Herget Happenings

December 2021

Principally Speaking...

December will be a short but busy month as we wrap up the second quarter and winter break, December 23 – January 5, will soon be here. Teachers and students have been working hard; our students and staff have had many accomplishments during our first few months of school. Professional development continues to help our staff dive deeper into teaching and learning with respect to dialogue. Our focus of getting curious, embracing complexity, and finding joy continue to drive growth for us all.

In this newsletter, please find sneak peeks of what's happening at school that we hope you find helpful. As we end 2021, I would like to thank you for your commitment to HMS! It is our hope that the winter break provides a myriad of opportunities for you and your family to do things you might not be able to accomplish when school is in session. On behalf of the entire Herget faculty, we wish you a safe and cheerful holiday season!


Ms. Larry, Principal

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How is it already December? The first half of the year seems to have flown by this year.

At Herget, we are still committed to a Commitment to Dialogue. We are continuing to look for opportunities to have planned dialogue in our lessons and in our classrooms that lead to meaningful learning and extended understanding. Our staff will be participating and observing demo lessons this month that show us different ways to incorporate exploratory talk in our lessons and classes.

Exploratory Talk - where pupils listen critically but constructively to each other's ideas. The objective of this interaction is to reach an agreement. In the task, students must explore the different possible answers. They exchange ideas with a view to sharing information to solve problems.

Here again, is our Commitment to Dialogue. Our commitment to dialogue encompasses four indicators…

Commitment to Dialogue (Exploratory Talk)

  • Exploratory dialogue underpins collaboration between all learners. Talk is exploratory rather than cumulative or disputational

  • High-quality dialogue enables students to generate ideas and think more deeply

  • Everyone experiences deliberate opportunities of planned dialogue leading to meaningful learning

  • The learning environment and culture of each classroom enables students to take risks in their thinking and dialogue.

Dates, Events and Information to put on your radar…

  • Our 8th graders will begin talking with their teachers about placements and courses for high school in the next few months.

  • 6th and 7th graders will be introduced or reintroduced to what is available for electives in January.

  • Performance Series Middle Of Year Testing:

    • English/Language Arts: December 14 (Make-ups in classroom 12/17)

    • Math: December 15 and 16

  • No School for students - Non-Attendance Day - 12/23/21 - 1/5/22 (Winter Break)

  • Second Quarter Midterm grades are available on the Home Access Portal for parents and students


Hello Herget Families,

As we reach the halfway point of the school year we are excited with all the work our students and staff have completed and we continue to find ways to optimize our learning environment. Our 2nd quarter midterm report was made available to families via Home Access Center (HAC). 2nd Quarter will end on December 22 and report cards will be available via HAC on January 14. Parents, please reach out to your child’s teacher with any questions or concerns.

Parents at home can help foster student learning through positive reinforcement, quiet study areas at home, and capitalizing on after-school resources for students. Our Tuesday and Thursday homework club is off to a great start offering students additional time to complete assignments or seek out additional help from teachers.

8th Grade Herget Students

Our middle of the year Performance Series is coming the week of December 13-17 and your scores will help determine your initial placement at West Aurora High School. It is very important to get a good night’s sleep, eat breakfast, and mentally prepare for the test. Your high school counselors will be meeting with you early 3rd quarter to select your courses for freshman year and the scores will determine your placement in your cores classes of Language Arts, Math, and Science. Stay tuned for more information after you get back from break.

6th -7th Grade students

Our middle of the year Performance Series will also help determine your placement in courses for the next school year. The changes that we have implemented will allow for more choices each year when it relates to electives. The better you do, the more choices you could have with what classes you take. More information will be sent out after winter break.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at 630.301.5232 or jneukirch@sd129.org

Have a safe and restful winter break,

Joseph Neukirch

Assistant Principal of Operations.


Happy Holidays from the Herget Math Team!!! As we close out Quarter 2 and go into our Winter Break we have continued to work on dialogue in math. We are all anxious to have some time off during the holidays, but unfortunately, that can mean learning loss for many of our students. Please read the following article for ways to assist them over the break to come back strong in the new year. As usual, we would always recommend working on multiplication/division facts and integers.

Six Ways to Avoid Learning Loss Over Breaks

A "break" in school does not mean a break from learning

By Dr. Michael Tolmich, USATestprep's Science Content Team Leader; NextStepU 2021

For most students (and teachers), the long summer and winter breaks are a time to relax and forget about school. Unfortunately, many studies have shown that the learning loss for students during these long breaks can be very detrimental. Studies show even the short 2-3 weeks winter break can be a problem, so you can imagine how large the learning losses over summer can be. For example, Oxford Learning has found that due to long summer breaks:

- Students lose 2.6 months of math skills
- Students lose 2 months of reading skills
- Most of the achievement gap by the time a student reaches high school is due to learning loss over the summer.
- Teachers often must spend 6 weeks at the beginning of the school year teaching old material.

Just because it is a “break” from school does not mean it must be a “break” from learning. Studies have shown that investing just 2-3 hours per week can avoid learning loss over the breaks. Here are some ideas to try and fill these hours (and remember that more is better):

1. Reading: The best part about reading is that it is available to everyone, requires less parental planning and supervision and does not have to cost any money. Reading can also be done on vacations. Local libraries are great places to visit over the breaks, as many of them offer special programs. Even if there is nothing special going on, every child can find something that is interesting at the library. With technology, today’s kids can also read on their electronic devices if they cannot make it to the library. You can even create family or friend “book clubs” to encourage your child to read.

2. Museums: I know this may not be an option for all kids, but remember all we need is a few hours a week. Museums are an excellent place to stimulate the brain. Just do an Internet search for any local places that may offer programs for kids during the breaks.

3. Educational Apps or Programs: There are many different options available for learning using today’s technology for all levels and subjects. Practice math one day, and then read an online story another. There is enough online to keep anyone from getting bored. Just be careful to monitor what your kids think is “educational.”

4. Math Worksheets: There are lots of free worksheets online that you can download and print. Just target your child to do one or two sheets per week to keep their math skills sharp.

5. Projects: STEM is all about project-based learning. Maybe your child can help cook meals (measuring, reading recipes, concentration), or build a dog house (math, measuring, engineering). The projects do not have to be large or take a long time. See if you can challenge them to create a way to fold laundry more efficiently. The idea is to keep the mind working during these breaks.

6. Physical Activity: It may not always directly lead to learning, but it will help give your child more energy during the times when learning is taking place. Limit “screen time” and get outside. Many areas have community swimming pools or camps to keep your child active.

It is important for parents not to go overboard or overly pressure or push their kids during this time. They do deserve a break, so let them have it. The learning activities should be fun and enjoyable. We are not trying to create little Einsteins over the break. We just want to make sure they are keeping up with their peers.

About the Author
A former science teacher in Georgia, Dr. Michael Tolmich is now USATestprep’s Science Content Team Leader. He lives with his wife and their two sons in Tucker, GA.

How about some family fun trying to find the cost of everything purchased during the 12 Days of Christmas. You are probably already familiar with the song but in case you need a refresher, here’s how it begins:

The 12 Days Of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me

A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
three French hens,
two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree…….

Examples of possible questions are:

What is the total number of gifts given?

  1. Is there an easy way to work this out?

  2. What is the total cost of the gifts?

  3. If the department store was holding a pre-Christmas sale and offered a 15% discount for all purchases, what would the new cost be? (This does not include performers, maids, lords, etc.)

  4. What if the discount offered only applied to live animals?

  5. The maids give a 10% when booked for more than two consecutive days (based on a 7.5 hour working day). What would their new fee be?

  6. The musicians charge a 10% Goods and Service tax and this must be added to the total cost.

  7. How many people arrive at the true love’s house on the twelfth day?

  8. What would it cost to feed all the people and the animals? (Internet would come in handy here!)

  9. Use some Christmas shopping catalogs to replace the gifts with something more appropriate for a modern true love and calculate the cost.

  10. Re-write the lyrics to fit your new list of gifts.

  11. What if there were 15/20/100 days of Christmas? How many gifts would there be? Can you find a pattern to help you work this out?


GIFT Cost $

A partridge in a pear tree


One turtle dove


One French hen


One calling bird


A simple gold ring


One goose a-laying


One swimming swan


A milkmaid hired for 1 hour


One lady dancing


One Lord a-leapin’


One Piper piping


One Drummer drumming


Give these brain teasers a try…….

While we understand that you are busy with family and friends over the holidays, choose an activity that can be enjoyed by all! Thank you and please have a safe and happy winter break!


Three apps to expand, learn and play with math online.

WootMath: This site is free and offers practice with fractions, decimals, ratios and proportions, algebra, and geometry. It has narrative tutorials to help students gain a better understanding of a topic. It shows diagrams and pictures to visually make sense of math problems.

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Math support cont'd

Desmos: This site has it all for middle and high school math students, including a graphing calculator, a scientific calculator, and a variety of geometry tools. Students can use the graphing calculator to explore linear functions, slope, quadratic functions, transformations, derivatives, and many more. They can explore slope-intercept form by making adjustments to equations. Overall, this website provides engaging ways to explore upper level math.

(Land the Plane is a fun way to practice linear functions.)

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Solve Me Puzzles

These sites are for learners that want

to practice their logic skills. There are three different types of puzzles.

Solve Me Mobiles

The second type of puzzle is called “solveMe mobiles”. In this puzzle, you need to create a balance of the weights on a mobile.

Mystery Grid

The final type of puzzle is called the “mystery grid”. These are similar to Sudoku, but with different number patterns on a grid. You can’t repeat a number in a row or column.


Band: Congratulations to all of our members on a wonderful Holiday Concert in the West High Auditorium. You performed with musicianship and joy, and we are very proud of you!

We have started our Christmas Carol project. Look for a link to our in-class performances, which will be sent home the week before Christmas. Have a warm and wonderful holiday!

CTE: The 7th and 8th grade CTE class has been learning how to use the sewing machine. Troubleshooting has been a keyword used in class. Students realize that errors and issues can occur, which allows them to figure out what may be wrong and rectify the issue, in order to move forward. Sewing a small project using a ¼” seam is on the agenda for project #1, after submitting several samples. Students will have at least one project ready to take home, by the December break. Students in CTE: Woods are constructing their 3rd and final project of the semester: a candy dispenser.

PLTW In both Computer Science (CSIM: Computer Science for Innovators and Makers) and Engineering (Design and Modeling), students are using all of the skills and concepts learned since August to complete culminating projects. Students in DM are designing a pegboard toy using Autodesk Inventor. In CSIM, students are building and coding automated systems to assist Santa Claus in delivering the DM pegboard toys around the world.

Art: 7th and 8th Grade students just finished their Chuck Close Grid Projects. Chuck Close is a contemporary artist who paints colorful, detailed, photo-realistic portraits using a grid system. He paints abstract art in each grid cell. From a distance, you get photo-realism, and up close you can see the abstract art.

6th-grade students just finished their Pinch Pot Fish clay projects. They are drying out and will get fired this week. Next week we will glaze and then fire again in the kiln.

Students are also working hard in their sketchbooks and compiling work for the upcoming Winter Garden Art Festival coming up on December 7 through January 5th - 20 East Downer Place, Aurora.

Music: The 7th and 8th-grade choirs are working on holiday music for the Monday, December 20th concert. The ukulele 2 class is also working on performing small group holiday songs projects. 6th-grade music is about to start the chord strumming song project.

World Language: In World Language Level B, we will be investigating the school day. Students will be learning about supplies and class names, as well as comparing a school day in the US to a target language countries. In Level A, students are continuing to talk about hobbies, sports, and what people do in their free time.

Both levels will be learning about winter holidays celebrated in target language countries. In Heritage Spanish classes, students in level A will be wrapping up the quarter with an essay about family values, and level A students will be working on writing a proposal for a school club they would like to see offered.


This month 6th-grade students are continuing to explore chemical reactions. They will end with a hands-on assessment, proving whether a reaction is chemical or physical, endothermic or exothermic, natural or synthetic, and proving the law of conservation of mass. This will all be done in the lab during class!!! Ask your student about these topics!

7th graders are studying Newton's Laws of Motion. Students will explore the three laws of motion through challenging hands-on activities. Students will complete a crash test lab, build a catapult, and finally design a balloon car to show and explain how objects move.

8th Grade will continue talking about Ecosystems and how humans can impact the environment. Students will explore various biomes around the world and learn about the living and nonliving things that make up those ecosystems.

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Holidays and vacation times are quickly approaching. It is a perfect time to get your child into a new book. We often hear things like, “I can’t find anything to read. I don’t like reading. There isn’t anything here I like. I don’t have time.” As teachers, we try to help your child find a book that he/she is interested in and is at the appropriate level. Below is a list of ways you can help promote reading at home and help foster that love of reading.

  • Set aside a family reading time each day or at least several times per week.

  • Older children can read to themselves, and parents or siblings can read aloud to younger children. Make this a special time when family members relax and enjoy reading.

  • Give books or magazines as gifts for birthdays, holidays, or other important celebrations.

  • Audiobooks provide a great way for families to listen to books while driving or relaxing at home. By doing this, the whole family can enjoy and discuss books together.

  • Ask a librarian for suggestions of audiobooks that will appeal to your family.

  • Start a 15-minute late-night reading routine at your home. Allow your children to stay up 15 minutes later if they read. Children can read independently or with an adult or siblings.

  • Stash books and magazines where your children will be—in the car, in their bedrooms, and even in the bathroom.

  • Encourage your child to read while riding in the car, waiting at the doctor’s office, or passing time between activities.

  • Be a reading role model. Be sure your children see you reading for pleasure on a regular basis. If your children see you reading, they will begin to understand that reading is valued in your family.

  • If your child has an assigned reading, try to read the same book so you can have meaningful discussions about the book.

  • If your child is struggling to complete assigned reading, try taking turns listening to him/her read, and reading aloud to your child, checking frequently for understanding.

Tips adapted from Jerry L. Johns Literacy Clinic and New Hanover County Schoo


The Herget Social Studies department just wrapped up another successful Veterans Day Program. Although it looked a little different than years past, students had the opportunity to be immersed in a day of understanding and gratitude for the men and women that serve our country.

The entryway was once again adorned with decorations. The students in Mrs. Eastlick’s 1st-period class played a significant role in these decorations. However, it was not only Mrs. Eastlick’s 1st-period class that played a significant role but also the 8th-grade band members and a special tribute of TAPS played by our very own Greyson Roderick. Mrs. Hunt spent a significant amount of time preparing the 8th-grade band for the video performance of Marches of the Armed Forces. We are very proud of our Husky students for their participation in these special activities.

Students were actively engaged in each of their classes with a variety of Veterans day activities. Students in Language Arts classes wrote letters to veterans that are being mailed off as we speak. In World Language classes students had conversations on what it takes to be a military linguist. Students learned about the history of Veterans day with fun facts and trivia in their Social Studies classes. In other classes, students were immersed in a variety of activities such as a presentation from our West High ROTC, a video clip from a motivational speaker from the Navy, and some patriotic-themed coordinate graphing pictures.

Not only were the Herget students involved in this special day, but staff members at Herget also played a special role. Mrs. Metallo also took time to honor both of her sons, who are currently serving our country, with a special video she put together. Mrs. Medeles’ cousin also took time out of her busy day with a video clip that explains a little bit about her busy day serving our country. More importantly, let’s not forget the special video that was compiled by Ms. Larry’s sister, Colonel Toliver of the United States Air Force, that also featured active military servicemen and women. All of these special edition videos helped the students at Herget Middle School with their understanding of the importance of Veterans Day.

We are thankful and appreciative of the Herget community for taking the time to celebrate and honor the brave men and women that fight to keep our freedoms free.

- YouTube


The Physical Education and Health students are busy exploring the world of dialogue. PE classes are dialoguing the importance of cardiovascular health while using the fitness center and Health students are dialoguing about Nutrition and different diseases that we can contract.

We would also like to remind everyone of the importance of drinking water during the winter months. We tend to not drink as much water because the temperatures are so cold! We can easily become dehydrated in the winter months, so make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day! This helps our immune system to do its job and it keeps our muscles in top shape so we can take down all of our holiday displays!


Get involved in some community events happening in Aurora! One event is hosted by the Aurora Downtown non-profit called First Fridays happening Friday, December 3rd in Downtown Aurora. There will be dozens of pop-up events all through the downtown area as well as their annual Cocoa Crawl where you can purchase a mug and attend participating small businesses and local vendors for a hot cocoa refill at several locations. View the images below to see all the great events and locations on the map.

The second event is now until December 16th, 2021. You can reserve the Constituent Museum Card from State Representative Barbara Hernandez. You can reserve this card for you and up to 3 other additional guests to attend The Shedd Aquarium for FREE by simply following the link below: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d44a5aa22a2fcc52-rep8


Here at Herget, we continue to promote healthy lifestyles. As always, please keep your student home when feeling ill and allow enough time for rest and recovery. A healthy mind and body are needed for productive learning. Students who visit the health office are encouraged to describe their symptoms clearly and explain their needs. We talk about “letting your doctor know” when necessary. This is an important skill for our middle schoolers to begin to learn.

Regarding doctor visits, health office staff are preparing letters to be mailed home with individualized notices for all eighth-grade students. All eighth-graders are required to have a complete physical exam prior to ninth-grade entry. This is an early reminder to make those appointments. Please take these notices with you when taking your student for his/her ninth-grade physical exam. Students at all levels are excited to prepare for sports participation. Remember that a valid school physical exam can be used for sports. Please don’t hesitate to call the health office with questions.

Reminder: If your student has received the COVID vaccine please send a copy to the health office for your student’s health record. Full vaccination is in place two weeks after the final dose of a two-dose series. Fully vaccinated students may be exempt from quarantine.

Take care,

Elizabeth Silva RN (630.301.5243)


The LMC is in full swing with the Battle of the Books! We currently have 22 student teams and 4 staff teams committed to the program! Our students and staff are so excited to start battling in April. If your child is participating in Battle of the Books, you may want to visit Messenger Public Library or any of the three Aurora Public Library branches. Our library has between 4-5 copies of each book and our holds list has become very lengthy. Due to our students having their own devices, all students who are interested will receive a lesson on how to download eBooks and eAudio books on Sora, our ebook platform. Logins for Sora are as follows: username- ID#, PIN- student’s birthdate (MMDDYYYY). The amount of reading our students have logged this year is truly amazing! Herget has such a great reading community!

All of the Aurora public library branches offer free tutoring to our students. They can meet in person, or via Zoom. The LMC has bookmarks with all the pertinent information regarding their tutoring. Stop on by!

Happy Holidays, enjoy time with your families and friends!


The second half of winter sports are starting in December (poms) and January (girls basketball), please see the end of this message for first practice/tryout times! The second half of winter sports include 6th girls basketball, 7th girls basketball, 8th girls basketball, and 7/8 poms. You can register online at https://il.8to18.com/herget/.

You must register online and have an up-to-date sports physical on file in order to participate in practice and tryouts. There is no sports fee for this year’s middle school athletics. You can find the practice schedules under the resources section of the athletic website closer to the season start. *Poms please find the tryout packets at the front office and return them to Coach Eimer.

6th Basketball – Coach Beetham (jbeetham@sd129.org) First practice 1/6 6-7:30 pm.

7th Basketball – Coach White (awhite@sd129.org) Tryouts 1/6 & 1/7 7:00 am-8:30 am.

8th Basketball – Coach Vernon (rvernon@sd129.org) Tryouts 1/6 & 1/7 3:45 pm-5:30 pm.

Poms – Coach Eimer (seimer@sd129.org) Clinic 12/14 - 3:45-6 in the gym. Poms tryouts will be on December 16th in the gym, they will start at 3:45 and you can leave after the tryouts are finished. Practice will start after winter break. *Poms please find the tryout packets at the front office and return them to Coach Eimer.

National Geographic for Kids

Interactive Solar System