Herget Happenings

January 2021...WELCOME BACK!

Jan 2021 TL Newsletter


School District 129 - Girls Basketball/Poms 2021

Girls basketball and poms starts Tuesday 1/19. Please read the information below for what this year’s season will look like. As a result of the updated guidelines from the IHSA/ISBE, our middle school sports have transitioned from a competitive to an intramural model. We will have a “no-cut” policy for poms and basketball. We are not competing against any schools.

Here are the details for each sport:

6th/7th/8th Grade Poms: Practice Monday-Thursday from January 19th (Tuesday) to February 11th (Thursday) from 3:45 to 5:15 PM.

Poms will practice in the MPR and/or cafeteria. You will only practice on your A/B days. For instance, Monday and Wednesday are A Days. Tuesday and Thursday are B Days.

***For the 2021 season, 6th graders will be allowed to participate in this no-cut activity.

6th/7th/8th Grade Girls Basketball: Practice daily from January 19th (Tuesday) to February 12th (Friday) from 3:45 to 5:15 PM. Basketball will practice in the gymnasium.

You will only practice on your A/B days. For instance, Monday and Wednesday are A Days. Tuesday and Thursday are B Days. Friday will alternate.

Important Information:

-All students must register on our 8to18 website.

-No user-fee will be paid.

-No-cut policy for the 2020-2021 girls basketball and poms season.

-Each athlete must have a current physical on file with the school.

-Masks must be worn on the bus and at practice.

-Based on participation numbers and facility constraints, athletes might only be able to attend certain days of the week.

An activity bus will provide transportation after practice from school. The activity bus will drop off at the locations attached. Please fill out the Google form if you are in need of using the activity bus: https://forms.gle/2Ny4DqAnC8ZWgeRL8

Any questions, please reach out to Mr. White at awhite@sd129.org or (630) 301-5755. If you have sports physicals they can be scanned to me via email or brought in on the first day of practice. You can register online at this link: https://il.8to18.com/herget

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Battle of the Books will be starting within the next few weeks! In order to participate, students will choose their own teams of 3-4. All of the players must be in the same grade level and the same A/B day, as we will battle during lunch. Once teams have been established, students need to message Mrs. Dieken the names of everyone on their team. Students will then divvy up the 12 books selected. Students should be putting their books on hold through Herget’s library, Sora, Aurora Public Library, or you may purchase them.

As a team, all 12 books should be read by April, as that is when we will start battling. The “Battle” consists of three rounds of questions pertaining to the 12 books. For each question, teams have 45 seconds to discuss amongst themselves and come up with an answer. For every correct answer, the team will earn 4 points. If they know the author as well, they will earn an extra point. At the end of every round, we will total the score. The team with the highest score after three rounds will win the Battle of the Books title!


We are preparing for a healthy and Happy New Year! Here’s to a fresh start and new beginnings. Congratulations on doing your daily self-checks.I am hoping that by the time this news hits the press that we have more information regarding new vaccines. Vaccines have been our protection in schools for centuries.

A healthy mind and body are needed for productive learning. Middle school students who visit the doctor are encouraged to describe their symptoms clearly and explain their needs. We talk about “letting your doctor know”. Your primary healthcare provider should be informed and up to date on any medications, medical treatments, or illnesses that you may have endured. Accessing healthcare is an important skill for our middle school students to begin to learn. Parents, please facilitate and encourage those conversations for your students.

Regarding doctor visits, health office staff are preparing letters to be mailed home with individualized notices for all eighth-grade students. All eighth-graders are required to have a complete physical exam and a complete dental exam prior to ninth grade entry. This is an early reminder to make those appointments. You will receive a copy of all vaccines in your student’s health record at District 129 to date. Please take your student’s individual notice with you when taking your student for his/her ninth-grade physical exam. Below is a link to view the required forms that your doctor or dentist will provide.

Students at all levels are excited to prepare for sports participation. Remember that a valid school physical exam can be used for sports for one year from the date that the exam is signed by the healthcare provider. A sports physical can not substitute for the required Illinois school physical exam.

School Physical Exam Form Dental Exam Form

Please don’t hesitate to call the health office with questions 630-301-5240/ 630-301-5243

Submitted by: Elizabeth Silva RN-CSN

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Tips for Avoiding the Winter Blues

As we move deeper into winter, it is not uncommon to feel sad, irritated or less energetic during the winter months and throw on top of that a worldwide pandemic; we need to be even more intentional about taking care of our physical and emotional well-being.

Keep Active:

On cold, dark days, it can be hard to pull yourself out of bed. Nonetheless, it is important to keep moving and active. Keeping up with work, school or social obligations gives you momentum and focus that can make it easier to weather the tough days. Exercise has also been proven to reduce symptoms of depression and make you feel better. Set aside some time for exercise or yoga at home or bundle up and go for a walk outside.

Lighten Up:

Winter has its share of dark, gloomy mornings, but turning on your lights and opening your curtains can help lift your mood.

Focus on the Positive:

It’s so easy to focus on the negative, but taking stock of the positive can greatly improve our perspective and mood. Take time each morning or night to write down a list of positives or things you are grateful for.

Talk About It:

One of the best ways to feel better is to open up and talk about how you’re doing. If you are feeling blue or having a hard time getting motivated, talk to a trusted adult about it. Most likely, they have felt or are feeling similar and you can help each other along by trading stories and tips. If your sadness or lethargy is continuing over days or weeks or making it hard for you to function, consider reaching out to a counselor or other professional who can help.

Treat Yourself:

The weather and Covid-19 are keeping us more homebound than usual. Just because you are not going out as much, doesn’t mean you can’t plan activities and have fun. Plan a movie night; schedule a virtual game night with friends. Find a new hobby (puzzles, knitting, painting, growing an indoor plant, etc.) or start a project. Instead of feeling “trapped” inside, make a list of things you enjoy and find ways to engage in those activities.

Adapted from ulifeline.org

Lifetouch Picture Day

We will have two picture days to accommodate in-person and virtual Herget A/B students. Below are the dates for each section of students. Important: A link to make appointments will be sent to our virtual families.

Tuesday, February 9 for B schedule- In-person

Wednesday, February 10 for A schedule – In-person

Picture Day ID: EVTHC27N8


Game On – Growing Language is Fun

Test your wits! Challenge your student to friendly game or wager some chores/favors on a lively match of the minds. Language-based games are a fantastic and fun workout for the brain. They strengthen synapses that increase our capacity for memory and learning, they give us a low-stakes opportunity to taste victory or experience failure and learn from both, and they open up conversations and avenues for communication that keep us intellectually and emotionally connected to one another. The following is a list of quick and lively games that require nothing more than a few pencils and paper, most requiring nothing more than your mind, to get your family rumble of wits underway:

Categories – One player chooses a “category” to start a round (fruits, Disney movies, etc.) and players take turns naming items that belong in that group (strawberries, bananas, etc.). Each round continues until one player either repeats an answer from the round or cannot think of a response in 7 seconds.

Loaded Questions – One player asks an open-ended question to start a round (What superpower would you like to have?) and all players, except for the questioner, write a response to the question. Players pass their responses to a person sitting next to the questioner who shuffles and reads through all of the responses WITHOUT reading which player wrote each. The questioner asks for each response to be read one at a time while they guess who wrote what.

One-Minute Speeches – One player challenges themselves or another player with a speaking topic. The speaker attempts to give an impromptu speech for one minute without stopping. Other players can give phrases to help a speaker who is stuck.

Forbidden Word – One player writes down a word and passes it to someone next to them. The person the word is passed to gives other words as clues for the remaining players to guess the forbidden word. The fewer the word clues are given, the better.

20 Questions – One player thinks of an object (doesn’t have to be in your vicinity) and other players attempt to identify that object by asking a series of yes or no questions that the thinker must answer. If the questioning players can’t identify the object in 20 questions, then the round goes to the thinker.

Mr. Stauter, Reading Specialist


Huskies Physical and Health Education is an integral educational program that continues to drive instruction to students and reinforces how important it is to understand and participate in physical activities that can assist in developing and maintaining mental and emotional, social, and physical health throughout our lifetime.

One key ingredient in the PE and Health Department’s approach has been to encourage each individual to be active and fit in the moment during live learning days, throughout student independent learning day lessons, as well as in the future when we are away from Herget.

Herget PE students have been empowered to cultivate socially using technology while practicing healthy and safe social distancing, emotionally, and intellectually while sustaining regular physical fitness (5) five days per week. Students are achieving this as we close Quarter 2 through physical activities undertaken in an active, caring, supportive, and non-threatening atmosphere in which every student and staff member is challenged and successful.

During live learning days, the staff has introduced a variety of physical fitness developmental activities such as agility and plyometric exercises, focused on flexibility utilizing weekly Yoga flows, cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, and muscular strength lessons. Student choice theory and student reflections have been used for evidence of student mastery and have allowed staff an opportunity to give appropriate feedback when needed. Independent learning days have continued to use PLT4M at-home fitness application to further student’s fitness levels when they are not directly engaged with their teacher and classmates. Students have demonstrated a cognitive knowledge of fitness concepts such as the FITT Principle, Components of Fitness, and Heart Rate Basics.

During Health Education live learning days 6th-8th grade students have focused on the following topics; Dimensions of Health, Self-Concept and Self-Esteem, Goal Setting, Decision Making, Body Systems, and Harassment via Guest Speakers from Mutual Ground. Safety and Social-Emotional Learning activities have also been stressed during Independent Learning Days.

On behalf of the PE & Health Department staff, we wish all HUSKIES a safe, active, and healthy holiday break!

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This month sixth-grade students will finish up with their study of Physical and Chemical Reactions. We will begin January with a review of Physical and chemical changes, the Law of Conservation of Mass, and Endo/Exothermic reactions. Ask your student to explain any of these to you! We will then begin learning about the structure and function of organisms.

Seventh graders will begin a unit on simple machines. Students will be introduced to the six simple machines and the mechanical advantages of using each machine. They will explore how simple machines are important and common in our everyday life. Students will study how engineers use simple machines to construct modern structures such as houses, bridges, and skyscrapers.

Eighth Grade will be continuing with their unit on Genetics. Students will be examining various mutations that can happen and whether they are beneficial, harmful, or have no effect. Students will also be using Planarian to study the process of regeneration.


Seventh Grade Spanish / French: The unit about activities, sports, and hobbies is in the final stages and will be complete before Winter break. The next unit is all about families. By the end of the family unit, they will be able to have to describe a family using appropriate family tree vocabulary. Students will also learn how to describe physical and personality traits.

Eighth Grade Spanish / French: The unit about the school day is concluding before Winter Break. The final writing project was describing a Snowman's day at school! Our next unit is about clothing and weather. Students will be able to describe weather conditions, as well as what clothing is needed according to the weather.

Heritage Spanish A: Students are finishing a unit that focuses on youth and stages of childhood. The next unit will be about hobbies and leisure activities.

Heritage Spanish B: Students are finishing their unit about family structure and values. The next unit will be about immigration.


Supporting Your Child in Middle School Math

By Diana Goldberg

As parents, we sometimes forget how confusing, frustrating, and difficult middle school can be, and for some kids, math is especially confusing, frustrating, and difficult. Being a middle school math teacher, I hear from many parents who want to help their children but aren’t sure how. Whether you identify with Carla*, a mother who helps her son too much because she’s eager for him to get good grades or Todd*, a dad who doesn’t know how to help his daughter because he “doesn’t understand the math” himself, every parent can benefit from these tips for supporting children who struggle with middle school math.

Before you can help your child, it’s important to understand what is happening (mathematically) to the adolescent brain. Middle school is an exciting time; adolescents’ brains are transitioning from reasoning in a concrete manner to understanding abstract concepts and ideas.

According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, middle school math typically begins with concepts such as fractions and decimals, and by the time students’ move on to high school, they have learned pre-algebra concepts, such as manipulating variables and solving or writing equations to find unknown values—ideas that cannot easily be visualized or explained with physical objects. Keep in mind that this is particularly hard for students stuck in a concrete state of mind; they tend to rely on memorizing steps or procedures to solve problems, which can lead to more difficulties later on.

Here are some useful tips on how you can support your child in math:

  • Always have notes from class, a textbook or other resources right next to a homework paper. If your child gets stuck, she is likely to find a similar problem in one of these resources that can help her move forward.

  • Ensure the student takes responsibility for her own learning by finding assistance independently; the ability to access help on your own is essential for student success in all areas of academics.

  • Never give children the answers to problems! By giving away answers, you’re depriving your child of the chance to develop the mental processes required to learn a new concept. No parent enjoys seeing their child struggle, but providing answers could set them up for frustration when they have to tackle more difficult problems and might even stunt their progress as classmates move to more advanced lessons. Furthermore, your child’s teacher will not be able to address the misconceptions or areas of weakness that should be targeted in school if homework assignments do not reflect the student’s level of understanding.

  • Encourage your child to underline or highlight keywords or phrases in situational problems, as these often help students set up a solution.

  • Realize that your child may struggle with abstract concepts if his or her brain is not quite ready to reason at an abstract level. Your child’s brain will mature in time, and success in math class is likely to accompany this development.

  • If your child is frustrated by mathematics, show him how to focus on concepts rather than procedural knowledge. This might help some students approach and solve problems in a different way—one that makes more sense to them. For instance, ask your child to explain one problem in their assignment each night. If possible, choose one that incorporates both words and computation. If your child is simply reciting step-by-step instructions, encourage her to elaborate by asking questions focusing on the “why” of the problem:

  • What is the goal of the problem?

  • Why does that step work?

  • Why would we want to do that next?

  • What does this step in the process accomplish?

  • How do I know if my answer is reasonable?

  • Can I check my work to make sure it makes sense to me?

  • After your child has completed an assignment, ask her to share what she believes was the most important idea:

  • What is the goal of the problem?

  • What did these problems have in common?

  • Where would I use this in “real life”?

  • Why do you think your teacher gave you this assignment? What did he or she want you to learn?

  • How is this assignment related to the homework you had yesterday? In what ways is it similar or different?

  • Now that you can solve these problems, what do you think you might be able to do next?

The most important thing to convey to your children is not to give up. Mathematical concepts are intricate and take time to fully grasp. Encouragement and patience go a long way. Read a book with your child while she works on homework or finish a Sudoku or crossword puzzle with her at the table while she studies to keep her company—just being in the same room and working on your own mind-stimulating puzzles might make them more comfortable with difficult homework. If your child continues to struggle and you’re becoming concerned, speak with the teacher or another administrative specialist.

For more information, visit NCTM’s website for families.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the parents.

Keep in mind that you can extend math into the home with math activities. Here are some great resources for you to use to find some activities to keep your child entertained and practicing their math skills.








Every year, English Learners take the ACCESS (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State to State). This assessment is for English learners to test the overall growth of English over time. The English proficiency areas tested are social and academic language divided into four separate tests- Listening, reading, writing, and speaking. This year, the ACCESS test will take place during the month of March.

As we return to the classroom and continue learning online, please encourage your child to utilize zooming with teachers from 8:40-9:10. All teachers are available to answer questions. This will also help students feel more comfortable speaking online and will help prepare him/her for the speaking portion of the test.

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“We think critically so that we can analyze the past, along with other cultures, in order to be successful aware citizens.”

In sixth grade, students are delving deep into the Ancient World of India. As we begin our ancient journey in India, we will also begin our discussion on some of the world’s first religions. At the end of the chapter, students will be able to answer the question: What led to the development of great civilizations in Ancient India?

In seventh grade, students are all over the world…literally! Students are traveling all over the world as they study different countries, cultures, and their daily life. We are also taking time to explore the similarities and differences between developed and developing nations. Students will be able to answer the essential question: Does development mean progress?

Eighth-grade students are continuing to learn about civics. We evaluated struggles that different groups of people have had with civil rights in the United States and are moving on to our final civics unit covering local government. In this final civics unit, students will gain a better understanding of how state and local government work and how citizens can participate in them. They will also be able to summarize the elements of the Flag Act and understand the history of the flag and how to handle a flag properly.


So much has happened since our first update! Read below to learn about all the variety of activities that have kept our Herget band students engaged in online learning.

Our 6th graders had a mini-lesson where they learned how to put their instruments together and make their first sounds. Now they are able to play their first 5 notes and perform rhythms with a variety of notes and rests! A few notable songs they have learned to play are Hot Cross Buns, Mary Had a Little Lamb, and Jingle Bells!

The 7th graders have been exploring a variety of rhythms and scales, learning everything from The Twelve Songs of Christmas to a British solo about the British Grenadiers. (Naming all 12 melodies was a real challenge!) Our 8th grader band students have focused on an advanced solo with piano accompaniment, A Day in Venice, in addition to the holiday medley A Christmas Festival. Both advanced groups will take a virtual field trip in January! The 7th band students will visit London while the 8th graders explore Venice. Time to go and explore!

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Sixth Grade CTE/Tech students have been killing it during remote learning! They have not let remote learning stop them from completing every step of our design process project: Balsa Wood Bridges. 6th graders learned about the forces that act on materials, they experimented with ways to manipulate the materials to improve work efficiency and used best practices to create practical designs.

Building materials were sent home and students have been working very hard to build their truss bridge designs using balsa wood, structure glue, cutting tools, and sandpaper. These industrious 6th graders have had to problem-solve every step of the way. Next week, they will test their bridge structures to load failure as we wrap up this successful remote learning unit. Great job, 6th graders! You should be proud of your efforts!


The teenage years are a formative period. The brain and body experience significant development and the transition to adulthood brings important changes that affect emotions, personality, social and family life, and academics.

Sleep is essential during this time, working behind the scenes to allow teens to be at their best. Unfortunately, research indicates that many teens get far less sleep than they need.

Both the National Sleep Foundation and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine agree that teens need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep per night. Getting this recommended amount of sleep can help teens maintain their physical health, emotional well-being, and school performance.

At the same time, teens face numerous challenges to getting consistent, restorative sleep. Recognizing those challenges helps teens and their parents make a plan so that teens get the sleep they need.

Thinking and Academic Achievement

Sleep benefits the brain and promotes attention, memory, and analytical thought. It makes thinking sharper, recognizing the most important information to consolidate learning. Sleep also facilitates expansive thinking that can spur creativity. Whether it’s studying for a test, learning an instrument, or acquiring job skills, sleep is essential for teens. Given the importance of sleep for brain function, it’s easy to see why teens who don’t get enough sleep tend to suffer from excessive drowsiness and lack of attention that can harm their academic performance.

Resource: Sleep Foundation; medically reviewed by Dr. Alex Dimitriu, August 2020

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