Jodie Morgan » Posts


May 30 - June 2, 2023

Dear Families,
Now that Memorial Day weekend is here and the unofficial start of summer, I hear "Mrs. Morgan! Are you ready for the end of the school year?" and my response is usually "oh my gosh no" or something along those lines, because truly the next week and a half is going to fly by and keep us so busy!  Summer comes so quickly, and the crush of end-of-year events, such as Battle of the Books, the Band Concert, Arts Night, and field trips keep us on our skates.
To be sure that you know what's up at school, here is a helpful digest of what's happening between May 30 and June 7:
Tuesday, May 30: Field Trip! If you have not signed the online waiver, please do so ASAP to minimize hiccups in getting everyone on the bus. The PowerSchool parent portal will close on Tuesday at some point,, so I am working hard this weekend to update PowerSchool so that there are no surprises!
Wednesday, May 31: June and Summer Birthdays dress down day
Thursday, June 1: Mrs. Morgan's class takes over safeties for June, and last House Meetings for the year = find your House shirt!
Friday, June 2: Prayer Partner get together at 10am
Monday, June 5: Kickball Game 11:15 - 12 noon vs. 5th Grade Busekrus class
Tuesday, June 6: Assist and attend K moving up ceremony. On this day, have your student bring a sturdy shopping bag to take home all of their stuff, and a brown paper grocery package their textbooks for summer storage. 
Wednesday, June 7: Mass and Last Day of School! Please do not bring a backpack or a lunch to school that day! We will have a classroom get-together in the morning, followed by Mass and dismissal/farewells for students who are moving on to new adventures!
Academically, here is where we are with the remaining days with the classes I teach:
The 6th grade Kestrels and Bluebirds will continue to read, read, read their Middle Ages novels, which I will collect on Tuesday. On June 5 & 6 we are going to read from Good Masters, Sweet Ladies as a Reader's Theater. Book assignments and work will be collected and graded through next week. 
The 7th grade C. S. Lewis class is working on an online Travel Magazine assignment this week and will begin a Podcast assignment on Wednesday. 
6th grade LA will be backtracking a bit over Tuesday and Wednesday to complete their Sentences test. We will work on punctuation, diagramming, and spelling ladders as well as take the end-of-year Spelling assessment. 
*A note on assessments: all of the 6th grade students have "read with" their Reading teacher for reading records. STM is committed to the Fountas and Pinnell program for assessing growth in Reading. This data, combined with the goals from MAPS data, will be taken into account in assigning your student to a Reading class for next year. For 7th grade, the Reading teachers are Mrs. Morgan, Mrs. Stocker, and Mr. Godfrey. 
In Religion, we postponed the Chapter 23 test to Wednesday and we will zip through Chapter 24. 
Summer Reading will, like last year, be based on the Diocesan Battle of the Books selections, which were voted on last week by the Diocesan librarians. Once the list is available to me, I will provide the list to the rising 6th grade.  7th grade summer reading (a postcard project) will be posted on the STM main webpage and will be included in the report card. 
I will be sending a family survey to 6th grade parents about the Reading/LA program and overview of the 6th grade year in Reading and LA. Please complete the survey with your feedback (it is only going to me, to help pinpoint successes and areas for improvement)  and ask that it is completed by June 9th. Mrs. Pacheco and I are going to bribe your students with a treat (of some sort) when your family's survey is complete, so that we are getting a super level of feedback to plan for instruction next year!
Jodie Morgan

May 8 - 13, 2023

Dear Families,
This week begins and ends with T-shirts!  Monday morning with May Procession, which is usually in the Cathedral, but due to the ongoing construction we will be celebrating outside. Each class/grade level is assigned a color to wear, and 6th grade is wearing green. I will send a separate email so that you receive a notification on the "wear green" more quickly than this newsletter is delivered to your email addresses.  On Friday, we will enjoy House Meetings, and these have been so much fun!  Be sure that your student has his/her House meeting shirt that day.
The popular "Let Them Eat Cake" fundraiser is Tuesday, May 16th. Fliers went home last week and were due on Friday. Since there is still another week, I'm sure your student can get tickets. Tickets on the day-of are difficult because they're dealing with excited kids and a zillion cakes, so if the flier didn't make it back by Friday, try to send it in early in the week. I have a pile of extra fliers in the classroom. I also purchase tickets, one for each student, to be sure that everyone gets one chance to pick a cake!
MAPS testing finished on Friday. Students who may have missed a day or two of school early in the week might be pulled to finish a test here and there.
Academic Notes:
Religion first, because it's usually last: there is a Chapter 21 study guide due tomorrow, and the Chapter 21 quiz on Tuesday. 
LA: There is a paper/pencil quiz on lessons 6.1-6.5: subjects, predicates, natural and inverted order, kinds of sentences, and compound sentences. The quiz will be on Monday. We will also be taking Word Study Test 2 on Friday. 
6th grade Reading: All 6th grade classes are finishing the Myths unit. Bluebirds will begin reading Crispin by Avi, Catherine, Called Birdy, or Alchemy and Meggy Swann, both by Karen Cushman. The Kestrels group will begin The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz and Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. I will be following the Literature Circles format with assigned roles for each student within his/her group. 
7th grade Reading: We are reading Margi Preus's Heart of a Samurai and are looking toward a quiz on Part Three on Monday and the Part 4 work due on Thursday. Part 4 is Manjiro's attempted journey back to Japan aboard The Franklin, and Part 5 next week will lead him back to Japan and the events surrounding his known place in history with the U.S. Navy and Commander Perry. Our last novel will be Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen, set among the events of the American Revolution, or a choice of Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. One book is much shorter than the other, so it is a popular choice, and both are very good stories. 
I'll end the newsletter this week with one thing: it is tough to get kids to independently read and do their assignments in class. If you're having a hard time getting your own kid to read, it's even harder while they're in a classroom with 23 of their friends. DEAR time is difficult to achieve at the end of the year, so please 1.) note that the book is coming home; 2.) you see your kiddo reading independently. 
Thank you so much, and have a great week!  
Mrs. Morgan

May 1-5, 2023

Dear Families,
Happy May Day! This will be a chilly week so please be sure that your student is dressed for cooler temps during morning drop-off and in the classroom. I recommend the students wear the navy blue STM long-sleeve V-neck sweater during the school day - uniform policy is that the students don't wear hoodies and sweatshirts unless they're outside. Also, on the topic of uniform policy, the fresh haircuts look neat and clean!
MAPS Growth testing week: today in Rm. 9 we had some issues with signing in to our first test, quickly remedied by Mrs. Stocker, but we have a three week testing window, so no one needs to overly fret. Today was the Reading test, which, if unfinished, can be completed anytime this week or next, and Tuesday is Math followed by Language on Wednesday. All anyone needs is a good breakfast and a snack for after testing. 
Snacks: So far, so good, on snacks. I appreciate that the students aren't aiming for Doritos at 10am, and everyone is keeping the room clear of food drops and bag litter, which is helpful!
Schedule this week: If your student has a May birthday, the dress down for May birthdays is Wednesday. Friday is the STM Band field trip and an 11:30am Dismissal.
Interims: Please sign and return the light blue interim that was sent home stapled to green sheet last week. Thank you!
Academic Updates:
7th Grade is reading Part Three of Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus. There are vocabulary words for each part and reading questions to complete as we read in class and/or read independently The part three questions are due on Thursday. 
6th Grade is working this week on their choice reading for Greek and Roman myths, solidifying their knowledge of the 12 Labors of Hercules, and will do a quick overview of the Trojan War. There are SO many great books on these myths and I hope that studying the myths has been interesting! There will be a few Google Classroom quizzes on the myth worksheets on Thursday. 
6th Grade wrote great creative writing "Trickster Tales" which we read to our Prayer Partners on Friday, much to everyone's excitement. We are now on a Sentences unit, Chapter 6, in Voyages, which will be challenging so we'll take our time, using miniquizzes from checked homework as formative assessments. We're also working hard to incorporate Word Study on Wednesdays and Fridays. 
In Religion, the Unit 4 open book test was due today in class; however, I had to leave early and did not collect it, so I will collect it on Tuesday. Our Christ Our Life chapter this week will be  Elijah and Amos Speak for the Lord.
Have a great week!  
Mrs. Jodie Morgan

April 24-28, 2022

Dear Families, 
It's Greek Day time! Our day on Tuesday will begin with wearing chitons (remember to pack a twin size flat sheet to wear over the PE uniform or wear the chiton to school. We will present the Greek plays in the morning,   enjoy a delicious lunch, and participate in Greek Olympics (STM-style) in the afternoon. Thank you to Mrs. Meehan for organizing this memorable yearly event, and thank you in advance to the volunteers coming in to help with lunch!
Trimester behavior conduct interims go home on Friday!
Academic News:
In LA, since we have just completed a grammar unit and we alternate grammar and writing, we will be working on the second draft of the Trickster Tale and hope to read them to our prayer partners on Friday morning (we attend Mass again next Friday, May 5th). Students will receive new Word Study lists on Wednesday. 
In Reading, all groups are reading Greek myths and building up their knowledge of the gods and goddesses and their adventures. 
In my 7th grade section for Reading, we are reading Part 2 of Margi Preus's Heart of a Samurai. Students should be reading independently, although from the number of books I see in the cubbies after school, I'm not sure the copy of the book is going home. We will have a vocabulary quiz Tuesday and a writing assignment in class this week. I generally read aloud and we work on question prompts. 
Have a great week!
Jodie Morgan

April 17-21, 2023

Pollen, pollen, pollen! Students are a little miserable right now with heavy allergy time, but it will soon pass (thankfully)! I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter holiday. Here are a few upcoming notes:
Battle of the Books: If your student is participating in Battle, Mrs. Pacheco is asking students interested in the Battle team to submit an essay. Battle has been so much fun this year, the books have been great, and the Jeopardy games are incredibly entertaining. Thank you to Mrs. Prouty and Mrs. Heninger for assisting the 6th graders. Check with your participating student to see if he/she is planning to submit an essay.
Greek Day: The most memorable day of the year is almost upon us!  If your 6th grader remembers anything about 6th grade, it'll be Greek Day, held this year on April 25th. A handout from Mrs. Meehan went home and is due back by Friday. If your student regularly orders Yay Lunch, the luncheon items sent in are sufficient for a delicious Greek Day lunch and you could cancel the order for that day. Volunteers really help make this work smoothly - if you are able to help, please note your availability on the form. Thank you!
Snack: We have reinstituted Snack Time in Middle School! For the 6th graders, snack will usually be in LA class, because that is generally where the students are during the snack time window of 9:45 - 10am or so. (Classes switch at 9:51.) Please be sure the snack is easy to eat, won't make a crumbly mess, is on the healthy side (banana, an apple, breakfast bar, etc.) I told the students I don't want to get overly involved in their snack ("is this allowed, is that allowed" because I'll mainly say, check the sodium content.) Since I'm not doing the grocery shopping, the guideline I'd request for now would be please pack what you would consider a nutritious snack to tide them over to lunch at 12:30pm.  It'll be a new/old routine to reinstitute since COVID so for the next few days we'll see how we do!
Laptop chargers: I did an inventory of laptop chargers in our classroom cart and we were missing 9 chargers. Mr. Chris supplied us with 7 brand new chargers and we are ordering 2 new ones. However, all of the chargers are now secured to the cart and we're not having the zip-tie cut from the laptop cart for the rest of the year, to ensure that the laptop/charger pairing is intact for your student next year in 7th grade. If you see a charger around the house that could potentially be an STM laptop charger, please send it in!
House Meetings: Please have the House Meeting shirts washed and ready for a House Meeting on Friday, April 21 and again on Friday, April 28th. 
Interims: The year is chugging to an inevitable end (we have had way too good of a year so far for it to end!) and interims will be going home on April 28th. 
Google Classroom Homework Board: An innovation has been the Homework Board which is electronically updated. I haven't received much (or any) feedback - how is it working and do you know how to access the Homework Board? It replaced the photo we took and posted each day. 
Academic News
7th Reading (C. S. Lewis group): We began Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus in class. There is a Chapters 1 & 2 quiz on Wednesday, 4/19. 
6th Reading (all groups): We have started Mythology and read Creation and Prometheus early this week. We are also learning about the 12 Labors of Hercules. 
6th LA: Trickster Tales creative writing! A fun, short structured creative writing unit before writing our original Greek myths. 
Have a wonderful week!  
Jodie Morgan

March 27 - 31, 2023

Happy rainy, cold, and drizzly weekend! 
Short but sweet update for this week:
1.) Dress down on MONDAY for being amazing 
2.) House shirts for WEDNESDAY (change from last week's update) 
3.) Stations of the Cross on FRIDAY
LA 6: The Adverb test is Monday. Students may use their note-taking sheet.  We're going to use a lot of next week and the following week for Word Study. 
Reading - Bluebirds: Three-paragraph essay on the stories-within-stories in Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and a Red Thread writing activity will be completed before the Easter holiday.
Reading - Kestrels: For this novel, we are focusing on narrative structure and point of view in  Harbor Me. The students will take a comprehension quiz and complete a structured three paragraph essay on a character. 
Reading - C. S. Lewis - Last week we explored imagery and figurative language and are completing our blackout poetry activity. We will finish our book this week and begin a few nonfiction long passages from Content Literacy
I realize that is a REALLLY long link but it's a terrific resource so if you highlight and click on it, you'll learn more about this book!
Religion: We will take the Chapter 18 The Kings of Israel quiz either this week or next.
I won't be able to attend the auction due to an out of town guest commitment, but I hope you bid on some of the fun stuff I donated!
Thank you,
Mrs. Morgan

March 20-24, 2023

Happy First Week of Spring! Wow!
Classroom News:
Food Drive: Thank you for your donations to the food drive!  The truck from the Catholic Charities St. Lucy Project came to STM yesterday and we received an email back that our school and parish donated 551 pounds of food! We have had four food drives this year: Race for Education, Christmas Dinner Boxes, Christ House, and St. Lucy. I am so grateful we have the ability to share our "more" with those needing food.
Report Cards: I have received almost all of the report cards back from the students. If you have questions or want to set up a time to go over the MAPS testing data, let me know and we'll set up some Thursday appointments!
Design for Excellence Visit: STM is proud to have the Visiting Team here this week to review all aspects of our school!  All the students need to do is remember to greet the visitors politely and be their best selves!  There is an early dismissal on Friday so that we may receive the Visiting Team's report and recommendations. 
House Meetings: We will have a House Meeting on Monday, March 27th. Over the weekend, take a look around the house and in the drawers and find the house shirt, because it's been a bit since we had House meetings!
STM Auction: The Auction is next weekend, April 1st! Hope to see you there!
Academic News
6th LA: The students are taking the Adverbs test on Friday. In class on Thursday we will check the Adverb Review as their study guide. I have assigned the Adverb Challenge for extra credit - please encourage your student to do the Adverb Challenge!
6th Reading: The students in Bluebirds and Kestrels will be working on assignments within their respective class novels: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin for Bluebirds, and Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson for the Kestrels.  
7th Reading: The C. S. Lewis group is tracking the main character's journey in Ben Mikaelsen's Touching Spirit Bear. We will be reading this book and finishing our activities by April 5th. During the Easter Holiday, the biography book pictures need to be finished. 
6th Religion: We are moving to Chapter 18, The Kings of Israel. Here is a bit more information on this chapter:
Happy Spring, everyone!
Mrs. Morgan

March 13-17, 2023

Dear Families,
An almost-normal week!  We have a few calendar notes and reminders:
-Please send in 2 plastic jars or squeezy bottles of jam or jelly for our class collection for the St. Lucy Food Drive. This is our last food drive for the year, in conjunction with the Cathedral Knights of Columbus. The St. Lucy truck will be at STM on March 20, so we only have about a week to get our donations in!
-6th grade will go to Confessions on Wednesday morning at 9am, after Library class. 
-Friday is Green and White Dress Down Day!  Friday we have Mass at 10am and Stations of the Cross at 2pm. (I will be out of town in far western North Carolina for a funeral, but the students will be in great care of Mrs. Olive! ) Mrs. Meehan will have the report cards for the Rm. 9 students, which will also have the Winter 2023 test data enclosed. 
-Next week, the Design for Excellence (DFE) Visiting Team will be at STM from the 22-24th. It is incredibly exciting that all of the preparation will be finished!
Academic News: 
in LA 6, we have finished the Big Toast Company advertising campaign, and I hope that the students have all learned more about persuasive techniques in advertising. We have started our next grammar unit, Adverbs. It's a short unit and the test will be March 24th. 
In Reading, the Bluebird group is finishing Grace Lin's Where The Mountain Meets the Moon and the Kestrels group is beginning Jacqueline Woodson's Harbor Me. Both are such wonderful books. The Library/Reading/Language Arts Author Study research has been completed and the initial writing is underway!
In Religion, the students will take the quiz for Chapter 17, The Period of Judges. For your information, here is a link from Christ Our Life: with more information!
In Reading 7, we are finished with our Nikki Grimes-style biographies and are back into Ben Mikelson's Touching Spirit Bear. The students really appear to be connecting with the story. We will be finished with this novel by the Easter holiday. 
Have a wonderful weekend!
Jodie Morgan

March 6-9, 2023

Dear STM families in Rm. 9, Reading/LA for 6th grade, and 7th grade C.S. Lewis parents:
Short but great week ahead!  Calendar-wise, three important things this week: first, we have class photos on Tuesday, which is our PE day, so do NOT have your 6th grader wear his/her PE uniform. Wear the regular school uniform and pay special attention to wearing the correct solid-color black shoe or boat shoe. If your student wants to bring sneakers to change into for PE, that would be fine!  Second, on Wednesday we have a visiting author, Erika Lewis. coming to do a book talk for her new book Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts. She will also be signing books for the students. I plan to order a book for our classroom collection and am attaching an order form as well as sending home order forms!  We are looking forward to the visiting author!  Third and last, be sure to remember there is no school for students on Friday. (School for teachers, no school for students!)
Report cards, etc:: The 2nd trimester ends this week, so be sure to monitor/sign the last spot on the green sheet on Wednesday and return it on Thursday. Once PowerSchool closes and we begin working on report cards, your student's grade shouldn't significantly change. For LA, there are Verb tests, Verb extra credit, and a few small catch-up items from some of the books that we read. Report cards go home on Friday, March 17th. 
STM Auction: I was pretty ambitious and put four things in the auction, so I hope you bid on them: two birthday parties at the pool, a trip to Air and Space in Rm. 9's screen-free activities basket (for students in tis year's 6th grade only) and an adults-only pool 5-7 happy hour co-hosted with Langley-Ann's mom, Aimee Dalton. 
Academic News: 
In C. S. Lewis Reading, we have been creating our biographies and once everyone committed to the project, it took off and the results are amazing. Students may have a few weeks to get their cover photo emailed to me and over the spring vacation I'll make their book covers. Next week we will fully immerse ourselves in Ben Mikelson's Touching Spirit Bear and finish the book by the end of March. When we return to school, we will read Gordon Korman's No More Dead Dogs, have a two-week poetry unit, and then read Laurie Halse Anderson's Fever 1793
In Kestrels, we have finished our book talks (SO GOOD!) and I am providing time in class to work on the writing portion of the Author Study Research project. The five-paragraph essay is for the Reading/Language Arts curriculum requirement for research and essay writing, so we will continue to finish these this week in class. On the 13th, we will begin Jacqueline Woodson's Harbor Me. When we return to school in April we will also be working on a two-week poetry unit, and looking ahead to the third trimester, a few books around the Social Studies curriculum related to Greek mythology (D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths and others) and Medieval (Book of Boy, The Inquisitors Tale, Catherine Called Birdy, Alchemy and Meggy Swann, Crispin, Good Masters, Sweet Ladies.). 
6th grade LA: We finished Verbs (finally!) although they'll be back next year, and are working this week on our Persuasive Writing unit, Analyzing Propaganda. The students are viewing different types of advertising, and are developing two advertising campaigns: one is everyone developing a campaign for the Big Toast Company and the other is self-selected. 
In Religion, we will be checking the Chapter 15 study guide in class on Tuesday and taking the Chapter 15 quiz on Wednesday. There will be a Unit 2 take-home, open-book test due on Monday. Here is a link to a Chapter 15 review game  that might be helpful.
Additionally, so many great resources such as interactive chapter reviews and Stump the Shepherd games can be found here for Christ Our Life:
Have a great week!
Mrs. Morgan

February 21-24, 2023

Happy President's Day!  
First, to the class and room parents - thank you for the half-birthday flowers and gift card to my favorite birthday restaurant!  I am so appreciative of this new tradition! Second, no surprise - the cough we're all sharing got so bad I went to urgent care and was diagnosed with a sinus infection and bronchitis. So, I'm supposed to rest rest rest and drink lots of water with my bagful of prescriptions from CVS but it means I'm missing...third, the Chinese Feast tomorrow (Tuesday) and possibly Ash Wednesday Mass on (you guessed it) Wednesday. I anticipate being back from my 72 hours on Thursday and we'll go to Stations of the Cross on Friday. It looks like Thursday's main activity is Band. I hope we get lots of photos from the Chinese Feast!  This is such a wonderful event and so important to bring back now after three long years!
Academics this week:  
Homework Board: the students all have a specially-designed Homework Board posted in their Homeroom Google Classroom. No more are the days of the quick photo posting at the end of the day. Please provide any feedback you have and let us know how you like it!
7th grade Reading: The students are reading Ben Mikelson's Touching Spirit Bear and are completing their own biographies, written by their selected biograpers, in the style of Nikki Grimes's Talkin' About Bessie. The biography planning sheets are due in class on Friday and a short quiz over Chapters 1-5 for Touching Spirit Bear will be given in class on Thursday.
6th Grade Kestrels: The students are preparing for individual book talks to be given in class beginning February 27th. Their planning sheet is in their Kestrels Google Classroom and will be due by March 3rd at the latest.
6th Grade Bluebirds: The students are halfway through Grace Lin's Where the Mountains Meet the Moon. In addition to reading the book, the students are creating their own graphic novel to sequence the plot.
6th Grade LA - Verbs, verbs, and more verbs - this week the students will finish Emphatic, Imperative, and Subjunctive Mood study, Modal Auxillary study, and begin preparations for their Verb test next Monday. The Verb Challenge for extra credit (highly recommend) will by due by March 1st. 
Religion: Rm. 9 will take their Chapter 13 Quiz on Wednesday and begin Chapter 14. God Forgives Us. Interactive chapter reviews can be found at with Stump the Shepherd!
Have a great week!  
Mrs. Morgan

February 6 - 10, 2023

Dear Families,
Welcome to a pretty normal week!
Last week, Celebrating Catholic Schools Week was amazing, not only because we did ALL the things: Opening Mass and the Book Fair on Sunday, Prayer Service and Career Day talks on Monday, Dance Party on Tuesday, Red White and Blue Day and Patriotic Singalong on Wednesday, Bishop Burbidge's visit on Thursday and a half day, and the VIP Mass, sports jerseys, and Bingo - but also because we didn't have any snow days and I can recall a few Catholic Schools Week celebrations we didn't get to enjoy because of snow days!  We were so fortunate this year to have such a fun week at our school!
Mid-year Conferences: I have published more signups for conferences and they are open now to any 6-7 families and 7th grade families. Re: PowerSchool grades for the second trimester,  I have finally caught up with assignments turned in while I was out of school and grades are current. Thank you for your patience with that!  Here is the signup genius link for midyear conferences and I look forward to catching up with you in person or virtually!
Back now to a regular week, and a few dates for your calendar notes: Monday 2/6 is a normal day, Tuesday 2/7 is a Dress Down Day if your student won a Bingo Game (I will email a reminder to the people who received a DDD pass), Wednesday 2/8 is a DDD if your student has a February Birthday, and Friday 2/10 is a half day. Looking toward next week, Valentine's Day is on Tuesday, 2/14 and we hope everyone brings in/makes Valentines for his/her classmates.  More information to come about parties, but I expect we will have a party. Student Council is doing something fun as well. There is a half day on Friday, 2/17. There is no school on 2/20, and if you can believe it, Ash Wednesday Mass is on 2/22. Beginning March 1, Spring Uniform begins and students may wear shorts (navy or the PE shorts on Tuesdays).
Academic Classes:  After a week of fun activities celebrating our school community, it's time to make the most of the remaining weeks. Here's what we'll be doing in class:  LA 6 has a miniquiz on simple, progressing, and perfect tense verbs. Miniquizzes come from checked homework and serve as a review of the concept. Our newspaper article, how-to flowchart, and descriptive writing sentences are completed assignments by now. While we continue with Verbs, we will begin our Propaganda Unit, where we choose four types of commercial media (print ad, internet ad, radio ad, and TV ad) and identify persuasive writing techniques.  Reading 6 is finishing Sam Kean's The Disappearing Spoon (which raised all of our IQs about a hundred points higher) and is moving onto autobiographies/memoir writing. We will be reading Jerry Spinelli's Knots in My Yo-Yo String and selecting other autobiographies/memoirs to read independently. Reading 7 is finishing their independent novel unit on the theme of displacement, immigration slide shows (which are fantastic), and the read-aloud  Ask Me No Questions by Marina Boudhos. We will be moving onto biographies this month and will create an autobiography after the style of Nikki Grimes's Talkin' About Bessie. In Religion 6, we will take the Chapter 12 Quiz on Tuesday
It's going to be a great week!
Mrs. Morgan

January 23, 2023 - January 27, 2023

Hello STM 6th and 7th Grade Families,
Welcome to our last week of January and the welcome breather before next week's Catholic School's Week activities and events. Since you'll be seeing communications everywhere from the school about CSW, this weekly update will be short and I'll include the CSW activities at the end.
Mid-Year Conferences:
It has been great to have personal check-ins with the class parents to regroup from missing the Fall Conference days, and there are still a few spots open for Thursday, Jan. 26th You have an in-person option in Rm. 9 or a virtual option. If the available times don't work for your schedule this week, I will open up some more times on Feb. 2.  The Signup Genius link is
The blue behavior conduct interim didn't go home with the green sheets last Friday, so they will go home this upcoming Friday. If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback from the information entered on the behavior conduct form, please let me know!
Academic Classes: 
7th Grade Reading: The students have an Immigration Slide Show for their selected country due on Thursday. Please follow up at home and see if you can view and learn a little from your student's research. A secondary assignment is an Expanded Plot Diagram based on the currently selected independent reading book. Realistically, the Expanded Plot Diagram activity would be due by Friday, but the class doesn't meet due to the early dismissal, so I will collect the paper copies or the electronic copies by Monday.
6th Grade Reading: We are reading Part 4 of The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean.  What a fun book!  We are reading for Cause and Effect and determining Main Idea and Supporting Details.  Ask your students about megalodon teeth and manganese, Wilhelm Rontgen's x-rays, Lise Meitner's work with Otto Hahn on nuclear fission, and the profitability of aluminum!  We are learning a lot while we enjoy reading nonfiction!
6th Grade LA: The students began an Expository (nonfiction newspaper article-type of writing) Writing project this week.  Beginning with their "wonderings", they are steering their "wonderings" into research and getting answers. They will form these into informational newspaper articles. My example has been "I wonder about the competition in the DC area grocery store market". My hope is we'll be able to put together a fun and informative newspaper!
Religion: The students took their Chapter 11 quiz today (Tuesday - I did not publish the weekly update on Sunday due to illness) and will begin Chapter 12 We Live the Commandments Today.
Have a great week, and stay healthy!
Mrs. Morgan

January 16-20, 2023

Dear Families,
Happy Dr. King Day!  On our National Day of Service today, I hope that you are able to find a way to do good for another person!
Calendar Notes: We have an unremarkable week at STM this week, finally. What we do have on the calendar this week are blessings of traditional Catholic school:   6th Grade has Confessions on Wednesday morning, and we will say a decade of the Rosary together from a promise in a "spiritual bouquet" we pledged to do together. On Friday, we will not attend Mass at 10am as a school but the middle school will be attending the 9am Bishop's Mass for Life being held in the Cathedral.
Homeroom Class Notes: The Rm. 9 homeroom parents included links to sign up for Mid Year Conferences (to make up for being out during the Fall Conferences) and the Scholastic Book Fair. On Friday, the blue conduct interim will go home with your student's green sheet. Please sign and return.(Can you believe that this signals the halfway point of the school year? Crazy!)  Also, thank you so much for the gift cards for the Auction. These will be included in raffle baskets and prizes, and the students enjoyed the treat of a dress down day. The Auction Committee appreciates our generosity!  
Academic Class Notes: Thank you for your assistance in helping to organize your students to turn in their Asynchronous Work. It's difficult to chase assignments down if they're not turned in on time, so we appreciate your intervention as needed. 
In 6th grade LA, we have finished our "Windows on our World" descriptive adjective projects and I will take some photos of our finished work!  Since we have finished with Adjectives in grammar, we are moving onto Verbs. This is a longer and more difficult unit, so I will plan to break the assessments up into four sections instead of one or two longer tests, similar to assessing Pronouns or Adjectives. Concurrently, we will also study Persuasive Writing through advertising language and advertisements. This is a fun and engaging unit that the students enjoy. We will also repeat the Developmental Spelling Assessment for midyear, and renew our efforts in Word Study.  
In 6th grade Religion, we will study Chapter 11, God Gave Us the Law. Click on the link for more information: A Chapter 11 study guide will go home on Wednesday and the students will most likely take the Chapter 11 quiz on Friday.
In the 6th grade Reading classes (Finches, Bluebirds, and Kestrels) we are all reading the Young Readers Edition of Sam Kean's The Disappearing Spoon. Students are either halfway finished or finished with reading the book independently, in or outside of class time, and we have been engaging in a lot of ways to learn how to read nonfiction. This week we'll be reading a few articles about mining, and learning how to write an outline. (From Amazon: A young readers edition of the New York Times bestseller The Disappearing Spoon, chronicling the extraordinary stories behind one of the greatest scientific tools in existence: the periodic table. Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie's reputation? And why did tellurium (Te, 52) lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history? The periodic table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it's also a treasure trove of adventure, greed, betrayal, and obsession. The fascinating tales in The Disappearing Spoon follow elements on the table as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, conflict, the arts, medicine, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them. Adapted for a middle grade audience, the young readers edition of The Disappearing Spoon offers the material in a simple, easy-to-follow format, with approximately 20 line drawings and sidebars throughout. Students, teachers, and burgeoning science buffs will love learning about the history behind the chemistry.
In the C. S. Lewis group for 7th Grade Reading, our daily schedule is 20 minutes of our read-aloud, Ask Me No Questions, by Marina Budhos (From Amazon: A Muslim immigrant teen struggles to hold her family together in the wake of 9/11 in this poignant novel from acclaimed author Marina Budhos. 
"You forget. You forget you don’t really exist here, that this isn’t your home.
Since emigrating from Bangladesh, fourteen-year-old Nadira and her family have been living in New York City on expired visas, hoping to realize their dream of becoming legal US citizens. But after 9/11, everything changes. Suddenly being Muslim means you are dangerous, a suspected terrorist. 
When Nadira’s father is arrested and detained at the US-Canada border, Nadira and her older sister, Aisha, are told to carry on as if everything is the same. The teachers at Flushing High don’t ask any questions, but Aisha falls apart. Nothing matters to her anymore—not even college. It’s up to Nadira to be the strong one and bring her family back together again."

After I read the read-aloud and we discuss the story,  it is time to read in our independent reading novels. I'm including a few summaries here, so that you can check with your student about his/her reading: 
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan (From Amazon: Esperanza thought she'd always live a privileged life on her family's ranch in Mexico. She'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home filled with servants, and Mama, Papa, and Abuelita to care for her. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard work, financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When Mama gets sick and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances-because Mama's life, and her own, depend on it.
Where Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson. (From Amazon: A National Book Award Finalist, this remarkable graphic novel is about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a former Somali refugee. Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day. Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It's an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times Bestselling author/artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story.)
The Year of Impossible Goodbyes, by Sook Nyul Choi. (From Amazon: It is 1945, and courageous ten-year-old Sookan and her family must endure the cruelties of the Japanese military occupying Korea.  Police captain Narita does his best to destroy everything of value to the family, but he cannot break their spirit.  Sookan's father is with the resistance movement in Manchuria and her older brothers have been sent away to labor camps.  Her mother is forced to supervise a sock factory and Sookan herself must wear a uniform and attend a Japanese school. Then the war ends.  Out come the colorful Korean silks and bags of white rice.  But Communist Russian troops have taken control of North Korea and once again the family is suppressed.  Sookan and her family know their only hope for freedom lies in a dangerous escape to American-controlled South Korea.Here is the incredible story of one family's love for each other and their determination to risk everything to find freedom.)
Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga (From Amazon:

New York Times bestseller and Newbery Honor Book! A gorgeously written, hopeful middle grade novel in verse about a young girl who must leave Syria to move to the United States, perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Aisha Saeed. Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives. At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is. This lyrical, life-affirming story is about losing and finding home and, most importantly, finding yourself.

and Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate. (From Amazon: Bestselling author Katherine Applegate presents Home of the Brave, a beautifully wrought middle grade novel about an immigrant's journey from hardship to hope.
Kek comes from Africa. In America he sees snow for the first time, and feels its sting. He's never walked on ice, and he falls. He wonders if the people in this new place will be like the winter – cold and unkind.
In Africa, Kek lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived, and now she's missing. Kek is on his own. Slowly, he makes friends: a girl who is in foster care; an old woman who owns a rundown farm, and a cow whose name means "family" in Kek's native language. As Kek awaits word of his mother's fate, he weathers the tough Minnesota winter by finding warmth in his new friendships, strength in his memories, and belief in his new country. Home of the Brave is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year. 
 The students are also working on a project to learn more about immigration in other countries in order to build background knowledge. We will finish this unit by mid-February. 

January 3-6, 2023

Welcome back! It's so good to be planning to be back in school!  I hope everyone has had a wonderful, restful, and healthy holiday!
This is a relatively unremarkable week. Wednesday, January 4 is a dress-down day for January birthdays. The Asynchronous work from Dec. 19 & 20 can be turned in anytime between the return to school and January 9th.  If you donate a gift card to the Auction Committee ($20 or above in value, I think?) your student will earn a dress down on January 10th On the horizon, we have mid-year Scantron testing and mid-year Conferences, since I was not able to greet and discuss your students' progress with you at Fall Conferences.  A sign up will be included in next week's newsletter! Three will be two half day dismissals to allow faculty and staff to prep for DFE; one will be on Jan. 13th and January 27th. 
In class this week:
LA 6 will finish the Adjectives grammar unit this week as well as the Descriptive Writing project started before the holiday break. In all of the 6th grade Reading classes, we will be reading a nonfiction book, The Disappearing Spoon, by Sam Kean, Young Readers Edition. Your student will have a copy of the book, a reading schedule with page assignments for daily and weekly reading, and lessons to support reading a nonfiction book.  In Religion the students will begin Chapter 10, God Rescues the Chosen People from Slavery. We'll have a Unit 2 take-home test this week as well.
In Reading 7 for the C. S. Lewis readers, we will be moving into small Reading groups for the following books: Home of the Brave, by Katherine Applegate; Red Thread Sisters, by Carol Antoinette Peacock; Refugee, by Alan Gratz; The Year of Impossible Goodbyes, by Sook Nyul Choi; and Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. We will also be reading Ask Me No Questions by Marina Boudhos and Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga as daily read alouds.  The books and reading/assignments schedules will be provided to each student. I am excited to get started with these wonderful books.  
Have a great week!  I hope everyone is excited to return to class tomorrow!
Mrs. Morgan

December 5-9, 2022

The ten-day countdown is on!  The students have been provided with permission slip forms for the Nativity Play next Tuesday evening in the Cathedral.  We look forward to welcoming all of our school families to enjoy this special performance.  I've attached a link to the permission slip here on our classroom page.
Asynchronous Work for December 19th and 20th will be going home soon. Assignments will be posted on Google Classroom as well as a name-labeled paper folder with hard copies of assignments.  The due date is January 9, 2023. 
The students in LA 6 are working on three separate assignments: a how-to flowchart (on Slides in Google Classroom), a descriptive writing "Advent Windows" project, and adjectives. We'll continue to spiral through these activities each day for the next two weeks.  In Reading 6, the Kestrels are finishing Elizabeth George Speare's The Bronze Bow and learning how to use quotes to establish evidence to support a theme. The Bluebirds have finished the wonderful Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick and after learning more about leukemia, presented research project slideshows about diseases to a class guest, Dr. Nguyen!  
The 7th grade is completing their reading of The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall. End-of-novel projects will include a storyboard, student-made movie trailer, and written assignment. 
The sixth grade Christmas parties will be Thursday, December 15th. We are planning for a White Elephant gift exchange (this is very structured and a ton of fun) and a handout was sent home today about the activity. Additionally, if your student has a cards/board game to share while we enjoy snacks during our party, that would add to the fun without having to making a big mess!
Have a great week! 
Mrs. Morgan