The supreme purpose of history is a better world.~ Herbert Hoover

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

March at a glance

Hello students and parents,

This month many of our eighth graders will be receiving their high school acceptance letters.  Congratulations to all of you as you get your acceptances.  Spaghetti Bingo is on Saturday, March 16th.  Parents have been working diligently to make this year's Spaghetti Bingo a memorable one.

Eighth graders will focus on how meeting challenges in domestic and foreign affairs, the US proved itself to be a strong, independent nation.  As the nation expands, students will begin to uncover the changes of our nation from an agrarian way of life to one that stressed individualism and a market economy.

This month sixth graders will be working on their Mesopotamia project in SS.  They will be learning about the land where one of the first civilizations arose between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. Students will learn how irrigation led to the agricultural surplus that made it possible for some people to have jobs other than farming.  With the increase of specialized labor, students will find out how the wheel, the sailboat, and system of writing developed.

In English, sixth graders have just completed their focus on nouns. We will now be moving on to pronouns. Students should be using their understanding of nouns, pronouns, and verbs to effectively paraphrase information they come across through fiction and nonfiction reading.  Upon completing the Mesopotamia unit in SS, students will use their knowledge of Mesopotamia to write a persuasive essay, compare and contrast essay, and an friendly letter.  In the third trimester, students will be working on their historical fiction book reports.

In Literature, sixth graders will focus on the theme of “Meeting Challenges.” The first selection, “Thunder Butte,” a native American boy struggles with both the physical and challenges of climbing and the social challenges of living between societies.  “The Dog of Pompeii” is a short piece of historical fiction about a blind boy and his faithful dog struggling for their lives.  I will also be sending home information pertaining to our next book selection we will be reading in class. 

The seventh graders have been devoting their time to their West African Projects. Their mission has been to develop travel diaries focusing on one of the kingdoms of West Africa.  They have been using a variety of resources to create their travel diaries.  After the travel diaries, students will be focusing on Asian civilizations.  They will begin to learn about the Mongols, China, and Japan.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Archdiocese Benchmark Assessment 2

Dear parents:

On Thursday February 14, 2013, students will be taking the Archdiocese Benchmark Assessment 2 in English and Math.  By establishing a rich and productive foundation for understanding student achievement, the assessment provides data needed by our teachers to monitor student learning.

As with any assessment, it is important that students get a good night rest and a well-balanced breakfast prior to coming to school on Thursday morning.  If you foresee your child being absent on Thursday, please send a note with them tomorrow so that he/she may take the benchmark assessment on Wednesday. 

It is St. Jerome’s goal to use the results from the Archdiocese Benchmark Assessments to promote action to accelerate progress toward annual goals and provide immediate information that can be used to help plan and guide subsequent instruction for our students.  

Thank you for your time,
Mr. Ortega
Jr. High Department Chair  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ch1less1 The American Land

Hello 8th graders,
It's great to have you back into the swing of things. I have high hopes that this will be a productive and enjoyable year. We will spend most of this week understanding how geography has impacted our nation. Below the chapter guide are a few links to some geography games. Make sure to spend some time playing them as they will help with your overall understanding of our nation's geography. I will introduce the activity in class on Wednesday so I will expect that you have completed tonight's homework by tomorrow's class.

Click on the correct geographic region. (note: These regions differ from the ones described in the text)

Click on the correct lake.

Click on the correct river.

Why is this image important for the study of human geography?

Here's another helpful link on US geographical regions.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Welcome back Jr. High!

I would like to take the opportunity to welcome all new and returning families back to St Jerome for the 2012-2013 school year. As with each new school year, so many new adventures and opportunities lie ahead. I wish all the students great joy and success as they embark on a new school year.

"History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Reading

Congratulations on finishing the 2011-2012 school year! I’m excited about the opportunity to get to know you.  I hope you have an enjoyable summer and come back in late August re-energized, alert and prepared for the challenges of Jr High. Part of the preparation for Jr High students is summer reading.  Each summer students are encourage to read what they enjoy, whether that be the Classics, mysteries, nonfiction or comedy.  The goal is that students are reading.  I ask that all students return in August with a list of at least two books they have read: including title, author, pages, date started and date finished.  I ask that parents sign off each book as the student finishes (Reading log is provided).  There is also a suggested reading list posted on the school website using the Junior High link ( You may download a reading log template from EdZone.
            In addition to the books each student chooses to read on his/her own, I am requiring that every 6th grader read the novel Hatchet by Gary Paulson.  The book will be used to develop student’s reading, writing, thinking, listening, and speaking skills through a variety of assessments that will include exercises, activities, quizzes/tests.  Furthermore, students will be introduced to the writing process and will be writing assignments, each with the purpose of informing, persuading, or expressing personal opinions.   
The Borders at the Howard Hughes Center and the Barnes and Noble in the Marina have books in stock.  Both stores’ websites have easy ordering capabilities as well.  You may also be able to purchase a used copy of the book through “”
            To be completely prepared for the start of the school year, the students need to arrive at school with informal notes about the main character (Brian Robertson) and complete the plot outline.  The students have been briefed on these requirements and understand how to complete the plot questions.  The students will use their notes on the character to aid them in their writing assignment once they return to school.
            Thank you for your time and support.  The students will enjoy the novel and the analysis we do in class.  The theme of the story is relevant and the novel is a great opportunity to prepare the students for the upcoming year.

Mr. Ortega

Monday, December 5, 2011

Catal Hoyuk

Today we learned about Catal Hoyuk. Catal Hoyuk was one of the very first towns that developed from an agricultural community.

We began by watching a video which gave us a basic idea of how the people of Catal Hoyuk probably lived on a daily basis. We took notes on this video and were able to analyze these notes with an online interactive game. The website has a variety of activities where you can see how it was like to live in a Neolithic town. For example, there was this game called “Make a Neolithic Dinner.” I made lentil stew with wild greens. To play this game you had to click and drag the food items on the list. When you click and drag the proper items a short description of the food will pull up. As you read the descriptions, you will find out the ingredients of the food and why it was used. In my personal experience, I would say the tour was the best activity to help you learn about the life of Catal Hoyuk. On the tour we were able to examine the dig site and the archaeological records. We were able to find out how people were able to dig up Catal Hoyuk. The last activity I participated in was the artifacts activity.

I was highly interested in the Catal Huyuk, and I wanted to see what types of artifacts and information that they have found in the city. There were many categories that you can look at for artifacts. There were murals, pottery, human remains, obsidian, animal bones, figurines, chipped stone tools, worked bone, and ground stone tools.
The class discussion and the online activities allowed us to understand how the people of Catalhoyuk lived. Also, you could picture how long and hard the work was when some of the archaeologists had to dig up the whole entire city.

What I have learned about the people of Catal Hoyuk is that they were an agricultural town that did not need to rely on hunting and gathering. In conclusion I have to say that I loved all the information about Catal Hoyuk,. Thank you for reading I hoped you enjoyed it.

-By Sarah

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dust of Snow by Robert Frost

"Dust of Snow" by Robert Frost has changed my heart. This poem showed me that even if your having a bad day don’t take it out on other people. When people are trying to make you feel better, have a change of heart so that when they go through what you are going through, they won’t lash out on you either. I enjoyed reading and re-reading these three poems because it taught me about doing better. “Saying Yes” taught me to be proud of my heritage and what I look like because the only person I need to please is myself. “My Picture-Gallery” taught me that my mind is my most powerful resource. Lastly, “Dust of Snow” taught me that even if I’m having a bad day, I should try to have a change of heart and not try to take frustrations out on other people. Diana Chang, Walt Whitman, and Robert Frost have inspired me.
-by Camille

Monday, August 29, 2011

7th activity Due Friday

Hello 7th graders,

We have been going over connections we have with the Roman Empire today. Remember to keep in mind that our goal is to compare and contrast modes of travel in 150 A.D. with those of use today, and assess the impact of modern technology on communication.

Please make sure to bring your pictures to class tomorrow as we will be using those images to begin working on the following activity:

Create an illustrated flow chart showing how communication and transportation technologies connect people and places all over the world.


-Will be graded using the assignment rubric guidelines

-You will need to have at least 6 pictures for communication and 6 for transportation.


-heading and # written on the back of the flow chart

-flowchart is labeled

-Paragraph explaining how communication and transportation technologies connect people and places all over the world

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jr High Update

Dear students and parents,

Our start to the new school year is fast approaching and we here in the Jr. High are excited to get started with the new school year. We are happy to welcome two new dedicated teachers to our Jr. High faculty. Mr. Bradlin will be the 6th grade homeroom, Jr High Math, and 6th and 8th grade Religion teacher. Ms. Cordero will be the 7thgrade homeroom, 7th Religion, and 7th & 8th Language Arts teacher.

Summer Reading

All students in the Jr. High are encouraged to read over the summer in order to build good readers. To assist parents and students with the selection of appropriate materials, links were placed on the St. Jerome Jr. High page and on EdZone. There are no test/projects with summer reading for the 7th and 8th graders; however, I ask that all students complete reading logs for each book they have read and at least one plot outline from one of the books that is on the reading log.

For your convenience, I have placed the links below in the event that you have not been able to locate the summer reading lists, plot outline, and reading log.

Summer Reading list from the St. Jerome Jr. High page

Summer Reading list from EdZone

Reading Log template

Plot Outline template

Enjoy the rest of your summer,

Mr. Ortega