December Newsletter

FTMS West Band


December is a very busy month for musicians as many school and community ensembles present a holiday concert. Our upcoming concert is Wednesday, December 9th beginning at 6:00 PM. The concert should last approximately one hour to one hour fifteen minutes. Students are to report in uniform (black band polo shirt, black pants and dress shoes) at 5:30 in band room for attendance and inspection. Students may warm-up before moving to gym. For this concert, students may accessorize for the season by wearing Santa hat, reindeer antlers, elf ears, and decorations. We will have our final 6th grade band members’ name tag contest.

A very important January event for members of the FTMS West Band is the Indiana State School Music Association Solo and Ensemble Competition. Sign-up forms are now turned in for the ISSMA Solo and Ensemble. This event will take place on January 30th, 2016 at the Perry Meridian 6th Grade Academy. Information will be mailed out when available from the contest host. Look for info in mid-January. Percussionists are required to participate in this event. We have ninety band members signed up for this event!

Perhaps the main focus for January is the 5th Grade sign-up for middle school band, orchestra and choir. Sign-up information and forms will be provided to 5th Graders in early January. Fifth graders will travel to West Middle School on January 15th for a demonstration concert. The following week instrument sizing and testing will occur at all elementary schools. Sign-up night with Paige’s Music Company will occur on Thursday, February 11th at 5:30 or 7:00 PM. If this night is unavailable, you may attend the East sign-up night on Tuesday, February 9th at 5:30 or 7:00 PM. The same information will be present at all four sessions and you may attend any session. This information includes class expectations and information on how to obtain band and orchestra instruments.

Band members should practice at least one hour a week at home. Students should not only put in the time, but practice with purpose to achieve results.

This is a check list for practice:

· Practice in a designated practice/study location in home.

· Practice consistently. A small amount each night is better than a Sunday evening cram session.

· Use tools such as a music stand, metronome, tuner and interactive web site provided with book. Also consider smart music web site.

· Begin practice by warming-up, playing long tones, scales and technique exercises. Be mindful of tone quality, posture, air-support and tuning. Percussionist should warm-up by running down rudiments on their drum pad and playing scales on their bell kit.

· Next, isolate a difficult passages in concert music and practice until comfortable. Students may also practice selections from class method book and chair test music. Percussionists should divide their time between their bell kit and their practice pad, practicing band music for both.

· If time allows, run entire concert song to practice continuity. Be sure to observe rest, dynamics, repeats and style.

· Allow a short time to warm-down. This would include playing low long tones.

· A final step would be to take care of instrument: Swab interior of instrument, wipe off instrument, properly store in instrument case, and place in a “can’t miss” location along with book bag.

· Be sure to prepare your music for the next rehearsal. Number your measures, circle or highlight important information in music and organize for concert. Place your music binder and band book in your book bag.

Upcoming band events:

DEC. 9 (WED)




JAN. 30 (Sat)


ISSMA District Solo & Ensemble Contest

REQUIRED FOR PERCUSSIONISTS / all band members are encouraged to participate

Mar. 8 (TUE) new!


HOOPS FOR HEROS game (to raise money for Leukemia research)


MAR. 15 (TUE)




MAY 19 (THU)





Franklin Township Middle school held Riley week the first week of November. We kicked off the event with our Mini Dance Marathon. The kids had a dodge ball tournament, costume contest and listened to a high school student talk about her time at Riley Children’s Hospital. The next week at school, class competitions began and jar wars occurred at lunch. The class competition was for bringing in the most money for spirit week. Some of the spirit events were: electronic day, gum day, hat day, 317 day, and PJ day. The class that brought in the most money was Mrs. Irwin’s with over $175.00. The class received a doughnut and juice party for their efforts. For jar wars, students brought in change to put into their teacher’s bucket. Pennies were positive and dollars and silver were negative. Ms. Lamp’s class won that competition and won a pizza lunch party. The school enjoyed seeing all the buckets on stage at lunch and talking up their strategy of who was going to win. West raised over $4500 for Riley Children’s hospital over the week. West will present its check at the high school dance marathon in March.

Our next big event is Pennies for Patients in February. Last year we were the number school in the state bringing in the most money. This organization goes directly to the leukemia and lymphoma society. A staff versus 8th grade volleyball game is being planned as well as other fun ways to raise money for that cause.

FTMS West Academic Team

The academic team is a 12-15 member team that competes against other schools in Marion County in their well-rounded knowledge in just about everything. Meets consist of 4 rounds that are 8 minutes each. In each round, 5 members can participate and earn points for the team by buzzing in before the other team with the correct answer.

Winning is definitely a collaborative effort, and each member of the team adds unique knowledge to the group. In meets, members have to be mentally sharp, because questions are all over the place. Questions can be about history, geography, art, music, sports, science, and language arts. Some questions test our member’s skills in math, spelling, and word play. Students must also be knowledgeable in current events. It is very impressive to watch these teams in action.

We are very excited to see what our teams will do this year. Two years ago, then 6thgraders, our 8th graders won first place in the Marion County Meet. They are very eager to reclaim this title as 8th graders. In practice, the new 6th and 7th graders are very competitive and like to challenge each other with their intellect. These teams are very smart and sometimes tie when they compete with against other.

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Franklin Township Middle School West Collects Box Tops!!

Have you been collecting Box Tops for our school? Nevertheless, there is still more collecting to do.

Our first Box Top competition of the year was a success! We were able to collect $552.20 for FTMS-West! That’s $552.20 in FREE money for our school!! Our families made this happen by just buying products with Box Tops on them, clipping the Box Top and sending them to school with their student.

Our second Box Top competition is currently underway and will end on December 17th, 2015. So, if you missed the deadline for the first competition, there is still time to send in any Box Tops that you currently have collected.

Box Tops should be trimmed so that the expiration date is visible, as well as, the product code. Trimmed Box Tops can then be placed in a baggie with the students name and grade level written on it. Students can drop off baggies in the front office or place them in the Box Top clear tote (on the lost/found table) in the cafeteria.

Box Tops can be found on products from school supplies to taco shells. For a complete list of participating products go to http://www.boxtops4education.com/participating-products.

Thanks for supporting our school! Our earnings goal this year is $1500.00; together we can make that happen. Keep clipping Box Tops and send them to school!


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ACUITY: Round 2

Beginning November 30 – December 11th, FTMS West will begin our second round of Acuity. Acuity meets the states requirements for benchmark testing and provides the FTMS West teachers with valuable information on a student's level of mastery. Information collected will be utilized to assist in making academic decisions to improve student mastery. Acuity also gives our students a chance to practice on questions that will closely resembles those they will encounter on ISTEP+. Each student will take ACUITY tests in English Language Arts and Math. Additionally, 6th graders will add Science during this round. We encourage you to talk with your child about taking full advantage of this opportunity.

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Food for Fines
West Nov 20, 2015