The Bear Necessities

October 2021

Granby Memorial Middle School

Taylor P. Wrye, Principal

Heather A. Tanis, Assistant Principal

Important Dates


11 - Columbus Day - School & Offices Closed

12 - Professional Development - No School



2 - No School - Teacher Professional Development

18 - Afternoon & Evening Conferences

24 - Early Release Day

25 - No School - Thanksgiving

26 - No School - Thanksgiving Break

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Hello Granby Bears!

This month we had a lot happening here at the Middle School, from students creating and then flying balloons in science class to designing creations on TinkerCAD in Tech Ed. In addition, we are resuming after-school activities that you can read about in this month’s edition of the Bear Necessities.

Here are a few friendly reminders:

  • Students should not be dropped off at the Middle School until after 7:15 am. There is no adult supervision, and the doors to the school do not open until then.

  • We are in the middle of Q1, and we are encouraging all of you to regularly check your child’s grades on Powerschool and their assignments posted on Google Classroom.

  • A virtual PAC meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 13th, at 6:00 pm. We hope that you can join us! All are welcome to attend to hear updates on the happenings around the school. Video call link:

  • Parent-Teacher Conferences will be on the afternoon and evening of November 18th. Teachers are always available to meet during team time every other day as well. Please contact your child’s school counselor to schedule an appointment.

We look forward to another fun and exciting month here at GMMS!


Taylor Wrye, Principal

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Allergy/Asthma Season

As allergy season comes upon us, remember NOT to send your child to school with ANY over the counter medication for their symptoms without proper written authorization on file with the nurse. The State of Connecticut and the Granby BOE prohibits students from carrying their own medications while in school without proper written authorization from a physician and parent/guardian to be on file in the school nurse’s office. This includes inhalers as well as over the counter medications such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen, cold and allergy medications and cough suppressants. Many long acting types of cold medication will provide students with relief throughout the school day if taken just prior to leaving home in the morning. Otherwise, please obtain a written order from your physician allowing the dispensing of such medication by the school nurse. This form can be downloaded from the GMMS Clinic web site under “downloadable forms” and submitted to your physician for signature. Students may carry a few over the counter cough drops to help with a troublesome tickly cough, they should be instructed not to share the cough drops and reminded not to laugh, talk or play while the cough drop is in their mouth.
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The Guidance Team presented an overview of grade development, and the use of PowerSchool to 6th-grade students. The discussion included how to use PowerSchool with regard to tracking grades and supporting student learning. We also looked at examples of the screens that can be seen in PowerSchool and had students log in to ensure they understood where to find important information.

We also shared an overview with 8th-grade students of teacher recommendations, as well as public and private school options for high school. We talked about the importance of putting forth their best efforts, as teachers will be making recommendations for 9th-grade courses in January. Students were provided information about the choices available for next year, and the steps to follow should they be interested in other options. If your child is considering an alternative to Granby Memorial High School, please let Mr. Cunningham or Mrs. Neff know as soon as possible!

Homework problems – Solved!

Homework is part of your middle grader’s daily routine, but stressing about if doesn’t have to be. Try these ideas to handle common dilemmas.

Problem: Your child puts off homework until the last minute.

Solution: One reason students procrastinate is that they feel overwhelmed. Suggest that your tween decide in what order to do their work so they know where to start and what to do next. Also, encourage them to put steps in their planner for tests or long-term assignments. That way, they can tackle them one at a time. Example, “Review notes, make a study guide, quiz yourself for the test.”

Problem: Your child rushes to finish homework.

Solution: Requiring a set amount of daily study time may keep your child from hurrying through math to watch TV, game online, or meet with friends. Ask teachers how much time they should spend on homework each day (typically 60-90 minutes for middle school). Let your child know their work isn’t done until they double-check it and corrects mistakes. With leftover homework time, they can read, do extra-credit assignments, or work ahead on projects.

Problem: Your child gets frustrated when they are stuck.

Solution: Make a plan. Have your child make a list of resources to turn to when they are stumped. They can list numbers of students in class or older students, along with information for homework hotlines or websites. If they are still having trouble, they can ask the teacher the next day.

(2015 Resources for Educators)


Mathematics 8

Math 8

Eight graders are ending their rigid transformation unit by studying congruence. They are using their knowledge of rigid transformation to justify if two figures are congruent or non-congruent. In the coming weeks students will start working on dilations and similarity. Students will expand their understanding of transformations to include non-rigid transformations. Specifically, they will learn to make and describe dilations of figures. The students are using a digital notebook, which has videos and notes to help students be successful in this unit.


Algebra students are ending out this week with their first unit where we had been discussing one-variable statistics. We will start moving on to our next unit that is going to be talking about linear equations, inequalities, and systems. Students already have an understanding of how to do one-step equations and will be moving more into two-step equations, they will be able to solve and graph equations and will be able to create equations based on word problems.

Integrated Science 8

This month in 8th grade science, we will continue with our first major unit: Change Over Time. We will be going on an intellectual journey through time, from the perspective of different animals from around the world. The focus will be on speciation, evolution, genetic diversity, and the geologic and living history of our planet. We will continue with similarities in homologous structures and embryologic development among vertebrates. Students’ ultimate goal will be to make a recommendation for how to preserve a currently endangered species.

United States History 8

In October, Eighth Graders will study the GRAPES of the Thirteen Colonies with a poster project in Mr. Cullen and Mr. Butler’s classrooms. Students will use a variety of resources to compare and contrast the geography, religions, achievements, political systems, economies, and societies of the New England, Middle Atlantic, and Southern Colonies. After that, we’ll move into the causes of the American Revolution. Students also learned how to write thesis statements. Here’s a screenshot from our work in class on how to structure a thesis while we discussed whether Granby Public Schools should have remote days of learning on snow days. Thanks to Eighth Grader Justice Corey for taking great notes.
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English Language Arts 8

Eighth graders have worked through numerous shared reads together, looking at figurative language and symbolism as elements to convey meaning in literature. They are now creating original poetry inspired by choices in craft they have noticed other writers using effectively.

Additionally, students have begun the narrative writing process by tapping into their creativity! Students have created inspiration boards, brainstormed small moments that have stories to tell, and examined how professional writers come up with and develop ideas.

Please remind your 8th graders to invest in reading time at home. They should always have a book from school to use.


Mathematics 7

Math 7

Seventh grade just finished their scale drawings unit. They are extending their understanding of using a scale factor to lead into their understanding of proportional relationships. They are just starting their proportional reasoning unit. In this unit, they will learn to understand the meaning of constant of proportionality and how to calculate it. They will examine proportional relationships using tables, graphs, and equations. The students are using a digital notebook, which has videos and notes to help students be successful in this unit.

Math 7 Accelerated

Our accelerated students started off the year learning about scaled copies, scaled drawings, and how to change scales. We’re now extending that into some geometry concepts, making dilations of figures, segments, and points and learning about how to prove that one figure is similar to another. We’ll extend our work with similar triangles to discover how to find slope on a line, and then move into transformations of shapes and how to prove whether or not a figure is congruent.

Integrated Science 7

Students concluded their Heat Transfer Unit with their Engineering Challenge of keeping the “kids” warm in the freezer until they are rescued.

In October, we will begin the first sequence in the Chemistry unit, Molecular Motion, where they will answer the question, “How do heat, temperature, and pressure affect the particle arrangement and phases of matter?” They will demonstrate their understanding of these principles by designing a way to get fresh water from saltwater.

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Global Studies 7

Seventh grade students began the year by evaluating the importance of geography and why it matters. Students used text evidence from sources to respond to the question, “Why should U.S. students study geography?” and created a “Did you know…” poster illustrating the importance of geography courses. Currently, students are applying the five themes of geography to the study of the USA. In the coming weeks, they will research a major United States city and develop a report using the themes of geography as the basis for organizing their information.

*If you’d like to help your child learn in this unit you can initiate a conversation about your family’s past United States travel. Conversation around major cities visited and the landforms, culture, and attractions there can help your child make connections to classroom learning.

Below are some sample Did You Know Posters created by 7th grade Kodiak students.

English Language Arts 7

Students have been exploring how themes show up in stories. They’ve also been examining how writers use dialogue to develop well-rounded characters and interesting experiences. In the next few weeks, students will be working on a narrative writing assignment. Students will craft a realistic narrative that develops a character’s unique perspective, follows a story arc to illustrate a character’s growth through a conflict, conveys a theme, and provides a sense of closure. This writing unit will take students through the steps of the writing process. Please remind students that they should bring an independent reading book to school. Students should also be occasionally reading at home, so that they are progressing through books during the school year.

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Mathematics 6

Grade 6 (Boivin & Glidden)

Sixth graders just finished a beginning of the year “launch” unit on area. Students enjoyed hands-on activities to learn how to calculate the area of parallelograms, triangles, and other composite figures. We are now beginning a new unit on ratios. This unit is the first time that students describe the relationship between two quantities using ratio language, and these understandings build the foundation for learning about slope in Algebra. You can help at home by asking your student which options are the “better deal” while you are shopping. For example, students will be able to tell you that the box of 6 granola bars for $4.26 is a better deal than the box of 12 granola bars for $8.76.

Grade 6 Accelerated (Boivin):

Sixth graders just finished a beginning of the year “launch” unit on

area. Students enjoyed hands-on activities to learn how to calculate the area of parallelograms, triangles, and other composite figures.

Students did a great job decomposing very difficult composite figures into smaller shapes to determine the area of the overall figure. We are now beginning a new unit on ratios, rates, and percentages. Students will describe the relationship between two quantities using ratio

language, and these understandings build the foundation for the

learning that will occur later on in the year when students enter Unit 5, a unit that focuses on seventh grade standards and proportional relationships. In addition, students will relate the skills taught in class to the real world. Students will be able to calculate the unit rate of items when shopping in order to determine which option is the better deal. Students will conclude the unit with percentages.

A Note to ALL Grade 6 Parents:

Go to to learn of all the units for this school year as well as see videos to help support your child’s learning. You can also find this link on your child’s Google Classroom under the ‘Classwork’ tab titled “Illustrative Math Resources for Families at Home”.

Integrated Science 6

Students began the year looking at Heat Transfer. Students were able to observe and participate in various demonstrations that showed heat transfer through different materials. One activity the students enjoyed was seeing ice melt on different materials. Many were shocked to see the ice on the metal melt so quickly!

In October, students in grade 6 will begin a unit on density. Students will explore why some materials float on different liquids, why some liquids float on other liquids, and how temperature can affect the density of materials. The culminating activity for this unit will require students to create a floatation device that they will be able to test out in class.

Global Studies 6

Sixth grade students have been learning about the five themes of geography and map skills. Recently, students worked on creating their own maps using the elements of maps discussed in class. Students also competed in latitude and longitude battleship to demonstrate their knowledge of plotting coordinates on a grid. Additionally, we have been applying non-fiction reading strategies to social studies related articles. These strategies will be used throughout the year to help students complete research and annotate texts. In the coming weeks, students will apply all of these skills to a “special place” project. We will also be learning about the Quabbin Reservoir in the Swift River Valley and use notes and evidence from texts to write an argument related to the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir in the Swift River Valley.

*If you’d like to help your child learn during this unit you can brainstorm places that you have been to together and the geographic characteristics of those places, in order to help your child come up with a special place for their upcoming project. Together, you can create a list of reasons why someone may want to visit these places.

Below is a picture of a map that includes a key, compass rose, and symbols!

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English Language Arts 6

Sixth graders have been busy learning about how a story unfolds. They have been “dissecting” picture books, movie shorts, and short stories looking for the exposition, rising action, and climax of stories. Students studied vocabulary and how to extract the meaning of words through the context of what they read. Mentor sentences are being used to notice the author’s craft and that learning is being applied to our own writing. We continue to work on fluency by reading independently for 10 minutes daily. Please encourage your student to read daily - ask them about their reading, read a book with them or play audiobooks in the car!
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Mandarin Chinese

In Chinese Class, throughout the month of September, 6th Grade Chinese students have begun our unit Introduce China. 7th-grade Chinese students finish review language learning from last year and start learning the new unit about a week, month, and year. Ask your child if he/she can tell the day in Chinese! 8th-grade students finishing reviewed Time chapter. Ask your child if he/she can tell the time in Chinese! For activities, we played “Student-teacher review what we learned”, “Draw a face (Cover his/her eyes and draw a face on the board)” with the current chapter, “Duck Duck Goose tell a time/week”, “Create my own Chinese board game and play with classmates after”, 6th-grade students learned how to say and write their Chinese name. 7&8 grade students also write a letter to their friends in class. 8th grade also did collaborative writing with classmates: write Chinese sentences in 15 minutes. In this month. Chinese class celebrates Mid Moon Festival. students also learn how to create a lantern.

We also do a raffle for each class. Please check with your child if they have won the raffle!

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6th grade:

Kids are having a great time learning the alphabet and common classroom commands through song and gestures. Ask your student about the way we say “w” in French! This month, students will learn the basics of introductory conversations including greetings, asking how people are, introductions and goodbyes.

7th grade:

An hour lunch break? Starting school at 8 a.m.? Having different classes everyday instead of the same schedule? These elements of a French school day sound appealing to many of your students (especially lunch!). In our school unit, we have already begun connecting previous learned vocabulary to this current topic. This is a great opportunity for students to recycle what they have already learned and incorporate some new vocabulary.

8th grade:

Délicieux ou dégoûtant? We started our new unit: À Table! deciding whether or not certain foods were delicious or disgusting. This month, we will be exploring the basic elements and cultural norms of dining in France. Hopefully your student will be asking to put those aprons on and create a tasty French treat!
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Spanish 6

During this month 6th graders worked on the Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Students learned about Papel Picado and made their own to decorate the room. Students also researched and learned about famous people from the Spanish-speaking World.

We continue working on lecciones preliminares. Students are answering the questions ¿Cómo estás? ¿Cómo te sientes? In the answers, students are using the "Yo" form of Tener (Tengo) and Estar (Estoy).Students also pay attention to gender agreement in their answers nervioso/nerviosa, asustado/asustada.

Spanish 7 and 8

7th Grade Spanish students created and presented their “Horario Ideal” (ideal schedules) without notes - a challenging task. Many students added some very interesting classes to their day! We are learning lots of information in Spanish about each other, including how we help the world, favorite lunches and dinners, future career hopes, and travel wishes through Persona Especial interviews. Don't forget the basics! We're making sure to recycle our prior knowledge (and build knowledge for new students) through our daily warm-ups and "charlas" (chats).

8th Grade Spanish students are completing our unit about family, describing family members and talking in detail about what they like to do and meals they like to eat. This culminated in an online written & spoken family album to be shared and explored with classmates. Students also engaged with a narrative story based on a popular music video from Argentine and Uruguayan singers.

Through mid-October, Spanish students in all grades will continue to honor Hispanic Heritage month through various cultural activities.

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Visual Arts

In Art class this month, 6th graders are finishing up the coloring portion of their Symmetry drawing and looking forward to a Hand Design project. Seventh graders just finished the watercolor wash painting on their Lines and Washes project and are moving forward on the zentangles portion. Eighth graders are wrapping up their study of Scratch Art and will be starting the Personality Profile drawings next week. 8th Grade Art Club begins October 8th, permission slips are outside of the Art room in an orange folder.


In Media class students continue their work using the Google application Drawings. One activity that sparked their interest and creativity was Shapegrams! The challenge is to recreate the sample picture using the shapes tool. These challenges help students explore and improve their digital drawing skills. Each challenge increases in difficulty, encouraging problem solving and perseverance! The Lion has proven the biggest challenge so far!
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Children have boundless potential. It’s our job to nurture them with abundant love, support, and guidance so they can become the artists, scientists, writers, or computer coders they want to be. Here are ten ways to help grow children’s brains, cultivate their interests, and launch their life journeys:

1 Model a curious mind, a willingness to take risks, and a strong work ethic.

2 Nurture their passion, because they’ll want to delve into what they love.

3 Praise their effort, not their ability.

4 Make time for play, which fosters imagination.

5 Give them music lessons for fun and to exercise their brains.

6 Teach them a foreign language, which stimulates neuronal connections.

7 Let them tackle challenges on their own without swooping in.

8 Introduce them to inspiring peers and mentoring adults.

9 Spend time with them every week doing puzzles and brainstorming riddles.

10 Take them traveling; openness to new experiences fosters creativity.

Kalb, Claudia. “The Science of Genius.” National Geographic Magazine. 2018: 95.

Technology Education

The creatures are coming!

The creatures are coming!

To a Tech Ed room near you!

Each year 6th grade explorations students develop their beginning 3d modeling skill in an online modeling tool called TinkerCAD. The first project is a fidget spinner, in which they learn to measure and work within a set of tolerances. The second project is a tinkercad creature. This project is designed to help students really build their modeling skills! Students not only must be able to use the basic tools. They must also be able to visualize the needed parts for their creatures, so that they can then correctly combine the tinkercad tools to get the custom shapes they need. In addition, students learn how to use collaboration tools where two people can work on the development of one product. In the real world (aka world of work) modern design tools allow people to collaborate on projects from anywhere in the world. TinkerCAD now has these features built-in, so students can collaborate on their work.

Once creatures and inventions are done, students will then share their creations with their classmates in a short presentation which they will make towards the end of the quarter.

Every student at GMMS has a TinkerCAD account. So they can not only use TinkerCAD for their tech ed projects, but also for creating illustrations for projects in other courses as well! It is just a wonderful illustration tool, even if the projects are never printed. 3D modeling is used in more industries than could ever be counted. From designing submarines to designing space ships, to designing video game characters: strong 3d modeling skills are key to success.

Happy Tinkering!!!

Dave Pickhardt

GMMS Technology Education

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Band & Chorus

The GMMS Performing Ensembles are playing and singing away! The band and chorus classes have overcome many changes and challenges in the last year, 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 also grateful to have the opportunity to perform in school, and have been extra careful to follow the current state guidelines.

In addition to our grade-level ensembles, we offer Select Choir (Thursdays) and Jazz Band (Mondays) ensembles as well. These ensembles rehearse after school and are open to students in grades 6-8 by audition only. Audition information will be available in the near future. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Music Department T-shirts

Check your emails for information regarding our GMMS Music Department shirts! All money/orders are conducted online through MySchoolBucks, and open to 6th grade musicians and new students, or any current music students who outgrew their old shirt. These shirts may be used during performances throughout the year, or simply wear them for Granby Spirit Days on Fridays!

Northern Regional Middle School Festival

Band and chorus students that wish to engage in an advanced musical challenge have the option to audition for the Northern Region Middle School Festival. Auditions for this festival are scored by professional judges, and the top scorers from all the middle schools in northern CT are awarded with an opportunity to perform at an in-person festival. This year, auditions are completed virtually and students record themselves playing prepared scales and a solo piece. Registration is due by December 3rd, and video submissions are due by December 11th. Interested students should notify their music teacher ASAP. After-school practice sessions will be offered. More information to come!

7th Grade Music Appreciation

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.

8th Grade Music Appreciation

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!

Please email or with any questions.
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Family Consumer Science

Things are really cooking up in FCS! Students have been baking ‘all things’ apple, filling our hallways with delicious aromas from our Spiced Apple Muffins and our Apple Crisp. New skills such as peel, coring and slicing apples has been practiced along with learning new cooking terms such as ‘cut-in’ and ‘fold-in’.

Grade six has been discovering goods and services and how our limited productive resources come together to meet the unlimited wants and needs of consumers!

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The students of GMMS just finished a brand new game called Speedball! Developed by the military for a fun way to keep soldiers in shape during down time, Speedball combines aspects of football, soccer and lacrosse. Ask your students some of the crazy rules that they played by!
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Game Club!

Join other GMMS students to play a variety of games including card games, board games, and more. Got a favorite from your own home? Bring it along and teach us how to play. Regulars and drop-in players are welcome! Games Club will be held twice a month on Fridays after school from 2:30- 3:30 pm beginning in October. The game club will be held in Room 63 first meeting will be on October 1st. (Meeting Dates: 10/1, 10/15, 11/5, 11/19, 12/3, 12/17, 1/14, 1/28, 2/11, 2/25, 3/4, 3/18, 4/1, 4/22, 5/6, 5/20)

Permission form:

Computer/Coding Club

Our first meeting is on Monday, October 4th from 2:30 - 3:30pm in the Media Center. At this meeting we will get to know each other and our computer/coding interests, as well as explore some of the “MakerSpace” materials available to us. Want to sign up for Computer/Coding club? Permission slips are available in the Media Center!
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We are still welcoming students who would like to join MathCounts when we meet for our first meeting on Tuesday, October 19th. Please access the permission slip by clicking this link.

Adventure Club

Adventure Club is open to 8th graders with a sense of adventure! This club is built on a progression of team building activities where students learn how to communicate, problem-solve and become leaders. Mrs. Buckley and Ms. Okenquist are working to create a fun, adventure-filled Saturday as our culminating event in March.

Meeting attendance is required (unless absent) as each member is vital to the success of the club. Meetings will be held 2:40-3:30 pm every other Tuesday, November - March. Meetings will begin in Mrs. Buckley’s room (76).

Meeting Dates: 11/9, 11/23, 12/7, 12/21, 1/11, 1/25, 2/8, 3/1, 3/15, End of Year Activity: Sat. 3/19 or Sat 3/26 (Rain date).

Permission slips are available at the end of the Eighth Grade Hall, the office or here.

Renaissance Club

What is the Renaissance Club?

The Renaissance Club is a group that provides service to our students, staff, and local community. We focus on creating experiences and events that will bring joy and assistance to others. Some of our previous work has included planning after-school events for students, delivering Valentine's breakfast to staff, volunteering at a local daycare, and collecting winter wear for local shelters.

When and where will we meet?

Here are the dates for September-December 2021: all meetings are on Mondays from 2:30-3:30 in room 81.

September 20

October 4, 18

November 1, 29

December 6, 13

Field Hockey

Middle School field hockey is off to a great start with 27 student-athletes participating on two teams. We have a strong group of returning players who are great role models for the new players. If Mother Nature cooperates, the teams will each have their second game Thursday against JFK middle school in Enfield. Fun fact, Coach Gig's daughter is a player on the JFK team! Who will get bragging rights at home after Thursday's game?!

Go bears!

Coaches Bastiaanse, Galici & Gigs