The Bear Necessities

October 2020

Granby Memorial Middle School

Taylor P. Wrye, Principal

Heather A. Tanis, Assistant Principal

Important Dates


6 - End of Unified Arts Cycle 1

7- Board of Education Meeting @ 7pm

7 - Start of Unified Arts Cycle 2

12 - No School - Columbus Day

13 - No School - Professional Development Day

21 - Board of Education Meeting @ 7 pm


3- No School - Professional Development Day & Election Day

6- End of Quarter 1

9 - Start of Quarter 2

16 - End of Unified Arts Cycle 2

17 - Start of Unified Arts Cycle 3

25 - Early Release

26 & 27 - No School Thanksgiving Break

The Principal's Office

Hello GMMS families!

As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun! As we enter into the month of October, I want to reflect on these past few weeks and the progress we have made during an unprecedented start of the school year. The students have risen to the occasion complying with all the new requirements and procedures, and the teachers are hitting their strides by delivering top-tiered Granby instruction while adhering to the new safety guidelines for their classrooms. It has been an absolute privilege to be the Principal of Granby Memorial Middle School, and students returning to the schoolhouse have brought a sense of normalcy back to the building.

One of the best parts of my job as Principal is ensuring that everyone feels welcomed as they enter the building. Every morning I enjoy greeting students outside of the front entrance. To show them how much I appreciate them coming to school with positive attitudes and enthusiasm, I have started #PositiveSignThursday. This is an easy and simple way to convey to everyone that they are special and welcomed here at GMMS.

In this edition of the Bear Necessities you will get an overview of all the amazing teaching and learning that is happening in the school on a daily basis. There are also a few reminders that we need your help with to ensure that our daily routines run smoothly. I look forward to a great rest of the school year and please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.


Taylor P. Wrye, Principal

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Morning Drop Off

If you are using the 202 entrance in the morning, we are asking everyone to pull up all the way to the red line on the map. This will allow for the maximum number of cars to drop off students and prevent back ups on 202. We appreciate your help and effort as we try to make this process as efficient as possible. In addition, students can be dropped off by the ecology center.
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New Faces At GMMS

We would like to welcome the new staff that have joined us since the last newsletter!

MaryBeth Lipman - ELA

Hello! My name is MaryBeth Lipman and I am very excited to begin my ninth year of teaching Language Arts as a member of the Panda Team here at Granby Memorial Middle School. I am the proud mom of two awesome kids; Ben is 17 and starting his Senior year and Emma is 15 starting her Sophomore year. I also have one furbaby, Lily, who I dote on way too much. If I'm not reading a book, you can find me riding my bike or playing board games with my family. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone and having a great year!

Leanne Sullivan - Science

Hello! I am Leanne Sullivan. I am so excited to be a new science teacher at Granby Middle School! I grew up in Northfield Massachusetts and studied at UMASS Amherst. I earned a BA in Anthropology and Geography and minored in Latin American Studies, and then received a Master’s in Secondary Education. I taught social studies for several years then pursued my interest combining education with health, gaining a Master’s in Occupational Therapy at Springfield College. I worked at hospitals, nursing homes and in home health to rehabilitate patients and support independence.

My family and I feel lucky to reside in the town of Granby, who embraced us nearly two years ago, after moving from outside Portland Maine. I have three children in our schools, Isaac (1st), Sophia (3rd) and Cole (6th) grade. We have a 15 year old yellow lab (Mya) and a 1 year old black lab (Shadow). Our family enjoys spending time outdoors and being active. I am thrilled to be part of the Granby school community and explore adventures in science!


GMMS Guidance Department


Math 6

Grade 6 math students are working on their first unit, Operations with Rational Numbers. Students will be using the four operations with problems that include decimals and fractions. It will be important for students to show their work neatly on scrap paper, to avoid making mistakes due to work that is not lined up. At times, students may be asked to take a picture of their work, and upload it on Google Classroom. They can do this by taking a picture on their chromebooks, or with their own device (if they have one.) In addition, various technology applications will be used in order to keep the work interactive for students. As pictured here, Jamboard is an app that allows students to place sticky notes on a class slide to collect information that all students can view together on their own devices.


In 6th grade Language Arts we started our unit on plot structure and character change.. We began by reading picture books and plotting out how stories are constructed. We are also working on grammar and punctuation using our “mentor sentences” and IXL. In the coming weeks, students will begin using their independent reading books to map out the elements of plot and character change.
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Science 6

We started the year with a unit on density. Students learned why some materials float on different liquids, why some liquids float on other liquids, and how temperature can affect the density of materials.
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Social Studies 6

Sixth grade students started the year with a 2020 time capsule activity and lessons about what social studies is and why it matters. Currently, we are working on our “Launching Geography Tools” unit. In this unit, we will study basic map skills, track hurricanes, and study the five themes of geography. Students will be asked to assess the impact of the five themes of geography on their lives. After researching each of the five themes, students will work to create a culminating project about a place that is special to them.

*If you’d like to help your child learn during this unit you can point out when you see maps used during daily life and discuss their helpfulness or purpose as a family. For example, weather maps you see on the news or maps that represent data seen in media sources.

Below is an example of a time capsule created by Brad Jennes (Panda - 6)

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Seventh Grade Pre-Algebra students are starting their first unit on Ratios and Proportions. Students will analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems. Throughout the unit, students will establish a connection between tables, graphs, equations, and descriptions, with a focus on graphs. We will be refreshing and building off of the unit rates, percentages, and coordinate planes. Desmos and Khan Academy, two educational websites, will be used to help facilitate the skills and concepts whether students are in person or at home. Pictured below is a Bitmoji Locker that students created to acclimate to their online student identities.


Seventh grade language arts students are learning how to construct thematic statements about literature. This process began with compiling major subjects and topics in a text, and analyzing the author’s universal message about one of those topics. Students have practiced with short films, short stories, and their own independent reading books. Students have started to write full responses about themes which include pieces of evidence from the text and thorough explanations. Additionally, students applied these strategies to their independent reading books.
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Science 7

Students started their year learning about chemistry and are working to answer what is matter made of? Students created a model on their jamboard to show the parts and charges of an atom. Students are investigating the periodic table and using the information provided to draw Atomic Bohr models and Electron Dot diagrams. Moving into October, students will then use this information to help to explain why some elements react with each other and others don’t, while considering how the conservation of mass relates to chemistry.

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Social Studies 7

Seventh grade students will begin the year by evaluating the importance of geography, how it is used, and why it matters. The first unit of study is “Geography Tools & The USA”. Students will be developing a geographer’s toolbox that will be used to study various regions of the world, and that will be applied to the study of the United States. Students will review the five themes of geography and use the those themes to research and report on a major US City.

*If you’d like to help your child learn in this unit, you can ask them to tell you how geography may be a factor in certain real life situations (i.e. Why geography matters?). For example, if a parent or friend is traveling internationally, what important geographic considerations would matter (culture of the destination, time zones, climate, current issues, etc.)?

Below is a Why Geography Matters Poster by Heather Craney (Panda - 7)

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MATH - Marzo

Eighth grade students in Algebra 1 and Algebra A started the year out with a review of the Order of Operations and are now working with the Properties of Equality to solve One-Step and Two Step Equations. We will spend most of this month testing and refreshing the foundational skills that will be key to student success in the study of Algebra. As we progress through the unit, students will begin using these skills to solve linear equations and inequalities.


Algebra 1 and Algebra A are both in Unit 1: Solving Equations and Inequalities. Students are completing work on lined paper, taking pictures, and submitting in Google Classroom. Feedback is completed electronically as shown in the two pictures and given back to the students in their google assignment for review (where they submitted the assignment, so everything stays very organized). While photos can be taken using the chromebook, if a student has a cell phone, taking the picture on their personal device, and then loading to their drive is optimal. If using the chromebook, students should be in a well-lit room, and take the picture of their work with a blank sheet of paper behind it (so the light does not shine through, making the picture blurry). There will be bumps in the road with submitting for some students, but with a little help, they will get into a good groove soon.


In language arts, eighth-graders have begun assessing how an author’s purposeful setting and characterization work to develop the themes taken away from class literature. Students have engaged in multiple shared reads of short stories and tracked both the influence setting has on character change, and the way characterization leads to theme. Students will soon begin an independent reading routine as they dive deeper into understanding how literary elements work together and will reflect along the way using an electronic journal. In the coming weeks, students will experiment with creative writing and eventually work to compose a narrative piece.
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Science 8

This month in 8th grade science, we are launching right into our first major unit: Change Over Time. We will be going on an intellectual journey through time, using the lens of Whales as our perspective. The focus will be on speciation, genetic diversity, and the geologic and living history of our planet.
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Social Studies 8

Eighth grade students begin the year by looking into the question “How does one think like a historian?” Students are learning to source, contextualize, and corroborate evidence in search of the truth about historical issues and events. During this unit, students will dive into the early colonies and study the past through varying perspectives. We will look at bias through the lens of history while also looking at how it affects us in the 21st century.

We are also starting to dive into the history of the American Revolution. Students will learn about the major events, people, and places of the American Revolution and use historical evidence to figure out why disgruntled colonists decided to create a new nation and how the first American citizens navigated winning a war and creating a new form of government.

Below is a copy of the SnapShot Autobiography assignment students did to practice constructing their own history, just like historians do for the history of people, places, and events in general! Here’s Emma Fino’s SnapShot with an awesome fish she caught!

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6th grade students have begun to learn elements of introductory conversations including names, exchanging pleasantries and asking where people are from. They have also investigated Francophone countries and have composed postcards completely in French!

7th grade students are dusting off their brains and showing off their skills from last year. They are currently connecting their previously learned vocabulary to our unit on invitations. This includes activities, invitations, and answering the questions which whom, where, and when.

8th grade students are gearing up to begin our unit on dining out in France! There are plenty of ways to include French dining in your home everyday. Be on the lookout for suggested activities that your child can do for you!


6th Grade Students continue to blend a recycling of familiar content in daily routines (such as calendar, weather, greetings, feelings) combined with new vocabulary focusing on high frequency verbs. We are completing our “Dice” unit, incorporating songs and videos and stories to build their vocabulary base and their listening and reading comprehension skills. We are honoring Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) by researching and presenting about all of the Spanish-speaking countries, and some cities, around the world.

7th Grade Students are completing our “Los Castells de Tarragona” unit, where they are learning to talk about how people are able to help others and to be kind. We have begun to emphasize verb endings informally, so that students will be able to speak and write about who does what.

8th Grade Students are completing their family unit, begun in the Spring, which has a writing and a speaking component. We are increasing elaboration in writing incorporating sentences which answer a variety of questions (where, with whom, when, how often, why). Students are also learning to speak and write about possession, via talking about both the Spanish royal family and about each others’ family members.


6th Grade Chinese:

We learned some basic features of Google classroom, so all 6th grade students know how to join the google classroom and see the " stream" for any posts from the teacher. Also, they learned how to use "classwork" to check any assignments from the teacher.

Also, the teacher showed students how to check Power school system for grades and in case they have any missing work. Students also learned to join " google meet" in google classroom for Chinese class.

We started to introduce China, and Beijing, the capital city of China. We watched some videos to introduce some beautiful landmarks in major cities. We also started to introduce the Chinese pinyin system, the Chinese pronunciation system. All handouts are uploaded in google classroom under "classwork" for students.

7th Grade Chinese:

Students are completing the review Greeting unit. We listened to the song about Greetings, such as: “ Ni hao Tim” and “Ni Hao Ma? (How are you)? For activities, we played Tetris with Chinese Greeting. We learned to type in Pinyin keyboard. We also learned how to use Google Classroom. Ask your students about how to find China on a world map! In October, we will start to review names. Also, we will learn Chinese radicals.

8th Grade Chinese:

Students are completing review Greeting and Name unit. For activities, we played Tetris with Chinese Greeting. We played “wo jiao ni jiao” for name unit. We learned to type in Pinyin keyboard. We also learned how to use Google Classroom. We learned about the difference between Chinese village and city. We are visually traveling around China. We went to: Shanghai, and Tianjin. We learned about food, clothes, and the Chinese map. In October, we will start to review numbers and radicals.


Enrichment - Ms. Cowles

GMMS - Enrichment Open House 2020

Physical Education

The first few weeks of Physical Education has been a learning experience for all of us. We used 6-foot rope to practice appropriate social distancing. We are also participating in daily icebreaker games, warm-ups, fitness activities, and learning distance ultimate Frisbee/ball. We are looking forward to moving to a racquet sport during the next weeks.
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Tech Ed

Welcome back everyone. What a crazy start to the year! I volunteered in August to be the first UA teacher to teach the online only students, so for me this year has been a year of recreating and reworking course content to be delivered in an online format. I have learned more than I every thought I would learn in a very short amount of time. But it has been great fun. My largest takeaway is no matter online, or in person; kids are still kids and good teachers have to figure things out.

6th grade. The Explorations students have moved through a variety of units including 3d modeling and design in TinkerCAD, computer programming in scratch, and will be finishing up with a unit in graphic design. All students are also working on completing independent projects that they have developed. They will be presenting these projects last couple days of the course at the beginning of October.

7th and 8th grade. The engineering course is running this year for the 7th and 8th graders. Due to the course content students have gotten the opportunity to participate in a whole series of activities; from doing some 3d modeling, some tower building, and a timed tower competition! We will be wrapping up the course with presenting independent projects, and hopefully a little model boat challenge.

I have sincerely enjoyed working with remote students. Please enjoy the pictures below of some of their wonderful work! Also, click the link below for more pictures.

3D Door Stop Challenge

Engineering Tower Challenge. - Design and build a structure that can support an assigned load using only assigned common materials.


6th graders have been working on a design project focusing on Bi-lateral Symmetry for the first half of their rotation. Students study symmetry through shape, line and color.
7th graders have been working on a painting that incorporates watercolor washes with zentangles. The focus of this project is to study color mixing/ blending and line/pattern to create contrast.
8th graders have been working on a Scratch Art drawing focusing on Observational drawing, line, pattern and contrast.

Family Consumer Science

Students have been busy in FCS this month investigating consumerism, entrepreneurship, global trade and careers. They have worked diligently creating Google slide presentations on entrepreneurs and careers of their choosing. Sixth-grade students have created posters explaining some of the most powerful advertising techniques. Seventh-grade students have created awesome prototypes as part of their entrepreneurship project. And eighth-graders have put together some wonderful career presentations. As this cycle draws to a close, students will be watching food demonstrations as they learn about cooking terms, tools, and techniques, as well as sanitation and safety rules of the kitchen. We will discuss the nutritional value of the recipes demonstrated, and discuss how they fit into the “MyPlate” guidelines.


Through a project-based curriculum, students attain skills for school, work, and life: communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.

Project choices all used the tool Google Drawings which is a versatile tool that allows you to make graphic designs and publications.

Vision Board- Inspire yourself to reach your goals by creating a vision board. Skills: Communication, digital publishing, using word art, and document formatting.

Pop Art - Use pop art techniques to transform a photo. Skills: internet search, photo and color selection, outline and fill shapes.

Infographic - Summarize and communicate information visually. Skills: Data analysis, data visualization, effective communication, organizing data, and source evaluation.

Comic Strip- Learn how to plan for and create a comic strip about a story or series of events.

Skills: story planning, formatting, inserting and manipulating shapes, adding words and thoughts.



MathCounts is a club for students who enjoy challenging themselves with new math problems and problem solving activities in a collaborative and encouraging environment. The goal of the MathCounts Club is to prepare a team of individuals to represent the school in a regional MathCounts competition held in February. The competition will be held virtually this year. Students can join our club in person or virtually on Tuesday afternoons starting October 20th, 2020. We will engage in practice competitions and explore different strategies for solving problems we have never encountered before. If your student is interested, please access the permission slip using the link here.
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