HMS Semester 1 Newsletter

Marking Periods 1 & 2

Principal's Message

Greetings Hoboken Middle School Family!

Congratulations to all of our Hoboken Middle School Tigers, on the successful completion of the first semester and showing your resilience, either remotely or onsite, to navigate this unprecedented school year. I am so proud and grateful that the Hoboken Public School District has been able to offer a full onsite program as well as a full remote program to our students, allowing our families to make the choice that best meets the needs of their children.

Throughout the first semester, our students and staff have covered our curricular topics and concepts with enthusiasm and focus. Our staff is working diligently to maximize the instructional experiences for all students in the virtual and traditional settings. I am looking forward to the coming months as our students delve deeper into our curriculum and I look forward to the second semester. Please take some time to view our first marking period reflections below. As always, stay safe and let us know if you need any support along the way.


Ms. Marra

Monthly Events


Week of Respect

From October 5th to October 9th, Hoboken Middle School celebrate Week of Respect. Students and staff had a fantastic week promoting messages of kindness with our spirit days and activities. Specifically, students enjoyed "Chalk Talk" during their recess periods with both old and new friends. While we observe the Week of Respect the first week in October, it's important to respect others and ourselves all year round.

Red Ribbon Week

In 1988, National Family Partnership sponsored the first National Red Ribbon Celebration. Today, the Red Ribbon serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities. Since that time, the campaign has reached millions of U.S. children and families.

Red Ribbon Week took place at Hoboken Middle School from October 26th-October 30th. Students participated in spirit days to bring awareness to a drug-free lifestyle, and signed our School Wide Pledge. Click on this link to see highlights from the week and additional information on Red Ribbon Week.


Kean University

On November 20th, about fifteen Hoboken Middle School students were selected to take part in a virtual conference focused on building leadership skills while implementing the concept of commUNITY in school. Students were fully engaged in the inclusive virtual conference where they met students from other districts and were able to discuss relevant and meaningful topics. Diversity Council members from Kean University presented ways for students to have a stronger leadership presence while being mindful of diversity and embracing diversity. The virtual conference was a wonderful way for our Hoboken Middle School students to network with peers from around the State and engage in meaningful conversations. We look forward to working with Kean University for future learning opportunities.


Best Buddies

Our inaugural meeting of the HMS Best Buddies Friendship Club was a huge success. On Tuesday December 1st, our chapter members met for a game of virtual bingo. Students were able to engage, discuss common interests, and most importantly, have fun.

Did you know that Hoboken High School has also started a Best Buddies Chapter? Our Hoboken High School and Middle School Best Buddies Chapters have been working together to plan for Best Buddies Friendship Walk: New Jersey. This virtual event will be held on May 13, 2021. Chapter Leaders Ms. Beriloff (HMS) and Ms. Drumgoole (HHS) will be sharing more information about sign-up and participation.

If you are interested in getting involved with our HMS Best Buddies Friendship Club, please contact Ms. Beriloff

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Hoboken Public Schools Winter Concert

On December December 21st, Hoboken Middle School's musicians played an integral role in district's winter concert. Please enjoy the recording of the winter concert, linked here.

Student Development Day

On December 23rd, students participated in a Student Development Day lesson titled Celebrate Success in their Social Studies classes. This lesson was adapted from the Persist Kids curriculum and provided the students the opportunity to reflect on their "mini-victories" this year. Students identified personal, social, or academic achievements they were most proud of this year. Some achievements students shared are listed below:

  • became a better baseball player
  • started playing the piano
  • improved artwork
  • finished CTY work early
  • scored multiple goals in soccer
  • getting into the district musical
  • made new friends
  • made more time to spend with my siblings
  • made Honor Roll
  • learned to play the guitar
  • volunteered
  • managed to earn good grades during Remote Learning
  • respected myself
  • created my own business
  • read two books in one week
  • created an animation
  • helped my brother
  • received an award in soccer
  • received First Honors
  • became a better dancer
  • earned an A in English class
  • made friends with people I can truly bond with
  • learned how to skateboard
  • practiced fencing
  • earned an A in Math class
  • learned how to cook


Hoboken Middle School Spelling Bee

On January 22nd, classroom spelling bee winners participated in grade-level competitions.

Our grade level winners were...

6th Grade: Kevin Melendez

7th Grade: Sophie Katz

8th Grade: Mikayla Corcoran

On February 5th, Kevin, Sophie, and Mikayala competed in our school-wide spelling bee. Our HMS Spelling Bee winner is Kevin Melendez; he will compete at the Hudson County Spelling Bee! Good luck, Kevin!

National Junior Honor Society Induction

Congratulations to our new inductees that took their pledge on Thursday, January 28th in a virtual ceremony. Thank you to all families and members of our school community that took the time to attend.

If you would like to view the ceremony, please check it out on YouTube:

HMS NJHS 2021 Induction Ceremony

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Academic Highlights

6th Grade ELA

In 6th Grade ELA, students became acquainted with Max and Kevin in the novel, Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick. Throughout the novel, students analyzed how the protagonist, Max, demonstrated the traits of a dynamic character. Students were able to identify how Max's friendship with Kevin ("Freak") allowed him to develop socially and emotionally. As a culminating assignment for this unit, students wrote an except from the story as Kevin, which provided students with the opportunity to reflect on how the story may have been different if told from Kevin's point of view. In addition to reading Freak the Mighty, students celebrated Spanish Heritage Month in ELA. Students read a series of vignettes from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, focusing on symbolism, heritage, and identity.

Throughout the second marking period, students continued to delve into the writing process by preparing research and writing plans to compose personal narratives. In our reading workshop sessions, students explored various methods to enhance their reading experience such as identifying modes for choosing books to read, creating a list of criteria for abandoning a book, and discussing the importance of providing an effective book talk for our independent novels. Selected students will be presenting a book talk every Friday to promote the book choosing process and to entice readers to explore various genres and authors.

6th Grade Mathematics

During Marking Period 1, students worked on the envision topics 1-3 in our Envision Math Series

Topic 1

- operations with decimals

- operations with fractions and mixed numbers

- problem solving with rational numbers

Topic 2

- integers

- rational numbers on a number line

- absolute value

- graphing on a coordinate plane

Topic 3

- exponents

- greatest common factor and least common multiple

- writing and evaluating expressions

- equivalent expressions

- simplifying expressions

Additionally, 6th grade students explored the concepts of ratios, rates, and percentages in the second marking period. Students discovered that ratios work just like fractions but compare two whole quantities instead of comparing a part to a whole. Students then learned that a special type of ratio that compares quantities with different units is referred to as a rate. They then went one step further to explore unit rates that compare quantities to 1 whole. Students used these skills to determine "better buys" and solve various other real world problems, often involving multiple steps. Finally, students learned that percentages compare a part to 100. Students will use these percentages to calculate tip, tax, sale prices, mark ups, and mark downs.

6th Grade Social Studies

During the first semester, students were introduced to historical content, such as the Revolutionary War, Bill of Rights, and the Constitution. Students explored the significance of separation of powers, and what differentiates a constitutional government from an autocratic one. Additionally, students learned about the creation of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist factions that became important to the political parities of today. Students also learned about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., how the perception of his work was viewed during the Civil Rights Movement, and how activists and organizations keep his message alive today.

Grade 6 Science

Hoboken Middle School Class of 2023 became astronomers in the first semester! In 6th Grade Science, students studied Earth's place in the Solar System. Students also followed moon phases, and enjoyed identifying galaxies, as well as the characteristics used to identity each of type. Our astronomers also engaged in deeper discussions about space, and are intrigued in what future space exploration may discover.

Students also worked diligently on their STEAM Tank Challenge Projects. This project had each student test their communication skills, openly debate their ideas with peers, and find acceptance as the group organized, planned, and brought life to their project. The topics ranged from ways to help healthcare professionals and society, protecting and observing the environment and animals, and new alternatives to help reduce the need for recycling.

7th Grade ELA

In 7th Grade ELA, students were introduced to their first writing unit, "How Writers Work." In an effort to focus on the writer's craft, students selected the type of writing (i.e. narrative or argumentative) they wanted to work on this unit. Student self-selection allowed students to take ownership in their writing, and be proud of their finished products.

During the first marking period, students also read Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Students analyzed the Dystopian genre, while honing in on the literary elements of theme and characterization throughout the novel. As a culminating project, students created their own Utopian worlds.

Seventh grade students read S.E. Hinton's classic novel The Outsiders in the second marking period. Students began this unit by studying the 1960s, discovering 1960s slang words, and discussing what it means to be an outsider. Throughout the reading of the novel, students completed a curriculum project consisting of four layers, touching on Character Development, Setting/Events, Plot/Theme, and a final Performance Task. In Writing, students examined and explored the writing process as they published an informative or narrative piece of their choice. Students completed three separate drafts, focusing on word choice and sentence structure in the revising and editing processes.

7th Grade Mathematics

Throughout the first semester, students utilized resources, such as EdPuzzle and LIVE Nearpod. These platforms provided students with multiple means of engagement, representation, and expressions. Students also continued to develop their understanding of equations by writing and solving two-step equations strategies by drawing visual representations of the problems in order to solve the equations.

7th Grade Social Studies

During the first marking period, 7th Grade Social Studies classes began to travel the world! From learning about the global importance of the rain forest to Africa-Europe Migration Crisis, students became well-informed on their lessons in Geography. In addition, students participated in Digital Citizenship Week 2020. Students explored the long read of a "digital footprint" and enjoyed taking on the role of a talent scout. In this role, students decided whether to hire or fire someone based on what the candidate had posted online. This led students to ultimately reflect on how social media can both connect and complicate their lives. Students also engaged in meaningful discussions regarding Day of Service, and how to contribute to our community in positive ways.

7th Grade Science

At the conclusion of the first marking period, students in 7th Grade Science were able to understand that special structures responsible for particular functions in organisms. Students were assigned a "Cell Analogy" project, which allowed to compare an animal cell of their choice to a real world system. Students also analyzed how cells divide, and multiply for growth and repair. Throughout the second marking period, students collaborated to create their STEAM Tank projects. Groups worked together in Google Meet break out rooms, and collaborated in finding sustainable solutions to real- world problems. While working on STEAM Tank, students have developed critical thinking and problem- solving skills that will serve them in their future careers and everyday lives.

8th Grade ELA

During the first marking period in 8th Grade ELA, students read and worked with literary elements of The Giver by Lois Lowry. Students focused on differentiating point of view, inferring with foreshadowing, analyzing symbolism, recording character development, and expanding their vocabulary with terms from the novel. Students also explored Dystopian/Utopian societies as it related to the setting of the novel. In preparation for the Writing Fundamentals unit in the second marking period, students began to free-write more frequently as well.

In marking period 2, 8th grade ELA classes read Lord of the Flies by William Golding. This novel offered a great opportunity for students to explore symbolism in literature and construct meaning to the themes of the novel. Later in the marking period, students began reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, in which they continued to extend their reading skills to construct meaning through analysis of the novel. Students utilize their knowledge on racism during the time period of the book to predict outcomes and major events.

Students also wrote either an original informational article, essay, or narrative. Towards the end of the 2nd marking period, students began researching and constructing their Research Reports on a topic of their choice.

8th Grade Mathematics

Pre-Algebra: Students began the first semester by focusing on Real Numbers. This topic provided students the opportunity to discuss when and how these numbers can be found in real life. Additionally, students explored the laws of exponents, and learned to write very large and very small numbers using scientific notation. Students also learned to Analyze and Solve Linear Equations, as well as Using Functions to Model Relationships and Investigate Bivariate Data. By the close of the semester, students were also able to demonstrate their understanding of translations, reflections, and rotations of shapes, as well as similar and congruent figures.

Algebra: In Algebra, 8th grade students focused on applying skills to interpreting different forms of linear equations. Students also began their first experiences with graphing in the first marking period. In additional, students extended skills that focused around Exponent Rules. Throughout the semester, students continued to utilize SAVVAS for assignments and assessments.

Geometry: By the close of the first marking period, students were able to define Rotation as a rigid transformation about an angle of rotation and center of rotation. Ms. Tank's Geometry class can also specify a sequence of transformations that carry a given figure onto another, and use geometric descriptions of rigid motions to transform figures. Ms. Tank also introduced students to how the medians of a triangle are concurrent at its centroid. By the close of the second marking period, students were able to prove that the sum of the interior angles of a polygon is the product of 180° and two less than the number of sides, and use that to solve problems. Use properties of the diagonals of a kite, mid segment of a trapezoid and properties of isosceles trapezoids to solve problems and prove relationships.

8th Grade Social Studies

During the first marking period, students continued to learn the fundamental tools of geography that are applied throughout Social Studies Curriculum. These skills required students to think analytically about how the interactions of humans, environment, and cultures affect history. Some of these topics included: Our planet, Earth, Climates and Ecosystems, Human Environment Interaction, Economics, Culture, and Government. These skills enable students to make informed decisions as responsible world citizens.

Throughout the second marking period, students in the 8th grade began Unit: Europe and Russia. In this unit students studied: the geography of Europe and made connections among the physical geography, history, politics, economics, and culture of these regions. The first topic explored was Ancient Civilizations of Greece and Rome. Students analyzed Greek and Roman contributions to philosophy, learning, architecture, politics, and the arts. Students were also challenged to participate in a STEM activity where they used supplies to design and construct a working catapult that launched an object just like in ancient times. Students started exploring the Early Middle ages, the legacy of the Byzantine Empire and Justinian Law code, the impact of new writing systems such as the cyrillic alphabet, the creation of Orthodox Christianity, and demonstrated an understanding of how European feudalism functioned. Students also participated in a project where they were challenged to design a Feudal Kingdom. Students are continuing to study Europe from the Renaissance to modern times and will begin studying Russia throughout Marking Period 3.

8th Grade Science

Throughout the first semester, 8th grade students focused on how science relates to the world around them in their everyday lives. Ms. Gentile and Ms. Fernandez executed lessons on Motion & Energy, which provided students with the opportunity to design their own virtual roller coasters, testing their success on their knowledge of motion, speed, and transfer of kinetic and potential energy. Additionally, students studied Interactions of Matter, where they observed atomic behavior in each state of matter in a virtual lab. Students also studied minerals and how to identify minerals using a number of diagnostic tests.

Visual Arts

Art Highlights from Mrs. Fasolino

Hoboken's dynamic Middle School Art Department set this year into motion with bustling creative energy. The first quarter of Visual Arts focuses on students being mindfully guided to develop increasingly broad creative strategies. Projects are designed to prompt acquisition of transferable skills, exploring alternative problem solving strategies, and heightening critical thinking skills through artistic practices.I take great pride in highlighting the following semester projects.

We began the semester together by revisiting the 7 Elements of Art and reimagining them into application through original illustrative interpretations of each element. Moving forward, Value streamlines through each project as the focal point of study. The application of Value carried us through our observational drawing unit where the summative project was a rendering of a geometric still life where the application of our value scale tricks transforms simple shapes into the illusion of form.

Our next creative adventure had us jumping in a time capsule back to Germany as we explored creator Tim Burton's macabre roots in German Cinematic Expressionism. Our growing artists were challenged to develop their own original "Burtonesque" character portraits to be accompanied by a narrative, song, or poem. Following this dark and gritty pencil project, color exploded on the scene with our Graffiti Unit! We focused on street artists Eduardo Kobra and Bansky and held a debate on whether graffiti could be considered Art or Vandalism? A running man back to the 80's gave us the historical significance of graffiti and it's rise from underground culture to mainstream notoriety. Our artists then created their own original graffiti "tag" and transferred their value scale pencil study to color application.

The first marking period came to a close with the challenge of giving "flight" to the element of Form through the Peace Crane Challenge inspired by the actual events in the novel, Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr. My students took a trip back in time to World War II to witness the devastating effects of the atomic bomb drops on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. We then used our research to generate informed responses to layered questions such as, "What are the implications and long term effects of using weapons of mass destruction?" The conversation continued and flowed into current events and the importance of the United Nation's push for global denuclearization. Students learned about the cultural significance of the ancient Japanese legend that promises wishes granted to those who fold 1,000 paper cranes. Grades 6-8 then participated in a Hiroshima Peace Cranes challenge! Who can fold the most cranes in 1.5 class periods? It was high energy and exciting! Our Unit ended with a reflective entry in our creative journal where students were asked, "What is your dream/hope/wish for yourself or the world and what you could do right now, each day, to get closer at making this wish come true."

Throughout the second marking period, we worked on our Tim Burton Portrait Unit and our artists could not be more thrilled with themselves and their work! The week excitedly moved forward with great momentum as we viewed Burtonś 1982 animated short¨Vincent,¨ and conducted theme and character analysis. Students then bent their minds to understanding the signature features of German Cinematic Expressionism and debated as to whether or not Tim Burtonś iconic original style was all that original after all. Conclusions were created by comparing specific paralleling scenes from Burton films to the cinematic expressionism of the early 1920s.

Our artists defined our Unit Vocabulary, the features of “Burtonesque,” in our Creative Journals. Words like macabre, aesthetic, surrealism, expressionism, anthropomorphism, and eclectic. The words were defined, interpreted, and understanding was then illustrated by our artists making insightful connections to ¨Vincent." I could not be more proud of the creative efforts of my artists!

Stay Creative!

-Mrs. Jessica Fasolino

World Language

Throughout the semester, the World Language Department introduced the fundamentals in their respective languages. In Mandarin, Spanish, and French, students learned how to pronounce terms associated with school, describe their personality traits, and even recite poems. During the week of respect, students composed a Week of Respect Pledge in their target language as well. World Language classes also participated in the Day of Service, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. World Language classes collected many non-perishable food items, which were delivered to the Hoboken Shelter. Students decorated collection boxes in the target language and encouraged classmates to participate in this worthy cause.
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