From Sister Marie…

Dear Friends,

Lent is a journey- a sacred pilgrimage. During these days of Lent we are invited to cooperate with God’s graces. We must keep in mind that God is with us every step of the way, beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending in Holy Week. The journey involves time for prayer, time for serving the needs of others, time for sacrifice and mortification. Lent is a time to embrace and welcome the opportunity for spiritual growth and to come to know God, ourselves and each other in a fresh and vibrant way. May this time of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter call each of us to a deeper conversion in our lives and help to bring us all closer to the promise of Christ.

May your Easter be a time of joyous celebration as you continue to grow on your spiritual journey.

God Bless You,
Sr. Marie


Class News


Pre-K 3

This month in Pre-K 3 we are learning about the Presidents, Washington and Lincoln. The students made a log cabin and pictures of George Washington. They also made a White House out of shapes! They are learning about the money these Presidents have their picture on as well. We made an American flag and a collage of George Washington and were quizzed to see who could recite The Pledge of Allegiance.

We also learned about graphing earlier in the month while we were talking about predictions and outcomes. We were correct in guessing that there would be six more weeks of winter. Pre-K Phil was in agreement with Puxatawney Phil!

Mrs. Meyer’s ‘puppy puppet’ has welcomed the Pre-K children into the month of February with stories and interactive word play!


Pre-K 4

In the Pre-school room the children have been learning about the subject “Biology”. The children learned what a living thing is and a non-living thing is. The children had to look over a group of pictures and decide what was living and non-living. The children did an amazing job sorting the pictures into these two groups.

Pre-K four has also been learning about the eight planets that are in our solar system. The children had to sequence and put the planets in order. The students learned that the planets that were closest to the sun where the hottest, and the farthest away from the sun was the coldest. The students learned a lot of fun new space songs. We also read a lot of Space books. The children were also amazed that the only planet you can live on is our planet “Earth”. The children really loved this topic, Space.


Kindergarten

Shadows are the big hit around the kindergarten classroom. We learned how to make a shadow with the help of our friend the groundhog. We sang hibernating songs for the Pasta Dinner, and ended the program with our groundhog song. The children were thrilled with the predictions Phil made, and most of the class also predicted more winter. We welcomed two new friends from California and hope to help them WARM up to our frigid New Jersey climate.

Daily Read Alouds in Kindergarten have inspired the children to continually bring their favorite books to school each day


First Grade

On Thursday, January 29th, the first grade participated in the school-wide STEM Challenge project of who could make the longest paper chain using one sheet of paper, a pair of scissors, and a glue stick. The students worked in pairs with minimal directions and did a phenomenal job! They demonstrated fantastic teamwork as they encouraged one another and were able to divide tasks between each other in order to achieve their final goal. The students had determined looks on their faces as they proceeded to work in a very quiet classroom environment. You could sense the intensity in the air! Upon completion of the STEM Challenge, the children were asked to reflect upon the work they had done and were asked to discuss what they felt were some of the obstacles they encountered. The majority of the first graders felt that the hardest part of creating the paper chain was deciding how to cut the sheet of paper into long enough strips and how exactly to glue the links together. They had to figure out how to make the most of what they had in front of them, which involved serious critical thinking and problem solving skills. All in all, the students had a fantastic time with the challenge and in fact requested more in the future. It was very enjoyable to see the children partake in an “out of the box” activity that was studentcentered and student-driven. GREAT JOB FIRST GRADE!

Mrs. Meyer meets weekly with the First Graders in the school library. An author study of books by Jan Brett along with an on-line visit ot the artist and author’s studio will intrigue young 1st graders to read with understanding and enjoyment.


Second Grade

The Second Grade is hard at work during these winter months. The students have been incorporating STEM into their curriculum. They created snowmen without the use of patterns or pencils. The children could only use scissors, glue, and their creative imagination to build a snowman.

The Second Grade has also begun writing in script. Each day brings a new letter to learn. The students’ excitement builds as we begin to connect the letters to form words. Our writing has been focused on famous people that have contributed to helping our society. We have been composing expository essays to inform people about Helen Keller and George Washington Carver. In Language Arts, the second graders just finished a unit on verbs. The children have been applying grammar skills to their writing assignments relating to monthly events such as Christmas, winter, and snow. The children also wrote about the aspects of faith, knowledge, and service that have affected their lives because of Holy Spirit School. These statements were written on crosses, books, and hands that decorate our classroom door.

Now we are studying adjectives and getting ready for descriptive and comparative writing assignments. In Math, the students have been working on addition and subtraction with regrouping, as well as multiple step word problems. The children have an ongoing assignment that is to study their facts each night. Every day they switch facts with a classmate and get a new group of fact cards to master. Currently, the class is starting a fun unit on geometry!


Third Grade

Third Grade In Reading, the students have been reading fables and folk talks to learn important lessons. The students have thinking about how these lessons apply to their own lives. In Grammar, the students have been identifying and using adjectives and adverbs. By mastering these skills, the students are able to write clear Descriptive Narratives that explain an object. When they are done with their final draft, they will be switching their papers with a friend. The friend will have to draw the object that is explained in the writing.

The third grade loved the STEM challenge this year! They enjoyed using their logical reasoning skills to make the longest paper chains. Congratulations to the winners from each grade! In Science, the students have begun their unit on Earth Science. They are enjoying looking at different rocks and learning about fossil fuels. Recently, we did a lab that tested the absorbency of different soils. Each student had fun with a job of: materials manager, soil sergeant, water wizard, and recorder. Groups poked holes in the bottom of papers cups, and put potting soil and sandy soil in them. The students poured water over the soils and allowed the water to drip out for two minutes. The students discovered that potting soil holds more water than sandy soil.

In Language Arts, all third graders enjoyed researching and writing about their country of origin. While doing a grammar unit on verbs, the students used vivid action words to write about a storm that affected their lives. The children also wrote paragraphs about Holy Spirit School for Catholic Schools Week. It is evident in their writing that the third graders are so grateful to be in a Catholic school that teaches them about their faith, gives them knowledge in many different academic areas, and exemplifies the teachings of Jesus as we do service to others.

In Math, the third graders continue to be challenged each day by problems that involve critical thinking and logical reasoning. We have recently finished a unit on multiplication and division and are starting a unit on measurement that involves many hands-on tasks.

After reading an African folktale that ended with a powerful moral, students discuss characteristics of fables. A partner activity followed, whereby students read unfamiliar fables and brainstormed to decide what meaningful lesson might result from the fable. During Grammar class, 3rd graders are focusing on adjectives while writing vivid descriptions of an object, a character, or a setting. Students personalized this years’ Catholic School Week theme of “Faith, Knowledge, and Service” as they thoughtfully wrote how Holy Spirit School enriches their lives. We look forward to reading their essays in the Creative Kids section of the Trends.

In Social Studies, the students have been working hard. They have been learning about the many different kinds of communities and their characteristics. Also, the students have been trying to meet the goal of identifying as many states as they can on the map.


Fourth Grade

History came alive all week long in Mrs. Napoli’s literacy class during Catholic School’s Week of Faith, Knowledge, and Service! Students presented their classmates and many visiting parents with a first person visual representation of their own chosen historical figure by stepping into and recreating a lifelike story; complete with childhood and family life, challenges and struggles, as well as their contributions to society. Presentations were enhanced with costume and a creative Powerpoint presentation from each of the students. Classmates practiced active listening by taking notes and a class discussion regarding what listeners learned as well as how each historical figure’s contribution impacted our lives today, rounded out each presentation. Written reports were submitted and followed a specific format to ensure that each student included information that was appropriate and relevant to their fellow classmates. While some students found remaining in the first person during their presentation challenging, everyone did an over the top wonderful job and succeeded in giving their classmates and visitors a fun and informative way to learn more about history and its connection to contemporary society!


Fifth Grade

The “Shot Heard Around the World” has ignited great interest in the American Revolution. Our Founding Fathers have shared some of their personality traits with us, and we have been able to connect the feelings of the colonists to some real life experiences that we have had. We will forge forward and learn of an icy winter and victory in Virginia. It has been interesting to learn about how the Continental Congress was fractioned with differences of opinion, and have been able to apply our math knowledge for a breakdown of those opinions. Meanwhile, Tom Sawyer has been taking us on an amazing journey through the mid-1800’s in Missouri and we are eager to see what will happen after the events in the graveyard. We are also beginning to prepare for our presentation of the Stations of the Cross on March 13th and bringing some uptown funk to Holy Spirit at the Pasta Dinner on March 14th. The fifth grade enjoys being stewards of faith and shining like masterpieces!

In Science, 5th graders held their “cell-a-bration” as a culmination to their unit on the cell and cell processes. Students decorated cookies to create models of the cell with each part being represented by a different sweet treat. This winter, they have also challenged themselves in various STEM projects such as gumdrop communication, dissolving candy canes, and building crystal snowflakes.


Sixth Grade

The 6th grade is working on personal narrative essays. Students are well into their drafts and are beginning to revise. They are focusing on adding more sensory details, precise language, and narrative elements such as dialogue.

In reading class, the 6th grade is reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. They are analyzing the mysterious characters of Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which and are thoroughly enjoying this science fiction novel.


Seventh Grade

The 7th grade is currently reading the novel, The Giver, by Lowis Lowry. They are analyzing literary elements of character, setting, and plot in order to ultimately uncover various messages of theme within the novel. The class is enjoying the novel and in awe of the “Sameness” of the community.

In Science and STEM, seventh graders have been flying paper airplanes, building candy cane towers, creating catapults, and testing surfaces for frictional forces. They are now examining the science of various sports with our unit on Newton’s Laws of Motion. They are looking forward to the arrival of spring weather so we can create our Egg Drop Contraptions to test our knowledge of motion and gravity.

The 7th graders participated in the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s Mock Trial Contest. Students used school laptops to research NJ state laws and look at examples of civil law suits. Then they worked in small groups to create original civil cases based around school and sports facilities’ liability in personal injury cases.

During Lent, the 7th grade will be performing random acts of kindness based on www.payitforwardday.com. Pay It Forward Day is celebrated by people around the world in 72 countries. Each student has to do a good deed for three different people without asking for anything in return. Instead the recipients should be instructed to pay it forward to three other people in need. Pay it Forward Cards will be handed to each recipient explaining what Pay it Forward is all about.They can record what good deeds were performed by ticking boxes on the back. The cards also ask that whoever has them should mail them back to Holy Spirit School by April 30th- the official Pay It Forward Day.


Eighth Grade

The 8th grade has begun their research report. We will be delving into the research process during the months of February and March. Their next step is to come up with a statement of controlling purpose for their research paper.

The 8th grade is also the yearbook committee and has been working hard to meet the yearbook deadlines. They are well on their way to creating a book of lasting memories from their grammar school years.

The 8th graders also participated in the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s Mock Trial Contest. Students used school laptops to research NJ state laws and look at examples of civil law suits. Then they worked in small groups to create original civil cases based around school and sports facilities’ liability in personal injury cases.

In Science, the eighth graders have recently written essays on balancing science and their faith as a culminating activity for our unit on evolution. They had wonderful and interesting perspectives on how science and faith can work together to explain our world and help us to make decisions about our lives. Most recently in science, they swabbed and tested various locations of the school for the presence of bacteria. They presented their findings in a formal lab report. In STEM, each student has chosen a STEM-based career to research and create a presentation.


Art

The biggest news in the art room is our participation in the dog Daze of Summer in Boonton. This is a public art installation showcasing one of a kind designs by artists on life sized dog sculptures. The mission of this project is to bring the arts and community together to make a difference for animals in need. This year student designs were invited and Sister Marie sponsored a dog for our school to complete. Our “chocolate lab” will be a tabletop size and will be housed in one of the store windows on Main Street. Thank you Sister Marie! Please continue to send in chocolate candy wrappers.

In addition to that excitement we have been learning the Elements of Art and Principles of Design in all classes on different levels. We have also been learning the proper use of watercolor and watercolor techniques. We are also learning about new artists in some grades. Pre K – Claude Monet and his Water lilies, K– the American painter Jasper Johns, 1st grade – Designed and painted “Wild Things,” 2nd grade learning about the artist Laurel Burch, 3rd grade – learning about cut paper design and organic and geometric shapes, 4th grade – Illustrating Idioms and watercolor, 5th Grade – Watercolor Shamrocks, 6th grade will begin collage, 7th grade – Learning about shape and form and 8th grade will begin 2 point perspective.


Special Events

During Catholic Schools Week, the entire student body participated in our first whole school STEM Challenge. With the help of the eighth graders, each class was divided into pairs and given the same supplies and challenge- create the longest paper chain you can with only one sheet of paper, scissors, and a glue stick. It was incredible to watch the students from ages 4 to 14 using their minds to solve the problem creatively and meet the challenge as a team. They were great communicators and even better problem solvers! Congratulations to each winning grade level team and to our overall school winners! Pre-K 4: Evelyn and Victor Kindergarten: Alexa and Olivia First Grade: Ava and Jamie Second Grade: Anna and Joseph Third Grade H: Steven & Chris S. Third Grade M: Erika and Marta Fourth Grade N: Maggie, Kieran, and Nicholas Fourth Grade V: Kaelin and Ria Fifth Grade: Brendan and Cole Sixth Grade: Annabelle, Faith, and Lauren Seventh Grade: Anna S. and Bella

Overall Winners with a length of 7.13m: Annabelle, Faith, and Lauren (Grade 6)