Welcome Page

This page will be the MAIN location for communication from me as your student's homeroom teacher, as well as newsletters with information about your student's academic classes such as Language Arts (Gr. 6), Reading (Gr. 6 & 7), and Religion Gr. 6). 
This page will be updated each Sunday and will be automatically emailed to subscribers to the page (to subscribe, click the black box under my photo). Be sure to follow the same procedure for all of your student's academic and special area teachers. 
Be sure to keep your email current with the office and PowerSchool.  Read the STM Blast each week and the PTO Newsletter. (I'll also put a *bonus* tip in here for you: Mrs. Meehan's weekly update on her teacher page is a top go-to for me!)
Jodie Morgan


April 18, 2021

Happy Sunday! 
It was great to be back at school last week!  The students were well-rested and relatively happy to be back! 
In 6th grade LA, the students are completing individual persuasive advertisements, either a video or a "print ad", which is due by April 23rd at the latest. Many students have already completed their video or ad and have submitted it to the assignment folder on Google Classroom. We are working on Unit 6 in Grammar, and I expect to find a few challenges with this week's lessons, so we'll take it slow to avoid frustration. 
In 6th grade Reading, the students are in our co-curricular unit with Social Studies on Greek Mythology.  They will also have a List 9 Vocab quiz on Friday. April 23rd.
In 7th grade Reading, students are hard at work studying the literary elements of a variety of short stories, a few of which the parents may be familiar with from their own middle school days!
Have a GREAT week!
Mrs. Morgan

3/14/21 Reading and Language Arts 6th and 7th Grade

Happy Windy Sunday, and the 4th Sunday of Lent!  How awesome is it that the STM Virtual Vegas Auction was successful and perfect for this "Covid" time?  Thank you to all of the parents who contributed to the success for the auction in volunteer hours and in financial support!  
School/Classroom News:  First, the St. Lucy Food Drive was a great success.  The NJHS students participated  filming a PSA for the morning announcements, and frequent homework reminders to bring in items led to a truck full of donations. Thank you!  On Thursday, to follow up on the successful visit of local author Robin Stevens Payes, the students enjoyed a virtual author talk about the Edge of Yesterday series of time travel books: The Edge of Yesterday, DaVinci's Way, and Saving Time. You can read more about Robin Payes's books here in a Washington Post article:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2017/04/17/this-author-wants-to-change-the-way-parents-consider-learning-and-stem/.  Books are available for order via FACTS and an order form was sent home on Thursday if your student is interested in following the historical mystery adventures of Charley Morton!
6th Grade Language Arts and Reading: The 6th graders are studying adverbs - time, place and manner, affirmation, negation, degree, comparative, superlative. This week we will study adverb phrases and clauses, then we will be take the Adverb test prior to the Easter holiday next week.  The 6th graders are also completing an Interview article, due by March 22nd. Each 6th grader has a list of questions to ask to facilitate a productive and informative interview about an event of national, local, or worldwide impact. We are looking forward to sharing our informational articles!  In Reading the 6th grade is reading Jane Yolen's series of historical "What Happened To" books, about the Salem Witch Trials and the Mary Celeste, to focus on the Comprehension Toolkit core skill #3 reading skill Asking Questions while reading. The students took the List 8 Vocab quiz and we will begin List 9 this week.  When we return from Easter we will begin small group reading and Greek myths. 
7th Grade Reading: The 7th Graders are working on nonfiction reading through Content Literacy and what makes for an issue: identifying a problem, searching for evidence, identifying a solution, searching for evidence of a solution.  The students chose an issue of worldwide, national, social, or personal importance from a list generated by the students, and the articles (with MLA citations!) are amazing!  (Can you tell I set aside February and March for nonfiction reading in 6th and 7th grade?)  We will begin the Short Stories unit when we return from Easter and start another round of independent reading books. 
No School for students on Friday, so only a four-day week.  Have a great one!
Mrs. Morgan

3/7/21 Reading/LA Class News

Dear 6th and 7th Grade Families,
Classroom updates first this week!  The St. Lucy Food Drive ends tomorrow.  If you have not already done so, in 6th grade we are collecting cereal and oatmeal.  We have had about 50% participation in 6-9 so far and hope to receive more donations tomorrow!  Thank you!  Next, the STM Virtual Vegas Auction is this upcoming Saturday night!  The event is free this year, and you can register now at https://stmvirtualvegas.ggo.bid/.  This is your big chance to bid on great items from the comfort of home, and local restaurants are also donating 10% to STM that night.  Grab your copy of the 6th Grade Cookbook while you're at it!  Last, and probably there are more things but I can't think of them right now, we are virtually hosting a local author, Robin Stevens Payne, on Thursday morning in middle school classrooms grades 6-8. Her website  http://www.edgeofyesterday.com/ has more information about her series of three books, the Edge of Yesterday series, about a time-traveling middle school student.  A Washington Post interview/article about her books can be found here https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2017/04/17/this-author-wants-to-change-the-way-parents-consider-learning-and-stem/
Calendar notes: 6 grade has Confessions this week on Wednesday.  
7th Grade Reading: The 7th grade has been working on nonfiction Content Literacy and using graphic organizers in their reading.  Using a current events article, students identified issues of interest (poverty, access to education, global charitable funding, child labor laws) and began developing an evidence tracker (issue/evidence that there is an issue/solutions/evidence of solutions) and we will work mightily to cite the sources using the MLA format.  In addition to the Content Literacy and research component, we have completed a few Wednesday writing pieces that have been insightful and reflective, if not entertaining as well!  We plan to have the articles completed before the Easter holiday. The students are also listening to Freak The Mighty by Rodman Philbrick. 
6th Grade Reading: The 6th grade has completed the Activate and Connect comprehension unit, using a variety of nonfiction books and articles. In addition, we are working on Vocabulary List 8, with the vocab test on Friday, March 12. In Storyworks this week we read a compare/contrast article about polio and Covid. We plan to tie this research article to a Language Arts assignment for expository writing, so look for an assignment sheet with instructions on that during the week and in Google Classroom.  This week the students will begin the Asking Questions comprehension unit, with lessons on questioning the text, reading to discover answers, and asking questions to expand thinking. 
6th Grade Language Arts: The students have completed the Verbs unit and we are beginning the Adverbs unit. The Adverbs unit is very short. The next writing unit is an expository article (expository definition - "intended to explain or describe something") which will fit in perfectly as an interview summary of a relative (see Reading, above) and this assignment will be completed before the Easter break as well.
Remember to keep your students reading every night!  
Mrs. Morgan

2/21/21 Welcome Back, Winter!

Anyone else missing fluffy, softly falling snow?
Luckily, we're looking at the last week of February, and can see March on the horizon!  For general calendar items: At STM, we're celebrating on Wednesday, February 24th with a Blue and White Dress Down or Spirit Wear STM.  Additionally, we will be holding make up tests/detention on Wednesday afternoon after school.
Did you student tell you that they've started using the outdoor classrooms for lunch/recess time?  They are clean and warm, and give students more time to eat and socialize away from their straight classroom rows!
7th Grade Reading: We started with our Content Literacy lessons, beginning with parallel notation (synthesizing information and noting your thinking) and completed our weekly Wednesday writing before the snow day on Thursday and virtual class on Friday. The next Content Literacy skill introduced will be Organizing Your Thinking (analyzing information to discern cause and effect). Students will be expected to have a choice book with them for independent reading on Thursdays.  I have a "traveling cart" with books from the library (right now I have "50 Must-Read Books for 7th Graders") on the cart, and will arrange Library visits for new books to read, but if your reader doesn't find a book on the cart or in the Library, they need to bring a book from home.
6th Grade Reading: The students worked on their Opinion essays last Tuesday and Wednesday, choosing sides on the topics "Should You Be Paid For Chores" and "Is It OK To Quit?".  (Unsurprisingly, most of the students are writing their persuasive essays with a view toward being paid for chores, as well as advocating for quitting unenjoyable activities.)  The snow day and virtual day pushed our next Comprehension Toolkit lesson: Activate and Connect alerts students to the impact background knowledge has on their learning and supports them to connect the new to the known. 6th Grade Language Arts: The students are on the last section of our Verbs unit, identifying indicative, emphatic, subjunctive, and imperative mood, as well as modal auxiliaries (should, could, would, may, can, etc.)  We will begin working on Letter Writing (such a fun writing unit that they will really enjoy - we write to businesses) once we are experts with verbs!
Have a great week!
Mrs. Morgan

2/7/21 Reading and Language Arts 6th and 7th Grade

Dear 6th and 7th Grade Families,
Thank you for an awesome Catholic Schools Week!  Even with two snow days (well - one snow day, and one virtual day) the students enjoyed a few of the dress down days, fun slideshows, treats, Mass, and BINGO!  We even went to Confession on Wednesday! THANK YOU for the Operation Turbo toothpaste donations!  
Homeroom Stuff: Please return the blue STM conduct interim that was sent home stapled to the green sheet.  (Speaking of green sheets - they need to be signed weekly, whether there are missing assignments or not!)   
Detention and/or Make Up Tests are this upcoming Wednesday, Feb. 10th, after school.  Pickup is at 4:15pm at Door 2. Check your student's green sheet for a stapled detention slip.  If the missing assignments are completed and signed off on prior to Wednesday, then the student does not have to serve the detention. 
6-9 is leading the school Mass on Friday, Feb. 12 at 10am.  All are invited if you would like to attend Mass with us that day! 
Re: Valentine's Day - we'll be planning for something that day but I am unsure what it will look like just yet.
There is No School next Monday, Feb. 15. (On a personal note, my second dose of the Covid vaccine is on Sat. Feb. 13, so from what I hear, it's great that it's the long weekend to recover!) 
Ash Wednesday is Feb. 17th! All are invited to attend Ash Wednesday Mass with us at 10am.
7th Grade Reading: Last week's snow brought only two in-person Reading classes in 7th grade, giving us the opportunity to review literary elements of character, plot, setting, theme, the pyramid plot diagram and complete a study guide for their books. Students should anticipate that (impending doom weather scenario permitting) they will complete their assessments on Monday and Tuesday. If you see a copy of Resistance or Touching Spirit Bear around the house or under a bed, please send it in with your student to be collected. 
6th Grade Reading: The 6th graders completed their List 7 assignments on Wednesday and took their Vocab test on Friday. On Thursday we reviewed the digital slide deck completed work and began reading Opinion pieces for our next writing piece: support for or against quitting an unenjoyable activity or payment for chores. Students get to choose and will use the opinion pieces to gather their supporting details. We will work on these on Th and F of this week. On M, T, W this week we will take a dive into nonfiction articles and practice various strategies into how we monitor our comprehension as we read. 
6th Grade Language Arts: Well - they can't say I didn't warn them that the Verb unit would be hard, because it is.  We're going slowly but thoroughly, with some opportunities for reteaching and reinforcement.  Since it's a long unit, I break it into three parts, and we're finished with the first third: principal parts of verbs, transitive and intransitive verbs, and linking verbs.  On Friday we began the Verb Tenses chart for Simple, Progressive, and Perfect Tenses, starting with simple present, simple past, and simple future tenses. (I'm not sure if I can claim that I make grammar fun, but I do try to make it meaningful and not too fraught with worry, pain, and agony!)
Happy Super Bowl Sunday!  I hope it's a great day for your family!
Mrs. Morgan

Dear 6-9 Families,
Mrs. Meehan and I gave these to the students when we returned from the Christmas Break, and most of them ended up on the floor, so our sincere thanks may have not made it home to you.  In this space, here is a posted pic of the thank you note (made from one I found on the classroom floor)!  Thank you again for your kindness and generosity at Christmas, and every day. 

1/31/21 Reading/LA News and 6-9 Homeroom

Hello!  Happy Sunday and beginning of Catholic Schools Week!
Academic news first, then general classroom information for 6-9 follows:
6th Grade Reading and LA, and 6-9 Religion: In 6th grade the students are working on the Verbs unit.  It is a long unit, so I break it into three parts to alleviate some of their worry.  The first part is verb forms and all lessons 4.1-4.6. The students should expect a test on Thursday. In Vocab, the students began List 7 last week and the biweekly Vocab test will be Feb. 5th. The 6th grade finished The Westing Game with a short, easy Google quiz and a character interview. On Tuesday the students learned about the Panchatantra, or "Five Books", which are a collection of ancient fables from India.  6th Grade will be moving to nonfiction text comprehension using https://www.heinemann.com/products/e06184.aspx
In Religion we interviewed a family member as part of our Chapter 12 assignments to compare/contrast "Keep Holy the Sabbath Day" as we learn about the Commandments. 
7th Grade Reading: Both classes have completed their class novels Resistance and Touching Spirit Bear.  Related assignments (poems, slideshow, online reading response questions) and a short Google quiz will be completed this week, and I plan to move onto Content Literacy/nonfiction lessons for 7th grade.  This will involve more reading with longer reading passages using SQ3R and making inferences/forming opinions.  7th graders tend to be very literal (and not very deep) in their thinking but love to make snap judgements - we will aim to at least make them evidence-based opinions and informed judgements. https://www.heinemann.com/products/e06186.aspx is my lesson resource if you would like to learn more.
Classroom News for 6-9:
6-9's virtual week went fairly well! Thank you for your help at home to make the week relatively successful for your 6th grader. Even with the no-electricity on Thursday morning they only missed two classes and were back for the 10:20am LA class with me. Missed classes were Religion and Art. Interims for the school went home on Friday so your student will receive his/her interim when we return to school.  
Please bring in a boxed toothpaste tube for our Operation Turbo donation box.
Crate Fines: At the end of the day, each student is expected to pick up his/her crate off the floor.  The cleaners come through each night and their efforts are to clean, not to pick up student crates.  When a student leaves at dismissal and doesn't pick up the crate, I have had to begin a "crate fine" of 25 cents to be donated to the Poor Box in the back of the Cathedral when we go to Mass on Fridays, because the task of picking up the crate falls to me or to another Purple Group student. Please ask your student if he/she owes a crate fine or two (or five) and bring in the donation by Friday. 
As I write this, the snow seems to have stopped, so I expect we'll be in school tomorrow!  Have a wonderful rest of your Sunday!
Mrs. Morgan

1.24.21 6-9 ONLY 6-9 Classroom Updates

Dear 6-9 ONLY Families,
By now, you should all be aware that your students are learning from home beginning tomorrow, Jan. 25, until they return to school on Monday, Feb. 1. This week will look a lot like last week except that teachers (including me) will be teaching from the classroom. It will be quite a quiet room this week!
Students need to sign in and be ready for class at 8am.  Ready for class means in an STM uniform shirt, seated upright at a desk or table, regularly supervised or working near an adult, with no background, or a blurred background, and breakfast/lunch/meals/snacks finished before class. I'd go so far as to suggest that any phones, tablets, etc. are stowed away during class time as well. . 
In addition, we require cameras to be on.  Last week, this was a struggle.  We are required to enforce this, which means we have to stop teaching in order to ask various students to turn their cameras on.  Additionally, many students have multiple tabs open, creating endless opportunities to play games, chat windows, etc. Please have your student located near a router or an area in your home with stronger internet.  Sometimes we would be told that their internet wasn't working/cameras weren't working/microphones weren't working but we would like to fix these issues with the school computers via Mr. Chris. 
The students have ONE Google Meet link to sign into for each class, continuously, throughout the day. The classes are only 30 min. so our expectation is that food/video games/lounging happens in the unscheduled time, not class time. They really do need to move around between classes as well.
I'm happy to host the link for lunch for anyone who would like to munch and lunch together.  
If something happens to this link and it expires before tomorrow morning, there will be another one generated before 7:45am.  ANY link needed will be posted to the "Mrs. Morgan's Homeroom" Google Classroom page. 

Jodie Morgan
6-9 Homeroom Teacher
Sixth Grade Reading and Language Arts/ Seventh Grade Reading Teacher
St. Thomas More Cathedral School
105 N. Thomas St.
Arlington, Virginia  22203

1/18/21 Classroom News

Dear STM students and families in 6-9, LA 6-9/6-7, Reading 6-9/6-7, and Reading 7-7/7-6,
Where to start?  
Tomorrow, your students should be following the Homestead Studies, Day 2 plan on the Homestead Studies matrix. Where can you find this?  It is found on the right hand side of this webpage (alternately known as an Edlio page). The assignments are posted in each Google Classroom. 
What happens on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday?  There is a Virtual/Distance Learning Schedule for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  However, Wednesday will look different, as 6-9 (and a few other middle school homeroom classes) will be participating in the Rosary Across America at 10am.  We will also invite your student to watch the Inaugural Ceremonies beginning at about 11:15 am until about 1pm. 
The primary communication from me to parents will be here on the teacher webpage as a post.
The primary communication to the students will be on our "Mrs. Morgan's Homeroom" Google Classroom page.  This is where the homework board is posted each (well, pretty much each) day. 
Good luck tomorrow, and I'll look forward to our first Google Meet at 9am on Wednesday morning, bright and early!
Mrs. Morgan

January 3, 2021 - Happy New Year!

Feast of the Epiphany
I hope that all of our students and families had a blessed, wonderful Christmas, and best wishes for a Happy New Year!  Thank you notes on the students' desks, and we should all be rested and refreshed for our return to school tomorrow. 
It will be a challenge to get back into our covid routine, beginning with checking in with the Magnus app each morning (teachers and admin are required to do it, too!) but my hope is that the students are mentally preparing already to wear their masks and gaiters appropriately through the school day without complaint, maintain their social distancing requirements, use the desk wipes and hand sanitizer without a ton of reminders, and most importantly, frequent handwashing at lunch and bathroom visits. Also - WATER BOTTLES.  Many students are having to go to Nurse Burnside to get paper cups because they don't have their water bottle.  The paper cups end up on our classroom floor instead of the trash can, and it's not very sanitary. As a reminder, the mitigation procedures require a closed water bottle, with no drinking from the water fountain. We've had lots of time at home in our own comfortable little biomes, and now, to maintain our in-person learning, we need to be extra vigilant about  health!
In 6th grade Reading, we will finish The Westing Game activities on Monday and Tuesday, work on Vocabulary in Action on Wednesday and Friday (Vocab in Action test on Friday, Unit 6 words) and Storyworks Thursday. 
In 6th grade LA, we will begin Descriptive Writing for the next two weeks, using our Voyages unit books as well as working on a Real Estate/Dream House writing assignment.  This descriptive writing assignment is a bit different from the one that I have done in the past, and I look forward to trying this new "Design a Dream House" resource. 
In 7th grade we'll work within our class novels Resistance (7-6) and Touching Spirit Bear (7-3) on Monday and Tuesday, a Quickwrite and author sharing on Wednesday, ReadTheory Thursday, and on Fridays, begin a short weekly question/answer written assessment on what we're doing/reading in class. I really miss spending more time with the 7th grade, only seeing them once per day.  Time is passing too quickly!
Have a great week!
Mrs. Morgan

12/17/20 Homestead Studies Round Two, Day 1

Dear 6-9 Families,
Arlington Public Schools are closed on file:///C:/Users/jmorgan/Downloads/Homestead%20Studies,%20Round%20Two%20(2).pdfThursday, so we will be moving to Homestead Studies, Round 2, Day 1.  These new Homestead Studies Round 2 were sent home about a month ago, and have everything your student will need to complete Days 1, 2 and 3.  
For Thursday, we're on Day 1.  I've attached the Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 here.  Any associated worksheets for the subject area assignments were photocopied and enclosed in the folders.  However, the folders are often lost or misplaced, so we have been asked to supply a scanned copy in the subject-area Google Classroom sites as well.  
For 6th grade Day 1, the subject areas are Reading (read 20 min.), Math, Social Studies, and Art.  Math has two options that are on the Math Google Classroom from Ms. Hickey or a worksheet assignment in the folder.  Social Studies has worksheet and Google Classroom options, which can be found on the Social Studies Google Classroom from Mrs. Meehan, and Art has options that are shown below.  These Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 grids are found in the Homestead Studies folders as well.
For Reading there are no Storyworks or other associated online or worksheet assignments.  To simplify things, students are expected to read.  (They're great readers, and should have The Westing Game on their laptops, as a suggestion.) 
I certainly didn't expect this, and was anticipating the students being able to take the Adjectives test before break.  I am sure that we'll be back on Friday, and we will definitely take it, even a shortened even/odd version, then so that the students don't worry about taking it and/or have holiday brain drain. 
If there are any questions or concerns, please contact me at jmorgan@stmschool.org.  See you on Friday for Dress Down/Dress Up for Christmas!

12/13/20 Merry (Almost!) Christmas!

Dear STM 6th and 7th Grade Families,
Thank you for subscribing to the classroom updates!  During the busy times everyone has at home on their weekends, I truly appreciate you taking the time to read the updates.  
Covid Info: The students have been champs in Covid world, really. Wiping down their desks each day, keeping their belongings separate and tidy, using sanitizer, staying distanced, socializing half-in/half-out at lunch/recess, wearing the gaiter, being in the room at their desks: the students have been great.  However, there is some fatigue setting in and enforcing the "rules" is an issue in the classroom. In Middle School, we have instituted a "Covid Warning" clipboard, where we will have students sign in, similar to the uniform/tardy sign-in clipboard, if we've had to provide too many warnings.  It really takes away teaching time to lecture and nag about safety.  If we have a student sign in 3 times, that's a warning, and if the three sign-ins are exceeded to three more, then we'll have a detention assigned.  
Christmas Play!: The students sang and recorded Christmas songs and the 8th grade performed the Nativity play - the entire performance should be released at some point this week between Monday and Tuesday!  This sounds like it was quite a feat and we are grateful in advance to Ms. K for taking on the Music/Computer role as well as keep our STM Nativity Play tradition alive and well!
Classwork this week for 7th grade: Both classes will be receiving STM copies of the book we are reading in each class: 7-3 will receive copies of Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelson and 7-6 will receive copies of Resistance by Jennifer Neilsen.  I was able to source class copies for a great price!  Students will receive the copies between Monday and Tuesday.  (Barnes and Noble isn't as fast as Amazon, alas.) In January, at the conclusion of our novel study and after a quarantine period of 1 week, I'll flipflop the books and 7-3/7-6 will start a new novel study with the class copies.  Last week we finished our study of Eleven by Sandra Cisneros. This week we'll read the the short stories The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant and Gift of the Magi by O. Henry and work on novel study discussion of plot, character, and events.
Classwork for 6th grade: In LA, the 6th graders will finish the Adjectives unit in Voyages this week!  We will review Interrogative, Demonstrative, and Indefinite Adjectives on Monday, complete the Adjective Review, and take the Adjective test on Wed/Thurs. The completed and corrected Adjective Review is the study guide. The Adjective Challenge is also an opportunity for extra credit!  In Reading, we are nearing the second half of The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.  The students have a pdf copy in Google Classroom to read 1-2 chapters each night, and should be finished with 20 independently-read chapters.
Have a wonderful 3rd week of Advent!
Mrs. Morgan