Updates from Mrs. Rodine
I love this time of year - and not just because we are only days away from a nice long break! I love the programs, prayer services, buddy activities, field trips, and all the other special things we do here at St. Joes. We are so lucky to be able to have these learning experiences for the kids, and it makes the wait for Christmas Break so much more bearable!
Here are some of the things we have been covering in class, and what will be coming up in January:
8th Reading - This week we are finishing our last quiz over Dangerous Minds. The students have been given their final assessment choices, a speech or a written essay, along with a grading rubric. These will be due the Tuesday after break. I know homework over break??? But they got this information last week, so they have had plenty of time to work before break begins. Monday, January 5th, we will practice and edit before final speeches and drafts are due. Our next novel will be To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This is my absolute most favorite book to read and to teach! We will spend some time building background knowledge of the time period the book was written in, so that the students can appreciate all the social issues and themes of the book. We also continue to work on fluency and vocabulary each week.
6th Reading - Students will complete the Lesson 12 assessment this Thursday before break. We will start Lesson 13 after break. I feel like the students are getting the hang of using the study guide and helping themselves prepare for the assessments. First semester I would review the study guide with the class - basically making sure they had all the correct information to study. Now students are responsible for finding all the information on their own. They can ask me questions if they get stuck, but I do not give them all the answers to the study guide anymore. They are taking this new responsibility very seriously, and doing a fantastic job. Students also have one book project due by the end of this trimester. January 9th is the next check in date - by this date the students need to have decided what type of project they will do. Projects are due to present on January 26th.
8th Guidance - we continue to work on our I Have a Plan work for the State of Iowa. We are to the final step which is creating a 4-year high school course plan. This is just for practice. I have talked with the students at length that they will meet with a high school counselor to actually plan and decide their classes for high school. The State likes to have 8th graders fill out a practice plan to get them thinking about possible courses and plans of study for high school. Once students have completed this plan, they will email you their work for parent approval. This step is also required by the State. After break we will start having our lessons focus on goal-setting, peer relationships, and I will send you a note when we get ready to watch the video series, “Sex as God’s Gift” as part of our Human Growth and Development Standards and Benchmarks.
Student Council - The Student Council helped the teachers plan the December buddy activity which centered on St. Nicholas Day. The Council wrote a letter to Loffredo Fresh Produce, Inc., asking for a donation of fresh oranges for all our students. They were successful, and the council was responsible for organizing all the gifts for the students on the buddy activity day. Student Council is also in the process of planning the Teacher Appreciation lunch for Catholic Schools Week, at the end of January. They also plan to sell Candy Grams for Valentine’s Day to raise money for this luncheon, as well as pay for the dunk tank for 8th graders in the spring. Another new thing the Student Council has started this year is a suggestion box. Students and staff can anonymously put suggestions in the box for the Student Council to address. We know there are many things suggested that the Student Council has no power to change or control. But our goal is to at least have the students of our school feel like their voices are heard. Here are a few of the suggestions we’ve received over the past month:
*Middle school choice - Outside recess or study hall
*Middle school recess on Wednesdays
*Library time for Middle School
*a K-8 field trip to the Science Center
*Veggie sticks in ala carte
Our next Student Council meeting will be Wednesday, January 14th, from 3:15-3:55 in Mrs. Simmon’s room.
I hope you and your family have a safe and blessed Christmas and New Year. See you in 2015!