Points of Pride
We are proud of the work our teachers and students do throughout the school year. On this page, you will find just a few points of pride for STA from the 1st Trimester of the 2019-20 school year.
This trimester has gone by so fast, and Pre-K 3 has done so much in a short period of time! The Pre-K 3 students completed many social emotional activities to build peer relationships in the classrooms. One of their favorite parts of this trimester was when they made apple sauce! In addition, the students participated in an apple tasting and made a graph to show how many students liked each type of apples.The students also really enjoyed carving pumpkins around Halloween! Their parents came in to school to help gut the pumpkins and carve the faces. Pre-K 3 has had so much fun getting to know one another. We can’t wait for the upcoming trimester!
During the 1st Trimester, Pre-K 4 students have learned a lot about pumpkins! The students went on a field trip in October to Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm. In the classroom, they learned about how pumpkins grow and to identify all of the different parts of a pumpkin. They cut open their pumpkins and separated the seeds, pulp and fibrous strands. Later, they got to carve their pumpkins and put them out on display in front of the school for all to see!
During the 1st Trimester, Kindergarten students learned all about Apples! We discussed the different stages of an apple’s life cycle and how a tiny, little seed grows into a tree that the apples then grow on. We focused on the importance of each season throughout the year and how the apple trees change over time. Students also worked on identifying the different parts of an apple. At the end of their unit, students had the opportunity to try different types of apples and compare how they each tasted in their Apple Tasting Celebration! Lastly, Kindergarten students knowledge of the apple’s life cycle came to life, when they got to visit County Line Orchard on a fun field trip. Students were able to see the different apples on the trees and how they picked the apples, cleaned them and then sorted them to make different apple products. They had a blast!
This trimester, the first grade classes have been working on being brave writers! The students learned how to zoom in on a small moment and describe the details. When zooming in on their small moment, they learned the importance of adding sensory details, sequencing events and describing their feelings. They learned how to edit and publish their work by creating a class book about their favorite fall small moment. The students celebrated their writing by sharing their book with their buddies and then began working on writing and publishing their very own book!
Second graders have been focused very intently during the first trimester on adding reading comprehension strategies to their reading tool kits! During the first unit, we worked hard to ask questions before, during, and after reading to ensure understanding. We practiced this skill with both fiction and non-fiction texts. In addition, we practiced being clear and concise when answering questions, using complete sentences. We also worked on gathering evidence from the text to explain the story elements of characters, setting, problem and solution in a fictional story. We enjoyed practicing these skills especially with the read alouds, Owl Moon, Not Your Typical Dragon, Stallaluna, and Room on a Broom. The 2nd graders cannot wait to apply these new comprehension strategies to help fully understand new books they encounter this year.
The 3rd graders have been working hard to develop multiplication and division fact fluency! All throughout the trimester, the students have been playing different games to help them learn their math facts. The teachers are hoping the 3rd graders will have them all memorized by Christmas! In addition, they have begun solving multi-step word problems that involve all four operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. In science, the 3rd graders are learning all about the solar system. They are learning to identify each planet by name and the qualities of each.
After students analyzed texts to identify each plot element, they were ready to write fictional narratives of their own. The fictional stories came to life as puppet shows. Students in each homeroom cooperated with one another to create a backdrop to represent their story’s setting. Some stories took place at a bank, a large forest, a classroom in the middle of the night, a candy store in New York City, and the Chicago Planetarium. Independently, students created and designed a character that appeared as a puppet in their group’s show. Students were excited to write the most exciting part of their stories (the climax!!). The audience was on the edge of ther seats to hear a possible solution for the narrative’s problem. Watching each story come to life, complete with a red curtain and small stage, was so much fun for all 4th grade students. During the presentation, without prompting, students created a positive chant, “We are, we are proud of you.” They sang this to celebrate each group’s hard work. This creative project will help students in reading and writing the rest of the school year.
This trimester, 5th grade had the opportunity to develop their own creative narrative after reading “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” by Chris Van Allsburg. Students chose one illustration and caption from the book to inspire their writing. Students analyzed the illustration, brainstormed several possible plots, and identified character traits, culminating in a creative narrative. Students were able to work through the writing process, enhance their writing through peer editing and revising, and express their own ideas through their narratives.
Social Emotional Learning
Social-Emotional Learning at STA is off to a great start! Kindergarten through fifth grade classes are using the Second Step curriculum to learn about Skills for Learning, Empathy, Problem Solving, and Emotion Management. In the middle school, we are shifting away from Second Step and instead using Social Justice Standards created by Teaching Tolerance, a division of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Students will be learning about Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action. Our first unit, on identity, has gotten off to a great start! We started off the unit by working together to create shared guidelines for each middle school classroom. Students were pushed to define their values and consider what actions they should take to live out those values. Once norms were set, we started talking about identity and the different social groups we belong to. We considered how our collective group histories and cultures become part of who we are. Students had great discussions, and we’ve been learning some really cool things!
English Language Arts
This trimester, Middle School ELA focused on leadership and narrative writing. Sixth graders wrote Middle School How To Guides, which explained the most important STA procedures and values. Students explained how learning and living out these expectations will help them to become the most successful STA middle schoolers they can be. Furthermore, seventh and eighth grade students wrote Middle School Mission Statements, which explained the values they wish to uphold, their goals for the year, and how they plan to achieve those goals. Additionally, all middle school students studied the craft of narrative writing. Students studied different narrative techniques such as pacing and dialogue in order to better understand and answer the essential question, “What choices do I make as a writer to share my stories and experiences with others?”
Social Studies & Religion
During the first trimester, the whole middle school learned about technology expectations and digital citizenship. The unit culminated in an essay describing each student’s reflection process on the unit and how to apply what they have learned during the school year here at STA.
After the unit on technology, students in each grade branched off into their own unique curriculum. The 6th grade learned about the origins of civilizations in social studies and the Old Testament of the Bible in religion. The 7th grade learned about Medieval Europe in social studies and the New Testament of the Bible in religion. The 8th grade learned about African Civilizations in social studies and early Church history in religion. Each class highlighted the “in-the-thick-of-it Thursday” activity, where a student is given an immersive writing prompt based on either a social studies or religion theme and writes a narrative response to the prompt, as their favorite weekly activity.
At the beginning of the trimester, each 6th, 7th and 8th grader wrote his/her own children’s book. After the books were completed, each student got to read his/her book aloud to one of the 1st-4th grade classrooms. Later in the trimester, the classes read and studied fables. The students, then, had the opportunity to write their own fable that conveyed a clear theme and message to the reader. Towards the end of the trimester, the students read spooky stories and worked on identifying tone and mood while reading.
This trimester in math the 6th grade classes learned about the Coordinate Plane and how it is composed of 4 quadrants. They discovered Chicago, their home city, was built on an x-y coordinate point.
In 7th grade the classes learned all about parallel lines and transversals. They discovered how angles formed by parallel lines and their transversals have different names such as adjacent, vertical, corresponding, supplementary, alternate interior and exterior are in some instances equal.
Finally, in 8th grade, the future STA graduates learned how to find the x and y-intercepts in the slope-intercept form of an equation, y = mx + b. They also discovered how to use a unique graphic organizer to take notes.
In sixth grade, students have been studying the weather. They have collected weather data from the “St. Thomas Weather Station” and from a different city of their choosing. Using this information, they have investigated the different properties of weather. In seventh and eighth grade, students have explored different biomes and built food webs to show the elaborate relationships that exist in different ecosystems across the country.