Middle School Nugget

Saint Mark's - A Catholic IDEALS School

February 21, 2018

Language Arts - Mrs. Kendra Whinnery

8th: Our time with To Kill a Mockingbird has recently taught us about rhetoric, conflict, connotation, and analogies. We’ll have another in-class work day for final projects on Friday this week, so please encourage your child to bring in any needed materials so as to make the best use of their time. I’ve been very impressed with the level of creativity and cooperation I’ve witnessed so far! Keep up the great work, 8th graders!

7th: After completing a thorough unit on many types of verbs, the 7th graders have just begun reading Of Mice and Men. As we progress, we’ll focus attention on use of dialogue, types of conflict, identifying themes, and an in-depth analysis of allegory. Students have study guide questions to help guide their reading and “scavenger hunt” activities that accompany most chapters. Soon, the 7th graders will also be given a choice of four specific prompts from which to construct an essay for this unit’s formal writing assignment. More info to follow.

6th: We’re off and running with our newest novel, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Using the context of the story, this week and next we’ll learn about similes, focus on setting and characterization, and begin to explore the role of symbolism. For this novel, we’ll be reading three chapters at a time, and students have study guide questions to complete as they read. Quizzes on comprehension and vocabulary will also be happening every few chapters to keep our reading on track.

Science - Mrs. Sarah Schwab

Science Fair Update

All middle school students should be completing their Science Fair experiments at home right now. The next part of the project that is due are the data tables/graphs which are due next Friday, March 2nd. Reminder that the official Science Fair is on March 16th. Please email if you would like to judge. Thank you!

6th grade:

Sixth graders have been busy using the Periodic Table to determine the amount of protons, neutrons and electrons in stable atoms. Students have also taken this information to sketch Bohr's models of a variety of elements, using the correct amount of orbitals and electrons in each shell. Sixth graders created 3-D models of elements using colored cereal to represent neutrons, electrons and protons; and a paper plate to represent the electron cloud. We have started our study of metals this week and are finishing off this week completing a lab where students will explore the properties of metals.

7th grade:

Seventh graders are busy finishing up our unit of Genetics. Last week, students made 3D models of DNA and were able to model and demonstrate DNA replication. This week students have been working on a 'gummy bear' lab where they have studied traits of a variety of gummy bear 'offspring' to determine the phenotypes and genotypes of the gummy bear parents. After we wrap up the unit on Genetics, we will move onto our study of the human body systems.

8th grade:

Eighth graders have taken a little break from the musical stairs project and have been studying about Pangaea and how different theories about seafloor spreading and plate tectonics were developed. Eighth graders also conducted research on fossils found in Antarctica as well as plant life found to either support or disagree Wegener's theory of Pangaea. Students created a slide show and presented information to the class about their findings. Eighth graders are continuing the study of plate tectonics this week and will finish off the week doing a lab with frosting and graham crackers to demonstrate divergent boundaries, convergent boundaries and transform boundaries.

6th grade Science

7th grade Science

8th grade Science

Math - Mrs. Katy Kieffer

6th Grade:

6th graders are finishing up ratios, including percentages and conversions within metric and customary systems. We have learned a few songs along the way and made some delicious purple frosting. Our latest song about metric conversions involves King Henry. Ask your kids how King Henry died! We will soon be moving into the wonderful world of integers. Though negatives are not a major standard until 7th grade, I think many of these 6th graders are quite ready.

7th Grade:

7th graders just completed the main portion of their proportions unit with some slime ratios (don't use the bargain brand laundry detergent. Go with Tide!) I am really proud of how well these guys and gals know their proportional scenarios. They've done really great work staying engaged and persevering through difficulty. We are continuing now with percents, including percent increase and decrease as well as mark-ups and discounts.

8th Grade:

8th graders are competing the first portion of our study of functions. Lately, we've had to put our noses to the grindstone and get through the basics of linear functions. I have some fun IDEALS things planned for the next portion of this unit that I believe will really peak their curiosity. After our functions unit, we will be delving more and more into 9th grade Algebra concepts alongside finishing up 8th grade Algebra concepts.

Social Studies- Ms. Kate Heintzelman

6th Grade: The students have wrapped up their unit on Ancient China and are now moving away from Africa and Asia to learn about the Ancient History of Europe.

They will begin by learning about Ancient Greece by creating an interactive notebook. We will focus on the geography that helped shape the culture and history. We will examine Ancient Athens and Sparta. They will look at the various roles of men and women and their lifestyle. We will learn about their gods and mythology as well.

They have begun their Latin America Capital Map quizzes.

7th Grade: This week we are finishing up our unit on government. We have focused on the three branches of government and the roles of the branches. We discussed the Bill of Rights and the Constitution applying it to their lives today. The students have really loved getting to know some of the ins and outs of the Constitution. They really loved the idea of a filibuster in congress. The students will have a test on Monday.

They have begun their Latin America Landform quizzes.

8th Grade: We have finished our unit on Europe and have now shifted to Africa. The students will first learn about the geography of the continent. We will examine the various eco systems and geographical features. They will understand how those features would have and do impact the inhabitants. Then we will move onto the history of European colonization. By the end of the unit they will understand how colonization has had a direct impact on Africa today.

They have their European Landform Test on Thursday, and will begin Africa Countries next week.

Spanish - Ms. Hanna Brown

8th grade: We are starting ER/IR verb conjugation. Students will do a variety of activities in order to feel confident in knowing the meanings of ER/IR verbs as well as conjugate these verbs. We will also take a look at irregular verbs that do not follow the “normal” conjugation. These irregular verbs are important and very common. We will continue to work on building confidence by conjugating these verbs, which will lead us to “ER/IR verbo Olympics.” Students will compete in groups, that represent a country and do a variety of games to conjugate these verbs.

7th grade: We wrapped up the TPRS story “El Pelo de Pepe” with students creating skits that included a script and a mini acting out of their story. These involved vocabulary from the last two TPRS stories we covered in class. Now, we are going to touch base and review AR verb conjugation and then begin a review of family vocabulary. This will tie in with the verb Tener = to have. It is a very commonly used verb and important for students to feel confident in using this verb, through writing, speaking and listening.

6th grade: We wrapped up Me/Te/Le/Nos/Les gusta (I/you/he-she/we/they like) with a quiz. Students are able to express what they like using “Me” and what others around them do or do not like by using the appropriate pronoun. Now, we are beginning “La ropa” (clothing) vocabulary. We will be doing a variety of activities for students to become familiar and confident with this vocabulary. This will lead to learning about students’ daily routines and students will be able to express their routine through speaking and writing.

Music - Mrs. Alisa Rogers

All of the middle schoolers are working their way through music history and showing a lot of insight and enthusiasm in lectures and discussions. Each grade is focusing on a different point of Western Classical music history. This week we’ve been wrapping up our projects and sharing them with the class.


Right now the 8th graders are talking about Modern Era music and composers. They’re sharing the fruits of their research—their very own podcasts. Each 8th grader made a five minute long podcast focusing on a Modern Era composer of their choice, full of all the podcast fun with sound effects, music, interviews, etc. This project invites students to dig deep and learn a lot about specific composers from the past century, while also exploring the ways we use music in podcasts today. They’ve turned out great so far.


This week 7th graders are presenting their projects in front of the class. Students have been studying composers from across Europe, and chose one they wanted to know more about. In partners (or a group of three), students performed episodes of “Meet the Composer,” the show where a famous Classical Era composer is interviewed and tells about his/her style and work. They’ve done a lot of detailed research and have made some fantastic presentations.


In 6th grade we’re wrapping up and preparing to present our projects about a Renaissance Era composer. Students chose one composer that we’ve studied and are making an “instagram story” about them. Using major and/or daily events from their composer’s life, students are putting together photos that tell their composer’s story. We’ll share these next week, and I’m very excited to see them.

Art - Mrs. Ashley Moe

6th graders finished their observational candy heart paintings, carefully color matching the highlight, shadow, and cast shadows. I'm really impressed with how great these turned out! Later this week, we'll begin learning about radial design and the many styles of stained glass. Working in small groups, students will transform windows in our school into works of art for the remainder of the Lenten season.

7th grade is still at work on their typography posters. Next time you need something hand lettered at home, ask them to demo some of the marker tricks they learned! After creating their own font, students will complete their written quotes this week.

8th grade has been hard at work on their self portraits. Using value, students show the shadows and highlights on their face, create a patterned background, and hand letter and virtue that signifies themselves. This is a long process, but the results are slowly proving to be worth all the work!

6th grade Art

Religion - Mrs. Katy Kieffer

6th Grade:

Aside from focusing on the season of Lent, 6th graders are putting much of their efforts into putting together their service-learning project for Watts of Love, which provides safe alternative energy in underdeveloped countries. They are really excited to do a great job and support this organization the best they can. Pope Francis's Laudato Si seems to really have impacted how they look at our natural world and it's connection to the most vulnerable among us.

7th Grade:

7th grades wrapped up their study of the Apostles with a discussion about Mary and why she is considered the greatest disciple. We looked at who Mary was as the first and best disciple and how we can emulate her in our lives (as 7th graders.) We also started up our Manna and Mercy book again, which this class really got into last year. We are picking up the book at the birth of Jesus and looking at what this means for us in our salvation history.

8th Grade:

8th Graders are wrapping up their study of the Apostolic mark of the Church by researching a particular pope and giving a short presentation about who is was for the Church. We will now be moving on to early Church history with a study of the Acts of the Apostles which chronicles the roots of the early Church. The 8th graders should also be doing their individual service projects as the quarter continues.

Physical Education - Mr. Thomas Gorilla

The middle schoolers have finished up their 2018 Olympic Events and are now being introduced to new warm up techniques that not only warm up the layers of muscle and increase our heart rate, but also warming up our brain by doing a variety of reaction warm ups with partners which also work hand in hand for working together. Instead of students coming to class every week expecting the same warm up and feeling as if they are just going through motions, each class is presented something different, fun, and challenging to help with all around development.


Open Gym

Fridays from 4:30 - 6:00 pm

February 22

Taste of St. Mark's - 6:30 - 7:30 pm

February 27th and March 1st

Spring Conferences will be held on February 27th and March 1st.

2018 - 2019 Enrollment - Don't delay, enroll 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 Schools 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!

"How to talk to Kids about Terrible Things"