Katherine Askounis » Ms. Askounis' Bio

Ms. Askounis' Bio

This is my 14th year of teaching in the Chicago Public Schools and my 10th year at Decatur.  In my 14 years of teaching I have taught everything from 1st grade to 8th grade!  Reading is one of my passions and I am very excited to be teaching 4th-6th grade reading.   I received my undergraduate degree from DePauw University in elementary education and history.  Later I attended DePaul University and received my master’s degree as a reading specialist with a focus in learning disabilities. When I'm not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling, figure skating and needlepoint.  I'm even going to school at night to learn Greek! 



Important Update About Remote Learning

Dear JMS Parents,
We hope you and your family are doing well and staying healthy during this time. We appreciate very much the feedback you have given us via email and the parent survey we sent out last week. We also really appreciate your kindness, grace and support in this difficult time. Thank you to all parents and students for all your hard work the last three weeks!
Chicago Public Schools has recently announced that Remote Learning will begin on Monday, April 13th after the scheduled spring break. Decatur has had a plan in place for three weeks and many things will remain the same.
● During school closure the primary form of communication remains email. Therefore, questions related to your child's learning, assignments, etc. should be directed to their homeroom teacher.
● Phones are not being answered at Decatur during the school closure. If you have other questions about school affairs, please contact Ms. Beard via email at ehbeard@cps.edu.
● Parents and students will get a weekly plan for learning every Monday (Families will still have flexibility in the assignment schedule and can make it work for your family).
● Teachers will continue to:
○ plan lessons that continue learning for Decatur students.
○ post weekly instructional videos in Google Classroom.
○ provide feedback to students and be available to answer questions to both students and parents
○ Students will continue to work on their assignments and focus on priority tasks
● At this time we will still not be taking grades, but we encourage you to keep up with your child’s learning through weekly assignments to keep them on track.
We understand, as we are in the midst ourselves, the complexity of establishing new routines, juggling taking care of kids or other loved ones while still remaining productive for our places of employment. It is hard and it is new. It is with these obstacles in mind that we share with you some adjustments we are making to help all of us (students, parents and teachers) manage our responsibilities. Here are a few things that will change after spring break with Remote Learning:
● Teachers will be meeting and working with students via Google Meet (a video conferencing app). This will be an important time for your student to learn and connect with their teachers.
● These meetings will be scheduled each week, with flexible small groups, for 30-40 minutes. These meetings will be followed up by 30 minutes of ‘office hours’ where teachers will be available to answer questions, check-in with students, or address any other questions.
● The 4th-6th grade teachers will be scheduling meetings with:
○ 4th grade - Rm. 110 on Wednesdays from 9-10 am
○ 4th grade - Rm. 112 on Wednesdays from 10-11 am
○ 5th grade on Tuesdays from 9-10 am
○ 6th grade - Rm. 107 on Thursdays from 9-10 am
○ 6th grade - Rm. 109 on Thursdays from 10-11 am
● Invitations to Google Meet video conferences will be sent via email. Students will click on the link in the email at least 10 minutes before their start time to be taken to the scheduled video conference.
○ For more information on this topic, please review the JMS Video Conferencing Expectations
● Teachers will also have additional regular weekly office hours (in addition to their conference time) where they will be available to answer questions, check-in with students, or address any other questions.
● At this time we will not grade assignments, however, parents and students will receive a weekly outlook document. This document will have suggested pacing and highlight priority tasks on a daily basis for students.
Parents and students will receive more information on weekly assignments and conferencing times on Monday, April 13. Until then, we appreciate your help in making remote learning a success and wish you and your family a great spring break!
Decatur Jr. Middle School Team

First Chapter Fridays with 5th Grade

Students listened to me read two chapters aloud from Amal Unbound while they doodled images that came to their mind. This allowed students to process and analyze the text in a different way than our usual annotations.

5th Grade Point of View Creative Writing

Students in 5th grade chose a scene from Amal Unbound to rewrite from a different point of view to help understand how the point of view of a story can greatly impact that the plot. After students rewrote their scene, students were able to walk around, read each other's writing and then leave feedback.

Around the Room Note-Taking in 4th Grade

Students get out of their seats and walk around the room to complete doodle notes to learn about nonfiction text structures.

5th Grade Nonfiction Articles Gallery Walk

In preparation for our next novel, Amal Unbound, 5th grade students read various nonfiction articles about Pakistan history & culture. Students then worked in partners to create informational posters for our class gallery walk to teach each other about what they learned. Students then were able to write down questions or comments that they had based on the posters.

5th Grade- FTM Escape Room

Students started the week out by participating in a Freak the Mighty Escape room. They were then given the challenge to create their own FTM escape room and have their classmates try and escape!

NWEA Testing

Reading NWEA testing will begin next week during regular reading class time.
6th Grade
107: Wed 1/15 & Fri 1/17
109: Tue 1/14 & Thur 1/16
4th & 5th Grade
Thur 1/16 & Fri 1/17

Katherine Thomas
4th-6th Grade Reading Teacher