Monthly Archives

October 2013

Learning Can be Fun!

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By: Chris Maddix, Humanities Teacher

Through the years, I’ve accumulated a few favorite sayings among my students:

“We’re not as smart as you think we are.”

Kids tend to say, “You know” after everything, as in “You never know, you know.”  Think about that one for a moment.

While taking a test, they walk up to me and ask,  “Is this the right answer?”

Question – “Can I have extra time to do this?”  Response – “There’s no time limit.”   Question – “Can I have extra time anyway?”

I would like to share the wonderful things we are learning in the classroom with you.

IMG_0446In 6th grade Ancient Civilizations, we wrote our names in Egyptian hieroglyphics.  Egypt is the second nation we have looked at this trimester, that was built on a river (the first was Mesopotamia).  We will also visit India and China, river nations.  In Mesopotamia, we created our own versions of a language and wrote some laws, just as Hammurabi did almost 4000 years ago.  Well, somewhat like Hammurabi anyway – ours were not quite so serious.  In Egypt, we’re getting quick lessons on pyramid building and mummification.  In India, we’ll see the origins of Hinduism and Buddhism. When we go to China, we’ll see why they built the Great Wall.  India (monsoons) and China (geographic isolation) are great places in which to discover the importance of geography.

The 7th graders are being introduced to a new course called World Cultures.  In it, we examine the geography, history and current events of the world’s regions.  We are currently designing historical calendars of the US and Canada.  It’s becoming clear that significant Canadian historical events are not easy to find.  One of the interesting projects I’ve set up for 7th grade is something I call “All the Trouble in the World.”  For the month of September, we examined the philosophies of a diverse group of theoreticians about running a government.  We looked at Thoreau, Machiavelli, Marx, Hitler, and Paine, among others.  Students learned a little about their respective philosophies, selected one, then analyzed and evaluated it.  This month, we’re looking at commerce – economics, trade, welfare, taxation, the value of labor, etc.  For this project students will examine a different field each month; by the end of the year, they will have compiled an all-encompassing portfolio.

IMG_0433The 8th grade is studying world history from the Renaissance to modern times.  The course will alternate between project and test. The students created objects of interest to people during the Renaissance and demonstrated them to SJA pre-first and fifth grades.  Next week they will evaluate the European monarchs of the 17th century, ranking them in order from best to worst. Then they will research and give speeches about characters from the Enlightenment.  What was it like to be Thomas Hobbes, or Adam Smith, or Rousseau?  Relax, folks, it’s much more interesting than it sounds.

Stop by and watch us in action any time.  In accordance with my motto, we “have fun and learn a few things.”

In Memoriam: Richard A. Moore, Academy Leader, Benefactor & Alumni Parent

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Richard A. MooreDick, who passed away on October 4th, was an active member of St. James Academy for more than 40 years. He served as first President and President Emeritus of the Board of Trustees and was involved in the growth of the school, multiple improvements, and additions. Under his leadership the Academy added a second class to each grade level as well as the Prefirst Program. As you walk the halls of SJA, know that Dick was instrumental in expanding our magnificent facility from less than10,000 square feet to 104,000 today. The Susan Tucker Moore Theatre is named in honor of his daughter, SJA Class of 1976, and his son, Tom, SJA Class of 1979, now serves as President of our Board of Trustees.

“Dick appreciated the work and generosity of previous generations and believed  good stewards have a responsibility to leave sound legacies for the future. Dick lived these values as we worked together on the Board of Trustees, numerous campaigns, and Development Office initiatives. Many late afternoons, I would spot Dick driving through the grounds looking over the field and facility- the Academy- making sure everything was in order in a place he held very special. We will miss a dear friend, a skilled leader, and a faithful supporter.”

                                                -Judy Connelly, Director of Development Read More

Discovery and Wonder

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discoverThis past week, artist-in-residence Kevin Reese worked with St. James Academy students to build a mobile installation in the tower of our school.  Students began work on this project earlier in the fall by drawing visual representations of the theme “discovery and wonder.”   This week in art classes, students helped build the mobile with Mr. Reese, painting, bending wires, and finding balancing points.  Today, we dedicated the installation with song and poem. Eighth grade student Mark Sucoloski and Mr. Wolcott performed “What a Wonderful World.”  Our librarians, Mrs. Sansosti and Read More

SJA’s Fifth Grade Class Explores Eden Mill Nature Center

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McKay is a hummingbird!By: Kelly Wilson- Fifth Grade Teacher

Eden Mill Nature Center is a place where students can explore and be curious about the environment. Our students strive to be curious and are willing to take risks and participate in understanding and learning about the natural world around them.

The opportunities that were presented to us allowed the students to make connections. Hold a bee on the tip of your finger, pretend to be a hummingbird and “suck” the nectar from a flower and you have a perfect demonstration for pollination. The students learned how plants “move” from one part of the world to another. Some plants were developed by Native Americans and cultivated as a major food source before 1481.

photo-2 Canoeing was the highlight of the trip. We hooted like a screech owl and observed snakes, turtles, herons and other wildlife as we paddled along Deer Creek.


Manor 300

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“The Queen appreciates your thoughtfulness in writing as you did and, in return, sends her warmest best wishes and congratulations to you all for a memorable ceremony and joyous service on this most special anniversary.”

–Christopher Sandamas, Chief Clerk to The Queen
Buckingham Palace, London, UK

In 1713, Charles Calvert, 3rd Lord of Baltimore, gave his 4th wife, Margaret Charleton of Hexham, the gift of 10,000 acres in what is now Baltimore and Harford County.  These 10,000 acres, know as My Lady’s Manor, were eventually transferred from ownership from the Calvert Family and rule of British Crown to the veterans of the Revolutionary War and to former tenants at auction.

nonameThis past Sunday, the Manor Conservancy, with St. James Church and Academy, Manor 300 and The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Maryland, celebrated the tercentennial anniversary of this gift.  Representatives from Baltimore and Harford Counties, the State of Maryland, and the British Embassy, as well as the Old Guard of the White House and re-enactors in period costume, were in attendance.  The Maryland Archives loaned the original 1713 Patent for a display in Macdonald Hall for the event.

Although the original 1713 Patent had to be returned within a few hours on Sunday, the letter that Christopher Sandamas, Private Secretary to the Queen of England, sent to commemorate the day is on display by the entrance to Macdonald Hall.

noname-2One of the highlights of this beautiful ceremony was students from St. James Academy singing the “The Star Spangled Banner,” “God Save the Queen” and “Maryland, My Maryland.” Thank you to Ms. Randi Bradley and all of the students who participated in this event.

For more information about the tercentennial, please visit the Manor Conservancy web site: