Wishing you a Blessed Advent season and a very Merry Christmas…
We are missing our priests, Father Joe and Father Craig, and we continue to keep them in prayers for their healing. We wish they were here with us to celebrate this holy season.
Advent is a beautiful liturgical season to look toward the second coming of Christ and to celebrate the special time of Jesus’s birth. In Religion, we are also celebrating by using the Jesse Tree to remind us about Jesus’s family roots in our patriarchs and in the stories of the Old Testament.
We also got to participate in our first Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. We would like to especially thank Miss Drvol and Deacon Randy for helping bring us closer to Jesus in the Eucharist.
I pray that you and your families have a blessed and holy Advent and Christmas, and welcome 2023 with JOY!!
Sixth grade has moved on to our unit on Creation. They have been using their Bible skills to read the first story in Genesis about the days of Creation. They worked in small groups to create a definition of what it means to be human.
We have started out the year with a few Religion procedures and thinking about how we can let our light shine. Using our school theme from Matthew 5:16, we will SHINE as the unique people that God made, with our own talents and abilities. I am looking forward to this year of growing with you in faith and growing our relationship with Jesus Christ!
We are currently reading and studying Sharon M. Draper’s novel, Out of My Mind. In the book, the narrator, Melody, gets a golden retriever named Butterscotch. Her dog is incredibly helpful, especially since Melody is in a wheelchair and cannot speak. But would Butterscotch be a good therapy dog? To help us find out, students did a little primary research and interviewed our very own therapy dog team here at SPSL– Ms. Naughton and Miles! They enjoyed the visit and learned so much about what it takes to become a therapy dog team.
We want to send a HUGE THANK YOU to Ms. Naughton for all the time and care she has donated to the students and faculty at SPSL.
She and Miles truly lift spirits every time they visit. What a gift!
This week in Skills Class we followed up with a second day of teaching on restorative practices. The activity was a listening circle. I shared the guidelines for a productive listening circle: Speak from the Heart, Listen from the Heart, Be Spontaneous, Use Lean Expression, and Keep in Circle.
Sixth grade students did a fabulous job following the guidelines for our questions.
We shared the following:
– an event that has had an impact on us (positive or negative)
– what gives us strength
– what qualities we possess that we “bring to the table” in our classroom, school, home, or community
We followed up with a little bit of Friendzy teaching about how “We Need Each Other”. The Seahawks consider their fans the “12th Man” and emphasize the importance of the fans to their team and to the eleven men on the football field from their team. What a great example of a group understanding how they need each other! Students also learned a bit about how mirror cells are tiny cells in the brain that allow us to mirror, or copy, someone else’s feelings. These mirror neurons help us to empathize and understand the people around us.
In my guided reading classes we have just finished two stories that both deal with bullying- “Muffin” by Susan Cooper and “Tuesday of the Other June” by Norma Fox Mazer. Students analyzed characters and submitted character essays. As follow-up to their learning, students are choosing a project. There is a research/presentation option, a poetry option, an option to read the other story and facilitate a compare/contrast discussion, and a mini passion project option where students can pitch me a project idea. I look forward to seeing how they extend their learning on the topic of bullying.
In Guided Reading, we are working on reading a short story and then utilizing any of its parts. Students used one story to analyze conflict, and then another to compare and contrast point of view. They are working to identify themes in stories and support their ideas using text evidence. All of this analyzing text makes us more insightful readers!
In Sixth Grade Skills we are starting the year with a review of our R.O.A.R. expectations. It’s great to make sure that we are on track to ROAR! in the classroom every day to have a strong learning environment. Students brainstormed what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like when we all follow these school-wide expectations. We are also working on what to do when ROAR is not followed, and the result is hurt. We will role-play scenarios where the relationship needs to be repaired through restorative practices.
Happy New Year to my 6th grade students and their families. I hope that 2022 is off to a good start for you all and I’m excited to welcome the students back to class.
After starting the year working in small groups with short stories, students in my Guided Reading classes are liking reading and studying as a whole group. We are reading Count Me In, by Varsha Bajaj.
Written in 2019 and now a 2021 Golden Sower nominee, it approaches themes of acceptance and activism. What does it look like to be an American? What is the important role of a bystander? We will also discuss the many different ways there are to express God’s loving embrace for all of His people.
The end of Quarter 1 prompted students to reflect upon their SMART goal from the first quarter of sixth grade. Did they reach it? Why or why not? How can they be intentional about reaching goals? Maybe it was not very measurable? Maybe it was not very realistic? What did they do to achieve their goal? Did they give themselves tiny deadlines and congratulations on the steps toward the larger goal? After reflection, students are setting a goal for Quarter 2 that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
Sixth graders will hear from Mrs. Vogel, our school’s former librarian and current EL specialist, about some refugee families in our community. She is sharing ways our school and students can help and get to know these families as well as providing book recommendations for students to follow up to learn more about the various backgrounds of God’s people. She will present with all sixth grade Skills classes.
You are Valuable! You are chosen.
It’s a beautiful thing to know that we are each chosen by God. Students are using the Friendzy book series to help them recognize the qualities that make them unique and special creations of God. With identity BINGO cards and Child of God hands, it is incredible to see what these young people recognize as their special gifts.
*During the month of October, our Boystown Social Skill focus is Accepting NO for an Answer. This one is tough, even for adults!
We are just finishing up our work with our second set of stories, “The Wrong Lunch Line” and “Song of Hope.” After doing presentations, students got to enjoy some matzo and kim chi, foods that are culturally important to the characters in the stories.
Next we will be doing some whole group reading with Count Me In by Varsha Bajaj.
In Skills class, we have worked on the following social skills: Making a Greeting, Hallway Behavior, and Following Instructions. We will continue to practice these skills throughout the year as new situations arise to use them.
Students have started setting first quarter SMART goals. These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely/Time-bound. We are halfway through first quarter already and are well on our way!
We have finished our first stories in Guided Reading! The Purple Peacocks and Blue Blobfish (self-named groups 😉 read “Taking a Dare” by Nicolasa Mohr, while the Orange Orangutans and Red Elephants read “Riding the Wave” by Dorian Cirrone. Students learned about some formative experiences in the young lives of these authors. They learned new vocabulary, discussed the pros and cons of taking certain dares, simulated different abilities through a challenge, and wrote essays about their reading.
Hello Panthers! We are ready for the 2021-22 school year.
I am thrilled to begin this new school year with you. It will be a year for us to examine, organize, improve, read, support, try, achieve, lead, write, value, work, influence, communicate, initiate, design, and so much more. You and your families will be in my prayers as we begin this new school year together.
I earned my BA in Secondary Education (Speech/Theatre) from UNO and an additional teaching endorsement in Language Arts from the College of Saint Mary. This is my fifteenth year of teaching at SPSL, including two years substitute teaching. I have taught seventh grade Literature, English, Vocabulary, Geography, and Religion as well as sixth grade Religion, Guided Reading, and Skills. This year I will be teaching Religion and will continue as the Drama Club and Speech Team coach. Thank you for being such a beautiful faith-filled learning community!