The Holiday Season is Fast Approaching

Just In Time For Christmas Shopping

The good folks at Scholastic Books are holding their very regular warehouse sale in Saco again next month, December 6th through December 15th. They are offering a wide selection of books and other items for 25% to 80% off and you can download a coupon for $10 to $25 off by visiting their website and reserving a time to visit.

They warehouse is also a drop off for Toys for Tots Program, if you are so inclined.

To register, just go to and enter promo code “PDF”

Picture Retakes

Originally, we had scheduled these picture retakes for the Tuesday that Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast. Not that the picture retakes were in any way responsible for the events of that day, we do know that we need to get these done (and the forecast is for sunny skies and temps in the mid forties), so we should be OK to finish all of them on Friday November 16th.

If you were not satisfied with the original pictures or your child was absent on the day the original pictures were taken, your child can sit for a whole new set of pictures. If you have an questions, give us a call in the office and we’ll try to help.

School Dance This Friday

Time for the kids to get their dancing shoes out of the closet again. DJ Parfecta will again be lighting and fogging the gym with music (if that’s what it’s called these days!) that is guaranteed to get the kids jumpin’ and jivin’ (does that still make sense anymore?). The dance begins at 6:00 pm and ends promptly at 8:00. We remind the students that all school rules still apply and we are asking parents to help us as well by reminding the kids about the rules for cell phone use and our dress code.

GMS Family Math Night

Did you know that the middle school has begun using an entirely new math series that is aligned with the Common Core State Standards? I’ll bet some of you didn’t know that, and I’ll bet some of you are wondering what the Common Core State Standards are!

To help our parents better assist their children in learning the new math series we will be holding a Family Math Night on Thursday evening, November 29th in the GMS Library beginning at 6:30 pm. We will have Chris LeSiege, 7th grade Math Teacher and some of his students leading us through a “voyage” of all of the resources for this new series. I can promise you this will be a very interesting journey and you will be amazed at all of the resources available to parents and students. We look forward to seeing you here.

First and explanation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). This short video is an interesting explanation of the CCSS:

CCSS has been adopted by most of the states as the targets we expect our students to be able to accomplish in math and English/language arts. They are considerably more rigorous that the Maine Learning Results of the Parameters of Essential Instruction, the standards that Maine has used since 1997. I am including a link to a web page that is much better at explaining the CCSS than I for your benefit.

Learning Teams

I really do appreciate all of the work that you all are undertaking to make our Learning Teams work for our school. I have regularly visited the GMS Learning Teams Wikis and I see the great work that all of you are doing engaging in great conversations and asking great questions. I am aware of how difficult this is for some of you, getting used to working in an online environment. I also know that it is difficult to be working in your group and wondering what your partner group is working on and are both groups working on the same stuff or are we going in opposite directions.

There will be a time soon that we will get both groups together to share their findings, just not yet. It is our intention to allow the smaller groups to work in an environment where all voices will be heard and everyone will participate in the initial stages of this process. Also, when we get to the end of this exercise, we will have several well researched, by excellent researchers ( you all), that will be available to all of us in the future.

I have uploaded a couple articles and blog entries from various people to several of the team wikis for you to examine. You may accept these to use in your discussions, or not.

Also, for those of you who have yet to upload notes of your meetings, if you would do so at your earliest possible opportunity, it would be appreciated.

NPR’s This American Life

Thanks to Judy Morrell for putting me on to a radio broadcast that is available from iTunes in podcast format that was all about middle school. I have been listening to during my drives to and from school and I have found it quite interesting. Much of what they speak about is what we experience everyday in our school. They have even interviewed a student from Windham Middle School about their school dances!

If you want to listen to the broadcast, click here: This American Life

Southern Maine Honors Band

We are so very pleased to announce that 24 of the 28 Gorham Middle School students who auditioned for the very competitive Southern Maine Middle School Honors Band were accepted to be members of this year’s honors band. Not only did so many of our students get accepted (did I mention that this is extremely competitive?), but 8 of our students received the highest marks for their chair.

The Southern Maine Honors Band is made up of students from Gorham, Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, Portland, South Portland, Westbrook, Lake Region and Sacopee Valley. Congratulations to Mrs. Mathieu and to all of our wonderful musicians.

And, Since I’m Bragging

We also had a terrific contingent of our Chorus students audition for the Southern Maine Middle School Honors Chorus, comprised of the same school districts as the Southern Maine Middle School Honors Band, and we had 13 of our 7th & 8th grade students accepted to participate. Of the the 13 who auditioned, three received top marks of 50 out of a possible 50 points. Congratulations to Mrs. Wheeler-Williamson and to all of her students for their great work.

And best of luck to all of our musicians and singers in the upcoming Southern Maine Middle School Honors Band and Chorus concerts. We will let you know well in advance of the dates and times of their concerts.

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