Happy Autumn! It finally feels like it’s here. Thank you to all the parents who came to Conferences a few weeks ago. It was so nice to meet you, and to visit about your children! It is such a blessing to be able to collaborate with the students’ first teachers, so that we can all help them be so successful. Below you can read about what is happening in my classes, as well as see news about Student Council, and Speech and Debate! Course 1 Math - Again, I can’t say enough about how impressed I have been with this group of students so far this school year! They are a terrific bunch of hard workers. Students are really motivated in this class to learn, and to get not waste time. We just took Cumulative Test 4. We will finish this week with the next set of five lessons, starting with Lesson 26. Students should be ready for Test 5 by the end of next week. Remind your student that anytime they do not end up with Math homework, they should review multiplication and division math facts. Getting these facts completely memorized will be a huge advantage for students as the math concepts in class continue to get more difficult. 7th/8th Reading - Students are in the middle of Of Mice and Men this week. They will have a short quiz over Chapter 3 this week, and next week’s reading assignments will take them to the end of the book. We have had some great discussions about themes of the story so far, characterization, setting and the various conflicts in the story. When we finish the novel, students will write an essay as their final assessment over the book, and we will watch the movie as well. We continue vocabulary and fluency work each week as well. Student Council - Students are still learning their new roles as Student Council officers and representatives. This week they will be visiting all classrooms to inform students about the two “Suggestion Boxes” that they have created to give students an opportunity to let the Student Council know their ideas for how to make St. Joseph School the best it can be. Our next meeting will be Wednesday, November 9th. Speech and Debate - will be starting very soon! I will be informing the middle school students what it is all about in the next couple weeks, and setting a schedule to start preparing for the season. See below some information from Spencer Sheaff, our Debate Liaison for DCHS: I have some new information regarding Middle School Debate in 2017. Des Moines Public Schools appointed an administrator for Middle School debate this year. She has just informed me that they are targeting their first tournament of the year for January, 2017. My understanding at this time is that the Tuesday/Thursday format will remain largely the same as last year, until about April when there may be a weekend tournament. We also know that the Topic Area for this year will be on Clean/Renewable Energy. DMPS is hoping to have a final topic wording out at the end of October, but if you have students chomping at the bit to start working on debate, they can start collecting information about different forms of clean energy. I will, of course, be trying to encourage my debaters to come help with your team's practices. I graduated a number of seniors, but it looks like I have a good number of freshman to assist this year. Let me know when you'd like to hold practice and I'll try and get at least one Dowling student there. Thanksgiving is only a few short weeks away. I hope it is a blessed and safe holiday for you all. St. Joseph School, our students and their families are a few of the many things I am thankful for. Blessings, Mrs. Rodine
Can you believe we have already been in school for almost 6 weeks, and that Conferences are right around the corner?! It has been a great start to the year. New classes, new students - but lots of learning and fun. Read below to find out what’s happening in the classes I teach, and what we will be working on in the near future. Course 1 Math - This is my first year teaching Math, and if I’m being honest - I was nervous about it. But all has been working out well so far. The students are wonderful. They are experts at Saxon, so they know the drill. We begin each class by checking our homework from the previous lesson and discussing any questions that come up. Then we take a few minutes to do what is called a “Power Up”. This consists of a short review of math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication or division), and well as few mental math problems that the students should be able to figure out in their heads, as well as a story problem that has multiple steps. Saxon gives us daily practice at these skills so that they don’t become rusty. I do see that some students are not “automatic” with their math facts, especially multiplication and division. If this is your student, encourage them to get in some extra practice with flash cards, or by using online games to time and practice. From Course 1 and beyond, it is expected that students know these facts, and can easily recall them when working with more difficult and multi-step equations. If students can’t remember their math facts, a large number of their calculations are going to end up incorrect. After the Power Up we go through the lesson or skill for the day, doing multiple samples together on white boards so that I can check for understanding. Finally I assign the homework that will help them practice the new skill, as well as reviewing some of the previous lessons so that they stay fresh in their minds. They are a great group of hard workers. They are very focused, and do not waste class time. Our first 15 lessons have been review of previous years’ concepts, but soon we will be encountering new material. As parents who want to help their student to do their best, I ask you to encourage and remind them of these things: practice math facts, always review your work (does my answer make sense - if I estimate, am I close?), and double check that I’ve done the entire assignment. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. 7th/8th Reading - We have just finished our first novel, A Separate Peace, by John Knowles. Students are preparing final projects that are due next Wednesday, October 5th. We practice fluency each week, as well as difficult vocabulary from the novel. With this novel we have spent a lot of our discussion time looking at mood, tone, and theme. Because this novel takes place during World War II, the author (through the narrator) has a lot to say about the theme of war. And even though that seems like ancient history to students today, we also can relate to this story because the characters are teenagers. They are friends, who struggle with their friendship at times, like most teenagers do. We’ve had some really great discussions. Next week we will begin some pre-reading work for our next novel, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, as well as presenting our projects. 6th Guidance - It’s been great to start this year having 6th grade for Guidance for the first trimester. We have covered many topics such as time management, effective study skills, learning styles, and multiple intelligences. This week we will talk about test taking skills - with a specific discussion focused on our upcoming Iowa Assessments. Student Council - Student Council elections were this week! Congratulations to President - Shaylin Gonzalez, Vice President - Andrew Robey, Treasurer - Matthew Dietrich, and 6th grade class representatives - Yalitza Lovan, Emily Ponxs, and Joshua Ponxs. Our first meeting will be Wednesday, October 12th from 3:15-4:00 in Miss Ramaeker’s room.
With the rain coming down, it’s hard to believe that in just a few short hours we will be on summer vacation! I am sad to see the kids go, I have enjoyed them all so much - especially this year’s 8th grade class. They will always hold a special place in my heart. Here is just a bit about how we finished up the school year: 7th/8th Reading - their Readers’ Theater of Hamlet was great! They really got into it, and did a fantastic job of answering questions from Miss Campbell’s class about the play. It was a fun way to end the year. Student Council - we finished the year with May Day baskets. The money raised helped to pay for the dunk tank for the 8th graders. It’s such a fun gift for the whole school to give them! It was a great day, and even on a very rainy week - God blessed us with a sunny and steamy afternoon! Debate Team - this group finished their short season on a high note at the Friendship Tournament at St. Francis on May 12th. Congratulations to Quentin Hill, Christina Dietrich, Luz Corvera-Mata, Ana Siebrecht, Cade Burke, Gabe Hadsall, Dylan Farrell, Samantha and Lauren Schroeder, and Mikayla Waters for a tremendous season. Quentin Hill and Cade Burke received medals for being undefeated at the tournament. Next fall we will get the team going right away so that we can compete in more tournaments, and have more time to really get our resolutions air tight. This group was such a joy to work with this year, and they have the potential to be great speech and debate competitors! To all my other students that I meet with during the year…you have all come so far, and grown so much. The emotional, social and academic progress you have made is tremendous. You should be very proud. I know I am. I hope you all have a wonderful summer, and the sun shines soon, so that we can all enjoy the time off outside! God Bless, Mrs. Rodine
Update from Mrs. Rodine – May I’d say “Happy Spring”, but some days it’s still hard to tell when that cold wind is blowing! But, the trees have leaves, the grass is long and green, and the kids are definitely in SPRING-SUMMER FEVER mode! It’s hard to believe we are down to the last month of school! It’s been another fantastic year, and I feel so blessed to come to St. Joseph every day and spend it with your children! Below you will find information on how we plan to finish up the year in my classes: 7th/8th Reading – We have two more Acts of Hamlet left! Students took a quiz this week over the first three Acts, and will take one more once we finish. They have been doing a great job of reading the translation carefully on their own, writing their summaries, and then discussing and reading Shakespeare’s original words in class. For our final assessment will be doing a readers’ theatre reading of the final scene for Miss Campbell’s Reading class. This will require everyone to have a reading part, participate (in a serious way), and contribute to question and answer time afterwards. It’ll be the easiest assessment they’ve had all year! And it’s a fun way to end the year. 7th Guidance – For the past couple weeks we have been looking at the definition of bullying, and identifying types of bullying and how a target of bullying feels. We have also defined the term “Ally” vs. the term “Bystander”. Over the next couple weeks we will work on ways to deal with bullying, as well has to be an Ally to others around us. We will finish the year with at least one class spent talking about next year, and the qualities of a leader (since they’ll be 8th graders – can you believe it??!!) Student Council – Next Monday, May 2nd, the Student Council will be making and delivering May Day Baskets. This fun little fundraiser helps the Student Council to pay for the Dunk Tank for the 8th graders. This is our graduation gift to the 8th graders, and a wonderful St. Joseph tradition. *****Please note: we have no more Student Council meetings on the calendar for this school year. I have been very proud to work with the small but mighty group this year. They are truly leaders in our school, and they do an excellent job representing the student body and their interests. Debate Team – the Debate Team will have one more tournament on Thursday, May 12th at St. Francis. While we started the year later than some schools, our students have done a fantastic job of researching their resolution, practicing, and learning the format of Policy Debate. Next year we will be ready to go from the start, and I look forward to working with these students, and welcoming any new middle school students who want to join! PBIS – we are in the midst of using our punches and Konchar Kash to buy menu items and prizes this week. I think some of the students who have been saving up are deciding it is time to spend!!! It just amazes me what wonderful students we have, because all their positive behaviors are being recognized – and they definitely deserve some rewards! Students will have 1 more chance to buy prizes towards the end of May. Please help your student(s) to finish the school year on a high note: getting homework in, being kind to their friends, classmates and teachers, and finally – tell them to enjoy this last month! It’s going to be full of fun activities, and it will go so fast! God Bless, Mrs. Rodine
I think it might be true! I think spring may finally be here! I hope you all had a wonderful Spring Break, and a blessed Easter. It has been a fun couple weeks preparing for Stations of the Cross, Living Last Supper and Retreat Day. Now we have a pretty regular schedule again, and it should be that way for the most part; through the end of the year. Here is what we are covering now in our classes: 7th/8th Reading - We have finished Night, and the students are preparing 3-4 minute speeches for their final assessment. We have a practice day scheduled for Friday, and speeches will be given next Monday and Tuesday. In the meantime, we are starting to learn about William Shakespeare, to build our background knowledge in preparation for reading Hamlet. I know it seems like a tough way to finish up the school year, but our books are side-by-sides, which means we have the original version of Hamlet on the left hand page, and a modern English translation on the right hand side. Throughout the play the students will be assigned to read the translation as homework, so they know what is happening before they get to class, then we will read Shakespeare’s original version in class together and discuss. More than anything else we have read this year, we will work through this text together as a class. When we are done, the students will have such a sense of accomplishment that they tackled Shakespeare! 7th Guidance - we continue to focus on fixed/growth mindsets, and setting SMART goals. SMART goals are goals that are: specific, measurable, have a course of Action, reasonable, and have a Time set. We are practicing looking for goals that meet all these requirements, as well as working towards writing some of our own. Student Council - Student Council meets again on Wednesday, April 13th. We will be working on May Day preparations. Also, the Student Council has ordered the dunk tank for the 8th graders. The 8th graders will have an afternoon in the dunk tank on Tuesday, May 24th. This is the only day on the calendar that will work, so if it rains there will be no day to reschedule. Every year this is a gift the Student Council (in representation of the entire school body) gives to the 8th graders to celebrate their graduation! Debate Team - The Debate Team competed in their first tournament on March 22nd at Roosevelt High School. Many other teams competed in the tournament, and it was quite the learning experience! The students did a fantastic job for their first time out, and received a lot of compliments from the judges. There is another all-day tournament coming up in April - details yet to come. Students on the Debate Team this season are: Luz Corvera-Mata, Christina Dietrich, Quentin Hill, Caleb Renes, Ana Siebrecht, Cade Burke, Dylan Farrell, Gabe Hadsall, Jacob Jay, Lauren Schroeder, Samantha Schroeder, and Mikayla Waters. Happy spring, Everyone! Mrs. Rodine
Spring is in the air! Soon it will be Spring Break, then Easter, then the end of the year! February sure flew by. It was nice to see so many parents and students at Conferences last week! The 2nd trimester was good, and I have a feeling the 3rd trimester will be as well! Here are some things happening in my classes right now: 7th/8th Reading - We are now into Night, and just completed the first section quiz yesterday. While the events that take place in Elie’s story are so unbelievable, the students are very insightful about him, about the range of human emotions that he and his family and community must have been feeling, and they ask great questions! Our central question throughout the course of the novel is: How do our stories shape and affect our identity? While we might have nothing in common with a child like Elie, we can compare how the events in our lives mold us into the people we are, and how we perceive ourselves. This novel will go quickly, and our assessment in a couple weeks will be to prepare a speech. The students also continue vocabulary and fluency practice. 7th Guidance - We have just started with the first couple lessons for this trimester. Right now we are learning about how the brain works, how it can grow and strengthen, like any muscle, and how this knowledge can be applied to the philosophy of Fixed vs. Growth Mindsets. We watched a short video yesterday about studies done with students, and how much better they achieve with growth-mindset-praise. The goal is for students to understand that things that are challenging are good for us, and making mistakes helps out brain stretch and grow far more than always having the right answers. Ideally we want them to adopt the thinking that with practice, effort, and resiliency - they can accomplish any task, skill, or academic content they put their minds to!! Student Council - Our next meeting will be Wednesday, March 9th. Our Candy Gram sales were very successful. We still have some left over candy we are trying to sell. A final total will be posted once we have it. Debate Team - St. Joseph has started a middle school Debate Team! We will be getting assistance from Mr. Spencer Sheaff, Assistant Speech and Debate Coach at DCHS, as well as several DCHS Debate students. Our first tournament will be Tuesday, March 22nd. We really look forward to seeing what these students can do! I hope the weather continues to warm, and that you all have a Blessed Spring! Mrs. Rodine
I can’t believe it is Catholic Schools Week next week, let alone…February!! They year is flying by, and it happens so easily when we are busy learning and growing! Below is a recap of what is happening in our classes now, as well as some information on what will be coming soon! 7th/8th Grade Reading - We have finished To Kill a Mockingbird, and the last exam just got graded! The students seemed to love the novel and all the discussions about justice, prejudice, race, and family values that the story provoked! We are spending a couple days watching the movie, and then next week we will be doing pre-reading work for our next novel, Night, by Elie Wiesel. It is a memoir about Elie’s life during the Holocaust. It is a short novel, and will take us very little time to read. But we will be spending more time learning about the events around the world during this time, what was happening during the war, and about the struggles of the Jewish people in Europe, as well as other fringe groups targeted by the Nazis. It’s a heart-wrenching part of our world’s history, but it’s an important part we should all learn about. We will have vocabulary work, lots of it being German words that are used in the novel, and we will continue with fluency work each week. 8th Grade Guidance - We have only a couple more classes for the school year. We will finish up with another couple segments in the “Sex as God’s Gift” video series, and then take some time to talk about goals and goal setting. 7th Grade Guidance - Will begin the week of February 15th Student Council - We have been working on getting everything ready for the Teacher and Staff Appreciation Luncheon. Students (along with help from NJHS students) are writing Thank You letters and/or cards to staff members, so that all staff receive one at the luncheon. They have also coordinated food with Olive Garden, thanks to the wonderful assistance of parent, Molly Reilly! The teachers will be in for a treat! Thank you to families who have made a donation to the funding of this luncheon. The Student Council appreciates the help! We are also making plans for Candy Gram sales! Parents: watch for an order form and more information to come home next week. Also, Candy Grams will be on sale next Friday during Grandparents/Special Adult day. Grandparents will be able to order candy grams for their students, and Student Council will deliver them, along with all other orders, on Friday, February 12th, during classroom Valentine’s Day parties. I hope to see everyone next week at our Open House on Tuesday evening! God Bless, Mrs. Rodine
I hope you all enjoyed a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving break! It was so nice to have the long weekend with family and friends! Even though the weather today is not very inviting, I am glad to be back with the students, with new energy, and ready to tackle lots of material between now and our next break! Please read below to see what we have been doing in our classes, and what is coming up very soon. 8th Reading - Last week students received their grading rubrics back for their Animal Farm projects, and we began some schema-building activities in preparations for starting To Kill a Mockingbird, which we will do this week! I am so excited; it is by far my favorite book! We have been discussing the history of Jim Crow Laws, as well as the Great Depression, and how it affected the economy of the nation, particularly the South (where our story takes place). Having more information about these topics will help the students to be better informed, and will increase their comprehension of the story as we go. Harper Lee tells the story in a distinctly rural/southern dialect, and that alone can make interpreting the text difficult. I hope all this pre-reading work will aid the students in their understanding of the story as we go, and thus will increase their enjoyment as well. We continue to do daily fluency and accuracy practice, and will do a lot of vocabulary work with this novel. 8th Grade Guidance - This group will have Guidance lessons throughout the second trimester. We began immediate work using the State’s “I Have a Plan” website, which allows students to take interest and career inventories. After we are done with these we will take time to talk about high school classes. We will discuss things like credits, prerequisites, electives, graduation requirements vs. college entrance requirements, etc. Our goal will be to create a tentative 4-year plan for high school. This will be valuable information as they get ready for high school registration and counselor meetings. Student Council - Our next meeting will be Wednesday, December 9th. Please be sure to pick up your student by the main office at 4:00. Students whose ride is not here at 4:00 will be sent to B&A, and charged accordingly. Students are in the midst of a non-perishable food and personal care item collection for Catholic Charities. Our goal is 100% participation by having each student bring 1 of each type of item. The collection goes until this Friday, December 4th. Student Council is still looking for medium sized boxes that can work for classroom recycling bins. We really want to reduce our paper waste at school, and we appreciate any donations of boxes that can help us with this endeavor! PBIS - For the month of November, the K-2nd grade students redeemed an estimated 940 punches for prizes and/or menu items. 3rd - 8th grade students spent an approximate $3,087 on prizes/menu items. This tells us here at school that there is a tremendous amount of excellent behavior happening, and that teachers are seeing it, and recognizing students accordingly. Keep up the great work, SJS! We are proud of you! God Bless, Mrs. Rodine
October Notes - Mrs. Rodine It has been a wonderful beginning to another school year! Below you can see information regarding the classes I teacher, and other bits as well! 7th/8th Reading - It’s my biggest class yet, and what a great group of young people! I’ve started the year right away with a big challenge - Lord of the Flies by William Golding. It’s a very challenging book, as he writes in a very descriptive, detailed way, with lots of foreshadowing and symbolism. The students have done a great job tackling this dense novel, and are almost done. We will complete the novel this week, and prepare for our final assessment for the book - an essay. Also be watching for a note to come home regarding watching the movie next week. We do fluency work each week as well. 6th Guidance - This is the best group to start the year with, because we can focus on all the academic skills needed to be successful middle school students. We have covered organization and time management, as well as different styles of note taking, and study skills for tests. This week we will move to substance abuse prevention in preparation for Red Ribbon Week, and then move to bullying prevention. Student Council - Elections are this week!! Students will give prepared speeches after lunch on Wednesday, and then students will vote during one of their afternoon classes. Students are running for either a Student Council officer position or class representative. The first Student Council meeting will be Wednesday, October 9th in Miss Ramaekers’ room from 3:15-4:00. Students will need to be picked up by the front doors promptly at 4:00. Students who are not picked up at 4:00 will be sent to B&A. PBIS - The first month of our Positive Behavior Intervention Supports has been working very well. The K-2nd grade students have been working hard to keep their fish or hawks, and the 3rd-8th students have been tracking all the SJS bucks they are earning. Students were able to make menu purchases as well as pick prizes for the Prize Cart last week. Just from the punches and cash that Mrs. Rodine collected, it is estimated that K-2nd grade spent 1,150 punches, and 3rd - 8th spent $2,260!!! That means our students had a lot to spend, and thus have obviously been showing expected behaviors all over the school! ** A quick request: finding prizes that appeal to middle school students can be difficult - if any parents have gift cards for $5.00 or less, or coupons for things like free drinks at McDonalds or free cones, that they are willing to donate - these types of item may get their attention! Thanks. A request for Mrs. Rodine - the student/parent/client chairs in my office have seen better days. If anyone knows of a doctor/dentist/business that is getting rid of reception chairs that are in nice shape, I could use 2-3 new ones. Thanks! I look forward to seeing parents at conferences next week! Mrs. Rodine Guidance Counselor
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