Ms. Egan’s Newsletter 1/14

Happy January, Middle School Families!

All students will be wrapping up  their Science Fair essays this coming week. Final essays for all students will be due on Wednesday in Mr. Molina’s Language Arts Lab. 7th and 8th grade will be writing abstracts for their essays Wednesday and Thursday. 5th and 6th graders do not have to write abstracts.

To kick off the new calendar year with a positive mindset, all middle schoolers are writing short essays on Growth Mindset. All grades received a reading and activity on the subject the day we returned from break, and the writing is due this coming Friday.

This past week, we jumped back into our Change Requires Effort novel study units, and will complete them in the next week and a half. To sum up the unit, students will begin writing argumentative essays based on their opinions of the novel. They will write these essays after we finish the novel.

In Ancient Civilizations, we will be wrapping up Ancient Egypt next week. 5th and 6th grade students have an Ancient Egyptian Travel brochure project due Tuesday, January 23rd. In this project, students will choose 5 famous ancient Egyptian sites, research them, and create a travel brochure informing travelers about these sites. This project should be creative, and students have the freedom to design them as they wish as long as they include all the required information. This project should be worked on and completed at home. The Egypt test will be on Tuesday, January 30th. Students will receive a practice test and review prior to the test.

In United States History, we finished the Articles of Confederation and have moved into the writing of the Constitution. Over the next week, we will go deeper into the dispute between the Federalists and Antifederalists with a group project, and the chapter 3 test will be on Wednesday, January 31st. Students will have review sessions and a study guide prior to the test. There will be a short Citizenship unit immediately following the test where students will learn how our government works under the Constitution.

Reminders: 

Monday 1/15 is a holiday – no school

Progress Reports will be ready on Friday afternoon 1/19. Please print them out, sign them, and return them with your student on Monday, 1/22. Please do not print progress reports out prior to Friday, as they will not be fully updated.

Wednesday 1/24 is 12pm dismissal

8th graders should be working on their portfolio slide shows – instructions were given out before break

Due Dates at a Glance: 

Science Fair Essay (all grades) due Wed 1/17
7th/8th Science Fair Abstract due Fri 1/19
Growth Mindset Essay (all grades) due Fri 1/19
5th Grade Essay Contest due Mon 1/22 (will be worked on with Mrs. Johnston in religion class)
Ancient Civ project due Tues 1/23
US History group project due Mon 1/22

Ms. Egan’s Newsletter 12/14

Season’s Greetings, Middle School Families,

Christmas vacation is just around the corner!

This week, we dove further into Bud, Not Buddy and Of Mice and Men in Language Arts. Students are on their way with their science fair research papers and should work on this at home over the break.

In Ancient Civilizations, we finished up our pharaoh timeline activity and discussed the social structure of Ancient Egypt. In US History, we wrapped up the Articles of Confederation and will be moving on to Shay’s Rebellion and the Constitution in January.

8th Grade Portfolios – 8th graders will receive instructions on Monday to create their portfolio video. This should be worked on over the break. Encourage your students to work together to gather photos for this fun project. Starting in January, 8th graders will have portfolio components due each month leading up to presentations at the end of May.

Christmas Gift Suggestions – Books! In the midst of a technology-centered world, we are trying to keep a strong culture of reading in the St. Mary middle school. Books make great stocking stuffers and surprise gifts under the tree. Students – no matter what age- should always have a silent reading book of their choice with them.

Reminders:

7th/8th grade Christmas Party is at 10:30 on Tuesday, 12/19

The Christmas Pageant is on Wednesday, 12/20 at 10am in the church. We have mass at 8 like usual, but students should come to school in their costume (see Mr. Fishburne’s email regarding costumes). They will leave any accessories, hats, etc. with their belongings while we are in mass. We will use the time between mass and the start of the pageant to get ready with last minute costume add-ons.

Ms. Egan’s Newsletter 12/10

Hello Middle School Parents,

I had a great week of conferences with all of you! Please continue to encourage and support your students so they continue to succeed.

In language arts 7/8, we are continuing with Of Mice and Men, and will into next week as well. In Language Arts 5/6, we are continuing with Bud, Not Buddy. All students are working on science fair research paper writing in Language Arts lab with Mr. Molina.

In social studies, 5/6 learned about ancient Egyptian Pharaohs this past week and will continue with the Pyramids next week. In US History, we are continuing with the Articles of Confederation.

Below is a message from the school about a great service opportunity:

Dear 7th & 8th Grade Parents,

The Knights of Columbus help the school (and parish) so much. They throw a wonderful Christmas party for families in our parish that are less fortunate than we are. This is such a great experience for our children. Our eighth graders helped last year, and they had so much fun. I am hoping that most students will participate. Giving back, especially at Christmas, is so important.

Students will be responsible for assembling the gift bags on Friday, 12/15, and to assist with the party on Saturday, 12/16.

I encourage you to sign up your child for both days. Service hours will be awarded for this activity.

We are also looking for parent volunteers to supervise and assist the students. Parent service hours will be awarded.

You can sign your child and/or yourself up here.

Reminders: 

Christmas pageant practice will take place in the afternoon on Monday 12/11, Wednesday 12/13, and Monday 12/18.

All students will have STAR testing for reading on Thursday 12/14 during Language Arts lab after recess. Please make sure students get a good night’s sleep, breakfast, and have a healthy snack.

Tuesday 12/12 is also Our Lady of Guadelupe. The 6th grade will have a performance and rosary in the church at 9:15am.

The Christmas pageant performance will take place at 10am on Wednesday, 12/20. This is also our last day before the break and is an early dismissal.

Ms. Egan’s Newsletter 12/2

Hello Middle School Families, happy December!

I wish you all a joyful start to the Advent season!

Parent/teacher conferences are next week! Please note that for these conferences, Mrs. Martinez and I will only be meeting with our homeroom families during the conference times. If you would like to schedule an additional meeting with one of us, it will have to be on a different day after the parent/teacher conference window.

Of Mice and Men and Bud, Not Buddy are off to a great start in all Language Arts classes, and I look forward to the discussions in the upcoming weeks. The science fair research paper is in full swing, and students will be working on this during Language Arts lab with Mr. Molina as well as at home. All students will be completing the following tasks in this order: graphic organizer outline, rough draft, peer workshop, second draft, teacher conference, and final draft with self-editing checklist. I hope to have all students at the final draft stage by Christmas vacation. There will be a chart in my classroom for each grade that tracks each student’s progress.

In US History, we have been discussing the Articles of Confederation, and will continue this through next week before moving into Shay’s Rebellion. Please note that due to 12pm dismissals and Christmas pageant practice, we won’t have this class as regularly as usual over the next few weeks. In Ancient Civilizations, we discussed the Nile river, and will be transitioning into Egyptian Pharaohs.

Our 3rd annual Christmas toy drive is going from now until December 15th. We are collecting toys for children ages 1-12, and they will be delivered to kids in Tijuana as part of YUGO Ministries. Toys can be gently used or brand new, but please do not bring battery operated toys.

Reminders:

Minimum days and parent/teacher conferences Mon, Tues, and Wed.

Friday, 12/8, we will be attending Mass at 8 for Immaculate Conception, a Holy Day of Obligation. Children should come to school in formal uniform. Please join us!

12/9 Escondido Christmas Parade- St. Mary School is participating in the Escondido Christmas Parade. Students are welcome to join us and walk with the float if accompanied by a parent. More information will be coming out.

Christmas pageant is on Wednesday, 12/20 at 10am.

Ms. Egan’s Newsletter 11/24

Happy Thanksgiving Middle School Families!

I hope you continue to have a relaxing vacation.

The trimester ended last Friday, and grades will be ready at parent teacher conferences the week after next. Please note the grades you were able to see on Gradelink right before break were not completed, and there are assignments that still need to be put into the system.

Once we return, 5th and 6th grade will begin reading Bud, Not Buddy and 7th and 8th will begin Of Mice and Men. Our writing component for this unit is an argumentative essay based on close reading and interpretation of the novel, and our theme is Change Requires Effort.

Of Mice and Men is a Nobel Prize winning novel written in 1937. It uses the language of its time, and it portrays working class men trying to create a better life for themselves during the Great Depression. Keep in mind the characters use mature dialogue and racial slurs that are no longer acceptable in our modern American language. We will discuss as a class why this is offensive and why we no longer use these terms. You might also want to discuss it with your student if he or she brings it up. It is important to understand and be exposed to our history so we can continue to improve our knowledge and acceptance of others, and to see how much we have progressed as a society.

Bud, Not Buddy tackles racial discrimination during the Great Depression as well. Since we are using a Catholic curriculum for both novel studies, we will address Jesus’ teachings of acceptance, inclusion, and social justice. Our overarching theme is Change Requires Effort, so we will also discuss how, as a society, we have changed since the time period in which these novels take place.

I will be sending letters home with more information and ideas for discussions outside of the classroom regarding the study of these novels.

We will be starting Ancient Egypt in Ancient Civilizations, and The Constitution in US History. During this US History unit, 7th and 8th graders will get a taste of how our government was created and how it works.

Keep in mind Grandparents Day is Friday 12/1, and the following week is parent/teacher conferences.

Ms. Egan’s Newsletter 11/12

Hello Middle School Families,

Thanksgiving break is just around the corner! This coming week in Social Studies, there is an Ancient Civilizations test (Ch. 3) on Tuesday, and a US History test (Ch. 2) on Wednesday. Students should be studying their textbook, notes, and study guide (5th/6th) or chapter review (7th and 8th) for this test. 8th graders have a creative religion project on living the 10 Commandments due on Tuesday. Research note cards for all grades are due to Mrs. Martinez on Friday 11/17. We are starting to craft thesis statements, but will begin the full writing process for the science fair research paper when we return from Thanksgiving.

In Language Arts, the focus for the week will be the structure of a research paper and thesis statements. This instruction will vary depending on the grade.

All of middle school will be working on a turkey disguise art project at home over the weekend. They can use any types of materials at home to add to their turkey’s disguise. These turkeys will be displayed in the 3 middle school classrooms beginning Monday through Friday.

Instead of Tuesday P.E. this coming week for 7th and 8th grade, P.E. will be on Wednesday. Students can bring their P.E. uniforms to change into after mass that day.

Thursday is the school families Thanksgiving feast, and 8th grade will be cooking for the school! It might be fun to have your 8th grader try cooking something at home this week to practice for the feast!

Kindergarten will be hosting the 8th graders on Friday for a Thanksgiving celebration. This celebration will take place before recess, so please make sure your student still brings a lunch.

Reminders: Friday Nov. 17th is the last day of the trimester. It is not an early dismissal day.

Grades will be completed the week after we return from break.

Ms. Egan’s Newsletter 11/4

Happy November!

The end of the trimester and Thanksgiving break are quickly approaching, and that means we are wrapping up the first third of the school year!

All language arts classes have narratives due before Thanksgiving break. Due dates will vary depending on the day each student had a conference with either me or Mr. Molina. In language arts, we are continuing to research for the science fair. The official prompt for the research paper was passed out this week. Please look over it with your student if he/she needs help. Also, take a look at the PDF of the PowerPoint I posted in the newsletter a few weeks ago for further information about science fair research. Note that the research paper will not be due until after the break.

We will be finishing up our Ancient Mesopotamia unit in ancient civilizations and our American Revolution unit in United States history. Tests for both classes will be the week after next.

8th grade religion has an end of the trimester project as well. They will be due Tuesday, 11/14.

Reminders:

The school Thanksgiving feast will be Thursday, Nov. 16th. 8th graders will be serving the feast.

8th graders will have a Thanksgiving celebration with kindergarten in the morning of Friday, Nov. 17th

The last day of the trimester is Nov. 17th

Thanksgiving break is from Nov. 20th – 24th

Grades for the end of the trimester will be done the week we return from break

Ms. Egan’s Newsletter 10/28

Hello Middle School Families,

The end of October is upon us, and we have some exciting things coming up! There will be a walking field trip to the library this Monday, 10/30. 8th graders who will be attending Don’s Day will receive a handout on Tuesday with instructions for how to make up the missed library time.

I am very excited for the autobiographical narratives the middle schoolers have been writing for language arts! I will have conferenced with all students by the beginning of next week, and once they have their conference, they are free to write the final draft. All students should continue to research and work on their notecards for the science fair. Time management is key for a successful research project. 7th and 8th grade received instruction for online research on Thursday.

We are well into the road to revolution in United States History  and the Mesopotamian Empire in Ancient Civilizations. For this unit in Ancient Civilizations, 5th and 6th graders are working on an interactive notebook, and we will be doing more practice with map reading. In United States History, I am continuing to introduce primary source analysis, and we will be reading part of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and The Declaration of Independence next week. 

Please remind your children that the use of cell phones at school is prohibited, and this includes drop off and pick up times.

Reminders:

LIBRARY RESEARCH FIELD TRIP is Monday, 10/30

Pumpkin Globe Project is due on Tuesday 10/31

7th grade will begin doing the November Wednesday masses on 11/1 for All Saints Day. Please join us if you can!

Ms. Egan’s Newsletter 10/21

Hello Middle School Families!

We’ve had a great first few weeks with laptops, and we have begun implementing them into all the classes! Very soon, students will be able to take them home.

We finished The Circuit in 5th and 6th grade, and Esperanza Rising in 7th and 8th, and students are all transitioning into autobiographical narrative assignments inspired by the novels. Rough drafts for all classes will be due next week.

We will be taking middle school to the public library to learn about and do research for the science fair within the next 2 weeks. More information will come.

We started the Great Awakening and Enlightenment in our Road to the American Revolution unit for US History, and effective note taking skills for our study of life in ancient Mesopotamia for Ancient Civilizations.

The pumpkin globe project for all grades will be due on October 31st. This should be a fun and creative project!

Looking Ahead: 

The 6th-8th grade Halloween dance is on Friday, October 27th

Have a wonderful weekend!

Ms. Egan’s Weekly Update

Hello Middle School Families!

The Bates Nut Farm field trip was a blast! Thank you to all of the parent chaperones who came with us, and thank you to all of our middle school students. They were on their best behavior and were excellent models for St. Mary School! On Monday and Tuesday during social studies, I will introduce the pumpkin globe project. Students will use the pumpkin they got from the pumpkin patch to create a globe. This will be an at-home project, and later in the week we will transition into the next social studies units: Life in Ancient Mesopotamia in Ancient Civilizations, and the American Revolution in United States History. The Revolutionary War is one of my favorite periods in U.S. history, so I am very excited to be moving into this unit!

In Language Arts, we are wrapping up Responsibility Requires Action. 5th and 6th grade finished The Circuit this past week, and 7th and 8th grade will finish Esperanza Rising this coming week. We will be working on narrative writing, in addition to beginning the research process for the science fair. Students will be using their time with Mr. Molina to work on these projects on the laptops.

I have attached a PDF of the PowerPoint that introduces the Science Fair research paper and explains the research questions. Please note that this is just one of multiple lessons, and I will be attaching the rest of them as we move through the process. NOTES_Science Fair Research Paper

Looking Ahead:

School photo proofs and orders are due back NO LATER than this coming Tuesday October 17th

No school on Friday, October 20th

Halloween Dance for 6th – 8th grade on Friday, October 27th (flyer went home on Friday)