HMS Quarterly Newsletter

Marking Period 1

Principal's Message

Greetings Hoboken Middle School Family!

Congratulations to all of our Hoboken Middle School Tigers, on the successful completion of the first marking period and showing your resilience, either remotely or onsite, to navigate this unprecedented school year. I am so proud and grateful that the Hoboken Public School District has been able to offer a full onsite program as well as a full remote program to our students, allowing our families to make the choice that best meets the needs of their children.

Throughout the first marking period, our students and staff have covered our curricular topics and concepts with enthusiasm and focus. Our staff is working diligently to maximize the instructional experiences for all students in the virtual and traditional settings. I am looking forward to the coming months as our students delve deeper into our curriculum and look forward to the coming marking periods. Please take some time to view our first marking period reflections below. As always, stay safe and let us know if you need any support along the way.


Ms. Marra

Academic Highlights

6th Grade ELA

In 6th Grade ELA, students became acquainted with Max and Kevin in the novel, Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick. Throughout the novel, students analyzed how the protagonist, Max, demonstrated the traits of a dynamic character. Students were able to identify how Max's friendship with Kevin ("Freak") allowed him to develop socially and emotionally. As a culminating assignment for this unit, students wrote an except from the story as Kevin, which provided students with the opportunity to reflect on how the story may have been different if told from Kevin's point of view.

In addition to reading Freak the Mighty, students celebrated Spanish Heritage Month in ELA. Students read a series of vignettes from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, focusing on symbolism, heritage, and identity.

6th Grade Mathematics

During Marking Period 1, students worked on the envision topics 1-3 in our Envision Math Series

Topic 1

- operations with decimals

- operations with fractions and mixed numbers

- problem solving with rational numbers

Topic 2

- integers

- rational numbers on a number line

- absolute value

- graphing on a coordinate plane

Topic 3

- exponents

- greatest common factor and least common multiple

- writing and evaluating expressions

- equivalent expressions

- simplifying expressions

Math Practices

Throughout our studies, we consistently harnessed our skills with the 8 mathematical practices.

  • 1. Students often had to make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.The Envision math series is word problem based. Students were challenged with complicated, multi step word problems, and had to apply their new skills to real world tasks.
  • 2. Students worked on reasoning abstractly and quantitatively. Students reasoned with numbers and equations to make sense of mathematical situations.
  • 3. We constructed viable arguments and critiqued the reasoning of others. Students were challenged to explain their thought process often with the classmates as well as complete error analyses on previously completed student work.
  • 4. Students modeled with mathematics. Students used pictures, images, bar models, number lines etc. to make sense of challenging tasks.
  • 5.Students used appropriate tools strategically and determined which tools were appropriate in a given situation.
  • 6.Students learned the importance of attending to precision and how making a small error can greatly affect a math problem's outcome.
  • 7. Students looked for and made use of structure when determining how to solve problems independently. Students drew on prior knowledge to determine the best strategy.
  • 8. Students looked for and expressed regularity in repeated reasoning to find patterns and strategies that work for multiple different problems.

6th Grade Social Studies

During the first marking period, students were introduced to historical content, such as the Revolutionary War, Bill of Rights, and the Constitution. Students explored the significance of separation of powers, and what differentiates a constitutional government from an autocratic one.

Grade 6 Science

Hoboken Middle School Class of 2023 became astronomers in the first marking period! In 6th Grade Science, students studied Earth's place in the Solar System. Students also followed moon phases, and enjoyed identifying galaxies, as well as the characteristics used to identity each of type. Our astronomers also engaged in deeper discussions about space, and are intrigued in what future space exploration may discover.

7th Grade ELA

In 7th Grade ELA, students were introduced to their first writing unit, "How Writers Work." In an effort to focus on the writer's craft, students selected the type of writing (i.e. narrative or argumentative) they wanted to work on this unit. Student self-selection allowed students to take ownership in their writing, and be proud of their finished products.

During the first marking period, students also read Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Students analyzed the Dystopian genre, while honing in on the literary elements of theme and characterization throughout the novel. As a culminating project, students created their own Utopian worlds.

7th Grade Mathematics

In 7th Grade Mathematics, students focused on:

  • Rational Numbers and Operations
  • Proportional Relationships and Percents

During the first two units, students utilized resources, such as EdPuzzle and LIVE Nearpod. These platforms provided students with multiple means of engagement, representation, and expressions. Additionally, EdPuzzle and LIVE Nearpod is intended to support all our learners.

7th Grade Social Studies

During the first marking period, 7th Grade Social Studies classes began to travel the world! From learning about the global importance of the rain forest to Africa-Europe Migration Crisis, students became well-informed on their lessons in Geography. In addition, students participated in Digital Citizenship Week 2020. Students explored the long read of a "digital footprint" and enjoyed taking on the role of a talent scout. In this role, students decided whether to hire or fire someone based on what the candidate had posted online. This led students to ultimately reflect on how social media can both connect and complicate their lives.

7th Grade Science

At the conclusion of the first marking period, students in 7th Grade Science were able to understand that special structures responsible for particular functions in organisms. Students were assigned a "Cell Analogy" project, which allowed to compare an animal cell of their choice to a real world system. Students also analyzed how cells divide, and multiply for growth and repair. As the second marking period approaches, Ms. McHugh is working closely with students to create their submissions to the STEAM Tank competition!

8th Grade ELA

During the first marking period in 8th Grade ELA, students read and worked with literary elements of The Giver by Lois Lowry. Students focused on differentiating point of view, inferring with foreshadowing, analyzing symbolism, recording character development, and expanding their vocabulary with terms from the novel. Students also explored Dystopian/Utopian societies as it related to the setting of the novel. In preparation for the Writing Fundamentals unit in the second marking period, students began to free-write more frequently as well.

8th Grade Mathematics

Pre-Algebra: Students began the marking period by focusing on Real Numbers. This topic provided students the opportunity to discuss when and how these numbers can be found in real life. Additionally, students explored the laws of exponents, and learned to write very large and very small numbers using scientific notation. Students also learned to Analyze and Solve Linear Equations, as well as Using Functions to Model Relationships and Investigate Bivariate Data.

Algebra: In Algebra, 8th grade students focused on applying skills to interpreting different forms of linear equations. Students also began their first experiences with graphing this marking period, and continue to utilize SAVVAS for assignments and assessments.

Geometry: By the close of the marking period, students were able to define Rotation as a rigid transformation about an angle of rotation and center of rotation. Ms. Tank's Geometry class can also specify a sequence of transformations that carry a given figure onto another, and use geometric descriptions of rigid motions to transform figures.

8th Grade Social Studies

During the first marking period, students continued to learn the fundamental tools of geography that are applied throughout Social Studies Curriculum. These skills required students to think analytically about how the interactions of humans, environment, and cultures affect history. Some of these topics included: Our planet, Earth, Climates and Ecosystems, Human Environment Interaction, Economics, Culture, and Government. These skills enable students to make informed decisions as responsible world citizens.

8th Grade Science

During the first marking period, 8th grade students focused on how science relates to the world around them in their everyday lives. Ms. Gentile and Ms. Fernandez executed lessons on Motion & Energy, which provided students with the opportunity to design their own virtual roller coasters, testing their success on their knowledge of motion, speed, and transfer of kinetic and potential energy. Additionally, students studied Interactions of Matter, where they observed atomic behavior in each state of matter in a virtual lab.

Visual Arts

Art Highlights from Mrs. Fasolino

Hoboken's dynamic Middle School Art Department set this year into motion with bustling creative energy. The first quarter of Visual Arts focuses on students being mindfully guided to develop increasingly broad creative strategies. Projects are designed to prompt acquisition of transferable skills, exploring alternative problem solving strategies, and heightening critical thinking skills through artistic practices.I take great pride in highlighting the following semester projects.

We began our quarter together by revisiting the 7 Elements of Art and reimagining them into application through original illustrative interpretations of each element. Moving forward, Value streamlines through each project as the focal point of study. The application of Value carried us through our observational drawing unit where the summative project was a rendering of a geometric still life where the application of our value scale tricks transforms simple shapes into the illusion of form.

Our next creative adventure had us jumping in a time capsule back to Germany as we explored creator Tim Burton's macabre roots in German Cinematic Expressionism. Our growing artists were challenged to develop their own original "Burtonesque" character portraits to be accompanied by a narrative, song, or poem. Following this dark and gritty pencil project, color exploded on the scene with our Graffiti Unit! We focused on street artists Eduardo Kobra and Bansky and held a debate on whether graffiti could be considered Art or Vandalism? A running man back to the 80's gave us the historical significance of graffiti and it's rise from underground culture to mainstream notoriety. Our artists then created their own original graffiti "tag" and transferred their value scale pencil study to color application.

The first marking period came to a close with the challenge of giving "flight" to the element of Form through the Peace Crane Challenge inspired by the actual events in the novel, Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr. My students took a trip back in time to World War II to witness the devastating effects of the atomic bomb drops on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. We then used our research to generate informed responses to layered questions such as, "What are the implications and long term effects of using weapons of mass destruction?" The conversation continued and flowed into current events and the importance of the United Nation's push for global denuclearization. Students learned about the cultural significance of the ancient Japanese legend that promises wishes granted to those who fold 1,000 paper cranes. Grades 6-8 then participated in a Hiroshima Peace Cranes challenge! Who can fold the most cranes in 1.5 class periods? It was high energy and exciting! Our Unit ended with a reflective entry in our creative journal where students were asked, "What is your dream/hope/wish for yourself or the world and what you could do right now, each day, to get closer at making this wish come true."

Our time together led us to countries like Japan and Germany as well as a trip through time periods from Ancient Cave Art to the present day. I would say it was quite the creative journey and our artists were challenged to take and transfer their creative skill sets into their entire day through their learned artistic thought and application practices.

Mrs. Jessica Fasolino

World Language

Throughout the first marking period, the World Language Department introduced the fundamentals in their respective languages. In Mandarin, Spanish, and French, students learned how to pronounce terms associated with school, describe their personality traits, and even recite poems. During the week of respect, students composed a Week of Respect Pledge in their target langues as well.
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Special Events

Week of Respect

From October 5th to October 9th, Hoboken Middle School celebrate Week of Respect. Students and staff had a fantastic week promoting messages of kindness with our spirit days and activities. Specifically, students enjoyed "Chalk Talk" during their recess periods with both old and new friends. While we observe the Week of Respect the first week in October, it's important to respect others and ourselves all year round.

HMS Chapter of Best Buddies

Our inaugural meeting of the HMS Best Buddies Friendship Club was a huge success. On Tuesday December 1st, our chapter members met for a game of virtual bingo. Students were able to engage, discuss common interests, and most importantly, have fun. Our next chapter event and meeting will be held on Friday January 29, with more information to follow this week.

Did you know that Hoboken High School has also started a Best Buddies Chapter? Our Hoboken High School and Middle School Best Buddies Chapters have been working together to plan for Best Buddies Friendship Walk: New Jersey. This virtual event will be held on May 13, 2021. Chapter Leaders Ms. Beriloff (HMS) and Ms. Drumgoole (HHS) will be sharing more information about sign-up and participation.

If you are interested in getting involved with our HMS Best Buddies Friendship Club, please contact Ms. Beriloff.

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Red Ribbon Week

In 1988, National Family Partnership sponsored the first National Red Ribbon Celebration. Today, the Red Ribbon serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities. Since that time, the campaign has reached millions of U.S. children and families.

Red Ribbon Week took place at Hoboken Middle School from October 26th-October 30th. Students participated in spirit days to bring awareness to a drug-free lifestyle, and signed our School Wide Pledge. Click on this link to see highlights from the week and additional information on Red Ribbon Week.

Kean University

On November 20th, about fifteen Hoboken Middle School students were selected to take part in a virtual conference focused on building leadership skills while implementing the concept of commUNITY in school. Students were fully engaged in the inclusive virtual conference where they met students from other districts and were able to discuss relevant and meaningful topics. Diversity Council members from Kean University presented ways for students to have a stronger leadership presence while being mindful of diversity and embracing diversity. The virtual conference was a wonderful way for our Hoboken Middle School students to network with peers from around the State and engage in meaningful conversations. We look forward to working with Kean University for future learning opportunities.

Student Development Day #1

On October 28th, Hoboken Middle School students participated in our first Student Development Day. Students began their work with the Persist Kids Curriculum, and the New Jersey Comprehensive Health & Wellness Standard. Specifically, students created their SMART Goals, which they will continue to re-visit each Student Development Day. Lessons were created by the Guidance and Physical Education Department, and facilitated by classroom teachers.
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Save the Dates: Marking Period 2

STEAM Tank:Playbook Submissions Due Week of January 19th

National Junior Honor Society Induction: January 28th

Grade 8 Portraits: February 3rd-5th