Middle School Nugget

Saint Mark's - A Catholic IDEALS School

January 10, 2018

Happy 2018!

  • Reminder that 2nd quarter ends on January 26th. Students will be dismissed at 11:30 on the 26th.
  • Extended Family Time for this month will be on Thursday, January 11th at 8:45am in the Gym

Language Arts - Mrs. Kendra Whinnery

6th: The 6th graders continue to hone their writing skills as we near the completion of our reading of The Giver. After selecting a character from the novel, each student has identified three specific character traits on which to focus his/her five-paragraph essay. We’ll be working diligently on creating quality introduction and conclusion paragraphs, constructing a proper thesis statement, crafting clear topic sentences, and including effective analysis (not merely description) and proper MLA citations. In addition, this week we’ve focused a great deal on verb tenses (identifying, changing, and tense shifts) and how our familiarity with those skills can help to strengthen our writing.

7th: Those poetry portfolios are coming along beautifully, and many students have even completed theirs long before the final due date. This is certainly a creative bunch! 7th graders continue to develop their critical thinking and writing skills in our current unit focused on the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. As we study this time in our history, students analyze speeches and other writings authored by some of our nation’s greatest leaders while connecting past struggles to current events. While our study includes many individuals and social movements, 7th graders will read in-depth biographies of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X and will write a formal compare-contrast paper about these two men and their approaches to affect positive change.

8th: This week, 8th graders began reading To Kill a Mockingbird. We started out with a great presentation and discussion about the power of perspective. Throughout the novel, we will discuss topics such as figurative language, theme and conflict, rhetoric, and characterization. Students will also strengthen vocabulary acquisition and usage. We’ll conclude in February with some awesome final projects. Stay tuned!

Science - Mrs. Sarah Schwab

Science Fair

All middle school students have officially started their Science Fair projects for the year. The project proposal for the Science Fair is due this Friday, which includes a parent signature. Students also received a parent letter including important due dates that should have been brought home last week. I am also attaching the letter here in case you didn't receive it. The middle school Science Fair will be on March 16th! 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. In addition to introducing the Science Fair, this is what else has been going on in Science:

6th grade:

Sixth graders had a quick review of the Scientific Method in preparation of the upcoming Science Fair. Students have also been busy exploring possible topics for their project. In addition to the Science Fair, we have begun our study of Atomic Theory and the various models and ideas different Scientists have had about atoms.

7th grade:

Seventh graders are diving right into our study of Genetics. Students have been learning about the famous Austrian monk, Gregor Mendel, and his study of pea plants which led him to be named the "Father of Genetics". We are studying about genes, alleles, traits and all things genetics over the next few weeks. It is such a fun unit and the students really seem to enjoy it.

8th grade:

Eighth graders just finished learning about Metamorphic Rocks by exploring how the materials found in clay can form into slate, schist and phyllite based on different conditions the materials go through. Students are finishing up our unit of Rocks by creating a children's book, cartoon or animation of a rock traveling through the rock cycle. Next week, 8th graders will begin construction on the musical staircase. Be sure to watch for pictures in the next Nugget.

6th grade Science - "Science without numbers" Helicopter experiment

7th grade - Newspaper Table Challenge

Math - Mrs. Katy Kieffer

6th Grade

We are hard at work doing some Geometry. I'm really impressed how excited these kids are getting about discovering formulas. Our Minnesota state standards in math focus heavily on deriving formulas, not just memorizing them, and your kids are really enjoying the discovery. We will be wrapping up this Geometry chapter with areas of composite figures where we will be visiting our church to draw and then find the areas of composite figures we find there.

*Please continue to encourage your students to do test corrections and make up mini-assessments as needed.

7th Grade

7th graders have completed solving equations and are working through solving inequalities. This can get a little confusing, so please encourage your students to ask as many questions as possible, and use their resources for help (such as Khan Academy.) After these couple Algebra units, we will be switching gears and getting into Geometry, so if your student is more of a spatial learner, they may find that it will come a little more quickly.

*Please continue to encourage your students to do test corrections and make up mini-assessments as needed.

8th Grade

8th graders are really getting deep into Algebra now as they completed linear inequalities and move onto systems of equations. This can sometimes be a difficult chapter, but we are off to a good start, and I have every confidence that they can handle it. I am continuing to encourage them to ask questions all the time, seek help during advisory time and after school, and always take opportunities to do test corrections and re-do mini-assessments. Asking questions and taking as many opportunities to learn from mistakes is certainly a skill they want to hone as they enter high school.

6th graders spend some time sketching some composite figures in the church to add spirituality to math.

Social Studies- Ms. Kate Heintzelman

6th Grade

This week the students started their unit on Ancient China. The students will learn how the geography shaped the nation. We will talk about how their culture makes them so unique and how that culture has shaped their history. They have begun their North America Landform map quizzes.

7th Grade

We have finished the Revolution and are now moving to the aftermath. We will learn how we created the government we use today and how we decided to build ourselves up as a nation. The students are now working on their Latin America Country Maps.

8th Grade

The students have begun their study of European History. We will be examining the most influential and powerful monarchies and leaders and see how those rulers shaped Europe. We will then move onto European culture. The students are working on their European Country Maps. Their test will be this Friday.

History Day

History Day is almost over. The students rough draft is due on Friday. They need the following items printed and stapled into one packet: title page, process paper, all paragraphs (background, build-up, thesis, main event, impact and legacy), all pictures and where they will be used, all quotes and where they will be used, edited annotated bibliography. Their rough draft is worth 60pts.

Examples of the title page, process paper, and bibliography are located on googleclassroom.

Their final draft is due Monday January 22nd that is their completed exhibit board or website.

Spanish - Ms. Hanna Brown

8th grade: We have started learning about the verb ir which means “to go”. This is a very common verb and used a lot when speaking Spanish. We are learning how to conjugate this verb to say: I am going, you are going, he/she is going...etc. As well as learning how to put this into context of asking questions such as where are you going? As we wrap this up at the end of the week, we will begin to talk about prepositions.

7th grade: We have been focusing a lot on noun/adjective agreement. Students learned a list of adjectives and we have been learning how in Spanish the noun and adjective have to agree when speaking in a sentence. We have wrapped that up and are transitioning into TPR stories (Total Physical Response). Students will learn a set of vocabulary words, read a story using the vocabulary words and practice rewriting the story with prompts. Eventually with each story, students will be able to retell the story in Spanish using pictures.

6th grade: Before break, we wrapped up the unit on food, which students created their own menus and they did a fantastic job with that. Now, we are beginning to talk about words to describe a house (objects, rooms...everything that goes with a house). With this, students are creating their Mi casa de mis sueños (house of my dreams) in which students can create a blueprint, poster, 3D model...etc of a house that they design. Students were provided with a rubric for this project. The kids are very excited about this project, and I am excited to see what they create!

Music - Mrs. Alisa Rogers

6th grade: 6th graders are wrapping up their unit on chant and the Medival Era by learning about some major composers, listening to a variety of music, and doing some self guided research to learn about day to day life during this time.

7th grade is finishing and presenting their Theme and Variation projects! Students chose a Christmas carol last month to use as their "theme" and have been writing and arrangement variations.

8th graders are wrapping up the Romantic Era by composing their own Programmatic music pieces, based on stories they either selected or wrote themselves.

Special Note: I am SO excited to announce that this year's Spring Concert will be a performance of "Godspell Jr."! This production takes the original Broadway show and condenses it into a performance more appropriate for younger actors. Students will begin preparation while Mrs. Rogers is on maternity leave, and we will have auditions upon her return. Please note: we are still determining a date for the concert. Parents will be notified as soon as our date is locked down!

Art - Mrs. Ashley Moe

6th grade is working in groups to advertise art movements. After learning the history, artists, and themes of their given art movement, each group is creating a poster to entice others to join their movement. Since a poster can only get your message across so far, they're also creating a skit, infomercial, jingle, and more to present to the class.

7th grade is just beginning stop motion animation! This week, they'll plot out their stories, characters, and materials. Next week, the filming begins!

8th grade is digging into Minnesota's Scandinavian roots by studying the design of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark! After viewing several traditional art forms and techniques, students are taking inspiration and creating either a cut paper image, embroidery, or painting. We're getting into the Scandinavian spirit by practicing hygge, having a cozy atmosphere with hot coco and whatever students would like to bring to create a calm, relaxed few weeks!

Religion - Mrs. Katy Kieffer

6th Grade

6th graders have been learning about Jacob/Israel and now Joseph and his "amazing technicolor dreamcoat." We are having some fun learning some songs and doodling with notes. We are also exploring the idea of divine providence as it occurs to God's people throughout our salvation history as well as for ourselves in our own lives. Be on the lookout for details about a new service-learning project coming up soon as well.

7th Grade

7th graders finished their infancy narrative, which I think (though I may be biased) was a smashing success. I was very proud of their performance. Moving on, we are doing a short unit of the Feast of the Epiphany and why it is such a significant event in our faith. We took a look at some music and artwork related to the feast day as well as explored how it is celebrated in other countries. Going forward, we will be exploring the apostles and their role in the life of Jesus and His ministry.

8th Grade

8th graders have finally begun the process of choosing a service-learning project. Within the next week, I will be asking them, with some guidance, to choose a project that they will be able to complete within a few weeks. If your student is getting confirmed, they are welcome to use a project that they have already planned (not yet completed) and are welcome to use a project that they use here for service hours provided it fits the bill for the requirements for confirmation hours. Aside from that, they have been continuing to study the Marks of the Church by looking at the idea of the "universal" or "catholic" nature of the Church. Did you know that the word "catholic" can be more closely associated with the Greek word "katolikos," meaning "throughout the whole" rather than "universal?" There's a great article on your student's Google Classroom account. Check it out.

7th graders blessed our St. Mark’s home today with the Epiphany blessing: 20+C+M+B+18.

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Physical Education - Mr. Thomas Gorilla

6th, 7th & 8th Grade: For this unit, the students are learning about how our muscles/tendons/ligaments work and how important their role is in our day-to-day life + athletic activity. 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!)

For this unit, students are doing activity that require the students to constantly be in motion, whether avoiding being tagged by “Wasps” with pool noodles, or performing exercise in a “zone” that helps them “heal back up” to get back in the area where they avoid being tagged. Students perform push ups, a variety of core exercises, or squats/squat jumps to get back in and while they’re out in the field of play, are constantly jogging, juking, and changing speeds, having to be aware of their surroundings. Students are getting at least 10-20 reps of each exercise and aerobic training with the prolonged running throughout the class. Taggers use a noodle like one from a pool to get other students and we rotate every 2-3 minutes or so, so that everybody is getting a chance to get in the exercises for the day!

Brain Break

Why Social Media May Not Be Smart for Middle School Kids


Marker Monday!

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