Saint Mary’s Catholic School is having its first Middle School Night of Nations!

Join us for a celebration of ethnic foods and entertainment!

When: January 10th, 6:30-8:30 pmWhere: School gymEntertainment Includes:River City Taiko DrummersGuitarist John Barry

Asparas Arts Dance Group

Martial Arts World

Sign up to bring a dish at


Language and Literature- Mr. Schaefer


6th Grade:  This week we read Rudyard Kipling’s short story, “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”.  This fascinating story takes place in India centers around a mongoose who must protect a family from cobras.  We will continue on reading stories from our literature book for the next few weeks.  There will be a spelling test on Unit 8 on Friday, January 16th.

7th Grade: We spent our week learning about the background of the Holocaust and what was going on in the world leading up to and during World War II.  We will be using a great website ( to complement our studies while we are reading Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.  There will be a spelling test on Unit 8 on Friday, January 16th.

8th Grade: Our study of grammar has led us to common errors made in capitalization and punctuation.  We will be spending most of our time of the next two to three weeks focusing on this unit.  There will be a spelling test on Unit 8 on Friday, January 16th.


Language and Literature- Mr. Maddock

6th grade Grammar and Writing- The kids have finished up their thank you notes and have gone back to their daily writing. Thank you for your help with the notes!  During the week of the 12th we’ll begin the long unit on Verbs.  Remember direct and indirect objects? This is a challenging unit for 6th graders, but they’ll get through it!
7th grade Grammar and Writing– In our study of grammar usage, we’ll begin looking at Modifiers during the week of the 12th, and our writing prompts will hope to evoke more attention to descriptive writing.  The second half of 7th grade is probably the most important five months of middle school, insofar as a student’s academic record is concerned.  They should attend to the work as though  they recognized that.  Okay, boys?
8th Grade Literature and WritingDuring our first week back, we looked at a handful of representative passages from Robinson Crusoe (widely considered the first English novel) before we begin our more novel-focused second semester.  We’ll introduce another set of literary devices, and then start with Treasure Island, where I’m certain we’ll find many of them in practice on the page.   



Science- Mr. Short


All grades: Science fair topic submission is due Friday Jan 9th.

6th Grade We are beginning learning about Genetics.

7th Grade – The students are learning about bones.

8th Grade – The 8th graders will be investigating weather and working hard to begin controlling it to get us some snow days. We will update you on our progress.


Language Acquisition- Madame Rooks


To all French students and their families:  Bonne Année!  Happy New Year!

Please come to the Night of Nations Saturday, January 10th, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.  Ask your student about it!  Some of our French students will be singing “Silent Night” in French and reciting some favorite nursery rhymes in French.

6th Grade:  We have enjoyed singing “Sainte Nuit” to the Zither, playng the zither, and reciting some nursery rhymes in French.  In addition, we are excited to be learning animal names and sounds in French this week and into next week.

7th Grade:  Each interested student has had a chance to play the zither while we sing along to “Sainte Nuit”, Silent Night, in French.  The students are also practicing and committing to memory some nursery rhymes in French.   We are beginning a new High School unit of study on the family and house, and will probably take about six weeks with this material.  This is traditionally a pivotal point in the French course with this particular unit of study being full of many new language challenges.  Your students should be reviewing vocabulary nightly, and grammar often.

8th Grade: We have enjoyed singing “Sainte Nuit” to the Zither, playing the zither, and reciting some nursery rhymes in French.  We are beginning a new unit of study about travel.  So, we will be exploring the French speaking world, and learning how to get navigate the airport in French, and how to travel by plane.



Language Acquisition- Senora Thompson


6th Grade – 6th grade Spanish students are learning the months, days and how to tell the date in Spanish.  They are now able to put some of their acquired vocabulary together and answer questions and have conversations.  They are progressing very nicely!  They will have a quiz sometime next week.

7th Grade – 7th grade has been reviewing “ar” verbs and irregular verbs dar, estar and ir.   Most of the students are understanding the conjugating concepts while others are still working on it.  We will finish Unit 4 next week. They will have a quiz on “ar” verbs next week and will have a Unit 4 test the following week!

8th Grade – 8th grade students are working on Unit 9 and palabras 2 of their vocabulary.  We will be putting sentences together in the preterite tense and practice preterite conjugation.  They will have a vocabulary quiz sometime next week.

Thank you to all the students and families for the generous gifts we received for Christmas.  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your families!

Math- Ms. Koehler


NOTICE:  Math Lab continues to be held every Monday and Wednesday after school in the middle school math room.

6th Grade Supply Request: Believe it or not, we are out of tissues and disinfecting wipes! If you have any extra that you are willing to donate, it would be most appreciated during this flu season!

6th Grade: We are working in Chapter 6 on fractions.  6-K has a mid-chapter quiz on Lessons 1-3 on Friday, 1/9.  Due to the geography bee, 6-T will have their quiz on Monday, 1/12.  The final chapter test will most likely be the end of the week on Friday, 1/16, or Tuesday, 1/20.

7th Grade:  We are off to a slow start in Chapter 6 on ratios, proportions and percents. Lesson 1 included “dimensional analysis”.  It has not been a favored topic!  We have spent extra time on this so, hopefully, everyone is on board now!  Remember, as the material gets more difficult, your student may want to take advantage of Math Lab.  Be on the lookout for a mid-chapter quiz early in the week!

8th Grade:

Advanced Algebra (HS) – The second half of the year really picks up in Algebra.  The students will most likely find the material is getting a bit more difficult, but I am sure they will all master it successfully.  We are working in Chapter 6 on writing linear equations in slope-intercept, point-slope, and standard form.  The year will progress into solving linear equations and systems of equations/inequalities, exploring polynomials, factoring, solving quadratic functions, and solving radical expressions.  This is when the FUN stuff really kicks in!!!  I am giving several mini quizzes in Chapter 6 on just two sections at a time.  I am hoping this ongoing assessment will allow the students to determine what they need to master before the final chapter test.  We had the first quiz on Thursday and the next one will most likely be on Monday, 1/12, or Tuesday, 1/13.

Algebra (HS) – It was a very interesting and “impressive” week as the students did their mathematician presentations. They did a remarkable job and the entire class has enjoyed learning such interesting facts like who developed modern day graphs, discovered radium and polonium, who was able to master mathematics by age 13 while learning 7 languages, who is the famous mathemagician, and where did the aerial spyrocoptor originate.  The projects consisted of puppet shows, talk show interviews, museum artists/critics, power points, mobiles, and even a song written and played on the guitar to tell about the life of these famous people.  I couldn’t let the students off the hook for the entire week with no homework, so they have been working on practice/review reinforcement worksheets.  Be on the look out the first of the week for a quiz on some of the famous facts learned during the presentations.

Happy 2015 to everyone and Stay Warm!

Ms. Koehler

Math- Mrs. Schiavo

Sixth Grade Pre-Algebra:

The class worked hard this week on ratios and proportions.  The most difficulty was found on word problems.  Although we continue to find them challenging, I found the students really showed their improvement from the beginning of the year.  I continue to stress the importance of finding “possible solutions” as opposed to “what’s the answer” and these building blocks will pay dividends in future Algebra experiences.

Individuals in Societies- Mrs. Tuskey


Please join me in congratulating the following students who will represent their classes at our National Geographic School Bee on Friday, January 9th at 1:30 pm:

 6th grade-Kieran Larkin and Emelia Woolman

7th grade- Maggie Benton and Alex Castanien

8th grade-Julianna Thompson and Greg Korb

 6th Grade Supply Request: Believe it or not, we are out of lined paper! If you have any extra that you are willing to donate, it would be most appreciated.

 6th Grade US History

The students survived their first experience with middle school exams! After a quick review of the Constitutional Convention, it’s time to study the document in detail. The students will be doing an in-class individual project on the Bill of Rights starting Friday which will last into the following week (the week of the 12th).  Part of their assignment will be to ask a parent which right in the Bill of Rights is most important to him/her and why. I hope this will lead to an interesting and lively conversation at home!

 7th Grade US History

The 7th graders will take a detailed look at the Progressive Movement this week and early next week (the week of the 12th) with an evaluation on the topic probably around the middle of next week. They will investigate the pros and cons of the Progressive Movement and will then relate it to our country’s current debate on the role of the national government in addressing social issues and initiating reforms. I anticipate some high energy discussions on this topic!

 8th Grade World Civilizations

Greece is the word, it’s the word that you heard…Yes, the 8th graders will  examine classical Greece, including a contrast between the city-states of Athens and Sparta.  No study of Greece would be complete without a look at some of the art, plays, architecture, and philosophies of this civilization, so you can bet we will be spending time doing just that. I anticipate a test by the end of next week.

 Mrs. Tuskey


Religion- Mrs. Slifka

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religion6th Grade: 

Prayer to memorize for before January 27th is the Apostles Creed.

We are discussing/learning about the difference between the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed.

7th Grade: 

Prayer to memorize for before January 27th is the Nicene Creed.  We are exploring our personal stories with Jesus and living God’s plan- our Ransom note.  See if your child remembers what ransom note means. One example is:

8th Grade: 

Prayer to memorize for before January 27th is the Nicene Creed

Jesus journal – finish any thoughts on “Stinking Thinking” notes from the Matthew Kelly video- which is on Christian discipleship is counter cultural to society.


Please discuss (with your child) attending the Diocesan Youth Conference.   (I plan on going and would love to experience this with as many of my students as possible).

Check this out!  It is going to be a blast!

This is held on Friday, February 27 through Sunday, March 1, 2015 at the Downtown Richmond Marriott, Virginia.  It is an overnight retreat and students must get a written approval from 2 teachers which suggests that they would be a good candidate for an overnight event.

This is a weekend event held each calendar year to gather high school youth from all 145 parishes located in the Diocese of Richmond to one central location.  The Conference is a highly energetic, engaging, and awesome opportunity for our high school teenagers to gather as a larger Church community and celebrate the amazing richness of our Catholic Christian faith.  If you get your registration in by 1/10 you will get the early bird it is $95.00.  We may be able to get in the early bird on Monday Jan 10th.  After the early bird deadline, the fee goes to $170.00

Please contact me at if you would like more information and/or an application.


Design- Mrs. Clopton


6th Grade– Students will be introduced to a Students new project soon which will take place on our new iMac computers.  They will be tying in one of their summer reading books, or a book they have completed in class with this project.  More details coming soon!

7th – Students are presenting their Prezi presentations in class.  They will finish off the unit on issues in technology with watching the movie Meet the Robinsons in class.

8th– Students have just finished writing their research paper proposal in class.  They will be writing their research papers in class this week.

A big thank you to Mr. Macon Pegram (son Alex is in 6th grade)for coming in to speak to classes this week on the Hour of Code.  We appreciate you taking the time to talk to students and exposing them to many different websites about computer coding.

PE- Coach Spicer


No new updates this week.

Music- Mrs. Taylor



Composer of the MonthJanuary – Frederic Chopin

Students have not been told the composer for Jan. yet—if middle school students are able to correctly identify the new composer of the month this week they will be awarded 5 bonus points (and I will know those of you that are readingJ)

 6th grade – Will begin Music this week. If they have not brought their Music Process Journals (1 in. binder) down to the music room please have them bring them asap, they will need to use them this week. We will be discussing our semester together including their participation in the Spring Sing which will take place during school on Fri. May 1st. Also be on the lookout for a syllabus that will need to be signed.

7th grade – Next week they will begin Art. Thank you for a great job in the Christmas program and Nativity….I will see you next school year!

8th grade – Religious Arts – Will have a quiz on the composers that we have been studying the first semester. We will also be voting on one of the songs that will have a place in our 8th grade production.

 8th grade – Music – We will be going through information for our class during the 2nd semester. Please be on the lookout for a syllabus that will need to be signed and returned.


Art- Mrs. Dunham

6th Grade – This is the last week sixth graders will have their regular art classes.  Next week they will begin music classes with Mrs. Taylor.  Sixth grade will still come to art weekly for Religious Art. Next week in Religious arts we will begin our mixed media “Mary” project.

7th Grade – Seventh graders will begin art class next week for second semester.  Please have your student bring a hardbound sketchbook to class next week.  The sketchbooks are a  requirement for the IB Art Curriculum.

8th Grade – This is the last week eighth graders will have art at St. Mary’s!  They have completed their final project in art and are moving over to music for the rest of the year.