By Thomas Whitson
The sixth graders in Ms. Festa’s class have started the new school year with a bang. So far in language class, “The students have started the process of building a grammar foundation,” Ms. Festa said. They learned about capitalization and punctuation rules in a sentence, as well as the function of words in a sentence. She likes when her students participate in class and thinks more of her students could participate more. They also worked on a big alliteration project in language class that had all the students working hard, but Ms. Festa thinks that they can handle it.
In literature, the sixth graders built their lexicon, or their vocabulary. “They have already learned to read, so they are now reading to learn,” said Ms. Festa. She kept her students reading at all times during the day by using SQUIRT (Silent, Quiet, Uninterrupted, Independent, Reading Time). She also likes to have her students reading from her classroom library, and she has them keep a reading log of the books they have read as well. The sixth graders had their first oral book project where they presented a report on their book telling why they chose it and some facts about their book (without giving away the ending!) Also in literature, they could improve on staying focused on what they’re reading and better explaining what they read, Ms. Festa said.
Overall, the sixth graders have adapted well to the middle school life, as challenging as it can be. Ms. Festa is very proud of them and all the effort they have put into both of her classes, especially with the high standards she sets for them. Keep up the good work sixth graders!
Adding to the School Year
By Catherine Dang
Have you seen the sixth graders roaming the halls during class, stopping and looking at the walls? Mrs. Harvey, the sixth grade math teacher, puts math problems in the hallways for the students to solve and find the answers to the equations allowing them to learning while on the move. The students have been working on decimals and fractions on their new Chromebooks. They have been using practice problems on
to help the students learn these new concepts. Their new Chromebooks have helped the students expand their knowledge.
On the move, the students are working hard on tests,
, and review sheets. They take a major grade test every two to three weeks and prepare for it by working on study guides, review sheets, and group work. They have a
quiz every Friday to review and practice simple math problems. These sixth grade mathematicians are having a great start to the new school year.
By Isabel Suschitz
Looks like the seventh and eighth graders are on a roll in Texas and United States History. They worked very hard throughout the first quarter. Seventh graders worked on their Indian Project, where they learned about all the Native Indians of Texas. A flip book and a biography book is what the eighth graders did as projects this quarter.
Seventh grade learned about the geography of Texas, Indians of Texas, Spanish exploration, and multiple Europeans trying to claim Texas. The eighth graders in U.S. History learned about how Europeans got to America, they studied the founding of the 13 Colonies, and built up to the American Revolution.
The seventh and eighth graders practiced how to take notes, identified main ideas, key people, and learned how to study for tests.
To prepare for high school, the eighth graders also practiced their critical thinking skills, worked on historical analysis, read, and analyzed primary sources, and how people’s thoughts and actions lead to bigger thoughts and culture. Looks like these historians used their heads this quarter.
Growing in Faith
By Dylan Michaels
This past quarter, seventh and eighth grade students have been growing their faith in theology with Mrs. Hartfiel! The eighth graders started off the year with a project about Mary shrines to help them learn about different apparitions of the Virgin Mary in preparation for their trip to Washington, D.C. The seventh graders have been learning about the first fall of humans, and who we are through St. John Paul II’s teachings of the theology of the body. The students used Chromebooks to complete their warmups, but mainly their minds to think outside the box on their own. At the beginning of one of Mrs. Hartfiel’s classes, you can expect to find the students sitting in their desks in a reverent silence or praying the responsorial Psalm of the day. Every month, students in Mrs. Hartfiel’s class go to Adoration to sit in silence with Jesus.
The seventh graders in theology also learned about the difference between Tradition, with a capital T, and every day tradition with a lower case t. They are busy with this concept, but it are going great.
Mrs. Hartfiel is preparing the eighth graders for high school by teaching them curriculum that they will be learning next year and taking these and applying them to her teaching. She also taught them that their personalities are all unique and if overdone, they can become weaknesses. Theology students have gotten off to a great start!
By Taylor Schababerle
Editor in Chief, The Spirit
The eighth grade year is off to a great start in Mrs. Drewes’ language and literature classes. Some projects the students have completed included creation stories from different cultures’ versions, and then they compared them to the Greek Creation Myth about Gaea and Uranus. They also wrote poems about a Greek god of their choosing. They also decided if a character was a hero or not. In vocabulary, the students learned a variety of vocabulary words. They played a vocab matching game throughout the classroom. Then they had a test on all three units.
In language, the students wrote personal narratives and participated in an essay contest. The students also wrote fictional stories. They were learning about verbs and their many tenses. According to Mrs. Drewes, the hardest concept for the students to grasp is grammar. They improved by practicing and having tests.
The eighth graders also traveled to Washington, D.C. during the first quarter where they visited Jamestown, Williamsburg, and the Immaculate Conception Basilica. They also went to many memorials. Mrs. Drewes prepared the students for the trip by answering their questions in class. They had a great time!
Eighth graders show their poster comparing creation stories of other cultures.
Connecting With History and Faith
By Gabriela Clinton
The new sixth graders have learned so much, but not just academically. Our new middle schoolers have been working hard to get comfortable in their next stage of school. Their struggles with stubborn lockers, boisterous hallways, and the extra homework are ebbing away as their teachers help out getting them in the zone.
In the sixth grade social studies class, Mrs. McBee is one of the four teachers helping these new sixth graders prepare for the future. She is helping them adopt better habits, such as studying a little bit every night, organizing their lockers and papers, and looking ahead to the future. So far the students are doing an amazing job using their social studies textbooks and new Chromebooks for learning. Sixth grader Andrew Riemann reports how the he and his classmates appreciate how the important, pre-organized notes are already on the board, and how the warm-ups Mrs. McBee gives them help increase their knowledge on the outside world beyond Houston. Along with that, the students in sixth grade social studies are having classroom discussions and helpful geography videos to help them understand the key concepts and main ideas of their class. With these skills, the sixth graders have already completed their climate regions haiku project.
By the end of this year, not only will the sixth graders be prepared for the next leap in their education, but also understand that social studies can give a great outlook on new places, people, and cultures outside in the big world.
In sixth grade theology, students have been exploring the Bible, learned about God’s salvation plan, unraveled some of the mysteries of the Holy Trinity, and increased their love of learning about God and their faith. To prepare for this, they used a
Catholic Connections Handbook
to get the information they needed. They also worked on study guides to help them understand their key points and had classroom discussions to make sure everyone was on the same page. Sixth graders love group projects, such as the Bible Bookmark. Mrs. McBee gave each student a bookmark that they designed themselves based on their choice of a passage from the book of Proverbs. Soon, they will be writing full essays on their key concepts and be able to explain them on a higher level of thinking. All of this will lead to a better understanding of God and hopefully a better connection with Him.
Kinchen’s “Kool Klasses”
By Alexa Halim
Editor of Chief, Halo News
It’s the start of the 2016-17 school year, and the seventh and eighth graders are off to a great start in Mrs. Kinchen’s math class! This year, St.JPII received new math textbooks for pre-algebra and algebra. These textbooks allow space for the students to write in them, and they’re very thorough. Additionally, Mrs. Kinchen teaches concepts using notes, problems/examples,
, group work, and individual practice. To understand hard concepts, students practiced with
, group work, worksheets, task cards, and work in the textbook. Students use their Chromebooks to enhance learning with
The seventh graders have set off on their pre-algebra journey. They learned unit rates and rates of change and reviewed rational numbers as well as proportions. They created a scale factor project where they built something to a certain scale. The hardest skill the seventh graders have learned so far is fractions and integers. Paulo Gonzalez said that study guides and
have really helped him with tests and is looking forward to learning how to get ready for algebra.
The eighth graders have set off on their algebra journey as well. They learned about multi-step equations and inequalities, functions, and linear equations. The hardest concept the eighth graders have learned is linear equations. They have prepared for high school entrance exams with word problems, standardized test-type problems, and basic math. LuzMarie Garcia said that the extra practice has really helped her prepare for the test. She is also looking forward to projects and learning more things this year.
StJPII can’t wait for what’s in store next for the seventh and eighth graders in Mrs. Kinchen’s class!
Starting Off Strong
By Izzy Christiansen
The sixth grade science students started off the year by learning about the Earth’s interior, mainly focusing on convection, conduction, radiation, and the Earth’s different systems. To help them with their experiments in the future, they have also been studying the Scientific Method. These hard-working students are also learning to underline and highlight important information in their textbooks. The students make foldables in their interactive student notebooks and take notes to help them review for tests. To help them succeed, they focus and observe the main concept during the lessons. The students have accomplished a lot in the past few weeks. They have been working nonstop to get a great head start in their first year of middle school.
The eighth graders have been on the job in science learning about motion, speed, velocity, and acceleration. They are going to do a complex motion lab soon. The students are experts at following instructions and listening carefully. They ask questions to better learn more information about their topic and observe while the teacher is giving examples. The eighth graders are setting a good example as role models for the rest of the school.
By Brian Nehme
The seventh grade science class has been working on ecology this quarter. They have been working hard with projects and content maps. They use the content maps to study for their content map quizzes. When there is an upcoming test they have to work on a study guide and then they correct it in class. They take it home to study for the test.
They have been hard at work working on their three-week project, succession in a jar. They put soil in a jar and every time they checked it, which was every three days, they added four bird seeds. They have also had the deer simulation and built a food web activity. For the deer simulation they chose which type of organism would live in different situations. For the food web activity they and a partner built a food web with the cards given.
Mrs. Palmer likes to use the Chromebooks a lot for question of the week. Question of the week is something a question they work on to answer during their free time in class after they finish their regular classwork. The seventh grade science classes have been working hard this quarter.
By Hannah Yohr
Mrs. Bowring is on the move with seventh grade language arts and literature. With projects and activities, she is teaching the seventh graders some great information. She is implementing all the steps for personal narratives. She is having the students apply many grammar skills to their narratives and essays. One writing prompt that the seventh graders worked on wass writing letters of appreciation to the staff members. Some tests for language arts included a capitalization test, a noun test, and also a personal narrative for a major grade.
Some activities that the seventh grade language arts students were working on were group presentations for punctuation and capitalization rules. The projects that the seventh graders worked on for literature are book projects and a literary elements project. The main focuses in literature consisted of character traits, literary elements, and the six types of conflict. Mrs. Bowring helps students learn vocabulary by helping them make vocabulary flashcards and teaching them how to sort the cards to study better and more efficiently. The tests that Mrs. Bowring gave this quarter were a genre test and a literary elements test. Some activities that the students were participating in literature were writing creative stories using vocabulary cards, presentations for genres, and reading logs. The seventh graders are being extremely productive this quarter!