Dear Parents,

Welcome snow in the mountains! We have the best room in the school with its beautiful view of Mt. Baker and the Twin Sisters.  

In language arts this week we went over the two essays the kids had finished. I explained the grading rubric and had them revise their writing based on the notes I wrote both on the rubric and on the essays themselves. I hope you saw the message I sent yesterday about how to submit the Veterans of Foreign Wars essay. I learned today that a representative of the local VFW has offered to come to our school on Tuesday to pick up any entries. If you wish to use this option, please be sure to fill out the entry form and attach it to a printed copy of the essay, then have your child give it to me Tuesday morning.

We also spent time this week working through Latin roots (we tested today) and verb tenses. We have covered the basic tenses (past, present and future) and the perfect tenses (past perfect – I had bought it; present perfect – I have bought it; and future perfect – I will have bought it). Next week we learn the progressive tenses! I told the kids that learning how our own language works will make it a whole lot easier to learn a foreign one.

We started a short unit in literature about the Salem Witch Trials. This period of history is a bit earlier than where we are in our history lessons, but with Halloween coming I couldn’t resist. Most books are historical fiction, but one group is reading a non-fiction book. We should finish these by the beginning of December. While reading these books, the kids are in small groups and are working through a number of literature tasks. The purpose of the tasks is to get the kids talking about their novels together. This is the first step in independent group literary discussions and should be valuable in setting up some discussion habits.

We didn’t have any lessons on Church history this week but focused on getting ready for the All Saints Day Mass. We are putting this Mass on with our Kindergarten buddies. If you would like to attend, it is an all-parish Mass on Wednesday at 12:30. Your kids will be leading and will be processing in carrying their saint posters and with their Kinder buddies dressed as saints. All are welcome!

In history class we finished learning what life was like in colonial times. We learned about the Great Awakening and its effects on religious tolerance. We also learned about the different social classes, about politics and government, and about how important literature, art, and music were. We learned about the French Indian War, and the taxes the British imposed to help pay for the war. We learned about the deep anger and frustration by the Patriots and that the “shot heard around the world” was the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Today we reviewed Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” pamphlet which stated that it was just plain common sense that we should be free and independent from Great Britain. We ended by declaring our independence.  

We had our final fall gardening time at the WeGrow Garden on Monday. We planted cover crops and more garlic, tidied the beds, attended to the compost bins, and disposed of unwanted plants (mostly sunflowers). Thanks to the parents who made this happen by coming along with us each week. We will resume our visits when the garden “wakes up” again in the spring.

Please check grades this weekend with your child. The sports season is upon us and kids cannot participate if their grades are low. Have your child fill out and turn in a reading log on Monday. And if there is any extra time this weekend, please encourage your child to complete the two book reports that are due on the last school day of the month – Halloween! By the way, the kids have planned their own Halloween party and have decided to watch “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. This movie is rated PG, so it should be fine for the kids. Please let me know if you don’t want your child to watch it and I will find an alternate location for him/her.

Have a great weekend,



Dear Parents, 

This was a short week for us made even shorter by our work at the WeGrow Garden. We prepared beds, harvested beans, peas, apples, and tomatoes, composted sunflowers and other waning plants, and tended to the irrigation system. Thank you to Patty P. for walking with us and helping us in our important work to feed the hungry. Next week we will walk our Kindergarten buddies to the garden to give them a tour and to paint some mini pumpkins we recently harvested. Please note that Patty P. cannot make the October 23rd date on the Signup Genius. I couldn’t remove her name, so if you are willing to take her place, please add your name to the signup. Thanks!

The kids were given an explanation of the culminating project for the novel The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. They will each make a book trailer for the novel. They will be given some class time to work on these and will present them on Thursday of next week. If they feel inspired, they may wish to use some weekend time to take some video to add to their trailers.

The essay that the kids have been working on the past few weeks is due on Monday. They should print it and bring it in to me. If your printer does not work at home, please have them email it to me. I will grade these and then give them back to the kids so that they can make revisions before sending them in to either the VFW or Maryknoll organizations.

In religion we finished our chapter about how the Church is apostolic. We completed a chapter review and then tested our knowledge. Fr. Moore came in this week to continue his lessons on morality. He spoke today about the Ten Commandments, asking the kids who these were meant for – only Jews and Christians or all humans. Ask your child what he/she thinks this weekend.

In history, we finished learning about the colonies and then compared similarities and differences between the three different colonial regions. The biggest similarities were that each colony had religious freedom (or at least tolerance) and representation in government as their important desires. The essential question for this unit is “Why do people move?” and these desires of tolerance and representation, along with the need for elbow room (land/resources), are central to answering this question. The kids put the main descriptors, including advantages and disadvantages of living in each colony on a class bulletin board. They will complete a quest next week that asks them to use their knowledge to decide which colony they would choose to settle in.

Please check FACTS this weekend with your child so that missing assignments and low grades can be corrected. Also, please remind your child to send in a reading log on Monday and to start working on one of two book reports due on the last day of the month. 

Have a great weekend,



Dear Parents,

In language arts this week we focused on essay writing to prepare for the VFW and Maryknoll Missionary essay-writing contests. Last week we had gone over the theme for each and also the requirements. The kids were given a choice of writing to either one prompt or the other. We reviewed the structure of an essay and how it should include a hook, some background, and a thesis statement. Most kids didn’t know that a thesis statement is a bit like the topic sentence in a paragraph – it lets the reader know what the main points (paragraphs) of the essay will be about. We practiced thesis statements and also reviewed topic and closing sentences. I told the kids that I will be grading their essays for writing style, clarity, and mechanics (grammar and other conventions). I will not be able to give them feedback about what they might want to add or take out, but I can provide them with a general grade for their writing based upon the rubric I gave them. They will have early next week to finish these before doing some peer review, some revisions, and then turning them in to me for a grade. Once I have graded the essays, they can be submitted according to the contest guidelines.

We finished our novel The True Adventures of Charlotte Doyle. It was full of twists and turns and many of the exciting events at the end could be interpreted in different ways. This led to some lively discussions. We will review the plot structure of the novel next week before assessing their understanding of that.

In religion we finished learning about how our Church is apostolic. The kids will complete a chapter review by Wednesday of next week before taking their first chapter test that day. As with all work, including tests, kids who wish to retake or make corrections may do so, they need only ask.

Next Monday we go to the WeGrow Garden from 12:30 – 2:00. Please see the SignUp Genius if you would like to come along. We’ve had rain the past two weeks, but we have been having so much fun in the garden that we hardly notice. Please remember that your child may wear casual dress for their work in the garden on Monday.

We have learned about the New England, Middle, and Southern Colonies and their search for participation in choosing their government (representation). We learned about the differences between a proprietary colony and a royal colony, about free enterprise and cash crops, and about the Quakers’ belief that all people are equal in God’s eyes. All these ideas are setting us up to learn about what our forefathers looked for when making a new government for this new nation.

Please sit with your child this weekend and look on FACTS. All grading should be in and updated. Don’t forget to have your child fill out and return a reading log on Monday. This is registered in the gradebook and does affect grades. Also, please remember that there is a two-week window in which to re-do or turn in late work (20% deduction for being late). Beyond that, your child will receive a zero.

Here are some notes from your child’s other teachers:

Spanish – Una nota de Señora Anna- This week in Spanish we checked our knowledge with a quiz on La Gloria (Glory Be) prayer and a quiz on verb translations and conjugations. Students will be able to do quiz corrections during lunch/recess Monday and Tuesday of next week. Then, we began a unit on comida (food) by learning important vocabulary.

Band – “This week in band, we reinforced articulation with our first five notes. We also explored different styles of music our instruments are capable of playing. Finally, we had our first official playing test of the school year from our Measures of Success Book. Beginning next week, we will begin working on our music for the Christmas Program!

PE – 6-8 learned about the 5 components of fitness and participated in the Fall Fitness Gram that included the mile run, curl-ups, push-ups and sit and reach.  

Have a great weekend,


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