LA Update

Happy Friday!

Students should be moving their way through The Lightning Thief! We reviewed chapter 6 today, and there was a short reading check (quiz) on chapters 5 & 6. Chapter 7 is assigned to be read over the weekend.

In addition, (and we hate giving weekend homework) but we asked students to finished writing their script for the Flipgrid assignment on Monday. This was started in class, but we ran out of time and many did not finish. The assignment should be one paragraph, explaining how Percy Jackson is following "The Hero’s Journey" stages. There should be quotations from both The Lightning Thief and "The Hero’s Journey," and an explanation of how these two align. They started the planning on page 15 of the ILL.

There will be a seminar next week! These are a fun way for students to share their ideas and finding as a whole class, so we are really excited. We will spend class time preparing material to discuss, and this will be posted in Classroom for anyone who wants to complete it digitally. We will also continue to move through The Lightning Thief, reading nearly a chapter a night. Please remember there is a free audio version of the book on our Classroom if students are having a hard time keeping up with the pace. Perhaps listening while they read will be helpful.

Thank you for all of your support, and please reach out with any concerns.

Our best,

Chambliss Barrow and Nicole Messier

Science Update

Dear Parents,

First, I hope you have a great weekend with your kids!

Second, here’s a few science updates:

(1). We have been working to finish up our paper towel labs all week long. Students had two separate documents to turn in for the lab. One (Lab-Paper Towel Planning) was due on Wednesday and the other (Paper Towel Lab Conclusions) was due today. I told students today that they could turn their Paper Towel Lab Conclusions in anytime before the end of next week because they had two tests in other subjects to prepare for. There will not be any more class time to work on these tasks, though.

(2). We started to learn two new vocabulary words this week: As a part of our study of the scientific method, we began practicing with the terms independent variable and dependent variable this week. Students have a handout that they will need to complete for a grade that asks them to identify the independent and dependent variable in five simple experimental questions. The task was harder for the kids than I expected, so most will need extra time to complete that. We will begin with that work in class on Monday.

(3). We went to the library for orientation this week: On Thursday, I took our team to the library to learn more about how and when they can sign out books. Your kids are now fully prepared to begin using our library.

(4). We will begin a density lab next week: One of the main concepts that repeats throughout our curriculum is density. It plays a major role in most of our units. Because it is such an important concept, we will spend time next week experimenting with density. There isn’t a ton of writing that goes along with this lab report, so it should be easy to complete.

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter

Social Studies- Update

This week in Social Studies the students have been engaged in lessons about the 5 Themes of Geography. Currently they are researching an assigned country and recording facts related to the Geography Themes. They are working in collaborative groups and choosing what items should be packed in a suitcase if someone were to be traveling to this country. The activity also requires them to display the items and the rational for each on a construction paper suitcase. This is a definitely a challenging activity with research skills combined with creative and abstract ideas, but your kids are doing great!. I’ve really been impressed with them this week, and I’m excited to see with they come up with in the next couple of days.

Monday there is test on the Geography Unit. We’ve been reviewing in class and the students have a review activity to bring home over the weekend. I’ve also linked a Quizlet Flashcard activity to the Google Classroom with the unit’s vocabulary words for the students to practice with over the weekend as well.

Next week the students will complete work on the suitcase activity. Then we will take a couple of days to practice with using timelines, to learn the difference between BCE, CE, BC, AD. This will be important because many of our units this year will be from the BCE time period.

Have a great weekend!

Reminder – Team Homework Calendar

Dear Parents,

Just a quick reminder that the Gnomes Team Teachers TRY to post regular updates about classroom homework on our Team Calendar. You can find that linked at the top of our team website:

Our one word of caution is that sometimes our plans change — and so do due dates. Also, sometimes we get so bogged down at school with other tasks, we can’t get the homework calendar updated.

The most current information is always shared with your students in class and should be written in their agendas. We review homework at the beginning of every class period.

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter

LA Update

First of all, thank you to all of those who made it to Open House last night. For those who may have missed it or needed further information from our slide show, here is a link to the the slides we used last night. Please let us know if you have any questions.

We were super impressed with the hero’s journey work that the students completed this week! They demonstrated their knowledge of the hero’s journey by walking one of the own hero’s through each stage, and their thoughtfulness and creativity blew me away. Nicely done!

We began The Lightning Thief this week and will continue reading next week as we take a closer look at Percy, in particular. It will be very important that students stay up to date with the reading schedule posted for homework. Students will be reading a chapter a night and asked to use sticky notes to annotate as they read. There will be an open note reading quiz the middle of next week.

Please let us know if you have any questions, and have a wonderful weekend!

Chambliss Barrow and Nicole Messier

Language Arts


Teacher Wish List

If you missed it last night, here is a link to the Gnomes Wish List. This list contains items, both big and small, that the Gnomes could enjoy this year. Some of them are large "dream list" items and others are basic needs like markers. All will be greatly appreciated! You may also see items on the list that you already own and would like to donate; gently used items are appreciated as well!

We created our wish list on Amazon for ease– feel free to have it shipped directly to Salem.

Thank you so much for your generosity!

The Fightin Gnomes Teachers

Materials Needed for a Science Lab!

Dear Parents,

One of the concepts that repeats over and over again in our science curriculum is density and its impact on the world around us.

To introduce density, I’d like to give students a chance to complete a hands-on activity where they experiment with liquids of different densities.

To pull that off, though, I’ll need your help with gathering materials that we can use in the lab.

If you think you can send in any of the materials found in this Signup Genius, I’d REALLY appreciate it. I’d love the materials by Thursday, August 16th if possible.

Thanks a ton in advance for your help.

Bill Ferriter

Reminder: Open House is THURSDAY starting at 6 PM

Dear Parents,

Just a quick reminder that the Track 4 Open House at Salem Middle is scheduled for tomorrow night from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM.

Your students brought written copies of their schedules home today. If you are planning on coming to Open House, please grab those schedules from them today. It will make tomorrow night a LOT easier for you.

Also, please know that tomorrow night is not really a night for conversations/conferences about individual kids!

While we are more than happy to schedule those with you, we have a REALLY short amount of time (7 minutes) to share our content and curriculum with you tomorrow. If there’s something you want to share with us individually, please send us an email and we’ll either schedule a call or set up a conference with you.

Finally, you can find my materials for Open House here.

The other teachers on the Gnomes Team will be posting their Open House materials when they are completed and ready to share.

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter

Picture Day tomorrow!

Just a reminder that Picture Day is tomorrow. Your child should have brought home an order form. If you are planing on buying these pictures, then students have to bring their payment tomorrow. Payment can also be made online at You will also need to enter the code 110112. Students will then need to bring a printed proof of purchase to hand to photographers.

All students will get pictures taken tomorrow even if they are not buying. These are the pictures that are used for the yearbook photos. Say cheese!

Open House – Thursday Night

Dear Parents,

Just a quick heads up to let you know that our Open House for this school year is on Thursday, August 9th from 6 until 7:30 PM.

The program begins in the gym with a PTA meeting and a general introduction from our principal. Then, parents will move through their student’s schedule, meeting each of his/her teachers.

We will be posting our team’s materials here on our Gnomes Team website later during the week — so if you can’t make it, that’s fine.

Otherwise, we’ll see you then.

If you have any questions, let me know,

Bill Ferriter