Today the students should be coming home with interim reports for each teacher.  Please sign and return on Monday.  Each student should have a permission slip for a field trip to Washington, D.C. as well.


Language and Literature- Mr. Schaefer


6th Grade Literature and Vocab–  We are well into our novel study of Tom Sawyer.  Our week ended with the students having to wait to see what happens after Tom is called to testify in court.  The students have had many laughs while reading this and I anticipate many more.

 7th Grade Literature and Vocab–  We are over halfway through To Kill a Mockingbird.  We are about to start the court case that is central to the climax of the book.  I can’t wait for the great class discussion we will have as the rest of the book unfolds.  If you haven’t read the book recently, I recommend picking it up again or reading it for the first time.

 8th Grade Grammar and Vocab–  Now that we are done with our study of nouns we are moving on to verbs.  This unit is definitely harder than the previous two, but so far the students have been working hard and performing well.  The unit on verbs is also one of the longer units in the textbook.

Language and Literature- Mr. Maddock

6th grade Grammar and Writing– Everybody has an Opinion, and we’ll be exploring those of the 6th grade as we move toward our first formal set piece: the Opinion Essay.

In Grammar, we will begin a study of Nouns, without which we’d have nothing!

7th grade Grammar and Writing– The 7th grade will be examining Opinions, their own as well as a those in reviews and editorials. They’ll learn how to find detailed reasons to support their opinions, and write an Opinion Essay before the quarter closes.

While they’re busy opining like crazy, they’ll also focus on the choice and proper usage of active, descriptive verbs.

8th grade Literature and Language– We’ve finished Fahrenheit 451, and will be going back to the start of Western literature for a brief look at the Iliad and a longer look at the central books of the Odyssey. This month we begin in earnest to draft high school application essays. Yikes!

Science- Mr. Short



6th grade:  The class has been working on learning to use lab equipment in an accurate and safe manner. Next week they will have a 2 day test that asks them to perform many tasks to demonstrate their knowledge of working in a lab. After this unit they will begin leaning about classification and common traits of life.

7th grade:  The students will continue to learn about Newtonian physics including force, mass and Newton’s laws. Since math is such an important part of Physical science I ask that students bring a calculator to class to aid in simple math computation.

8th grade:  8th grade has just finished learning about minerals and will spend the next few weeks learning more about different rock types.

All grades: A permission slip is going home today for a Washington D.C. field trip for all grades. We would love to have as many parents as we can join us.


Language Acquisition- Madame Rooks


6th Grade:  We are sailing along.  Having recently finished lessons on classroom objects and classroom commands, we will begin our work with numbers in French.  Some simple math will be involved, and it is always a fun time, learning to count to 100, or perhaps to 1,000.  This last lesson on numbers will conclude our first Unit: Getting to Know You!  (Unit 1A)

7th Grade:  We have been enjoying getting familiar with High School French, and more conversational French.  We are still paying attention to the details in writing, spelling, and structure.  We have been listening to many different speakers of French, and learning our way around our new textbooks and workbooks.  We are deep into chapter 1 of the new book, Bon Voyage!  The unit is called Unit 1HS: Une amie et un ami.

8th grade:  The students have been learning about shopping for groceries in France, discussing the differences between cultures, and enjoying using all of our new words, combining them with the vocabulary we already know.  Ask them to sing to you about …pizza, of course!  This is Unit 6HS, La nourriture et les courses.  We will be adding the verb, “faire” to our collection of verbs and will continue to practice speaking in the near future tense, planning events in French.

Bon Weekend!

Mme Rooks

Language Acquisition- Senora Thompson


6th grade: We are moving at a fast pace! They are learning so much and always want more. We are going to slow down a bit and work on numbers and colors and play some games. Most of the students have memorized the Ave Maria and they are able to say the Alphabet in Spanish. They are a delightful group and it’s fun teaching them.

7th grade: We are continuing to work on Unit 3. The students have memorized all the vocabulary and have learned the “ar” verb conjugation in the singular form. They take turns being the leader in prayer, calendar and weather. Next week we are going to be working on our first project, the fashion shows. These are always so fun to make up and perform.

8th grade: We are working on Unit 7 and learning all about sports. They played a a fun “stem changing” verb game and they were very enthusiastic and competitive. Perhaps if it ever stops raining we can use our sports vocabulary and play a game outside. We will begin the second half of the unit vocabulary and continue to learn more stem changing verbs.

Math- Mrs.Dyer



Middle School Math is moving along in all classes. We have been mastering and building upon previously learned skills. Algebra students are solving equations, as well as the Pre-Algebra students. Sixth grade students just finished graph unit and will begin work with decimals. Notebook organization is still stressed in all classes and was recently the focus of an IB activity for the sixth grade students. Soon all classes will “meet” some famous mathematicians and hear about their discoveries and contributions.


Math- Mrs. Schiavo

Sixth Grade Pre-Algebra:  Welcome to our world of integers. After learning what are integers (and what’s not) we learned how to perform the 4 basic operations using these signed numbers. We also learned how to graph points on a coordinate plane and to graph algebraic relationships. Our focus is to show, prove (by counterexample), or explain why the . . . We worked in groups using the graphing calculators to create scatter plots and describe the relationship of the two sets of data. A Chapter 2 test will be coming in the next week.

Seventh Grade Algebra:  Over the past three weeks students have been working with solving equations, rewriting and using literal equations and formulas, solving ratios, proportions, percents and converting units and rates. We not only are learning the mathematical concepts of Algebra, but also to express how we get an answer. Our focus is to justify and be able to express mathematical thinking through speaking and writing. Students used their graphing calculator to find the mean of our assessments and to interpret the one variable statistical output from their calculator. A Chapter 2 test will be coming in the next week.


Individuals in Societies- Mrs. Tuskey


6th Grade:  The students are becoming very comfortable with the global context and learner profile vocabulary associated with the IB school. They are getting ready to study the events leading up to the American Revolution and will end the unit with a close examination of the Revolution.

7th Grade:  The students recently took a test on Reconstruction and are now studying the time of profound contrasts in the country from 1877 to the years just prior to World War I. They are working diligently on projects from this time period, and I am very excited to see the finished products next week. They will end their unit with a detailed look at World War I.

8th Grade:  The students just took a test on the earliest civilizations in Mesopotamia and Egypt. We will be spending time in class learning the basics of how to ask a teacher for a recommendation, how to complete a cover letter, and how to compile a list of meaningful achievements and honors to share with the teachers for their recommendation writing. The students will also be studying the early civilizations of the Indus River Valley to complete the unit on early man.


Religion- Mrs. Slifka

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All grades: 

  • We will be joining the school in the Saints Parade on Friday, October 30th. Students may dress up as a saint or favorite Bible Character.  We will gather in the back parking lot at 9.45 and start the parade to St. Mary’s Woods at 10am—another Friday, October 30th (how lucky is that?)  You are welcome to join us at that time.  Costumes should be easy- something they can put over their uniform.  They are not to come dressed in costume when they arrive—and uniform policies are still in effect.

6th:  areas we have or will work on in class in the next week or so include:

  • Prepare for Sunday liturgy by reflection on Sunday scriptures- we continue to explore the bible and  describe the structure of the Bible and recognize scriptural notation

Identify the Jewish customs, traditions and Old Testament feasts Rosha Hashanabegan 9/13   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1znjiyEMKc  an explanation



Yom Kippur- ended 9/23/15


  • Explore the relationship of the Catholic church with Judaism
  • Creating the Art work for our Rosary program for younger grades.
  • Saint Project to share with mass buddies


7th: areas we have or will work on in class in the next week or so include:

  • Share the message of our Christian faith- Jesus Journal
  • Just completed Scripture and Tradition- will be moving deeper into authorship and formation of the New Testament
  • Will be acting out a skit on the Luminous Mysteries created by the 8th grade
  • Saints

We could still use some costumes for 7th grade in class drama (religious arts). 


8th: areas we have or will work on in class in the next week or so include:

  • We have spent a bit of time speaking about the Pope
  • We analyzed the role that an informed conscience plays in decision

making/examination of conscience

  • We will continue to connect music to the Rosary as a part of the program we are creating for the Rosary.
  • Explain “ex cathedra” the teachings of the Pope on matters of faith and morality
  • Recognize the human and divine nature of Christ in scripture
  • Recognize and respond to one’s call to the mission of peace and justice- Mission Day Sunday
  • Recognize the structure of the Vatican today (Fulton Sheen blog)
  • Understand the process of electing a Pope/conclave


 Design- Ms. Oliver



6th grade:  During the month of October, the students will be researching and completing their first design cycle project. The projects are due October 30th.

7th grade:  Students are researching a country that has an IB Middle School. The projects are due October 22.

8th grade:  Students learned SketchUp to create a 3D design of their dog house for their project. Projects are due October 14 (8-1) and October 16 (8-2).  We will start the 8th grade community project mid-October.

PE- Coach Spicer


The 6th-8th grade students have finished the physical fitness unit and have just begun the volleyball unit.

The 6th grade students are spending a lot of time improving their basic skills.  The students are working on the bump, set, and underhand serve, as well as learning some rules and violations in the sport.  The majority of the group has a lot of room for improvement, and there is a large emphasis on moving the feet to find good position before hitting the ball.

The 7th grade students have not started game-play, but are reviewing their skills and the rules of volleyball.  The 7th grade will be focusing on controlling their bodies, as well as teamwork and a mastery of the rules.

The 8th grade students have practiced and reviewed their skills and knowledge of the sport, and have started game-play.  A large emphasis will be placed on communication and teamwork, as both play an important role for successful volleyball play.

Music- Mrs. Taylor


Composer of the Month:  October/Katherine Lee Bates

A trailblazer that penned the hymn “ America the Beautiful” after an adventure to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs.

 CONSTITUTION DAY-was a success and the students each contributed in a wonderful way.

6th grade:  Begin Music 2nd Semester. They may bring their Music Process Journals (1 in. binder) down to the music room to be labeled and stored.

7th grade:  “Music that Endures” projects have begun. The 7th grade will be taking a field trip to see the Richmond Symphony perform “ Music in America” at 11:30am on Wed. Oct. 28th. A big thank you to all of the chaperones helping in this endeavor. This performance will serve as the inspiration for their performance critique paper which will be due on Dec. 1st. The 7th grade will be part of the Nativity and Christmas program that will be presented here in the church on the night of Thurs. Dec. 17th 7-8pm- please save the date.

8th grade- Religious Arts: Students have begun music work on a special Rosary project that we will be presenting this month. We have had great discussions about “Why We Sing” and a few breakthroughs along the way.


The link to SMCS Choir/Cantor information: http://saintmary.org/smcs-choir-2015-16/

Students may join through the month of Sept. only and will be working towards a performance with the Richmond Symphony here at Saint Mary’s on Wed. Dec. 9th