What’s Coming Up!
- January 18 – School Dance sponsored by the Stroudwater Team and the Eagle Team, GMS Gym 6:00 to 8:00 pm
- January 21 – Martin Luther King, Jr Holiday, no school
- January 22 – National Geographic Society Geography Bee 6:30 pm in the GMS Auditorium
- January 23 – Faculty meeting, 2:30 – 4:00 pm. This is a breakout session, we will meet briefly in the Library to review the protocol and then head to our groups.
- January 24 – All Gorham Jazz Festival beginning at 5:30 pm in the GMS Auditorium
- January 25 2nd quarter and 1st semester ends. Because of the Early release day and Teacher Workshop day on Thursday and Friday, report cards will go home with students on Monday, February 4.
February is Black History Month
Since 1926, Americans have celebrated the contributions of African Americans into the fabric of our great country. Beginning initially as a period of one week, between the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, it was extended to the full month during the time of America’s bicentennial. There are a plethora of resources available through web sites such as History.com, africanamericanhistorymonth.gov and biography.com. If you struggle finding resources for your class as you prepare to celebrate this month, please let me know, I would be more than happy to help out. Here is a brief clip from History.com:
Grab Your Hat
Friday, March 1st is the date of Read Across America Day, a day that celebrates the birthday of Theodore Geisel with lots of reading throughout the land. What better way to celebrate the life of the man who gave us characters like the Grinch and Horton and the ever present Cat in the Hat (still my favorite is One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish). The NEA website has some wonderful activities and resources that you can use in your classroom to join in the celebration. If you have any ideas or activities that you will be doing in your class, let Susie and me know, we’d love to stop in and join the fun.
Report Cards for the 2nd Quarter
The 2nd quarter ends on January 25th. Usually, we would send report cards home on the following Friday, in this case, February 1st. However, we have an Early Release Day on January 31st and a Teacher Workshop Day on February 1st, so students will not be in school on Friday.
You can always see your child’s progress at anytime during the school year through the Parent Portal on Infinite Campus. Teachers report each grade that your child receives very regularly and they also report any work that is missing. If you haven’t yet received your login name and password, please call Terry LaMontagne in the Guidance Office at 222-1247.
Zero Waste Challenge
During Lunchtimes at GMS we have several young folks working quite hard sorting trash and helping to make GMS an eco-friendly environment. The students of the Little River Team have accepted the Zero Waste Challenge issued earlier this year by Poland Spring Bottling Company and the Chewonki Foundation. Now, I could try to write about the competition, but why do that when there is a perfectly good video that explains it far better than I could ever possibly do.
The Great GMS “Everything” Drive
The students at GMS are holding an “Everything” Drive beginning January 17th through January25th. Students will be collecting lots of stuff (Everything), winter clothing, toys, non-perishable foods and the donations will be sent to the Preble Street Resource Center and the Gorham Food Pantry. Donations can be dropped off at the lobby of the Middle School, Village School and Narraganset School. Every donation helps and if you ahve any questions please contact Sarah Rubin at the Middle School.
Maine School of Science and Math
The Maine School of Science and Math has a great opportunity for educators who would like to study during the summer months. The STEM Collaborative Educator’s Camp runs from July 28th through August 2nd. The camp is free, they provide free room and board and no registration fees. The courses will focus on STEM topics and will be released later in March. You can earn 3.0 CEU’s with approval from the district and they are looking for 20 exceptional presenters. You can find out more information about this amazing opportunity by going to: http://www.mssm.org
Learning Teams and Homework
As I have mentioned in the past couple of entries, homework is a big portion of the student experience during Middle School. Some folks think we give too much and some folks think no where near enough. We hear the argument that students need to learn to be responsible and organized, so homework can help us do that. Then we hear the argument that if we are trying to teach responsibility, what does that have to do with the content area I am teaching?
As we move closer to a proficiency based environment for our students, an environment where students will be responsible for creating evidence of their learning and evidence of their attaining the proscribed standards, what will the role of homework be?
As we continue the work of the Learning Teams in the coming months, each of the topic groups have a homework “thread” running through it.
If your group is exploring Assessment Literacy, you would need to examine how homework is, or can be used to assess what is necessary for a student’s success. Certainly, motivation can be affected by what kind of homework is assigned, and how often the homework is given, and what is the intended purpose of the homework and what kind of feedback is associated with the homework. The development of the adolescent brain and understanding where a student is in their development will dictate the kinds of homework assigned and communicating with the parents about student progress always contains an element of how well and how often the student completes their homework.
The work of our Learning Teams is so very important. We all understand that education is changing every day, and that doesn’t include any of the changes we are seeing in our students and their family structures. The better we understand our students and how we can move them forward in their learning, the better our kids will perform in life and the better they will be prepared for the challenges that lay ahead.
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS)
In the next few days you may be receiving a letter, via first class mail, informing you that your child has been chosen to be administered the NAEP Assessment, about 90 8th grade students have been selected. The assessment will be administered on February 14th. NAEP is used by the federal government to determine how each state is doing in the progress with their students towards the standards. The agency responsible for the administration of the NAEP makes the selections of who will take the assessment, we do not have any control over that selection process. The assessment takes about 90 minutes, from beginning to end, and will only interrupt the students day in a very minimal way.
The second letter you all will receive concerns the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey. This anonymous survey will be administered during an extended Advisory period on February 6th. This survey will ask questions about health and health related behaviors such as asthma, alcohol consumption, fighting and bullying, smoking and sex. The letter will give you far more detail about the survey, who will use the results and what will they be used for.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call the office.