The Squire

December 2019

Westbrook Middle School

Taylor P. Wrye, Principal

Amy Gallagher, Lead Teacher

Important Dates


6 - Grade 8 Field Trip to Newport, RI

10 - Board of Education Meeting @ 7 pm

11 - Computer Science Day / Hour of Code

13 - CCMC PJ Day

16 - Youth Awareness Day

23 - 12:15 Dismissal for all WMS students

24 to 31 - No School - December Vacation


1 - No School - New Years Day

14 - Board of Education Meeting @ 7 pm

17 - End of Q2

20 - No School - MLK Day

21 - Q3 Starts

31 - Logic Block


6 - 12:15 Dismissal - Professional Development

11 - Board of Education Meeting @ 7 pm

14 - WMS Annual Spelling Bee

17 -18 - No School - Presidents Day Vacation

28 - Logic Block

The Principal's Desk

Hello Westbrook Families,

This month our Middle School students have been actively participating in various Westbrook community events and projects. I am genuinely impressed and proud of the giving spirit that the students and families of WMS have shown this season. The Student Council collected 1,473 pounds of non-perishable goods for the local food pantry. We have our annual giving tree located in the main lobby to support local families in need. Next week, the student council will be hosting a PJ Day to raise money for the children at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. It is always impressive to see the positive impact that the Middle School has on the Westbrook community, further cementing our connectedness to this wonderful town.

Westbrook Middle School will be hosting the second annual school-wide celebration entitled The Hour of Code, in recognition of Computer Science week. All four grade levels will write code that can program dance moves for their avatars and created new Google logos, in addition to many other exciting code-directed activities. We hope to engage all students and excite everyone to join the world of Computer Science.

Cold weather is here, and I want to remind everyone that there is no adult supervision in the building until 7:30 am when the main doors open. Please avoid dropping your students off before 7:30 am to protect everyone from unnecessary exposure to the cold. There are parking spaces in the lower lot available for you to wait with your children until the main doors open.

As always, we encourage you to regularly check your child's grades on Powerschool and his/her assignments on Google Classroom. It is essential to review and stay up to date on your child’s work. The second quarter ends in January, and students will receive their new second semester schedules after we return from winter break. If you have any questions about your child’s progress in any class, please contact the grade level Team Leader or Amy Spagone, our school counselor, to schedule an appointment.

As we wrap up 2019, I want to thank all of you for your continued commitment to Westbrook Middle School. The successes we have experienced since the opening of this school year owes a great deal to our students, teachers, and families. I want to wish all of you a restful winter break and hope you enjoy your time with each other.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Taylor P. Wrye, Principal

Westbrook Middle School Student Council Food Drive!

The WMS Student Council Food Drive ended last week with great success! They were able to fill Mr. Abbott's truck with 1473 lbs of non-perishable food items to the delight of the St. Mark's Food Pantry! The homeroom with the most donations was that of Mrs. Magnano, 6th Grade. Several of our students and staff were welcomed at St. Mark's with our delivery!

The Giving Tree

Westbrook Middle School will once again be supporting children this holiday season through the Westbrook Youth and Family Holiday Giving Program. We are inviting you to make a contribution to brighten the spirits of a local family in need. Contributions can be made by selecting an ornament listing a gift or toiletry item, from the Giving Tree. All contributions can be dropped off in the boxes under the Giving Tree, located at the main entrance of the middle school. Please do not wrap the gifts and remember to return your mitten with your contribution, for tracking purposes. Contributions need to be turned in by December 18th. As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions at 399-2010. Thank you in advance for your kindness, caring and generosity this holiday season!

Amy Spagone


On Friday, December 13th students will be encouraged to wear their school appropriate pajamas to school in support of all the children at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. In order to help these students we as for a suggested donation of 1 dollar that will be collected on Friday morning. If you and your family would like to make a donation please use the link below to access the WMS CCMC page.
PJ Day for the Kids 2018

Youth Awareness Day

Youth Awareness Day is right around the corner on December 16th! Students in grades 5-8 will rotate through sessions designed to promote physical and emotional wellness, by providing them healthy options to cope with life stressors.

Thank you for your contributions to our Giving Tree! Your generosity is helping many families in need, this holiday season!

Logic Block

Reminders from the Main Office

  • If you receive a call from the school, please check your voicemail before calling into the school not knowing who called you; that way we can put you in touch w/the proper person as soon as possible.

  • Please advise us of absences/tardies/early dismissals as soon as possible for our early morning attendance report

  • The lost/found piles are getting large again! Please ask your child to check the cafeteria for clothing items/lunch boxes/backpacks and the office for small items such as jewelry/phones/glasses. We will be donating items not claimed after the holiday break.


Health Office News

Flu Season is upon us.

Please be aware that the WMS and the WHS have a population of students and staff who are at high risk for developing flu related complications. The flu can be deadly for the old, young, and people with compromised immune systems. On behalf of our high risk population, I ask for people to be responsible and do not enter the school with flu-like symptoms.

Schools are a prime location for the flu virus to spread. It is hard to prevent kids from getting the flu this time of year for various reasons. The flu virus is spread by respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, and talking. Droplets can spread up to six feet away and land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. It can also be spread by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

Complications of the flu virus can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

Home remedies

Nothing can cure a cold or the flu, but there are some remedies that might help ease your symptoms and keep you from feeling so miserable. If you catch a cold, you can expect to be sick for one to two weeks. That doesn't mean you have to be miserable. These remedies might help you feel better:

Stay hydrated. Water, juice, clear broth or warm lemon water with honey helps loosen congestion and prevents dehydration. Avoid alcohol, coffee and caffeinated sodas, which can make dehydration worse.

Rest. Your body needs to heal.

Soothe a sore throat. A saltwater gargle — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water — can temporarily relieve a sore or scratchy throat and decreases bacteria in throat and mouth. You can also try ice chips or sore throat sprays or lozenges.

Combat stuffiness. Over-the-counter saline nasal drops and sprays can help relieve stuffiness and congestion. A neti pot is a container with a spout designed to rinse debris or mucus from your nasal cavity. You might use a neti pot to treat symptoms of nasal allergies too.

Relieve pain. For children older than 6 months, give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Ask your child's doctor for the correct dose for your child's age and weight. Adults can take acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or aspirin. **Use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Though aspirin is approved for use in children older than age 3, children and teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin. This is because aspirin has been linked to Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, in such children. **

Relieve coughs. Drinking tea or warm lemon water mixed with honey is a time-honored way to soothe a sore throat. But honey alone may be an effective cough suppressant, take a teaspoon at bedtime. Never give honey to a child younger than age 1.

Sip warm liquids. A cold remedy used in many cultures, taking in warm liquids, such as chicken soup, tea, or warm apple juice, might be soothing and might ease congestion by increasing mucus flow.

Add moisture to the air. A cool mist vaporizer or humidifier can add moisture to your home, which might help loosen congestion. Change the water daily, and clean the unit according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Try over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medications. For adults and children older than 5, OTC decongestants, antihistamines and pain relievers might offer some symptom relief. However, they won't prevent a cold or shorten its duration, and most have some side effects. **Take medications only as directed. Some cold remedies contain multiple ingredients, such as a decongestant plus a pain reliever, so read the labels of cold medications you take to make sure you're not taking too much of any medication.**

Vicks VapoRub: Vicks VapoRub temporarily relieves cough due to minor throat and bronchial irritation associated with the common cold. It can also be used to temporarily relieve minor aches and pains in muscles and joints. Vicks VapoRub contains medicated vapors that enter the nose and mouth to help soothe a cough, ease nasal and chest congestion, and relieve headaches.


Important Update from the Health Advisor of Westbrook Public Schools

Dear Members of the Westbrook Schools Community:

We are on the verge of a crisis regarding our youth and their use of e-cigarettes. Serious health consequences of vaping are becoming readily apparent in increasing numbers. Recent reports list that vaping-related lung injuries are rapidly on the rise and to date have led to over 1,300 hospitalizations and 26 deaths across the country. These are startling statistics and we are only just seeing the beginning of a vaping-related health crisis. Young people are presenting to emergency departments in increasing numbers with a clinical presentation that mimics pneumonia: severe cough, shortness of breath and chest pain. The actual lung injury is called pneumonitis – or lung inflammation – caused as a direct result of repeated exposure to heated vapor. It is suspected by the experts that in some cases this lung injury may be irreversible. What is striking is how fast lung injury can occur with vaping. With standard cigarettes the health dangers are indeed real but typically take many years to manifest.

The challenge is huge as we strive to get this crisis under control. Consider the following: Among U.S. youth, rates of e-cigarette use surpassed rates of traditional cigarette use in 2014. As of 2017, one in five high school students reported using e-cigarettes. A recent study demonstrated that among teens who have never smoked, the odds of smoking initiation are three to six times greater in those who have ever used e-cigarettes than in those who have never used e-cigarettes. These are very startling facts indeed.

Aside from the potential consequence of severe lung injury, we also know this about vaping:

Vaping directly puts nicotine into the body and nicotine is highly addictive. Over time nicotine can slow brain development in kids and teens and adversely affect memory, concentration, learning, self-control, attention and mood. Chronic vaping can also increase the risk of other types of addiction in adulthood.

How can parents and educators help going forward? There is much that can be done:

  1. Educate your child/student on the severe health problems that can occur with vaping, most notably irreversible lung injury. There are many online resources available, some of which are listed below.

  2. If your child/student is actively vaping seek guidance from your health care provider to assist you in formulating a quit plan. It will be vital that you lend your support as your child tries to quit. Understand that nicotine addiction is very real and quitting can be a difficult undertaking.

  3. Set a good example by taking care of your own health. If you smoke or vape, make the commitment to quit.

An excellent highly comprehensive overview of this crisis –“Surgeon General’s Advisory on E-cigarette Use Among Youth”- has been issued by the Office of the Surgeon General of the United States, available through this link: I strongly encourage you to read it.

Thank you for giving your attention to this very vital health matter that concerns the health of our children.


Adam E. Perrin, MD

Health Advisor, Westbrook Schools

Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine

University of Connecticut School of Medicine


Spanish - Señora Cassidy

5th Grade

Semester 1 students are wrapping up the food unit. They recently finished presenting their very own restaurant skits in Spanish using new vocabulary.

6th Grade

Students have been working hard on activities they like and don’t like to do with friends. They have incorporated readings, videos, and dialogue in the classroom.

7th Grade

Students recently embraced the culture of Puerto Rico through videos and readings. They are now recycling old grammar rules and applying them to more types of verbs in the present tense.

8th Grade Spanish with Sra. Ferro

Students are perfecting their Spanish using chat stations seen in the photos below. Each station has different questions about the topic we are discussing, in this case, planning a party. They also have the flexibility to ask their own questions. After the party planning vocabulary, we started household chores and then command forms. Students made posters to advertise items that they wanted people to buy using command forms. We are currently talking about our favorite sports and what we like to play and watch on TV. We will be reviewing for the midterm exam in the upcoming weeks.

6th Grade Spanish with Sra. Ferro

Students just presented their skit on their favorite pastimes using flipgrid. They also created their own web-page using Google Sites. The web page is intended to help those that want to practice and learn about pastimes in Spanish. Students are currently working on the verb SER and will be doing a Google Slide project to help reinforce verb forms and use the verb properly in a sentence.

Google Sites Project Example:

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Grade 5: Students will review and learn conversational vocabulary and numbers 0-100. They will also begin to work on a French Culture project in a slideshow format.

Grade 6: Students will learn classroom commands and be exposed to French history. They will explore French history and geography in a project format.

Grade 7: Students are wrapping up the unit on daily activities and likes and dislikes. They will soon move on to the French Café unit which will be concluded by the French Café.

Grade 8: Students will participate in a mini-play centering around school life to wrap up the unit on the same topic. Students will take a midterm exam prior to the end of marking period 2.

Caption for the pictures:

Grade 5 students presenting their skit. This was an opportunity for students to use what they have learned so far in context.

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Computer Science

Computer Science classes are continuing to work on various projects. Next week we will be participating in the Hour of Code in all 4 grades. The 5th graders are beginning to explore programming through a mechanical computer called the Turing Tumble. This marble based computer gets them away from screens and hands on to explore Input, Output, Process, and Store - the 4 functions of all computers. They use plastic “code” to move the marbles (red and blue to represent the 1s and 0s of binary). The goal is to create specific outcomes. 6th graders are almost done with their websites, and you will be amazed at the fabulous job they have done. We will share some samples in the next newsletter. 7th graders are just starting to design and code simple video games. I’m really excited to see what they come up with. We have some really talented programmers. And finally, 8th graders are working on their sections of the presentation video for the spring. We are looking for any photos or videos of their middle school experiences. If you have something you would like them to consider including, talk to your 8th grader, or email


“In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.”

-Vincent Van Gogh

The past month in art has been very rewarding for students.

Grade 5 skyped with Mr. Tyler Harman, a marine biologist specializing in coral research and the environment. Students were paired with Mr. Harman by the Boston Aquarium in Massachusetts. This skype session correlated with their perspective aquariums on display outside the library.

Students then began working on their line landscape watercolor paintings. This multi-leveled watercolor piece is full of high saturation, patterns and designs.

6th grade completed their cropped Pop Art candy pictures. Students researched a candy of choice and drew one part of the bar or bag by cropping their image. This helped students focus on fine details. These pictures come in a variety of mediums as students were able to choose what materials they thought correlated best with their pictures.

Additionally, grade 6 completed a cartoon strip inspired by American cartoonist Charles Shultz. Shultz was best known for the "Peanuts" comic strip he drew for decades for the New York Post.

Grade 7 completed their intertwining object drawings where they learned about tromp l'oeil, or “fool the eye” art. Students had to create an object or animals peeking through, being tangled, or pulling on the lines of a notebook paper. Although this was challenging, students did a wonderful job. You can see these pieces on display outside the unified arts hallway, take a look!

8th grade finished their independent projects where they were able to complete a project of their choosing. Students then moved onto A Twist on a Starry Night, where they had to change up this famous painting using pastels. These pieces came out wonderful as well, great job grade 8!

-Mrs. Cole

Family Consumer Sciences

Amazing things are happening in Family & Consumer Science class. All my classes have moved into their culinary units. Students are doing hands on work in a collaborative setting to produce quality products every day.

Through the act of learning how to cook, I hope to empower my students with the skills and knowledge to increase their wellness over their lifespan. Our health is our most important asset. What we put in our bodies is the foremost way for us to impact our health.

All our recipes can be found on each classes Google Classroom page. It is my hope that students share what they learn in class with their families at home.

In Wellness,

Erik Becker

Library News

Breakouts in the library! Students in 6th grade tested their knowledge of Charlotte Doyle, as well as math and library skills to be the first to solve the combinations to unlock the multiple locks on the secured Breakout Box! Classes were divided into two teams to compete for the quickest time to break out! It was a great strategy and team-building activity!

Rumble in the library! Dressed up as socs and greasers, with era music playing in the background, eighth graders were up to challenge of being the team that completed the Breakout Box in the least amount of time. Students solved puzzles based on the novel, The Outsiders, along with library skills that took them on a scavenger hunt of the media center to be the first to figure out all the combinations to the locks.

Congratulations to our 6th graders who had the highest participation with 96% of students handing in the Governor’s Reading Challenge. They celebrated with a pajama day with reading in the library during their language arts class! Overall, we had 85% participation this year. Great job!

NBA – Nutmeg Book Award continues until April 2020 when students choose their favorite of the ten nominees in each category Intermediate (Grades 4 – 6) and Middle(Grades 7 & 8). We have students that have also read from the Teen (high school) category! A few of the books have sequels, so if you want to continue the adventure – come on down and check one out!

It’s that time of year when we reflect on how to better ourselves with habits or work towards a specific goal for the year (read 30 books). It’s been said that after 21 days in a row of repeating something, good or bad, forms a habit. After exercising and eating healthier, reading more was the next most popular chosen goal - all habits for a healthy body and mind!

There are different strategies to create a reading habit. An article by Nick Wignall listed nineteen different tips. Here are some of my favorites with the first being to always have a “book on deck”. While still in reading mode, your next book is ready to open. As a reminder to look for your next book, put a sticky note about two-thirds into the book you’re reading. When you get to that page, it’s time to find your next read and have it readily available to pick up. That brings us to another tip of creating a bucket list of books you want to read.

A great way to actually see your habit develop is by tracking the books you have read. Seeing your progress increases our motivation to read. Wignall introduces the Seinfeld Method of tracking your reading developed by comedian, Jerry Seinfeld. Here is how it works. Get a calendar that you see every day. Each day that you read, mark the day with green or blue marker. A day you don’t read, draw a red “X” in that day. Don’t get discouraged by the red “X” on the day. Count the number of days you read in a row and try to beat that with more reading days. The reason this method works to create a habit is because your results are in view. Seeing an “X” is the opposite of an incentive and makes you want to read the next day for the green or blue mark. Tracking your activity makes a game of it and more enjoyable (Wignall). Don’t wait until January, start the habit of reading today!

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books

is the best of all.”

– Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Happy Reading!

Mrs. Goad

Physical Education & Health with Mr. Gombos

5th grade PE we are still working on our fitness testing, and moving into our badminton unit.
8th grade PE we have transitioned to basketball and badminton perspectively. We will also finish up fitness testing this month.

6th-Grade Health students have wrapped up their drug-free pledge and are starting to do drug and alcohol research for a presentation. Here they focus on decision making and outcomes of drug use and how they will stay drug-free.

7th-grade Health students have completed the learning about the science behind addiction, dangers of prescription opioid abuse and then creating a PSA focusing on ending the epidemic.

A special congratulations to Jack O, Selena E and Megan B for their amazing presentation to the board of ed about their projects. A sample is below:

to see it have your student log into google and it will give you access.

Physical Education & Health with Mr. Marshall

This month we finished our outdoor units of tennis and soccer and have moved into the gym for the winter months. We have played badminton singles and doubles tournaments and will be moving to basketball to finish up before the holiday break. Student should also be ready for another round of fitness testing before the holiday break. Good luck!

In health classes students in 8th grade have been learning the reproductive system, how it works and how to keep it healthy. We also learned about diseases and issues with the reproductive system as well as how to prevent these issues.

In 5th grade health we have been learning about diseases and disease prevention. They are learning about how their choices can affect their health and the influences of certain risk factors on their health. We will be slitting the boys and girls for a talk about puberty before the holiday break. We will be sending a letter home in the coming weeks to give you more information as well as a link to the video that we use.

Notes from the Band Room

It has been a busy month for music. Students have been engaged in lessons and rehearsals and have been learning how to better read and play on their instruments. Students are gearing up for the Winter Concerts. Here are some of the songs that students are excited to perform at the concerts:

5th Grade: Mary Had A Jazzy Lamb and Snazzy Bells

6th Grade: Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho and Jamaican Farewell

7th and 8th Grade: Cockles and Mussels and Brown Eyed Girl

Jazz Band: Feliz Navidad

We are very excited to demonstrate our learning for everyone at the concerts!

Notes from the Chorus Room

The chorus room has been very active this past month with preparations for our concerts, Southern Region Auditions and Tree Lighting Events.

We wish the best of luck to Connor B., Nora S., Gabrielle W., Selina E., Michael S., Tatiana B., Ayla C., Katie F., Alyssa L., and Cooper W. who are going to the Southern Region Music Festival Auditions on Saturday. All of these students have shown perseverance in preparing the music for this upcoming day.

Students in the 5th, 6th, and 7th Grade performed at the Water’s Edge Annual Tree Lighting on Saturday, November 30. Below are some pictures from the event which was a success, and we had a lot of fun.

Students in grades 5-7 have also been invited to sing at the Westbrook Tree Lighting, this Sunday, December 8. We will be singing in the gazebo at 4:40 p.m. Students who wish to participate should meet me behind the gazebo at 4:25 p.m.

S.T.E.A.M. - Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math

Eighth Grade

Students are designing and building a wooden shelf.
Seventh Grade

Students are finalizing the S.T.E.A.M. Challenge course that incorporates simple machines they are learning about.

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Sixth Grade

Students are designing and making individual “Holiday” Gifts.

Fifth Grade

Students have designed and are Making Tic-Tac-Toe Gameboards.]

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In October and November, grade 5 Mathematicians worked diligently to master the fractional concept of adding and subtracting fractions and mixed numbers with unlike denominators using four main strategies. Students then created posters to depict these four strategies by showing their creative flair using clocks, money, ratio tables and double number lines to add and subtract fractions. The month of November ended after students were able to determine the Least Common Denominator to add and subtract fractions and mixed numbers, generate ratio tables to find the better buy, create equivalent fractions to compare fractions and to simplify fractions by dividing the numerator and the denominator by the same number.


Did you know that 97% of Earth's water is saltwater and less than 1% is drinkable freshwater.Grade 5 scientists created entertaining commercials to encourage the reduction of freshwater waste on our fragile planet.


In Language Arts we just finished reading Wonder. With this novel, students gained experience adding evidence to their writing by quoting accurately, as well as elaborating on specific details. Point of view, characterization, making inferences, conflict, theme, and author inspiration are just a few of the reading concepts that we focused on. While reading the novel we had many insightful discussions about being respectful, courteous and tolerant of others. Our Narrative Writing Unit is up next where we will focus on small moments in time. Students will read and analyze the mentor text, “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros to study the components of narrative writing techniques with dialogue and figurative language being focus areas.

Social Studies

In Social Studies we have been reading and learning about the thirteen British colonies. Currently, students are completing a research project where they have to answer several essential questions about their chosen colony. Research and note taking skills will be focused on with some help from Mrs. Goad. Students will share their information in the form of a pamphlet or Google slides and present to the class.


6th Grade field trip to Mystic Seaport

As a culmination activity after completing Avi’s exciting novel The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, students spent November 2nd at Mystic Seaport. During the visit, they experienced what life was like during the 1800s. The weather was perfect and students enjoyed a tour of the tall ship the Charles W. Morgan and visited a home similar to one that our characters in the novel may have lived in. A great time was had by everyone that attended!

Social Studies

During November we covered a wide range of topics in social studies. From religions around the world, to human rights violations, to natural resources and habitat preservation. Students were engaged in many forms of learning such as posters of a new religion, a quick journal about habitat preservation of the African elephant, maps of physical features as well as becoming aware of the many African countries. Soon we will begin our unit on Sub-saharan Africa which will focus on physical features of Africa, rainforests and resources, wildlife and migration of its people.


Break Out Box

On November 6th, grade six students worked in teams to solve their first “Breakout Box”. In a classroom breakout box activity, students must follow the directions carefully, use teamwork and collaboration, and apply critical thinking skills in order to find clues and solve puzzles to "break into" locked boxes. This challenging and engaging activity, similar to a scavenger hunt, combined a review of library skills as well as math and language arts concepts. This initial activity introduced students to strategies they will apply to the many education-based breakout boxes they will encounter over the next few years and also reinforced the necessary skills to succeed in and out of the classroom!

Group Poster Activity

After reading the novel, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi, students worked with partners to create a poster. Students were required to supply text evidence to support the theme, point of view, character traits for the main characters and point of view. This was a creative, collaborative, educational way to celebrate the completion of the novel.


Students have been working in the matter unit, conducting experiments and getting hands on application of content. We’ve spent time learning topics like elements and compounds, chemical changes and calculating density. Students spent time researching and using proper citation for their information gathered, displaying their final products in the classroom. Additionally, we created models of helium to showcase the different parts of the atom.


Students have been working on understanding the relationship between fractions, decimals and percents. This comes after several weeks of ratio work.

This is in preparation for percent problem solving.



Student have been reading novels dealing with various social issues and have recently completed putting together a text set and analysis based on one of their novel’s social issue or theme. In December and January, students will be writing small moment realistic fiction narratives.


The students are finishing their second math unit, multiplication and division of rational numbers. The students will start 2020 by integrating Units 1 and 2, when writing and solving two-step equations.


We are learning how plant structures and animal behaviors aid in successful reproduction. Our monthly stream surveys are giving students a chance to work outside and collect data. We will be going to the stream before the break. Project Oceanology students had a successful survey of harbor seals on their trip to “The Clumps” near Fisher’s Island.

Social Studies

Students have been traveling through Western European history at a very fast pace! After examining the cultures of Ancient Greece and Rome, students explored the Medieval Times, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment using the structure of the television show, Iron Chef. Students worked in groups to utilize a list of ingredients (online sources), a strict time frame (one class period) , and a secret ingredient (a challenge question) to create a Google slide presentation which students then presented. After we cleaned up, we moved to the first Industrial Revolution in Europe and then the French Revolution where students created One-Pagers on a topic of their choice. Most recently, students completed an interactive online project on World War I, and we are ending 2019 learning about World War II. Next up for 2020? Eastern Europe!



This month 8th graders finished reading S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and competed in an escape room-style breakout box challenge while dressed as greasers and Socs. Students are just finishing up their first round of literary analysis essays, and we are gearing up for our dystopian book clubs.

We are currently averaging over seven books read per student so far this year. Books make great holiday presents. Parents, feel free to email Mrs. Fredrickson if you need any ideas for books your child might like for the holidays.


We solved our “Culinary Mystery” in 8th grade science this past month! Through our investigations, hands-on labs, and chemistry lessons we concluded that baking soda was the mystery substance! Students had fun in the lab investigating different substances found in the kitchen, as well as investigating the culinary crime!

We have also shared current events in science, working on science literacy and obtaining important information from these articles and short videos. At the same time our students are working on their presentation skills and using google slides. Ask your children about their current event, or share about one you heard on the news! Our continued goal in 8th grade science is to learn about many science careers and current topics, and to realize that science exists all around us, every single day!

Lastly, we have completed two periodic table puzzles, and a few others! Throughout the school year 8th grade students can always find a jigsaw puzzle to work on in my classroom during homeroom, or has become a hit!


Grade eight math students are studying the Pythagorean Theorem. They have been strengthening their critical thinking and reasoning skills by solving multi-step problems involving right triangles. Algebra I students recently concluded their Real Number Unit. They studied perfect squares and square roots, perfect cubes and cube roots, rational and irrational numbers, properties of exponents, and scientific notation. In the picture below, students are working together to build "perfect cube" towers.

Social Studies

On the first Friday of December, the 8th grade students concluded their learning about the Gilded Age by visiting two mansions in Newport, RI. Students were able to see first hand the lifestyle of the Captains of Industry while touring the Breakers, built by the Vanderbilt family and the Elms, built by the Berwind family who made their fortune in the coal industry. After the tours, the students and chaperones enjoyed lunch at the Red Parrot.
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Extra Curricular Activities

Math Olympiads

Math Olympiads Afterschool Club for 5th and 6th grade

An exciting new afterschool math club for 5th and 6th grade students began on Tuesday, November 12th. Math Olympiads is a national math competition that provides students with the opportunity to engage in creative problem solving activities. The program consists of five contests as well as practice sessions throughout the winter. The questions are fun, enriching, and intellectually stimulating math problems that encourage students to develop their ability to reason, use logic, and be resourceful. Math Olympiads is open to all 5th and 6th grade students this year.

Math Olympiads will meet on Tuesday afternoons from 2:30-3:15 through the middle of March. Contests will be held during our club meeting time. On the alternate weeks, students will practice with previously used contest questions. Students are not required to attend every Tuesday, but it is helpful to attend as often as possible.

Please contact Brenda Maselli ( with any questions.

Student Council

Student Council: Piper Selmont (president), Norah Hayden (vice-president), Selina Erekson (treasurer), Senora St.Onge (secretary)

Upcoming events: Hot Cocoa Social, 7th and 8th grade school dance on Dec. 13th

PJ Day to support children battling cancer on Dec. 13th

Recent events: Hi, I am Piper Selmont, Westbrook Middle School’s 2019-2020 class president. With over 1,000 pounds of non-perishable food items donated to us, I think we can say the Fill-A-Truck food drive was a success! Last week, Mr. Abbott’s tech class had a blast traveling to the church to help deliver the food items and organize them! I believe that the whole school feels very accomplished with what we have done to help out the community, and to know that we are supporting so many families in need.

Food drive results:
Fill Mr. Abbott’s Truck was a success with 1473 lbs of non-perishable food items which were donated to St. Mark’s Food Pantry. Thank you to all who contributed.

Drama Club

The Drama Club is excited to announce that our spring musical is the fractured fairytale Princess Whatsername. This hilarious tongue in cheek comedy is sure to entertain and amuse. We are currently in the process of auditions and will be announcing the cast next week. The club is also going to be fundraising to help replace and expand our sound system. We will be looking for ideas and parental volunteers to help fundraise. Please contact or if you have questions or are willing to help out.
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WMS Girls Soccer

The WMS Girls Soccer team led by Head Coach Kelly Landino and assisted by Brittany Palermo worked hard all season to overcome a late start, improving all season and led by a very strong 8th grade class. As the season went on, the team allowed less goals scored behind the great play of Miranda Perrone-Gray in goal. Early in the season, we lost key player Kayla Prisley to an injury but she returned late in the season to finish out her 8th grade year. The team was led all season by strong play from Emma Bransfield, Simone Morris and Leticia Pires creating a strong defense. Hannah Freund kept balance at the midfield while Emily Downie charged the offense at forward. The team felt the loss all season of injured 8th grader Olivia Palumbo and looks forward to her return to the pitch for her high school career.

Our record does not show the improvement we experienced throughout the season. The girls worked hard on skills and team play and became more competitive as the season went on. We had strong leadership from the 8th grade class as the younger kids found their way and place on the field.

WMS Field Hockey

WMS Field Hockey

The WMS Field Hockey team under the leadership of Head Coach Abigail Fredrickson and assistant coach Kara Lesandrine showed tremendous growth this season. With only one returning 8th-grader and two returning 6th-graders, this new-to-the-sport team worked hard to learn the fundamentals of the game. The nineteen girls that came out this season showed an eagerness to learn and improve and have committed to honing their skills in the off-season. Many of the girls have attended the high school's thrilling postseason games to see great field hockey in action. Our seven 8th-graders have amazing athletic potential and with practice will be a great addition to the high school squad next year. Coach Fredrickson and Coach Lesandrine are excited to have a full squad of girls returning next season and are thrilled that so many girls decided to try a sport for the first time! The field hockey team encourages girls who have never played to come give field hockey a try next fall. We'd love for you to join us!

WMS Boys Soccer

The WMS boys soccer team led by Head Coach Joe Campbell started the season by beating Jonathon Winthrop MS for the first time in years. Some said it was (15) but who’s counting! The team continued its strong play led by our (7) 8th graders and ran out to a 4-1 record to start. The second half of the season we struggled to score goals but we played hard and were in every game. The skill level and talent is deeper and the team showed they could possess the ball and have strong ball movement. A total of (6) different players scored this year, led by 8th graders Doug Perrone-Gray and Derek Novello.

The WMS Boys Soccer team experienced more success than past years and we are excited to send this 8th grade class to the high school.