TJ Today

Thomas Jefferson Middle School


Dec. 4-8 Book Fair

Dec. 4 - LEAD Mentor sessions with all 6th and 7th graders

Dec. 6 - Memorial Opera House-A Christmas Story Field Trip

Dec. 11 - This Is Our Story (TJM) at VHS Gym

Dec. 14 - Chipotle Fundraiser

Dec. 21 - 1/2 day of school for students end of 2nd qtr.

Dec. 22 - Jan. 7 Christmas Vacation

A Busy Book Fair Week!

Our first semester book fair is scheduled for Monday, December 4 through Friday, December 8. In addition to students being able to browse and shop during their regularly scheduled class visits, students can also visit the book fair before school, during lunch and advisory periods - and after school, as needed. The book fair should be the perfect time for your child to choose something they want to read. What’s more, students can just browse and get an idea of a book they might want to read because TJM has many of the books available for check-out here in our library. Mrs. Hurley is passing out numbered book fair flyers to all students, so each student who receives one is automatically entered into a drawing for a book fair prize. Encourage your child to participate in one of the book fair activities – such as the stocking stuffer survey and digital puzzle contest – to help make next week a memorable celebration of books!

Spirit Wear Order Deadline-December 5th

Student Council is sponsoring a spirit wear order showcasing Valparaiso Community Schools NEW logo and Thomas Jefferson Middle School's slogan, VIKING STRONG, VIKING SMART, VIKING PROUD. This slogan was created by a TJMS student, and selected as the winner by our student body. Spirit wear is available to order through December 5th, and will be delivered on time for holiday gifts! If you would like the order to be a surprise, please email Ms. Coberg at and we will arrange to have your order for pick up in the office the week of December 18th.

The link for ordering is below, and we are unable to accept any orders after Tuesday, December 5th.

If you have any questions please contact Ms. Coberg at

Thank you for your support!
Miss Alberson, Ms. Coberg, and your TJMS Student Council

They Did It Again!!!!

11 in a row, way to go! The TJMS Spell Bowl team brought home their 11th consecutive state championship title from Purdue University on Saturday, November 11th. The scoreboard was unable to project real-time updates for team, and the second update on team scores after 5 rounds had TJMS out of 1st place by 3 words. Perfect rounds were posted by anchors Emmett Richter and Lily Rengstorf to overcome missed words by the opposing team and allow TJMS to once again be awarded the Championship medals, banner, and plaque. Leah Green and Elisabeth Murley also took home purple perfect round ribbons, and Micah Nathan and Kaylee Kasper earned near perfect lavender ribbons. Nathan Phillips and Ian Smith also contributed to the victory by each spelling 7 out of 9 words correct.

Team members David Coombs, Macy Highlan, Madisyn Myskewitz, Asher Wilson, and Mia Wilson enthusiastically applauded their peers and helped to keep track of the scores. Amazing job, Team TJ!! Your coaches Ms. Blakley and Mrs. Kemper along with all of TJMS are so very proud of you!!

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8th Grade - End of Semester approaching

Every year, our 8th grade students are able to recognize and honor Veteran’s Day in a special way. In social studies classes, some students wrote essays about a veteran that has been a part of their lives. Other students were able to research a veteran and write an essay. This writing project allowed students to realize the sacrifices of our military and gain personal insight into real people who served our country. The essays of Michael Flynn, Natalie Miller, and Jolee Smith were selected and read at this year’s program.

This school year, for the first time ever, the grading period (and semester) will end in December just prior to the break. Students who are taking Algebra and/or Biology will have a semester exam during December. Exam dates have been shared with students. While December is a busy time of year, it is important for all students to work hard every day until the holiday break begins.

In January, 8th graders will begin the process of selecting high school classes. On January 11, students from the Porter County Career Center will visit 8th graders at TJ to discuss their program offerings and eligibility requirements. On January 23, high school counselors will meet with students to share important information about high school scheduling. Parents should save the date for a special evening at VHS on Wednesday, January 24 to learn more about freshman high school scheduling. Additional information will be shared in January.

7th grade -Partnering Up

In 7th grade, the students are working on or just completing their Poetry Presentations within the ELA classes. The students have chosen a poem with a partner to memorize and present in class. The performances are a fun way to see the students present in class and see some of the their acting skills; it's a nice break from the norm! Those partnerships that are chosen within the classroom will present to the entire 7th grade on Wednesday, December 20th. Please be sure to ask your students how they did and if they will be presenting. Parents interested in coming to see their student perform are welcome to join us at 9:30 on December 20th in the TJ Auditorium.

As we continue, the students are going to begin a unit on Charles Dickens' beginning with A Christmas Carol. The students will be listening to an abridged version of the original story during class. Be on the lookout for some fun activities regarding this reading.

6th graders-Keep Moving Right Along… Oh the drama!

Before Thanksgiving Break, the 6th grade ELA classes performed plays about stories from Greek Mythology. Day in and day out, they studied their lines, put together costumes, and rehearsed with their classmates. A lot of hard work, time, and effort were put into their performances. After all of their preparations, it was show time! With an auditorium full of eager elementary audiences, the students took the stage and did an amazing job!

There is no question that this group of 6th graders has quite the bit of Viking Pride! Whether it’s dressing up for Spirit Days or forming alliances during Jar Wars, these kids never fail to impress. Jar Wars was the success it was thanks to these students.

Parents—as always, if you could please continue to:

· Check grades and assignments on Skyward/Canvas weekly

· If you see a missing assignment, communicate with your child and let them know it needs to be completed/turned in

· Contact your child’s teacher with any questions/concerns if your child is struggling academically—We all want your children to be successful!

· Make sure your child has earbuds/headphones for classes and Brainology.

· Encourage your child to keep up to date on his/her reading counts points!

Get ready for TJMS’s National Geography Bee!

The TJMS Bee will be on January 17, 2018 after school in Mrs. Joll’s Room D184

We will be having Kahoot Competitions Every Tuesday Morning at 7:00am in Mrs. Joll’s Room, D184 starting after Thanksgiving Break through January 17, 2018


TJMS School Competition Jan. 17, 2018

Deadline for completion of state bee qualifying tests Feb. 2, 2018

Notification date for state qualifiers March 2, 2018

State bees April 6, 2018

See your Social Studies Teacher if you have any questions

Study Links:

Download the National Geo Bee Challenge App at

Buy the Study Guide at

Activate the skill Geo Quiz on Amazon’s Alexa

Orchestra News


Strolling Strings group performances - Holly Days - Fri. Dec. 1, 5-8pm, at various downtown shops.

Porter County Library Youth Services Open House, Thurs. Dec. 7, 6:30-8:00pm- come check us - and a book out!

November Pride Card Winners

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Student Council Update - JAR WARS!!

During the month of November, TJ Student Council sponsored the annual food drive. Students, faculty, and families stepped up in a big way! The food pantry is stocked and ready to help those in need! Thank you to everyone who brought in donations. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

November also saw the return of Jar Wars! Jar Wars is a fun spirited competition in which Advisory/1st period classes try to raise the most money for their class or ‘bomb’ other classes with pennies. The class that raises the most money, cash and silver coins, wins a prize. For the class who receives the most penny bombs, the teacher will come to school sporting a turkey costume! This year, TJMS students and faculty raised over $600 for families in need! Well done, everyone!

Important Info/Dates:

Next meeting- Wednesday, December 13th in the Auditorium (location may change—look for email and remind messages).

· The TJ Bookstore will be closed until after Winter Break.

December Spirit/Dress Up Days:

  • December 1—Viking Pride
  • December 8—College Day-Represent your favorite college/university
  • December 15—PJ Dollar Day! (pay your dollar before school in front of the cafeteria)
  • December 21—Ugly Holiday Sweater Day!
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LEAD Mentors Make a Difference!

Did you know that your 6th and 7th graders get to work with VHS student mentors once a month all year long?

Research shows that simply having older teens with positive attitudes present among younger students has a positive impact! Research on mentoring shows that one of the biggest indicators of future success for youth is having someone older and caring (outside the family unit) take an interest in them. Our dedicated mentors, however, do even more than just "hang out" as caring positive forces. Each month, they do teambuilders, lead pro-social discussions, and help your kids learn skills for building healthy relationships and happy, successful lives. Focusing on the major protective factors for all kids, connection and service, LEAD encourages students to recognize and build on their Sources of Strength! Our theme in December is Tangible and Intangible gifts: what intangible gifts mean the most to you and how are they sources of strength in your life?

Remember Your Yearbooks!

This year, we will be telling the stories of the year. Our theme is "We"--and our yearbook will be showing how TJMS joins together to accomplish amazing things! Orders can easily be placed online by clicking

Parents and students--We KNOW you take amazing pictures--like those amazing action shots during sporting events or group shots of you and your friends---and we want to publish your work in our yearbook!

Have you downloaded the Replayit app on your phone yet? No? No worries! You can upload your amazing photos by visiting

Thanks for sharing your moments with us!

Media Center Happenings

Whodunnit: A Collaborative Mystery Project

If you have ever played the game Clue, then you will be able to imagine the structure used for a collaborative mystery activity completed by Mrs. Olsen’s and Mrs. Murvine’s students during a class visit. The premise: Students have a mystery to solve and receive a list of characters, setting details, and main plot points. From there, each student receives one clue on a piece of paper. They circle up, and each student reads his clue to the group. That’s when the detective work begins! Students work together to figure out who did it, with what weapon, when it happened, where it happened, and why. Was it Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick? Watch the video of Mrs. Olsen’s students to see how the mystery was solved!

Builders Club News

Do you hear the bells ringing? Well, next Saturday you will as Builders Club members team up with the Salvation Army to ring bells and collect money at the Walgreens on Calumet. We will be there from 9:00 - 4:00 on December 9. Stop by, say hello, and drop some coins in the bucket! Also coming up this month, Thursday, December 7, one of the local nursing homes will be hearing the sweet sounds of holiday carols as Builders Club members stroll through the halls. Students may get permission slips for this event, as well as bell ringing, in Mrs. Janowiak’s room. We will conclude this month with a holiday pizza party after school on Wednesday, December 13. There will be a white elephant gift exchange (no more than $5) and refreshments.

Earlier this week, several members met at Kohl’s and Target to shop for 6 angels from the Angel Tree. They did an incredible job selecting gifts while staying within their given budgets. A big thank you to those who participated.

Our next meeting is Wednesday, December 6. We will be making arrangements for our upcoming activities and party, so you don’t want to miss this one!

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Student Success - Homework and Study Table Procedures

This is a link to our Student Success procedures

  • Homework is posted on your child's Canvas Calendar. Create a parent Canvas Observer account using this link on our website.
  • Grades are posted on Skyward

During the 2017-18 school year, the Social Services Team for Valparaiso Community Schools is able to provide food for students in need on the weekends! Contact Ms. Keown if interested.