Category Archives: Students

YouTube Space Lab

Attention Science Fans! Are you ready to go into outer space? Well, I may not be able to help you with that, but the folks at YouTube might be able to at least send one of your science experiments into space. You can find more information here: Coming to a Universe Near You.

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Photo Captions Contest

Recently, my seventh graders were asked to write one caption for each of the seven photos in the Google Presentation below. I explained to my students that I would select five captions for each photo and then ask people to vote for their favorites. We hope you’ll take a moment and vote for your favorites in the Google Form located below the photos.

Thank you!


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The Right to Learn

In class this morning, students had to come up with a list of the rights and responsibilities that they have as students in the seventh grade class. First they started their own list in their journals, and then we transitioned into a small group conversation. Each group had to come up with a list of five rights and five responsibilities. After the groups had enough time to create their lists, we started our class list. And what a list it is!

We have the right:

To be acknowledged.

To be treated with respect.

To be treated fairly.

To learn in a comfortable environment.

To express our opinions.

To be safe.

To be included.

We have the responsibility:

To attend school.

To treat others with respect.

To stay organized.

To clean up after ourselves.

To participate.

To turn in our homework.

To take care of ourselves (especially when we’re sick and need to stay home).

To be honest.

To use our Google Apps accounts appropriately.


Tomorrow, working as a class, we will decide on a class list of five rights and five responsibilities that we want to be sure and remember throughout our year.

As I wandered around the classroom this morning, I looked at a number of student notebooks and noticed that quite a few students had written down that they have the Right to Learn.

Yes, you do!!

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Google Apps

It’s come to my attention that a number of my seventh graders have had trouble logging in to their Google Apps accounts over the summer. I’ve asked our new technology coordinator to look into it and hope to have this resolved as quickly as possible. In the meantime, please do not worry about logging in your books that you read this summer. We will take care of that next week.

Note to Seventh Grade Parents: It would help me tremendously if you would be so kind as to fill in the following form. This will allow me to build a contact list for all of you. And if you could pass this along to those who might not know about my blog yet, I would greatly appreciate it!


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Are You Ready?

Today was our first day back at school! All of the teachers and staff members are getting ready for your arrival next week. We can’t wait! Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “Whoa! Hold on there, Miss McMillan! It’s still summer vacation. I don’t wanna be thinkin’ ’bout no schoolin’!” To that I can only say:

Um, perhaps you really should!

In any case, you still have an entire week left. Time to read a few more books, play a few more games, read a few more books…wait, did I say that one already? How about time to clean your room, do your laundry, iron your socks…


Alright then…I guess I’ll just say I hope you enjoy these last few days. But start thinking about your goals for your seventh grade year. And consider this question:

What do you want to learn this year?



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Happy Birthday, Father Declan

Our seventh graders were asked to put together a mass for today to remember our friend, Father Declan. Yesterday was the five-month anniversary of his passing; tomorrow would have been his 69th birthday. And after mass today we were dedicating a special lemon tree to him in our Garden of Blessings.

Let me just say…I really should have brought kleenex to mass this morning. My seventh graders were amazing! They wrote every part of the mass on their own, including parts we didn’t even ask them to write! At one point yesterday, some of the students were wandering all over campus interviewing other students and some of the teachers and staff, asking for their favorite memories of Father Declan. No one asked them to do that. They just did it!

I want to share with you what these wonderful writers created for today, beginning with the welcome:

Five months ago yesterday, we lost one of our best friends, Father Declan Dean. Father Declan showed us the way to love, and to remove the log from our own eye. Father Declan’s sixty-ninth birthday would have been tomorrow. To celebrate his life, we will be dedicating a lemon tree to him in the Garden of Blessings. The lemon tree represents his lifeline, lemonade, the only thing he could drink while he was ill. The lemonade was his key to happiness, even through his suffering; We suffered when he left us, but our wonderful memories of him were our lifeline. He taught us the gift of friendship and its importance, and so may we remember that wonderful friendship as we celebrate Father Declan’s life, here in God’s house. Please bow your heads in silence as we pray.

Lord Jesus, 

We thank you for your wonderful gift of friendship,

In good times and bad, help us to be good friends to each other,  just as you are to us.

We thank you for helping us to see the true beauty of friendship through Fr. Declan. 

Our hearts sing with praise to you for all the people that have shaped our lives.

On each of my friends, shed your light and love. 

Keep them close to you just as they are to my heart.

Be my strength and guide me along the path to love.


Rather than do the regular reading for today, Father Donie asked the seventh grade to write something that focused on friendship and Father Declan:

Through thick and thin, friends are there for you. They provide a shoulder to cry on, and the best medicine, laughter. Father Declan was a cherished friend to all of us. But to have friends, you must try to make friends, just as Father Declan did. Like friendship is a blessing from God, so was Father Declan. 

Friendship is essential to everyone’s life. Friends keep us grounded and humble, and they’ll help us through tough times. God worked through Father Declan to be a friend to all of us. Father Declan would always include us in the mass and make us feel closer to God. 

He was not only a friend to us, but he taught us how to be good friends to each other. We could look up to him as a role model to teach us the values of friendship. Through Father Declan’s words, he inspired us to make true friends. Donna Roberts once said, “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” 

This is the perfect way to describe what friends are meant to be in God’s mind. Father Declan was there for us through thick and thin. He offered us a shoulder to cry on and laughter even in tough times. And he was always willing to sing back to us. 

During our reflection time after communion, the following poem about  Declan was read:

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

We’re shocked we’ve made it without you.

Daisies are yellow,

Orchids are white,

Every time we saw you,

You brought out God’s light.

Father Declan, you shined brighter than the sun.

We will always remember all that you’ve done.

Your outgoing personality will live on forever,

You symbolize the rainbow,

Which always makes us feel better.

Red would be your notebook, in which you used to write.

Orange would be your flame that always shined so bright.

Yellow would be the beautiful stars that you made appear.

Green would represent Ireland, which you loved so dear.

Blue represents your eyes, like the ocean crashing on the sand.

Purple is for royalty, which put you in God’s hands.

We will always miss your loving touch.

Father Declan we love you so much.

Yup…definitely needed a kleenex for that one!

After mass, the entire school joined us out at the Garden for the dedication of Father Declan’s tree which included a reading of this letter to Father Declan written by my students:

Dear Father Declan: D-E-C-L-A-N,

Even though you’re not with us right now, you’ll always be in our hearts. We thank you for giving us all the memories and the gift of friendship that you shared with us. We will always remember your wonderful sense of humor, like your creative country drawings for the second grade class, and your sweet stories from your childhood. The way you related to us on a personal level and remember each of us is what made you so special to us. Your optimistic outlook made the day look brighter. We will never forget the way you listened and made us feel so important. Your strength inspired us to never give up. You lived life to the fullest and we thank you for teaching us that lesson. The red composition book that was always near you will hold a special place in our hearts, too. Your patience and calmness were some of the reasons we all looked up to you. You taught us how to be a true friend to each other, and we all truly thank you for that. You will always hold a special place in our hearts, and we know that God has worked through you to shape our lives. We love you!


The Christ the King School Family

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Decisions, Decisions

The month of May means so many different things here at school: May Crowning, Festival, Science Fair, chief among them. But in Seventh Grade it also means students are getting closer and closer to their last year here at Christ the King, and decisions…important decisions….must be made.

Yesterday, students voted on the sweatshirt color they will be wearing all year long beginning in the fall. The video above is how I shared with them this morning that the color they’ve chosen is……

Graphite! (a dark gray color)

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Ready or Not…

I Can Still See You!

No sense trying to hide, my friends. Whether we are ready or not, it is time to head back to school! And, yes, I do include myself in that we! Believe it or not, we teachers like our vacations away from school at least as much as you do. 🙂

If you haven’t already noticed it, I’ve added a page to this blog with a growing list of Student-Recommended Books. If you’re looking for something new to read before you return on Tuesday, that’s a great place to start. All of those books were recommended by your seventh grade classmates.

Speaking of books…here are the latest totals for my amazing Seventh Grade Reading Community:

Keep up the amazing work, my friends!!

As you are preparing to head back to school, here is something for you to think about: What do you expect from 2011? You have 363 days left to learn something new, do something great, change your life, change your world. What’s it going to be? Who will you be on December 31st, 2011? Will you be the same? Or will you be changed?

What’s it going to be?

I can’t wait to see all of you on Tuesday!!

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Only 179 To Go!

The Class of 2012

Day One is in the books, and I think it went pretty well! Plenty of smiling faces in my classroom. I’m hoping it wasn’t just because there was air conditioning inside! We are going to have a fabulous year, my friends! And I’m so excited that I’m surrounded by so many students who love reading as much as I do!!! I can’t wait to start talking about books with all of you. I’m sure I’ll be taking voluminous notes about the books I want to read next.

I’m sure tomorrow will be an extremely long day for all of us, so you may want to bring an extra snack. It’s also going to be plenty hot, so we all need to drink lots of water.

And, of course, don’t forget your book!


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It Never Fails!

First Day of School Forecast

Every year! The first day of school will be here in two days and the weather forecast is calling for HEAT! Lots of it!! So please come prepared on Tuesday. Bring a water bottle and plan on drinking plenty of it.

If you do happen to see this post before Tuesday, please also be sure to bring a silent reading book with you EVERY DAY, starting with the first day of school. We are a Community of Readers in seventh grade!

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