Week of October 16



GSD LogoUpcoming Important Dates

Oct 16 – The Science of Adolescent Sleep, Dr. Colby Wyatt, GHS Library 2:30 pm
Oct 19 – Showing of The Mask You Live In, GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
Oct 25 – Early Release Day, students dismissed at 11:10 am
Oct 26 – Parent Teacher Conferences begin after dismissal until 8:00 pm
Oct 27 – Parent Teacher Conferences 8:00 am- 2:00 pm

The Science of Adolescent Sleep

Dr. Colby Wyatt, Pediatrician , and GMS Parent, will speak on the science of the sleep habits of adolescents.

As many of you are aware, the school district has been  exploring the need for managing the school day in a more appropriate manner to capitalize on the optimum sleep and learning cycles of our students. There is significant science to indicate that our students need more sleep and that their sleep cycles and circadian rhythms are more in synch with a later start time to the school day.

Dr. Wyatt will elucidate upon the facts of the adolescent and their sleep habits and how schools might best respond to these needs.

This talk is open to all.

Maine Boys to Men Video Showing

We will continue to offer parent meet up opportunities to help us address, as a community, the manner in which our students treat each other here at school and everywhere else.

On October 19th at 6:00pm we will host a screening of the movie The Mask You Live In.  The movie is a critical look at the stereotypes that have been foist upon many of our young men and how those stereotypes are managed or how they consume their lives.

Please join Ryan Tardiff and others from Maine Boys to Men as we attempt to examine and understand these challenges.

WHAT:  The Mask You Live In

WHERE:  Gorham Middle School Auditorium

WHEN:  Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 6:00pm

This is open to the entire GMS faculty and staff.

Early Release Day

I would also ask each of you to remind all of our students (your children) that their behavior downtown reflects on the entire community. We would like our town to see our students as they truly are, young folks who are very mindful of our Code of Conduct and our responsibility to a safe community.

In that vein, Gorham Parks and Recreation have arranged for Maine’s number one video truck to visit GMS beginning at dismissal. The truck will be located in the parking lot at the fields across the access road to GMS. There is a cost and students need to sign up in advance.

“Our deluxe and fully customized mobile video game studio provides you and 24+ guests with comfort and ease as you enjoy 150+ of your favorite games in our spacious climate controlled 30 foot long enclosed trailer. Customized and fitted with seven 50″ High Definition Flat Screen TV’s and two 32″ High Definition Flat Screen TV’s, we bring you the latest and best in gaming consoles, featuring Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii, and now VIRTUAL REALITY!~Our state-of-the-art sound system, LED light show, and satellite system combine to bring the action LIVE to you. Experience the ‘WOW’~factor as you step inside and provide your guests with an experience they will never forget!”

Gorham Parks and Recreation is also conducting two other offerings on Friday, October 27, the day of Parent Teacher Conferences.

GPS Soccer Camp on Inservice Day, Oct 27th

Gorham Recreation and Global Premier Soccer will be teaming up on Friday, October 6th to offer  a fun and educational day of soccer activities for kids in Gorham. Players will be working on technical aspects of the game such as passing, shooting, and dribbling in a creative and competitive environment.”  

Come on over to the Multipurpose field on Friday’s Inservice day for a full day off soccer!

Location: Gorham Multipurpose Field (Rain location – Shaw Gym)

Time: 8:30am – 2:30pm

Date: October 27th (Inservice Day)

Cost: $60

Sign up by going to Gorhamrec.com

Scary Story Writing Workshop on Inservice Day, Oct 27th

Write and illustrate an original horror story just in time for Halloween. Using costumes and props students will create their own scary characters and bring them to life through writing and illustration. The workshop will culminate with a scary story hour where students will read their tales aloud. Stories will be recorded and hosted online for families and friends to listen.

Location: Gorham Rec Center

Time: 8:30am – 2:30pm

Friday, October 27th

Cost: $85

Happy Healthy Gorham

As we mentioned earlier in the year, Happy Healthy Gorham is hoping to make the town of Gorham the Happiest and Healthiest Town in Maine. We had a very successful first experience with our Moving Naturally Week. I would like to extend a HUGE Thank You to Denis Albert, Sarah Titus, Martha LaViolet and Heidi McGouldrick for the “successful beyond my wildest dreams” walking school bus!

The next theme, for a week in November is Kindling Kindness Week. I know that Kim Arena has reached out the GMS again, so if you have some ideas, we’d love to hear them.

There will be a meeting with some of the folks from HHG on Wednesday, October 18 at 3:00 pm in Martha LaViolet’s room. If you are interested in helping with Kindling Kindness, please stop by.

In keeping with the theme of Kindness, I thought I’d share this video with you all:

United Way Fundraising Campaign

We are pleased to once again provide all employees with an opportunity to participate in our annual United Way campaign.  Each year, the United Way of Greater Portland and its partner agencies provide services to more than 72,000 residents in Cumberland County, and it is likely that someone you know benefited from the efforts of the United Way, making this opportunity to give back to the community even more important and meaningful.

Please know that no donation is too small.  Pledging even $1 per week is significant, meaningful, and desperately needed.   Due to a generous donation from the John T. Gorman foundation, any new or increased pledges will be matched up to $150,000, so every new dollar we give will mean $2 to the United Way and its partner agencies.

If you donate $3/week ($156/year or more) you will be entered in a raffle for $1,000 L.L. Bean gift card

If you donate $8/wee ($416/year or more) you will be entered in a raffle for a new car from PAPE

To read more about the United Way in Cumberland County, please access their 2017 Community Report.


Week of October 5


Upcoming Important Dates

Monday, October 5 – NWEA Testing for 6th Graders, all week
Tuesday, October 6 – Odyssey of the Mind Awareness Night, 6:00 pm GMS Library
Thursday, October 8 – Tooth Fairies
Friday, October 9 – Teacher Workshop Day, No School for Students
Monday, October 12 – Columbus Day, No School
Thursday, October 15 – Sports Team Pictures after school
Thursday, October 15 – School Committee Meeting, Municipal Center 7:00 pm
Friday, October 16 – School Dance, Benefit the GMS Holiday Food Drive 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Thursday, October 22 – Parent Teacher Conferences 2:00 – 8:00 pm
Friday, October 23 – Parent Teacher Conferences 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Wednesday, October 28 – Early Release Day, Students dismissed at 11:00 am

What is EICAL?

We are very fortunate at GMS because our faculty has worked extremely hard with our administration to create a schedule that provides for many great learning opportunities beyond that which is typical of the “book learning” that we all remember fro our school days (daze?). This time allows our students to experience learning in a very different way. It also allows for any of our students who need some additional assistance with traditional learning some extra time and help that isn’t always available.

At each grade level, students will be assigned to Band or Chorus, Support room for math and ELA, and a whole array of learning experiences ranging from coding to forensic science and history through the cemetery to basic life skills such as sewing a button or writing one’s name in cursive. There is also a whole parcel of very different but interesting offerings for all of our kids.

Please ask your child about what they will be doing in EICAL in the coming weeks.I hope to be able to post some pictures on the @gmsprincipalriley Instagram account for everyone to see.

Tooth Fairies

OK, no, I have not lost my “marbles” and, yes, Tooth Fairies do exist!tooth fairy

The Tooth Fairies are a dedicated group of Dental; Professionals who make themselves available to several schools in the area to proved free, or very low cost, dental health services to families in each community. These services include cleaning and an examination of potential issues that parents can them address.

Our first Tooth Fairy visit is schedule for Thursday, October 8 during the school day.Tooth

If you would like your child to be examined by a “Tooth Fairy” please give GMS School Nurse Cathy Loiselle a call at 222-1224.

MEA Results

You may remember that back in May,  of our students were administered the MEA’s in ELA and Math through the state. We are awaiting the results of this assessment. When we finally do get the results, we will pass them on to all parents and guardians so that you can see exactly how your child performed.

I know that we all have lots of questions about what will be happening in the way of assessment in the coming months, alt least I know I do!

The state has requested from the many different companies that make these assessments proposals that can be used to administer reliable assessments this year. When we get that information, we’ll pass it along to you.

School Dance

Our next school dance will help to raise funds for our annual Holiday Food and Gift Drive. Each year, our school has provided holiday meals at Thanksgiving and Christmas for more than 20 families in our community. Our staff has also collected enough gifts to provide many of these families the chance to celebrate the holidays with a at least a few gifts under their tree for their kids on Christmas morning.

We will use the proceeds of this dance to help offset the cost of each of these events. We will also be collecting food later in the month with our Student Council to fill the Holiday Meal box with everything from the Turkey all the way to cranberry sauce.

Please watch this space later in the month for how you can contribute to our Holiday Drive

Parent Teacher Conferences

As hard as this is to believe, we are half way through the first quarter of the school year! Where does the time go!

We have scheduled our conferences for Thursday and Friday, October 22 &23. Thursday will begin at 2:00 pm and run through 8:00 pm and Friday will begin at 8:00am until 2:00 pm.

You will be receiving information from your child’s Advisor with information about the conferences and providing you an opportunity to schedule a time.

With our Advisory System, we have parents meet, at least initially, with the students’ Advisors. We do this to allow for more time than the 10 minutes or so, for the content area teachers that would need to be allowed if they met with all of their parents. This does not mean that you con’t meet with individual teachers, if you’d like. All you need to do is call them, or your child’s advisor and make that request.

Also, you never need to wait for the “Formal” conference time. You can arrange meetings with your child’s teachers at anytime, just give them a call or send them an email with your concerns and your desire to meet.

Essay Contest Opportunities for all Students

We have several opportunities for our GMS kids to show off their writing skills in the coming month.

I am very happy to announce the 3rd Annual Madison Prize for Written Excellence Contest, sponsored by the Gorham Town Republican Committee. The Madison Prize offers 3 cash prizes to the students, two runners-up prizes of $100, and a Grand Prize of $250 to one student.

We have given the entry forms to all of the teachers. I have asked them to work with any and all students who have expressed an interest in participating. The deadline for entry into this contest is November 6th.

The second contest is sponsored by the Anne Frank Center USA. This is the second year of the contest for students across the country in grade 5 through 8 to participate. The Anne Frank Center USA was founded by Ann’s father, Otto Frank, to teach communities about the dangers of discrimination. The Center believes, as Anne did, that children matter and can make a difference.

The Anne Frank essay contest has lots of information available on its website: http://annefrank.com

Odyssey of the Mind

Odyssey of the Mind (OM) will be holding an OM Awareness night on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at the GMS Library beginning at 6:00 pm. At this meeting, parents and students will learn how the Odyssey of the Mind Creative Problem Solving Program encourages students’ teamwork, risk-taking and divergent thinking skills.

Encourage your child to “take a risk” and find out more about the OM at GMS.

Crafting Learning for Kids Today

While I believe that we have several students who are equal to Tomas Suarez, the young man in the video below, I was very intrigued with the manner in which he spoke of his passion. At no time did he indicate that this passion of his was solely nurtured by him. He mentions several times during this 4 minute video how several people, including his teachers encouraged him and helped him along the way.

I would like us all to find ways to release the inner Thomas Suarez loose in all of our learners. I hope you enjoy this brief video.



Two 5 Day Weeks in a Row!!!



Upcoming Important Dates

Friday, March 6 – GMS Musical Alice@Wonderland, GMS Auditorium 7:00 pm admission $5
Saturday, March 7 – GMS Musical Alice@Wonderland, GMS Auditorium 7:00 pm admission $5
Saturday,March 7 – Indoor Track meet at Portland Expo 8:00 am
Saturday, March 7 – 6th Grade Honor Music Festival, Bonny Eagle Middle School 3:00 pm
Tuesday, March 10 – 8th Grade Parent Night at the High School 6:00 pm GHS Auditorium
Wednesday, March 11 – Early Release Day, Student dismissed at 11:10 am
Thursday, March 12 – Parent Teacher Conferences 3:00 – 8:00 pm
Friday, March 13 – Parent Teacher Conferences 8:00am – 2:00 pm NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS
Saturday, March 14 – Indoor Track Meet at Portland Expo 2:30 pm

School Yearbooks

YearbookclipartWe are again offering several options for parents and students to order yearbooks for this year, and you can order them online or pick up an order form in the Office. The cost of the yearbooks is $17 for a soft cover yearbook. The softcover is a nice option to help keep the cost down and still get all of the memories of the school year. If you want a hard cover bound version, that cost is $22, and if you would like to have your child’s name printed on the cover along with their school picture, to really personalize it, you can add that as well fro an additional $5 charge.

The last day to order yearbooks is April 20 and to oder online you can go to: http://www.ybpay.lifetouch.com and use the school code 3788215.

Alice@Wonderland Musical Performance

Friday and Saturday night, March 6 & 7 our young thespians performed the wonderful adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. If you weren’t able to make your way to GMS on either Friday or Saturday evening, you missed a wonderfully energetic display of song, dance and funny lines, not to mention some great acting.

Thank you to Joe Hanley, husband of Assistant Principal Susie Hanley, for some wonderful  pictures of both evening’s performances.DSC_0396 DSC_0403 DSC_0411 DSC_0416

Busy Week Next Week

Next week is a very busy one for all of our parents. Our 8th grade parents are invited to join Principal Chris Record of Gorham High School, along with the Department Heads and school counsellors, to preview what parents, and students, can expect when their child enrolls at GHS next year.

This evening is one that should answer all of your questions about the transition to the high school as well as bring up a few more questions that you hadn’t already thought about.

The evening begins at 6:00 pm in the GHS Auditorium and should last until 7:30, or so.

Then, on Thursday evening and Friday during the day, the Middle School is holding our Spring Parent/Teacher Conferences. By now, everyone should have scheduled an appointment to meet with your child’s advisor. If you have not yet received an appointment, or made contact with your child’s advisor, please send them an email or give them a phone call.

As you know, we schedule conferences with your child’s advisor, however, if you want to meet with a particular content area or allied arts teacher, you may do so by simply contacting them and setting up a time to meet.

If you haven’t heard from you child’s advisor, please give me a call and I can “gently” remind them to set up an appointment.

The Pass Out Challenge

We have become aware of a new “game’ that our students are experimenting with called the Pass Out Game or Pass Out WarningChallenge, This is a very dangerous game for for kids to be playing and the possible consequences can be devastating.

In the past, I have written about the Cinnamon Challenge, and the Salt Challenge and this is just another one of the many things that young people try as they experiment with their own mortality, yes mortality!

Let me give you an idea of what the kids do in the Pass Out Game. First, the kids will take about 30 deep breathe, in effect, to force hyperventilation. Then, with the help of one of their friends, they will deprive the brain of oxygen by having their friend compress their chest. They will stand against the wall and their friend will use both hands to press, as hard a they can, on their chest, in effect forcing all of the air out of their lungs. In a few seconds, the brain will be deprived of oxygen and the child will pass out. If they are alone, they will blow on their thumb, attempting to force blood into the brain that lacks oxygen. The result is the same, the child will lose consciousness, some kids actually go into convulsions.

I wish I could tell you that this new fad is really a new fad, but it is not. This has been around since I was a teen. I can remember the kids in my neighborhood playing this game more than 50 years ago. I can also tell you that I can remember some kids getting seriously injured and suffering some catastrophic, long lasting injuries because of this game. I suspect that this is still the case, now 50 years later.

If you are unfamiliar with this “game” and you would like to see what it looks like, checkout Youtube and search for Pass Out Challenge, there are tone of wrong-minded kids putting up their own videos for other to see hoping for sone notoriety.

Planning for Celebration of Middle School

This is another of those occasions where I say “I can’t believe it’s here already” or “It’s that time of year again”, but we need to begin the planning for the 8th Grade Celebration of Middle School on the night before that last day of school.

We will hold our first organizing meeting on Thursday, March 19 in the GMS library beginning at 6:00 pm. This meeting is usually informational and organizational. We do make some decisions on how we will be making decisions and how we will collect ideas and then act on those idea.

I look forward to getting the planning started. Please call me if you can’t make the meeting but would like to work on a committee.


We Actually Did 5 Days Last Week!!!


Upcoming Important Dates

Wednesday, March 4 – Spread the Word to End the Word Day
Friday, March 6 – GMS Musical Alice@Wonderland, GMS Auditorium 7:00 pm admission $5
Saturday, March 7 – GMS Musical Alice@Wonderland, GMS Auditorium 7:00 pm admission $5
Saturday, March 7 – 6th Grade Honor Music Festival, Bonny Eagle Middle School 3:00 pm
Tuesday, March 10 – 8th Grade Parent Night at the High School 6:00 pm GHS Auditorium
Wednesday, March 11 – Early Release Day, Student dismissed at 11:10 am
Thursday, March 12 – Parent Teacher Conferences 3:00 – 8:00 pm
Friday, March 13 – Parent Teacher Conferences 8:00am – 2:00 pm NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS

Alice @Wonderland

AliceatWonderland small posterJPEGIt is that time of year again! Our young GMS thespians get to “strut the boards” (that does it for my theatrical jargon!) and present to our community a wonderful adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Please join us on both Friday, March 6 and Saturday March 7 in the GMS Auditorium beginning at 7:00 pm for tea with The Mad Hatter or croquet with The Queen of Hearts. I am sure that the evening will be filled with wonderful song and lots of belly laughs for everyone.

Spread the Word to End the Word

For the past several years, Gorham Middle School Students, Faculty and staff have celebrated the 1st Wednesday in March expunge the word 100h-Alternate-Logo-Darkretard from the vocabulary in our school and community. Each year, our students renew their pledge to end the use of that word to denigrate, put down or otherwise slam their peers and I am happy to report that they have done a great job of cutting the word out of their vocabulary.

Luanne Amell has led this effort for several years at GMS and she has worked tirelessly to get our kids to go on line at www.r-word.org and make their pledge to stop using the word. We will have great celebration on Wednesday, March 4, the actual day of Spread the Word to End the Word.

I hope that many of you will join us in this pledge to value each and every member of our community for who they are and the talents the bring to our world. Just go to the link provided and make your pledge.

8th Grade Parent Night

parentsYou know, I say this every year and it really does seem to sneak up on us, but it is that time of year when we start the preparations for saying good-bye to our 8th graders. It really seems like they just started here and we are planning to send them off to the high school.

High School Principal Chris Record and all of his Department Heads will welcome the parents of our 8th graders, and the 8th graders, too, to the GHS Auditorium at 6:00 pm on Thursday, March 10. Chris will outline what parents can expect during the next few months from the high school regarding courses, requirements and expectations from the high school teachers. This is a great night for the parents to ask questions, clarify the expectations and get the answers they need direct from the source. I hope you can attend.

Early Release Day

Wednesday, March 11 will be an early release day for the students so that teachers can attend a professional development event. Students will be dismissed at 11:10, but we will have a regular schedule, just shortened classes.

Parent Teacher Conferences

Our Parent Teacher Conferences will be held on Thursday evening, March 12 from 2:30 pm until 8:00 pm and again on Friday, March 13 CLIPART_OF_15182_SM_2(hopefully not a bad omen for our students or their families!) beginning at 8:00 am until 2:00 pm. Students’ Advisors will be available to meet with parents on these days, however, if neither of these days works for you, please just contact your child’s advisor to arrange an alternate date. These conferences are a very important element of the home/school communication and are a great chance for teachers, students and parents  to get together and discuss progress throughout the year.

You should be hearing from your child’s advisor in the coming days to schedule your time to meet.

Please note: There are no classes for students on Friday for students.

If It Weren’t for the Foot of Snow, I’d Think Spring was Just around the Corner!


Important Upcoming Dates

    • March 25 – Make up date for the 8th Grade Parent Night at the High School, 6:30 pm in the GHS Auditorium.
    • March 28 – Presentation for school of Peter Panic. Please refer to the viewing schedule below..Report
    • March 29 & 30 – The GMS presentation of the school musical Peter Panic
    • March 28 & 29 – Parent Teacher Conferences
    • April 1 – Open House for Prospective Graduate Students at University of Southern Maine, Portland Campus 4:30 – 6:30 pm.
    • April 4 – CPR Training at GMS, please see Teresa for details.
    • April 5 – 3rd Quarter Ends
    • April 5 – School Dance sponsored by Little River and Peaks
    • April 11 – Report Cards go him with students at dismissal
    • April 11 – Early Release Day for students
    • April 12 – Teacher Workshop day, no school for students.
    • April 15 – 19 – School Vacation (Maybe we’ll get in some golf!)

Early Release Day Activities

All students will get a chance to view the musical production of Peter Panic on Thursday morning. We will have the 8th grade and Harraseeket Team view the production at 8:05 and the 6th Grade, Stroudwater and Little River view the production at 9:35.

The remainder of the half day is time that each team will schedule. I do want everyone to know that there will be no Allied arts classes on this day. I also expect that each team will have all of their students during this time. Please be mindful of this when devising your schedules as students who would normally be going to a Resource Room will not be, and they will be with their team.

Student Allergies

AllegryTeresa would like to remind us to be mindful of our students who have allergies when we plan classroom activities that will have us bringing food into our classrooms. She asks that contact the parents of these students ahead of time to be sure that the products you plan to bring in are safe for them to be around. Students with allergies do not appreciate being separated from their peers. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Teresa.

Student Yearbooks

Students may order this year’s Yearbooks through April 5th. All students were given anYearbookclipart order form last week that will allow parents to complete the order by including a check, payable to Gorham Middle School in the amount of $20.00. You may also order the yearbook online directly through Lifetouch at YBPay.lifetouch.com. When ordering online you will need to have the Gorham Middle School Yearbook ID Code. Our Code is: 3788213.

The Yearbooks will be distributed at the end of the school year.

Middle School Musical

PETERPANICI stopped in to the Middle School Auditorium one afternoon last week to check out our Thespians during their rehearsal for the upcoming musical Peter Panic. What I witnessed only whetted my appetite for the evening of March 29 or March 30 (probably both nights!) to see the whole cast run through the entire play. Tana Krohn, Director, Producer, Set Designer, Costume Designer and everything else has her charges dancing and singing across the stage that will make us laugh and tap our feet. Please circle the dates to attend at least one of the performances, you will not be disappointed!

The Admission Fee is $5.00.

Parent Teacher Conferences

By now, I would imagine that most of you have scheduled your conference with your child’s Advisor. If you haven’t received any information yet, you may want to check you meeting-451-95-115-80-cchild’s book bag. The information was sent home a couple of weeks ago with your child.

We arrange our conferences with your child’s Advisor, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t meet with your child’s content area teachers. The Advisors do confer with all of your child’s teachers prior to meeting with you, but sometimes, you just need to meet an English or Math teacher. You can do that by giving that specific teacher a call and setting a time that works for both of you.

Also, you do not need to wait for conference time to meet with teachers. They have time at the end of the teaching day, as well as before school, set aside to meet with concerned parents. All you need to do is give them a call or drop them an email and make the arrangements.

The Future of GMS Fundraising

fundraiser_school-427-95-115-80-cAt our meeting for the 8th Grade Celebration planning, we had the subject of fundraising come up. We know that we need to raise funds to offset the cost of this very special evening and we really did not have much success with a Pizza fundraiser that we ran this late winter. I also reported that our fall Magazine Fundraiser has probably “run its course” as we have seen declining sales over the past few years.

We started to talk about some alternatives to our traditional fundraising activities, things that would combine both the necessary fundraising results with some of the social aspects required in bringing the community together. Some ideas that surfaced were dinners such as spaghetti dinners, but the we started to get even more creative with other types of dinners that had a theme to them.

We definitely want to look in a different direction for the necessary fundraising, so, if you have any ideas that you’d be willing to share with us, please give us a call of drop us an email.

Encourage the Young Writer

We are making some pretty good progress in securing presenters for our first Encourage the Young Writers Day, but we can still use more help. If you know someone who writes, quillwhether for work of for pleasure and you think they could “stand” presenting their ideas about writing to a group of middle school students, please send me their name and I will contact them.

The day is going to be interesting in that we have never done anything like this before. I am not real sure how the kids will take it. But, I do know that we have to change the reasons our students write from getting a grade from their teachers to writing for pleasure or to communicate an idea, or any other reason we all need to write.

Finally, in keeping with the theme of encouraging the young writer, I offer you this poem from Berkley Breathed and Bloom County:


Project 24 MOOC

Remember when a “MOOC” was a name that you called someone, usually a friend, when they were acting weird? Well, we now have MOOCs in education that are a very positive PvNGFwdwGOhIxXoLNfQwCjl72eJkfbmt4t8yenImKBVaiQDB_Rd1H6kmuBWtceBJthing. MOOC, an acronym for Massive Open Online Course, courses that are open and free to any and all who are interested in learning more.

I am happy to pass on to all of you an exciting MOOC opportunity, available through North Carolina State University. This course will help us develop Digital Learning Goals that will address the digital learning needs for our students. It will examine the elements necessary fro successful digital learning, help us set goals for digital learning expectations and outcomes for our students.

If you are interested check out their website at:  http://dlt.mooc-ed.org/preview

PD Opportunity for Science Teachers

Jane Esty has passed on an opportunity for our Science Teachers (two possible) to participate in an online seminar around using Formative assessment strategies to uncover disciplanry core ideas in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This is a mini-course comprised of 3 two hour on sessions.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Jane Esty. She needs to know by April 15th.

Responsive Schools Work

We plan to continue our work with Safe Schools for All and the ideas of Responsive canstock10370649Schools as we progress through the next few years. It is our expectations that we will be making the beliefs of the Responsive Schools Theory a very large part of how we deal with student behavior. We also believe that this theory is very consistent with our Code of Conduct.

I came across an interesting blog post by Bob Sullo that I believe will help us as we work toward the belief that we need to ask ourselves “what is it we want our students to learn from this event?”

Please disregard the self-promotion and advertising that is rampant on his page. Most of the ads are for his books, most of which I have found to be very informative, by they do fill the page and take your attention away from the important message of the blog. Here is the Link: http://inspiringstudentmotivation.blogspot.com/2013/03/punishment-is-effective-teaching-tool.html

Parent Teacher Conferences This Week

Important Upcoming Dates

  • October 24 – Leadership Team Meeting in Melanie’s room beginning at 2:30.
  • October 25 – Early Release Day for students, dismissal will be 11:10 am.
  • October 25 & 26 – Parent/Teacher Conferences. You will be receiving notices from your child’s adviser about scheduling times and dates for your conference.
  • October 25 & 26 – Gorham School Department will sponsor a Flu shot Clinic at both the High School and the Middle School. For more information click here.
  • October 30 – Picture retakes will be done.
  • October 31 – Faculty Meeting in the Library beginning at 2:30. Food will be provided by the 7th grade.
  • November 1 – The second meeting for a Conversation about Bullying Behaviors, 6:30 in the GMS Library.
  • November 2 – 1st Quarter grades close.
  • November 6 – Members of the ELA Curriculum and Assessment Committee (CAC) will meet at the Central Office from 8:00 am until 10:30. We will arrange for half day subs for you.
  • November 7 – Leadership Team meeting in Melanie’s room at 2:30 pm.
  • November 8 – PIE Meeting at 6:30 in the Library. We will be joined by our newly elected School Committee for questions and answers. Refreshments will be provided.
  • November 9 – Report Cards will go home with students.
  • November 12 – No School in celebration of Veterans Day.

Parent/Teacher Conferences

By now, most parents should have received information from your child’s adviser about scheduling a time to meet on Thursday (Oct 25) or Friday (Oct 26) to discuss progress. The first quarter is coming to a close and this is a great time to stop and reflect on how well the year is going and what kinds of adjustments need to be made to help the child gain success.

What we don’t want parents to think, however, is that this is the only time that parents and teachers can “conference” about a child’s progress. Communication about a child’s progress is the most important thing we can do for our students. It really helps all of our causes when parents and teachers work closely to make sure our kids have success in school.

Flu Clinics

Again this year we will be holding our Flu Clinics at both the High School and the Middle School. We try to hold these during times that would be beneficial for our community of parents and staff, so we have planned to complete these during the Parent/Teacher Conference times. For more information about the clinics and what time the will be held, please consult our Middle School Web page here.

A Second Conversation on Bullying Behaviors

Coming off a very successful meeting on October 11 covering the topis of Bullying Behaviors, we are planning on a second “Conversation” on Thursday evening, November 1 at 6:30 in the GMS Library.

During the first meeting we had some great suggestions about how we can address these behaviors as a community. I think we decided that it truly does take a Village to educate our kids and we all recognized that this is a concern everywhere, and Gorham is no exception.

I have collected some resources that I will share here, that we can use to help frame our discussions. If you have any other information that you think could help our conversation, please send it to me and I will get it distributed to the community.

Looking forward seeing as many of you as we can on Thursday, November 1st.

Learning Team Work

I must really say that I am very impressed with the comments that many of the learning teams have about “The Fork Debate”. I think that everyone is beginning to see the point of the rather pointless reading. Dealing with the important items in each of these learning teams will be significant, but we can easily go astray if we dwell on the not-so-important items.

For those teams who still haven’t uploaded the notes, please do so soon. Also, for our work on Thursday, each team should choose a reading or video that they will discuss. We will have a protocol that we would like all teams to follow. The protocol will be uploaded to the wiki by Wednesday.

The Homework Dilemma

This has been an age old problem. I mean really, really age old problem. So old, in fact, that I remember my parents struggling with this dilemma (mostly because I refused to to my homework!) and whether it really provided me with additional learning, or was this work just “make-work” work that had very little to do with my overall learning in school.

There are several “camps” about this topic, ranging from those who believe that homework is essential to increased student achievement to those who believe that it has no impact on student achievement and is given just to retain power over students, and families.

On the web site Edutopia.org, Lisa Morehouse offers an interesting view of homework. Lisa is a former Middle School and High School teacher who is currently a journalist for Public Radio. She speaks to her homework protocols that she used during her teaching career at an urban school with issues around socioeconomic equity and a lack of resources for students.

The article is thought provoking and it does examine both sides of the issue with thoughtfulness and insight. You can check out the article here.

Chinese Language and Culture Opportunities

The School of Education and Human Development at the University of Southern Maine is offering several opportunities for adults and children to learn more about the language and culture of China. The University is hosting two faculty members from Jiang-Xi University of Science and Technology Chinese Language Center and they will offer Chinese for Beginners, a workshop for beginners with little or no knowledge of Chinese Language. This workshop will focus on Chinese phonetics, tones, basic words, grammar and sentence structure.

This workshop will be offered on Mondays and Wednesdays from October 22nd (tonight) through December 19. The workshops begin at 5:30 until 7:00 pm on the Portland campus of the University.

The Second workshop is creative handcrafts including paper cutting, Chinese knotting, card making. Participants will create a variety of fun craft items while developing their imagination and creativity.

This workshop runs on Tuesdays beginning November 20 and running through December 11, beginning at 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm on the Portland campus, as well.

For more information, please give me a call.

Opportunity Alliance Tip of the Month

A Gentle Reminder from School Kids

I came across this video that reminds us all to do our civic duty and vote on November6th. This Youtube video has gone somewhat viral, so forgive me if you’ve seen this.