Principal's Newsletter

February 2017 / Winthrop Middle School

Important Dates

  • February 28th = School Site Council Meeting
  • March 10th = 8th Grade St. Patrick's Day Social at Pleasant Park Yacht Club
  • March 11th = Middle School Solo Ensemble at WMS
  • March 14th = PTO Meeting - 6:30pm in WMS cafeteria
  • March 16th = Full Court Frenzy

MCAS Dates

MCAS Dates

April 27-28 = Grade 8 ELA (computer based testing)

May 1-2 = Grade 6 & 7 ELA

May 16-17 = Grade 8 Math (computer based testing)

May 18-19 = Grade 6 & 7 Math

May 22-23 = Grade 8 Science

What social media apps are students/teens using?

As many of you know, there are a number of social media apps that our children/students are using. Please click HERE for a list of the most popular apps and what each one does. We recommend all parents & guardians monitor their child's social media for increased safety.

Boston Celtics and Jet Blue partner with WMS STEM Club

JetBlue, in partnership with the Boston Celtics is creating and implementing a unique STEM program focused on aviation. JetBlue employees ranging from pilots, tech, and ground ops to Gate agents and Airport operations. JetBlue will team up with Celtics VIP’s to challenge Winthrop Middle Schoolers to build an aircraft out of a defined set of materials, test it for flight and ultimately compete against one another in a variety of different field tests to see which aircraft is best suited for the sky!...see some pictures below from our launch event.

Ms. Hinrich's and Mr. Anderson's 7th Grade Chrome Math classes come together to play Mingo!

8th Grade STEM class getting their Sphero on!

A sphero is a robotic ball and unlike any other game you've seen before. It's a robotic ball gaming device that you control with a tilt, touch, or swing of your smartphone or tablet. Compatible with both iOS and Android, Sphero delivers a unique mixed-reality experience.

Curriculum Updates


Our Middle School students are working hard in math and making great progress! We recently took the Scholastic Math Inventory and the students showed excellent growth! The students were invited to assemblies where the high achievers were announced and congratulated by the staff and their peers.

· Grade 6 has completed their study of ratio and percent and are investigating order of operations and how this concept applies to algebraic expressions and equations.

· Grade 7 focused on area of composite figures and volume of three dimensional objects and are shifting to study statistic topics like populations and samples.

· Grade 8 has applied their previous knowledge of linear equations to work with systems of equations, including how to graph and solve systems of equations. They will be exploring properties of transformations after the break.

English Language Arts

6th Grade

Students in sixth grade on both teams are learning, writing, and identifying figurative language. Projects like creating slideshows and advertisements have focused on simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification, and alliteration in combination with new vocabulary terms from our text. To coincide with the Social Studies unit on Ancient Egypt, students are reading The Egypt Game. Additionally, MCAS practice is integrated into our studies on a regular basis.

7th Grade

Students are continuing our work on theme analysis but are also starting book clubs. Students are practicing the skills they have learned so far this year with more independent reading. Ask your child who is in his/her book club and what they are reading! Wolves have book club discussion groups in Google Classroom so they can keep in touch with their groups over break. Wolves need to be ready for an in-class book club workshop at the end of February. Falcons have shared folders in Drive to share discussion sheets and plan projects.

The 8th grade ELA classes are currently finishing Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why. Students are practicing their critical thinking skills by finding text-based evidence to support responses to guided reading questions. Students recently completed a project where they created graphic organizers to demonstrate the “snowball effect” of protagonist’s reputation. A number of students flexed their computer skills in their creation of online graphics while others chose to create physical models, both types of projects were equally effective and impressive. Upon our return from February Vacation, we will conduct Socratic Seminars discussing and analyzing Thirteen Reasons Why. Finally, as a culminating assessment, each student will write a formal literary analysis.


6th grade is completing their unit on exploring space. This month students have explored how gravity affects a person's weight on different planets. Students also completed an activity on remote sensing, a method that scientists use to measure things that are difficult to see or touch.

7th grade has been continuing their study of ecology. Students have been researching species that have been introduced to ecosystems throughout the United States. They are learning about relationships among organisms and how energy flows through an ecosystem to construct food webs and chains.

8th grade has been studying energy this month. Students have been investigating the transfer and conservation of energy. They have explored the difference between potential and kinetic energy, and they have performed experiments to determine how the height and mass of an object affects its gravitational potential energy.

Social Studies

In 6th grade, students are continuing to study ancient Egypt. Topics of focus, among others, include learning hieroglyphics (the written language of the ancient Egyptians), pyramids, gods and goddesses, and mummification and religious beliefs. Students are beginning their artifact research and project and getting ready for Egypt Day, which is a culmination of their studies about ancient Egypt!

In 7th grade, students are learning about the political, physical, and the human geography of Africa, focusing on the regions of Central, Western, and Northern Africa. Topics of focus, among others, include recent history relating to independence and European colonization, natural resources, endangered animals, rainforest preservation, human development index, access to technology, early civilizations of Western Africa, and sharing of resources.

In 8th grade, the students are learning about the various kingdoms in pre-colonial Africa and their accomplishments.


All art classes have been focusing on line, an important element of art & design. Each grade is using various techniques in drawing projects.

  • Grade 6 students are using contour line to create self portraits from observation.
  • Grade 7 classes are using horizontal and vertical lines in perspective cityscapes to make a 2-dimensional drawing appear 3-dimensional.
  • Grade 8 students used the line illustrations of hatching and cross hatching in The Caldecott Award winning children's book "The House in the Night" as an influence in their drawings on scratch paper.


6th Grade: Students have just completed creating maps based on the Neil Shapiro Center for the Performing Arts. Students used theatre vocabulary that they had learned in the previous unit to create their maps.

7th Grade: Students have been exploring how puppeteers use their bodies to manipulate puppets - focusing specifically on hand coordination. Students are currently rehearsing with the puppets they created to put together small performances, demonstrating the hand coordination we have been focusing on.

8th Grade: Students have just completed their costume, make up, and set designs for a staged version of "The Outsiders." Students will continue their exploration of technical theatre with a focus on props in their next unit. In groups students will build props and create scenes inspired by them.


"Learning is evolving. Get on the ball."

This is the motto of Sphero, a state-of-the-art spherical robot that allows students to learn computer programming in a fun and interesting manner. Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Graders are working in teams to use block coding to control Sphero. They have learned to set variables such as speed, heading, color, and sound to create some awesome games.


Currently the 6th grade classes are working on completing their "Familia" History Maps (Family Trees). The students are using themselves as the center of the family and drawing their relationships to members of their immediate family and even exploring into distant relatives they never knew they had! Posters, Maps, and trees will be on display in the Foreign Language Hallway at the Middle School after the February break!

The 7th graders are learning about nationalities and how those are used around the spanish speaking world. This portion of the unit is directly related to using their knowledge of engaging with an individual in a conversation that helps them describe where they are from (De donde eres). Mixed in with a short unit on "Valentine's Day" vocab and fun activities. Feliz Dia de San Valentin!

The 8th grade group is working on listening comprehension exercises, they are learning new vocabulary and through short clip videos, they are looking to find phrases, expressions, vocab words. The clips are in regular speaking speed in full spanish with no subtitles. The students are then asked to translate their findings into English and submit them for review.

Physical Education

Grades 6-8 are learning Handball. Handball is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each (six outfield players and a goalkeeper) pass a ball using their hands with the aim of throwing it into the goal of the other team. A standard match consists of two periods of 30 minutes, and the team that scores more goals wins. Students are practicing, developing, and applying handball specific skills such as passing, throwing, and team play.