HMS Weekly Update #20

Volume 2: Friday, January 21st

Dear Hoboken Middle School Family,

Happy Friday HMS! I hope everyone has had a good week.

Attention All Families:

Please review the New Guidance Regarding COVID-19 for K-12 School Settings Document.

Attention 7th Graders:
Please see a message from Ms. Falcone in the Guidance Counselor Corner below regarding course selection for Pre-AP courses for 8th grade.

Attention 8th Graders:

Please review the HMS Special Edition: 8th Grade Portraits. Direct any questions you may have to Mr. Ramos (

Please complete the HMS Moving Up Ceremony 21/22 - Cap & Gown Order Form.

Arrival Information:

The entrance on the 4th street side of the building is open to all students from 7:30 - 8:15. If your child arrives early, they should report to that door and enter the building. The grade 6 (Garden Street) and grade 8 (Bloomfield Street) entrances doors open at 8:15 each day.

Students Waiting For Covid Results:
If you take your child for a PCR Covid test and are awaiting results, please do not send them to school during while results are pending. You may direct any questions you have about this to Ms. Marra

Please take some time to read through the updates below to learn some more about this past week and upcoming events. Some highlights are:

  • HMS PTO Corner
  • Parent Resources For Monitoring Cell Phones
  • HMS Help Desk
  • A Message from the Hoboken Public Schools Fine & Performing Arts Department- District Musical Auditions "Matilda 2.0"
  • HMS Play "Teen" Update
  • HMS Passport to Learning Corner ~ A new addition to our newsletter
  • HMS Basketball Update
  • 8th Grade Picture Day Information
  • January 24th - January 28th is Data Privacy Week
  • Dr. Baskinger's Curriculum Corner ~ MLK Lesson Feature
  • Law Day Contest 2022
  • Scripps National Spelling Bee Dates Announced
  • Our HMS Clubs & Activities Weekly Update
  • Our corner's that highlight areas within our school community
  • And a grade and content level summary to give you a peak into the classroom.
  • Helpful information at the bottom of the newsletter


  • Students should bring a full water bottle to school everyday. If you would like to purchase an HMS Water bottle for $2 please have your child stop by the main office and see Ms. Munoz. We have water hydration stations in the building on the 1st floor and 3rd floor so they can fill up their bottles.
  • Please try to send a mask to school each day with your child. If possible, please pack extra masks for your child in a ziploc bag with their name on it in case they get them wet during the day. I was asked a few times this week, HMS Masks are available for purchase in the main office for $10.
  • Remember to do the daily Covid form for your child(ren).
  • Chromebooks must be charged each night at home. Please check in with your child to remind them to charge their Chromebook at night.
  • Please communicate any health issues to Nurse Kirwin ( You may also share any documentation with her that the school would need.
  • Here are the HMS Student Handbook & HMS Code of Conduct for your convenience.

As always, please reach out to me if you have any questions.

Have a great week!


Ms. Marra

HMS PTO Corner

Minted Fundraising - 2022 Begins Now!

Happy New Year! Thank you to everyone who supported our fall fundraisers! Our 2021 Minted fundraiser wrapped up on December 31st, but our code is carried over for the 2022 fundraising year.

For your stationary, greeting card, and unique gift needs throughout the year, please consider shopping at and use the code: FUNDRAISEHOBOKENPTO.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the HMS PTO, please email And be sure to join our Facebook group - Hoboken Middle School PTO.

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AmazonSmile – Start using today!

Your holiday shopping can help make a difference, at no additional cost to you!

When you shop at, or in the Amazon app with AmazonSmile turned on within Settings, you'll find the same products and same low prices as the Amazon you already know - plus, they donate a portion of your purchases to Hoboken Middle School PTO.

You can select us as your AmazonSmile charity by visiting:

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Parent Resources for Cell Phone Monitoring

Most children today have a cellphone on hand and use it extensively to do homework, communicate with friends, and view social media platforms. It is almost unimaginable to think of a modern-day child who doesn’t take full advantage. These rapid advancements in technology have been proven to be a recent challenge. Below are two suggested cellphone monitoring services that include activity monitoring, location services, filtering, and screen time management. Though not offered through Hoboken Public Schools, these resources may be helpful in managing cell phone usage. Click on each link below below to be taken directly to the resource website.

Qustodio: The All-In-One Parental Control and Digital Wellbeing Solution

Mobicip: Designed for Digital Parents

HMS Help Desk

Here are some helpful items for our families:

My child is going to be absent...what do I do?

Email and to inform us about the absence.

I need to pick up my child early...what do I do?

Call the main office 15 minutes prior to pick up so your child can be waiting at the 4th street entrance. The main office is (201) 356-3754. You will need to come into the security area to sign the book for your child to leave.

I have an issue with my Chromebook...what do I do?

Please visit the HPS-Tech in Our Schools Site for any tech related questions or problems with Chromebooks.

I have a question about dress code or purchasing...what do I do?

Email Mr. Ramos ( for assistance.

I have a question for about my child making up work if they are absent...what do I do?
Email Ms. Falcone for assistance (

A Message from the Hoboken Public Schools Fine & Performing Arts Department

District Musical Auditions "Matilda 2.0"

Students in grades K-12 will be able to participate in this year's district musical, Matilda. We will be calling this production Matilda 2.0. since the original production was supposed to happen in May of 2020. Regardless of who was cast in the show in the past, every student will be reauditioned. The Fine and Performing Arts Department will be treating this production as a "brand new" show.

If you are interested in having your child participate in this year's musical, please visit our website at under the “The Arts" link/Theatre Department/District Musical for a list of FAQ's to guide you through this process. This will help acclimate you to policies for rehearsals and the entire district musical experience, as well as answer any questions you may have about the audition process.

In an effort to expedite auditions, every student must PRE-REGISTER using the attached google form. Online sign ups will happen from now until Friday, February 11th.

For more information, please read the formal letter from the Hoboken Public Schools Office of Fine and Performing Arts.

HMS Play Updates

This week at rehearsal cast members continued to improve movement based transitions and segments with Ms. Brittney. The focus has shifted from individual scenes to creating an overall cohesive piece. Tickets are now available so make sure to grab yours soon! You can purchase tickets using this link and if you have any questions contact Just two weeks left! We look forward to seeing you at the show!

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Hoboken Middle School Passport to Learning Corner

Glassroots Studio

We had another exciting Glass Art session this week! The students were back on the torches practicing flamework. This time, the goal was to make “stringers” by stretching out the glass into strings while it was molten, and then letting it cool and harden back to solid glass. Can’t wait to see what we make next week with the stringers!

Rock Climbing

We only had one day of climbing this week, but students made the most of it! During our mini lesson, students learned about creating tension between their arms and legs while climbing. By practicing how to exhale deeply with each move, students learned the importance of keeping tension in their core.

When it came time for free climbing, everyone raced to the 5.10 wall that stumped us all last week! All climbers made progress on the wall, but we want to give a huge shout out to Frankie Brennan for being the first and only student to make it to the top so far!


Unfortunately, the archers only were able to shoot on Wednesday, but we certainly made the most of it! It is interesting to watch how the archer's skills are transient, one week they can't miss the bullseye, the next they can barely hit the target. It seems this week was more the latter, but as the archers continued to practice their aim definitely returned.

Sometimes we miss, but sometimes we miss BADLY! The archers have developed a name for these bad misses, which are never aimed for, but are coined "skill shots!" The archers on their own changed a mistake into a success! Hitting the wooden frame, sticking the arrow under the turf floor, or getting the arrow into the corner of the target all count! Here are some examples of the "skill shots". Below are some more images from our outing!


This week we continued to use jump ropes in between warming up our punches and kicks. Students also actively stretched by doing windmills, inch worms, and squats with their opposite knee up to their opposite elbow. As always, we worked a variety of combinations with and without our hand weights.

I am impressed with the hard work our kickboxing students are putting in! Keep it up!

Chef It Up!

This week at Chef It Up, students created cake pops with fondant colors of their choice. Chef's cake pops varied from hearts all the way to unknown monsters! Not only were they delicious, but they looked great too! Later in the week, chef's were very excited to make empanadas!! Chicken and cheese empanadas were on the menu and students had the option to add beans if they wished! Students were blown away by what they made! Chef's cannot wait to get back into the kitchen next week!

Passport Chorus

This week in Passport Chorus, we reviewed our concert songs for the winter concert next week and also started some songs for the spring. We began "I'm Walkin' on Sunshine," the 80's hit by Katrina and the Waves as well as "Natsu No Yo Wa," a Japanese folk song. The English translation is "In the summer night, the evening still seems to present, but the dawn is here. To what region of the clouds has the wandering moon come home?" We will definitely be challenging ourselves to pronounce the words and give life to this beautiful melody.
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Passport Band

This week in Passport Band, students focused on reviewing their three concert songs for next week and also made some excellent progress on their first spring concert song "Avengers." They were able to complete the first third of the song, including the catchy ostinato (repeating accompaniment) and the melody in the introduction, featuring trumpets, clarinets, and saxes. As this song is more difficult than our winter repertoire, we are still working on our tone production on higher notes and getting our fingers moving fast enough for the more technically challenging passages.

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HMS Basketball Corner

HMS Basketball Practice Information

The Hoboken Middle School Basketball teams are now in full swing with each team playing at least one game. All teams are looking to pick up wins this Saturday at HHS. Come out and support our MS basketball teams as we host a triple header on Saturday 1/22 at Hoboken High School

1/21 practice times

6th Grade boys 5:30-6:45 P.M.

7/8th Grade Boys 6:45-8:00 P.M.

Girls- 6-7:30

Games 1/22

Girls basketball 12pm game

6th Grade boys 1pm game

7/8th grade Boys 2pm game

REMINDER: If you are not present in school you may not participate in after school athletics

Please make sure to wear your mask into the building.

Way to go Tigers!

Hoboken Public School District Community Event: Basketball Clinic - January 30th, 2022

Dear Parents & Guardians,

The Hoboken Public School District is proud to announce a fun community activity for all Hoboken children, ages 5-13. Our Hoboken Public School District Basketball Clinic is a great way for children to learn and sharpen their skills and meet children from across the city. It is also an opportunity for our varsity basketball players and stellar high school students to interact with Hoboken families.

This Hoboken Public School District Baseball Clinic will take place on Sunday, January 30, 2022 at 9:00 a.m to 10:30am for Grades K-3 and 10:30am to 12pm for Grades 4-8 at the Hoboken HS Gymnasium.

All registrations to participate must be received by 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 26th.

Thank you in advance for your child's participation. We can't wait to kick this event off!


8th Grade Picture Day - Next Week!

Please find information below for our 8th Grade Portraits:

Portrait Dates:

  • Tuesday, January 25th
  • Wednesday, January 26th
  • Thursday, January 27th

Our 8th Grade Portraits will be taken by Lifetouch during the school day. Students are photographed in Caps & Gowns at a scheduled time.

Please sign up for a timeslot:8th Grade Portrait Sign Up Time-Slots

Here is the 8th Grade Portrait Order Form & Flyer. Use this to choose your package and place your order.

Please email Mr. Ramos at should you have any questions.

Data Privacy Week Starts January 24th

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In the Hoboken Public School District we take data privacy very seriously. We collect only the data necessary for the job of educating the children of Hoboken and we safeguard that data very carefully. You can read more about our Data Security and Privacy Policy on our website.

Please see the attached parent tip sheet, Raising Privacy-Savvy Kids. This is a great resource when practicing Internet and Data Safety at home.

Dr. Baskinger's Curriculum Corner

Lesson Feature ~ Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr at HMS

Students across Hoboken Middle School celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr in many of their classes. Teachers across different content areas paid tribute to Dr. King through writing pieces, art work, hands on learning, and allowing students to express their feelings as well. Below are excerpts of lessons completed by some of our amazing teachers here at Hoboken Middle School!

French, Mrs. Jette

In French class this week, students worked on an enrichment activity in which they paired new expressions they have learned in French with honoring the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Students recently learned how to express their likes and dislikes in French. 7th grader, Sophia Castiglione, created a slide in which she expressed her love of equality, and 8th grader, Sarah Burns, created a slide in which she expressed her love of diversity.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr in French Presentation

Social Studies, 6th, Mr. DeBenedetto

During our MLK lesson, we read an article about the life and times of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We put emphasis on the March on Washington and his famous "I have a dream speech". Afterwards, we watched actual footage of the iconic speech. For an assignment, students created a Google Slides presentation highlighting King's greatest achievements. Below are some student slides created during the lesson.

Connor Fletcher

Harrison Green

Dominique Olavarria

Truman Pimsner

Scripps National Spelling Bee Dates Announced!

Hoboken Middle School to Compete in Scripps National Spelling Bee - Dates Updated!

Please see the updated Scripps National Spelling Bee Dates below:

  • January 17th-21st, 2022: Grade-level Classroom Spelling Bee
  • February 3rd, 2022 - School-Wide Bee
  • February 14, 2022 - School Bee Champion will be chosen
  • February 16, 2022 - Hudson County Spelling Bee - VIRTUAL

**Hudson County OTP Spelling Bee: 2|16|2022 @ 10AM – 12PM

*If necessary – Tiebreaker 1: 2|16|2022 @ 1PM – 3PM

*If necessary – Tiebreaker 2: 2|17|2022 @ 10AM – 12PM

* 2021-2022 School Spelling Bee Study List (Click Me!)

* Words of the Champions 2022 (Click Me!)

Law Day Contest 2022

Essay, Poetry, Rap, Art and Photography Hosted by the American Bar Association, the Hudson County Bar Association and Foundation

As part of promoting and encouraging student creativity in writing and artform, students at Hoboken Middle School will again be participating in the annual Law Day contest. Last year, 3 Hoboken Middle School students received awards for their outstanding work and we hope that this year more Hoboken Middle School students are recognized.

This year's theme is Toward A More Perfect Union, The Constitution in Times of Change which will be expressed through a writing piece and art/photography contest. Students at Hoboken Middle School will participate in this wonderful opportunity which will be judged in the spring and winners will be awarded.

Grade Level Language Arts, Social Studies, and Fine & Performing Arts Teachers will lead the contest in the upcoming weeks. The submission deadline is Friday, March 18th, 2022.

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Clubs and Activities Corner

HMS T-Shirt Fundraiser - ENDS FRIDAY, JANUARY 21ST!

Beginning today, ALL Hoboken Middle School Clubs and Activities will be selling t-shirts to members. Each t-shirt purchased will be used to fundraise each club. All HMS Clubs and Activities t-shirts are individualized for each club name.

The shirts cost $15 to use as a fundraiser for each of our clubs. Each shirt falls under the HMS School Spirit Wear guidelines and be able to be worn as a uniform shirt throughout the week.

Attached is a Google Form for club members to fill out if they would like to purchase a shirt. x Please note that students can purchase multiple shirts for different clubs/activities. A new form must be completed for each t-shirt purchased.


Academic Team

Do you know who recently became the first black woman to be featured on a U.S. quarter? If you guessed Maya Angelou, you are correct! This week, the HMS Academic Team challenged themselves with questions like these as they took the NY Times Weekly Student Quiz. Students are preparing for their next Current Events Meet this year. In addition to the quiz, students also continued preparing their mock trials for the NJ Law Adventure Competition. The sixth grade team has completed their trial, and we will submit both teams’ trials next week!

Get your HMS Academic Team t-shirt HERE.

HMS Student Council Club

This week in the Student Council Club, members met to further promote our collection drive for the Hoboken Shelter. Members of Student Council in collaboration with NJHS are asking for donations of the items listed below. Please drop off donations in room 206 or 411; we are appreciative of any contributions! Order forms for club t-shirts are due today, 1/21. The money for orders is due by Thursday, 1/27 to Ms. Vazquez in the main office. Today was our Tie Dye and Camo Spirit Day - Click here to view pictures!

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National Junior Honor Society at Hoboken Middle School

All National Junior Honor Society members are encouraged to apply for the NJHS Outstanding Achievement Award. Several students in the program began the application process which opened on January 12th. Students must follow the steps in order to be considered for this prestigious award. Follow the links and instructions below for detail information.

T-SHIRT INFORMATION: Friday, January 21st is the last day NJHS students can purchase a t-shirt. Students are encouraged to purchase a club-based shirt in order to promote HMS and fundraise future events. All t-shirts can be worn as part of the HMS School Uniform. If you are interested in purchasing an NJHS school t-shirt or any club shirt, please click on the following Order Form.

**REMINDER: NJHS Members will meet on Thursday, January 27th, 2022!

The NJHS Outstanding Achievement Award

Recognizing the need to help middle level students jump-start their quest toward higher education, the National Junior Honor Society offers the annual NJHS Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA). The award recognizes 500 exceptional NJHS students with $500, to be placed in a college savings account program-managed by Ascensus as part of the New Mexico Education Trust Board’s 529 college savings plan: The Education Plan.

The 2022 NJHS OAA application process will open January 12, 2022. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, March 16, 2022. Eligible NJHS members should create their student account at All applicants must have a verified NJHS student account in order to apply for the award in January 2022.

Detailed information about the application process is coming shortly. Please check back in the upcoming HMS Weekly Newsletters.

If you have questions about the application process, please reach out to Dr. Baskinger.

Outstanding Achievement Award FAQ

Newsletter Activity Club

Please continue to write your staff and student statements as these need to be completed by today, Friday, January 21st. Please complete them in the newsletter folders and we will review and edit statements at our meeting on Monday.

Mr. Dortch is attending our meeting on Monday, January 24th in order to interview him and feature him in the Marking Period 2 Quarterly Newsletter. It is critical that we all attend Monday's meeting!

Also, please complete this form if you would like a Newsletter Clubs & Activity shirt.

Yearbook Club

During this week's yearbook meeting we were pleased to have a guest presenter, Mr. Werner. As we finalize the yearbook cover with adding logos and pictures, Mr. Werner introduced Adobe photoshop. Club members made decisions on the positioning of photos, as well as coloration. Next week we will go through class portraits and organize the layout(s). Attention all 8th graders, please take a few minutes to complete Superlatives! Your vote matters.

Link: Yearbook Superlatives Voting Form

Get your HMS Yearbook Club t-shirt HERE.

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GSA Club

This week in GSA, students met to discuss and learn about Black Pioneers within the LGBTQA + community. As a group, we learned about important figures such as James Baldwin, Barbara Jordan and Ron Oden. We even got to learn about Bayard Rustin, who was an advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. Members then branched off in groups to pick one historical figure to further research. Members worked together to create posters using Google Slides and Canva. Next week, students will continue their research and share! Members were also reminded to purchase GSA club shirts by Friday, January 21st.

If you have any questions or would like to join, please contact Ms. Rienzo or Ms. Painter.

Get your HMS GSA Club t-shirt HERE.

Best Buddies & Diversity Club

This week in Best Buddies / Diversity Club students were informed of a very exciting event they will be leading this February. During the meeting students spent time learning about the event, prepared for the event, and created posters for the event. Stay tuned for the exciting announcement!!

Get your Best Buddies & Diversity Club t-shirt HERE.

Band Club

This week in band club, our talented flute players reviewed their parts for the winter concert next Wednesday and also began to work on some pieces for the Spring. They focused on improving note articulation by tonguing to separate their breath and taking bigger breaths to be able to connect large phrases. The students practiced sustaining high notes and focusing their mouth aperture to play for several seconds in a row.
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Chorus Club

This week in chorus club, we reviewed our concert songs for the winter concert next week and also started some songs for the spring. We began "I'm Walkin' on Sunshine," the 80's hit by Katrina and the Waves as well as "Natsu No Yo Wa," a Japanese folk song. The English translation is "In the summer night, the evening still seems to present, but the dawn is here. To what region of the clouds has the wandering moon come home?" We will definitely be challenging ourselves to pronounce the words and give life to this beautiful melody.

Get your HMS Chorus Club t-shirt HERE.

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HMS Literary Club

Unfortunately, the Literary and Magazine club did not meet this week, but next week we are looking forward to continuing to write our fan fiction pieces, along with reading short stories by J.D. Salinger. I am excited to reconvene on Monday at 3:15 in room 406!

Get your HMS Literary Club t-shirt HERE.

Ms. Falcone's Guidance Counselor Corner

Save the Dates:

  • Random Acts of Kindness Week is from February 14th-February 17th.
  • Student Development Day #3 will take place on Thursday, February 17th.

Attention 7th Grade Families:

Upcoming 8th grade students will have the opportunity to take Pre-AP World History and/or Pre-AP Algebra. If your child is interested in taking Pre-AP World History and/or Pre-AP Algebra, please complete this Grade 8 Pre-AP Interest Form by January 24th. If you have any questions regarding the Pre-AP curriculum, please reach out to Dr. Baskinger (

Stevens Math Tutoring Program Update:

Stevens Math Tutoring will now resume February 7th. If you are interested in having your child participate, please email me directly.

As always, feel free to reach out to me by email:

HMS Nurse's Corner

Please continue to fill out the daily Covid questionnaire and update us with any change in your child’s health status. We ask that you please enforce hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing especially since it is now cold outside and more activities will be taking place indoors.

Crutches, Ace Bandages

If you child experiences an injury and needs to come to school with an assistive device or any kind of wrap, please send them in with a doctor’s note so that we know the type of injury that occurred and the doctor’s recommended restrictions. Wraps put on by parents at home cannot be adjusted by the school nurse without a doctor’s note. Gym excuses also have to come from the child’s doctor.


If your child has any medical needs please feel free to call me to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. As a reminder, if your child has any kind of over the counter or prescribed medication that needs to be kept in school, please let me know, have your doctor fill out a medication administration form and supply me with the medication. Please do not send in the medication in your child’s backpack. This is a safety concern! All medication must be handed to the nurse, by the parent, with orders.

Also, just a reminder that there are two required immunizations for all 6th graders as per the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. If your child has been immunized and is up to date on their required immunizations please send me a copy. If they have yet to receive the two required immunizations please make an appointment and provide proof of immunization as soon as possible.

The 2 required immunizations are as follows:

N.J.A.C. 8:57-4.10: Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis Vaccine (TDap)

Every child born on or after January 1, 1997 and entering or attending grade 6 on or after September 1, 2008 shall have received one dose of TDap, given no earlier than his/her 10th birthday.

N.J.A.C. 8:57-4:20: Meningococcal Vaccine

Every child born on or after January 1, 1997 and entering or attending grade 6 shall have 1 dose of meningococcal vaccine such as the medically preferred meningococcal conjugate vaccine.

Lastly, please make sure your child is coming to school with a mask! If possible please try to send them in with an extra mask in their bag.

If your child is sick, please contact the school nurse. I can be reached at or 201-356-3744.

Effective School Solutions Corner

During Middle School, shifting your role as a parent from a "problem solver" to a "collaborator" can positively influence your child's transition to a Confident, Independent child. This book excerpt focuses on the "comfort zone" and the "growth zone" that assist in your child's psychological development. Rather than fixing your child's problems, the excerpt encourages your collaboration with them by supporting and encouraging your child's development "beyond their current capacity" which can lead to their growth. Labeling praise when they succeed as well as when they take risks and potentially fail is essential as well. As difficult as it is to witness the failures from the sidelines, guiding them to make their own decisions and ideas can influence their growth.

Article: Raising Confident, Independent Children

HMS World Language Corner


This week in French class, students began a new unit on expressing their likes and dislikes. Lessons focused on building strong receptive and productive language skills, as students interpreted questions and wrote dialogues using the new vocabulary. Pictured below is 7th grader, Jaren Pena, using our new textbook resource to perfect his writing skills in French.

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This week in Mandarin Chinese class, Grade 6 students learned vocabulary including weekdays, and related vocabulary such as today, yesterday and tomorrow. After focusing previously on presentational speaking and writing skills, this week we focused on building interpersonal dialogue skills. Students practiced asking and answering questions related to the vocabulary. Grade 7 and 8 students started Unit 16 with the topic of " daily routines". This week, students learned many daily routine activity words and used these words with previous knowledge to describe their real life daily routines. Below is a picture of Grade 6 students practicing the interpersonal dialogue and completing classwork.

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Grade & Content Level ~ What Have We Been Learning?

Each Friday our grade level teams will be sharing content highlights from the week. Please check out the sections below that highlight the content for your child.

6th Grade ELA

This week in ELA, students continued their reading of Mockingbird, tying together some of the traumatic events experienced by the main character, Caitlin, and how her disability impedes her ability to emotionally process these events. We discussed the concept of closure and whether or not it is easily obtained. Students also engaged in a short creative writing activity that required students to retell the events from chapter 5 from another character’s perspective. After hearing the story from Caitlin’s point of view, it was interesting to see students put their analytical skills to the test by looking through the lens of another character.

In our writers’ workshop, we continued to explore the various functions of feature articles. Students worked in small groups to read feature article exemplars ranging in topics from the roles of service dogs in aiding the blind, the changing faces of Apple’s iPod and the incredible story of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps’s miraculous victory in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. We concluded the week with a classroom Spelling Bee; congratulations to all of our winners!

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6th Grade Mathematics

This week our 6th grade mathematicians were introduced to Topic 5. In these lessons, students will develop an understanding of ratios as a comparison of two quantities and learn to express ratios in three ways. They will extend their knowledge of models as they use bar diagrams and double number line diagrams to represent ratio relationships. Our mathematicians also continue to work daily on their mad math minutes.

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6th Grade Social Studies

This week in Social Studies we began our week by honoring the life of one of America’s most influential leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We discussed the importance of civil disobedience, and how the actions of the civil rights Movement shaped the future of America for the better. As a class, we read a short biography of King’s life and achievements, putting emphasis on The March on Washington and the “I Have a Dream" speech. After watching actual footage from the famous speech, students created a Google Slides presentation, highlighting Martin Luther King’s greatest achievements.

This week students also tested their knowledge of the previous lesson by completing a quiz on the events that led to The American Revolution. Concepts such as natural rights, constitutional government, checks and balances, and no taxation without representation were covered among other topics. Lastly, students began to delve into the controversial yet prolific life of Thomas Jefferson. As a class we read an article about Jefferson’s early life up until his presidency. We focused on how his words of equality, though important and influential to the fabric of this country, contradicted his actions as a slave owner.

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6th Grade Science

This week in science, students learned about plate tectonics. Students researched Alfred Wegener and created a digital poster or presentation slides to describe his theory of continental drift and why scientists rejected his theory initially. Alfred Wegener once proposed that Earth must have been a supercontinent before breaking up to form the continents we have now so students presented this finding to the class just how real scientists do! They also became experts on identifying plate boundaries and what phenomenon they form by taking guided notes and playing a review game on the terms “convergent, divergent or transform boundaries.”

7th Grade ELA

This week in 7th grade ELA, students used Writing Workshop periods to outline their Photo Essays and practice drafting engaging leads. Students learned about six different strategies writers use to craft leads or hooks in nonfiction pieces. Then, students chose the best strategy for their topic and began their first drafts. In Reading, students read chapters six and seven of The Outsiders which approached the climax of the novel. Students also completed their third vocabulary quiz for this unit. We are excited to continue drafting our Photo Essays next week and learn what happens next in The Outsiders! Please see the photo below of our 7th Grade classroom spelling bee winners!
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7th Grade Mathematics

This week in math, students described and proved the relationship between factoring and expanding expressions. Students reviewed for the Topic 4 Mid Topic Quiz with an Edpuzzle activity as well as critiqued and analyzed other’s work to ensure their understanding of the content. Moving forward, students will add and subtract expressions to finish Topic 4 and are scheduled to take a Topic 4 Test on Monday, January 31st. This is the last test grade for the marking period as the marking period ends on Wednesday, February 2nd!

As a friendly reminder, please encourage your child to utilize iXL at home for remediation and/or reiteration of previous taught concepts (e.g., 4th- 6th grade skills) as well as assigned skills aligned to current material.

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7th Grade Social Studies

This week in social studies, we continued to learn about the tools of historians. In addition to exploring historical maps, they learned about the push to turn Dr. King's birthday into a federal holiday by completing a webquest. In this webquest, students found out how a bill becomes law and how the Stevie Wonder song "Happy Birthday" played a part. We finished up the chapter on tools of historians by learning about anthropology (the study of human cultures) and the rituals of the Nacirema people. On Friday, students will also receive a test packet for social studies that is due next Friday, 1/28. The pages and copies of the hard-copy test packet are available in google classroom. Next week, we'll begin covering the geography and culture of the United States.

As a reminder, please make sure that students are bringing their laptops fully charged to school each day.

7th Grade Science

This week in Science, students worked in different stations around the room to complete notes on Human Body Systems. Students were introduced to individual body systems and then explored how they impact one another. By the end of the week, we took a quiz on Unit 3.3 and watched an Edpuzzle on the next Unit: DNA. Next week, students will complete an activity where they will look at their different traits and determine which ones are dominant or recessive.

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8th Grade ELA

This week we continued our class reading of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, further getting to know the main characters, as well as being introduced to secondary characters that will play a larger role later in the novel. Scout and Jem’s fascination with Boo Radley grew, and we encountered one of the most important themes in the novel through the wise words of Atticus Finch: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (33). Students continued to demonstrate their close reading skills by identifying sign-post notes as they read the novel.

Students completed the note-taking phase of their research writing projects by selecting important information for their topics from various websites. Then, students started organizing their information into an outline to aid them as they start drafting their research papers next week. On Friday, students participated in class level spelling bees for the Hudson County Spelling Bee.

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8th Grade Mathematics

Pre-Algebra I

This week in Pre-Algebra, students worked on concluding our Linear Functions unit. Students explored qualitative graphs to solidify their understanding of how two quantities can be related. Students practiced describing scenarios to match a graph, and learned how to determine the intervals of increase, decrease, and constant of a nonlinear function. Next week, we will conclude Topic 3 and work on reviewing the concepts learned in preparation for our Topic 3 Unit Test. Next week students will also be taking Link It Assessment, Form B.

Pre AP Algebra

This week we focused on bringing together the big and small ideas that we explored in our linear functions unit. Students used a set of review questions to think about best use of different forms of equations and what truly makes a given context linear or non linear. As part of this we reviewed scatterplots and lines of best fit. Students then did a performance task that allowed them to show what they know about data and linear functions. This week students also started a great project that requires the use of desmos graphing software. This project asks students to choose a picture that they can recreate by inputting equations for lines and then constraining them using inequalities. This requires some sophisticated thinking about what is needed to represent a line and gives students an opportunity to take on the challenges of finding formulas for curves and to making connections through application. For example - some students have chosen projects that have a good number of parallel or perpendicular line segments. They have found that they can copy equations, leave the slope the same and change the y-intercept to create a parallel line and that they can use negative reciprocals as slopes to create perpendicular lines. We look forward to sharing these projects when they are complete. Next week we wrap up Unit 1 on Linear Functions and begin to explore some of the ideas from Unit 2 in which we will focus on systems of equations and inequalities.

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8th Grade Social Studies

Social Studies

This week in Social Studies, students analyzed the fall of Rome, the sack of Rome by the Visigoths, and finally took a test on the ancient Roman Empire. To start the week students read documents that detailed the problems the Roman Empire faced during its decline. We looked at the why and how the military was becoming a shadow of its former self as it began to be filled with mercenaries, how the economy was waning and the significant hardships placed on the masses, and how the barbarian raid challenged and weakened the empire on its border. When we finished our analyses we reviewed the Unit and students worked on a study guide. Finally, students took a test on the Roman Empire.

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Pre-AP World History

This week in Pre-AP World History, students started the week by presenting their assigned chapter/ tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh. We then reviewed the story to ensure student understanding of all eleven chapters. Students then began outlining an essay on the Epic of Gilgamesh. There are five different prompts to choose from, as the story touches many different points of life. The prompts include the importance of immortality, women rights in ancient Babylon, and the temperance of the gods. Students were directed to write a strong thesis statement and gather evidence to support it. In the following week, students will write and finalize their essays.

8th Grade Science

This week in Science class students utilized Gizmos to engage in a Virtual Lab. In this lab, students used different mineral identification tests to identify different minerals such as quartz, feldspar, talc and calcite. Students measured the density, performed hardness and streak tests, and identified the shape and color of the mineral. Students then reviewed the scientific method through reading an article and answering questions in a graphic organizer. At the end of the week, students began their lab reports in groups using either Canva, google slides, or a poster paper. Next week, students will begin learning about rocks.

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Fine and Performing Arts Corner

Pre-AP Music

This week in Pre-AP Music: Band, students focused on reviewing their three concert songs for next week and also made some excellent progress on their first spring concert song "Avengers." They were able to complete the first third of the song, including the catchy ostinato (repeating accompaniment) and the melody in the introduction, featuring trumpets, clarinets, and saxes. As this song is more difficult than our winter repertoire, we are still working on our tone production on higher notes and getting our fingers moving fast enough for the more technically challenging passages. For our analytical activity, we researched musical borrowing in "The Avengers" as well as many other film music sources. Students debated whether the source and borrowed product were plagiarism or simply inspiration.
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Pre-AP Dance

’m Pre-AP Dance this week students completed their second dance study creation, using creative ways to interpret four short stories. Everyone did an awesome job, on to the final learning cycle of the marking period beginning next week!

HMS Strings

Ms. Monblatt's HMS String students had a wonderful week! In Pre-AP Music, students continued analyzing how composers borrow music and themes from each other. Students were given the challenge of analyzing related pieces of music by interpreting their narratives as well as the musical similarities and differences of each piece! In String classes, students were busy perfecting "Polish Carol", "Somewhere In My Memory", and "Jingle Bells" for our performance next week! Don't miss these talented and dedicated musicians performing at the District Winter Concert at Hoboken High School on Wednesday, January 26th at 7pm! We are so excited and can't wait to see you there!

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Creative Writing

Every picture tells a story. This week our writers choose a picture and an opening sentence to tell a story in a genre of their choice. As we approach the end of our quarterly course, writers were encouraged to include some of the techniques they have learned over the marking period. They all did a great job!

Pre-AP Visual Arts

This week, students created their own self portraits with a specific art historical influence. Each student has researched an artist, and selected a portrait by that artist to combine with a self-portrait in the creation of a new work. In this process, students have thought deliberately about the aspects of the original works that they want to keep, replace, or re-purpose, and the effects of these decisions on their creative outcomes. The image below shows outstanding student work by Truman P., based on a photograph by Diane Arbus, and Ella G., based on a painting by Roy Lichtenstein!

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Pre-AP Theater

This week in Pre-AP theater students presented their Lobby Display Proposals. Some students chose to take an educational approach while others selected interactive or experiential displays. A couple of groups included elements of all three types. This marks the end of that learning cycle and on Friday students were introduced to the role of designers comparing set design choices across different productions of West Side Story. Next week we will continue to explore these technical elements.

Health & Fitness Education

Physical Education

In Physical Education this week students continued to master their volleyball skills of bumping and setting and some students moved on to learning how to begin a volleyball game with the serve.

HMS Health

In Health class this week students in the 6th grade are wrapping up their third unit for the year, conflict resolution skills. In 7th grade students learned about the ways to manage their weight. And in 8th grade students continued to learn about the male reproductive system.

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