and their use in creating sentence variety. The 8th graders are completing their final part of speech unit on prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. It's a big unit, but they are doing wonderfully. Have a conversation with your child about why knowing these rules will help them.
Week 33: April 25, 2018
Our final STEM day for the school year will be this Monday and the topic is Mobile Apps. Since it is also an Open House, students will be wearing their school uniforms. Students will learn and use one of the more common methodologies, Design Thinking, to conceive, design, and build a mobile device app.
This Sunday, the 8th graders will be participating in a Confirmation Retreat from 2-6, followed by Mass at 6:30. They will be Confirmed Wednesday, May 9 at 7 pm by Bishop Rojas. They will also have Confirmation Rehearsal in the church on Tuesday, May 1 at 6:30pm. The May Mary Crowning will be May 11 at the 8:30 Mass by the 2nd and 8th grade and they will dress up in their First Communion/Confirmation clothes.
Around the World night is fast approaching on Thursday, May 10. Thank you for your help with bringing in food and drink related to our countries. Ask your child what country their class selected.
High School Information night is Thursday at 6:30 pm. The End of Mid Quarter is Friday, May 4 so please encourage your child to turn in all missing work.
The 8th grade Math class is solving problems for volume of cylinders, cones, spheres and surface area of spheres. They reviewed the measures of central tendancy, frequency tables, and misleading graphs. They are continuing to learn about angle measures of pairs of angles formed from a transversal line intersecting parallel lines, congruent polygons, and classifying triangles and quadrilaterals. Ask your child about the three shortcut methods to prove triangles congruent.
In 7th grade Math, they are working with probability and solving real world problems using factorials, permutations, and combinations. Ask your child what the difference between a permutation and a combination is and have them give you an example.
The 6th grade Math class are solving problems with adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing integers. They are also working on solving equations. Ask your child how to add a negative number with a positive number.
In Religion, the 8th grade just finished taking their comprehensive Confirmation Test. Ask your child what the parts of the Rite of Confirmation are. They are also working on their shield that will be used to mark the pews for Confirmation. The 7th grade are reviewing the Sacraments of Healing and Service in more detail. Ask your child what the couple agrees to when they get married in the Catholic Church. The 6th grade are reviewing the exile of the Israelites, their journey home, and Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament. They are also learning how God's people struggled to maintain political and religious independence. Ask your children which books of the Old Testament are considered Wisdom Literature.
Week 32: April 18, 2018
Aspire tests have been going well so far. The students have two more tests to complete and we will be finished on Friday April 20th. Don’t forget to encourage your students to get a good night’s sleep and eat a well-balanced breakfast. The junior high students also participated in a faith partner activity on kindness. Make sure to check out the photos from the activity.
In 6th Grade Social Studies, the students have been learning about the Roman Republic. They compared the structures of governments among Greece, Rome, and the modern day United States to understand how these two cultures influenced American society. The students also participated in a crime scene investigation on the assassination of Julius Caesar. Parents, ask your 6th grader why Julius Caesar was an important figure in the history of Ancient Rome.
In 7th Grade Social Studies, the students have been diligently preparing for their Constitution Test and focusing primarily on the federal government. Most recently, we have completed a unit on the legislative branch of government. Parents, ask your 7th grader to explain how a bill becomes a law and why it is such a long process.
In 8th grade social studies, the students have been analyzing the affects of the Great Depression. The students have observed primary source photographs of the Dust Bowl and Hoovervilles, as well as viewed clips from the “Cinderella Man” movie. Parents, ask your 8th grader how the period of prosperity in the Roaring Twenties quickly changed to despair in the Great Depression.
Week 31: April 13, 2018
Welcome back. It seemed as though all the students had a wonderful week off. It was great to hear about all their adventures.
Next week is Aspire Testing; Tuesday-Reading, Wednesday-Math, Thursday-Writing and English(grammar), Friday-Science. Please make sure your kids have a good nights sleep and a healthy breakfast to ensure they are their most focused and prepared for the test.
The final STEM day has been postponed to Monday, April 30th.
Church Tour Field Trip
The students were wonderful during our trip to St. Hedwig, St. Mary of the Angels, and St. Stanislaw Kostka. The architecture and artwork in each church was beautiful and spiritual. The students asked insightful questions and I think they connected to the day and the churches. Ask your child about the fire at St. Hedwig and where it stopped, or the 12 columns at St. Mary of the Angels represent.
Academic Highlights : Reading and language arts
This week felt like a very short week. Between the discussions about break, the field trip, and the day off Friday it feels like we are just getting back in the swing on things.. The 6th grade completed their Newspaper project in reading and I am looking forward to reading through them all. We are beginning a unit on mythology and theme next week.
The 7th grade continued reading The Book Thief, completing part 6 and beginning part 7. We also had time for language arts, focusing on prepositions.
The 8th graders spent time creating a detailed timeline of the first half of Night. Ask them to explain the placement of the events so far, and what that means for the story.
Week 30: March 28, 2018
A Big Thank you to all the parents and families that came to The Stations of the Cross Performance last FRIDAY. The students worked so hard and did an excellent job and we are so appreciative of your support!
It was great to meet with all of you for parent teacher conferences. We are Blessed to teach such wonderful students.
Holy Thursday is our Spiritual Olympic day and we will begin and end with prayer and have fun activities in between. We will have a guest speaker on the Sedar, crafts, interviews with the cast of the Living Stations of the Cross, and Easter activities. The students can dress down and will be provided a t-shirt to wear.
Spring break will begin Good Friday and end on April 8. Our first day back to school is April 9 and the Church Tours field trip is Tuesday, April 10.
The 8th grade Math class is learning about pairs of angles formed from a transversal line intersecting parallel lines, congruent polygons, and classifying triangles and quadrilaterals. They also completed a project on finding a function online and writing specific information about it such as domain and range. Ask your child about the function they wrote about or what the shortcuts methods are for proving triangles congruent.
In 7th grade Math, they are solving problems using number sequences, patterns, tables, and graphs. They are writing algebraic expressions for number patterns. Ask your child what the difference between an arithmetic and geometric sequence is and have them give you an example.
The 6th grade Math class are solving problems calculating surface area and volume of rectangular prisms, triangular prisms, pyramids, and cylinders. We calculated surface area of cans of food and boxes of cereal. Ask your child what a net of a cylinder or pentagonal prism looks like.
In Religion, the Junior High completed the stations of the cross practices and performances. In addition, the 8th grade just finished writing their letter to Bishop Rojas asking to be Confirmed. They have been learning about the Theological and Cardinal virtues as well as the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Ask your child what the virtues are by category. The 7th grade are reviewing the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation in more detail. Ask your child what the requirements of a sponsor are for Confirmation. The 6th grade are learning about Judah, the Southern Kingdom and lots of prophets like Isaiah, Micah, Baruch, Jeremiah as well as Kings at the time. Ask your children what Isaiah was telling the people of Judah.
Week 29: March 21, 2018
The Stations of the Cross Performances are this FRIDAY (March 23rd, 2018) at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Students should arrive at 6:30 PM in the Church Hall in preparation for the 7:00 PM performance. There is a dress rehearsal for all major speaking roles tomorrow (Thursday March 22nd) and a dress rehearsal for everyone on Friday March 23rd. All students performing in the crowed are required to wear a black t-shirt, black dress shoes, and black or blue slacks (such as their school uniform bottoms). We ask that all students please bring in their costumes on Thursday (March 22nd). All major speaking roles are to bring in the color t-shirt and shorts they were assigned. Most importantly, we hope to see you all for the 7:00 PM performance! The junior high has been working hard and we are excited for the live performance.
The end of the third quarter is this Friday and there will be parent teacher conferences next Wednesday (March 28th). A sign up sheet should be coming to you soon if it hasn’t already. Please make sure to select a time slot for the meetings just like last year. If there is an issue with the scheduling of a conference time, please let the junior high teachers know as soon as possible.
Lastly, Monday March 26th is a STEM day once again. During the day, there will be people coming around to take pictures so we ask that students only dress down in Spirit Wear for the STEM day.
In 6th Grade science, the students have been learning about the transfer of energy in a variety of ways. We have discussed the transfer between potential and kinetic energy as well as thermal and solar energy uses. The sixth grade constructed thermoses to simulate how thermal energy is stored or inside of a vacuum. Parents, ask your 6th grader to explain the difference of potential and kinetic energy.
The 7th Graders have been working hard at diagraming the energy transfers between photosynthesis and cellular respiration in Science class. They have analyzed the different chemical components in plants and animals that are responsible for breaking down energy and how life is interconnected in a cycle. Parents, ask your 7th grader to explain the different parts to the photosynthesis and cellular respiration equations.
In 8th Grade Science, the students have been analyzing how natural selection plays a role in evolution and how competing variations of a single species eventually result in a dominant organism. The students participated in a fun simulation where they competed as Finches from the Galapagos Islands to see how different beak types resulted in the success or failure of getting food to survive. Parents, ask your 8th grader to explain how natural selection could occur in a real world environment.
Week 28: March 14, 2018
The 8th graders are hosting a St Patrick's day float sale on Friday the 16th of March. All floats will be $2, and all proceeds will go towards their class trip to Wisconsin.
Please join us on Sunday, March 18th for SJB Family Mass at 9:45am. The scholastic book fair will be open after mass, so check it out and pick up a new book to read.
Stations of the Cross is Friday March 23rd. We have been practicing and practicing, and I am confident we will be ready!. Performances are at 2pm for the school, and 7pm for family, friends, and parish. Students will need to meet in the church hall by 6:30pm.
SJB's annual March Mad Minutes has a new twist this year. I have added an internal contest against their reading teacher, Ms. Begley (me), so any student who reads more minutes than I will in those 10 days will get a special treat. It has been really fun, and I have finished 2 books so far, a new record (I might be behind on other things, oops.)
The 6th grade has begun reading Number the Stars, a historical novel set in Denmark during WWII. It is a great story, and the 6th graders are working on making inferences about characters based on textual and historical connections. For this novel the students are asked to complete more independent reading followed by group discussions and projects. Make sure you see your 6th grader reading, and take the time to ask him/her what is happening to Annemarie and Ellen.
The 7th grade is tackling part 4 of The Book Thief this week. Students will begin comapring the narrative elements of multiple character stories lines in search of parallels. Max, the Jewish fist-fighter, has entered the picture and the students are about to see how his life connects not only to Hans but to the main character Liesel.
The 8th grade opened the memoir Night by Ellis Wiesel today and read the forward. In this Ellie talks about himself as a witness who must report on the events he saw to make sure that those events and those who died are remembered. "For the youth of today, for the children who will be born tomorrow. He does not want his past to become their future."
Week 27: March 7, 2018
The Reading and English interim Aspire tests were given this week as well as Math and Science will be given next week. Tuesday, we celebrated March Mad Minutes with the school and all dressed as a themed Dr. Seuss book. Don't forget to encourage your child to Read, Read, Read. Reading logs will be turned in by 8 am on March 15 when they will be counted to determine individual and class winners.
Thursday morning is our Lenten Reconciliation in the church. This is an important Sacrament and we encourage the students to do an examination of conscience before going.
Just a reminder that the book fair is also next week and students will get to preview the books on Wednesday, March 14. Friday, March 23 is end of 3rd quarter and rapidly approaching. Please encourage your children to turn in missing assignments and to turn in their work on time.
The Junior High has been busy practicing in the church for the Living Stations of the Cross which will be performed on March 23 at 2 pm and 7pm. They should report back to school between 6:15 and 6:30 pm on that Friday. Ms. Molly is helping us with the music this year.
The 8th grade Math class is learning what functions are and how to write linear function models from a data table, a graph, or 2 points. They are also calculating rate of change, y-intercept, and looking at non-linear relationships. We spent some time solving problems on IXL also. Ask your child what another name for rate of change is and what a function model is.
In 7th grade Math, they are solving real world problems using the Pythagorean Theorem. They are also classifying and drawing 3-D figures and identifying their cross sections. They also worked on IXL problems. Ask your child what a 3-D cross section is and what type of figure the Pythagorean Theorem is used on.
The 6th grade Math class are solving problems calculating perimeter and area of rectangles, triangles, parallelograms, and irregular shapes. We worked in groups solving real world problems and also worked on IXL problems. Ask your child what the difference between area of a triangle and area of a parallelogram is, or the difference between perimeter and area.
In Religion, the Junior High is focusing on the stations of the cross practice. In addition, the 8th grade just finished presenting their Confirmation Saints and will begin to work on their letter to the Bishop. They should have turned in their 3rd Homily evaluation and their next 10 hours of service (total of 30 so far). The 7th grade are reviewing the 7 Sacraments by category and the three important stages of Christian life. The 6th grade are learning about the divided kingdom- the North and the South. Ask your children why the kingdom divided after King Solomon's death.
Week 26: February 28, 2018
Not too much has happened since last week but there are a few upcoming events to be aware of. First, reconciliation will be happening next week on Thursday (April 8th). Second, we will be having another round of ASPIRE Testing the next two weeks. Lastly, we are a still a few weeks away from our final performance of the Stations of the Cross, but we would like students to be practicing their lines at home with the hope that they will have their lines memorized within the next couple of days from now.
The 6th Graders have bee covering the topics of energy and energy transformations from Potential to Kinetic in science class. We also have been discussing a few topics on auditing and how to most effectively conserve energy. The students will be preparing to work with the 3rd grade class to create solar ovens and chart how heat and solar energy are related. Parents, ask your student to provide you with examples of elastic, chemical, and gravitational potential energy.
In 7th Grade Social Studies, the students are about to wrap up their unit test over westward expansion in the United States. The students have tracked the development of the nation from the time of the Louisiana Purchase up to the Mexican American War. Ask your 7th grader to explain how White Americans interacted with Native Americans over time.
In 8th Grade Social Studies, the students just finished their test on American history from the reconstruction era all the way to the United States’ involvement with World War 1. Parents, ask your student about the different reasons why the United States decided to enter WW1.
Week 25: February 22, 2018
STEM Field trip to "The Challenger Learning Center"
After a long weekend the junior high spent Tuesday at the Challenger Learning Center in Woodstock, IL engaged in a simulated space station mission. (This will be directly connected to their STEM learning day on Monday the 26th.) The junior high was split it half, with one half completing the jobs required aboard the space station and the other half acting as mission control support. There mission was to locate a comet and send a probe to intercept and retrieve data. The teams included medical officers, life support staff, a navigation team, a group that built and deployed the probe, as well as data collectors, researchers, and a communications officer (who were the main link between mission control and the space station.) The teams then switched, so each student was in mission control as well as the space station.
The students were amazing. They were able to problem solve and embrace the tasks before them. There were a few moments when I (as a teacher) was confused about what should happen next, but the astronauts (students) were unfazed. There was also a set of "reporters" on the mission, who reported on the impressive job of the SJB astronauts. See below for the "front page." Additional photographs can be see in the photo gallery.
The 8th grade have completed their novel and are working on a small research paper. This will be a combined grade for both reading and language arts. They are researching a "problem" that affects their world. They are then tasked with creating a position on that problem and developing an argument. This is always a fun idea, but a difficult process: to think about an issue and not just report the fact, but argue how it affects us and why it matters.
In 7th grade reading they have completed part one of The Book Thief. They all did very well on the first section. They have made connections between the text and interpreted the language and symbols. There are 10 parts to the novel, so this is just the beginning. In language arts they are about to complete a unit on adverbs and begin a unit on prepositions.
The 6th grade reading class presented excellent power-point style presentations on Hatchet, and will begin the background and pre-reading work for their next novel, Number the Stars this week. This historical fiction novel takes place in Denmark during WWII, so they will need to understand the history of the time. We will hopefully complete the novel before spring break (only a month away), so there will be reading work most nights this month.
Week 24: February 14, 2018
Happy Valentine's day and Ash Wednesday! Tuesday, we celebrated Valentine's day and enjoyed all the treats that were brought in! Thank you! The students get a 4 day weekend due to a teacher professional development day on Friday and President's day on Monday. We hope it is a fun and restful time!
Next Tuesday, February 20, is our field trip to Woodstock Challenger Learning Center and we are all excited for our space mission. Please be sure to send in permission slips.
Just a reminder that next Wednesday is end of 3rd mid- quarter. Please encourage your children to turn in missing assignments.
The Junior High has been preparing for the Living Stations of the Cross by watching some of the Bible DVD on Jesus' passion, death, and resurrection. We begin practice in the church next week and all roles have been assigned. Ask your child what role they have. They all have a script with their lines highlighted and should be practicing at home. All students will be performing in the Living Stations of the Cross on March 23 at 2 pm and 7pm. They should report back to school between 6:15 and 6:30 pm on that Friday.
This week in Math, the 8th grade is learning all about solving problems with percent as well as percent of change. Ask them how percent equations and proportions are different and which method they like the best. 7th grade is learning all about circles, constructing circle graphs, and constructing perpendicular bisectors. Ask the 7th graders what tools they used to construct a perpendicular bisector and how to do it. 6th grade finished a unit on percents, fractions, decimals, scale drawings, and solving proportions. Ask your 6th grader how to solve a proportion using cross products.
In Religion, we are preparing for the Stations of the Cross. Just a reminder that this year, the Junior High will be performing the Living Stations on Friday, March 23 at 2 pm and 7pm, BOTH are required. 8th grade is learning about the Holy Trinity, our belief in the Nicene Creed, the 4 marks of the Church, and life everlasting. They should be working on their Confirmation Saint project and meeting with their sponsors. Ask them what the 4 marks of the Catholic Church are. 7th grade is learning about Christ's work of Salvation and His mission, and how the church is the body of Christ. Ask your child what the Paschal Mystery is. 6th grade is learning about Solomon and his gift of wisdom, and the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. Ask your child what kind of king Solomon was.
Week 23: February 7, 2018
This Friday, Bishop Rojas will be leading the school mass and it should be great! Parents, feel free to join us if your schedule allows. As a reminder, the junior high will be going on a STEM field trip on February 20th to learn about space travel. Your student should have brought home a permission slip tonight and please make sure we get them back as soon as possible. Lastly, this Saturday (February 10th) is the Glimmer Auction at 6 PM!
The 6th graders have been focusing on ancient China’s geography as well as the cultures of prominent dynasties in social studies. In the next few days, we will be comparing the religious practices of different groups from eastern courtiers with other world religions. Parents, ask your 6th grader about what the dynastic cycle is and what other major events in ancient Chinese history we discussed.
In 7th Grade Social Studies, we have been discussing the westward expansion of the United States in the early 19th century. Students have learned about the economic and physical ways in which the United States had interacted with various nations and cultures. In the next few days, we will be discussing the interactions between the United States and Native American Tribes. Parents, ask your 7th grader to tell you what the Manifest Destiny is?
In 8th Grade Social Studies, students have been discussing the technological, societal, and political changes during the Gilded Age and Industrial Revolution in the United States. Students have completed mini projects on different technological marvels from the industrial revolution and will discuss in what ways they have impacted society. Parents ask your 8th grader to describe the ways in which different immigrant groups faced the ills of “Nativism” when coming to the U.S.
Advisory This Week
This week, advisory lessons have been focusing on the principles of fairness and respect. Students have been discussing the potential challenges that arise when different groups of people are not given the same rights. We have discussed this impact in regards to gender, ethnicity, and social status within a school. Ask your student if they think treating people “fairly” is the same as treating them “equally” or not.
Week 22: February 1, 2018
Catholic Schools Week
This year's Catholic Schools Week is a success.
The 8th graders challenged the teachers to an intense Jeopardy game on Monday. The teachers were leading into final Jeopardy but were not confident in their bet, ensuring victory for the risk taking 8th graders who bet it all. The final Jeopardy question was: "While the rings on the Olympic flag stand for various countries (Blue=Europe, Black=Africa, Red=Americas, Yellow=Asia, Green=Oceania), this is symbolized by the white background." Ask your child if they know the answer.
Tuesday each class met with their Faith Partners (7th and 8th with 1st grade; 6th with Kindergarten) and worked to make blessing bags. The majority of the bags will be sent to Catholic Charities and distributed to those in need. Thank you for all the supplies you sent in.
The classes decorated their doors in anticipation of Wednesday's Spaghetti Dinner. The food was delicious, the deserts were sweet, and the doors were impressive. Check out the photo page if you weren't able to see them in person.
The 100th day of school is on Thursday, and while this is celebrated more in the Logan building, the junior high should be able to list 100 reasons why SJB is the best.
Friday is student and teacher appreciation day, and we would like to say thank you in advance to all the parents who help make our job easier. It takes a village, and we are a wonderful village. Friday will end with a spirited game of teacher v. 8th grade basketball. It should be a nail biter.
The 7th grade completed their reading unit on theme and has begun some background research into Germany in the 1930's leading into WWII in order to prepare for the novel The Book Thief. This novel is broken into 10 parts and is over 500 pages, so we will be reading it for the next few months. It is a great novel, and my personal favorite unit for 7th grade. Ask your 7th graders why Hitler was able to control Germany so easily.
The 8th graders are finishing their novel Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes and will begin a research paper on a topic of their choice connected to the novel next week. Additionally, they are studying the adverb. Ask your 8th grader what questions an adverb answers.
The 6th grade will finish reading Hatchet this week. They will take a final unit test next Wednesday and begin a project (due the following week.) many of the 6th graders have revisions to make for some of the chapter questions to bring up their grades, but also to help prepare them for the test and project. Ask you 6th grade what happened to Brian, and help them to review the novel's vocabulary.
Advisory this Week
This week our advisory was split between Catholic schools preparations and taking about responsibility. My favorite quote in this weeks discussion came from author James Baldwin: "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed that is not faced." Have a discussion about what this means, and what things each of you can face and change.
Week 21: January 24, 2018
The science fair and judging will take place on Thursday, January 25th from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM in the student's classrooms. Sunday's Family Mass is the beginning of Catholic Schools Week and following Mass is Science Fair from 11:00 am - 12 pm. We hope you can join us and see some great science work!
Tomorrow is awareness day for Kawasaki Disease and we are asking students to dress down in the color red and donate $1.
Thank you to all who have already contributed items for the "blessing bags" which will be assembled with faith partners next Tuesday. We are asking all Junior High families to help out by donating travel sized soap, deodorant, shampoo, and chapstick by next Monday, January 29.
We look forward to seeing you all next Thursday for the Spaghetti dinner and Open House. The dinner starts at 6 PM and desserts will be in the classrooms from 6:30-7:30 pm.
Yesterday, the Junior High team participated in STEM and learned all about how light works. They discovered the characteristics of light, learning about reflection and refraction, light scattering and much more. Ask your child which experiment they liked the best. The day ended with a capstone project where the teams used a number of elements to set up a maze and hit a target with a laser beam. It was a great day!
In Math class, the students still enjoy the guessing jar each week. Thanks to all for helping fill up the small jar. The students are excited to take their turn and of course to win the contents! Beginning 3rd quarter, I will require the students to show me their math computations and they will be graded on this.
This week in Math, the 8th grade is learning all about similar figures using dilation transformations. Ask them which transformations prove congruent figures and which ones prove similar figures. 7th grade is learning all about costs, selling price, mark-up, discounts, and profits. They did an excellent job with the bake sale and using their math skills to determine costs, selling price and profit. Ask the 7th graders about the other project they did on mark-up and discount and what they were selling in their store. 6th grade finished a unit on multiplying and dividing fractions and mixed numbers as well as converting between units in the customary system. Ask your 6th grader what the steps are when multiplying a mixed number by a whole number.
In Religion, we will soon be preparing for the Stations of the Cross. Just a reminder that this year, the Junior High will be performing the Living Stations on Friday, March 23 at 2 pm and 7pm, BOTH are required. 8th grade is learning about Confirmation and the Holy Spirit and how Jesus did not leave us orphans, but He sent us His Holy Spirit to guide us. They should be working on their Confirmation Saint project and meeting with their sponsors. Ask them what gift of the Holy Spirit they need most. 7th grade is learning about Jesus being the bread of life and how His suffering for our sins fulfills God's plan of salvation, and 6th grade is learning about Samson and Delilah, and Ruth and Naomi. Ask your child what a Nazarite is.
Advisory this Week
The junior high focused on Career Exploration as they compared and contrasted career options. They went to the "career mall" and chose their favorite career choices. We discussed how the similarities and differences of the different careers fit with their personal interests. We will look at salaries as well to see if that has an impact on their choices and further discuss what each occupation entails.
Week 20: January 17th, 2017
We hope you had an excellent three-day weekend with your family! Here is what has been going on this past week:
Second quarter ends TOMORROW (Thursday, January 18th), so make sure that all missing assignments have been completed and turned in, and remember to study for the unit tests.
The junior high students are continuing to work hard on their science fair projects. The science fair and judging will take place on Thursday, January 25th from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM. The students will need to have their projects and boards finished by Wednesday, January 24th and brought in to school.
SJB will be creating "blessing bags" again this year during Catholic Schools week (1/28-2/2). Please help us to help those less fortunate by donating supplies. We are looking for adult socks and gloves, toothbrushes, mouthwash, soap, shampoo, granola bars, bottled water. Please send the supplies before the 28th.
This week in 6th grade science, the students have been wrapping up their unit on forces and motion. Today they worked on a fun and exciting lab activity simulating Newton’s Three Laws of Motion with toy cars. Parents, feel free to ask your student if they can explain Newton’s three laws to you and ask them about when two objects are touching or not.
In 7th grade science, we have been learning about the different types of cells in our world and what organelles are inside of the cell itself. This week, they will be finishing a diagram on the process of photosynthesis and how it is an example of transferring energy. Parents, ask your 7th grader what are some of the differences between plant and animal cells.
In 8th grade science, the students have been learning about the study of genetics and how traits of human beings are passed down from generation to generation. We also partook in a lab where the students learned about the impact of genetic disorders and mutation in family lines. Parents, ask your 8th grader about the difference between recessive and dominant alleles, and ask if they can give you examples of humans from either category.
Advisory This Week
In advisory, the students completed a variety of different brain exercises related to Martin Luther King Day. The students learned new information about his legacy as well as read a section of the “I have a dream speech.” Talk to your students about why Martin Luther King Jr. was an important figure in the Civil Rights Movement.
Week 19: January 11, 2017
We made it back after Christmas Break! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and is as excited as we are for the New Year!
Second quarter ends on Thursday, January 18th, so make sure that all missing assignments have been completed and turned in, and remember to study for the unit tests.
The junior high students are working hard on their science fair projects. The science fair and judging will take place on Thursday, January 25th from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM. The students will need to have their projects and boards finished by Wednesday, January 24th.
SJB will be creating "blessing bags" again this year during Catholic Schools week (1/28-2/2). Please help us to help those less fortunate by donating supplies. We are looking for adult socks and gloves, toothbrushes, mouthwash, soap, shampoo, granola bars, bottled water. Please send the supplies before the 28th. Thanks
The students arrived back to school on Monday from a wonderful break and jumped back into academics, after telling each other all the great stories of break. The 6th and 8th grade reading classes have continued their novel studies, while the 7th grade are returning to short stories for the rest of the quarter. All three grades are focusing on narrative elements and author's purpose.
Advisory this Week
The junior high focused on test taking and learning strategies this week in advisory. I found that while the strategies relate directly to test taking, the information is applicable to many areas of study and life. The biggest detriment is often stress and a lack of being prepared. Ask them what the DETER test taking strategies are and how they can help prepare someone for a test.
Week 18: December 20, 2017
Tomorrow, December 21st, we will be having another STEM day all about drones. The students will be introduced to a simple version of a drone, which they can use to replicate some of the tasks carried out by more advanced unmanned aerial vehicles. They will experiment with the drone in a variety of ways and learn about drone safety regulations and flight planning. They will plan a race and figure out how to measure velocity and acceleration. It should be a fun and exciting day!
Friday, the Junior High classes will be having a party. Feel free to send a game or treat to school with your child.
In Math class, the students still enjoy the guessing jar each week. Thanks to all for helping fill up the small jar. The students are excited to take their turn and of course to win the contents! This weeks contents are berry skittles in the large jar and pennies in the small one.
This week in Math, the 8th grade are working really hard on algebra solving systems of linear equations. Ask them which method they prefer to use to solve the system and what a solution of the system means. 7th grade are reviewing percents and writing ratios as fractions, decimals, and percents. Ask the 7th graders how to write a fraction as a decimal. 6th grade finished a unit on adding and subtracting fractions and mixed numbers. Ask your 6th grader why they would have to rename a mixed number when subtracting a fraction from it.
In Religion, we are still discussing Advent and are sharing our family traditions. I am encouraging the students to do random acts of kindness as a way to prepare their hearts for the coming of Jesus. 8th grade is learning about the Christians of the Roman Empire and how the Church defined and proclaimed the truths of our faith. We will begin our Confirmation book after break. They can also work on their Confirmation Saint presentation. 7th grade is learning about Advent Saints and completed research on a Saint and presented their findings to the class, and 6th grade is learning about the Exodus, the Ten Plagues, and Passover. They are also memorizing the Ten Commandments in order with Roman Numerals. Ask your child what their favorite Advent tradition is or which Saint they learned about.
Advisory This Week
This week’s advisory has focused primarily on responding with Kindness. We discussed the vocabulary of compassion, perseverance, self-care, resilience, reframing, self-talk, positive feedback loop, integrity, "I" statements, and respect. We shared about times we saw others going through a hard time and how we helped them, and discussed how they can positively influence others. We did some role-playing showing acts of kindness, watched some video clips, and found good news articles showing how people were compassionate and kind.
Week 17: December 13, 2017
There are some important events coming up within the next few days before Christmas Break. First, the School Christmas Show is tomorrow (December 14th, 2017) from 6 PM to 8 PM. We look forward to seeing you there! Additionally, we will be having another STEM day on Thursday December 21st all about drones.
In 6th Grade Social Studies, we have finished discussing the influence that Ancient Greece has had on the modern world through politics, art, and culture in general. The students have also been perfecting their skills at analyzing primary and secondary sources. In Science, we have just started the topic of physics and how to determine when something is in motion.
In 7th Grade Social Studies, we took a quiz on the American Revolutionary War and students also discussed how the war between Great Britain and the colonies began. I was truly impressed with their battle presentations and feel free to ask them about their research.
In 8th Grade Social Studies, the students finished a quiz on the Civil War and the events that caused the United States to have a schism before and during the war. This will be continued after the break as we look at Reconstruction as well. In Science, the students have begun learning the major parts of a cell.
Advisory This Week
In advisory we only had one meeting this week, due to Aspire practice tests. The whole Junior High participated in a fun challenge designed to improve teamwork and communication (as well as balance). Ask your students how they thought it went and if you and your family can complete the challenge!
Week 16: December 7, 2017
Coding Field Trip
The junior high visited CodeVerse Wednesday (12/6). The students learned a coding program called Kidscript, "a program designed specifically for kids as an approachable language that teaches core coding concepts." The students had an amazing time. They manipulated code to control the lights in the room and some created their own game apps. The first question/comment we received from most of the students was, "can we go back?" There are some pictures of the kids working in the photo gallery.
It's novels all around for the junior high reading classes, and I am so excited. I feel reading novels is one of the ways students really connect to literature, and all the novels the students are reading are great. (I might be biased... I picked them after all.)
The 6th graders are starting their first novel today. We have spend the last week building background in order to begin reading Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. They researched the Canadian wilderness and worked as a group to see what supplies they would need (and why) to survive a plane crash. The students will have reading homework (reading parts of the novel or answering questions about what we read) every night, so check with your child (and showbie) to keep him/her on task.
The 7th graders are more half way through their novel: The Rag and Bone Shop by Robert Cormier. They have been working hard, especially on the vocabulary. Ask them about our "super password" practice game. The students will complete the novel and write a character analysis essay before break, so they will be busy the nest few weeks. You can check the calendar for specific dates.
The 8th graders will be starting a new novel this week as well: Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes. This story is an intense story with complex characters, which we will be studying in detail. I haven't taught this novel every year, but I feel this class will rise to the challenge and benefit greatly.
Advisory this week
This week we looked at the flip side to last week's advisory (bad behavior), and focused on what makes a positive relationship. It was interesting to see the students think about what they want from a good friend and how they seem themselves as friends. We also took the time to think about and discuss what other types of relationships there are, and the specific qualities we look for in those relationships: family, romantic, teacher, stranger.
Adolescence is a time of change and growth. It is a time when personalities are developed and boundaries are challenged. Often relationships are tested at this time as well. Each young person is looking to assert him/herself, and that can come at expense of another person. It's important to talk to our teens about their actions and interactions with friends, teachers, family, and the world. They are learning that how they treat those around them determines who they will become as adults. Keep talking to them, and help their journey.
Week 15: November 29, 2017
The Junior High will be meeting with their Faith Partners tomorrow after the prayer service to do a little Advent project together. Advent begins this weekend so we will be learning and sharing what we do during Advent to prepare for Christ's birth during Religion class.
Good luck to the 8th grade as they take their High School placement test this Saturday. The 7th grade have been busy making "goodie" bags for the 8th graders to remind them that we are thinking of them and praying for them.
The 8th grade will participate in the Confirmation Rite of Enrollment which takes place at the 6:30 pm Mass on Sunday, December 10. They have read and signed an Enrollment Promise that will be rolled into a scroll and placed in a basket as part of the offering at this Mass. They need to be at the church at 6pm, but most of them will be serving at the Advent potluck from 4-6 that day.
This Friday is the end of mid-quarter 2 so look for progress reports by the end of next week.
Looking ahead is the coding field trip on the morning of Wednesday, December 6. Please look for permission slips at the end of the week.
In Math class, the students still enjoy the guessing jar each week. Thanks to all for helping fill up the small jar. The students are excited to take their turn and of course to win the contents!
This week in Math, the 8th grade have been reviewing for the high school placement test and they are doing very well. This includes algebra and geometry problems. Ask them if they know what an upside down U means. 7th grade have been writing and solving proportions, finding constants of proportionality, and writing equations to represent proportions. Ask the 7th graders how they know whether two ratios form a proportion. 6th grade are finishing a unit on fractions, decimals, mixed numbers, divisibility rules and prime factorization. Ask your 6th grader if the number 32,567,841 is divisible by 9 without using a calculator or long division.
In Religion, we are beginning our discussion of Advent as it is fast approaching this weekend. I am encouraging the students to do random acts of kindness as a way to prepare their hearts for the coming of Jesus. 8th grade is learning about the early church, exploring the origins of the church and her growth, 7th grade is learning about Jesus as the promised Messiah and fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies, and 6th grade is learning about the Liturgical year and how Ordinary time is really not ordinary as it is the life and teachings of Jesus. Ask your child what their favorite Advent tradition is or what they would like to add this year.
Advisory This Week
This week’s advisory has focused primarily on knowing the difference between bullying, being rude, or mean. It is important to distinguish between these so that all of us know what to pay attention to and when to intervene. Ask your child if they can give you an example of each type of behavior. We took a pre-test of students prior knowledge, discussed the meaning of rude, mean, and bullying, brainstormed situations in each category, played a game where students needed to move to a part of the room that represented each category when scenarios were read, and created a poster of rude, mean, and bullying behaviors.
Week 14: November 21, 2017
Monday was our first STEM day. It was a major success! The students worked in small groups and designed robots that could be used to pick up and remove hazardous waste. It was a big challenge to think about what the robots needed to accomplish and then to design (and follow the plans for) the robot.
We experienced some technical difficulties where some of the brains (batteries and remotes) malfunctioned, so we combined groups and worked together to create three working robots. Check out the photo gallery for images of the robots, groups, and process.
When I asked the students if they enjoyed the day, there was an overwhelming "YES." When I asked if anyone thought they might want to design and build robots for a career, the answers were much less enthusiastic. Talk to your child and see if his/her interest was piqued. I know that several high schools offer summer camps and some in the field of technology and even robotics. This might be an option for those willing to learn more.
We will have our next STEM day in December, and we am excited to keep learning right along side the students.
Week 13: November 15th, 2017
Thanksgiving break is just around the corner (school break starts on Wednesday, November 22nd) and we all hope that you will be able to enjoy some relaxing and quality time with your families. We are also conducting a school Thanksgiving Food Drive. If you could help to encourage your student to bring in canned/non-perishable goods it would be greatly appreciated!
This week in 6th Grade Social Studies, the students have begun their studies of ancient world history, starting with the topic of Mesopotamia. We had a lively discussion after researching the primary source of Hammurabi’s Code of Laws. Parents, feel free to ask your 6th grader about what the difference between a primary and secondary source is and for an example of one of the laws from Hammurabi’s Code.
In 7th Grade Social Studies, we have begun discussing how historians have to interpret various primary sources to make accurate recordings of an event. We have also begun our introduction to the colonization of the Americas from various European powers (this is especially important as Thanksgiving is almost here). Feel free to ask your 7th grader about the three main categories that distinguish the British colonies in North America.
In 8th Grade Social Studies, we started talking about the formation of the United Sates government and they analyzed the differences between the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution as a review. We have also discussed the importance of “Watershed moments of history” and the topic of Imperialism. Ask your students why the Haymarket Affair is a Watershed moment for Chicago’s history.
Advisory This Week
This week’s advisory has focused primarily on the topics of bullying and how to stand up against mean behavior. It is so often overlooked, (especially in this digital age) that rude things that are said can often have irreversible impacts on others that we may not even realize at first glance. Students have worked to come up with strategies to avoid this behavior and help people feel protected from it. We also discussed the virtue of courage in regards to speaking out against bullying. Feel free to ask your student what they believe it means to be an “up-stander” in a situation involving bullying.
One quote that I always found to be intriguing about courage comes from J.K. Rowling: "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
Week 12: November 9, 2017
The 8th grade traveled to De La Salle high school on Tuesday to participate in their annual "activity day." This year focused on The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Our students were joined with 12 other junior highs from around the city. They spent the day engaged in 5 learning stations run by the De La Salle high school students. See the photo gallery for pictures of them. It was a great day and a great opportunity to see a high school many of them didn't know much about. With only three weeks before the Catholic high school placement test, all opportunities to visit schools are worth it. Please talk to your 8th grader about shadow days and where he/she is planning to test. If you need assistance we are here to help.
The 7th grade (language arts) completed their comparison essay and are working hard to turn it into a formal presentation complete with Keynote (apple's powerpoint) visual aid. I can't wait to hear all about the differences between lions and house cats & blue whales and orcas to name a few. The presentations will be Friday morning. If you are free and would like to come watch please join us after mass (9:30am in Ms. Begley's classroom).
The 6th grade reading class has been focusing on Theme this week. They have been reading for the main message of lesson within the story. Theme is often a confusing element to understand. It is the complete message an author has about a story often connected to the characters' actions, reactions, and ability to overcome (or not overcome) a conflict. Ask your 6th grader to explain how a theme is different than the plot of a story.
Advisory this week:
The junior high has been discussing anger management in advisory this week. We have looked at how "we" typically handle anger or frustration and how we should handle these difficult situations. Ask your child to share some of the strategies we have discussed and how managing expectation and anger can lead to a better day.
Here is a quote about anger that has always resonated with me. I hope you enjoy it. "Anger ruins Joys; steals the goodness of my mind; makes my mouth say terrible things. Overcoming anger brings piece of mind; leads to a mind without regret. If I overcome anger, I will be delightful and loved by everyone." -Charlie Crews from Life 2007
Week 11: November 1, 2017
We look forward to seeing you all at Parent Teacher Conferences tomorrow, Thursday, November 2nd. Please be punctual as we will be sticking closely to the time schedule. As a reminder, the students have early dismissal at 11:30 on Thursday. Also, the teachers will be having a professional development workshop day on Friday November 3rd, so there will be no school that day.
We had a wonderful Halloween celebration yesterday and we thank all of our parent volunteers for making it so special. We appreciate YOU! Check out the fun pictures.
In Math class, the students enjoy the guessing jar each week. It is great to see the conversations going on about how the student who won did their estimation. They also seem excited to be able to take the small jar home to fill it up with their choice of items.
This week in Math, the 8th grade have been looking at data represented three different ways - tables, graphs, and equations, and they are understanding slope and writing equations of lines, 7th grade have been working with solving 2-step equations, and the 6th grade are finishing a unit on describing sequences, evaluating expressions and solving 1-step equations. Ask your 6th and 7th grader what an inverse operation means, and your 8th grader what an undefined slope means or a slope of zero.
In Religion, we talked about All Saints Day, who their favorite Saint is, and asked the Saints to intercede for us. The first 10 hours of service were due the end of quarter 1 for the 8th grade. In addition, 8th grade is reviewing the Ten Commandments in more detail and how to follow them, 7th grade is learning about Jesus in the Gospels and the Holy Spirit as our Guide and Helper, and 6th grade is learning about God helping His people as we read the Bible stories about Cain and Abel, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. Ask your child who their favorite Saint is.
Advisory This Week:
This week for Advisory we focused on our goals. It was perfect timing since quarter 1 just ended. At the beginning of the year, the students wrote academic and social-emotional smart goals and this week they are reviewing them. They are reflecting and responding to 3 questions per goal: What progress have I made, What behaviors help me achieve my goal, and What behaviors hinder my goal. We are hopeful that the students will make the appropriate changes to be successful both academically and socially.
Week 10: October 25, 2017
As another reminder, the first quarter ends tomorrow October 26th. Parent Teacher Conferences will be occurring next Thursday (November 2nd). Please make sure you have signed up for a time slot, and are punctual; Almost every conference time is booked, so we will be sticking closely to the time schedule. Lastly, the teachers will be having a professional development workshop day on Friday November 3rd, so there will be no school that day.
In 6th Grade Science, the students have been working diligently on their planet projects. Each student group has been assigned one of the eight planets in the solar system and will be giving a short presentation on their information. They have also been covering the different lunar phases of Earth’s moon and the different types of eclipses in class. Ask your 6th grader about what planet they are researching for their project.
In 7th Grade Science, the students have been discussing the damage that natural disasters cause to humans and how best to prepare for different climatic events. They also completed a lab on the rock cycle and how rocks transform amongst the metamorphic, sedimentary, and igneous stages of the rock cycle. Ask your 7th grader about how rock types are continuously transformed through the cycle.
In 8th Grade Science, the students have been participating in an extensive lab on the different effects pollution has on living organisms. The students will be tracking the growth of bean plants over time as they are affected by water pollution, land pollution, and air pollution. The students have also been discussing the human impact on the availability of natural resources. Ask your 8th grader what the five major types of pollution are and how they impact humans and the environment.
Advisory This Week:
This week in advisory we have been discussing leadership skills. The students have discussed the traits that make up a good and effective leader and have also rated how effective of a leader they can be. Most recently, students have been discussing what it means to have a legacy and how our actions often speak louder than our words. It is especially crucial for junior high students to discuss how they can become competent leaders in preparation for when they move to a new school and meet new people. Ask your student what they believe defines a great leader and in what ways they think they can continue to grow as a leader.
Week 9: October 19, 2017
First Quarter ends on October 26th which is quickly approaching. Please check with your child to make sure he or she is completing all work and turning it in. Also, please remind him/her that all late assignments will need to be written on the teacher's "late assignment" board, so they can be graded.
In language arts the 6th grade are working on their first essays. They are writing "reflective narratives" about increased responsibility. They have been prewriting and organizing this week and will begin writing their first draft this weekend The final draft will be due on Wednesday the 25th (just in time for the end of the quarter). Please ask your child to show you what he or she is writing. The 7th grade are continuing their reading short story unit. This week they are putting the main character from O'Henry's story "A Retrieved Reformation" on trial. It's an interesting story about a bank robber, love, and the value of a second chance. Ask your child which side he or she is representing. The 8th graders have begun their first novel of the year: S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders. The students are so excited by the story and the knowledge that the author was only 16 when she wrote it. After finishing the novel the class will join several other junior highs at DeLaSalle High School for a day of activities devoted to the novel. I am really looking forward to that experience for them.
Advisory This Week:
This week in advisory we have been discussing communication. The students have discussed formal prepared speeches, informal social-networking, and non-verbal clues and how all together these ideas allow us to become better communicators. I have been fascinated to watch the students knowledge and lack of knowledge on this subject. We often take communication for granted; it is something we do everyday. Yet, it is a skill we need to practice and refine. Each person has different ways to communicate, and we have to work together to communicate better. Ask you child what struggles we face when communicating with each other and what strategies we should use to improve our communication.
Week 8: October 11, 2017
In Math class, we have two guessing jars filled with small items, usually candy, that the students are to determine the quantity of. They have used their math skills to determine the surface area and volume to help them make an educated estimation of the quantities. I have filled the large jar weekly and students sign up for a week to fill the small jar. The jar can be filled with any small item, edible or non-edible. The winner does get to keep the contents of the jar. This week the large jar has starbursts and they have to answer the questions: What is the number of starbursts, What is the probability of picking an orange to the nearest percent, and what is the probability of picking a pink to the nearest percent. The small jar has white life savers and the question is asking for the total number.
This week in Math, the 8th grade have been finding square roots and cube roots without using calculators as well as using roots to solve equations, 7th grade have been working with adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions and mixed numbers, and the 6th grade are finishing a statistical unit and are learning about misleading graphs and statistics. Ask your 8th grader how to find the cube root of 64,000 or to estimate the square root of 68.
In Religion, all classes found or created an icon, poem, or song representing the Blessed Trinity and presented it to the class. In addition, 8th grade is reviewing God's Laws in the Ten Commandments and in the Beatitudes, 7th grade is learning about the mystery of the loving relationship of One God in Three Divine persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and 6th grade is learning about the 2 creation stories in the Book of Genesis and acting them out. Also, Fr. Wayne will be teaching Religion on Thursday to all Junior High grades. Don't forget to ask your child what question they asked him.
The Holy Fire Retreat is fast approaching next Friday, October 20. We are excited and looking forward to this day!
Advisory This Week:
This week, we did not have our regular Advisory due to Aspire Testing. We completed Reading and Science practice Aspire on Tuesday and Wednesday and Fr. Wayne came to talk to the students on Thursday.
Week 7: October 4, 2017
This week in science, in continuation of learning about earth science, the 6th grade learned about how air currents and ocean currents affect the globe as well. The students recently completed a lab on how wind affects surface level ocean currents and carries debris across water. The students will also be taking a geography test next week. Ask your 6th grader to explain how wind currents and ocean currents are related and the relationship between warm and cold air or water masses.
In 7th Grade Social Studies, the students learned about how different factors in ecosystems can affect population growth of different species. The students participated in a simulated game where they had to track the population growth of four different bird populations based on different events. The students will also have their second geography test next week! Feel free to ask your 7th grader about how populations of groups are affected by carrying capacity.
For 8th Grade Social Studies, the students have begun learning about human migration across the globe. As a class, the students viewed an exciting documentary showing how ancient humans have migrated from their ancestral roots in Africa in order to cover all parts of the globe. The students will also have their first test in geography next week. Discuss with your 8th grader how push and pull factors affect human migration patterns.
Advisory This Week:
This week, the students have been discussing the negative impact of spreading rumors and how to best prevent their harmful affects spreading towards others. The students discussed the various ways in which rumors can spread, which was especially important to discuss in the digital age, and what actions they should take to prevent and address the spreading of rumors. Students finished by creating a hypothetical story about the rumor cycle and its stoppage.
Also, the students will begin their ASPIRE Practice tests on October 5th and finish taking the last one on October 11th. The tests will cover the subjects of Reading, Writing, Math, and Science.
Lastly, don't forget to have a safe and fun three-day weekend due to the Columbus Day Holiday!
Week 6: September 28, 2017
This week in reading the 7th graders wrote and filmed short "movies" illustrating the importance of building suspense in narratives. Several of the groups used puppets and the effect was very engaging. The students focused not only on the importance of suspense, but the importance of planning out their movies before just filming. I think creating iMovies is one of the students favorite activities, and these were definitely the best. Ask your 7th grader to show you his/her movie.
The 6th graders had an assessment in both reading and language arts this week. The reading quiz scores were lower than I had hoped, so we are going back over the strategies needed to take a reading test and develop a written answer (and correct the test we took). Next week will include more of these strategies and focus, so that each 6th grader fully understands what he/she needs to focus on for the next test or quiz.
The 8th grade are finishing their study nouns: specifically that various ways we use nouns in sentences, and they are doing very well. It's wonderful to see that the skills we built in 6th and 7th grade are holding strong and supporting the new material, allowing mastery. Ask your 8th grader how to find a direct and an indirect object.
Advisory this Week
First, the 7th and 8th graders spent Monday listening to 9 different high school representatives talk about their respective schools. the students learned about the academic programs, extra curriculars and sports, and even the exciting lunch offerings. It was a busy day of listening, but it was a great opportunity to begin thinking (for the 7th graders) and focus thinking (for the 8th graders). It seems like a long way away, but high school is closer than we like to think.
Additionally, this week the junior high has been talking about time-management: what it means, where we struggle, and how to avoid distractions and improve our use of time. I learned this week that I might still have a bit of a procrastinator in me. Ask your students about themselves.
Week 5: September 20, 2017
Each week in Math class, there are two guessing jars filled with small items that the students are to determine the quantity of. They have used their math skills to determine the surface area and volume to help them make an educated estimation of the quantities. I will begin to add more questions such as what is the probability of picking a blue m&m and have the students write their answer as a percent, decimal and fraction. Also, this week, students began to sign up for a week to fill the small jar and come up with questions. The jar can be filled with any small item, edible or non-edible. The winner does get to keep the contents of the jar.
More specifically in Math, the 8th grade have been solving multi-step equations, 7th grade have been working with exponents, factors, and fractions, and the 6th grade began a statistical unit and are learning to find and use measures of center and measures of variability. Ask your child about the review game Hotseat and what they think of it.
In Religion, all classes researched a modern Saint, one that was canonized a Saint in their lifetime, and presented it to the class. In addition, 8th grade is learning to respond to God's love by reflecting on living Holy lives and giving witness to Jesus, 7th grade is reviewing that God is the source of life who created us to know Him and Love Him, and 6th grade is experiencing God's Revelation through His creation, deeds, and interaction with His People.
We are excited to announce that the Junior High will be participating in the Holy Fire Retreat again this year on Friday, October 20. More information will be coming soon!
Advisory This Week:
This week the junior high students are learning about growth and fixed mindsets and how the brain is like a muscle, growing and getting smarter with new learning. They thought about their personal struggles and worked on changing them to reflect a growth mindset. Ask your child about the quiz results on their mindset and also the impact their focus and beliefs have on their learning. You may also ask if they know when our brains grow the most.
Week 4: September 13, 2017
This week the students have been growing more accustomed to their iPads and working on their time management skills in terms of turning in homework. We still have been experiencing some technological issues, but we hope to be moving closer to solving those soon.
In Science and Social Studies, all classes have been covering the topics of earth science/geology and geography respectively. The overarching theme is for students to see how we as human beings are affected by scientific events and social systems existing in our world and how to adapt and leave a positive impact in our environment and social communities.
6th grade parents: feel free to ask your students about the theory of plate tectonics.
7th grade parents: encourage your students to discuss the topic of climate change.
8th grade parents: ask your kids to share their knowledge of map-making and the different types of maps.
Advisory This Week:
This week the students have spent their advisory periods focusing on the topics of self-reflection and goal setting skills. Each student was asked on Wednesday to create a goal card with which they are charged with setting academic, family, religious/service oriented, and social goals to accomplish on their own time.
On Thursday, students will be participating in the Faith Partner Day and be working with younger students to prepare them for future church services.
As a reminder, this Friday (September 15th) there will be NO SCHOOL due to the fact that the teachers will be participating in a professional development workshop.
Week 3 September 6, 2017
This week the students have been continuing to master their iPads. Unfortunately, we are continuing to experience some technical difficulties with turning in work through Showbie, but we hope to resolve that issue ASAP.
All the junior high classes are working on a review of sentence structure (subjects and predicates) in language arts. Please take a minute and ask your child what a subject and what a predicate are.
Advisory this week:
This week the junior high students are continuing to explore their interpersonal relationships. We have focused on our homeroom classes: asking students to work together to create "machines" or untie their "human knots."
Thursday the junior high will attend Imagination Theater's interactive performance of "Show Some Respect."