Around the Courtyard

April 2017

Williams Middle School

Taylor P. Wrye - Principal

Thomas S. Underwood - Assistant Principal

Upcoming Events


14 - 23 - April Vacation

27 - WMS Drama Club Field Trip to NYC


1 - A Shot of Reality: Under Aged Drinking in Longmeadow @ LHS - 7 PM

9 & 10 - Grade 8 Math MCAS

11 & 12 - Grade 6 and 7 Math MCAS

17 & 18 - Grade 8 Science MCAS

25 - 27 - Grade 8 Quebec Field Trip

31 - June 2 - Grade 8 Gettysburg Field Trip


5 - 7th & 8th Grade Both Middle Schools Instrumental Concert @ GMS

6 - WMS Grade 5 Step Up Day

9 - Field Day

13 - Incoming 6th Grade Parent Night

19 - Grade 8 Picnic - With No More Snow Days

20 - 8th Grade Celebration @ LHS / Dance @ WMS - With No More Snow Days

21 - Last Day of School - 11:30 Dismissal - With No More Snow Days

** Check the WMS Website for the most up to date calendar of events **

The Principal's Desk

Dear Williams Families,

Over the last few weeks we've had many exciting events take place at Williams. The 7th-grade class participated in the Iron Giraffe Challenge, the Drama Club put on an outstanding production of Cooking Can Be Murder, there was an impressive district-wide Technology Showcase, and of course, excellent lessons were taught daily in every classroom.

The bi-annual Technology In Education Showcase (TIES) created by Sandy Budreau, our district technology integration specialist and former Williams teacher, highlighted the many impressive educational tools used in classrooms on a daily basis. Williams Middle School teachers and students hosted multiple showcases explaining these tools:

Dr. Gelinas - Apps en español

Ms. King - Ancient Egypt Google Sites

Ms. Santaniello - Nikola Tesla and the Death Ray - Using QR codes

Mr. Sullivan and Mr. McGinley - Podcasting Across the Curriculum

Ms. Lauser - Using Technology for Beginning Instrumentalists

Grade 8 Student Maksim T. and Mr. Sullivan - What Does Social Media Know About you?

I want to thank all of the teachers and students who took the time to create these outstanding showcases. It is truly impressive what they can accomplish. I look forward to the next TIES showcase. Until then, talk to your students about how they use technology daily here at Williams, and how it improves their learning. For more information on all of the presentations, please use this link:

I hope that everyone has a wonderful April vacation!


Taylor Wrye

Notes from the Nurse

This is a reminder for 6th grade parents whose children who will be entering 7th grade in the fall:

Please make sure your child is ready to enter 7th grade in August 2017. DPH regulations state that all 7th graders must have a Tdap immunization, 2 doses of Varicella vaccine and 2 doses of MMR vaccine by the first day of school in August 2017. An up to date physical is also requested for all 7th graders. This means that physicals dated before September 2016 are not current and need to be updated. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at 565-4260.

I am deeply appreciative to the parents who have already sent in their student’s form.

Liz Gartman, RN School Nurse

Iron Giraffe Challenge

Williams Middle School completed the Iron Giraffe Challenge on March 31st. The challenge was to raise $1,000 for Water for South Sudan, a nonprofit organization that drills wells in remote villages in South Sudan. The seventh grade students decided to take on the challenge after reading A Long Walk to Water, which features Salva Dut, the founder of Water for South Sudan. While our fundraising efforts were delayed a bit when the February 9th snowstorm cancelled our bake sales that were scheduled to coincide with the parent teacher conferences, we did end up raising $778.35. Thanks to all who contributed in numerous ways to the success of the challenge!

Project 351

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I am Meghan D. an 8th grade student here at Williams Middle School and the organizer of the clothing drive we held last week. I would like to let you know that in total we collected 1,343 clothing items during our clothing drive. This is outstanding, that is a truly amazing number! That is light years ahead of what I was expecting from this clothing drive! I am overwhelmingly happy with the amount of donations we were able to collect! A big thank you to all who donated and who helped out! I am so grateful and appreciative for all your donations. I couldn’t have completed this mission without you! ALL of your donations will go a long way and make a huge difference in the lives of others. All the clothing was just recently delivered to Cradles to Crayons last weekend, and they are going to be shipped off to children all over the state of Massachusetts! This clothing drive has helped me to keep inspiring others like you to serve and lend a hand to the community around us, therefore I hope that this clothing drive has inspired you and your children to keep serving and helping out others in need! I hope to lead many more great service projects throughout Longmeadow like this in the near future. So thanks again for all your support!


Meghan D.

WMS Grade 8 Student

Gilder Lehrman Institute Essay Contest

Williams Middle School is proud to congratulate Katherine Li, on winning first prize in the Gilder Lehrman Institute Essay Contest for Middle School students. Her essay was about how the Civil War changed America’s money system. There were over 650 students who submitted an essay to the Institute. For winning the contest, Katherine and her family have been invited to the awards dinner in New York City over April vacation. Congratulations again to Katherine for all of her hard work and dedication.


Math Lab - Grades 6, 7 & 8

Math Lab provides hands-on learning and extra practice for grades 6, 7, & 8. We review math concepts being taught in their core class. Grade 6 finished writing and solving one- & two-step equations and inequalities. We will start exploring surface area and volume of three-dimensional figures. Grade 7 finished hands-on activities with probability and reviewed measures of central tendency. We are currently investigating the volume and surface area of prisms, cylinders, and pyramids. Grade 8 finished identifying angles & polygons and practiced the Pythagorean Theorem. We are now diving into transformations and graphing translations, reflections, dilations, and rotations on a coordinate plane. After Spring vacation all grade levels will review and prepare for the math MCAS in May. I still encourage all of my students to work on Ascend Math & IXL at home. For extra math support I am available every morning from 7:45-8:20 in room 1


All of the bands did a fantastic job at our Longmeadow Band Festival. I hope you enjoyed working with our guest clinician, Ms. Arris Golden!

The middle school bands are working on music for our spring concert. The 7th and 8th grade instrumental concert will be on Monday, June 5th at Glenbrook Middle School. The 6th grade spring concert will be on Tuesday, June 6th at Williams Middle School.

7th and 8th grade band: Our after school rehearsals are coming up! The two after school rehearsals will be on Tuesday, May 23 and May 30, both at Glenbrook Middle School. Rehearsals will be from 5:00-6:30 PM.

Lastly, We are excited to announce that the Longmeadow Summer Music Program for middle school students will take place again in the summer of 2017. Now in its eighth year, this summer enrichment program brings together dozens of band, jazz, orchestra, and vocal students from schools in the Greater Springfield area for a week of musical growth and fun. Students will have the opportunity to get to know each other and grow musically in daily rehearsals, activities, and games. The week culminates with an exciting concert on Friday night for the family, friends, and fellow students. We would like to cordially invite your music students entering grades 6-9 to consider joining us this summer for this wonderful opportunity.

Longmeadow Summer Music 2017

When: July 10-14, 2017

Where: Longmeadow High School

What: Concert Band, Jazz Band, Orchestra, & Chorus

Online registration:

We look forward to working with your child this summer. Please feel free to share this email and brochure with any friends and family members who may be interested in this program!

Visual Art

Grade 6 – The sixth grade classes are currently finishing-up their Portfolios, that focus on shape and color. Many have started working on Scratchboard projects, using crayon and tempera paint. And, a few students have started familiarizing themselves with the Pottery Wheel. After the Spring Break, both groups will begin work on the ceramic mirror frame project, and the Tessellation.

Grade 7 – The seventh grade classes are working on Two-point Perspective drawings. They will continue to work on the perspective assignments into May. Then they will begin working on Movement Sculptures, using plaster cloth.

Grade 8 – The eighth grade classes are working on Grid assignments. After the Spring Break, they will use the grid technique again as they begin work on their Paper Mache’ Sculptures.

Technology News

Students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade are busy learning about cyberbullying along with ways to stay safe on the Internet. You can check out some resources on Common sense media’s site.

Students are continuing to improve their basic knowledge of code. We utilize for this. Feel free to check out all the exciting and engaging resources. This is a three-year program that we work on.

US News: Middle School key to girls’ coding interest! Click on the link to read more.

While we are excited for spring break, I am looking forward to some exciting projects when we get back. The stock market challenge between Glenbrook and Williams will take place in May. It’s never too early to start talking about investments with your children!


Grade 8 health students have been learning about the circulatory system the past few weeks and will learn about first aid for the next unit.

Grade 7 students are learning about mental health and ways to decrease/cope with stress in their life. The next units will be on the digestive system and nutrition.

Grade 6 students are looking at the health triangle and will be learning about goal setting/decision making and communication skills for the next unit.

Music Notes

In general music, 6th graders are working on keyboards and are about to start composing songs with lyrics, 7th graders are finishing up a unit on the history of rock and roll, and 8th graders are playing the guitar. In the past few weeks, all grades have explored the music of Radiohead, Billy Joel, and Johnny Cash.

In Chorus we are busy learning our repertoire for the upcoming Spring Concerts. The choral concert for grades 7 and 8 will likely be moved from June 7 to June 12, but that is not confirmed. I will send out an email as soon as that date is solidified.

Congrats to Ensemble 7:45 for their outstanding performance of the national anthem at Fenway Park on April 13th! Our students represented Williams Middle and Longmeadow very proudly!

Physical Education

We have just finished up our Pickleball unit. If you’re unfamiliar with pickleball please see the following link but it’s a combination of tennis and badminton. The students learned the history, hitting strokes, and tactics of the Pickleball. It’s an activity that is played across the country. All you need is a tennis court to play.

We’ve just started this week to played Tchoukball where it’s a has a lot of handball aspects to it. The objective of the game is to not play any defense (which is hard for the students) and let the attacking team throw a Tchoukball off rebounder/pitchback and the opposing team must catch the ball out of the air or it’s a point for the attacking team. It’s a fast paced game for all learners and has been especially fun outside with the great weather we’ve recently had.

Finally, just a friendly reminder that I plan to conduct the FitnessGram testing in early May before it gets too hot outside. So any student who needs an inhaler, please make sure they make arrangements to have it on his or her day of testing. Have a great vacation


Social Studies 6

The 6th Graders spent a great deal of time learning about the ancient Egyptians,

exploring their culture and engineering achievements. In Ms. Noble’s class, the students tackled two hands-on activities that focused on Egypt’s monumental architecture. The first activity was to create a structural foundation (using paper, paper clips, straws, and masking tape) that would hold as much weight as possible. While all of the groups were successful, the winning group used a three-column design to hold the weight of 20 textbooks! The culminating event for the unit was the Pyramid Challenge where students worked with their peers to construct a model pyramid.

Ancient Greece is the next stop on their social studies journey! Students will learn about the beginnings of democracy, and how a civilization that existed thousands of years ago still impacts our daily lives with its ideas on science, architecture, and art.

Math 6

It’s hard to believe that there are about 40 more school days left in the year! The 6th graders still have a lot to do in Math! Currently, the students are working on Chapter 8. In this chapter, the students are learning about surface area and volume of solid shapes such as cubes and pyramids. They are also working on strengthening previous skills and getting ready for MCAS using their Buckle Down Books. Next up, Statistical Measures!

Science 6

The Weather unit began with demonstrations to show that oxygen and carbon dioxide are present even though they can’t be seen. Students also participated in labs that helped them to understand the concept of air pressure. Finally, we are continuing to use the science tech book to enrich our curriculum.


We’ve been working hard connecting the concepts we’re learning in class to the novels we’re reading. Students continue to develop their vocabulary and utilize critical thinking skills to understand the plot of the text. In extension, we’ve been working on grammatical concepts like using quotation marks correctly and the parts of speech. They should be commended for their efforts during the two days of MCAS testing.

Please save the date for the Sixth Grade Wax Museum on Friday, June 2nd from 12:00 -12:45. All of our grade 6 six students will become their biography character right before your eyes. Families are invited to join us in the sixth grade classrooms for this fun event! Be sure to bring your camera!!


Spanish 7

Students presented interactive games like Quizlet Live at TIES this year. The class has to work in teams to guess the correct answers to questions posed on their individual screens. The first team to guess all 12 answers correctly, wins...however if someone makes a wrong guess, it sets the whole team back to zero. The teams are shuffled each round, so everyone has a chance to work together and everyone has a chance to win. It is a fast-paced, challenging way to learn new material and review old concepts. Many thanks to the following students for their help-

John Batchelor, Carlin Byrne, Tyler Grodsky, Tina Li, Griffin O’Shea, and Maddie Soukup.


The students in grade 7 have just completed The Diary of Anne Frank unit. To prepare for reading the play, students were introduced to World War II and the Holocaust through a variety of readings and video to provide an historical context and to create a more meaningful experience for the students. While reading the play, students developed an understanding of the various dramatic techniques that playwrights use. They also compared the primary source and the dramatization to evaluate the literary decisions of the playwrights. Mr. Dupuis’ class used the web source to compare the play’s vision to what we know about history and the Anne Frank Museum. Outside of class, students read World War II and/or Holocaust related books to gain a deeper understanding of this period in history.

Moving forward, the 7th grade ELA classes will begin a short unit on poetry after the April vacation and then both Mr. Dupuis’ and Mrs. Cangemi’s classes will wrap up the year with our most popular seventh grade novel, The Outsiders, which holds our students’ attention and maintains enthusiasm while reviewing the many literary terms and concepts we’ve been learning throughout the year.

We’ve completed our yearly MCAS experience and we are proud of our students’ efforts.

Just a reminder that students are expected to read for 20-30 minutes per day.

7.2 Math - Mrs. Bradshaw and Mrs. Lawson

As we finish up our ELA MCAS this month, we will shift our focus on the math MCAS coming up next month. Students have been working in the Finish Line MCAS review book. This is an opportunity to keep all of the concepts we have covered this year fresh in the students’ minds. Work will continue in these books until 7th grade Math MCAS on May 11th and 12th. Students will need a five function calculator on day two of the Math MCAS test. If possible please have one available for use.

Our probability unit has just concluded. Students explored theoretical and experimental probabilities and determined whether particular events are likely or unlikely. As part of the learning process they conducted experimental simulations and compared results to theoretical values. Students understand the distinction between independent and dependent events. They are able to use sample data to make predictions.

Mrs. Lawson’s students made probability board games that brought the concepts to life. The students played each others’ games in class.

Next, we will cover our geometry unit. There will be a review of 2-D shapes where students will rediscover measures of the angles of triangles and quadrilaterals as well as the formulas for finding areas of circles, triangles and quadrilaterals.

Students will explore the concepts of surface area and volume of 3-D figures including prisms and cylinders. They will justify and apply surface area and volume formulas. Students will then use the formulas to find volume and surface area of 3-D composite shapes.

Students will use these fundamental facts to analyze figures and solve problems including those with multiple steps.

7.1 Math - Mrs. Bradshaw

Students in Mrs. Bradshaw’s 7.1 class are finishing up a unit on statistics. Topics covered involved finding the measures of center, measures of variability, and exploring basic probability. Students looked at surveys and determined biased and unbiased samplings. They applied results to make predictions and took a look at compound probability.

Students will continue to work in their Finish Line books until MCAS on May 10th and 11th. We will move onto units in Geometry, including volume and surface area as well as line angle relationships. Please make sure students have a 5 function calculator for day two of MCAS. We’re looking forward to finishing off the year with geometry!

French 7

What a busy year. We went from learning basic vocabulary to being able to write a cohesive paragraph! We are currently in our last unit for this year - unit 4. It contains more vocabulary and extensive grammar points. Next year we will do the remaining four units to complete French I.

Ms. Keady’s Grade 7 Geography

World Geography students are currently finishing up a unit on the Indian subcontinent where we studied the culture, religion, and history of India and its neighbors. Students did a fantastic job analyzing the impact of the caste system in India through hands on activities and used computers to plan a virtual trip to India. Upon returning from the April break, we will be moving further east into Asia and focusing on China. Students will explore how China’s geography has impacted its history and people before moving on to North and South Korea.

Mr. Golen’s Grade 7 Geography

In 7th grade World Geography, we wrapped up our unit on the Middle East and North Africa. This is one of the most challenging regions of the world to study and explore. The dynamics of religion, oil, water, and the land itself are always at play in the Middle East. We spent considerable time on current events as they related to this region, as well.

After the Middle East, we have moved on to South Asia, with a focus on India, and Gandhi in particular. With Gandhi, we studied how India came to independence from Britain, and how this led to the partition of India and Pakistan. We examined the caste system, which is a rigid social classification based on Hindu traditions. Once we complete our unit on South Asia, we will move on to China and East Asia.

Science 7

We are well into our unit on Genetics and will soon begin planting our Brassica rapa seeds. We will observe the growth of these plants, learn the proper terms for the parts of the flower and collect data for a month as these plants go through their full life cycle. We are hoping for an excellent harvest!


Spanish 8

We have just finished an exploration of Spain - the traditions, foods, festivals, history and important attractions. We even had a visit from Don Quijote (aka Mrs. Santaniello), the main character in the famous novel by Miguel Cervantes on pre-April Fool’s Day. While Mrs. Santaniello taught Spanish, Sra Gelinas taught about the principles of flight using paper airplanes….the trick on the kids? The whole lesson was taught en español.


In 8th grade, students are eagerly preparing for their transition to the high school. They have been working hard to strengthen their literacy skills, and their growth as readers and writers shows. In Mrs. Cangemi’s classes, we have just concluded the science fiction/dystopian unit. During this unit students engaged with texts that brought up many ethical issues, which often became the subject of great classroom discussions. Along with these discussions, students in Mrs. Cangemi’s ELA classes have been refining their speaking and listening skills by participating in Socratic seminars that work toward discovering a deeper understanding of the text.

Looking ahead, after the April vacation we will do a quick unit on characteristics of gothic horror stories using short works by Edgar Allan Poe, a writer that engages students’ interest even when vocabulary and sentence structure can be a challenge. Similarly, we will take a quick look at the conventions of mysteries by working with a few of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes” short stories. To end the year, students will be reading self-selected titles related to the Civil War. Working in the small groups, they’ll explore literary techniques used in historical fiction while identifying major and minor themes in the text. To end the unit, they will collaborate with classmates who have read other titles to share their learning and compare and contrast the works.

Recently students completed their ELA MCAS exams. They are the first class to use a computer-based platform to take the state tests. Their patience, effort, and perseverance is to be applauded as we all become familiar with the new MCAS 2.0.

Don’t forget that students should be reading for at least 30 minutes per night.

8th Grade Pre-Algebra: Mrs. Lawson and Mr. Christensen

As we finish up our ELA MCAS this month, our focus will be to the math MCAS next month. Students have been working in the Finish Line MCAS review book. This is an opportunity to keep all of the concepts we have covered this year fresh in the students minds. Work will continue in these books until 8th grade Math MCAS on May 9th and 10th.

Students have used similar triangles to solve problems including height and distance. We then moved onto the Pythagorean Theorem to solve problems with right triangles, distance on a coordinate plane, as well as real world distances. Next we will be applying transformations to polygons on a coordinate grid and they affect a figures congruency and location.

8th Grade Algebra: Mr. Christensen

At this point, students should be comfortable with adding, subtracting, and multiplying polynomials. Also, we will be diving into the exciting world of quadratic functions. Students should already have an idea about non-linear functions, which will extend into more specific quadratic functions. In conclusion, math MCAS will be May 9 and 10th, so they should be working on their finish line questions and reviewing any concepts they might be struggling with. Please encourage students to use all their resources. Thank you for all your support and have a nice day.

French 8

As we near the end of our school year, the "Tour Guide" project is due. Your student will be visually presenting all the interesting features of a French city that they chose in January along with a running narrative.

We will also begin our last unit in French I - foods.

History 8

Mr. Sullivan's Class:

In 8th Grade Social Studies, we are learning about Andrew Jackson’s presidency. Andrew Jackson did many controversial things as President of the United States, so students are investigating whether or not he had a positive or negative impact on the country. In Mr. Sullivan’s class students are reading some primary sources about one of the more controversial issues during Jackson’s time, the Trail of Tears. Students are forming their opinions on whether Indian Removal was just plain cruelty to the Cherokee or necessary to advance civilization as Jackson proposed. Recently, students completed a research project on the Industrial Revolution where they researched a topic they were interested in and explained how it impacted the country.

Mr. Golen's Class:

In 8th grade U.S. History, like Mr. Sullivan’s classes, we have spent a great deal of time on the presidency of Andrew Jackson. We have examined numerous primary documents relating to “the Bank War,” and especially the policy of Indian Removal. Primary documents are written by people who were there – often participants in an historic event or time period. Primary documents are not always easy to understand, but we are working our way through them in preparation for Longmeadow High School. Gaining insight into Indian Removal (the forced relocation of Native Americans from the southeast to territory west of the Mississippi River), we have discussed that this is not a proud moment in American history. From this insight, we have further discussed that we cannot always judge the actions of past people – including presidents – based on our modern values.



The yearbook is almost ready for publication...students that ordered a book will receive it in June, a few days before school ends. If you did not order a book, a few will be available for sale at that time on a “first to pay, first to receive” basis. Contact Anna Gelinas with any questions.

Math Counts

Math Counts strives to engage all middle school students of all ability and interest levels in fun, challenging math problems in order to expand their academic and professional opportunities. We ended our season the Friday after PI day with fun games! Math Counts information will come out at the start of next year! We are always looking for new members and want to continue to see past members Congratulations to all of the 8th graders, we wish you luck at the high school!

Drama Club

What a Show!


The Williams Middle School Art Club meets on Tuesday afternoons, from 2:50-4:00 pm. All are welcome! Students paint, draw, sculpt with clay and Paper Mache’, and throw on the pottery wheel. Students from the art club also helped make some of the props used in the school play.