Week of January 11, 2021:

Hello 7th and 8th grade students and families:

Here is what’s happening in science and algebra 1 this week:

7th grade science:

  • We will continue working on how the earth’s motion around the sun affects our seasons on this planet this week. In addition, we will study the orbit of the moon around the earth (i.e., giant rocks moving around really fast, but also really predictably).
  • Students should plan on submitting their research papers on Tuesday, January 12.
  • Looking ahead, student should have formulated a hypothesis for their inquiry project experiment by January 20. This is something that requires a little thought, so you should start thinking about your hypothesis right now.

8th grade science:

  • Many of the 8th graders will be coming to school for a chemistry lab this week. Please remember to complete the symptom check before you arrive. I look forward to seeing students in person.
  • On days you are not scheduled for then in-person lab, you are still expected to check Teams for independent work in science.
  • Your research paper is due on Tuesday, January 12.
  • Looking ahead, your hypothesis (science) or objective (engineering) for your inquiry project is due on January 20.

Algebra 1:

  • We will begin working on factoring this week. It’s a bit more challenging than what we’ve done recently, so be prepared to heat up your brain a little.

Have a great week,


Week of January 4, 2021

Hello 7th/8th grade students and families:

Happy new year! Along with the rest of humanity, I’m hopeful the coming year goes significantly better than the last one did. Here are some things to consider as we move into 2021:

  • All 7th and 8th graders need to submit a research paper for their inquiry project by Tuesday, January 12. Please see the sidebar bar project requirements if you don’t remember what they are.
  • There will be no checkpoint quizzes in science this week, to take a little pressure off as students complete their research papers.
  • 7th graders,  several of you seem to be struggling with some of the basic expectations of school: Show up to class on time, engaged and ready to learn. Ask questions.  Be aware of what you are expected to learn and what assignments are coming up. Be aware of the standards for those assignments. Do the assignments according to those standards. Look for any feedback. Be prepared for assessments. Ask for help if you need it. I understand that we’re all going through very stressful times, both nationally and within our families. But you have work to do, and your life isn’t going to get any less stressful if you don’t do it.
  • 8th grade algebra students, you have a test on exponential expressions on Friday.  Don’t worry, it will be fairly easy, as long as you’ve been doing the homework, which almost all of you have.

Have a great week,

Sven Tice

Week of December 14:

A joyful Gaudete Sunday to all of you! We have one week left before Christmas break, and we intend to use it😁. Students will be working on new skills, practicing old ones, and, wherever possible, having some holiday fun. If you need a reminder of the spirit days this week, check out the News, Events, and Expectations section for details.

This is also the third week of Advent, so we want to take a moment to remind you of the school Advent project – sponsoring nine children around the world through the Unbound program! If you haven’t already read about, prayed for, and or donated to the project, please check out the information below:

St. John School Advent Project: Unbound

This Advent, St. John School continues to collect donations for the charity Unbound. St. John School’s monthly contribution goes toward basic needs such as nutrition, healthcare and an education for our sponsor students. Meet our Unbound friends: https://youtu.be/bLYCReYTZHc


Ways to donate:

  • Bring a donation to class (PK-2)
  • Drop off your donation when picking up hot lunch
  • Give online:  https://st-johnschool.org/unbound/ (this is a new, dedicated as of last week – please let me know if you have any questions!)

Please review the Curriculum Preview to get an idea of what’s happening in classes this week, and reach out if you have any questions.

News, Events, and Expectations:


  • Monday, December 14 – Holiday Headwear Day
    • Wear fun and festive holiday hats, like antlers headbands, elf ears or Santa hats.
  • Tuesday, December 15 – Winter Sports Fan Day
    • Calling all fans of winter sports – hockey, skiing, ice skating, speed skating, snowboarding, ice stocking, luge, skeleton, bobsled, curling, ice fishing, Nordic combined and more.
    • Dress up in your favorite winter sport gear or our school colors of purple and gold – break out your St. John jerseys.
  • Wednesday, December 16  Cozy Day
  • It’s getting cold!  Time to put on your fuzzy slippers, wearable blankets and scarves.
  • Thursday, December 17 – Ugly Sweater Day
  • Sparkly tinsel? Multicolored ribbons? Christmas cats eating pizza? Are they on a sweater? Wear it proudly.
  • Friday, December 18 – Festive Friday
  • Go all out!  Dress and decorate yourself in Christmas Cheer!


 Tips, Tricks, and Tools:

  • Take Time for You

    • The tip this week is simple – if you can, take some time for yourself this break to recharge your own batteries. This is a trying year for everyone, and you have a lot of demands on your time. Given the marathon nature of this pandemic, and the fact that you have at least one middle schooler living with you, self-care is incredibly important. 
    • If you haven’t already, please take some time for yourself this holiday season and do whatever brings you a little bit of peace and joy!


Curriculum Preview:

  • Science
    • In science this week, 7th graders will continue to learn about historical models of the solar system, and begin work on the mechanics of Earth’s orbit around the sun. There will be a short checkpoint quiz on Thursday instead of Friday this week. In addition, students are strongly encouraged to continue working on their research papers, which are due on January 12.
  • Social Studies
    • This week in 7th grade Social Studies students will wrap up their study of ancient cultures of Asia by learning about the great Mughal Empire in India. They will explore both the Muslim and Mongol invasions of India, and then the rise of fall of the Mughal Empire.
  • Language Arts
    • One-on-one book talk meetings with me continue this week. I look forward to meeting with students and helping them grow! In addition, we will continue our discussions about the importance of seeking and using credible sources, and hopefully get some time to practice.
    • Students have a quiz on their Greek root (biblos – book) on Wednesday, December 16th. They should review their vocabulary 5-10 minutes a day.
  • Math
    • This week we will be creating a Holiday Cookie Shop! Students will be able to put their fraction, decimal and equation writing/solving skills to work through this yummy, real world scenario!
    • Students do NOT have to actually bake cookies – but if you want to, the recipe sheet is attached!
  • Community / Religion
    • In community-7th graders will complete their “Freedom Song” projects this Tuesday.  On Thursday we will ring in the Christmas holidays with a round of Christmas Jeopardy.

As always, please reach out if you have any questions, and have a week and break that is full of light, joy, rest, wonder, relaxation, laughter and so much more!

Week of December 7:

Happy second week of Advent! This is the week of peace and faith, both qualities we can all appreciate and get behind. Speaking of Advent (what a peaceful transition 😉), our schoolwide Advent project is focused on the children we sponsor through Unbound. Please review the two items below to find out more:


St. John School Advent Project: Unbound


In 2019, St. John School made a commitment to sponsor 10 children through the organization, Unbound. Our monthly contribution goes toward basic needs such as nutrition, healthcare and an education. Meet our Unbound friends: https://youtu.be/bLYCReYTZHc

This Advent, please consider making a donation toward Unbound.

St. John School Elf College

Join St. John School’s Elf-in-Training Program today! The “course-load” includes four kindness activities and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) challenge. Upon completion, students will graduate Elf College earning a special graduation gift!

Cost: $15 (all proceeds go toward Unbound)

Sign up here: https://st-johnschool.org/elf-college-enrollment-form/?mc_cid=9c3a8d85c0&mc_eid=295a1fc65f


So, this week’s message is all about Unbound! Learn about our sponsored student, Naydelin, from your 7th graders. Help them find meaningful ways to contribute to our sponsorship of Naydelin – maybe one of their gifts can be a donation to Naydelin, or they can earn extra money by doing challenging chores at home, or a family prayer time can be devoted to Naydelin and her family. Whatever you do, know that your support is deeply appreciated!

News, Events, and Expectations:

  • Tuesday, December 8th, 2020 – Mass of the Immaculate Conception
  • Tuesday and Thursday, December 8th and 10th – opportunities to drop off money for Unbound!
    • If you’re coming by to pick up hot lunch, you can also drop off money for Unbound. Look for the festively dressed teacher/administrator🎄

 Tips, Tricks, and Tools:

  • Mental Health Matters!

    • This year has been challenging and while we are entering a fun and festive season, many people, children included, struggle with greater mental health issues. 
    • Please review the December newsletter from Ms. Shaw, our school counselor, for valuable information and support. The pdf of the newsletter is attached to this message.


Curriculum Preview:

  • Science
    • In science this week, students continue to learn about the conservation of momentum. Some students are having a very difficult time with this topic; if your child in one of them, please encourage them to contact Mr. Tice. There will be a checkpoint quiz on momentum on Friday.
  • Social Studies
    • In 7th Grade Social Studies this week we will continue with our study of ancient civilizations of Asia. This week we’ll investigate feudalism in Japan. Students will learn about the samurai and the rules for warriors, bushido. They will also Kublai Khan’s failed invasions of Japan and the period of isolation under the Tokugawas.
  • Language Arts
    • We had a great discussion in one of the classes last week about how to learn from mistakes and set ourselves up for success, particularly with book talks. This week will be a mix of independent work for their expository writing on the school theme and one-on-one meetings with me to go over their T1 book talks. I look forward to meeting with students and helping them grow!
    • Students have a quiz on their Greek root (philia – love, friendship) on Wednesday, December 9th. They should review their vocabulary 5-10 minutes a day.
  • Math
    • Regular –

      The Ch. 3 test (Simplifying Expressions and Solving 2-step Equations) will be this Thursday, December 10th.

      Last week the class made a review booklet and was given the practice test (due today). On Friday, students with questions came to Math office hours and I worked individually with students on their questions. Please encourage your child to ask questions in class – it helps everyone!

      This week we will continue to prepare for the test and look at examples of how to organize your math work in order for another mathematician to read it.

    • Zero Period –
      The zero period students continue to learn about writing and graphing linear equations. In our work at the beginning of the week, students will practice drawing equations on the same coordinate plane. This will create a unique picture that will by colored to create the look of stained glass.
  • Community / Religion
    • This last week the students observed how important music and songs were during the Civil Rights Movement.  This week they will be learning more about how the SNCC utilized these Freedom Songs/Chants for encouragement, solidarity, and hope- and will be writing their own freedom chants to the tune of well-known nursery rhymes.

As always, please reach out if you have any questions, and have a faith and peace-filled week!



Week of November 30, 2020

Welcome back! Sure, it’s only been a few days, but we’re on the cusp of a brand-new trimester, so it feels appropriate.

As young Anne Shirley, from L.M. Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables, once said “[I]sn’t nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” Or, to put it in a growth mindset frame, isn’t nice to think that tomorrow is a new trimester, full of opportunities to learn from our past mistakes and make new ones? This is a theme we hope all 7th graders will embrace as we start our next trimester.

It’s a full week of classes and students will finish it off with their new specialist for second trimester on Friday. Feel free to check in with them during the week to make sure they know where they are going. We are also beginning Advent, so be on the lookout for our service project and other fun activities in the coming weeks!

News, Events, and Expectations:

  • Monday, November 30, 2020 – Trimester 2 begins
  • Thursday, December 3rd, 2020 – T1 Report cards go home

    • If you never received your progress reports, make sure your address is up to date in Power School and with Mrs. Q in the office.

 Tips, Tricks, and Tools:

  • Start with one change – like the One Ring, but more helpful…and much less disturbing

    • Talk with your 7th graders, discuss where they struggled in first trimester, and help them choose one behavior they want to focus on for second trimester to help them improve.
    • Maybe they struggled with:
      • missing work – they could record their class and homework in the daily planner and go over it with you at the end of each day.
      • focus – they could (pick one) choose to remain in class with the teacher during work time OR clean their workspace at the end of each day to keep it free of distractions OR purge their laptop/desktop of Pinterest, video games, and other distractions OR set timers during work time to keep them on track OR turn in their phone to you at the beginning of each day.
      • something else? Every child is unique and so are their challenges. Reach out if you have questions or need some help.
    • It’s easy to be overwhelmed when trying to make improvements. Just think of the first time you looked at a big project/room/mess and thought, “This could be better in so many ways, I’ll just start…hmmmmm, where should I start?” Multiply that feeling by at least ten (thousand), toss in a good dose of fear, frustration, and just a pinch of shame, and you know how many middle schoolers feel when they realize they should be doing better, but they don’t know where to start.
    • With that in mind, remember to keep it to one behavior change, and help your 7th grader choose wisely.


Curriculum Preview:

  • Science
    • In science this week, we will be wrapping up the force and motion unit, focusing on momentum this time. If anything, this concept is more challenging than what has come before; if your child experiences difficulty here, please encourage them to seek me out during office hours, 2:30-3:00 PM Monday-Friday.
    • Additionally, students should begin work on their research papers for their inquiry projects. These papers are not due until January 12, but this is a time-consuming assignment, and the sooner students start, the less stressful it will be.
  • Social Studies
    • In 7th Grade Social Studies we’ll be moving from the Americas to Asia as we study the ancient cultures of China, Japan, and India. This week we’ll delve into the Golden Ages in China. We’ll learn about Confucius, the Tang and Song dynasties, the Silk Road, and several Chinese inventions that have shaped world history.
  • Language Arts
    • Students will have a chance to share their name poems at the beginning of the week, then we will dive right into a our expository writing mini-unit. Students will choose one aspect of our school theme and explain what it means to them, based on definitions and examples in the modern world.
    • Students have a quiz on their Greek root (phobos – fear) on Wednesday, December 2nd. They should review their vocabulary 5-10 minutes a day.
  • Math
    • Regular –
      This week in Math, we will look at how to solve 2-step equations. Students will ‘box the terms’ and use inverse operations to get the variable by itself. The Ch. 3 test will be the week of December 7th.
    • Zero Period – The zero period students launch into a new unit on Writing and Graphing Linear Equations. We start this week by finding the slope (steepness of a line) and will practice drawing lines on the coordinate plane.
    • STEM Opportunity – Blanchet High School’s Pinewood 2020

      Sign up to pick up a free kit and then create a car to be raced in January!

      Pick up dates: Dec. 1, 3, 8, and 10, so register today!


  • Community / Religion
    • In Community/Religion class this week the 7th graders will continue learning about the Civil Rights Movement.  Students will watch Episode 3 of Eyes on the Prize.  They will learn about the intentionality of the non-violent movement and how this method was effectively utilized during the student protests in Nashville, TN.  The second half of the video will build on the lessons your students had with Ms. Sullivan last year about the Children’s March in Birmingham Alabama in 1963.

As always, please reach out if you have any questions, and have a fresh week!



Gwynedd Rzegocki and Sven Tice

7th grade homeroom teachers (AKA the Levelheaded and Lighthearted Lineup)