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
 

Posts

11/29/20

Dear 6th and 7th Grade Families,
 
I hope that everyone has enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving break!  It was glorious to have the extra gift of the Tuesday holiday added to our break.  We enjoyed a new outdoor activity, suggested by Sra. Bonilla, to walk on the Wilson Bridge over to National Harbor and back.  What a great close-by activity to enjoy, if you have not done so yet!
 
I know you get multiple reminders from various emails, but to echo that information here as well:
 
Photo retakes: When we return this week, there are individual photo retakes on Tuesday.  If you are having your student retake his/her photo, please have your student wear the top part of the regular winter uniform to school along with the PE sweatpants and sneakers.  *Remember to send back in the photo package that was sent home previously.*  
 
December birthdays: Birthday dress-down (out of uniform) for December birthdays is Wednesday!  
 
First Trimester: Report cards will go home on Friday, Dec. 4th.  Please return the signed copy of the report card by Dec. 11th.
 
In Reading/LA classes: In 7th grade, we will be starting our Elements of a Short Story unit, which will take us up through the Christmas break.  We will apply the literary vocabulary terms and expand on their use via reading 5-7 examples of well-known examples of the short story genre.  Our class read-alouds are Resistance by Jennifer Neilsen (7-3) and Touching Spirit Bear  by Ben Mickelsen. (7-6). M/T will be short story work, W is mentor text writing day, and Th/F are class novel days.  Your students may choose to download or purchase copies of the book but otherwise these are read-alouds in the classroom and there is no need to purchase any books.
 
In 6th grade Reading, we're beginning a whole-class study of the novel The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin on Mondays.  Unless you have a copy of this title (published in 1978) at your house, it isn't necessary to purchase a copy.  We will be annotating as we go and I will provide your students with copies of the book, both online and in paper form.  On Tuesdays we will have directed lessons in reading non-fiction, using The Comprehension Toolkit for Middle School (https://www.heinemann.com/products/e06184.aspx). We will continue with Vocabulary in Action on W/F and Storyworks core skill reading on Thursdays.  In LA we have completed the "how to" article and diagram and will begin Verbs.  This is a challenging unit and I expect that this year we should be able to conclude this unit before the holiday!
 
The next three weeks will be challenging, fast, and busy! 
 
Sincerely,
Mrs. Morgan
 
 
 
 
 

11/22/20

Dear 6th and 7th Grade Families,
 
We have one day of school tomorrow, then a lovely Thanksgiving break to look forward to enjoying before returning to school for what will most likely be a fast three weeks!
 
First things first: 
Conferences!  Thank you for Zooming with me and engaging in great discussions about your students during our Parent/Teacher Fall Conference Days!  I love a lot of things about Fall Conferences, but my favorite part is that meeting with the families always fills in the larger picture of the students I've come to know through teaching.  Thank you for all that you do.
 
Next:
We had a few items in progress during the quarantine learning and other assignments that were due prior to the end of the trimester.  If you're looking for some dinner table conversation today, you could ask about some of these assignments:
 
7th grade:  This week the students completed five paragraphs about the novel Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills.  They were asked to write a "SWBSF" summary; an application of a real-life example; an examination of decisions made by one or more of the characters; how the main character changed from the beginning of the book to the end; and finally, stating an opinion of zero tolerance policies, and reasoning to support the opinion.  The students also wrote short Epilogues to share in class.  7th graders also completed a Literary Terms vocabulary quiz last Tuesday and completed three mentor writing assignments connected to Memoir: a graphic based on traveling home, a structured paragraph about home, and a writing piece connected to writing about events.  We will begin our Short Stories study after Thanksgiving break.
If you are curious about the resources used in 7th grade Reading, please take a look at the 7th Grade Reading tab on my page.  Homestead Studies work on Song of the Trees is due no later than Monday, November 23rd. 
 
6th grade:  In Reading, the students have completed their novel studies with Mrs. Morgan (We're Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey) and Song for a Whale by Lynn Kelly) with Mrs. O'Rourke.  Students have received their scored List 4 Vocabulary and have started List 5 in Vocabulary, and of course reading and completing core reading skill work with the engaging content of Storyworks feature articles by Lauren Tarshis.  In Language Arts, the students have received their scored Pronouns tests and completed their How-To article writing and drew or computer-created instructional visuals: diagrams and flowcharts. The students enthusiastically worked on their flowcharts and diagrams, including some humor along the way.
 
6th grade Religion: We learned about the Old Testament figures Isaac and Jacob the past two weeks, and have completed prompts in our Religion journey notebooks on how we bring Jesus to others.  I was heartened by the students who genuinely bring the words and actions of Jesus to others.  To be able to bring your faith forward for the benefit of comforting others is a wonderful thing to see.
 
Have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving!
 
Mrs. Morgan
 
 

10/12/20

Dear STM Families of students in Homeroom 6-9, Reading and LA 6-8 and 6-9 and Reading 7-3 and 7-6,
 
Blessings on this rainy day! 
 
Interims: Please ask your student for the blue STM conduct interims sent home on Friday.  They should be returned, signed, by the end of the week.  If you have concerns regarding the conduct interim, please send me an email!
 
Picture Day - Tomorrow is Individual Picture Day, and the students will wear their regular school uniform with sneakers and socks.  The order forms went home last week via your students so be sure to ask your student for the order form.
 
Scholastic Book Orders - Speaking of order forms - I will be sending home Scholastic TAB (Middle School) book order forms.  Scholastic Books Clubs offer a terrific number of awesome reading choices, and provide excellent value.  The Clubs also offer free books for the classroom, based on the amount of books purchased.  We LOVE getting the Scholastic box in the mail!  Send in a paper order form or order online at https://clubs.scholastic.com/home  F94QY is the order code!
 
Detention/Make-Up Tests - alternating Wednesday afternoons are set aside for detention and make-up tests.  Each homeroom teacher will host his/her own students to keep the cohorts separate.  Detention begins this Wednesday, October 14, from 3:30-4:30pm.  Students will be dismissed from Door 2!
 
Mass - The class Mass for 6-9 is this upcoming week, October 16.  The class Mass for 6-7 is October 23.  Please join us if you can, Friday mornings at 10am in the Cathedral.
 
Classroom News- The 6th graders have completed two writing assignments in Reading/LA.  One piece is a short essay on Manners,  and a lengthier personal narrative.  We will continue content editing "behind the scenes" on Google Classroom.  In class we will begin Pronouns in Grammar and Word List 3 in Vocabulary.  We are reading Song for a Whale, by Lynn Kelly, in 6-9 and We Are Not From Here, by Geoff Rodkey, in 6-7.  7th graders are enjoying our class novel Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills and continuing lessons in compare/contrast and fact/opinion. 
 
Back to School Night Videos - Videos were created for Virtual Back To School Night and were emailed last Monday at 5pm.  I hope that you had a few moments to watch the presentations from the teachers!
 
Race for Education is next week! 
 
Have a great week!
 
Mrs. Morgan
 
 
 

10/25/20 Mrs. Morgan's Class 6-9, 6-7 and 6-9 Reading and LA, and 7-3 and 7-6 Reading

Happy rainy Sunday and brrrr....
 
Congratulations to all on the 7th consecutive school week, which included the Race for Education!  
 
Race for Education - In 6-9, we had awesome participation on Pledgestar and I am so grateful for your support of the school and the Race!  The money raised is going to some great things for the building and I can't thank you enough!  We do have some photos and I'm looking into a way to share them.  Our group went right after lunch on Wednesday, as the sun was bursting out and the temps got HOT, but we persevered through our full tummies and clocked some great laps!
 
Scholastic Orders - Thank you for ordering books for your students and supporting the classroom by ordering books.  I was able to gain 20 more titles by Rick Riordan, Gordon Korman, and many others, for the classroom bookshelves thanks to bonus points awarded via Scholastic's programs.  The next book order flyer will go home in mid-November. 
 
Summer Reading - On the subject of books, can I brag to you about YOUR readers?  Between the 6th and 7th grades, 100% of the students completed their summer reading, on time, and did an excellent job with their theme and summary paragraphs.  Thank you for your support at home!
 
Homestead Studies - Ask your student for his/her blue Homestead Studies folder, which was sent home last week.  Put it in a super safe spot, to save it from getting accidentally tossed out or lost under a bed.  In the event of a couple of snow days or quarantine, we will be utilizing the three days of subject area lessons in the Homestead Studies folders.  
 
Halloweeeeeen - Boo!  We are not having the Middle School Social this year (we will attempt a fun social as soon as we are able) but the room parents are putting together treats for the students, in accordance with mitigation guidelines.  Thank you so much!
 
No School on Friday - There is no school for students on Friday, October 30th.  (There is school for teachers, though!) However, we look forward to seeing you at the Trunk or Treat on Friday night if you are planning to attend!
 
Confessions - The 6th grade had Confessions on Wednesday.  I was so very proud of their reverence and patience.  We had Fr. Dansereau and Fr. Garcia as our priests, and everyone returned back to school with shiny clean hearts!
 
Classroom Work - We hope that this week will be a relatively normal week.  In LA for 6th grade, we are persevering with pronouns.  The students took a short miniquiz on subject and object pronouns last week.  The pronouns unit test will most likely be Nov. 5th.  In 6th grade Reading, we have completed Vocab List 3, reading about Wilma Rudolph ("Was she real?" "Yes, she was real!" We looked up pictures online of her at the Olympics!  They couldn't believe Wilma Rudolph overcame polio to run in the Olympics, and win!) and reading our class novels Song for a Whale by Lynn Kelly and We Are Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey 
 
In 7th grade Reading, we tackled the comprehension skill cause and effect, which gets easier to understand as students are in middle school.  Mentor writing this week included a piece of writing based on an excerpt from The Terrible Two by Jory John and Mac Barnett.  Students volunteered to share their writing in class on Thursday and Friday. The students are nearly finished with our class novel, Zero Tolerance, and we will begin literary elements. 
 
Useful Resource for Reading - All 6th and 7th grade students have a readtheory.org account.  They are bookmarked on their laptops. The goal is 20 passed quizzes by the end of the first trimester.  We aim for ReadTheory time on Thursdays. For 7th graders, they are getting used to Mrs. James's www.noredink.com program, and ReadTheory is much the same.  It does provide great practice.  6th grade enjoys the program as well and is quickly reaching their 20 quizzes goal.  
 
Have a great week!
 
Mrs. Morgan
 
 

11/9/20 Classroom News

Dear STM Families in 6-9 and Reading/LA 6-7/6-9 and Reading 7-3/7-6,
 
Blessings on this glorious Monday morning!  We will be in-person again on Tuesday, November 17th.  According to Mrs. Davis's email, STM is closed for deep cleaning so we will all be working and learning from home for the next week. 
 
Homestead Studies - The students do have their blue Homestead Studies folders, and assignments have also been updated within the various teachers' Google Classroom pages. Today, November 9, is a transition day.  Everyone gets a breather to get organized.  Tomorrow, Nov 10, students complete Day 1.  Wednesday, Nov 11, in honor of our Veterans, the students have no school assignments.  Thursday, Nov 12 and Friday, Nov 13, conferences will continue at their previously scheduled time via Zoom.  Students should complete Day 2 over those two days.  On Monday, Nov 16, students should complete Day 3.
How to turn these in will vary by teacher, subject, and assignment.  If your student has questions about anything, he/she should reach out to the subject area teacher.  There is a week "grace period" allowance, so all Homestead Studies work is due by Nov. 23rd.
 
Conferences - The Zoom call information will be auto-sent on Thursday morning.  In advance of the conferences, score reports for Scantron, along with an explanatory cover letter, were sent home on Friday.  Please ask your student for this information if he/she has not already given it to you! 
 
Help at home needed-   Both of the 6th grades are going to be working on a visual aid flowchart for a how-to article.  Students have a homework assignment to bring in two samples of diagrams from craft kits, toys, games, cookbooks, vehicle manuals, home appliances, electronics.  Thank you in advance for helping your student locate these items around your house.  
 
PowerSchool and outstanding assignments -  Over the weekend and through Wednesday, I will be locating and updating "lingering lost and late" assignments.  If you or your student have questions about something missing/ungraded, please send me an email.  
 
"So, what WERE you planning on doing in school this week?"
Good question!  In LA, students in 6th grade took the Pronouns Test and we started on our How To article brainstorming and use of transition words and writing for the appropriate audience.  Classwork on Friday was expanding on "How to Wrap a Gift".  We would have practiced using Microsoft Word to create our flowcharts.  In Reading, 6th graders in 6-7 finished the novel We're Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey and started working on videos or storyboards for "Meet the Human".  In 6-9, students completed assignments for Song For a Whale by Lynn Kelly and both classes will next read and discuss Aesop's Fables to end the first trimester.  Both 6th grades continue with Vocab on W/F and independent Storyworks assignments on Thursdays. In addition, 20 passed quizzes must be completed on ReadTheory by the end of the first trimester.
 
In 7th grade, we (finally, yet sadly) finished our class novel, Zero Tolerance, by Claudia Mills. The 7th graders have also finished practice close reading and text marking to improve strategic reading skills for nonfiction and improve comprehension.  There will be a graded assessment associated with completing each of these units of study, and study guides will be placed in the 7th Grade Reading Google Classroom page.  Prior to the end of the trimester, I plan to have the students annotate a Reading selection, Eleven, by Sandra Cisneros.  During the 2nd trimester, we will begin right away with Cornell note-taking and Elements of a Short Story.  Students should be studying for a vocabulary definitions test for Literary vocabulary.  The test would have been on Tuesday, Nov 10 and will be Nov. 17 when we return to school.
 
Please keep our school community in your prayers.   Enjoy this beautiful weather!
 
Sincerely,
Mrs. Morgan
 
 
 

11/1/20

November 1, 2020
 
Happy All Saints Day! Some food for thought: "On the first day of November each year, we celebrate All Saints' Day.  This day is designed to remind us that most saints were not canonized; nobody will ever know they were saints.  It is also designed to remind us that we are all called to be saints, in our own way, and in our own place and time." Rediscover the Saints, by Matthew Kelly
 
Trunk or Treat and Halloween - Going back to Friday night, however...so much fun!  It was great to see so many students and families at Trunk or Treat!  What a great event for families.  Thank you for being there!  Students were provided with simple treat bags, courtesy of the 6th grade room parents.  Thank you, Ms. Merani, for your work!
 
Fireside Chat - Thank you for the support, communicated to Mrs. Davis via the Five Things Fireside Chat.  It is a huge thing, knowing that the PTO, through the parents, and the parents themselves, are fully involved in keeping the STM Community a safe place to teach, learn, and grow.
 
Winter Uniform - begins tomorrow, November 2nd.  I've copied the grid below, but in taking a look, here's what I am expecting to see tomorrow: navy blue sweaters (which are optional, but students aren't allowed sweatshirts and hoodies in the classrooms, so getting a sweater is always a good idea) over polo shirts for girls and boys, girls wearing navy tights if wearing a plaid skirt, white socks, and no more shorts. In the uniform grid, it shows that socks are supposed to be white with no logos. Mrs. Morgan hasn't been super strict with the socks, so if your student has been wearing blue or black socks, it's because she didn't read the fine print on the uniform guidelines. 
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gpVDdNjYfVbQDEgsWT3Uc_OccNDjjgu9/view
Quick reminder about jewelry: post (non-dangling) earrings are ok.  Nail polish is still a no-no. Regular watches are ok.  Bracelets and scrunchies worn around the wrist are not ok.  Necklaces are to be a religious in nature, such as a cross, crucifix, or a religious medal.
 
This week in class - We have about three weeks to the end of the first 12 weeks of school...which is awesome!  In LA this week we'll have a Pronouns test on Thursday, November 5, then start on our next Writing piece.  In Reading, we continue with M/T novel study on M/T, Vocabulary on W/F, and Th Storyworks-based Reading.  In 7th grade, we have the end of our novel coming up, ReadTheory to do, and text annotations.  In Religion, we have the Chapter 6 test, Abraham is Our Father in Faith, on Tuesday.  
 
Have a great week!
 
Mrs. Morgan
 
 
 

9/20/20 News

Good afternoon 6-9 Families!  
 
What a glorious weekend it has been!  
Tomorrow is a Dress Down Day.  Please keep the clothing modest and seasonally appropriate!  Either gaiter color may be worn.

Our first 5-day week went well!  I'm really proud of all of the students with their adherence to and understanding of the procedures.  
There is some follow-up with a few things:
-Art Smock is needed: bring in an old shirt for an Art smock, if not already done.  Have it packed in the backpack, where it will stay between Art classes.  
-Reusable water bottle: the water fountains are for refilling water bottles.  Last week we had a number of students who did not have a water bottle.  What to do?  If possible, put an extra empty water bottle in the backpack to keep in there for a time when the regular water bottle is forgotten.  
-Book from home: During dismissal, the students are encouraged to work on homework, draw, or read.  The classroom is filled with books, but at the end of the day, a book from home might be welcome as your student awaits their color group to be called.  A drawing book, favorite book, puzzle book, etc. may be helpful to bridge the waiting time between 3:05 until your student's dismissal group is called. 
-Uniform sweater: The Middle School requires a navy blue uniform sweater.  The classrooms are a consistent 73 degrees in  keeping with the RAMP guidelines, and it can be chilly off and on when the a/c is intermittently blowing.  Your student needs to have an STM uniform sweater, not a sweatshirt or hoodie, if he/she is chilly in the classroom.  The sweatshirts/hoodies are fine for outside but can't be worn in the classroom.  If your student's is on order and hasn't arrived yet, please send me an email so that I am aware.
-Mass: We have attended two Masses in the Cathedral, and considering that some students haven't been in-person for Mass in quite some time, they're doing remarkably well and appear very happy to be back in the Cathedral!  Please feel welcome to join us at the 10am Mass on Fridays.  6-9 sits to the right of the altar toward the back, behind 8th grade.  We are one student per kneeler, so if you can join us, we'd love to have your socially-distanced presence!  
-Technology Loan Agreement and Acceptable Use Agreement- both of these documents need to be signed and returned before your student can take the laptop home.  We'd like to get all of the forms completed by Sept. 25.  The Tech Loan form was a hard copy with your student's school laptop serial number, and the Acceptable Use form was a Google Form, which automatically registers your completion.  If I don't have one or both, I'll send a quick email reminder.  
-Communication - Make sure you're getting the Wednesday email from the school!  I am on the mailing list and mine consistently goes to junk mail folder, so I have to open that folder each week to view the Wednesday email.  In addition to the Wednesday email, the "postcards" with quick, current updates go there (for me) as well.  Let me know if you're having trouble with receiving emails, etc.  The email list I am using for the weekly news is based on the emails provided on the orange Homeroom Letter.
-6-9 Reading- Mrs. O'Rourke is READY to come back to school and get busy with Reading for 6-9!  The students in 6-9 can expect to see her tomorrow!
 
Thank you for all you are doing at home to keep your students safe and healthy.  I hope you had a wonderful weekend!
 
Sincerely,
Mrs. Morgan
 
 
 
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

September 7

Dear 6-9 Families,
 
Thank you so much for arranging to have your 6th grader attend their homeroom orientation session at school!  I was so happy to see each and every socially-distanced desk finally have a socially-distanced student sitting in it, looking pretty happy to be there!  We have been hard at work getting ready for the first day of classes, and while much is different about the upcoming year, we are very happy to be preparing lessons and class materials for our students!
 
At the end of the Orientation session, I sent each student home with a copy of the session presentation, which I hope that your student has shared with you.  A few items to note: the school supplies for the students are ready at their desks, but each student needs to have 5 extra large book socks (any patterns or designs are fine!), an old but clean sock to keep the whiteboard marker in, and a reusable water brought to school and taken home at home at the end of each day.  We would like the hardcover textbooks to be swaddled in book socks by September 14.  The school supplies did include binders and pens/pencils/pencil case, but if your student has his/her own items he/she would like to bring in and use, they are of course welcome to do so!  
 
When packing your student's lunch, be aware that all lunch trash will be repacked into their lunchbox and taken back home.  That will include drink bottles, any plasticware you've packed, etc. If your student has a yogurt cup, for example, have them squish a napkin etc. into the cup when they finish.  The classrooms are not nut-free and there is no food sharing.  6th grade has an earlier lunch than intermediate had last year, so we don't have snack. Make sure each day that your 6th grader has had a protein breakfast. Lunch is at 12:15pm with half of the students eating at their desks in the room while the other half runs around outside (in our designated running-around area) then we switch halfway and the students who were outside running around for a bit will come inside.  We do have cohort-only recess equipment specific to our homeroom for use during recess. 
 
We are looking forward to the first day!  Leave yourselves plenty of time to not rush. The Magnus health assessment has been streamlined for ease of use. Please be patient with dropoff and dismissal - even in a normal year we all know the first two weeks take a long time while everyone learns what to do and the younger students learn how to exit their cars more quickly.  At dropoff, your 6th grader will enter through the gym doors.  At dismissal, your 6th grader will reappear via the gym doors.  In a recent email from STM you should have received the dismissal last-name schedule.  If you don't have this information please email me and I'll forward the school email to you. 
 
The gaiter color for the first day is royal blue - navy blue for MWF and royal blue for T Th.  
 
I think that's everything: get some book socks, find an old clean sock, make a packed lunch and bring a refillable, reusable water bottle, wear the correct uniform, and the royal blue gaiter, and do the health assessment. If you have any questions I haven't answered, please email  me!  I'll do my best to answer the question and if I can't, I'll put you in touch with a person who can!
 
Best wishes for a relaxing Labor Day weekend, and we'll see you on Tuesday!
 
Sincerely,
 
Mrs. Morgan
 

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