SMS Scoop

January 8, 2019

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New Year Resolutions!

The new year signals the opportunity to start new productive habits and choices. It's often a time that people state their intentions to lose weight, exercise more, spend less time online, or spend more time with family. Perhaps someone in your house has made a resolution. Maybe even you have committed to a positive change for 2019! In case you have not thought about a growth target for 2019, here are two possible options... pick one or more if you are ready to grow.

Follow Kindness

If you are on Instagram or any other social media platform, commit to using your accounts to follow kindness. Follow family and friends that post uplifting, encouraging, and humorous content. Unfollow people that post drama, hate, or aggression. Why bring unnecessary negativity into your life? Take time to look at every account you follow and analyze its value. Does the content on this account make me happy or nervous/sad/frustrated/angry? When important people see my name as a follower of this account, will they think I'm thoughtful/positive or will they think I'm a mean troll?

Complete Coursework

In an analysis of our grades for the semester, we do see a good number of students that have a failing grade. Most of the time, a failure is due to incomplete coursework. Not getting the job done. Whether activities are designed to be completed in class, at home, or anywhere in between, coursework has value. Coursework helps you prepare for instruction or practice instruction. And assessed/graded coursework signals your needs to your teachers. If you don't turn in coursework, the teacher has no idea if you know the material, and if not, what specific help you need. Taking a zero on incomplete work hurts your grade AND your learning.

What are your resolutions for 2019? In what areas are you determined to grow? Consider FOLLOW KINDNESS and COMPLETE COURSEWORK if you are wanting to build your skills and decrease your stress!

Halfway Day for the Class of 2025

Friday, January 11th is a very important day for sixth graders!

Friday is the mid-point of K-12 education for the Class of 2025!! Students in the Class of 2025 have spent exactly 1170 days in school and have exactly 1170 days until high school graduation! Therefore, Friday is Halfway Day! We'll mark this momentous occasion with some special activities for our 6th graders. All 6th graders are encouraged to wear PURPLE and WHITE Friday.

Report Cards Available Wednesday

Semester 1 report cards will be available in Harmony Family Access on Wednesday. Parents and students can log into their accounts to see first term marks. Questions about specific grades can be addressed to the classroom teachers.

Semester grades are the average of grading period 1 and grading period 2 marks. Semester grades are used for Honor Rolls and for year-end awards. Check the SMS Student Handbook for more information about grading processes at SMS.

Close Reading Signpost #3: Word Gaps

Strong readers continually ask questions as they read informational text. Whether reading a science article about global warming, an editorial about building a wall on the US/Mexico border, or any article on social media, a reader should wonder about the purpose of the author and should look for signposts to help better understand what is being shared. In previous Scoop issues, we explored Extreme and Absolute Language and Numbers and Stats.

Today's signpost is Word Gaps. A word gap is the difference between the author's use of a word and the reader's understanding of the word. Word choice (vocabulary) may be challenging because some words are unknown, technical, or have multiple meanings. When you read and come upon an unfamiliar word, what do you do?

Over Christmas break, Miss Nass spent some time with her nephew Alex (pictured above). Alex is a kindergarten student that has demonstrated a remarkable reading ability. He'll sit in your lap and read for hours if you let him. He loves graphic novels and collections of cartoons. He does a nice job with word tense, pausing for punctuation, and even voices for dialog. But he does not handle word gaps! He sounds out shorter words but flies past challenging vocabulary. One example was the word 'coincidence.' It was like the word was not even on the page. He didn't even stop to try and figure it out. It was a word he didn't know and skipping it lessened his understanding of a joke in the cartoon.

Does this ever happen to you as a reader? Do you sometimes fly past unknown words? Do you skip them as if they weren't there? This semester, let's look for unfamiliar words or words used in unfamiliar ways. If you see one, circle it. Then look for context clues in the text to help you figure out the meaning. If context doesn't help, look the word up! Many digital sources provide word definitions with a touch. You can also use a dictionary app or check with a peer or a teacher.

Up your reading game by watching for Word Gaps and taking action when coming upon a word you don't understand! Someday soon, Alex will learn to do the same!

GeoBee News

It’s time for the annual SMS National Geographic GeoBee and the search is on to find our next school champion! SMS has participated in the contest for last twenty years and will use materials prepared by the National Geographic Society to find our Top Ten students and a school champ. For the first time, students who choose to participate will take a preliminary round paper test on Wednesday, January 15th. Students will sign up to participate (take the paper test) in their social studies classroom this week and will be informed of the place and time that the test will be given on January 15th. The top ten scores from all three grade levels will then be qualified to move on to the Final Round the next week to determine our school champion. In the event of a tie or if we find more than ten with top scores, (or more than ten with the same score) a runoff will be held for those who are tied to find the Top Ten finalists.

Students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and the Department of Defense Dependents Schools are participating in the 2019 National Geographic GeoBee in the next few weeks. One of you will be our school champion and get your name on the champion’s plaque in the main hallway and possibly compete in Indy on March 29th at the state level contest. Will it be you? If you have any questions, ask your social studies teacher. Good luck to all students!

Mobile Dentist

The mobile dentist will be at SMS on 02/05/2019. If you'd like to have a dental check-up at school, ask your parent to sign up at or request a form from school. The program accepts Medicaid and CHIP (as well as private insurance which almost always pays for 100% of treatment), so there is NO COST TO PARENTS. In addition, highly discounted self-pay options are available. For those without insurance or the means to pay, Indiana Dental Outreach pleased to offer a grant program. NO CHILD IS TURNED AWAY DUE TO AN INABILITY TO PAY. Please call 888-883-8441 with questions about services or contact the School Nurse at 812-752-8926.


SMS has once again been selected by the US Department of Education to participate in the National Assessment of Educational Progress. This international exam tests 4th, 8th, and 12th graders in math and reading. SMS 8th graders have been randomly selected to take either a one-hour math test or a one-hour reading test on February 6th. The test is anonymous and no student or school results are issued. The lucky 8th graders selected by the company for the test will be notified later this week. Their parents will also receive a letter with information. As a perk for the tested kids, ELA and math teachers will be offering extra credit!

This Week...

Tue. Jan. 8: B day, Archery, Science Olympiad, Winterguard, 6 GB @ OLPH

Wed. Jan. 9: A day, Cross, SADD lunches, Academic Super Bowl, 6 BB v. Silver Creek

Thu. Jan. 10: B day, Student Council 7:15 am, Archery, Science Olympiad, Winterguard, Bot Warriors, 6 BB v. Henryville, 6 GB @ Salem, Wrestling @ Seymour

Fri. Jan. 11: A day, HALFWAY DAY!

Sat. Jan. 12: Bot Warrior VEX Competition, 7/8 GB @ Salem Tourney