The Squire

December 2018

Westbrook Middle School

Taylor P. Wrye, Principal

Amy Gallagher, Lead Teacher

Important Dates


4 - 5th & 6th Grade Winter Music Concert - WHS Auditorium at 6 pm

5 - Hour of Code Celebration!

6 - 7th & 8th Grade Winter Music Concert - WHS Auditorium at 6 pm

11- WPS Board Meeting

12 - PTO Meeting

14 - Student Council PJ Day

14 - Student Council Winter Dance

21 - 12:15 Dismissal for all WMS Students

24 - 31 - School Closed - December Vacation


1 - School Closed - New Years Day

17 - Pasta Dinner

18 - Q2 Ends

21 - School Closed - Martin Luther King Jr. Day

22 - Start of Q3

25 - Logic Block

** Check the school calendar on our website for the most up to date information on school events **

The Principal's Desk

This month our Middle School students have been actively participating in various Westbrook community events and projects. The Music Department produced two wonderful concerts during tree lighting ceremonies at Water’s Edge and the Westbrook Outlets, our Art Department provided students the opportunity to decorate the walls of the new ice rink at the Westbrook Outlets, and the Student Council collected goods and funds to help multiple charitable organizations throughout town. I am proud to report the Middle School’s Giving Tree was a huge success, enabling students and staff to assist Westbrook families during this time of year. It is always impressive to see the positive impact that the Middle School has on the Westbrook community, further cementing our connectedness to this amazing town.

Westbrook Middle School recently held its first school-wide celebration entitled The Hour of Code, in recognition of Computer Science week. All four grade levels wrote code that programed dance moves for their avatars and created new Google logos, in addition to many other exciting code-directed activities. It is our hope to make it an annual event that will promote the curriculum and excite everyone to join the world of Computer Science.

Cold weather is here and I want to remind everyone that there is no adult supervision in the building until 7:30 am when the main doors open. Please avoid dropping your students off before 7:30 am to protect everyone from unnecessary exposure to the cold. There are parking spaces in the lower lot available for you to wait with your children until the main doors open.

As always, we encourage you to regularly check your child's grades on Powerschool and his/her assignments on Google Classroom. It is important to review and stay up to date on your child’s work. The second quarter ends in January and students will receive their new second semester schedules after we return from winter break. If you have any questions about your child’s progress in any class please contact the grade level Team Leader or Amy Spagone, our school Counselor, to schedule an appointment.

In this edition of The Squire we start a section called Tech Tips to help parents understand and familiarize themselves with some of the tools our students are using here at Westbrook Middle School. We will begin by looking at Google products such as Google Classroom and Google Calendar. If there is a specific program or device that you would like featured in this section please do not hesitate to reach out and let us know.

As we end 2018 I thank all of you for your continued commitment to Westbrook Middle School. The successes we have experienced since the opening of this school year owes a great deal to our students, teachers, and families. I want to wish all of you a restful winter break and hope you enjoy your time with each other.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Taylor P. Wrye, Principal

Tech Tips - Google Classroom for Parents

This edition of tech tips will focus on Google Classroom for Students and Parents.

2018 Superintindent's Awards

Sophia Ferrucci and Jacob Perreault have been selected as Westbrook Middle School’s recipients of the 2018 CAPSS Student Recognition Award. They were chosen for their active participation in school and community organizations, citizenship, character, and integrity.

WMS Students of the Month - October

5th - Ethan Angelini, 6th - Brady Pill, 7th - Riley Pluck, 8th - Ava Ciarcia, Art - Joslyn Helgren, Band - Joe Lucero, Chorus - Selina Erekson, Computer Science - Trevor Jones , FACS -Brooke Millburne , French - Ayla Czenthe, Health - Maria Sicha, Library - Allison Brajczewski, Physical Education - Dayana Portillo, Spanish - Vincent Naccarato, STEM - Gregg Prevost
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WMS Students of the Month - November

5th Grade - Alex Mendez, 6th Grade - Alexa Kiss, 7th Grade - Derick Novillo, 8th Grade - Lisa Litevich, Art - Delaney Belcourt, Band - Ava Kaluski, Chorus - Gabrielle Walker, Computer Science - Natalie Palumbo, FACS - Elliot Koplas, French - Sofia Ferrucci, Health - Lilly Creeron, Library - Jealynne Solis, Physical Education - Emily Franco, Spanish - Daniel Genovese, STEM - Jacob Perrault

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Guidance Corner

We thank you for your participation with this year's Giving Tree! Your generosity will brighten the spirits of many families in need this holiday season!

Logic Block

Related Arts


“Every artist was first an amateur.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

In art, all grades have been busy creating new works and a variety of techniques.

5th grade learned about French artist Piet Mondrain who went from impression to abstraction. They drew an animal of their choosing and used line and primary colors to enhance their piece, similar to Mondrain. Following this lesson, they learned about Connecticut’s own Louis Comfort Tiffany (famous for Tiffany & Co. Jewelry.) Students observed his stained glass work and created stained glass replicas depicting nature, one Tiffany’s favorite subjects. To get into the holiday spirit students are currently working on 3D drawings of gingerbread houses. They have the option to make this a collage and adhere small candies and other objects. What fun!

6th graders started with one of the hardest tasks in art, self portraits! Although these were difficult for most, it taught students to draw what they see, not what they think an object looks like. Students then moved onto beautiful winter cardinals. With this assignment, each student chose their own image of a cardinal to draw. This was to ensure all of the birds wouldn’t look the same and that students had a say in their picture. They came out exquisite! Currently, grade 6 is working on high intensity colored candy canes for the holiday season.

7th grade students learned about artist George Seurat and his technique of pointillism. Did you know Seurat was rejected for these works originally? Only after perseverance did he become a great success, something to be admired. To put a modern twist on this artist’s technique, students chose the subject they wanted to depict using only dots. They were so well done they were laminated! Next, students started expressive snowmen where they had to focus on how the snowman was feeling and tell a story. All works came out amazing!

8th grade has been learning about a variety of artists. They began by exploring the meaning of Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting. For example, where and when he painted it, and what that black cypress was really trying to represent. They then had to put a twist on the original by recreating the painting with different objects and pastels. They then got into the Jackson Pollock vibe with splatter paintings. Students chose 2-3 words that they had to represent through only color, a difficult task! Next, students starting working on up-close evergreen branches with ornaments on black matte board. They added light sources and value to really enhance these pictures. Everyone who seen them has said how beautiful they are!

Congratulations to all the students for their hard work!

Westbrook Skating Rink

We want to give a shout out to all the students who participated in the mural paintings for the new Westbrook ice rink opening this month, Brooke-8th, Kyle M.-8th, Michael S.-8th, Vincent -8th, Grant-8th, David M-8th, Lisa-8th, Hannah-7th, Nora S.-7th, Elliot-7th, and Joslyn-7th.

Students created 3 large murals in addition to smaller works of art on the walls. Even the teachers painted! Mrs. Cole's and Mrs. Selmont's works can be viewed, look for everyone's names under each section. Most importantly, chosen artwork from grades 5-8 will be hanging in addition to the murals. We hope you come down and see everyone's talent once it is officially opened!

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Spanish - Señora Ferro

5th Grade

Students just finished created calendars in Googles Slides to review the months of the year, and holidays/celebrations in Spanish. Students are now studying weather and seasons.

6th Grade

Students just finished a project using the verb SER and stating people’s origin. They are now creating comic strips using Google draw to demonstrate their understanding of SER and pronouns.

7th Grade

Students just finished their “En La Escuela” skits” and presented them or turned in a video recording. They are currently reviewing topics related to places in school, ir, & estar. They will be starting Unit three soon in which they will be talking about food, gustar, and ~er/~ir verbs in the present tense.

8th Grade

Students have been studying about planning and organizing parties, household chores and the imperative tense. Students will start skits soon on this topic and present to the class. Some will also have a choice of doing a comic strip in Google Draw or

Library News

WMS Casts Votes for The Great American Read!

Votes are in! Although America voted To Kill A Mockingbird as the country’s favorite book, Westbrook Middle School had a different opinion. Coming in first is The Giver by Lois Lowry. Don’t read it yet, 5th & 6th graders. You’ll be reading it as a class in 7th grade. Coming in second was a tie between two series, Harry Potter and Hunger Games. Check out one of the “Great American Read” books on display. Whatever the genre, there’s a book. Many of the books have been made into movies, read the book, like The Martian, then see the movie and compare. Why not pick one out to read as a family? If you’ve read the sports fiction, Ghost, by Jason Reynolds, come down and check out one of the sequels! Thank-you to all students and staff that voted!

Painted Halloween Pumpkins – Thank-you to the students who decorated pumpkins after book characters with Mrs. Colagiovanni. Your creativity made the library festive. These creative students were able to pick out a book from the book fair.

Still Time to Read a 2019 Nutmeg Book! – Just

because you’ve finished your summer reading, doesn’t mean there’s still not time to read a 2019 Nutmeg book. We vote in April for our favorite. Some students have read books from the Intermediate, Teen and High School categories and will be able to vote in each. Whether you like realistic fiction, adventure, or historical fiction, there’s a Nutmeg book for you!

Book Fair – Thank-you to Mrs. Bache, Mrs. Brigham, Mrs. Prevost and all the parents who ran and volunteered to bring our students another successful book fair! The students and adults were excited to find some great books. Come down to the library and you might find some of the books from the fair.

Happy Reading!

Mrs. Goad


Students in chorus have had a very busy time in November and in early December. Grade 5-7 chorus students were invited to sing in two tree lighting events, one at the Westbrook Outlets, and another at Water’s Edge. The students did a great job singing and had fun.

We had two successful concerts, one for 5th and 6th grade on December 4th, and one for 7th and 8th Grade on December 6th. Choral students in 5th, 6th and 7th grade sang partner songs and music in two part harmony. Students in 8th grade really stretched their musical abilities by singing in three part harmony and working on pieces that are familiar but sung in ways that are non - traditional, or unexpected. Much of the music was jazz with difficult rhythms and scat singing.

Congratulations to the following thirteen students who successfully completed choral auditions for the Southern Region Music Festival on December 1st: Brooke M., Demetrios B., Caroline B., Emma B., Joslyn H., Alexa K., Trinity W., Gabrielle W., Nora S., Alaina L., Selina E., Kimberly B., and Emily B. These students were expected to learn an additional song, practice and memorize various scales, and sight read. This is a big challenge, took a lot of dedication, and all were well prepared.


Notes from the Band Room:

It has been a busy month for Band. December is concert month and Southern Region Music Ensemble audition month. Proudly, the report is that all went very smoothly. Both music teachers are very proud of all students for their performances at the concerts and for their auditions at the Fair Haven School for the Southern Region Music Festival.

The following band students are to be congratulated on their outstanding auditions for the Southern Region Music Festival on December 1st:

Lucas B. - Trumpet

Jonathan B. - Baritone Sax

Sofia F. - Flute

Jack F. - French Horn

Daniel G. - Trumpet

Margaret I. - Clarinet

Trevor J. - Tuba

Myan N. - Violin and Jazz Bass

Being chosen to take part in the Southern Region Music Festival is an honor and shows a tremendous amount of dedication on the part of the student. Results will be posted soon; as such, they will be reported in the next edition of The Squire.

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Technology Education

Grade 8

Students have marked out, drilled and installed shaker pegs for their projects.

They will assemble and complete a final sanding.Then they will put three coats of polyurethane on their projects in time for the holiday break. After the break, students will explore the world of 3D printing.

Grade 7

Students have assembled the parts of their wood project. They are currently learning how to apply stain as a pre-finish. Then they will apply polyurethane to their projects.

After the break, students will start investigating bridge engineering principles and design.

Grade 6

Students have completed their Co2 dragsters. The first semester class had some of the fastest race times in W.M.S. history. Currently students are making holiday napkin holders or Gingerbread men.

After the break, students will learn about the history, design and function of towers and skyscrapers

Grade 5

Students have completed the design, fabrication and launching of their water powered rockets.

Currently, students are making holiday napkin holders or Gingerbread men.

After the break, students will be learning tools in the wood shop. Then they will complete a wooden Tic-Tac-Toe game-board.

Computer Science

Computer Science has had an exciting month! We have started working with a new tool called the Turing Tumble. This is a marble powered computer that helps students learn to think critically, problem solve, and code - without electricity. The 5th graders have been working with them and doing a great job. Discoveries is working on coding html and css. Ask your 6th and 7th graders to show you what they have been working on. We have started with some basic content, and are now using CSS to add style and design. 8th graders are starting a video production product. They are creating music videos and using design, editing, photography, videography, and digital citizenship skills to produce their own work. I can’t wait to see what they create!

We also just held our first (annual) Hour of Code celebration day. Yesterday the students gathered in the cafe by grade level and spent an hour coding different activities. Even some teachers joined in. There were some amazing animations, games, and logos created. If you’d like to explore, go to There are dozens of activities that anyone can do. They are available all year long.

Hour of Code
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Family Consumer Science (FCS)

The semester is flying by! It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is behind us and our holiday break is right around the corner. In Culinary Class, my students continue to build skills every day. I am amazed by how far they have come in just a few short months. In the beginning of the school year, my students struggled to boil water, pre-heat an oven, or chop an onion. Now they do that and more with ease every day.

One of my favorite things to do in class is to spend some time just observing my students working. Often, I see them problem solve, scheme about how to accomplish a task, and engage in team work. In addition, I see them laugh, play, and build relationships while they work collaboratively. This is exactly what I want. I want them to come away from my class loving the process of creating great food while also being interested in what goes in their bodies. As people, we are such social creatures, and the community aspect of food tremendously important. Learning to create food with others and share it with those we care for is a joy to savor during the holiday season.

As our semester begins to wind down, we still have some great meals to create together. Here is a partial list: Chicken Parmigiana, enchiladas, homemade red sauce from fresh tomatoes, steak and vegetable stir fry, and many more.

Again, it is a joy to teach in Westbrook Middle School and work with all the wonderful students. I am grateful every day to be able to share something I am passionate about with them.

Happy Holidays!

Erik Becker


In Health we are currently learning about diseases and how they affect the body. We will be moving into learning CPR and first AID shortly. Check out the google classroom to have your child teach you CPR skills at home from the videos. This is a lifesaving skill that all should know.

Physical Education

In physical education we are continuing to work on our game skills in badminton. The students are challenging themselves in single and doubles games during our culminating round robin tournament bracket. Also the 5th and 8th grade continued to build trust and teamwork by using the traverse wall when not playing in the tournament.


Students researched and created cereal box projects on their Middle East country. Geography, history, religion were all on the menu. Most importantly, children researched a popular cultural dish from each county and brought them in for a feast!!


In Language Arts we just finished reading Wonder. With this novel, students gained experience adding evidence to their writing by quoting accurately, as well as elaborating. Point of view, characterization, making inferences, central idea, conflict, author craft moves, and author inspiration are just a few of the concepts that we focused on. After reading the novel, students participated in a positive words activity, where they had to write an encouraging comment about each student in the room. The blue affirmation sheet read, “_________ is a wonder because …”.The students enjoyed reading the kind comments others wrote. This activity led to an insightful discussion about being respectful and courteous to others. Next, we will continue our focus on theme!


In October and November, grade 5 Mathematicians worked diligently to master the fractional concept of adding and subtracting fractions and mixed numbers with unlike denominators using their understanding of equivalent fractions and ratio tables. By the end of November students were working on connecting division models using base ten blocks to all “Four Steps” of the long division algorithm.

In early December, students are now focusing their attention on the (2 digits by 2 digits and 3 digits by 2 digits) multiplication algorithm with “Mr. Zero” making his marvelous appearance in this month’s multiplication lessons!


Grade five scientist have been exploring sound energy. Their inquiry included, frequency, amplitude, materials that transmit sound as well as stuff that can stop sound vibrations. Students were asked to design and create a "Sound Proof" box from items laying around the house. Mr. Pennella objected to student's suggestion that they build one giant sound proof box, where they could easily put him in!!!!!

Grade 6

6th Grade field trip to Mystic Seaport

As a culmination activity after completing Avi’s exciting novel The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, students spent November 2nd at Mystic Seaport. During the visit, students experienced what life was like during the 1800s. Although the weather was rainy and cold, students enjoyed a tour of the tall ship The Morgan and visited a home similar to one that our characters in the novel may have lived in. They also participated in a variety of other activities including rope making. A great time was had by everyone that attended!

Breakout Box

On November 5, grade six students worked in teams to solve their first “Breakout Box”. In a classroom breakout box activity, students must follow directions carefully, use teamwork and collaboration, and apply critical thinking skills in order to find clues and solve puzzles to "break into" locked boxes. This challenging and engaging activity, similar to a scavenger hunt, combined a review of library skills as well as math and language arts concepts. This initial activity introduced students to strategies they will apply to the many education-based breakout boxes they will encounter over the next few years and also reinforced necessary skills to succeed in and out of the classroom!


On October 31, students implemented their knowledge of chemical properties to create slime. Each student combined liquid starch, glue, glitter, and food color to produce their own colorful slime creation.

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Academic Enrichment

During Academic Enrichment, students are working on a STEM activity. STEM is a curriculum that involves Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Our first STEM activity is the building of bridges. First, within collaborative groups, students had to research various bridge designs. Next, they worked on constructing whatever design they chose using popsicle sticks and glue. After all of the bridges are complete, there will be a competition to see which bridge can hold the most amount of weight. Students are so excited about this project and we can't wait to see which design comes out on top!

Grade 7


Students finished their Social Issues Book Partnerships last week culminating with building and analyzing a Text Set that was representative of their primary novel. This week students are embarking on their Narrative Writing Unit. During December students will be writing realistic fiction stories focusing on authentic dialogue and solid themes. In January, students will be in book clubs again, but this time the focus will be on non-fiction texts.


Students are continuing their study of rational numbers. They practiced addition and subtraction of rational numbers using expressions and equations during November. The students are continuing their study of rational numbers with the operations of multiplication and division.


7th Grade Science has begun the Earth Science Unit! We are examining the characteristics of Earth’s layers and convection currents. Students will design and conduct an investigation to observe convection currents (created using hot and cold water) and if they affect tectonic plates (small pieces of paper)! Students will write comprehensive lab reports to share their findings. Following this, students will study the Theory of Plate Tectonics, earthquakes and volcanoes. We will use resources including the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) web site and CNN 10. Students will daily check news stories to keep up-to-date with current events in the world of Earth Science.

Social Studies

In November, students worked collaboratively to plan, research, and present a topic related to the American Revolution. Using essential questions, students gathered information from reliable sources, took notes, and cited sources using MLA format. Mrs. Goad was instrumental in assisting students with this project. Students then created Google Slide presentations using a set of criteria and honed their presentation and audience skills. As a culmination to our study on the American Revolution, classes enjoyed a viewing of the classic film, Johnny Tremain, where they also enjoyed a “Tea Party”. Our current unit on the Constitution and U.S. Government has student exploring why it was necessary for our Founding Fathers to write the Constitution, the structure of our government, and how the Constitution is a living document. In this unit we will be applying the principles of the Constitution to our lives today and hopefully having some serious, but fun, debates!

Grade 8

Newport Field Trip

On the first Friday of December, the 8th grade students concluded their learning about the Gilded Age by visiting two mansions in Newport, RI. Students were able to see first hand the lifestyle of the Captains of Industry while touring the Breakers, built by the Vanderbilt family and the Elms, built by the Berwind family who made their fortune in the coal industry. After the tours, the students and chaperones enjoyed lunch at the Red Parrot.


Grade eight math students spent the week before Thanksgiving discovering The Pythagorean Theorem. Since then, students have been using their critical thinking and reasoning skills to solve problems involving right triangles. Algebra I students recently completed their Real Number Unit. They studied perfect squares and square roots, perfect cubes and cube roots, rational and irrational numbers, exponent laws, and scientific notation.

In the picture, the Algebra I class is working together to find the value of the square root of 40.


In 8th grade science, students are actively involved in our Genetics Unit. We have continued our studies in heredity and the passing down of traits and moved into the structure of chromosomes and DNA. We completed a quick lab to learn how gender is determined, created models of Meiosis in a few different organisms and created a double helix DNA molecule! We are wrapping up this unit with a lesson and project on genetic disorders, as well as, a lesson on current research and breakthroughs in the world of genetics, cloning, gene editing, and gene therapy. Lastly, on our current events day we watched a live discussion on the first gene edited baby born in China and the debate and controversy that comes with such breakthrough science and medicine.
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Drama Club

Drama Club is proud to announce our Spring Musical “A Pirate’s Life for Me!” We have just finished auditions and are working hard to create a cast list. We are in need of student and parent volunteers for costumes, set construction, photography, videography, fundraising, and concessions.

Please email if you are interested in helping out. Rehearsals will start in January. Students should look at the Drama Club Website for rehearsal times and dates.

News From the Soccer Pitch

The 2018 soccer season was unmatched in terms of the number of boys that went out for the team. We had 32 boys come out for the team this year! The competition saw extremely competitive Westbrook soccer teams that improved steadily throughout the year.

At the end of the season, I explained to the boys why the season was so successful. Simply put, the boys worked hard each day and improved a little each day. Coaches from the other schools consistently remarked on our improvement throughout the season; this is a true testament to the effort that the players put in during the season.

Although we will miss the eleven eighth graders next year, the underclassmen are ready to carry on the tradition of hard work left by this outstanding eighth grade class. Speaking of underclassmen, the fifth grade students who came to the clinics showed clear promise for a bright future for Westbrook soccer. 2019 will see an outstanding boys’ soccer team at Westbrook Middle School.

Congratulations to all the boys!


We have had an excellent turnout at each of our Student Council meetings so far this year and our members are filled with creative ideas. They are so eager and excited for any opportunity to help spread school spirit and help others. Beginning November 1st, we held our annual Halloween candy drive and sent two very large boxes overseas for our soldiers! We also had a spirit day in honor of our Veterans on Friday, November 9th. The halls were filled with a sea of red, white and blue, stars & stripes. We had our December meeting on Tuesday and the kids worked hard preparing for our Winter Dance for 7th and 8th graders on Friday, December 14th!

This Friday, December 14th, Westbrook Middle School will participate in a statewide “PJ Day for the Kids”. This is a fundraiser for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center which was started eight years ago by Nick Weseloski, from Coventry, Connecticut. Nick was a second grader at the time, and he decided to do something special for kids like his baby sister, Charlotte, who battled cancer-- but is now cancer-free! He wanted to honor the survivors, those children who lost their fight and those children still fighting, who have to wear their PJs while in the hospital for days, weeks, or longer.

Eight years ago Nick’s school raised $500, but this has transformed into a state-recognized day of awareness and has raised almost $200,000. This year, Westbrook Middle School is going to be a part of this incredible day!

Please help raise funds and brighten spirits by donating at least $1.00 in exchange for our WMS kids having the privilege of wearing PJs for the day. Of course, if your child prefers not to wear PJs, a donation would still be greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much in advance for your generosity. We hope to see all of your children in their PJs on Friday!

For additional information and a short video you can visit: