It is an understatement to say that this year is different than most. Not only is this the last year for all your children but it also is a year when they are supposed to be prepared for high school, and the year when they complete their initiation into our faith by receiving Confirmation. However, this year has become an even more exceptional one for everyone because of the pandemic. So extraordinary is our situation that sometimes we as parents are at a loss when we attempt to make the best decisions for our children.
In his Easter homily this year, Pope Francis said: “Dear sister, dear brother, even if in your heart you have buried HOPE, do not give up: God is greater. Darkness and death do not have the last word. Be strong, for with God nothing is lost!”1 Indeed, this challenge is echoed for us in this year’s school theme of “Walking with Jesus, Our living Hope”. But let us be clear: Christian hope is, as Pope Francis puts it, not “mere optimism…it is not a pat on the back or an empty word of encouragement, uttered with an empty smile.”1 The object of our hope as Christians hinges on our relationship with Jesus because “he plants in our hearts the conviction that God can make everything work unto well, because even from the grave he brings life.”1
How then, can we walk with Jesus?
This past summer, I was able to go on a multi-day hiking with one of my best friends to Berg Lake and explore the beauty of that part of the Rockies. In our many hikes, we talked, shared meals, laughed together and had some very serious conversations. Our hike together was a catalyst that deepened our friendship.
Jesus desires to have an intimate friendship with us, too. To walk with him, then, is to answer his invitation to have a relationship with him. He wants to hear our troubles, joys and our deepest desires. He wants to be a part of our personal lives not just when things are uncertain or troublesome or seemingly hopeless. Indeed, he desires not just to be a part, but the CENTER of every aspect of our lives.
This year will definitely be a challenging one to navigate for all of us, including your children. It will demand each of us to cope with the changes creatively and, most of the time without the benefit of previous experiences or even foresight to guide us. However, if we walk with Him, with our “intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed”2 on our Living Hope, then we can be sure that “God will make everything work unto well”1
Grade 7 Teacher
St. Catherine’s School
1 from the HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS, Easter Vigil, St Peter’s Basilica Holy Saturday, 11 April 2020
2St. Francis de Sales
WHAT WILL WE BE DOING IN GRADE 7?
RELIGION: We will be exploring the school theme through daily prayers, school masses, and Bible seminar. Because this is a sacramental year, we will also be focusing our efforts in preparing your children for Confirmation. We will be using the program “Chosen” as our main resource and supplemented by texts such as the YouCat (Youth Catechism), and the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Holy Bible. We will also have a unit on Sexual Education from a perspective of Christian Morality later in the year and this year, we will be using “Theology of the Body” material.
- Discovery Faith Study
- Lesson 1: God Loves Us
- Lesson 2: Love’s Initiative
- Lesson 3: Jesus Christ Our Lord
- Lesson 4: Jesus Christ Our Saviour
- Lesson 5: The Universal Call
- Chosen Lessons 2 – 24 **Chosen Lessons will be covered to coincide with Church feasts and celebration; some lessons will be more in-depth, especially with regards to the Sacraments and Confirmation**
- Theology of the Body **This will be covered around May and June**
- Unit: This is Who I amShort Story: “Seventh Grade”
- Read Aloud Novel: Firegirl
- Setting, Characterization,
- Connecting with your Reading
- How to identify the theme
- Poetry: Free Verse and Found Poetry
- Guided Reading
- Writing: Free Verse Poetry, Found Poetry Expository/Explanation Essay
- Novel Unit: The Bronze Bow**This novel will be integrated with Social Studies Mesopotamian Unit**
- Unit: “Mixed Messages”
- Short Story: “Thank you Ma’am”
- Print Ads
- Guided Reading
- Writing: Persuasive Text, Write their Own Ad, write a letter to the principal
- Novel Unit: The Golden Goblet **This will be integrated with the Egyptian Unit**
- Writing: Compare and Contrast
- Figures of Speech
- Poetry: “Still I Rise”, “If”, “Invictus”
- Independent Novel Study (Students will choose from pre-selected novels)
- Short Story: “The Lottery”
- Final Project (students to apply two to three concepts they learned in this final project)
- Review of Continents, Oceans, Landforms,
- 5 Themes of Geography
- Project: Report on a Country
- Paleolithic and Neolithic
- Migration of Humans
- First Nations of Canada
- Ancient Mesopotamia
- Ancient Egypt
- Ancient Greece and Rome
- Choice of Ancient Civilization
- Chemistry: Atomic Structure, Periodic Table, Elements, Compounds and Mixtures
- Heterogenous vs Homogenous ()
- Ways to separate mixtures
- Peoples knowledge of separation and extraction method
- Chemical and Physical Changes
- Scientific Process
- Spaghetti Bridge
- Different types of Circuits
- How is Electricity produced
- Types of Magnets
- How is Magnetism related to Electricity
- Homopolar Motors
- Natural Selection
- Climate Change
Structure of a Science Unit:
- Engagement Activity
- Exploration (Watch It!, Read It!)
- Assessment (Project, STEM)
MATH: We will be using the textbook Mathlinks 7 as our primary textbook. There will be teacher-created supplementary materials that we will also be using. The online program called “Mathletics” will be a regular staple in the classroom as well
- Divisibility, Composite and Prime Numbers, LCM, GC
- Integers: Adding, subtracting, multiplication and Division
- Coordinates and Design
- Transformations: Translations, Rotations, Reflection
- Percent Increase, Decrease
- Sales Tax and Discounts
- Fraction Operations
- Decimals to Fractions to Percentages
- Repeating, Terminating Decimals
- Linear Relation and Equation
- Graphing Linear Relation and Equation
- Solving Linear Equations
- Parts of a circle
- Circumference and Area
- Volume of Solids
- Probability and Statistics
ART: This curricular area is integrated with other areas as often as possible. For example, we will be doing Cave Art which and Mesopotamian Cuneiform Tablets which are both integrated with our Social Studies Curriculum. We will also be covering topics such as:
- Pop Art/Modern Art
CAREER ED: We will start this year with Growth Mindset followed immediately by SMART GOALS; This year, we will also be using a program called Second Step – a program that will help students learn empathy and communication, emotion-management and coping skills, and decision making.
The students will also work on personal goals throughout the year, learn about substance abuse and strategies to avoid it and the role of their faith in making decisions.
ADST (Applied Design and Skills Technology):
- This year, students will continue learning how to code using the program scratch and create simple websites using Google Sites.
- They will also be doing robotics
- Spaghetti Bridge
For the last two years now, our Grade 7 classroom has been regularly using a web service called Google Classroom. Many schools in our Catholic school system are also using Google Classroom to improve the students’ educational experience and learning. Some of the local high schools are also using it. When the pandemic started this year easier the curriculum remained accessible to the students because of this technology. This year, we will be using it again to deliver the curriculum to your children.
Google Classroom is designed to provide one “dashboard” that allows the teacher and the student to consolidate the use of other educational applications such as Google Docs (for creating documents), Google Sheets (for creating spreadsheets), or Google Slides (for creating presentation) among many other web applications. It also “facilitates a paperless communication” between teachers and students and streamline “educational workflow”. Google Classroom allows me, the teacher, to create classes, post assignments, organize folders, and view work in real-time. Additionally, it allows the students to submit assignments, collaborate on projects, and on occasion, work on on-line teacher created tests and assessments.
For example, students can begin their work by viewing an assignment and opening a document with just one-click. When students do this, the teacher can have a real-time view of the students’ progress and can offer feedback as they work on their assignment. Students can also each have their own Google Drive folder that allows students and teachers and parents perpetual access to previous work/assignment.
To make all of this possible, the students were given login credentials similar to the email addressed issued to them in March. They will need this login credential every time they login to classroom.google.com in the school while using their Chromebook or at home using their home computers.
The parent’s email address will be added in each “classroom” so you will be notified of all the assignments and activities that the students are doing online.
I am looking forward to using this technology with your children to enhance their learning experiences and opportunities.
Please expect your children to be working 45-60 minutes on evenings that there is homework. I would also encourage 20 – 30 minutes of reading most nights. Almost all of their homework will now be in Google Classroom. Because the parents are also added as “guardians”, you will be notified via email what assignments are unfinished or completed or when assignments are due. I expect all homework to be completed to the best of their ability and handed in on time. I may send homework slips if your child’s
homework is incomplete or not submitted. These slips need to be signed by the parent/guardian and returned the following day.
It has been my belief that parents need to spend as much time as they can with their children to foster and reinforce the attachment that their children need. Therefore, I will not give homework or assignments for them to work on during the weekends so they can spend Saturday and Sunday with their family.
If you feel that your child is not doing enough homework at home, please ask him or her to show you in Google Classroom what they have been doing, particularly the ones they have completed. Please be diligent in checking their work at home – you might be surprised as to the amount of work they do in the classroom. I usually give them enough work in the classroom that they will have to continue it at home.
I sincerely believe that one of my jobs as a teacher is to cooperate with the parents in educating the child. As such, communication between the school and the home is imperative. Please feel free to contact me by phone, a written note, or in person after school if you have a concern or just need to talk. You can reach me in the school after 3pm. If you need to arrange a meeting, please call ahead to set up a mutually convenient time. Also, it is very important that you inform me of any current family problems, situations, or illnesses that may affect your child’s performance and attitude in school. This will allow me to modify or adapt any lessons that may be sensitive, or give any special attention to your child.
Field trip forms will now be emailed to you via a link. This will streamline the exchange of documents between the home and the school.
I will also try to send regular updates of big projects and assignments especially ones that cannot be posted on Google Classroom or ones that require your assistance.
All students of St.Catherine’s are required to follow school rules and guidelines and they are expected to strive to meet those expectations. In this classroom, both the teacher and the students have responsibilities and jobs that they are expected to fulfill. Appropriate consequences will be given to the students in the event that any classroom and school guidelines are broken.
I will still encourage students to write their assignments on their agendas so please make sure to take time to review it every night.
About myself: I am happily married and have been for 17 years. We have three kids (Ava, Theresa and Damien). They all used to be homeschooled but as of last year, we decided to send them all to a Catholic School.
I enjoy the outdoors (camping, hiking, backpacking) and constantly wish to do more of it with my family.
I am in my eleventh year of teaching, ten of which are with Grade 7s.
I completed my first degree at SFU with a major in Philosophy and a minor in Math. After working in the tech industry, I went back to SFU and completed my degree in Education.
My Philosophy of Education: I believe in teaching the child holistically where there is a balance between the spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual development of the student. This starts in creating a social community in the classroom, where each member, including the teacher is responsible in fostering a learning environment that is safe, fun, caring and diverse. I also believe that the classroom is and should be an extension of the domestic church, which is the home. As such, faith is integrated in almost every activity (and discussions) that we will be doing both inside and outside the classroom. In addition, I believe that it is my responsibility as a teacher to prepare young men and women who are faith filled but at the same time who are also critical thinkers, so that they can be become responsible citizens.
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