1/21/22

January 21, 2022

Hi Parents,

We had a short week with the MLK holiday on Monday, then skiing on Tuesday. Nonetheless, we were able to squeeze in the first few lessons of our adverbs unit. We learned that adverbs modify verbs, adverbs, and adjectives (but never nouns). We learned that they answer the questions how, when, where, and to what extent (how much). We learned that the words how, when, where, and why are also adverbs. We will continue next week and then test our knowledge of adverbs as well as our ability to distinguish between adverbs and adjectives.

We continued reading our literature circle novels. Some groups are nearly done and will be given their choice of a culminating project to complete. Others are working hard to complete their novels and the accompanying packet by next Friday, January 28th (end of semester). As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, please be sure that your child works on the two book reports that are due no later than January 28th. I will not take them after that date as I have a grading deadline. Please also remember to look at and sign the reading log that is due each Monday. The kids know that late or unsigned reading logs will be marked down.

We had only one lesson in religion this week and are learning about the early Church and the distinction between the Church in the East and the Church in the West, especially as far as the Eucharistic Liturgy and how it was celebrated by each one. We will continue learning about this next week and then test in the new semester.

In social studies, we learned more about Thomas Jefferson and his ideas about government. We learned the difference in ideas between the Federalist and Democratic Republican (also called Republican) parties of government and realize that Federalist ideas align more with current Republicans, while Democratic Republican ideas align more with current Democrats. We learned about the Louisiana Purchase and how important this event was to our country’s size, resources, and power. Today we learned about the events and struggles leading up to the War of 1812 (which we will cover more in-depth next Monday).

Reminders:

  • Winter Ride – skiing next Tuesday (see Ms. McIntosh’s email with details)
  • All missing work/re-takes must be completed by next Friday, January 28th
  • Elective preference due next Friday, January 28th
  • MAP testing continues next week Wed – Fri; please avoid pulling kids out during testing
  • Two book reports due by next Friday
  • 9 service hours due by next Friday

Have a great weekend!

Chris

 

1/15/22

January 15, 2022

Dear Parents,

What crazy weather we’ve had – I don’t know whether to break out the spring wardrobe or put on an extra layer! Hopefully everything is set for our Tuesday “Winter Ride” program. Please be sure you re-read the details and expectations so that your child is ready for the program on Tuesday morning. We leave bright and early.

Our winter MAP testing starts Wednesday. We will spread out our testing a bit so that the kids have two shorter sessions, rather than one long one for each subject. Please be sure that your child gets a good night’s rest before each test, and also that he/she eats a healthy, hearty breakfast each morning.

We have been studying hard in language arts and have finished the first part of our unit on modifiers, focusing on adjectives this time. We tested on Friday and will move on to adverbs next week. We also completed Latin lesson 7. The kids are showing confidence and competence using Latin roots and this should help them as they move into high school.

Kids are at least halfway through their novels and have been busy with the writing activities associated with each novel. I have collected their packets and will grade what they have finished so far over this long weekend. They have been reminded many times that the schedule they have set within their reading groups should ensure that they have finished reading their novels by January 28th. They have also been encouraged to complete one of their two book reports over this long weekend so that they have ample time to complete their second one before January 28th. Please remind them of this, and also to turn in their parent-signed reading log on Monday  Wednesday for full credit.

We finished a chapter in religion about the early Church and the ecumenical councils that were held to combat heresies. The kids took a test and that should have come home with all the other finished, graded work on Friday. I hope your kids are showing you their finished work. I require them to take it home each Friday and to keep it until they see their grades for each assignment posted in FACTS.

In social studies we have been studying the Supreme Court. The kids have been presenting the landmark cases they have studied using Power points. They are asking great questions of one another and are really showing an understanding of the law and its origins in the Constitution.

As COVID cases rise in our community, please remind your kids that safety is the most important thing right now. I am sanitizing desks several times a day and am constantly reminding the kids to keep their distance from one another, especially when they are eating. I’d appreciate it if you can give them similar reminders.

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the extra day off.

Chris

1/8/22

January 8, 2022

Dear Parents,

Despite the funky schedule this week, we accomplished a lot. We started new literature circles groups. The kids are reading either “My Brother Sam is Dead” (a Revolutionary War novel), “Lord of the Flies” (a novel about human nature in the face of adversity), and “Treasure Island” (the classic coming-of-age novel). We intend to finish these novels this month and the groups have set their own schedules in order to accomplish this. You will likely see your kids reading these novels at home as I prefer to use class time as group discussion/activity completion time rather than quiet reading time. Remember that they can add this reading to their weekly reading-log requirements. I told the kids that I was going to be a bit stricter on reading log completion through the end of the semester (January 28th). Any reading logs not turned in each Monday will get a late penalty of 10% (as is done in both 6th and 7th grades). Reading logs not signed by parents will receive only 50% credit until they have been signed (I will then add up to 40%, having deducted 10% for not being fully completed on time), so please check on their reading and sign their logs each weekend. Please encourage your kids to turn in one of their two book reports by the middle of this month. The second one must be turned in by January 28th so that I can include it in this semester’s grades.

We began both a new Latin lesson and a short unit on modifiers (focusing on adjectives for now). We will continue these units next week. I am hoping that a deeper understanding of modifiers will help improve student writing as it should give kids more tools for elaboration and specificity.

In religion this week we continued a chapter about the growth of Christendom. We learned about the first ecumenical councils and the importance of the Council of Nicaea (origin of the Nicene Creed). We learned about heresies and listened to a song called “We Believe” by the Newsboys to see if it included any heresies. I encouraged the kids to listen to contemporary Christian music (our local station is 106.5FM) as an uplifting form of inspiration and unity among Christians. We also talked about the ACRE (Assessment of Catholic Religious Education) test that will be given in April. The ACRE assesses knowledge and attitudes about faith (two parts). In order to prepare for this (in addition to what we already study in our lessons about the history of the Church), the kids are beginning each of their religion lessons by practicing vocabulary for the first ten minutes using Quizlet. This format will really help, since the knowledge portion of the ACRE test is multiple choice vocabulary. I will let you know some time in March when the ACRE test has been scheduled.

We finished learning about the U.S. Constitution in December (last year!) and started a brief unit about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). We learned who the current members are and talked about what the role of the Supreme Court is – to use the power of judicial review to determine whether the laws and actions of our government conform to the U.S. Constitution. Its power extends to all cases under the Constitution, federal laws, and treaties. We learned that the Supreme Court only takes on about 80 cases per term and began reading a few cases that are of interest to us. We will study some landmark cases next week. I am hoping that having an understanding of our constitution and justice system will help our kids become more aware of what is happening in the news and make them better-informed citizens.

As I mentioned earlier in this letter, January 28th is the end of the semester. Please look over FACTS with your child to be sure there are no missing assignments as those are due by January 27th. I will reserve January 28th for book reports and assessments given that day. I have been reminding the kids that their nine service hours for the semester are due by January 28th. The form can be found on the “Resources” tab of the 8th grade web page.

Have a great weekend!

Chris

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