Middle School Nugget

Saint Mark's - A Catholic IDEALS School

January 25, 2018

Catholic Schools Week ~ January 29 - February 2

Monday - Dress is SPORTS; activities include Benediction at 8:15am and Volleyball games between grades/staff.

Tuesday - Dress is WACKY; activities include Talent Show at 1:00pm

Wednesday- Dress is SUNDAY BEST; activities include Fancy Meal at lunch

Thursday - Dress is PJ's; activities include Movie Day

Friday - Dress is LUMBERJACK/MN SPORTS TEAMS; activities include Classroom Swap

Language Arts - Mrs. Kendra Whinnery

8th: 8th graders are now a few chapters in to our novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. The story has provided excellent context for us to study exposition, vocabulary, dialect and slang, and characterization while connecting events to the historical context of the setting. Quizzes on comprehension and vocabulary occur every few chapters to keep our reading on track, and students have a quick one-question “quizzer” each time a reading assignment is due. Project choices were introduced Monday. Which will your child choose? Scout’s scrapbook? An original take on Life’s Little Instruction Book? Or maybe he/she will be creating a board game or a music album? In the coming weeks, students will have some in-class work days, but the majority of the work on these projects will need to take place outside of class. I am excited to see the creativity and expertise of the 8th graders!

7th: The 7th graders are in the midst of reading the two biographies of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Working thesis statements for compare-contrast essays are due no later than Monday, January 29 so that students may begin drafting. (Copies of rough drafts are due by Tuesday, February 6 and final essays are due Friday, February 23.)

6th: As we finish up The Giver this week, the 6th graders will take the final test on the novel and watch the movie. Essay drafts are also due this Friday. As we revise, we’ll take a closer look at different types of sentences (simple, compound, complex), how to properly form each, and why it is important to be able to integrate each into our writing. We’ll also work a bit more from themyPerspectives books and strengthen some grammar skills before beginning our next novel, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.

Science - Mrs. Sarah Schwab

Science Fair

All middle school students have been busy doing research in class this past week. All students need to turn in their research notes for their project by January 26th. In addition to doing research, this is what else we have been busy doing in Science class:

6th grade - Sixth graders have finished up their study of the atomic theory and will have a quiz in class on Friday. Students will be studying the Bohr's model in more detail next week by building models of atoms, with the correct number of electrons in each orbital.

7th grade - Seventh graders are continuing with our unit of Genetics. We discussed the benefits and risks of Genetically Modified Food and how food is modified. Be sure to ask your student why fish are used in modify tomato plants. Next week we move onto Punnet Squares and our study of DNA.

8th grade - Eighth graders have been busy building the musical staircase. They are doing a great job of using the Engineering Design Process by designing, building and redesigning in order for the stairs to work. It is fun to see such excitement in the 8th graders as they work on the project and try things they have never done before such as soldering, drilling and programing. They will continue with the stairs next week.


Please contact me if you would like to be a judge in the event. It will be held from 10 - 11:30 am in Carolyn Hall on March 16th.

8th Graders Constructing Musical Stairs

Math - Mrs. Katy Kieffer

6th Grade:

6th graders are deep into ratios and rates. We discovered rates from activities such as jumping jacks, dice throwing, trashketball, and card throwing. We also have a great rate song that helps us understand the difference between ratios and rates. These students are motivated and independent and have been a delight for this half a year so far! I am also trying to stress the importance of test corrections and mini-assessment re-dos, so any reinforcement at home would be great.

7th Grade:

We are onto the big 7th grade topic of proportions. This is a very significant unit, and we are having a lot of fun so far. We've used card-throwing to review comparing ratios and M & M's to learn about using part-to-whole strategies for comparison as well. More fun to come includes card games and a whodunit mystery. I am also trying to stress the importance of test corrections and mini-assessment re-dos, so any reinforcement at home would be great.

8th Grade:

8th graders are deep into systems of equations. Things are really starting to get challenging, so I am really trying to utilize brain breaks to help minimize frustration and help them regain focus. I don't think they would admit it, but it seems to me that they are actually enjoying this challenging material. We will end the chapter with a fun "choose your own adventure" game for review. I am also trying to stress the importance of test corrections and mini-assessment re-dos, so any reinforcement at home would be great.

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Social Studies- Ms. Kate Heintzelman

6th Grade: Students will start their Latin America Map unit next week. We will also pick up our Ancient China unit learning about the geography, history and culture of the time.

7th Grade: Students will start Latin America Capital Maps next week. We will be picking up our unit on forming our government after the American Revolution. That will lead us into a unit about our current government and understanding how it functions.

8th Grade: Students will begin their Europe Capitals and Major Cities map next week. We will finish our unit on European Royalty and have a fun assessment to cap off our Europe Unit.

History Day: Thank you all for all your hard work on history day. I know this is a group effort. The students did so well presenting to the judges and each other. The regional qualifiers will be notified on Monday and I will send out an email to explain the steps to register. To celebrate all their hard work we are going to have a celebration on Friday. Students are welcome to bring in food to share!

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Spanish - Ms. Hanna Brown

8th grade: We wrapped up quarter 2 with their examen last week. Students did a very good job on this quarter test! We are doing some extra practice with -AR verbs and the ver IR + a, this week. As quarter 3 begins next week, we will dive into how to order at a restaurant and begin IR/ER verb conjugations.

7th grade: This week we are wrapping up quarter 2 with their exam. We spent the last week doing TPRS which is Total Physical Response Storytelling. We read a story and students learned a select set of vocabulary that went along with the story. We acted the story out, practiced writing the story using only pictures, and practiced speaking the story as well with partners. To begin quarter 3, next week, we will select another story to do TPRS again. This is a great way for students to learn vocabulary and gain confidence in speaking.

6th grade: We wrapped up quarter 2 with their “La Casa” projects and students did a wonderful job with those. We did a couple webquests where students had to find houses on select websites (pretending they were on House Hunters International) about real estate in Spanish speaking countries. Students explored the website and found a house that fit the description for that family. Students really enjoyed doing this! We are concluding quarter 2 with an exam this week.

Music - Mrs. Alisa Rogers

We are blessed to have Ms. April Bailey join our team at Saint Mark's! She will be helping out while our music teacher, Mrs. Alisa Rogers, is on maternity leave.

"Hello! My name is April Bailey, and I am delighted to be teaching music at Saint Mark's Catholic School. I graduated last Spring from the University of Minnesota with a double major in Theatre Arts and Music, and a minor in Linguistics. I have been teaching in District 196, but am looking forward to sharing my love of Christ and His Church with my students. I sing opera and direct and perform in all sorts of theatrical productions around the Twin Cities."

Thank you Ms. Bailey!

Art - Mrs. Ashley Moe

6th grade is continuing to work on their Art Movement presentations, and will present to the class this week. Ask your child to tell you about artists, themes, and materials used in their art movement!

7th grade is continuing the dedicated work of creating stop motion animations! They will finishing filming and editing their animations this week, and we'll have a screening to watch their creations next week.

8th grade is continuing to create art inspired by Scandinavian design. Either creating an embroidery, cut paper illustration, or painting, they're using woodland imagery to create symmetrical designs. Ask your 8th grader about the cozy tradition of hygge!

Religion - Mrs. Katy Kieffer

6th Grade:

6th graders have been focusing on Joseph and the idea of divine providence. We have had some great conversations about divine providence in our lives and will continue this ideas throughout the year. Someone even mentioned today that divine providence is sort of like the "frame" in Top 20. God's plan sometimes doesn't seem like something we want, but if we reframe it, we might be able to see the good in it. Brilliant!

7th Grade:

7th graders have been looking at the importance of John the Baptist and the idea of "epiphany," not just in the sense of the 3 kings, but in the sense of anytime God reveals himself to us in our salvation history is an epiphany, such as when the Trinity was revealed at the baptism of Jesus. We will be moving onto the 12 Apostles and their significance in Jesus' ministry.

8th Grade:

8th graders have been continuing their study of the Marks of the Church. We moved onto the meaning of the term "catholic" in terms of the universal church. They read and commented on a challenging article about how "catholic" is more associated with the Greek term "katolikos," meaning "throughout the whole." We will soon be continuing with early Church history.

Physical Education - Mr. Thomas Gorilla

6th, 7th & 8th Grade: For this part of January, the students are learning about specific muscles and their function, specifically the upper body. I am introducing the students to a website called TeachMeAnatomy.info that I used in college where it breaks down the whole body and its layers. It’s a great way to see the structure of the body in a 3D format and is very realistic. The lessons are taught with visuals in a power-point with simple illustrations and descriptions for the students to understand. We started with the make-up of our muscles and have made our way into movement (Flexion, extension, types of contractions), and now onto specific muscles and their function.

The activities I have been incorporating are both team based and individualized. With any sort of game that has to do with awareness, tagging, change of speed, or elimination, students usually have to complete a small circuit workout to get back in to the game, instead of maybe sitting out in the past. It’s a great way for them to get repetition of movement and a solid workout of basic movement in a high energy environment.


Marker Monday!

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Saint Mark's Gala - February 3, 2018

Don't Wait! Enroll for the 2018-2019 School Year Now!

Preschoolers entering Kindergarten, and students entering grades 1-8, please check your email for your re-enrollment link, or log in to your TADS account and click the ‘enrollment’ tab.

The following deadlines are in place:

Financial aid applications due: Feb 15

Financial aid awarded: March 15

Tuition agreements due: April 15

Catholic Student Financial Raffle

The 2018 Catholic Schools Raffle has begun January!

Each $5 ticket helps support Saint Mark’s, and helps us reach our fundraising goals. The sponsor, Catholic United Financial, is providing the materials and promotion costs for this fundraiser, which means we keep every dollar we raise!

Follow the Catholic Schools Raffle on Facebook or Twitter for updates.

There are some awesome prizes to win such as a brand new Chevy Trax, $20,000 cash, and other prizes totaling over $40,000!

Your help in selling tickets will help us make our way to being one of the top performing 3 schools, winning us a $3,000 grant from Catholic United Financial! There will also be awesome prizes for the top selling classrooms and top selling student, more information to come!

MISF EDUCATION AWARD - Nominate a Teacher or Staff Member Today

Dear schools, staff and supporters of Minnesota's independent schools:

MISF is accepting nominations through February 16 for the 2018 Private and Independent Education Awards. All private and independent schools in Minnesota are eligible and encouraged to participate. Nominations may be submitted by students, staff, board members, parents, school leaders, or anyone connected to the school community.

Do you know an exceptional educator? How about the volunteer who handles lots of assignments? Who has made a difference in your community by their philanthropy? Take the time to nominate them in one of the following categories.

Behind the Scenes

This award recognizes the quiet and essential work of an individual who supports the school outside the classroom. These individuals go out of their way to make the school environment welcoming, friendly, and caring. School staff, coaches, volunteers and other behind the scenes workers may be nominated for this award.

Community Champion

This award celebrates the work of an individual or group that has benefited a school and the community in which the school is located. Board members, donors, and other school supporters may be nominated for this award.


This award highlights an innovative or successful program that supports engagement and academic achievement for the school, students, or faculty.


This award recognizes the hard work and dedication of school heads, presidents, principals, superintendents, or executive directors.

Honor Teacher

This award recognizes that special teacher at a school, who has a passion for students and education. They're creative, innovative, fair and compassionate, and they model integrity and excellence. They are involved in their communities, and they achieve exceptional outcomes.

Click here to submit a nomination.

If you would like to preview the questions prior to submitting the nomination, click here.

The event will be held on Sunday, April 29, at the University of St. Thomas - James B. Woulfe Alumni Hall, Anderson Student Center.

To view the award videos for the 2017 recipients, click here.

We encourage including this in your school newsletter and routing around to your entire school community for greater awareness. Visit MISF's website for ongoing updates and information.

Thank you for your support of independent and private schools and students.

Tim Benz, CFRE


Minnesota Independent School Forum