"In the Round"

What is happening in Room 18? (Vol. I, Issue 1) Oct. 2016

Greetings from Mr. Clareen

Parents and Guardians,


Phew! Where does the time go? It is hard to believe that we are already half way through the month of October. I must say that it has been a sincere honor and pleasure working alongside your students each and everyday. The excitement in their eyes when they have a current event to share with the class or a simple wave from the school bus window brings such a smile to my face. You have tremendously bright and hard working students and this is only just the beginning! Please be sure to visit the Social Studies homepage on the school website, it has been re-designed and has a plethora of information for parents and students. We are progressing nicely with each of the classes with regards to content. Soon enough, we will be focusing on the International Space Station event, through discussions and connections to historical and current events.


Best Always,


Mr. Clareen

Social Studies Teacher

5th Grade Social Studies

  • The St. Joseph School Class of 2020 is off to a great start as they begin middle school. During the day, students need their workbook on a daily basis as that is where their questions and readings will be provided. The entire first few weeks of classes have been devoted to learning and understanding various types of maps. The students are now able to identify the difference between a political map and a physical map, and understand the ways we may utilize this important tool. On Thursday, Sept. 29th the students took their first quiz on my class; the topics were the five themes of geography and maps. Overall, the class did very well and I was satisfied, but with a few hiccups along the way. I am now offering extra help for students during study hall and after school, hopefully your student gave you the permission slip and had it returned to class. If not, I can always hand out a new sheet.


  • Our new unit of study is the economy, which can be a very difficult task for the students to comprehend. We are going a bit slower this time, taking time to define key terms and important rules; such as the law of supply and demand. The students' assessment for this will be a take home-essay, with their notes and workbook. It will be a question about economics, and will be a two paragraph response, with about 5-6 sentences per paragraph for a total of 12, and no more than 15. This will be way for me to take a look at their writing skills in more in-depth fashion. To conclude, the students have been doing a great job with current event discussions, but we have a few shy students. Please encourage your students to share, the more the better!

6th Grade Social Studies


  • We have also been busy understanding the importance history and geography has upon our present day society. Furthermore, we have been exploring caves and the different characteristics of the Stone and Ice Ages. The tools that the people of this time period utilized and the similarities between homo sapiens of the era and our own selves present day have been a critical component of class discussions.


  • Our students are currently exploring the beginning of ancient civilizations and the turning point of the Neolithic Revolution. The main focal discussion point the students should be coming away with each day is the impact agriculture had on societies and the transition from a nomadic society to a self-sustaining one. These include the development of social classes, government, merchants, and advanced groups of people.


  • The students' first unit assessment was on Thurs., Oct. 13th. This was a four question assessment, including three short responses questions and one free response, which required more detail. I am in the midst of grading those as you read this, the grades will be out soon! The next unit of study will be the civilizations of The Fertile Crescent and Mesopotamia. We will delve right into the content material, learning about culture of these ancient Sumerians; especially their ways of life and the create of ziggurat, or their shelters. It is an exciting time to be a part of the S.J.S. Class of 2019! Looking forward to great days ahead.

7th Grade Social Studies

  • We are just wrapping up our first unit of study, the Origins of the First Americans! The students have brought in their essays about their particular Native American Tribe and the replicas have come out exceptionally well. All of the students really took their time and put a tremendous amount of effort into these projects, I am proud of them and I am sure you are too! Throughout the past few weeks, the classes have been examining the various tribes of native people which developed in the Americas and how their cultures were influenced by the area in which they settled. As you can see, I do not do traditional tests and exams often, I find it essential to have a variety of assessments so each student has a shot as succeeding in a different format.


  • The current event discussions have been going well, most students are always very eager to share. I hope they are sharing what they are learning at home with you, they are very bright and understand what is going on in our world. The next unit of study, which will take us through the end of this month, will be European Exploration, and the various explorers. We will then a take a look at how the Native Americans and Explorers interacted with one another, for better or for worse. I am considering doing an essay test in class at the of the unit or another project, but a little less intricate as the most recent one.

8th Grade Social Studies

  • The seniors of St. Joseph have made tremendous strides in their first month as the leaders of the school. They have taken the initiatives of planning their trip to Washington D.C. this coming spring and are planning ways to give back to their charity National Coalition for the Homeless (so far we have raised over $30)! These students are also working on their class mission statement which will be posted on the school website once it is final. They will be setting the bar extremely high for the classes which will be coming after them.


  • We have finished our discussion of the Reconstruction of the South, taking an in-depth look into the lives of African-Americans after the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, the Freedman's Bureau, and policies of Radical Republicans. Their test for the unit was an in-class essay, which after grading, I found points of great strengths and of course areas in need of improvement. With that being said, we will be working together to ensure their writing skills are above the rest as they prepare for high school next year. We have terrific classroom discussions and they all actively participate during class discussions and readings, which is the most important aspect of the class. It wonderful to see them fostering relationships with one another, and becoming a family here at SJS!

Mr. Clareen

As always if you have a question or concern, please reach out to me or go through the school's main office. I am always checking my email and am responding to different inquiries from parents and other teachers.


I always have the students show you their work, tests, and essays because it is critical that you have an understanding of how they are doing and what is going on in school. Please be sure to sign their assignments, so I know you took a look at their work. I collect the assignments back, for my own records, and then return them at the end of each trimester. Thank you again, and be sure to be on the look out for the next newsletter, coming out right before Thanksgiving!


Have a Happy Halloween everyone!