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Mrs. Rodine's Blog

Welcome back to school!  I can't believe how fast summer went by, and it's almost Labor Day Weekend!I hope you all had a relaxing summer, and are getting back into the school routine.We have gotten busy in classes, and below you can find out a bit of what we are doing now, and what is coming next.

Course 1 Math - Students are getting back into the Saxon routine!We are doing our best to learn how we each like to "do" Math class, and we are working through the review lessons that Saxon gives us.I am impressed by how hard they all work, and never waste a minute to get things done!We will most likely get our first 10 lessons done by the end of next week, and I am tentatively planning their first test to be Monday, September 11th.

7th/8th Reading - Students got their books this week, and many of them are deep into reading it and getting far ahead of what I've assigned.I love how they are avid readers, and can't wait to see what is going to happen.We are starting the year with Lord of the Flies by Sir William Golding.They are excited to see how these boys will survive or get rescued from their island!We are doing fluency reading every day, doing vocabulary work for some of the difficult or unfamiliar works from the book, and review literary devices such as personification.Students have a reading calendar, so they know which chapters are assigned for a week, when I will expect review packets to be done, and when quizzes will be coming.The calendar is open to change, but it gives them an idea, and allows them to prioritize and manage their time and assignments.

6th Guidance - We start class this week, and will begin with a fun game that allows the students to talk about their strengths and weaknesses as a student in a fun way, and will get us thinking about goals for improvement now that we are middle school students.From there we will move into a few lessons where we learn about different learning styles and multiple intelligences, and they students will get a chance to take some surveys to see if they can identify their own personal learning style, and how to best use this knowledge to help them reach their academic and personal goals for the year.

** Look for information soon about Student Council Elections

** Debate Team information will be coming out later this fall, and the season will begin after Christmas Break

I am really looking forward to the 2017-18 school year.If the first 5 days are any indication, it is going to be a great year!

God Bless,

Mrs. Rodine 

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November Blog - Mrs. Rodine

​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

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Updates from Mrs. Rodine - October

​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.

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Phone: 515-266-3433
Fax: 515-266-2860
2107 E. 33rd St
Des Moines IA 50317