Final Steeples

Welcome to Middle School Language Arts

Donnel Thompson, former NFL player for the Colts and Steelers, visited our classroom today! The 7th grade scholars are writing persuasive essays about whether or not football should be banned in America. Mr. Thompson acted as our primary source and BOY did he inform us more than ANY of our other research provided. After scholars finish their essays, they will then prepare for our in-class trial by writing and practicing speeches to give in front of the class based on their role (defender, attacker...etc.) and whether or not they are for or against the banning of football. "God first, family second, football third" was one of Mr. Thompson's alternative lessons he taught the class. He lives out this message as Mr. Thompson boasts a degree from Madison, a successful careers, a deep faith, and a wonderful family. Our scholars prepared fantastic questions and showed great respect for our speaker. Thanks Mr. Thompson for taking the time to come in AND, by the way, this NFL player happens to be the father of two CEE scholars, so you might catch him in the parking lot or at a school event!

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Memoirs and Words Their Way

September 15, 2017
By Mrs. Ibarra

Dear Middle School Community,


We celebrated another successful week in the Catholic East Middle School! Check out the "Memoirs and Words Their Way" video. Mr. Hall and I pulled small groups to teach individuals their words and word patterns at their varying levels. In the meantime, scholars worked on the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, message, and adding literary devices to their memoirs depending on the day's OBJECTIVE- we focused on one thing at a time! 


Today we played a SUPER exciting game of floor BINGO wherein scholars stood on the vocabulary words being described. The first team to make a human BINGO, WON scholar dollars! This was the PERFECT Friday activity.


Also, beginning this coming Monday, scholars will log their reading on their "Reading is Thinking" logs. Annotations, time reading, and parent signatures are required to get the 5 points for each day's assigned daily reading. These will be turned in every Monday morning for a total of 30 points. 


Thanks for all your support! The middle school is 'a rockin' and a rollin'! :) 


On the horizon: 

-Words their Way test next Tuesday

-Memoir revisions... memoirs due next Thursday

-MAP testing next Tuesday

-Open House next Wednesday at 6

-Reading is Thinking logs begin Monday

Sharing Our "Reader Inner Voice"

September 10, 2017
By Mrs. Ibarra

Hello Middle School Community,

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and scholars were able to read, read, read those choice books!


This week we continued to focus on reading stamina, but we began to learn about our "reader inner voice." I modeled to the scholars what I think about when I read and in turn, they shared their "inner thoughts" as well. Believe it or not, I used a children's picture book called "If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, DON'T" to model this process. The scholars loved it! We're never to old for children's literature and yes, we can learn from it too! Please make sure that your scholar is reading their choice book for at least 30 minutes per night. It's important to build basic reading habits and skills NOW!


Furthermore, we dove into our memoir unit on a deeper level and mapped out the structure, sensory details, and purpose of our events before writing. Tomorrow I will model my mentor text (the time I almost blew away in a small raft on Lake Michigan with my cousin!) so that scholars can see how to think through their writing. 


Finally, your scholars will receive their words their way lists tomorrow. It is extremely differentiated, so scholars are learning at their assessed level. Homework will go home almost every night that connects to the practice of these words, their spelling/vocabulary words! 


Have a wonderful week and as always, please call or email with any questions or concerns!



Final Projects and Highlights

May 30, 2016
By Mrs. Ibarra

Happy Memorial Day Catholic East!

I hope you enjoyed a restful weekend. Below, you will find what the scholars have been up to in the middle school!  


5th- The fifth grade is wrapping up their unit on natural disasters by creating and presenting their own "ted talk" speeches.  Scholars were allowed to select a topic of their choice (approved by me) and then write a speech about it. We spent most of our time studying a "Ted Talk" speech by a young girl who persuaded her audience that children are every bit as capable as adults, in fact, perhaps moreso! We are presenting this week.  I am excited to see how these speeches change my mind.


6th- The sixth grade has been busy typing newspapers. We spent ample time reading eyewitness accounts of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake along with our novel, Dragonwings. The scholars were then invited to choose one CEE experience from the year and write their own column about it. This has been a wonderful project. The scholars are 100% invested in their personal stories and anxious to share them with the whole class- I think. ;)


7th- The seventh grade is deep into The Narrative of Frederick Douglass. In my opinion, this is one of the most important peices of literature and the scholars are learning so much about how slavery not only corrupted slaves, but also slave holders. We have shared some amazing conversations and the scholars are constantly asking fantastic questions. We will continue to explore this text in the coming days.


8th- The eighth grade is nearly finished with the play, A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. They continue to enjoy its dramatic, silly plot. In-between reading, we have focused on the theme of "control" in the play and how various characters attempt to control each other based on gender, age, or love interest. I am pleased to share that this class continutes to "get the language" of the play. If you have never read Shakespeare's works before, it's almost like a foreign language. They will surely WOW their high school English teachers!



Video Blog and Highlights

May 15, 2016
By Mrs. Ibarra

Hi CEE Community!

Feel free to check out the "6th grade pre-write discussion" above.  What a wonderful way to brainstorm for an essay.


Highlights from the week:

All grades spent the bulk of the week MAP testing with either Ms. Jones or myself.  The scholars did a great job focusing despite another round of grueling standardized testing.


5th grade- The fifth grade continued their unit on natural disasters, but began looking at them from a more personal, eye-witness point-of-view versus a non-fiction, scientific text.  They really enjoyed reading about one family's experience in Hurrican Katrina. We ended the week with a fishbowl about this narrative.  The fifth grade is definitely growing in their analytical skills, as well as their ability to listen to one another.


6th grade- The sixth grade continued their unit on Dragonwings. They are studying the 1906 San Francisco earthquake which occurs in the novel. We are comparing Moon Shadow's perspective of the immediate aftermath of the earthquake to Emma Burke's real eye-witness account. To learn more, see my newest blog video above.


7th grade- The seventh grade began one of my favorite units- The Narrative of Frederick Douglass. We spent much of the week establishing background about the life and times of Frederick Douglass. The scholars learned a lot about slavery and the history behind it.  I am excited to dive into this amazing narrative this week.


8th grade- The eighth grade is the happiest I have ever seen them all year. They are having way too much fun reading Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. This is a comedy and full of many silly love stories and magic.  I am impressed with their joy and their ability to get the gist of the text.  I am looking forward to less pausing to dissect language this week and more reading and progress in the play!  


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