GEMS Family Newsletter

December 2021

Upcoming Events

  • Thurs. Dec. 9 - Mon. Jan. 3 - No School - Winter Break
  • Tues. Jan. 4 - Classes Resume
  • Wed. Jan. 12 at 6:00pm - Virtual Enrollment Session - click here to join
  • Fri. Jan. 14 - No School - PD Day/Last Day of Semester 1
  • Mon. Jan. 17 - No School - M.L. King Jr. Day
  • Wed. Jan. 26 at 6:00pm - Virtual Enrollment Session - click here to join
  • Fri. Feb. 4 & Mon. Feb. 7 - No School - PD Days

Haga clic en "Translate" (Traducir) a la derecha para ver esto en español.

GEMS Closed - Dec. 9 - Jan. 3

Graham Elementary and Middle School is committed to the safety and health of our students and staff. We received information on Dec. 8 about at least 7 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a student or staff person at Graham Elementary and Middle School. We are working closely with Columbus Public Health and developed the following plan of action based on their guidance.

After speaking with Columbus Public Health an outbreak of positive COVID-19 cases has occurred in our community. The health and safety of our community is of utmost priority.

As a result, GEMS will be closing Thursday, December 9 through winter break.

Classes will resume on Tuesday, January 4.

Please continue to monitor your student’s symptoms and quarantine in the event that they begin to experience symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. Please report positive cases to so that we can report our cases with Columbus Public Health.

We encourage you to use this time to get your students vaccinated. All children ages 5 and up are able to get vaccinated. Please contact your health provider for the best location to do so. Information below about Covid Vaccine clinics.

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Important School Information

GEMS Academic Calendar 21-22 - Updated - No School on March 17 - PD Day


GEMS Front Office is open 8:00am-5:00pm (Front Office Closed Dec. 9 - Jan. 3)

If your student is absent please e-mail the Front Office at

Check out the TGFS employment opportunities!

Click here to check out TGS employment opportunities.

Click here to check out TCS@ODU employment opportunities.

Have you completed your Free/Reduced Lunch Application

It is essential for every family to complete the Free/Reduced Lunch application every year. This information directly effects school funding and resources.

Click here to print the application. After you print and complete the application it can be mailed or scanned, OR dropped off at the front desk. Our office hours are Monday-Friday from 8:00am-5:00pm. Front Office Closed - Dec. 8 - Jan. 3

GEMS Student Work Website

Check out selected examples of student-created projects on our new Student Work site! Here you can browse to discover the process of learning, products created, and how students have brought change to our community. We are proud to showcase our students' high-quality work.

Attention GEMS Families

Reporting Absences: If your student is absent, or has been absent, please send a written excuse to

Dismissal: In order to facilitate a smooth transition to the end of our school day, we ask families to please make your final dismissal plans NO LATER than 3:00pm. If you call or come to school after 3:00pm, please understand that it might not be possible to quickly locate your student for last minute dismissal plans. If you are picking up your student(s) prior to our 3:45pm dismissal, please be advised that you must come into the building and sign them out. We are not able to send student(s) outside of the school prior to the 3:45pm dismissal time. Thank you for your support in keeping our students safe!

Thanksgiving Baskets

Thank you to everyone who helped with the GEMS Thanksgiving baskets! Due to your generous donations, GEMS distributed 31 baskets!

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Have you completed the Tech Needs Survey?

Please take a moment to fill out our brief Tech Needs Survey. This will help us better ensure that all students have access to curriculum both at home and at school. Thank you so much!

Click here to complete the survey!

Congratulations to our November Habit Heroes!

Our November Habit Heroes are middle school students who earned only positive Hero points for the month of November:

5th Grade:

  • Jessica Ballard
  • Aaliyah Fields
  • Emma Lally
  • Kalani Poindexter
  • Karwonna Davis
  • Faust Scott
  • Angel Moore
  • Syriq Augustine

6th Grade:

  • Annalise Adams
  • Gustavo Hernandez-Ledesma
  • Ella Snyder
  • Dontee Jackson
  • Abigail Sandoval
  • Alonna Long
  • Jules Brazik
  • Sal Doonan
  • Kaleb Flores
  • Dante Moss
  • A’Lisea Glover
  • Joshua Best
  • ASher Braaksma

7th Grade:

  • De’Onjai Sowell
  • Curtis Watkins
  • Max Rager
  • Aaliyah Daniels-Robinson
  • Hayden Knighton
  • Malia Walker
  • Saijahn Augustine
  • Karmen Jones

8th Grade:

  • Elazah Bennett
  • Colton Hoffman
  • Sharif Harris
  • Zoee Harris
  • Michael Ko
  • Gabby Potter
  • Derrick Hurley
  • D’Andre Godfrey
  • Makayla Wilkes
  • Iyonna Smith
  • Seb Kulwicki
  • Milore Adeniyi
  • Arden Gibson
  • Niran Johns-Carroll
  • Lakar Radcliff
  • Annabel Morales
  • Tori Clifford
  • Sean Jackson III
  • Owen Burchett

GEMS Welcomed Experts

Inviting experts into the classroom enhances the learning experience for our students. GEMS 4th, 5th, and 7th grades each welcomed an expert the first week of December.

Grade Level Updates


Students are applying growing phonemic awareness to decoding and encoding single-syllable, CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words. As a result, the cycles begin to look more like the cycles in first grade, including new instructional practices such as Chaining and the Decodable Reader. Each cycle focuses on a particular medial short vowel sound. Students work toward mastery of decoding and encoding VC (vowel-consonant) and CVC words with the focus vowel before moving on to the next. As a result, students are exposed to a growing number of words and become progressively more comfortable with analyzing words.

First Graders

Have been working hard and persevering while writing their “What the Sun Sees” poems in Expedition. Students are currently revising their poems for their final draft and are eager to share their hard work with you! In math, we are finishing our unit on addition and subtraction story problems and will soon begin our next unit, which focuses on adding/subtracting within 20. During crew, students have worked on self-regulation strategies and how to show empathy to others.

Second Graders

Are hard at work perfecting their final products for expedition! In math, students are becoming experts on measuring with standard units of length including centimeters, meters, inches, and feet. Students are becoming more confident in their measuring and are beginning to determine which unit of measurement would be best to measure different objects. In skills block, students are working hard on their reading and writing skills in their differentiated small groups. In full group skills block, students are practicing reading and writing words with r-controlled vowels. During crew, students are exploring what friendship looks like in books and at school.

Third Graders

Wrapped up their pourquoi stories and presented their writing in a frog festival. Moving forward students are exploring information text to become an experts of their own frog and begin to write information books! In math we are finishing up our unit on Introduction to Multiplication and starting our unit on finding the area of simple shapes.

Fourth Graders

Have been working diligently to complete our poetry/ songwriting work in expeditions. In English the students have also been hard at work completing multi-page Wild West narratives that use typical narrative structure.

For math the students have been working on different ways of completing multi digit multiplication such as the box method, lattice method and traditional method. During these past few weeks students have also been strengthening their core multiplication and other math facts.

Fifth Graders

In math we are wrapping up our unit about fractions. We have learned how to multiply a whole number with a unit and non-unit fraction. Please continue helping your children by having them practice their multiplication and division facts. This will help them with understanding the next few units. If your child struggled with the volume unit, they can review and work on volume on the website ST Math. Your child should know how to log in. They can also practice their basic math skills on this website. In science, we are wrapping up our unit on Mission to Mars. The students have been very excited about creating their Mars colony.

Sixth Graders

In math we are finishing our unit on graphing and data. Students are collecting data on how much garbage they produce and we will be creating a graph and analyzing it. In science students are learning about both renewable and nonrenewable resources as well as researching scientists that have impacted our world. In Humanities, students are finishing their final products discussing the problem with plastic pollution and what can we do! Students will either submit their final products for a writing/art competition or sent their letters to Mayor Ginther.

Seventh Graders

In Math and Science, students are looking at issues with water scarcity and drinking water pollution. In science we will be exploring the water quality issues of Flint, MI and the Navajo Nation to create thinking maps with our research and questions. In math, we will look at the statistics and data that support our research.

In Humanities class students are working on creating scripts for their podcast project. On Friday, December 3rd longtime WOSU Classical 101 host, Boyce Lancaster, came in as an expert to help students practice and rehearse their voices as they read their scripts. We are continuing to work on researching and interviewing experts.

Eight Graders

In Humanities, everyone is excited about their final expedition project. Over the semester we have been discussing Identity and “Taking A Stand” for social justice issues. Throughout; readings, expert advice, statistical evidence, and activities on stereotyping, we have learned about who we are and how identities are perceived in America. For the final project students are working on a spoken word piece with the opening phrase, “I Am Not Another Statistic”.

In science, we are working on creating Natural Selection Games! After playing a few models, we will make our own and revise using peer feedback.

In math, each student completed a polygon project where they created a polygon that connects to their identity and created transformations of that polygon using the coordinate plane.

K-4 Music

This month in music we are diving into Ukulele! Grades 2-4 are learning about where the ukulele comes from and how it is made! Then they will learn all about each part and how to play their first notes. K-1 are working on their composition skills and learning how to create music that is loud, quiet, fast, and slow. All classes are also working on winter songs and learning about the Nutcracker Ballet!

ProMusica Strings Classes (PlayUsForward)

ProMusica 7th and 8th Grade Advanced Strings are working on reading the A-String, we have the D-String down pretty well. We are playing well together, and our tone or quality of sound has improved greatly. We’re preparing pieces to play for our winter concert video, which will be filmed in January.

ProMusica 6th Grade Beginning Orchestra is reading music with ease. We are playing well together and the D-String notes are becoming easy as pumpkin pie. We are working on posture, note reading and making our bows pull a quality sound.

I am so proud of all the students, at whatever level they are playing. Our students range of ability goes from open strings only to shifting our hands up to new locations.

Happy Musical Holidays and congrats to our GEMS string students.

Ms Koger

K-4 Art

This month in art we have been wrapping up our expedition projects that have explored all sorts of media across the grade levels. 4th grade dove into stop motion animation, which we will pick back up in smaller groups after the break. 3rd grade has been working on their famous musician projects which coincide with their research projects for music! 2nd grade continues to explore art from around the world as we moved on from turkish tiles to weavings. Meanwhile, first grade has been creating shadow boxes that represent their sun poems. Kindergarten has gotten to explore many types of techniques and materials including painting, oil pastels, and building techniques!

5-6 PE

This month we’re working on our last project/case study for the semester. Students have been creating full body strength training routines, which will keep them healthy and fit before they travel in a spaceship that is headed to mars. Students will present their workout routines to a group of elementary students for their COL.

When you shop at Kroger, and/or Amazon you can help GEMS raise money for expeditions!


Go to: or call 1-800-837-4483 to enroll in the program. Add GEMS to your card. You can search for GEMS by name or use our school code: FD086. Shop! Every time you shop and use your Kroger Rewards Card GEMS gets rebates. Kroger totals those rebates and sends GEMS a check.

Amazon Smile

When you make a purchase on Amazon Smile they will now donate 0.5% of your total purchase to GEMS. Go to to get started!

Do you know anyone who might be interested in attending GEMS? Please share this information!

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EL Education

Our partnership with EL Education empowers our teachers to unleash the potential of their students. EL Education is built on ten design principles that reflect the educational values and beliefs of Kurt Hahn, founder of Outward Bound and co-founder of EL Education. These principles also reflect the design's connection to other related thinking about teaching, learning, and the culture of schools. The 10 design principles are: The Primacy of Self-Discovery, The Having of Wonderful Ideas, The Responsibility for Learning, Empathy and Caring, Success and Failure, Collaboration and Competition, Diversity and Inclusion, The Natural World, Solitude and Reflection, Service and Compassion.

GEMS School-wide Title 1

GEMS is a School-wide Title 1 program, enabling us to receive Federal Funds to ensure that our students receive the support they need to reach and exceed grade level goals particularly in reading and math. We welcome parent involvement in planning, review and improvement of Title 1 programs. Please contact Debbie Addison at with any questions.


Per House Bill 21 community schools are now required to perform a monthly review of student files and randomly select families for residency verification. Please be sure to contact the school immediately in case of an address change. Proof of residency must be submitted within two weeks of an address change. If evidence is not provided, requests for additional documentation or a home visit may occur.

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"This institution is an equal opportunity provider."