Wilkins Class Update: Week 10

Wilkins Winners:

I want to recognize Ryan and Helena this week.  Ryan is a good example for the rest of the students in his class.  He is always helpful and respectful.  His willingness to help without complaint is exceptional.

Helena has become an exceptional student.  She is always on task and makes good decisions.  She’s not only done an excellent job this past week, but since the beginning of school as well.

Top 6th graders: Theresa, Dana, Claire

Top 7th graders: Helena, Mariano, Ryan

Top 8th grader: Kincaid

8th Grade Social Studies

This past week students learned about the Boston Massacre in an unusual fashion.  Students walked into their classroom Monday morning to find a CSI scene with clues, pictures and chalk outlines of bodies.  They had to assess the information, take notes on the clues and then decide if they felt the deaths that occurred during the Boston Massacre were out of self-defense, or if they were done in cold blooded murder.  Students then had to choose a side and defend their case.  The groups were dynamic and students could change their position based on evidence their friends found that they may have not considered.  We later watched a short video explaining how the soldiers were tried and sentenced (or acquitted).

6th/7th Grade Social Studies

Students took their Chapter 2 test this week.  They also learned about King Hammurabi’s Codes, which is the set of laws that influenced the Mesopotamian area for centuries.  Students read through the laws and then were given situations to act out in court.  Students had to decide which law would be used to determine the verdict.

Language Arts:

8th graders learned about sentence verb moods through the use of memes.  After students chose memes we looked at them as a class and decided the verb mood through discussion.

6th and 7th graders learned about phrases, clauses and types of sentences (simple, compound, complex)

In literature students continued to look at Poe’s work of “The Tell Tale Heart”.

Upcoming Events:

NOVEMBER

  • 1st TUE- All Saints Day Mass 8-9
  • 1st TUE 2nd grade’s All Saints Day Pageant 9-10 in church everyone invited!
  • 2nd WED School Mass 8 am
  • 4th FRI- Noon Dismiss
  • 8th-11th Book Fair in Hall
  • 9th-11th Noon Dismiss Parent Teacher Conferences
  • 21st-25th Thanksgiving Break
  • 28th MON Advent Wreath Blessing

DECEMBER

  • 2nd FRI Noon Dismiss
  • 8th THU 8am Mass
  • 12th MON Our Lady of Guadalupe Play
  • 16th FRI 10am Christmas Pageant, Noon Dismiss
  • 19th-30th Christmas Break
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Wilkins Class Update: Week #9

Wilkins Winners:

The two kiddos I’d like to recognize this week are Donald and Kincaid.  The first student, Donald, is being recognized for his pious attitude and his willingness to share his faith with others.  Since this is the month of the Holy Rosary, we have been saying a decade every class period.  Donald has readily reminded me to ensure we said the rosary and he always has his rosary in hand.  I love his cheerful attitude and his eager desire to share the love of Christ with others.

Kincaid is my second outstanding student this week.  I have noticed Kincaid’s leadership abilities have really shone through this year.  I recognize top dojo point earners on a weekly basis.  This past week was Kincaid’s third week in a row!  Way to go, Kincaid!  And thank you for your valuable leadership skills!

8th Grade Social Studies

Students took a Chapter 2 test that covered the Revolutionary War on the iPads this week.  They also began a Revolutionary War game that is leading them through some of the key battles of the war to help inform them on how a bunch of unorganized Patriots won a war against an army that outnumbered them in size and bank account.

6th/7th Grade Social Studies

We finished Chapter two where we learned about the Maya civilizations.  We have a couple of students who have traveled to ancient ruins in Mexico who were able to share their experiences with us.  Pray for our students as they are taking their chapter test on Halloween!  At least it’s before the sugar kicks in!

Language Arts:

6th & 7th graders took a look at analogies this week.  We talked about the types of analogies (word relationships) and how to figure out how to complete analogies.  This is now a skill they will be responsible for completing on their 5-A-Day homework.

All grade levels began a study on Edgar Alan Poe.  Students started by learning vocabulary from “The Tell Tale Heart” using it to decide what tone Poe was trying to create with his word choice.  It was fun to hear the predictions students had and to watch the conversation that formed after they saw Vincent Price’s version of the short story.  With the movie, we were able to discern the difference between tone and mood.  We also discussed the reason a director and actor may choose to portray a script a certain way.  Through this same story, students also learned the components of a plot diagram (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution).

8th graders were able to go a little deeper.  They wrote a story based on the vocabulary using a plot diagram.  They were also put into groups and chose another short story by Poe.  They are working in Literature Circle fashion to understand the story and will then write a script to create a play for their chosen stories.

 

Upcoming Events:

NOVEMBER

  • 1st TUE- All Saints Day Mass 8-9
  • 1st TUE 2nd grade’s All Saints Day Pageant 9-10 in church everyone invited!
  • 2nd WED School Mass 8 am
  • 4th FRI- Noon Dismiss
  • 8th-11th Book Fair in Hall
  • 9th-11th Noon Dismiss Parent Teacher Conferences
  • 21st-25th Thanksgiving Break
  • 28th MON Advent Wreath Blessing

DECEMBER

  • 2nd FRI Noon Dismiss
  • 8th THU 8am Mass
  • 12th MON Our Lady of Guadalupe Play
  • 16th FRI 10am Christmas Pageant, Noon Dismiss
  • 19th-30th Christmas Break

Week #8 & Spotlight on Sean and Meredith

Wilkins Wowzers:

I really have to give credit to Sean this past week.  Every week I check to see who had the most dojo points and I reward students by allowing them to either use the yoga ball as their seat, stand on a balance board instead of sitting or choose a prize from my prize box.  This is something students love to compete for.  Sean earned this award by being helpful to other students throughout the week as well as being one of the first to be prepared.  I’m really proud of Sean and his hard work.

Another student I’d like to point out is Meredith Carey.  While I am not a volleyball coach I am able to occasionally go to games.  I watched the J.V. volleyball game this Thursday and witnessed a true leader and competitor on the court.  Meredith had her whole heart and attention on the game.  I can see why she is one of the chosen team captains.  Great job Meredith!

8th Grade Social Studies

This week we finished chapter two and students received their study guide for a test Monday.  Students learned about the Declaration of Independence and the many rules and regulations that led the colonists to be fed up with English rule to finally unite together and stand up to the king taking the colonists into the first stages of the American Revolution.

6th/7th Grade Social Studies

We have learned about how civilizations developed around agriculture and how animals and plants became domesticated and spread throughout the world.

Language Arts:

In reading we worked a bit on finding the theme of a story.  This is review from previous weeks but it is an important skill that I will keep coming back to.

In 6th & 7th grade grammar we focused on figurative language.  We reviewed the skills they should have learned in elementary school and then we focused on new figurative language.  This will now be a permanent review on their 5-A-Day homework.

In 8th grade grammar we covered verb moods and talked about conditional mood (i.e. If you do this I will do that.) and subjunctive mood (i.e. I wish I were better at singing.).  students had fun finding memes that fit these verb moods and then enjoyed sharing them in the classroom.  The memes will be displayed as a reminder and reference for them throughout the year.  This is a grammar skill that will be practiced on a weekly basis through our 5-A-Day grammar program.

Upcoming Events:

OCTOBER

  • 23rd-28th Red Ribbon Week
    • Monday- wear hats
    • Tuesday- wear sunglasses & drink your Jamba Juice
    • Wednesday- wear a tie
    • Thursday- wear team jerseys (your favorite team)
    • Friday- wear read
  • 28th FRI- Middle School Dance

NOVEMBER

  • 1st TUE- All Saints Day Mass 8-9
  • 1st TUE 2nd grade’s All Saints Day Pageant 9-10 in church everyone invited!
  • 2nd WED School Mass 8 am
  • 4th FRI- Noon Dismiss
  • 8th-11th Book Fair in Hall
  • 9th-11th Noon Dismiss Parent Teacher Conferences
  • 21st-25th Thanksgiving Break
  • 28th MON Advent Wreath Blessing

Week #7- I’ve been wowed!

I’ve seen some great student effort so I decided to add a note so share what I have seen in class.

Wilkins Wowzers:

Congratulations Carson for being the 8th grade student of the month!  I have noticed Carson working very hard right from the start this year.  His effort in turning work in and being diligent with his classwork is appreciated.

I also want to recognize Bailey in her thorough work on her social studies notebook.  Her effort and attention to detail on her work has me excited to see what she will accomplish this year.

8th Grade Social Studies

We are talking about what led up to the Declaration of Independence.  Students ended the week with a team scavenger hunt looking through parts of the Declaration of Independence to help them understand this important document.

6th/7th Grade Social Studies

In Ancient Civilization class we are still working on the best way to take Cornell Notes.  We learned these skills while learning about how early man became civilized and how they started to domesticate plants and animals.

Language Arts:

We continue to learn our grammar and we are working on filling out our 5-A-Day program.  Each grade level has a different level of grammar skills that build on one another.

In writing we learned about the third stage in the writing process: Revision.  We talked about how their peers are their best resource to help them revise their own writing.

In reading we focused on our vocabulary notebooks.  The notebooks are designed to take learning vocabulary to a higher level.  Students are being asked to do more than just look words up in a dictionary and use them in a sentence.  6th & 7th graders were introduced (or reintroduced) to Mr. Stick.  Here, students are asked to create a cartoon with a caption that uses the vocabulary word and enough context clues to define the word.  8th graders were introduced to Personified Vocabulary.  They will be choosing a word and creating a character and short bio on that character based on the definition of the word.

Upcoming Events:

OCTOBER

  • 17th MON- Grandparents’ Day NOON DISMISS
  • 19th WED- Bake sale
  • 20th THU- Team Day students can wear jeans with their team shirt
  • 21st FRI- Noon Dismiss (Teacher Work Day)
  • 23rd-28th Red Ribbon Week
    • Hats off to a Healthy Lifestyle (hats)
    • Shade out drugs (sunglasses)
    • Tie Down Drugs (wear a tie)
    • Be on a Drug-Free Team (wear team shirts/jerseys)
    • Wear Red Day (wear read shirts and accessories)
  • 24th Jamba Juice comes to St. Mary
  • 28th FRI- Middle School Dance

 

NOVEMBER

  • 1st TUE- All Saints Day Mass 8-9
  • 1st TUE 2nd grade’s All Saints Day Pageant 9-10 in church everyone invited!
  • 2nd WED School Mass 8 am
  • 4th FRI- Noon Dismiss
  • 8th-11th Book Fair in Hall
  • 9th-11th Noon Dismiss Parent Teacher Conferences
  • 21st-25th Thanksgiving Break
  • 28th MON Advent Wreath Blessing

Week #6: First week of the month of The Holy Rosary

October is the month of the Holy Rosary.  For our school that means we pray the rosary once a week together.  In our classrooms we have been praying parts of the rosary throughout the day.  By the end of the day, students have finished four of the decades.  I’ve been encouraging them to go home and finish the rosary with their families.  If your family does not pray the rosary together already, this might be a great month to start. 

8th Grade Social Studies 

This week students have continued to focus on our map skills.  They have located events that are important to the Revolutionary times.  This will enable them to be aware of locations of events as we read about them in the upcoming chapter.   

6th/7th Grade Social Studies 

We are taking a closer look at the Fertile Crescent and the ancient river valleys.  Students have been working on two maps this week to familiarize themselves with the area. 

Language Arts: 

This week we talked about how to find theme in literary work.  Students learned that theme is more than one word, but it is a universal idea that can be applied to life.  We will continue to work on finding themes throughout the year.   

 

6th & 7th graders worked on roots and affixes.  We talked about how to break words apart and we also talked about creating words from roots that are known.  Students will now be responsible for this skill on their 5-A-Day homework. 

 

In 8th grade we began to talk about the proper use of parentheses, commas, and dashes.  We also reviewed roots and affixes.   

8th Grade Portfolios: 

By now students should be looking through pictures to find events that show how they are living the first SLE Catholics Who…  They have also written letters in business format requesting character letters, or letters of recommendation, from important adults in their lives.  They also started working on their personal statements.  The next assignment they will need to focus on is their introduction to the SLE.  They have time in class every Tuesday to ask me questions and work on these assignments.  They can turn them in at any time.  All assignments are due on October 21st.  Please refer to the due dates under the 8th Grade Portfolio Tab on my website. 

 

Upcoming Events: 

OCTOBER 

  • 17th MON- Grandparents’ Day NOON DISMISS 
  • 21st FRI- Noon Dismiss (Teacher Work Day) 
  • 23rd-28th Red Ribbon Week Spirit Day to be announced later 
  • 28th FRI- Middle School Dance 

 

NOVEMBER 

  • 1st TUE- All Saints Day Mass 8-9 

  • 1st TUE All Saints Day Pageant 9-10 in church 

  • 2nd WED School Mass 8 am 

  • 4th FRI- Noon Dismiss 

  • 8th-11th Book Fair in Hall 

  • 9th-11th Noon Dismiss Parent Teacher Conferences 

  • 21st-25th Thanksgiving Break 

  • 28th MON Advent Wreath Blessing 

What are we up to in week #5?

8th Grade Social Studies

We finished chapter 1 this week with a test and began chapter 2.  Students were responsible for looking at the map of the Eastern United States and locating important landmarks involved in the American Revolution.  This will help them understand where important events took place as we learn more about the beginning of our country’s history.  If you stop by the classroom, please check out our map as we gradually add events and locations to it throughout the year.

6th/7th Grade Social Studies

This week students finished chapter 1 with an assimilation on early man.  Students learned the difference of surviving on their own and surviving in groups.  They learned through first-hand experience the difference it makes to establishing a community near water as well as what teamwork and planning can do for a community.  Thank you Mrs. Szem for your help both days.  She helped me keep track of the students’ progress.  I could not have done it without her.

Language Arts:

We began Writers’ Workshop this week.  Students learned the writing process and began to write their stories.  They also learned about connotation and denotation.  This will be helpful in Writer’s Workshop when as they learn to embellish their writing with vivid language.

We are also working on written responses to literature through understanding what claim data warrant is.  Students are learning this basic building block that will be used not only throughout this year but will also be used in high school as well.

 

Upcoming Events:

OCTOBER

  • 4th TUE- St. Francis Feast Day: Blessing of the Animals at 3:30
  • 5th WED- Ms. Silady’s birthday
  • 6th THU- NOON DISMISS (school grounds being prepared for Oktoberfest)
  • 7th FRI- NOON DISMISS (school grounds being prepared for Oktoberfest)
  • 8th SAT- 4pm School performance at Oktoberfest
  • 9th SUN- Oktoberfest continues
  • 9th SUN- Life Walk at St. Timothy’s Church 11:30-2
  • 17th MON- Grandparents’ Day NOON DISMISS
  • 21st FRI- NOON DISMISS (Teacher Work Day)
  • 23rd-28th Red Ribbon Week Spirit Day to be announced later
  • 28th FRI- Middle School Dance

NOVEMBER

  • 1st TUE- All Saints Day Mass 8-9
  • 1st TUE All Saints Day Pageant 9-10 in church
  • 2nd WED School Mass 8 am
  • 4th FRI- NOON DISMISS
  • 8th-11th Book Fair in Hall
  • 9th-11th NOON DISMISS Parent Teacher Conferences
  • 21st-25th Thanksgiving Break
  • 28th MON Advent Wreath Blessing

A Look at Week 4

8th Grade Social Studies

We finished reading chapter 1 and focused on an assimilation of Jamestown.  You may have seen some of the pictures I sent through Class Dojo which showed the students at the beginning of the project.  Here students were engineering walls and buildings to replicate the first English settlement while making key leadership decisions that either helped or harmed their settlement.

6th/7th Grade Social Studies

We finally wrapped up the first chapter in our book.  We’ve been focusing on note-taking skills while learning about how the population of man began to expand.  We will begin an early settlement assimilation next week if anyone is interested in helping I’ll send a note home this weekend with specific needs.

 

Language Arts:

We had our STAR testing this week which will allow me to look at individual students’ strengths and weaknesses.  This will allow me to individualize my instruction during Reader’s Workshop.

This week we began looking at author’s craft through an author study of Patricia Polacco.  We watched an interview and read one of her books.  We are talking about how she comes up with her stories this will lead us into author’s craft.  This is a perfect springboard into Writer’s Workshop where kids will get to become authors and create their own stories.

 

Upcoming Events:

SEPTEMBER

  • 30th FRI- Bake Sale hosted by 8th grade

OCTOBER

  • 4th TUE- St. Francis Feast Day: Blessing of the Animals at 3:30
  • 5th WED- Ms. Silady’s birthday
  • 6th THU- Noon dismiss (school grounds being prepared for Oktoberfest)
  • 7th FRI- Noon dismiss (school grounds being prepared for Oktoberfest)
  • 8th SAT- 4 pm School performance at Oktoberfest
  • 8th SAT- 5:30 School Mass
  • 9th SUN- Oktoberfest continues
  • 17th MON- Grandparents’ Day NOON DISMISS
  • 21st FRI- Noon Dismiss (Teacher Work Day)
  • 23rd-28th Red Ribbon Week Spirit Day to be announced later
  • 28th FRI- Middle School Dance

Week 3 in Review

8th Grade Social Studies

We learned about the Magna Carta this week and the English Bill of Rights.  These were important documents that helped form the foundation of our current form of government and the Constitution of the United States of America.

Students are learning how to take notes from lecture through watching videos.  We watch and take notes together while I stop and show them what notes I’ve taken.  This way students can learn to monitor what is important.  This ties in to the reading strategy of “Determining Importance.”

6th/7th Grade Social Studies

We learned about how archaeologists piece together clues through fossils and artifacts to help tell the story of the beginning of early man.

As we read the textbook we talked about how to determine what is important and what may not be important enough to take notes.  I’m trying to help students get away from thinking that taking notes means writing everything down.  This ties in with the reading strategy of “Determining Importance.”

Language Arts:

The kids are beginning to solidify their understanding of Reader’s Workshop.  I’m modeling for them how to share strategies they’ve noticed in their own reading as well as bringing up parts of the books they are reading that have importance for them.  I’m helping to foster a community of readers that share and discuss books.

8th graders have finished reviewing finding and identifying context clues and 6th and 7th graders are solidifying their understanding and will continue to do so into next week.  This is a skill that will now be practiced every week in their 5-A-Day grammar program.

In 8th grade we’ve also gone over some academic language vocabulary words that are important for students to know so they can understand both lecture and test taking in all subject areas.  They were instructed to put this list in their Language Arts section in their three-ring notebook to use as a reference tool.

8th Grade Bake Sale

I will be sending a Sign-Up Genius for parents this weekend.  Please stay tuned.

Upcoming Events:

SEPTEMBER

  • 21st WED- OLP/Saints to visit middle school
  • 22nd THU- Team Day
  • 30th FRI- Bake Sale hosted by 8th grade

OCTOBER

  • 4th TUE- St. Francis Feast Day: Blessing of the Animals at 3:30
  • 5th WED- Ms. Silady’s birthday
  • 6th THU- Noon dismiss (school grounds being prepared for Oktoberfest)
  • 7th FRI- Noon dismiss (school grounds being prepared for Oktoberfest)
  • 8th SAT- 4pm School performance at Oktoberfest
  • 9th SUN- Oktoberfest continues

8th Grade Social Studies

This week students began to learn about the roots of our democratic system here in the United States.  We talked about how our government is built on the values and policies from the Greco-Roman society as well as from the Judeo-Christian communities.  Students have also been held responsible for knowing the states, countries, and features of the Eastern coast of the United States.

6th/7th Grade Social Studies

In our Ancient Civilization class this week students learned how to best read a textbook through pre-reading text, understanding how to read timelines, and reading through pictures.  We also began learning how to take notes Cornell style while learning about early man.

Language Arts:

One of the things we did this week was learned about Reader’s Workshop.  One of the components of Reader’s Workshop is where we learn reading skills and then the students have an opportunity to read and practice those skills on their own.  We then come back together and share what we practiced.

One of the reading lessons we learned about was visualization.  The students learned how this helps you understand not only what you are reading but we talked about how you can use visualization to help students feel closer to God during Mass or other forms of prayer.

The second thing we worked on this week was our grammar program: 5-A-Day.  This is a program where students get an opportunity to practice grade level skills on a weekly basis.

The last thing the students were introduced to or revisited was our vocabulary program.  The first activity in this program is Mr. Stick.  This is probably familiar to 7th & 8th grade parents, however, this year we will expand on our vocabulary activities.  We practiced the skill some students tested out of the activity and will learn a new activity next week.

Regular homework:

There are several pieces of homework that are regular occurrences that you can count on your students needing to turn in.  They are:

~ Reading Log– students need to read for 30 minutes 5 times a week (due Mondays)

~ Bookmarks– students find bigger words in their reading that they have to use context clues to understand (due Fridays)

~Vocabulary Notebooks– students choose words from their bookmark to create vocabulary activities to understand the words better. (due Fridays)

~ 5-A-Day– as we move through the year students will eventually be responsible for completing 5 grammar skills every day. (due every day Monday-Thursday)

Upcoming Events:

SEPTEMBER

  • 15th THU- Picture Day
  • 16th FRI- Noon Dismiss
  • 21st WED- OLP/Saints to visit middle school
  • 22nd THU- Team Day
  • 30th FRI- Bake Sale hosted by 8th grade