Jodie Morgan » Posts


10/5/20 Reading and LA Class News

Dear 6-9 Homeroom, 6-7 and 6-9 Reading and LA, and 7-3 & 7-6 Reading families,
This week in 6th Reading, the students will be finishing two assignments (one is about Manners and the other is about the History of Soap) and taking their New Kid vocabulary and text examples assessment on Thursday. They do know about this and it is not a surprise. That wraps up our study of the popular New Kid book! The two read-alouds that we have coming up for more "work" are Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly in 6-9 and We Are Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey in 6-7. (We will flip the books in about three weeks.)  In Grammar we took the Nouns test and are now starting a Personal Narrative.  We'll work on this for two weeks and then switch back to Grammar again.  In Religion we have been reading Chapter 3, Creation.  The students have learned definitions and examples of stewardship and free will.  The Chapter 3 assessment (true/false) will be on Thursday.  In 7th grade the New Kid assessment will be on Thursday (again, not a surprise) and we will continue to use text marking skills.  Our read aloud, Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills, will have a few assignments over the next two weeks before we move onto Elements of a Short Story and Close Reading. 
I hope that the Monday holiday today was so enjoyable that it can only be topped with ANOTHER Monday holiday next week!  
Mrs. Morgan

June 6, 2021

6-9 Homeroom, 6-9/6-7 Reading and LA and 7-3/7-6 Reading
Yikes!  The end of the school year is coming up more quickly than I'm ready for the end of the school year!
First, some homeroom things: Kayaking was SO FUN! I took some fun photos from the day out on the kayaks and will send them soon. We had SO much fun!  Any library books at home need to come back to school. On Monday, the 6-9 students (as well as other grades) are taking the Algebra Aptitude test. 6-7 goes kayaking on Wednesday. Thursday there is Conjugation Madness competition in Spanish. In the afternoon, we'll have all-homeroom. At that time your student will turn in their hardcover textbooks, and take everything else home. If your student doesn't think their stuff will fit in the backpack, please send in an extra bag to carry stuff home. No one gets to toss anything here at school. On Friday, it's just homeroom time until we head over to Mass (the liturgy is prepared by combined 6-7 and 6-9), and then homeroom time again. No one needs to bring lunch or backpacks to school on Friday!  If your student is not in school Friday, the report cards will be available for pickup in the office at your convenience. Friday afternoon is one party after another with the rising 7th graders party and then the Hot Dog Bash!
Next, some 6th grade academic stuff: In 6th grade LA, we'll present our congratulatory and thank-you speeches, and a paper plate award. Some of the speeches are to classmates and some are to parents - all are very sweet. Our business letters are complete and I really do encourage you to help your student send them to the businesses - you never know what incentives the company may send! In Reading, we are completing a School Survival Guide writing activity online and will finish that by Wednesday. For 6-7, I have not finished the Spy School read-aloud All of their 6th grade writing will be coming home - please take a look at everything and "celebrate" their work!
Now, some 7th grade academic stuff: The students need to return their copy of Woods Runner to me by Wednesday. I won't have any 7th grade classes after Wednesday (sadness!) so we'll be creating a plot diagram for Woods Runner and determining the importance of setting in a historical fiction selection on Monday and Tuesday, and reading our most recent writing (which is hilarious - the prompt was "It seemed like a good idea at the time..." I'm also aiming to finish reading Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick to them but time is really running short. Yikes again!  Writing portfolios and journals will also be coming home, and again, please "celebrate" this work and encourage your student to hold onto their Reading/Writing journals for the future - our Wednesday Writes were the source of a lot of effort and growth by your writers!
Last, a big thank you: It has been a great year, and truly, I don't know how we did it sometimes, except that more than ever we all had to work together.  Going from so much pandemic uncertainty in August, retooling and reworking lessons, materials, and methods to teach from a cart, classroom quarantines, three trimesters of learning, establishing the NJHS chapter, setting up outdoor classrooms, getting vaccinated, staying in cohorts, wearing masks all day (and getting used to it, which is really the most bizarre thing of all!) to having a somewhat normal STM year - we did it, and I'm so proud of all of us for lifting each other up and moving forward, every day! 
Best wishes for a sunny, lovely Sunday!
Mrs. Morgan 

5/23/21 Reading and Language Arts, 6-9 Homeroom

Happy Pentecost Sunday! As the cicadas hum outside, I'm always amazed at the cycles of life all around us - the cycle of our liturgical year, the cycle of the seasons as the "unofficial" start of summer begins, the life cycle of the cicadas, and now the cycle of year!
In 6-9 Homeroom news, we have our kayaking trip coming up on June 3rd. Mrs. Bauer has provided a handout with information and I have answered lots of questions, as well as showing the students some photos from our past kayaking trips.  It is such a fun day!  Thank you also for the robust donations to our homeless man in the vestibule; he was not there on Friday, but his bags were, so we left our bag with his bags, and I let Facilities know that our donation was there.
In 6th Grade Reading, the students have been working on the facts/Inferring skill with a comprehensive article about the Titanic.  We started the next Vocabulary unit and will take the Vocab test on Friday. In a coincidence, we were studying figurative language with a Storyworks article on the USS Indianapolis, while we were reading the Titanic resources! So, evidently, we know more about the sinking of large ships this week than we ever have before.
In 7th Grade Reading, we finished The Monkey's Paw by W. W. Jacobs mock trial, and both classes returned verdicts of not guilty for Mr. White. We are going to finish the 7th grade year with reading Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen. The focus of our reading is the literary device of "concurrent plot", as Samuel's parents are traveling one journey as captives of the British/Hessians, and Samuel is using all of his skills to find his parents. 
In 6th Grade Language Arts, we finished our Punctuation unit with a test on Thursday and started our fun Diagramming unit on Friday.  We've assigned a colored pencil color to all of the parts of speech - this should make the experience a bit more fun for the next two weeks! 
Have a great Sunday and week, and best wishes in advance for a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!
Jodie Morgan

May 1, 2021

Dear STM families in 6-9 homeroom, 6-9 and 6-7 Reading and LA and 7-6/7-3 Reading:
Happy May!  Here are some 6-9 homeroom updates, then 6th grade Reading and LA class updates, and then 7th grade Reading updates:
6-9 Homeroom: You can ask your student for it and if they say they don't have it, they're right...6-9 will receive their interims from me on Monday.  It was their turn for safeties this week so our time is limited during the last class of the day. It was quite a surprise for them to see that they only have a few weeks left on the green sheet! 6-7 begins their month as safeties on Monday. Additionally, Scantron testing begins next week.  The students have their STM laptops here at school charged and ready to go.  Last, Mrs. Meehan has communicated to the 6th grade families via two emails last week that Greek Day has been delayed due to poor social behavior and self-control. On that front, I'm preparing and praying for a kind, cooperative week!
6th Reading and LA: We are on the homestretch of the Sentences Unit, Chapter 6. Challenging material included lots of work with prepositions, prepositions that work as adverbs, and prepositional phrases used as adjective or adverb phrases.  To make grammar even more fun, we finished our lessons with identifying independent and dependent clauses using subordinate conjunctions as adverb clauses.  Hooray!  The students may do the Sentences Challenge by Thursday and will take the Sentences test on Thursday.  We completed our Persuasive Writing project with print or video ads.  The videos were definitely a hit. Thank you for participating in the advertising challenge!
Reading has been myths, myths, myths.  The Hercules test has been graded and returned and now the students have a collection of myth quizzes, a feature analysis chart, and an original myth to write (which we will do during LA this week.)  
7th Reading: How many short stories can 42 7th graders juggle in one week?  Three!  Four! We've completed a study of The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry, The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant, and fan favorite The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs.  We will begin a Mock Trial activity next week to determine guilt or innocence in The Monkey's Paw, then move onto a daylong study of The Fun They Had by Isaac Asimov, The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, and All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury. I will begin working with the students on a structured essay on a short story/topic. Side lessons have continued in study skills (note-taking) and paraphrasing, summarizing, and citations. At some point we will revisit the Informational Article and add in-text citations.  We have continued with the Wednesday mentor writing and our most recent work, a poem, is featured on STM social media. 
We are all working hard.  We know the students are going through a lot right now, socially and academically. Thank you for your patience and understanding, for your support and for your kindness as we navigate the end of this weirdly normal (but weirdly not) school year!
Mrs. 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:  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  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 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
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
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. 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