Welcome Page

Thank you for making the journey to school last night for Thrilling Thursday!  It was wonderful to greet parents in the school building again and we are very glad to be welcoming students back on Monday morning, bright and early!
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!)
Rest up and get ready with your skates on for the next couple of weeks. Middle school is fun and challenging, and we can't wait to get started!
Jodie Morgan


September 20-24, 2021

News from Mrs. Morgan for Rm 9 Homeroom, 7-3 Reading, 6-7 and 6-9 Reading and Language Arts on this spectacularly sunny September Sunday! 
Back to School Night: Thank you so much for coming to STM on Monday night for Back to School Night! I appreciated seeing so many familiar faces and the care and concern with which you send your student to school each day. Thank you for supplying fresh masks, for reinforcing uniforms and homework, signing the green sheet on Thursdays, and checking assignments and homework in Google Classroom. I appreciate all that you do to help your middle school student as they navigate this "they still need you but they also don't want to tell you they need you" time in their lives!
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe: We are so thankful to the STM PTO and Mrs. Pacheco for this family reading program, and to Connor Brittle for continuing to run our answers every morning down to the office! Next week begins Chapters 7 & 8.  Whether TLTWTW is new to you or an old favorite, C.S. Lewis's book is always a special read! 
Battle of the Books: The Battle teams meet on Tuesdays at lunch in the outdoor classroom. Last week the team finished J. K. Rowling's The Ickabog and are beginning Lee Bacon's The Last Human. Mrs. Meehan and I generally attend, and even more importantly, generally read the books too! Mrs. Pacheco is assisted by Eva Tzanavara, Panagiotis's mom.  Thank you for volunteering with the Battle of the Books!
Room Parents: Thank you to Christine Rance and  Maria Parker (Cristina's mom)  for volunteering their time to be room parents for Rm. 9!  We appreciate in advance all that you will be doing for Rm. 9 and the 6th grade this year! First up is the Race for Education! Speaking of...
Race for Education: Coordinated by Christine Rance (Maria Dozier's mom) and Ann Marie Coolick, this fundraiser helps STM enormously to update the school - last year's funds went to the water bottle refilling stations and the BIG TENTS outside! T-shirts are free (please order your shirt at the link in the STM blast or PTO newsletter). 
Sock Day: Rm. 9 donations made $40 toward the awesome total collected - thank you for your generosity!
Middle School Dance:  The Middle School Dance is 4:30 - 6:30pm on Thursday. The admission price is canned food and costumes from the 60s - 80s are encouraged!  Stay tuned this week for more information (there may be cash needed for food trucks) as it is confirmed. The Student Council is doing a great job of getting the students excited for the dance by promoting fun "throwback" dances on the morning announcements, and playing "Name That Tune"! Even our most reluctant and/or quiet students will enjoy Thursday's social!
Reading 7: In Reading, the students are expected to be halfway through independently reading The Seventh Most Important Thing. There is a YouTube channel where all 53 chapters are read aloud, the link is here: https://youtu.be/NPC5T_QPbqU
If this resource is helpful for your student, please let me know! We are reading now for analyzing scenes for cause and effect: what are the causes of the problems? What are the effects of the problems? What emotions are the characters feeling, and why do they feel that way?
LA 6: The students are beginning a two-week Personal Narrative writing unit. They will enjoy pulling from their past experiences to create a piece of writing that will be enjoyable for the reader by using an engaging and interesting lead, a sequence of events, and reasoning that makes the personal narrative story a special one for them. 
Religion 6: The students will complete and check the Chapter 2 study guide on Monday and Tuesday and begin Chapter 3, Everything God Created is Good. on Thursday. Last week we had a fun (in a Catholic school sort of way!) Bible Hunt activity where we searched for various Scripture passages in the Old Testament. It really is amazing how well the students have demonstrated their knowledge of the Bible when they get to middle school! 
Reading 6: The 6th graders will be finishing Nine, Ten next week and are pulling together the four characters' stories and how they are impacted by September 11. There will be a Vocabulary in Action, List 2, test on Thursday. A link that your students can use to practice for these tests can be found here: http://www.vocabularyinaction.com/students/sr-level-g
Best wishes for a great week!
Mrs. Morgan

September 13-17

Back to School Night is coming! Monday night at 6:30, we'll meet in the Cathedral for a welcome prayer service and then parents are invited to come to the homeroom classroom for a Back To School Night meet-and-greet with your student's teachers. The middle school teachers will circle through the rooms, with ample time to introduce ourselves, describe the class we teach, and highlight important information. Thank you in advance for your attendance!
Green sheets: We had a much improved parent signature average last week for Week 3 - way to go! Thank you, again, in advance for looking over the green sheet (that your student should be bringing to you on Thursdays) for any missing work that has been noted on the green sheet. Please remember to sign the green sheet, regardless of whether there is a missing assignment or not. A detention slip will be written and attached to the green sheet, but students do have until Tuesday of the following week to turn this work in and have it signed off. 
Scantron is this week - STM Scantron will be this week. The tests will be on Monday (Reading), Tuesday (Math), and Wednesday (Language Arts) during the first two class periods. 
Technology Loan Agreement Forms - Almost all of the tech loan agreement forms have been returned. Once Scantron is over the students should be permitted to take the STM laptop and charger home. If the laptop goes home, it will need to be cared for properly and come back to school the next day. I remind the students that A LOT of parent fundraising dollars go into purchasing those beautiful laptops!
In the classroom:
Reading 7 - The students have their own copies of Shelley Pearsall's novel The Seventh Most Important Thing. We are reading for themes and locating text examples to characterize Arthur Owens's journey to see that people are not always as they appear. Here is a YouTube link to a book trailer (featuring Washington DC!)  if you'd like more information on the book:
Language Arts 6 - This week the students will complete the last grammar lesson and complete the Chapter Review for use as a study guide. We will check it in class and an answer key will also be provided. The test will be at the end of the week. 
Religion 6 - This week, the students are working on Chapter 2, Scripture Reveals God's Saving Love. We will discuss the types of books found in the Old Testament (God's Law, Historical Books, Wisdom Literature, etc.)
Reading 6 - Students are working on three skill areas this week: writing (continuing our writing on belongings of special significance and why); reading (Nine, Ten, by Nora Baskin) and  Vocabulary in Action, List 2. The next Vocabulary in Action 30 point test will be next week, September 23rd. : 
Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and I look forward to seeing you on Monday night for Back to School Night!
Mrs. Jodie Morgan

Week 2 and Welcome to September! 9/6/21

Hello, readers of Mrs. Morgan's 6-9 Homeroom, 7-3 Reading and 6-7/6-9 Language Arts and Reading weekly update!
I am glad that you are here!  A few Homeroom reminders:
Picture Day is Wednesday, September 8th. All of the order form flyers were sent home last week. All information for ordering online, package information, etc. is all included on the flyer. Please contact me if you need more information about Picture Day! Battle of the Books meets on Tuesdays at lunch. The first book is Ikabog by J. K. Rowling. (I finished it over the weekend and it's so good!) A permission form/sign up was sent home after the interest meeting last Tuesday. 
Some musical opportunities are opening up!  Mr. Ward and the awesome award-winning STM Band is registering NOW! Forms for registration were sent home last week. On September 9th you can register for Band lessons and arrange for instrument rentals from 6:45 - 8:00pm in the Gym. Lessons begin Thursday, September 16th.  STM Youth Choir, led by Ms. Sheckels and assisted by Ms. Elledge, is back up and running! Rehearsals will be Wednesdays, 3:30-4:20pm, beginning September 8th. Check the Youth Choir page on the STM website under Student Life or contact youthchoir@stmschool.org. Last, Altar Server training will be Fridays from 4-5pm on September 10, 17, and 24. Contact Fr. Kevin Dansereau at frdansereau@cathedralstm.org
Back to School Night is rescheduled for September 13 at 6:30pm.
Parents: I know this is a lot of information to digest each week. Be sure to open and read the STM Wednesday email, as well as the PTO email. Subscribe to your student's teacher pages, particularly Mrs. Meehan's, and be sure to open the Edlio update emails when you get them. Thank you!  
6th Grade Reading: We have had two weeks of establishing routines for Reading class and are moving right along. We had a wonderful Thursday Cafe reading class. There will be a Vocabulary in Action test this Friday. The Vocabulary in Action book is BLUE. We are on List 1. The students complete a writing activity each Tuesday called Life Lists. This week we are on Life List 3. We are reading a book in class together: 6-9 is listening to Hatchet as a read-aloud and 6-7 is listening to Island of the Blue Dolphins. The Summer Reading assignment was due on Friday. Weekly book logs will be due each week beginning September 10. 
7th Grade Reading: Again, we have had two weeks of establishing the weekly Reading routines. On Wednesdays, the students write from a mentor text and have completed two assignments. We had a successful Thursday Cafe reading class. As a getting-to-know-each-other activity, the students researched and wrote a "What's in a Name" essay. 
6th Grade Language Arts: The students are working on Nouns. We have had two quizzes and I anticipate that their first grammar test will be next week. I can be more specific once we move through a few more lessons. 
6th Grade Religion: The students have a Chapter 1 Study Guide that is due on Tuesday, and we will check it in class. The Chapter 1 test will most likely be Wednesday.
Please contact me at jmorgan@stmschool.org if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you!
Mrs. Jodie Morgan

Week 1 and done!

Dear 6-9 Families,
Congratulations on surviving your student's first week of middle school!  They are a wonderful class of students!
On Monday and Tuesday, I know you were inundated with papers that needed to be signed and returned.  Monday was an all-homeroom day and Tuesday the students had short rotations to their subject area classrooms in the morning.Here is a quick checklist to see if you've done your "homework":
Here are some items to be aware of that are due by Friday: 
_____return a signed Middle School Rules slip
_____a signed PE letter for your student to give to Mrs. Bauer
_____a signed/initialed copy of the Homeroom Letter (there is a little clipart of a chalkboard on it - two copies were provided/keep one at home/send back the other)
_____classroom contracts for Religion, LA, and Reading (and others given by subject teachers, such as Math and Social Studies)
_____purchased/found/located five Book Sox for the hardcover books
_____covered the Voyages workbook with contact paper* (this one travels between home and school frequently) *It's not required to cover it but the book will hold up much, much better if you cover it with contact paper
_____make sure your student has signed up to his/her Google Classrooms
_____has turned in a paper or online Summer Reading project
On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the 6th graders switched classes all day like champs, navigated the hallways with binders and textbooks, used their cubbies, went to the Cathedral for singing practice on Thursday and again on Friday for Mass, where they were wonderful...I am very proud of all of them!!!
Back To School Night begins in the Cathedral with a Prayer Service at 6:30 and then over to the classrooms for a short teacher presentation. We will meet in just the homerooms, so if you have a 6th grader in Rm. 9, I look forward to seeing you in the classroom for a nuts-and-bolts Back To School Night on Wednesday!
I usually update this page on Sundays, and if you are subscribed, the weekly post will be automatically emailed to you. Have a wonderful evening! 
Mrs. Jodie Morgan

Welcome Back! August 20, 2021

Thank you for making the journey to school last night for Thrilling Thursday!  It was wonderful to greet parents in the school building again and we are very glad to be welcoming students back on Monday morning, bright and early!
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!)
Rest up and get ready with your skates on for the next couple of weeks. Middle school is fun and challenging, and we can't wait to get started!
Jodie Morgan

10/18/20 6-9 Classroom, 6th Reading/LA and 7th Reading

Dear families,
     Thank you for finding your way to the Teacher Pages this weekend.  We appreciate your extra steps to find the communication in one central location!
     On Friday, 6-9 participated in the 12:05pm Mass at STM.  We were joined by 6-7 as well because they didn't want to miss Mass, either!   Here is the link if you would like to see your readers in action!  Mass begins after the Rosary.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqMmwv2m3vc&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1Gdadq4KPAlIrVQv3kmw8WTzMS-nQFUYAQCDUieCEkHRCBcmNm5yapnYg
We have a small treat for the students in 6th grade (a Sacred Heart prayer card because it was the Feast Day of St. Margaret Mary Alocoque) to thank them for their reverence and devotion at Mass.
     This week is the Race for Education!  It's not really a race, it's more of a fun run, and it's definitely fun!  We will not have PE on Tuesday, so your student will wear regular school uniform on Tuesday and wear their race shirts and PE shorts/sweats on Wednesday.  6-9's race time is 1:35-2:05pm.  We will start right on time, since this year we have only 30 minutes instead of the usual hour!
     Thank you for all of the Scholastic book orders that have been placed!  I will send the orders on Friday.  https://orders.scholastic.com/F94QY
       In 7th grade Reading, we will continue with close reading/text marking and Zero Tolerance, by Claudia Mills.  In 6th grade Reading, we are working on responses for Song for a Whale by Lynn Kelly and We're Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey, along with other activities in Vocabulary in Action (test on List 3 on Friday).  In LA, we are working on Pronouns.  In Religion, we will take the Chapter 4 test this week. 
     Some resources you may be interested in for further practice for your student are available through Loyola Press.  This is the publisher for our Religion Christ Our Life series, Voyages language arts series, and Vocabulary in Action series (Level G).  
quizzes and practice for vocabulary
fun quizzes, chapter review, etc. for Religion. 
I hope you find these resources helpful!  
Have a wonderful week,
Mrs. Morgan


Dear families of 6-9 homeroom, 6th grade Reading and LA and 7th grade Reading students,
Good evening!  We should be ready for a pretty great week!  Last week included the first band lesson, which will be outdoors weather permitting, with Mr. Ward, and this week we will have our first early dismissal.  Each week we do a little something new and add a little more to our routines.  Please note the dismissal times for this upcoming Friday's early release day: 
Any changes to your student's current dismissal routine must be received in the STM office by 10:15am.
11:20 am - Blue Group Dismissed
11:30 am - Orange Group Dismissed
11:40 am - Purple Group Dismissed
14 days in, so far so good!
7th grade Reading: the students in 7-3 and 7-6 have completed two Home Assignments connected to our One Book, One Middle School.  The student responses have been so GREAT to read!  I hope that they have stimulated some good discussion.  This week we will discuss two more vocabulary terms and receive a study guide for the New Kid "test", which will be taking the vocabulary words we have been learning and determining evidence in the book.  In classwork, the students are practicing a skill called Synthesizing Information, and we are using close reading/text marking/annotating strategies on short passages.  I follow up the short passages with a copy of the answer key, so that the students see if their text marking is matching up with the skill being taught.  It might seem like baby work but annotating is a big part of 7th grade Reading for both fiction and nonfiction reading.  The students have all logged into ReadTheory with their individual accounts, and should complete 5-10 quizzes per week.
6th grade Reading: the students in 6-9 and 6-7 are reading New Kid and have submitted good responses to the Home Assignment questions due each Friday.  They will receive a study guide in class for their "New Kid" test, which will be based on the 6 vocabulary words we have studied and text evidence to demonstrate each vocab term.  We have text-based Reading instruction on Mondays and Tuesdays, with Vocabulary on Wed and Fri and Storyworks on Thursdays.  We have kept to the routine for the past two weeks and I see that the routine is working for the students!
6th grade Language Arts: We are finishing up Chapter 1 in Voyages, Nouns.  The students have had two "miniquizzes" and will take the Chapter 1 test on Thursday.  Last week the students learned about possessives, appositives, and nouns used as nouns and nouns used as verbs and nouns used as adjectives.  We will complete the Chapter Review in class or for hw if not finished and we will check it in class on Tuesday.  Wednesday gives us a bit more time to practice and then Thursday is the test.  
Religion: We will begin Chapter 3, Everything God Created is Good.  We took our Chapter 2 test on Friday and the Chapter 3 test will be next Tuesday, October 6.  Religion class isn't a chore, it's pretty joyful, and the hard work we're doing on studying the Old Testament will show up in dozens of ways as your child continues to grow in faith and learn more about the Church. 
Thank you so much for all you do!
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

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 our...school 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:  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