SMS Scoop

December 3, 2018

The Problem with Profanity

Last week's Scoop featured an article about the use of profanity/cursing at SMS. Each of you was charged with the task of listening for inappropriate language in our halls and classrooms. So what did you hear? Any insanely rough comments? Any ridiculously unnecessary talk?


Miss Nass noted that she wants all students to develop enough command of the language so that they can find work as a broadcaster. But there is more to this than simple employment skills. Speaking without profanity shows a lot about a person. If you choose not to curse, you demonstrate that


  • you have a well-developed vocabulary (you know other words that can show that you are excited or frustrated or angry),
  • you have self-control,
  • you are mature, and
  • you understand that your words impact other people.


If you are prone to using filthy language, realize that you can get better! You can clean up your mouth and clean up our halls, classrooms, and the entire world! The next time a curse word is on the tip of your tongue, pause and find a replacement word. You can also reduce the input of profanity by being selective in your entertainment choices. The common phrase "garbage in, garbage out" refers to the impact of negative input. If your music, youtube, Netflix, and social media content contains profanity, you might want to find entertainment that does not reinforce lazy, immature, and inappropriate language.


At SMS, students can get a detention for disrespect. The use of profanity or the use inappropriate language in name-calling does not support a positive learning environment.

SMS is the best school in the world. Let's stop profane comments, and make it even better.

A Close Look at Close Reading

Whether we are reading the driver's manual preparing to get your license, reading a chemistry textbook preparing for a college exam, or reading an editorial about a proposed new roundabout near our town, we are better readers if we use a skill set called Close Reading. Whenever we read informational/non-fiction text, we need to ask ourselves a few questions and we need to look for signposts to trigger the questions!


Just because something is written in a newspaper, in a book, or on social media, doesn't mean that we have to accept/believe it as true. When we read a fiction book, the author is trying to engage and entertain us. When we read non-fiction, we need to ask ourselves "what is the author's purpose? What does the author want us to think or do?" SMS teachers are learning the signposts and questions and we want our students to learn them at the same time.


The first signpost that we'll review is Extreme and Absolute Language.


Extreme language includes words that are really exaggerated or over the top.

  • I hope lunch is soon, I'm starving.
  • The 6th grade Warriorettes destroyed the Lady Eagles.
When we see extreme language, we have to ask if the author has strong feelings or if the author is trying to mislead us. What is the author's purpose for using extreme words?


Absolute language is the use of words such as all, none, never, everyone, and always. These words say that there is no doubt about the statement.

  • Every middle school student likes ice cream.
  • We will never be done taking the NWEA tests.
When we see absolute language, we should ask also ask about the author's purpose. Why did the author use that word and what is the author trying to get me to think or do?


Every few weeks, we'll be adding a signpost to our study of Close Reading. When you read non-fiction books and articles (and the SCOOP!) be on the lookout for Extreme and Absolute Language and ask yourselves about the author's purpose!


Close Reading Practice: Re-read the top article in the Scoop. Point out the extreme or absolute language that you see and discuss what these words tell you about the author's purpose!

News to Know!

  • SCSD2 will have a two-hour late start on Wednesday, December 12th. School will start at 10:05. Buses will run two hours late. The office will open at 7:30 for students that must be dropped off early due to parent work schedules. Teachers will be studying our new NWEA data and will be learning about two more Close Reading signposts.
  • Elective course change forms are available in the office. Students wishing to change their elective class for second semester may pick up a form in the office starting tomorrow. Students may move from band or choir to SSR. Students may not move into a music class at semester without an audition with the director. If you are not currently in band or choir but want to join, contact the director this week to line up a tryout. All elective change request forms are due in the office by Thursday, December 20th.

Climate Survey Thursday

All SMS students, staff, and parents/guardians will be asked to take a climate survey on Thursday this week. Questions about academics, safety, school culture, social media, and more will be emailed to parents and teachers. Students will access the survey via Canvas. Results will be shared in upcoming issues of the Scoop!

This Week...

Mon. Dec. 3: A day, Bot Warrior League Event, Academic Super Bowl

Tue. Dec. 4: B day, NWEA TEST, Archery, Science Olympiad, Winterguard, Basketball and Cheer Team Pictures, 6 GB v. Silver Creek, 7/8 GB v. Brownstown

Wed. Dec. 5: A day, Cross, Cool Ray Field Trip, SADD lunches, 7/8 BB v. Highland Hills

Thu. Dec. 6: B day, Climate Survey in HR, Archery, Science Olympiad, Winterguard, 6 BB v. Austin, 7/8 BB @ Jennings County

Fri. Dec. 7: A day