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September 2021

Greetings,

Happy Labor Day to everyone!

In Language Arts, 7th and 8th grade students are getting close to finishing Unit 8: Subjects, Predicates, and Sentences.  Anticipate and open-book test on this unit either late next week or early the following week.  I encourage you to check with your son or daughter to make sure that they have the assigned exercises for Unit 8 complete and corrected in his or her notebook. They are able to use those corrected examples on their tests.

Seventh graders have been reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.   We have just completed Chapter 9 in the novel in which the town of St. Petersburg believes Tom and his two friends have drowned in the Mississippi River.  *** Spoiler Alert (if that still applies to a story from the 1840’s)***  They ran away from home and are very much alive.  The town plans a funeral for the boys.  As a result, students are going to write a eulogy for Tom Sawyer from the perspective of one of the characters from the novel.

Eighth graders just took a test on the two short stories “Thank You, Ma’am” by Langston Hughes and “The Kid Nobody Could Handle” by Kurt Vonnegut.  These stories about troubled youths and their friendships with adults will lead us right into reading the “sort of sequel” to Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  I was under the impression that the version we would be using was free of racial slurs, but that is not the case.  We will go forward with reading it, and students will be expected to be sensitive to the fact that what the novel captures the manner in which people spoke at that particular time.  When reading aloud, students will be asked to skip over those words. I’m hopeful that students will see the very ugly sides of bigotry and ignorance and use this as a valuable learning experiences.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding this, please feel free to let me know.

Lastly, there have been a few things that certain students are being continuously reminded of during these early weeks of the school year.  First, masks need to be worn properly while we are in the building.  Rarely did students need to be reminded of this last year.  So far, we teachers have been repeatedly reminding many of the same students.  We want to continue to keep everyone safe and healthy.  Next, and this is directed specifically for the boys, shirts must be tucked in at all times.  Many come to school without wearing a belt, and as a result, their shirts do not stay tucked in.  Please make sure they have a belt.  Lastly, the excitement of being together in person again seems to be having an effect on students of them wanting to high-five and put arms around each other.  What seem like harmless acts can sometimes lead to physical contact that may be harmful.  This is especially true as young teens interact with the opposite gender.  Our school handbook states that we have a hands off policy among children.  We want students to be respectful of each other’s personal boundaries, and again, to be mindful of the health and safety policies.  Students are being reminded that if they choose to not meet these expectations, recess time will be withheld from them.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.  Enjoy your holiday weekend!

“By your work you show what you know and what you love.” – St. Bruno

“The things we pray for, good Lord, give us grace to labor for.” St. Thomas More