This past week, the 8th graders finished Stave One of A Christmas Carol. One of the passages that we spent some time with is good to focus on during this Second Week of Advent. We read the scene where Scrooge is in his counting house and is visited by two solicitors collecting money for the poor so they can have a bit of a reprieve at Christmastime. In typical Scrooge fashion, he spouts that the poor have gotten themselves into their own situations and that it's none of his business. He goes on to say that it's enough to keep track of your own business and that it's foolish to meddle in the affairs of others. In fact, Scrooge states, "My business occupies me constantly." How true that is today! Are we so caught up in our own wants and needs that we don't take the time to recognize the needs of others? As the story progresses, Scrooge is visited by his old business partner, Jacob Marley. Marley is bound by chains of lock boxes and safes that reveal his sin of greed. It is only in the clarity Marley has received in his Particular Judgment that he sees that Want was quite literally at his door, and he preferred to live in Ignorance. He laments, "Mankind was my business!" yet he can no longer participate in kindness and generosity and will spend an eternity seeing the fault of his ways. And he reveals the souls who, like himself, were consumed by their own business and suffer greatly because they cannot do anything to help the living. And so, in a way, Jacob Marley's message is an echo of John the Baptist. "Make straight your paths!" Whatever we are chained to... let it go. Does your own business occupy you constantly? How can we put more balance into our lives to see the needs of others, not just our own? As we enter this second week of Advent, it is good to think about old Ebeneezer and spend some time thinking about how "Scroogy" we can be in our own lives.
Need ideas on topics?
Wichita Public Library
Frontline, Nova, and More! (Includes a lot of videos!)
Congressional Quarterly-written by hundreds of journalists on hot-button issues
United States Council of Catholic Bishops
As we enter the last few weeks of the semester, it is good to count our blessings. One of them is the gift of Catholic education. With so much going on in the world that is anti-faith, I count it as a blessing that my children (and yours!) have the opportunity to grow not only academically, but spiritually as well.
In religion class, both classes are finishing up saint reports. Since we'll start a new year, liturgically speaking of course, we'll take some time to review the seasons, feasts, and holy days of the Church year. We'll also mirror the Scripture readings at Mass as we examine what it means to be mortal with an immortal soul. As we enter Advent, we'll consider the four last things (death, judgement, heaven, or hell). We'll also reflect on Salvation History through the Jesse Tree and daily Advent flections that tie into our theme of JOY.
In 6 Language Arts, we'll be reading the novel Where the Red Fern Grows. It is a great lesson on Catholic social justice and the importance of family. Because this is a full-sized novel, and the students want to take the AR test before the December cut-off, they will have to read some chapters at home. I encourage you to read it along with your child-get the Kleenex ready though! We will be practicing vocab online with this novel, so students will have online and traditional assignments.
In 7th Language Arts, we'll be reading a collection of short stories by well-known author Katharine Patterson called A Midnight Clear. Each short story we read deals with a character that is struggling (kinda like Charlie Brown) with the true meaning of Christmas-Christ and His love for us. We'll also be reading the beloved story, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. We will be practicing vocab online with this novel, so students will have online and traditional assignments
In 8 Language Arts, we'll be reading the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. Most students are at least somewhat familiar with the character (or stereotype) of Ebenezer Scrooge, but the story is less about his vice of greed and more about the conversion process. Aren't we all a bit Scroogy in some way? Aren't all of us called to conversion in order to properly prepare for the Christ-Child on Christmas morn? While it was written more than 100 years ago, the themes are still very applicable to today-and that's what makes it a classic. We will also be practicing vocab online with this novel, so students will have online and traditional assignments. There are several words for each Stave, so on the weeks that we have Moby Max practices in Language Arts, I will have the 8th graders practice these words instead.
After Thanksgiving, we'll also embark on our culminating project research. The official "start" date is the last week in November as the 8th graders gather their on-line research on their topics and then spend their big research day at the library December 1st. They MUST have their Wichita Public Library card to conduct this research.
Students will need to continue practicing lessons that I assign on Moby Max to reinforce content. Please make sure to keep checking PowerSchool. As Christmas approaches, focus on school drops, and sometimes so do grades... and eligibility.
Thank you all for your dedication to our class, our school, and our faith! God Bless us, One and All!