Week of October 19, 2020:

Dear guardians and parents of St. John 7th graders,

I hope you have enjoyed a restful weekend.

While last week was short, we still covered a lot! It was wonderful to attend mass (even virtually) and read your children’s reflections on Fr. Crispin’s homily. Each student thought about what gifts God wants them to share with the world and how they might begin to do that. We look forward to building on those ideas and helping your children embrace and share their gifts for the common good.

Check out the information below, remember to sign-up for a conference with your child’s homeroom teacher, and please reach out with any questions.

News, Events, and Expectations:

  • Monday, October 25, and Friday, October 30 – Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences
    • When the sign-up genius is available, please sign up for a meeting with¬†your child’s homeroom teacher.
    • If you want to meet with additional subject teachers, please reach out and set up a time during daily office hours.



Tips, Tricks, and Tools:

  • Teach your child to embrace failure!¬†(Bear with me, I promise this makes sense – the title is the educational equivalent of click-bait¬†ūüėé)
    • No one is perfect, but many 7th graders forget this simple fact and feel crushed by their mistakes, big and small. They see every misstep and mess up as ‘failure’, the ultimate f-word, something of which to be ashamed or to hide.¬†To a 7th grader, failure = bad.
    • In an effort to avoid what they see as damage and the uncomfortable feelings it brings, 7th graders often shut down, refusing to take part in any process where they might be wrong or make a mistake.
    • What they don’t realize is that they are missing out on powerful learning opportunities.
    • You can help your child by illustrating the connection between failure and learning. When you show them that failure is the greatest teacher, you give them the confidence to try new things, to flex their educational muscles, and get the most out of every experience.
    • Here’s one way to help your 7th grader understand –
      • During meal times, or whenever you regularly see and talk with your child(ren), try asking the following questions:
        • When were you/did you feel successful today?
        • When did you fail today?
        • What did you/can you learn from your failure?
      • Have everyone, yourself included, think about and share their answers to the questions. You might be surprised how quickly your child’s attitude shifts.


Curriculum Preview:

  • Science
    • In science this week, students will be introduced to the laws of motion, which is more or less the main idea in classical physics; if students don’t have a firm grasp of this, they will struggle in the next few weeks. Additionally, we will begin using mathematical models to describe and predict the motion of objects. Students often struggle with this at the beginning; if your child has difficulty in mastering this math-oriented skill, please encourage them to contact Mr. Tice. His office hours are 2:30-3:00 Monday-Thursday, and 9:25-9:50 on Friday.
  • Social Studies
    • In 7th¬†Grade Social Studies we will continue to explore the continent and civilizations of Africa. Last week we touched on the Bantu Migrations and completed a physical map of Africa. This week we‚Äôll review sub-Saharan Africa and also learn about the kingdoms of West Africa including Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. We‚Äôll discuss the king who many argue was the richest man to ever live, Mansa Musa, and how he helped foster the great tradition of literature and learning in the ancient city of Timbuktu. Students will also complete a political map of contemporary Africa.
  • Language Arts
    • Almost all students have chosen books for their first trimester book talk. Presentations begin on November 3rd. Please talk to your child(ren) about their books, and reach out if you need help finding a copy.
    • 7th graders will work on name poems this week. This gives them the opportunity to share a part of who they are and learn about their classmates, an integral part of community building. In addition, students will review a variety of poetic devices and practice narrative writing styles.
    • Students have a quiz on their Greek root (phone/phono¬†– sound) on Wednesday, October 21st. They should be reviewing their vocabulary 5-10 minutes a day.
  • Math
    • Regular¬†–¬†7th¬†graders have practiced subtracting rational numbers (negative and positive fractions, decimals, and whole numbers). By rewriting the subtraction problem as an addition problem (add the opposite of the second number) they then follow the addition rules ‚Äď ask your child what the rules are! We will continue to review this challenging concept and introduce multiplying and dividing this week too.
    • Zero Period¬†–¬†Zero Period continues to solve equations. We will move into the 8th¬†grade common core standards this week by solving equations with one variable on both sides of the equation.
  • Community / Religion
    • This week students will continue to discuss Chapter 9 from¬†The Catholic Faith Handbook.¬† We will take a look at what it means to participate in bringing about the “Kingdom of God” here on earth using Jesus and His ministry to the marginalized as our guide and example.¬† We will begin to look at the 7 Catholic Social Justice Principles, Pope Francis’s recent Encyclical, and read chapter 24 from¬†The¬†Catholic Faith Handbook¬†entitled “Social Justice”.
    • Also, an important note regarding progress report grades for religion/community class:¬† This class will¬†not¬†be assessed on a percentage grading system.¬† Unfortunately, when progress reports were processed, the percentage column was included, and showed up as a “0%” for every student.¬† Please disregard this section of the progress report and look only at the “M/P/I” grade column.¬† If your student received an “I” or “P” grade there is a corresponding comment explaining how they can improve this grade throughout the rest of the trimester.¬† My apologies for any confusion this caused as you read through your students’ progress reports- feel free to reach out with any questions- Mrs. Mansfield


As always, please reach out if you have any questions, and have splendiferous Sunday afternoon!




Week of October 5, 2020:


Hello 7th/8th students and families:

Thank you for your generous support of the Jog-a-thon! Whether you were there as a volunteer, taking time to help your child participate, or cheering us on up-close or from a far, we are incredibly grateful. While our muscles may be sore, we had a blast coming together as a community in a new and creative way. Thank you for making all of that possible!


We hope this message finds you well and enjoying a well-deserved rest. As we prepare for the coming week, please make sure to review News, Events, and Expectations and discuss the information with your child(ren) РI apologize in advance for the length. If you have any questions, please reach out!




News, Events, and Expectations:

  • Homework and Effort¬†–
    • Our goal is to limit the amount of work students do outside of the school day (8:45am – 3:00pm) because it tough to be on screens so long and we know this is a difficult time for everybody.
      • For that to actually happen, students need to use their independent work time for work. Many students seem to be struggling with this concept. This is a challenge at any age, and your child may need additional support and reminders. Check out Tips, Tricks, and Tools for some simple ideas.
    • Homework expectations –
      • Students are expected to complete work to the best of their ability and reach out to teachers if they are struggling. They can do this in class, via email, and during office hours.
      • If your child is using all of their work time effectively and still struggling to keep up, teachers need to know so they can address the situation and help problem solve. Help your child reach out to their teacher and ask for help.
      • Late assignments will be marked as such in PowerSchool and will not be counted if submitted two weeks past the due date.
      • We expect work to be completed during the school day so students can ask questions, seek assistance, and be able to stay off screens once the school day is done. We’ve started receiving emails and homework submissions with alarmingly late time stamps.
      • Work not completed during scheduled class time should be finished up at the end of the day during office hours.
    • Attendance, participation, and effort expectations –
      • Students are expected to arrive on time and participate in the lesson (internet connection willing).
      • Whether supervised in class or working on their own, students are expected to follow the daily schedule and use independent class time to complete assigned work.
      • If your child is absent, just like in person classes, they need to check in with teachers upon their return to identify what they missed and what they need to make up.

Tips, Tricks, and Tools:

  • Having trouble staying on track and on time?
    • To stay on time, help your student set up reminders for class attendance, independent work time, and breaks. You can use electronic devices with recurring alarms, signs posted around their work space and the home, and/or review and prominently post the school day schedule. Anything you can do to help your child understand the importance and balance of break and work time will help them now, and in the long run!
    • To stay on track, encourage your child to use their planner to record assignments and assessments, rather than relying on Teams to remind them. Whether it’s a small assignment in class or a longer project, it’s easy to forget something. Keeping track of their assignments helps them stay organized and in practice for when we return to in person work.
  • Looking for mental health support?
    • Check out the October newsletter from our amazing school counselor, Ms. Shaw, attached to this message. It’s fully of practical ideas and solid suggestions – well worth a look!

Curriculum Preview:

  • Science
    • In science, 7th graders will have their first major assessment this Friday, on science practices: the nature of scientific thought, science practices, the metric system, and how to conduct scientific investigations (the scientific method). The test will by necessity be open-note, but students should work independently, and be prepared to do more than simply recall and recite information.
  • Social Studies
    • Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was it studied. In 7th grade Social Studies, we continue to cover ancient Rome!
  • Language Arts
    • It‚Äôs a busy week in 7th¬†grade ‚Äď students are revising their summer reading review in class on Monday (final drafts are due on Tuesday, 10/6), will review Book Talk expectations and select presentation dates on Tuesday, and take their first root quiz on Wednesday (we‚Äôre studying¬†photos). On Thursday, time willing, we will start our new unit, focusing on research and expository writing.
    • Students should continue to review new vocabulary based on their Greek root¬†photos¬†(meaning ‘light’) for about 3-5 minutes a day. They will take a quiz on¬†photos¬†and learn their new root this Wednesday, 10/7.
  • Math
    • Regular¬†–¬†Last week, the 7th¬†graders completed their Integer Projects. Each day class time was given to review which stage of the project students should be working on. Then, for the remining 35 ‚Äď 40 minutes of class time, students worked independently while I stayed on the call so individuals could unmute and ask questions.¬† This week we will move onto Chapter 2: Adding, Subtracting, Multiplying and Dividing Rational Numbers. This means we will now be using negative fractions and decimals in our calculations.
    • 7th Zero Period¬†–¬†The Zero Period class will be reviewing, and taking a test on, Chapter 2: Adding, Subtracting, Multiplying and Dividing Rational Numbers.¬†My Office Hours on Tuesday at 2:30pm will be for Zero Period students to ask questions regarding this test.
    • 8th zero period:¬†8th graders will begin work this week on compound inequalities and absolute value equations.
  • Community / Religion
    • This week in community/religion we will give students an opportunity to share their identity art projects. Students will also break into small groups and use guided questions to help them discuss issues of identity and community.


As always, please reach out if you have any questions and enjoy the changing colors of Fall!