The Squire

February 2018

Westbrook Middle School

Taylor P. Wrye, Principal

Amy Gallagher, Lead Teacher



13 - PTO Munsons Fund Raiser Ends

16 - Spelling Bee

16 - Student vs. Staff Basketball Game

19 - 23 - No School - February Vacation


8 - Parent Teacher Conferences

9- No School - PD Day

14 - 8th Grade & WHS Concert

15 - Geography Fair

29 - End of Q3

30 - No School - Good Friday


Grade 7 & 8

ELA - May 1

Math - May 2 & 3

Science - Grade 8 ONLY - May 15

Grades 5 & 6

ELA - May 8

Math - May 9 & 10

Science - Grade 5 ONLY - May 15


Hello Westbrook Middle School,

It is hard to believe that we are on our 100th day of school today. A lot has happened recently at Westbrook Middle School. We welcomed Tom Pincince to speak with our students and parents about social media, and had a very competitive Geography Bee won by 7th grader Kyle Malazzi! Last week, Westbrook Middle School showed its support for the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sports Day. Next week students are encouraged to cheer on the US Olympic team at the Winter Olympic Games. We are also looking forward to more exciting events such as the Geography Fair and Spelling Bee.

On a serious note, I request parents pull their cars up to the second crosswalk during the morning drop-off and afternoon pickup. Parents should not drop students in the lower parking lot, teacher parking lot, or bus lane. These areas need to be clear for moving traffic. I would like to remind everyone that the handicap parking spots in the lower parking lot are for cars that have handicap permits. These spots are not appropriate places to drop children off or to wait for your child, and are critical to people who need access to them.

The SBAC dates have been finalized (below). Please make every effort to get your child to school on time during SBAC testing.

Grade 7 & 8: ELA - May 1, Math - May 2 & 3, Science - Grade 8 ONLY - May 15

Grades 5 & 6: ELA - May 8, Math - May 9 & 10, Science - Grade 5 ONLY - May 15

I hope that everyone has a restful and enjoyable February Vacation.


Taylor P. Wrye, Principal


"The Delmarva Peninsula includes parts of Delaware, Virginia, and which other state?"

During the months of December and January, students in grades 5-8 participated in the National Geographic Geography Bee. Each grade level held preliminary competitions, resulting in 2 or 3 finalists who would then compete in the grade level competition. In January, ten WMS students competed in the school-wide Bee to showcase their knowledge of geography trivia as well as map reading skills. Kyle Malazzi succeeded in besting the competition. He has taken the online qualifying test and will find out soon if he has been accepted to the state level competition which is held in April. We wish the best of luck to Kyle and extend our congratulations to all our competitors in this year's Geography Bee.

(answer: Maryland)

Big picture


Megan Bache - Grade 5, Ethan Franco - Grade 6, Adriana Stranieri - Grade 7, Sammy Freeman - Grade 8, David Murphy - Art, Maddy White - Family and Consumer Science, Mackenzie True - Spanish, Olivia Palumbo - French, Aaron Cusson - Technology, Maximilian Diamond - Band, Becca Mitchell - Chorus, Taylor Rae - Physical Education, Sam Sharpe - Health


Nicholas English - Grade 5, Piper Selmont - Grade 6, Sofia Ferrucci - Grade 7, Deja Hunter - Grade 8, Makayla Bavely - Spanish, Gabriela Spash - Art, Christopher Howe - Family and Consumer Science, Alex Zanzalari - French, Hannah Wrubleski - Technology, Joshua Davey- Band, Michael Sharpe - Chorus, Julia Farnoli - Physical Education


To kick off February break, sixteen super spellers from Westbrook Middle School will compete in the championship round of the school-wide Scripps National Spelling Bee. Earlier this year, all WMS students took a spelling pre-test that determined the top 15 to 20 spellers in each grade. These semi-finalists then competed against their classmates in the next round, a grade-wide bee, to narrow it down to the top four spellers in each grade. These amazing spellers will meet on stage in the café on February 16, 2018 for the championship round. Our winner will represent Westbrook Middle School at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford on March 10th for the final local spelling bee.

Congratulations to all of the finalists for making it this far & good luck on the 16th!

Grade 5: Lucas B., Rodrigo D., Nicholas E., Jack O.

Grade 6: Brenden H.V., Trevor J., Taylor R., Gabrielle W.

Grade 7: Daniel G., Ava K., Myan N., Gregg P.

Grade 8: Sammy F., Jeremy K., Mackenzie M., David W.


Mrs. Ehrlich (school social worker) and Mrs. Archambault (school psychologist) have been teaching Second Step lessons in the 5th grade classes on a bi-weekly basis. The Second Step middle school program is a universal classroom-based program that addresses the core competencies and problematic behavior shown to affect students' success in school and in life. So far lessons have focused on Listening With Attention, Empathy, Passive/Assertive/Aggressive, and Predicting Others' Feelings.

In addition to the Second Step lessons, proactive circles have been used during each session. These group discussions allow students to connect with each other as well with Mrs. Ehrlich and Mrs. Archambault. We have focused a great deal of time on being respectful and understanding of others’ feelings. Students discovered that this skill helps them to work well with others and make friends.

If you would like to follow up at home, please access the Home Links which can be found on the Student Support Services webpage.

1. Go to the Westbrook Middle School homepage

2. Click “Student Support Services” under Student Resources. Click the link on the left for “Second Step.”

3. Click the link for “Home Links” in English or Spanish.

Or click here! Student Support Services

Grade 7 & 8 students will participate in a Mental Health Awareness Week in March. Support staff aims to educate the school community about teen depression, help eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness and empower teens to take charge of their mental health.


Students have been studying light energy in Science. They have examined and experimented with lenses and mirrors, both convex and concave. Students have pondered if ancient Greek scientist Archimedes actually invented a “Death Ray”. Legend says that soldiers flipped their shields around and used the “concave mirrors” to focus a thousand focal points of sunlight to set Roman ships ablaze. In addition, students know all the parts of the eye and their functions. These scientists diagnosed nearsightedness and farsightedness as well as several vision problems such as cataracts, glaucoma and colorblindness. To answer the old age question… Yes!! We Can See the Light!

In Language Arts we are full swing in our Historical Fiction Reading Unit. The books chosen focus on Jamestown, the first permanent settlement in the New World. Students are reading in small groups where they are practicing their close reading skills. Sticky notes are used to annotate these observations which lead to collaborative discussions within each group. Students are focusing on theme, point of view, characterization, inferring, relevant evidence, and figurative language. To incorporate writing, students will become anthropologists and research a person or event from the time period they’d like to learn more about.

In January grade 5 Mathematicians utilize the 'Great Wall of Base Ten' to visualize and understand decimal place value.' When in Number Corner students roll the dice and spin a spinner to take part in a more hands on approach to relating fractional concepts with the study of decimals while incorporating their knowledge of 'Time and Money.' Each day students also apply written strategies to round decimals to the nearest tenth and hundredth places, order decimals on a number line, compare decimal values and calculate sums, differences and products through the thousandth place. In addition, students begin to explore the many patterns in multiplication as they practice the multiplication algorithm for mastery.


This week in grade 6 social studies all classes had the opportunity to work together to learn about the Panama Canal Expansion Locks. However, not in the usual way! Yes, there was some typical learning strategies going on, such as reading an article and answering questions together, but there was a twist! Students sat at tables in the library in groups of 3-4 with a stack of encyclopedias, almanacs, dictionaries and magazines lying in front of them. They were told they were going to use those books for research, but in fact, they had to use all of those materials to create or build a replica of the original Panama Canal Locks then create the new Expansion Locks with the same materials. Students had to use the information they just read about to create a model with their partners.

This past month some 6th grade students traveled to Capital Prep School in Hartford to take part in their 2nd Project Oceanology activity. They spent the day working, in small groups, with other students from Capital Prep and Project Oceanology Instructors. Students were able to dissect a squid to learn about how they live, breathe, eat and survive in their habitat. After a few squeamish moments the kids were excited to take part in this hands on dissection. The second task was a density lab, something we just completed in our classroom. It was fun to see their classroom learning put to use in a hands-on setting. The students had to figure out with cold water, warm water and salt water how to make 3 items sink, float or stay suspended in the water. As an added bonus the students got a quick glimpse of the crazy ice build-up along the CT River as we traveled north on route 9. It was quite the amazing site to see here in CT!


Don’t forget about our Annual Geography Fair coming up on March 15th!! Students have already begun and I have seen some amazing flags and maps so far! Keep up the good work!

Be sure to check in with your child to see how they are doing and what they are creating and I hope to see all of you on March 15 for some real geography fun!


Language Arts: In January, students reviewed and explored several literary terms (setting, plot, theme, foreshadowing, irony, internal conflict, external conflict, direct characterization, indirect characterization) through the reading of several different short stories. Students also participated in a couple of Socratic Seminars to further enhance their speaking and listening skills. In February, students will dive into a Non-Fiction Book Club Unit. The mentor text will be Chew on This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know about Fast Food by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson. Students will then also be reading one of the following: I Am Malala, Courage Has No Color, The Boys Who Challenged Hitler, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Following that unit will be our Argumentative Writing Unit.

Math: Students continue their study of algebra by modeling real-life applications with variables and constants in expressions, equations, and inequalities. Our focus in February is determining if relationships between quantities are proportional. The students will use equations, tables, and graphs to make this determination.

Social Studies: After completing our unit on the American Revolution, students began learning about the foundations of the United States government. Students examined the weaknesses in the Articles of Confederations and why the need for a stronger central government was necessary. Students studied the U.S. Constitution, including the Preamble, the three branches of government and the Bill of Rights. In addition, each student completed a formal research project where he or she created an informational poster on a current member of our federal government. Students were assisted by Mrs. Goad in creating Works Cited documents using MLA format, as well as Ms. Runkle who instructed and supported them in the design and technical aspect of this project. Posters will be hung in the 7th grade hallway, and we will have a Gallery Walk to view all of the posters and learn more about the U.S. government. As we approach February, we will begin looking at early American leaders and the impact they had on our new nation. Finally, WMS hosted its annual Geography Bee in January. Representing 7th grade were Joshua D., Kyle M., and Adriana S. After an intense school-wide competition, Kyle M. won top honor of being our 2018 Westbrook Middle School Geography Bee champion! Congratulations to Kyle and all of the finalists.

Science: 7th grade science classes are studying volcanoes and earthquakes. We are connected to current events given the recent earthquake off Alaska. Students are able to access the United States Geological Survey ( web site, the National Data Buoy Center (, and numerous news clips for updated information. During the last week of January, students will choose and research a specific volcano, highlighting its location, characteristics and historical/current activity. Students will also have an opportunity to participate in an extra-credit project to build a volcano and share its “explosivity” during class (outside, of course!) Students participating in the interdistrict Project Oceanology program recently visited their partner school, Capital Preparatory Magnet School, in Hartford. This program teams up two schools and provides opportunities for students to get to know each other and work together on marine science projects. The activities presented by the Project O instructors included the effect of temperature and salinity changes on density and examination of a local squid species. Future programs include an eagle survey along the CT River and a seal survey on Fisher’s Island Sound.


Students in 8th grade social studies have spent some time during quarter 2 learning about the Progressive Era under Theodore Roosevelt's administration. Part of this unit involves the passage of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, fewer than 100 years ago. As enrichment to these studies, Lena Pacheco, from the CT Women's Hall of Fame came to WMS to speak with the eighth grade students about the women of CT who played important roles in the passing of this legislation. Students were introduced to activists such as the Smith sisters of Glastonbury, who were taxed for being unmarried and owning land, as well as Alice Paul who became famous for her protests through hunger strikes. Mrs. Pacheco's presentation followed the inquiry arc by having students develop questions about the material and then discovering the answers through slides and primary documents. The knowledge and experience brought to our WMS students by the CT Women's Hall of Fame certainly expanded their thinking about the work that has been done toward equal rights for women.


A couple of weeks ago in grade 8 Spanish, students finished up their midterm exams. They worked very hard to prepare as they know this is a high school credit course. Students are now learning about the past tense for the first time since they began studying Spanish. Students are also continuing to write letters to their pen pals at Jared Eliot Middle school in Clinton.

In grade 7 Spanish, they finished up a unit about saying where they and others go a using the verbs IR- to go, and ESTAR- to be. They are now learning about what foods they like, and using the present tense of ER and IR verbs.

In grade 6 Spanish, they are learning about adjectives. They are able to describe themselves and others. They love using Flip Grid to record their short responses to my questions. They love speaking in their groups as you can see!

SPANISH with Senor Donovan

In 5th grade Spanish, we have transitioned into an immersion classroom after an introduction period after the 1st semester switch. The students are now attending Spanish everyday for the rest of the year. Each student has selected a Spanish name and created a name card for their desks. We have begun the alphabet and classroom objects. This week we were working on our alphabet projects and our personal profiles.

The 6th grade has been learning about adjectives and how they agree in Spanish as well as how to use definite and indefinite articles.

The 7th grade has been learning about family. They will begin the family tree project very soon. The students have also begun to learn about possessive adjectives and will soon make comparisons in Spanish.

The 8th grade has been learning Spanish body parts and the preterite (past) tense of verbs that end in AR. A typical week begins with some Monday motivation, practice reading/writing, then listening, reviewing numbers, using technology, fun interactive games, and video clips to enhance the current topics. The class is conducted primarily in Spanish, so students have the opportunity to speak in the language each day on a variety of interests. There are many great resources such as Duolingo, Quizlet, and many others that can be found through my website.

FRENCH with Monsieur Beauchamp

In grade 5 - Students are exploring why it's important to learn a world language, numbers 0-50,

conversational vocabulary, the colors, and the alphabet via games, mini-skits and discovery.

In grade 6 - Students made up their own script and skit to practice classroom commands with their peers.

They're also going to learn and use the verb AVOIR.

In grade 7 - Students have just started the French Café unit, which will culminate with the French Café where students will

order in the target language real French foods and beverages in a café setting.

In grade 8 - Students will soon make mind maps on hobbies, interests and sports and the corresponding structures.


Computer Science teaches our children more than just how to create homework on their chromebooks… it helps teach them planning, project management, problem solving, research skills, critical thinking, and collaboration. These are essential skills that all students will need to be successful in life. Right now we have 5th graders learning the basics of Computer Science. This includes the correct vocabulary, navigation skills, and a basic understanding of how computers function. Another group of 5th graders is continuing their work from first semester by exploring the world of coding. 8th grade Digital Media are learning many ways to be creative using technology and will use those skills to create a presentation for their promotion up to high schoolers. If you have any questions about Computer Science at Westbrook Middle, please feel free to email Ms. Runkle at


In physical education students will be finishing up hockey and basketball the first week of February and then moving into speedball, ultimate frisbee, and lacrosse. We will continue to utilize the weight room for cardiovascular workouts as a change of pace for students who would like something different than conventional sports.

As a reminder students should be bringing a change of clothes and deodorant for class and they will be graded primarily on their sportsmanship and teamwork so that should be emphasized at home as well.


Westbrook Middle had an exciting beginning to semester 2 art. 5th grade used a hand building method to complete a square bowl and used mixed media to create a leveled sunset watercolor painting. 6thgrade learned about optical illusion by drawing tornados using a sharpie and blending colored pencils. 6th grade also constructed clay owls using a variety of tools to create designs and textures on their pieces. 7th grade “googled their name” by drawing the letters in their names as objects that represent them. This was enjoyable because the students we able to find out more about their peers and their interests. 7th grade also is finishing reduction printmaking where they are able to layer ink colors to create a series of pictures on note cards. 8th grade completed a project called “shape up” where they had to turn letters into the object that is. 8th grade also constructed clay monsters and are beginning an abstract painting based off Jackson Pollock, an American abstract expressionist painter. Although we have completed a lot of projects we still have many more!


The students in second semester Family and Consumer Science are off to a great start! All of the classes have been working on community building and classroom expectations. Each class has participated in various group challenges and demonstrated their collaboration
skills with much success. Enrolled sixth graders will begin a unit on childcare and babysitting in February. The seventh grade will use computers to explore banking.The eighth grade students will begin a unit on personal finance with a focus on budgeting.


Looking for a good book? Explore around the library to see the book reviews by our 8th grade students! Check out the list of favorite books recommended by our eighth graders. You’re bound to find one in the genre you like, or maybe try something new.

Book recommendations for the library are always welcome. Did you see a book at the bookstore, online, or one your friend is reading? Stop by and fill in a recommendation form and you will be the first to check it out!

Author of Sidetracked, Diana Harmon Asher came and spoke to our 5th, 6th, and 7th grade students last month. Diana shared how she came up with the ideas for her first published book, as well as, the transcripts rejected by publishers that she plans to edit and resubmit. If you did not purchase your own signed copy and would like to read, Sidetracked, come down and check one out!

Working with R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, we are planning another author event with Jennifer Nielsen, where she will talk about the first in her new YA series, Traitor’s Game (release date is February 28, 2018) for grades 7 & 8. This event is free to our students with a minimum book purchase. Students who pre-purchase the book ($19.13 checks may be made out to RJ Julia Booksellers) will have the opportunity to meet with the author after the presentation for a book signing. Order forms are available in the library or on the Library page on the Middle School website under “Student Resources”.

There’s still time to read a 2018 Nutmeg nominee and be part of the NBA (Nutmeg Book Award)! You are eligible to vote in April for your favorite book as long as you have read in a particular category. These are the same nominated titles that you read for summer reading. In addition to voting in Intermediate (Grades 4 – 6) and Teen (Grades 7 & 8), some of our older students have also read a book and will vote in the High School level. Read and join students across the state to select the Nutmeg Book Award winning author for Teen and Intermediate levels. Get in the Game! If you have any questions please contact Mrs. Goad at or 860 399-2010.


After an excellent showing by all students in our January concert, the bands and choirs are moving onward and upward in our quest to develop our music literacy. On March 2-3, eight of our band students will be performing in the Southern Region Music Festival at Haddam Killingworth Middle School. Here is a list of the students who will be performing:

Henry Anderson - Grade 8 - Concert Band

Jack Ford - Grade 6 - Concert Band

Nora Hayden - Grade 6 - Concert Band

Trevor Jones - Grade 6 - Concert Band

Gianni Salisbury - Grade 8 - Concert Band

Sofia Ferrucci - Grade 7 - Flute Ensemble

Alexandria Zanzalari - Grade 8 - Flute Ensemble

Gabriel Magriz - Grade 7 - Jazz Band

Congratulations to all of these students, and good luck in your upcoming concert!

In other music news, Jazz Band officially starts up in February. Rhythm section practices at 7:00 AM on Tuesdays and winds rehearse at 7:00 AM on Thursdays. We’re all excited for Jazz Band 2018.

If you haven’t had a chance to hear the 5th grade choir, we’ve been producing our concert tracks using Apple’s Logic software for an end of the year album. Here are a few examples.

I’m An Old Cowhand & If I Had a Hammer

Taylor Wrye

The Hammer Song - 12:28:17, 1.49 PM by Taylor Wrye

Technology Education

Technology Education

Sixth grade students are completing an on-line interactive woodshop safety quiz, before starting work on their wood projects.

Sixth and Seventh grade students also traced the history of NASA and previous space exploration milestones.

Students then watched Elon Musks’ Space X Heavy historic launch on February 6, 2018.

Big picture



The 2017-2018 WMS yearbook will be going on sale soon in March. Currently, 8th graders have the opportunity to enter a design for the yearbook cover contest. The winning design will be printed as the yearbook cover and that student will get a free yearbook. If you have any clear pictures from sporting events, Fall Arts Night or concerts, please email them to Thank you!


The Family and Consumer Science club continues to honor students who have been recognized as a Student of the Month by hosting several breakfasts each year. The next meeting will be on February 13. Students in all grades are welcome and encouraged to join.


Jazz Band officially starts up in February. Rhythm section practices at 7:00 AM on Tuesdays and winds rehearse at 7:00 AM on Thursdays. We’re all excited for Jazz Band 2018.


The student council’s current service project is a coat drive for the homeless in New York City. The student council will be collecting gently used coats, mittens, scarves, and blankets now through February 16th. Donations can be dropped off by students to Mrs. Selmont's room, Mrs. Fredrickson's room, or the library. Local teens will deliver the warm weather essentials to the homeless over February vacation. This is a great opportunity to clean out your closets for a good cause! The student council hopes to collect supplies for a local animal shelter in the spring. As always, the student council appreciates the community’s continued generosity and support!

Pictured with Donated Coats: 8th Grader Evan Migdole, Student Council President

Big picture


Please join us for the 2018 Spring Musical: Kilroy Was Here. It’s time to cut a rug with all the guys and gals at our local USO club. Spies are everywhere and our characters must figure out who to trust. This is a fun, fabulous, and patriotic tribute to all the men and women who helped America fight and win WWII. You’ll be laughing, singing, and dancing along with the forties music as our characters Jitterbug away their Saturday night. Please join us for the shows on April 5th, 6th, and 7th! Contact Ms. Runkle at if you have any questions.


WMS Girls Basketball joins WHS for Cancer Awareness and fundraiser!

The WMS Girls basketball team played a full intra-squad scrimmage at 5:30 pm on January 29th as the lead in game for the Westbrook girls varsity home game vs. Haddam-Killingworth HS and "PINK GAME" fundraiser for cancer awareness.

Big picture