The Bear Necessities

April 2021

Granby Memorial Middle School

Taylor P. Wrye, Principal

Heather A. Tanis, Assistant Principal

Important Events!


2 - No School - Good Friday

5 - GMMS Virtual Community Meeting @ 6 pm with Superintendent Grossman

12 to 16 - No School - April Vacation

29 - End of UA Cycle 6

30 - Start of UA Cycle 7


4 - ELA SBAC - All Grades

10 - Math SBAC Session 1 - All Grades

11 - Math SBAC Session 2 - All Grades

12 - Town Budget Hearing, 7:00 p.m., High School Auditorium/Zoom

13 - Science - Grade 8 Only

26 - Town-wide budget vote, 12:00-8:00 p.m.

28 - No School - Teacher Professional Development Day

31 - No School - Memorial Day

The Principal's Desk

April is one of my favorite months. The weather gets warmer, the days are getting longer, and my beloved Red Sox will take the field at Fenway Park in their home opener. It also means that we have successfully offered in-person learning for the past three-quarters of school. I want to thank all of you for following the guidelines and procedures. Now that we are on the home stretch, I want to ensure that we continue to follow these guidelines to have a successful end of the year for all of our students.

Superintendent Grossman will be joining the Quarter 4 GMMS Community Meeting (PAC) on Monday, April 5th, with the other three Granby schools to present the 2021/22 school budget. Please consider joining us via zoom at 6:00 pm. Contact Linda Powell at the Central Office ahead of time for the link

As always, please check PowerSchool for up-to-date information regarding your child’s progress and reach out to your child’s counselor or teacher with questions. I hope that everyone has a wonderful and restful April Vacation.

Taylor Wrye

GMMS Main Office Memo

If you ordered photos through life touch this year and have not received them, please contact the main office.

School Health Clinic News


Section 10-206 of the Connecticut General Statutes requires that “all students enrolled in the public schools have a health examination by a legally qualified practitioner of medicine. For 6th graders in the Granby School System, the required physical exam must be completed by the child’s physician after the last day of 5th grade (June 16, 2020) and submitted to the school prior to the first day of 7th grade (August 26, 2021) If your child has not had the required physical exam yet, please download the 3-page Health Assessment Record from the clinic web page, or request a copy of the blue form from your school clinic, and schedule a physical. The first page is to be filled out by the parent, and the physician completes the rest.

If your child has already had his/her physical, please check your records or ask the physician if your student has met the immunization requirements. In most cases, it is easy to schedule a quick office visit for an immunization only. There are 2 required immunizations for all 7th graders. These are the Tdap and Meningococcal.

The physical examination is a condition of enrollment and MUST include the following (starred areas on the form):

  1. Height and weight

  2. Blood pressure, pulse

  3. Hematocrit or Hemoglobin

  4. Immunization Record (completed dates M/D/Y)

  5. Screenings (Vision, Hearing, and Postural)

  6. Gross Dental

  7. Immunization requirements, starred on the form.

  8. Chronic Disease Assessment

Please note: Children are not permitted to begin grade 7 without having had the state-mandated physical. Completed physicals may be turned in to the clinic at any time. They may also be emailed to or faxed to 860-413-3854. After the end of the school year, forms not already turned in should be mailed to the middle school care of the nurse.

If you have any questions please call the nurse at 860-844-3038


Students are encouraged to carry water bottles in school. There are refilling stations in designated areas of the school which students are allowed to refill their water bottles as needed. They should only carry water, no juice, soda, energy drinks etc… As a reminder, the water bottle should be labeled with the student’s name and there should be absolutely NO SHARING of water bottles.

Schoolwide Enrichment with Mrs. Cowles

Our Schoolwide Enrichment Model consists of a triad made up of Type I/II/III experiences for students. So what exactly is a Type II enrichment experience? A Type II includes the development of thinking, investigative, and personal skills. It is the “knowledge how” component of enrichment, the process skill(s) needed to pursue independent investigations. Think of a Type II as related to learning how to grow plants. You may first have knowledge about plants, but before you can actually germinate seeds and develop a garden, you need to learn how to take on the project. Type II Enrichment provides the instructional methods and materials designed to promote the development of thinking and feeling processes. It can be planned, include skill instruction, develop from student interests generated from a Type I exposure, or develop from a need related to a Type III investigation. Objectives include: 1) develop creative problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making; 2) develop skills such as sensing, appreciating and valuing; 3) develop and practice a variety of how-to skills such as note taking, interviewing, or analyzing data; 4) develop advanced research skills such as using online databases, researching directories, or reviewing abstracts; and 5) develop oral, written, and visual communication skills directed toward maximizing the impact of students’ products.

Renzulli, J. S., & Reis, S. M. (2014). The Schoolwide Enrichment Model: A How-to Guide for Talent Development.

Cartier Hightower/Type II/Osteology & Radiology

Waco, TX: Prufrock Press (p 127).

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Science 8

In eighth grade, students are exploring the properties of motion. Our physics unit includes experiments using wooden car and ramp design kits, with precise timers and photogates. We are investigating: gravity, inclined planes, acceleration, time, distance, speed, velocity, friction, force, inertia, mass and energy. Using these properties, how do we measure and describe the world around us? Newton’s laws of motion, experimental design and graphing skills are also highlighted in this unit.

Embracing the recent beautiful weather, students incorporated components of the scientific method in creating personally designed experiments with chalk and match box cars.

Algebra I

Mrs. Marzo’s Algebra 1 class is currently studying Exponent Rules and will be moving on to look at Polynomial Functions in the upcoming week. Students have been examining the properties of exponents and learning how to simplify complex algebraic expressions using those properties. This skill will prove very handy as we move into working with Polynomial Expressions and Equations.

Ms. Bilbo's Algebra 1 is at the end of the Exponential Functions Unit. We will be starting our last unit: Quadratic Functions at the start of Q4. Here are a few awesome work examples from Ms. Bilbo's remote Algebra classes.

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Algebra A

Mrs. Marzo’s Algebra A class recently completed their unit on Linear Functions and is currently reviewing their understanding of linear concepts, as we prepare to start the next unit on Systems of Linear Equations. We have been using the DESMOS tool to analyze SLOPE and INTERCEPTS, as shown in the picture below:

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Ms. Bilbo's Algebra A students have completed the Linear Functions unit and a portion of the Descriptive Statistics Unit. We will be starting our final unit: Systems of Equations at the start of quarter 4. Here are some great work examples from Ms. Bilbo's remote and in-person students!
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In eighth grade, students are beginning their fifth unit of study which focuses on evaluating and designing credible arguments. Students will read a variety of pro/con articles as well as speeches and advertisements to become well versed in the use of ethos, pathos, and logos.

Soon after, students will read a selection of dystopian short stories and begin a full class read of The Giver so that they can practice the art of literary argument. Discussion will be heavily focused on the way the author's craft impacts the reader.

Students will also be responsible for reading one of many offered dystopian books and will be held accountable through weekly discussions and activity checkpoints.

Students will wrap up by writing a literary analysis in which they argue the qualities of good literature, referring to texts examined in the unit.

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Social Studies 8

Grade 8 students completed presentation projects on the American Civil War and shared them with the class. Students are also working on revising and retooling their research for their capstone project. From now until April Break, students will be revising and outlining their capstone project notes to develop a specific thesis for their paper. Our goal is to wrap up the majority of the project in the next month. To support your child, please check in with them about their capstone project. Ask them about their topic, the problem they hope to solve, and what solutions experts posit as the best way to tackle the different problems they research.

Below are two examples of a Jamboard and a Google Slides presentation 8th Grade students created to teach their classmates about the Election of 1864. The first is a creative newspaper article students wrote as if they were reporters during the Civil War. The second is a slide explaining the importance of the 1864 Election.

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Science 7

In seventh grade, students will examine the flow of energy and the cycling of matter in ecosystems. Early in the unit, students will design a Plant Experiment to see how the amount of light affects the ability of a plant to cycle matter and use their data as evidence in their final writing piece. Students will demonstrate understanding by creating a model of an ecosystem to predict how the flow of energy and the cycling of matter might be affected by a disruption to the ecosystem. Finally, students will answer the question, “How would an ash cloud affect the flow of energy, cycling of Matter and the organisms in an ecosystem?”

Owl Pellet Dissection - How many animals does an owl eat in one day?

Math 7

Students have just begun a new unit on Algebraic Reasoning. This unit holds key skills and concepts that lay the foundation work for upper-level math courses. Students are reviewing the difference between equations, expressions, and inequalities. Students have been learning to simplify algebraic expressions by combining like terms, distributing, and factoring. In the coming week, students will learn how to use inverse operations to solve unknown variables in algebraic equations. There is a lot of vocabulary students need to know in this unit such as variable, coefficient, constant, and term. Students are encouraged to use the math vocabulary taught to explain how to simplify expressions and solve equations. Have your child “teach” you how to simplify an algebraic expression by pulling up their work on Google Classroom! As a side note, calculators are allowed and encouraged to be used on this unit, which helps students focus on the algebraic steps. As we begin the last quarter of the year, if possible, please equip your student with a new pack of pencils for their calculations! Continue to remind your students to practice social distancing and Covid safety protocols, as pictured below.

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In seventh grade, students are finishing up their book club unit. They are focusing on how the setting and conflict of a story impacts the character, as well as, starting to analyze quotes to further understand the author’s purpose. The kids are really enjoying their books and coming up with some great ideas in their discussions.

After we wrap-up book clubs we will transition into an argumentative writing unit. Students will develop their argument skills through a series of writing lessons and activities tied to the topic of young people making their voices heard and creating change using the power of their voices.

Social Studies 7

Grade 7 students have been studying Africa. Students began the unit by learning the countries of Africa (yes, Africa itself is not a country!) and it’s physical characteristics. They then created a Google Earth tour of notable physical features of the continent. If you’re feeling the travel bug, check out this amazing Google Earth tour linked here created by 7th grade student Sofia Brenson. Next, students learned about Africa’s history, specifically its colonial past and European imperialism by creating and presenting a case arguing for European payment of reparations to past colonial territories. Finally, we will end the unit with a study of South Africa, aparthied, and Nelson Mandela. Our next unit will be on the Middle east.


Science 6

In April, sixth grade science classes will complete their presentations on their topic of choice about the human body and begin a unit on how species survive, interact, and continue to exist through time. This will involve observing bees and dissecting flowers (maybe virtually), as well as learning the basics of genetics.

Math 6

Sixth graders are finishing up the Introduction to Rational Numbers unit. This unit has set a great foundation for the work that students will be doing in seventh grade with negative rational number operations. In the month of March, we learned about absolute value and a number’s distance from zero. We made connections between absolute value/distance on a number line to distance on a map and in real life. Students used this knowledge to also find the distance between points on a coordinate plane. We enjoyed creating pictures on coordinate planes while practicing how to plot points in all four quadrants. Students came up with “tricks” to remember how to plot points on a coordinate plane. For example, we should “run” (move along the x-axis) before we “jump” (move along the y-axis). Tricks such as this

one greatly helped students not mix up their coordinates. Finally, students explored Manhattan on Google Maps where they made observations of how its layout is similar to a coordinate grid. Students noticed how the streets were all parallel and perpendicular to each other and that they were in numerical order. Exploring the map of Manhattan helped students understand why we learn how to plot points and where they may see something similar in real life.

Mrs. Boivin’s students also participated in an Escape Room to review for their Summative Assessment. Students had 60 minutes to solve the math puzzles and work with their group to “escape”. Below are the first place winners of each class period as well a very collaborative group working with a student remotely.

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In sixth grade, students have finished up writing an informational piece about someone they consider a hero. They examined the elements of a newspaper article and created their own news article. Here is an example.

We have been learning and practicing different reading strategies to help us understand nonfiction - for example - analyzing numbers and statistics, different kinds of quotes, and taking a questioning stance in everything we read.

Using these reading strategies, we are starting to examine arguments - finding claims, reasons, and evidence in current nonfiction. We will be writing and defending our own claims this month.

Social Studies 6

Students in grade six have continued studying China. They began the unit with an overview of the geography of China and its neighbors and then moved on to a study of ancient China. Students created “Ancient China on a Page” projects in which they visually depicted key concepts of their interests related to Ancient China. Next, they studied the Great Wall of China, took a virtual tour of the Great Wall with our new VR goggles, and authored their own children's books about the Great Wall. We will close the unit by studying the Silk Road, Confucianism, and finally modern China.

Here are a few links to websites for good reads about Asian countries, including China, for middle schoolers:


Mandarin Chinese 6 with Ms. Yu

The attached photos are some student works from the previous 12 Chinese zodiac projects. The Students needed to use an online website to find out the animation stroke order of each word and labeled them on the Chinese zodiac vocab. Also, they learned how to write 12 Chinese zodiac vocab with rules of stroke order.

In April, we will continue to learn more about Chinese radicals, the building blocks of many Chinese words. We will explore how to find the original stories and meanings of radicals, because radials are picture-like, and they all have special hidden stories behind each of them.

Chinese 7 & 8 with Miss Zhang

- YouTube
- YouTube


6th grade: Recently we have been working on answering the question “Quand” (When) in a variety of ways that include days, months and seasons. Listen to the awesome voices and rhythm of this 6th grade class as they sing the days of the week to the tune of “The Addams Family”.

7th grade: Chic, à la mode, boutique: These are just some of the words that we are currently studying in our unit on Les vêtements (Clothing). Students have been able to create and describe outfits based upon various situations. In the next few months, we will look into shopping for clothing and accessories on French websites and creating our own fashion shows!

Adam Sandler porte des lunettes, un tee-shirt jaune, et un bracelet. Il porte aussi une ceinture chic, un pantalon gris, et une montre chère.
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8th grade: Currently, 8th grade students are working to make connections from vocabulary across units and unwrap familiar grammatical concepts associated with verbs. In our writing, we are beginning to elaborate with increased accuracy and detail.
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6th Grade Spanish students completed our unit on La Corrida de Toros, which included a writing challenge at individuals' proficiency levels (see attached). We also completed our unit "Siéntate". The core vocabulary structures include: "se sienta, se levanta, & le grita." Students were excited to receive pen pal pamphlets from 6th graders at Santa María del Mar school, allowing us to discuss the tradition of Carnaval in the city of A Coruña, Spain. Students have also been exploring Spanish music and expressing their preferences (and why) through the annual Locura de Marzo contest.

7th Grade students completed the Capibara con Botas novela, incorporating some fun readers' theater activities (photo), and completed a writing assessment at individuals' proficiency levels (see attached). We completed our unit El Lobo Hambriento (The Hungry Wolf), and have begun a unit talking about our school schedules. Students have also been exploring Spanish music and expressing their preferences (and why) through the annual Locura de Marzo contest.

8th Grade students completed our unit "Vivimos Aquí'' (We Live Here), and are now discussing city life in our unit "Vamos al Centro" (Let's go Downtown), with a focus on exploring the beautiful city of Barcelona. 8th graders also created Flipgrid videos to Spanish pen pals talking about their likes and dislikes with a variety of new verb structures beyond "me gusta" and "me encanta". (See attached). Students have also been exploring Spanish music and expressing their preferences (and why) through the annual Locura de Marzo contest.

Mrs. Schaumburger Grade 8 Pen Pal


Visual Arts

We have entered the final Rotation of in person Art Class for the school year! Students have begun design projects in all 3 grades, and are excited to be working without Chrome Books! A nice break for them. This rotation will run from now until April 29th. The final round of Art classes will be with all of the Remote Learners, and I can’t wait to see everyone!

Please enjoy these Still Life drawings created by 7th grade students in Rotation 5.

Music News

The GMMS Performing Ensembles have been working hard on their fundamental singing and playing skills, socially distanced of course! The band and chorus classes have overcome many changes and challenges in the last few months, including the integration of courses into the school schedule, the extra distancing between music students in the classroom, and even purchasing PPE for instrumentalists – all to keep our students safe. We are grateful to have the opportunity to perform in school, and have been extra careful to follow (and even exceed) the current state guidelines.

Recently, the band and choir ensembles had the opportunity to assemble in the cafeteria and rehearse as a full group for the first time in a while! We recorded these performances and music parents will see these videos showing up in their email inboxes very soon!

If your child was asked to choose between band and chorus this year, we hope that they continue to play/sing outside of school and would love to welcome them back into our ensembles next year. Students can take BOTH band AND choir again! If they are interested, they will be able to select this as an option in power school in late May. Please let us know how we can support your child with this in any way!

Jazz Band meets after school on Mondays from 2:30 - 3:30.

Select Choir meets after school on Thursdays from 2:30 - 3:30.

Northern Regional Middle School Festival

GMMS had a wonderful representation with the CMEA Northern Region Festival Auditions this year! Students sent in their auditions virtually and were judged by professionals. We will let you know next month who was accepted! We are very proud of our participants:

Band: Joshua Davis (6th), August Mayle (6th), Abigail Heller (6th), Olivia Winbourne (6th), Nicholas Lopriore (7th), David Sigmund (7th), Haritha Ramesh (7th), Sofia Brenson (7th), Mariah Salvini (7th), Nairobi Mouning (8th), Nora Higgins (8th)

Chorus: Charlotte Baldwin (6th), Lauren de los Reyes (6th), Maryan Ivanynyuk (6th), Rachel Ehrenwerth (7th), Annie Baldwin (8th), Sierra Ashe (8th), Lily Heitman (8th), Sydney Henry (8th)

6th Grade General Music

6th Grade music students begin with a review of the fundamentals of music, and experience activities related to melody, harmony, tonality, rhythm, beat, tempo, dynamics, form, and timbre. Students will have the opportunity to play instruments like boomwhackers, xylophones, shakers, guiros, and “Home Depot buckets”. Over the course of the cycle, students will write 4 of their own original compositions and even perform some of them. The course wraps up with instruction on proper drumming technique, rhythm reading, and a brief history of Japanese Taiko drumming.

7th Grade General Music

Our 7th grade music students start with an entire unit about “listening”. They address questions like: How do we listen to music? What elements change when we change the genre of a song? How do composers express emotion in music, and how does that help them tell a story? The second unit addresses the global problem of “music piracy”. Students come away with knowledge on how to ethically and legally own music, and use the music that they own to create a one-of-a-kind album to “sell to the public”. Lastly, students will learn about how scientifically their voice can be used as an instrument.

Sienna DuBois won first place for Cycle 5!

Jameson McGovern won second place!

Sophia Maffucci won third place!

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8th Grade General Music

The 8th Grade music curriculum focuses on learning to play the classical guitar. Students will study several different genres of guitar repertoire: Blues, Spirituals, Folk songs, Patriotic, and Rock and Roll. Not only do will they experience 8+ chords and how to read a chord chart, but they learn the history and legacy of America’s music timeline, dating back to the Civil War!

Family and Consumer Science

Cycle 6

FCS began cycle 6 investigating the “farm to table” philosophy. Students researched local food sources where they could buy locally farmed foods. Students then created a six course menu using recipes that included ingredients that are grown and/or raised in or near CT. What a great job they did!

From there, students began practicing their cooking skills. In small groups and adhering to social distancing guidelines, students worked in the kitchens preparing healthy snacks; smoothies, and muffins and we will wrap up our cooking adventures with focaccia bread and pizza dough!

Moving forward, we will learn about MyPlate. We will also find the nutritional value of some recipes and how to read food labels. The cycle will end by investigating careers and learning some wise consumer skills.


In Media Class, students created pixel art using conditional formatting in a spreadsheet via google sheets. Their spreadsheet pixel art projects assigned cell and text colors to specific values with conditional formatting rules. As they completed this lesson, students learned and practiced the following digital skills:

  • Open, rename, and edit a new spreadsheet

  • Select and resize multiple cells, columns, and rows

  • Select and edit a range of cells, including rows, columns, and arrays of single cells

  • Apply formatting conditions to match background fill colors with text colors

  • Use the drag feature to quickly copy cell data horizontally or vertically

  • Use the paint format feature to quickly format a selection of cells

  • Use paste special features to paste formatting without values

  • Share a spreadsheet with others and grant editing privileges

  • Access, copy, and edit a spreadsheet that another person has shared

Technology Education

3D design is well underway in 6th grade Tech Ed! Students are generating designs for fidget spinners, door stops, and inventions! All these projects will help students build their skills in the area of 3 modelings and design, while also teaching them how additive manufacturing works!!!

Parents keep a close eye on PowerSchool as the course unfolds. Independent projects are well underway and they will be presenting these long-term projects to their classes on April 27th. Best of luck on these independent learning opportunities.

Have a great April break!

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We are now back to 2 full classes in the gymnasium during physical education classes! While numbers are up, creativity has been flowing to keep an engaging and meaningful physical education experience. Cooperative games and activities that are safe, educational and fun have never been more appreciated by the students! Our Tabata, 15 Minute HIIT workouts, and circuit training warm-up routines have gotten more successful for each student.

Parents/guardians please start sending your child with reusable water bottles! We will be outside before you know it, and that will be their lifeline to hydration!

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Science Club

Science Club members can log onto the Science Club Google Classroom Tuesdays at 4:30 to see our topic of the week. Students may choose to participate in and comment on any topic they choose. If you are not yet a member, email Mrs. Alender to request admission to the Science Club Google Classroom page. If April brings nice weather, we will try to do some outdoor activities.

Book Club

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