MMS Principal Newsletter

October 8, 2018 @MMSCougarPride

Greetings and Updates from Ms. Gronau

Greetings MMS Families,


This week we are highlighting our 6th Grade ELA program. Last Friday 6th graders went on a sensory walk at the South Mountain Reservation. They connected with one another, enjoyed brown bag lunches, and enjoyed the fresh air. We thank Ms. Silva, Ms. Laing, Ms. O'Sullivan, Ms. Hansen, Ms. Weinberg and Ms. Varney for their great work with Seedfolks as they launched the readers and writers workshop.


From Deb Silva-- What is a sensory writing marathon? Our entire 6th grade at Maplewood Middle School recently had the opportunity to go on one at the South Orange Reservation. It was an opportunity to walk and observe our surroundings for an extended period of time. It’s purpose was to push and extend the amount of time students are actually engaged in writing just as if we were pushing ourselves to go that extra mile in a race. Students are most motivated to write by their peers and their environment. What better way to get them excited about trying on new skills then by using their senses and observing the beautiful surroundings at the South Mountain Reservation!

We have been pushing our students to utilize their senses to describe objects, people, and places when drafting their personal narratives. We want them to not just tell us “there is a tree," we want them to observe and use language that will show us what is going on with that tree. We want our writers to learn that they are artists with words.

In order to scaffold this process, we encouraged students to bring their thought journals to jot down objects and moments they observed on our learning walk. Many students enjoyed adding many of the vivid “-ing” verbs and colorful adjectives to describe their surroundings. Many students tried out using personification to bring human-like qualities to their objects and make them come to life.

This walk not only helped us connect to our senses but also helped create a culture of collaboration and sharing among the students. It was a great opportunity for students to connect among all 6th grade teams through some team building activities Such as helping each other climb a mountain. There is no greater way to spend a wonderful fall afternoon than working and learning together outside in the mountains. Students enjoyed describing a waterfall while others found salamanders and a swarm of bumble bees.

We hope you enjoy looking at some of the photos from our marathon and we encourage you to get outdoors with a pencil and a journal and jot down some of the observation in your own backyard. Happy Writing!




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Reminder-We'd like to see you at the October 9, 2018 SOMSD Superintendent Search Community Input meeting at MMS. The event will take place at 7:30pm in the MMS auditorium.


Important note about the MMS guidance suite

Our guidance suite is not in use due to facility issues that cannot be repaired until November 2018 at the earliest. We know this is an inconvenience but we will absolutely continue to provide service to our students and our MMS community. The team is located temporarily in the library media center computer lab and the main office conference room.

**The best way to reach the team is through email. Extensions do work and the team can retrieve voicemails.


Ms. Battle (counselor for students with last names A-K) abattle@somsd.k12.nj.us

Ms. Dios (counselor for students with last names L-Z) kdios@somsd.k12.nj.us

Ms. Brown (guidance secretary) mbrown@somsd.k12.nj.us

Mr. Stoudemire (full time social worker) estoudem@somsd.k12.nj.us

Ms. Lazen (social worker Tuesdays and Fridays) clazen@somsd.k12.nj.us


Warm Regards,


Ms. Dara Crocker Gronau, Maplewood Middle School Principal

dgronau@somsd.k12.nj.us 973-378-7660 x3001

The 5 Keys to Middle School Child Resilience and Success

The 5 Keys to Middle School Child Resilience and Success


The MMS faculty and staff ask that you support our work with your child in the following ways:


1) Encourage a Growth Mindset-Having a growth mindset fosters resilience. Use the language of yet. I don’t understand this “yet.” Emphasize the importance of hard work as opposed to innate intelligence. “I did well because of my effort. I’ll do better next time.”


2) Encourage 1-2 Good Peer Relationships-Friends should be a source of support. Often our middle schoolers try to maintain large groups of close friends and that is challenging for anyone of any age! Encourage your child to have 1-2 solid and supportive peer friendships and keep it light and simple with the larger groups.


3) Ensure 9-11 Hours of Sleep Please! Sleep is the best way to foster resilience. Research shows that kiddos this age need 9-11 hours to be at their best. When your child is well-rested, everything is better. Technology is the #1 enemy of sleep! As a school community, we recommend that you keep technology out of your child’s bedroom at night to encourage healthy and consistent sleep.


4) Encourage Coping Strategies-Coping is personal. Everyone does it differently. Encourage your child to think about healthy ways to relax and give them permission to do it!


5) Facilitate Time/Connection with a non-familial adult-Good connections with non-familial adults are very important for your child. They hear things differently from non-familial adults. Encourage your child to participate in a club or activity. Children need our perspective. They are always changing and growing. As adults we can attach a growth mindset to their personality development and their peer interactions.

Maplewood Middle School Remind App Code @k92d29

The MMS Principal has a school-wide "Remind App" as another way to communicate with our families. Many of your child's teachers will share Remind class codes for you and your child to stay up to date about class events and assignments. As needed, the MMS Principal will periodically use the Remind App to share important info with our school community. Our Maplewood Middle School school-wide code Remind code is listed above (@k92d29). The link below explains how to begin getting notifications. It's a simple way to stay in touch. Join us!

https://help.remind.com/hc/en-us/articles/203179887-How-do-I-join-a-class-