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St. Justin Martyr School
PASSING THE TORCH OF CATHOLIC LEARNING, LEADING, AND SERVING
TRANSITIONAL KINDERGARTEN THROUGH 8TH GRADE

7th Grade

Hello St. Justin Martyr families,

My name is Mr. Frank Karczewski (Car-Chess-Ski) and I will be teaching Middle School Language Arts this year. I cannot express enough how excited I am for this opportunity to get to know you and be a part of this special Catholic school family.

I was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, where I have been educated in Catholic and public schools. I graduated from Indiana University South Bend with a degree in History. I have since matriculated to the University of Notre Dame and am working in a M.Ed program sponsored by the Alliance of Catholic Education (ACE). I have worked with Middle School since I was 18 years old. I firmly believe the middle school years are some of the most formative years for children, and I hope to help the students prepare to be excellent students, citizens, and followers of Christ.

This year’s course will cover a wide variety of topics. We will improve our grammar, writing, and reading comprehension, while learning to understand our place in the world as Christians and as individuals. I believe that we have some exciting books and lessons that will keep the children engaged and excited about learning.

I hope to work closely with parents as we work to educate these children. I love to be contacted regularly and want to have a strong bond with all families. Please email me at mr.karczewski@sjm-k8.com.  I will respond within 24 hours.

If you feel strongly about certain ways to communicate with your child, or any other way I can help bring out the best in your child, please let me know.  In the space below, please leave comments you think I should know!

I want to make sure it is clear that I am an asset to your child’s education. I understand not all children are the same and I want to make education as accessible as possible for all.

 

Middle School Guidelines

Work Behavior Report: 

Students will be given a grade for their behavior based on the Student Learning Expectation (SLE) for work habit and responsible behavior. Points to calculate both categories will be documented on a behavior contract and will be sent home every Friday. Students are responsible to get behavior contracts signed by a parent or guardian and returned by the following Tuesday. Students who do not return contracts will miss recess until it is returned.

Also, your child is required to follow the class rules at all times.  There are consequences for not following the rules and for behaving inappropriately. Students will receive a deficiency for incomplete homework where parents will be notified by phone and will be required to sign and return the slip.

** Technology Rules

Students will have homework planners this year.  As a result, each student will be responsible for copying their own homework off the board in each class. In addition, students will also be responsible for turning in assessments and other work digitally, which will be assigned by each teacher. The submission policy will be strictly enforced this year and any late work will receive a zero.

Inappropriate use of technology will also be strictly enforced. Students caught playing games, emailing or chatting with others during class, inappropriate views of videos or music selection, and the like, will automatically receive a detention. No personal devices should be brought to school (cell phones must be kept in backpacks at all times).

Also, if an assignment is expected to be printed and not submitted digitally, then it is the responsibility of the student to print it at home. The school will not be responsible for printing individual assignments, and all late assignments will receive a deficiency.

If students in grades 5-8 need to have their case replaced, they may turn in their old case and purchase a new one on their own. Students will receive their iPad from last year unless they are a new student to the school.  Also, all broken iPads will incur a $50.00 replacement fee.

The Rules:

See attached Student Learning Expectation chart and Behavior Contract

The Consequences:

6 Deficiencies in 1 Trimester = Detention

3 Detentions in 1 Trimester = Suspension

Students may receive behavioral infractions in any class and will be recorded on the behavior contract. Students will start with 25 points a week for responsible behavior and 25 points per week for work habits. If the week is shorter, the students will have fewer points to be graded on, sticking with 5 points per day. Points earned from each week will be averaged at the end of the trimester to create a responsible behavior and a work habits grade. The final average will be shown on the report card under “responsible behavior” and “work habits” as a letter grade. Students who achieve a grade of 95% or higher in both categories will receive an SLE award!

The Rewards:

Students will receive a “caught being good” slip for random acts of kindness. Two students are selected a day (one upper grade and one lower grade student) and will be announced at each morning announcement. Students will get to choose a special gift from the principal’s office!

Parent-Teacher Communication:

  1. Please feel free to contact the teacher at any time with questions, concerns, or information. The best way to reach us will be through phone or email: ms.faecke@sjm-k8.com, mr.karczewski@sjm-k8.com, ms.ta@sjm-k8.com, ms.stpaul@sjm-k8.com
  2. We will also let you know about any important information through the IT emailed to each parent or guardian. Please check the Sycamore program at home as often as possible for updated grades, low grades, and missing work.

Birthdays:

  1. If you would like to bring in treats for your child’s birthday, please let the teacher know at least one day before.  Please do not provide lunch — just a simple treat.
  2. Treats must be individually packed or prepared.
  3. Birthday invitations may not be distributed at school unless all children in the class are invited.
  4. All summer birthdays will be celebrated in June.
  5. Please also provide treats without nuts due to student allergies. Thanks!

Curriculum Guidelines

All teachers teach literature, spelling, art, and religion for their corresponding grade levels.

 

Math: See handout from Ms. Ta

 

Science: See handout from Ms. St. Paul

 

Social Studies: See handout from Ms. Faecke

 

English/Grammar: See handout from Mr. Karczewski

 

Middle School Math

In the middle school math program, students will be working a lot more in groups! By using this structure, we hope to meet the needs of all learners to provide the best math education possible. Students will be working with their teacher in a smaller group setting to focus on specific standards. Other groups will be working on supplemental support resources to solidify the idea of the lesson. Students are expected to be independent workers during this group time.

These are the main themes that each grade will cover:

5th Grade

  • Number and Operations in Base Ten
  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking
  • Number and Operations – Fractions
  • Measurement and Data
  • Geometry
6th Grade

  • Ratios and Proportional Relationships
  • The Number System
  • Expressions and Equations
  • Geometry
  • Statistics and Probability
7th Grade

  • Ratios and Proportional Relationships
  • The Number System
  • Expressions and Equations
  • Geometry

Statistics and Probability

8th Grade

  • The Number System
  • Expressions and Equations
  • Functions
  • Geometry
  • Statistics and Probability

 

A lot of material is expected to be covered during our given school year, so your child’s attendance is a must! Students will use their tech-books as support at home and in class. Also, their e-textbooks will have a “tutor” option where your child can watch instructional videos at home or play math games that apply to the lesson to develop fluency. I am more than happy to help parents navigate through the e-textbook you can also help your child at home. Please just email me to set up a time in advanced. I really look forward to a fun math year!

Ms. Kimberly Ta

5th – 8th Grade Math Teacher

 

MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE
SCIENCE 5 – GENERAL SCIENCE

I. Life Science

A.  Comparing Living Things

B. Reproduction and Change

C. Adaptations

D. Ecology

II. Physical Science

A. Classifying Matter

B. Investigating Motion

C. Forms of Energy

D. Electrical Energy

III. Earth Science

A. The Changing Earth

B. The Earth’s  Resources

C. Climate

D. Astronomy

IV. The Human Body

A. Respiration and Excretion

B. Living a Healthy Life

SCIENCE 6 – EARTH  SCIENCE

I. Exploring the Universe

II. Earth Process

III. Plate Tectonics and Earth Structures

IV. Earthquakes

V. Volcanoes

VI. Technology and Weather

VII.Water Cycle

VIII. Human Body

SCIENCE 7 – LIFE SCIENCE

I. Cells: The Building Blocks of Life

II. Cell Processes and Energy

III. The Science of Genetics

IV. Changes Over Time

V. From Bacteria to Plants

VI. Animals

VII. Human Biology

Bones, Muscles and Skin

VIII. Body Systems

IX. Ecology

SCIENCE 8 – PHYSICAL SCIENCE

I. Chemical Building Blocks

II. Chemical Reactions

Acids, Bases, and Solutions

III. Motion, Forces and Energy

Work, Power, Thermal Energy

IV. Sound and Light

V.  Electricity and Magnetism

* 8th Grade units are wider than other grades

 

*Science grades for all four classes will be broken down by

Tests/Projects- 40%

Quiz – 20%

Lab Notebooks – 20%

Classwork/Practice- 15%

Participation-5%

* Students will be expected to complete all missing work (with or without credit), and will be asked to use their free time to do so.  Incomplete work will be graded as is.

*All projects will be accompanied by a rubric.

 

SCIENCE FAIR – This year the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students will participate in a science fair. The purpose of the science fair is to develop the scientific investigation processes, and to apply scientific skills and knowledge that the students have learned so far.  The students will start preparation  for this fair in November, 2017.  A formal letter will be sent home at this time to inform parents of due dates of each step of the experiment. The Science Fair Projects will be on display in O’Connor Hall on April,  11-13.

 

OUTDOOR EDUCATION SCIENCE CAMP

Outdoor science camp was started in 1995. This year we will go to Astrocamp and Catalina Island Marine Institute.   These are three-day programs that allows our students to extend their science lessons outside of the regular classrooms.  The learning experiences gained by the students are unparalleled by any indoor classroom lesson.  They return to St. Justin’s with a wealth of knowledge and skills that help them to appreciate all of God’s creation.

 

5TH GRADE SCIENCE TRIP – still in the planning stage

6th and 7th GRADE SCIENCE TRIP-Astrocamp, Idyllwild, CA

  • Tentative dates February 14th-16th

8th GRADE SCIENCE TRIP- Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI)

  • Tentative date January 17th-19th

 

STEM and Experiments

Throughout the year we will be doing STEM projects and experiments. Your child will be responsible for bringing in the assigned materials to complete the assignment. Bringing in their supplies will be part of their grade. If you would like to make a donation of supplies to our science lab, please email me (ms.stpaul@sjm-k8.com) and I will send you our wish list. Thank you in advance for your cooperation!

 

Miss St. Paul

5th-8th Grade Science Teacher

Middle School Social Studies

 

5th Grade

Units Covered:

-Geographic Regions of the United States

-Early American Indian tribes who settled the Americas

-Portuguese, Spanish, French, Dutch, and English Explorers

-New England, Southern, and Middle Colonies in the United States

-Causes of the Revolutionary War

-The Revolutionary War

-Launching a New Government

-Westward Movement

-Immigration

Activities:

-Boston Tea Party Debate

-History Pockets

-State Report

-Immigration Project

-Revolutionary War diorama

– American Revolution-Riley’s Farm

6th Grade

Units Covered:

-Ancient People (Hunters & Gatherers)

-Mesopotamia

-Egypt

-India

-China

-Greece

-Rome

Activities:

-Pyramid Project

-Roman Feast

-Greek Artifact Museum

-Ice Man (Otzi) Archaeology Study

-Fans (China)

-Cultural Graveyards

7th Grade

Units Covered:

-Islam

-Africa

-Asian Civilizations

-Medieval Societies

-Europe 1300-1600

-Civilizations of the Americas

-Europe 1600-1789

Activities:

-Castle Game

-African Masks

-Wonder Circles (Asian Civilizations)

-History Web (Europe 1300-1600)

-Pocket-Folder Book (Civilizations of the Americas)

8th Grade

Units Covered:

-The Constitution

-Development of America’s Regions (The North & the South)

-Causes of the Civil War & the Civil War

-Reconstruction

-Reshaping the Plains

-The Industrial Age

-The Gilded Age

-The Reform Age

-WWI & WWII (Concentration Camps & Internment Camps)

-Cold War & Modern America (Pluralism, Democracy, Elections, U.S. Presidents)

Activities:

-Constitution Project

-9/11 Oral History/Research Project

-Industrial Revolution (Assembly Line and Marketing Project)

-Concentration Camp vs. Internment Camp Project

-Lincoln/Douglas Debate

-Trioramas (Civil War)

-Trifold Activities (Civil Rights Movement)

 

*Social studies grades for all four classes will be based on an average of grades from class discussions, review questions, study guides, projects, and tests.

*Projects may be completed both individually and in groups (depending on the project).  There will be both take-home and in-class projects.

*Students should be prepared for in-class discussions by reading the text or assigned material the night before.

*All classes will attend at least one social studies field trip during the year.

*Missing assignments will be issued for any work that is not submitted, and missing discussion questions may also affect the participation grade.  Projects will be worth a significant number of points; as a result, late projects will be docked 10 points a day off of earned credit.  Projects will receive a zero if not submitted within a week of the due date.  Students will be expected to complete all missing work (with or without credit), and will be asked to use their free time to do so.  Incomplete work will be graded as is.

*All projects will be accompanied by a rubric.

Thank you for your attention to this information!  If you have any questions, please let me know.

Ms. Faecke

5th-8th Grade Social Studies Teacher

Middle School English

Hello! Middle school English Language Arts is a crucial time for students to develop their critical thinking, organization, and written and oral expression.  Students will utilize technology tools on their iPads or chromebooks as well as old fashioned paper and pens to develop these skills for the 21st century.  Students will be expected to manage their own learning across two mediums – the digital and the tactile – with the guidance and direction of their teacher. This year, we aim to further explore the blended learning environment – a learning space where the specific skills students need to improve upon are identified through assessment and drive the curriculum. I appreciate your support during this process, and I welcome your feedback!

Curriculum:

Grades 5 through 8 will be studying grammar and composition, with added rigor increasingly per grade.  Students will produce writing pieces including narrative, expository, informative, and persuasive writing. In 5th grade, we will focus on making a smooth transition into middle school  and building toward smooth, structured paragraphs with complete sentences. 6th graders will focus on tightening up the structured paragraph and moving toward writing short essays answering narrative and persuasive prompts. 7th graders will review the structured paragraph and will move into 3 and 5 paragraph essays. 8th grade will write 5 paragraph essays and will focus on presentation skills.

My game-plan for teaching writing is heavily process-based, so there will be a good deal of writer’s workshop and editing amongst peers. Rather than many long-term assessments, we will be assessing students at places all along the writing process. I am also very eager to explore new ways of seeing how students are mastering the subject matter, especially as new technology continues to improve and increase. I’m sure that we can create an encouraging and collaborative environment for each student to grow from the beginning of the year.

Thank you for taking the time to read this information.  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns, or if you have ideas on how I can help your son/daughter best succeed.  My email address is mr.karczewski@sjm-k8.com and my cell phone number is 574-344-6510  Email is the best way to reach me, and I will do my best to answer promptly.  I am excited to work with you and your child in English this year!