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Hastings Middle School                                                                                                      October Issue
Tiger Connection

A note from the Principal
It has been a great start to the school year! We have a great bunch of kids who are working hard and staying busy in a lot of different activities. It has been a pleasure to see returning students and to meet new 6th graders and other students new to Hastings Middle School.
I have been sending out a weekly e-mail update again this year. If you would like to be added to this list, send me an e-mail at dessink@esu9.org and you will get a weekly e-mail blast, as well as occasional reminders or pictures from events at the middle school. There is also a lot of information on the middle school website at http://hastingspublicschools.org. Go to the drop down menu for schools and click on the middle school. On the left hand side you will find links to a variety of items, including on-line lesson plans under the team names. If you need to get in touch with a staff member, all the e-mail addresses are listed there. We also have a bullying report form and a school safety report form where concerns can be anonymously recorded, and the information will go directly to the building principals.
We are having our annual fundraiser from September 16- September 30. We are selling Eileen’s cookie dough again this year. We are excited to be able to work with a local company and keep the business in town. All money raised will go to benefit our students in some way. In the past, we have been able to provide a lot of technology and curriculum items we wouldn’t otherwise be able to.  We are hoping to buy another Chromebook Cart for use in the classroom. The cookie dough pick-up date will be on Monday, October 19, from 2:00-5:00.
As you may have heard, we have recently received a grant in the amount of $125,000. This grant money will be used to update our industrial technology areas and add some equipment that will allow the middle school to support the Career Pathways program in place at the high school.  This grant was applied for with assistance from the Hastings Area Manufacturers Association, Flowserve, and the Hastings Economic Development Corporation. We have had more demand for the career pathway exploratory classes than we can provide opportunities for, so this will help us build towards our goals of increasing participation.
Something else new this year is instructional coaching support from the ESU9. Kristen Slechta, former science teacher at HMS, is now a professional development specialist at ESU9. She will be coming to the middle school frequently to visit classrooms and help build in new strategies and add technology support. We are happy to have her on board!
Our school Action Plans are focused on Literacy and Problem-Solving skills and continue to be fine-tuned every year. Every student will have a minimum of 60 minutes of silent reading each week at school and every teacher will be finding non-fiction articles to share with students that will enhance that particular subject area. One goal of the non-fiction articles is to build background knowledge in a wide variety of areas. We also have a new Reading curriculum that is going to increase the rigor and relevance at all grade levels.
We are focusing on the 8 Keys of Excellence character education program again this year. The second Tuesday of each month, we will be on a “Tiger Time” schedule where we start the day with a character education lesson. The special schedule does not change dismissal time, but allows time in the morning for the lesson and shortens all of the remaining periods. October’s focus is Ownership, which means taking responsibility for your own actions.  Our culminating activity with the 8 Keys program will be the Night of Excellence held in the spring on April 7.
Thank you to everyone for your support throughout the year. The staff at Hastings Middle School works hard to provide a solid education and a positive experience for your children. Having involved parents and families helps in so many ways to make the middle school experience a good one!
David Essink

New to HMS this year is a wellness committee made up of HMS staff, employees, and parents. We hope to bring you information and tidbits to help keep your mind sharp and body healthy!!
A recent study in Clinical Pediatrics found that 8th graders who ate fast food every day – or even 4 to 6 times a week – scored up to 20% lower on math, reading, and science tests than those that stayed away from fast food.
HMS Wellness Committee
Attention 6th grade!
Wizard of Oz day is Wednesday, October 14.

Start thinking about dressing up as a character!  We will have classroom activities related to the Wizard of Oz.  It will be an exciting way to end the first quarter.  More information to come later!
6A News:
6th grade students have wrapped up over a month of sixth grade and are doing well.  Students have color-coded folders to help them organize materials for classes and a planner to write down assignments and homework.  Ask your child to see his or her planner from time to time to see what we are doing at HMS.
--English-We have just finished our study of sentences, we will move on to the Write Traits Writing routine, and we will write quality paragraphs before the end of the first quarter.
--Reading-Students are focusing on fictional elements of literature. Every student is expected to carry a SSR book with them everywhere they go.  We visit the library about once a week in English or Reading class.
--Social Studies-We completed our Economics unit that included decision making, trade-offs, and productivity.  We will now be working on Geography including latitude, longitude, grids, and land and water formations.
--Science-Students dove right into learning about the 4 systems of planet Earth. Ask your child about the hydrosphere, the five layers of the atmosphere, or the different types of rocks in the geosphere.
--Math-We wrapped up our first chapter which reviewed the four operations and using decimals. We are moving on to our next chapter.  Ask your child if he or she is taking advantage of re-do opportunities.  Any assignment can be reworked for a higher grade.  Students need to take it upon themselves to take advantage of this opportunity to fix errors and improve grades.  Extra-credit will not be available at the end of the quarter, so plan ahead now!
7A News:
The No Drama Llamas of Team 7A are off to a fast and furious start to the 2015-2016 school year. Here is a quick run down of what the llamas are up to:

English---Students are working on sentence structure and reviewing parts of speech.

Reading--Reading students are beginning their study of Paul Fleischman’s Seedfolks. Students will focus on character traits and figurative language.  

Math-- Period 2---Multiplying decimals and integer work
Period 4-- Adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing integers, and coordinate plane
Period 6-Converting units in the metric system, took a test on multiplying decimals
Period 7,8,9--Test on dividing decimals, conversions to metric system, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing integers

Science--Students are studying the scientific method--focusing on independent and dependent variables. We will be getting into cells. Students will be asked to bring in pond scum samples soon.

Social Studies-- After taking a test on Map Skills, we plan on applying those skills year round.  We have begun studying how the first people came to the ‘Americas’ and the Native American groups in North, Central, and South America.
7B News:
The 7B White Wolves are starting the year off right.  In Social Studies we have been studying Native American tribes and soon will be moving into the age of European Exploration.

In Science, we have been engaged in learning the Scientific Method, Characteristics of life and now are looking forward to start the study of the cell!
We are busy in English working on the parts of speech and grammar concepts.  I am using Remind notifications for any upcoming assignments, projects, or exams.  If any parent would like to receive these notifications, please contact me, Mrs. Biere, or ask your child for the code.  A texting device is the only requirement to sign up for Remind.

In Math, students are working hard on comparing, ordering, and computing with integers. Students will then be using these methods when moving towards solving equations.

In Reading, we have been reviewing internal and external conflict.  We have read a few stories and applied our skills to these concepts.  We will begin our novel, Seedfolks, this month as well.  September's One Pager, our monthly assessment that is worth 60% of the class grade, will be
introduced the 16th of September and is due September 28th.  These are required by everyone and are done over each student's Self-Sustained Reading (SSR) book.  Students will apply skills learned in class to reading done outside of class.  We will do a practice one in class, and the graded copy will be completed outside of class as homework.  Watch for them and ask your student to tell you about it!
8th Grade News:
Math: Pre-Algebra just finished their first unit on integers and has been working on fractions.  Algebra has been working on an equations unit and will soon begin a unit on linear functions.
Social Studies: In 8th Grade Social Studies, students will take their first test at the beginning of October.  This test will include the Louisiana Purchase, War of 1812, Andrew Jackson, Manifest Destiny, and the War with Mexico.  Out next unit begins with events leading to the Civil War.
Science: We have started our year strong with a solid review and introduction to SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY!  All students have chosen a science fair topic/experiment to conduct and test to demonstrate the scientific method.  Now that students have chosen what research question they are testing, experiments should be conducted at home.  Parents!! You should be ready for some crazy, fun experiments to take place at home, and feel free to help out with the project!  You may need to purchase a few supplies for the experiment.  We will be working on this in class about once a week all the way up to the BIG Science Fair competition in February.  The 30 best projects advance to Regionals at Hastings College!  After the Inquiry unit is finished we will advance to learning about Newton's Laws about Force and Motion.

Music Notes
Vocal Music:
Patriotic Concert:  October 20th, 7:00, HMS commons
Featuring: Minor 6th’s, Dominant 7th’s, Girls’ Glee, and 8th Notes
Join us to celebrate America and honor our veterans and active duty military!

-7th and 8th Grade Band & Jazz Cats Concert will be on Thursday, Oct. 27th.
   This date has changed due to schedule conflicts involving several of our   
    students. Thank you for your understanding. If you have any questions,   
    please contact one of the band directors. 

-The first of the 8th Grade Band Elementary School Tours is set for Wednesday, Oct. 14th. The students will be touring to Alcott, Lincoln, and Longfellow elementary schools in the morning.

-We are still looking for 8th grade band members to travel and help with the HHS Marching Tigers as they go on the road for 5 competitions. For more information, please ask your student or contact one of the directors.



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