Category: General Team Info

6-4 Students Visiting the Book Fair on Tuesday

Hey Gnome Nation,

First, here’s to hoping that you had a terrific track out! I know that I’m feeling rested and ready to return to school. Can’t wait to see everyone again on Monday.

Second, the SMS book fair is running next week — and we will be visiting as a class during Science.

Here are the details:

The Book Fair is coming! The Salem Middle School Book Fair will run from January 23-31 in our school library. The fair will be open daily from 7:45am to 3:00pm. Students are free to drop in on their way to class before school or during lunch. Each class will also have a scheduled visit during the fair. If you are interested in volunteering during the Book Fair, you can sign up here.

Shop online anytime! Can’t make it to Family Night? Don’t find what you want? We have an online shop, too! Find an expanded selection of books for readers of all ages, including older teens and adults. All online purchases will ship to the school for free. Check it out here!

Your child’s scheduled class visit will be on:

6-4 Fighting Gnomes — Tuesday, January 29

Hope this helps,
Bill Ferriter

With Gratitude!

Dear Parents,

Just wanted to send a quick note of thanks for all of the kindness that you showed me today. Your gifts and Diet Cokes and holiday cookies and candies and kind words were MUCH appreciated indeed.

I also want to thank you for sharing your kids with us! They really are a curious and kind hearted group. I love working alongside them each day, that’s for sure.

Wherever the next few weeks take you, please be safe and enjoy your family!

With gratitude,
Bill Ferriter

Keep an Eye on Pride Guides

Dear Parents,

Just a quick heads up: Behavior on the Gnomes Team has been below average for a few weeks now.

We’ve seen lots of kids not paying attention in class and being easily distracted by their friends. We’ve also seen lots of bickering with each other and trouble with keeping hands to ourselves. We’ve also seen lots of disruptive behavior — mostly in the form of shouting out during class or doing "Fortnight Dances" during lessons.

While none of this behavior is particularly terrible, it has become a pretty big challenge to keep class heading in the right direction because of the volume of "small things" happening at any given time. These behaviors are also coming from well over half of our students — so there’s no easy or quick solution.

Here’s what we are going to try: We are going to start signing Pride Guides a lot more frequently over the next several days.

Those are the yellow behavior trackers in the back of your child’s agenda.

If your child receives three signatures, we will contact you directly to discuss the behavior that we are seeing.

Here’s how you can help: Keep an eye on those Pride Guides over the next week — and if you see a signature on your child’s, squeeze ’em a bit.

Hope this helps,
Bill Ferriter

Saturday School in Science Class

Dear Parents,

Just a heads up about Saturday School in science:

We will be going to the media center for our bi-weekly circulation. We will also be taking a required school survey in the computer lab.

That means if your child misses school because of prior commitments (basketball games, ski trips, Boy Scout camping trips etc), they won’t be missing any new content in my room.

If they want to check out a book for track out but aren’t going to be in school on Saturday, they can stop by the media center between 7:45 and 8:15 or during lunch time any day next week.

Hope this helps,
Bill Ferriter

Science Update

Dear Parents,

Here’s what’s happening in science:

(1). We are studying light: We have continued our energy unit by studying the way that light and color work. We are talking about concepts like transmission, reflection and absorption. We are also talking about transparent, translucent and opaque materials. We will move into a study of refraction — the bending of light as it moves through a new medium — and the parts of the eye. With luck, we will be done with light before we track out next Friday.

(2). A word on retests: There have been a ton of kids lately who have struggled with the last two assessments that I’ve given. The good news is that all have asked for reworks. The bad news is most haven’t done any of the required prep work — things like study guides and notes — before the test. That is one of the reasons that their scores are low. So the new rule in my room is that retests will only be offered for students who have all the prework completed before the test. My hope is that there will be fewer kids who struggle the first time if every student completes their work before test day.

(3). Retest for heat transfer: On a related note, if your child earned a grade that they are not proud of on the recent heat transfer quiz AND they have a completed (and corrected) set of conduction, convection and radiation notes, they can see me for retest directions. The notes can be found in Google Classroom under "Classwork" and the answer key is posted on the board in my room.

Hope this helps,
Bill Ferriter

Interim Reports Coming Home

Dear Parents,

All students were given a printed copy of their grade sheets to bring home to you today so that you can see where they currently stand in each of our classes.

This is important information because there are three weeks remaining in the quarter. Students still have time to raise low grades or to turn in missing work.

Here’s the hitch: The reports that our grading program allows us to print out are hard to read and include very little useful information.

So here’s what I’d recommend: All of your children know how to sign into Power Schools — our school grading program. If you are concerned/confused about grades, please have them do that for you. There, you will be able to see lists of specific grades earned on every assignment in all of their classes. You will also be able to see any work that is missing in each of their classes.

If you don’t have easy access to the Internet at home, you can also ask your child to print off a list of their grades from here at school — or email me and I’ll help you to get that information.

Hope this helps,
Bill Ferriter

Get Your Kid a Chromebook for Christmas?

Dear Parents,

With the holiday season right around the corner — and Black Friday sales about the explode your internet stream — I wanted to remind you that the single most useful device for a student is a Chromebook, simple computers that are designed to get kids connected to (1). the Internet and (2). their Google Accounts.

What makes Chromebooks so perfect for students in our school is that they are using their Google Accounts almost every single day — and that’s a pattern that will continue through seventh and eighth grade.

They are also small, easy to carry, durable, and relatively affordable. You can usually find a solid Chromebook for under $200 when they are on sale — and if you are willing to look at refurbished Chromebooks or used Chromebooks, you can usually find them for between $100 and $150. In fact, Amazon is selling a refurbished touch screen Chromebook by Acer for $125 today.

If you are interested in making that investment, this information sheet may be of use to you.

And if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. I own dozens of Chromebooks that your kids use in my classroom, so I’ve got some pretty strong experience with them.

Be well,
Bill Ferriter

Drawstring Bag for Carrying Lunch on Field Trip

Dear Parents,

As you know, we will be heading to the North Carolina Museum of Science on Wednesday, November 7th for our first field trip of the year.

All children should plan to bring a bag lunch for that day. We will not be returning to school in time for students to purchase a lunch from the cafeteria.

If your child needs the cafeteria to prepare a bag lunch to bring along on the trip, they should see Ms. Barrow. She can place orders for one.

Finally, if your child has a drawstring style bag (like this) that they can bring along on the field trip to carry their lunch, it would be TERRIFIC.

We are not going to store lunches for students on the buses or in the museum. Carrying lunches in a drawstring bag will be WAY easier than lugging them through the entire museum.

Let me know if you have any questions,
Bill Ferriter


Field Trip Rescheduled for Wednesday November 7th

Dear Parents,

As you know, our November field trip had to be rescheduled due to a two hour delay being announced for the date of our original field trip.

I have been working to nail down a new date and can confirm that we will be heading to the science museum on Wednesday, November 7th.

That is one day later than we were originally scheduled to go.

Parents that are chaperoning: I have emailed you separately and am hoping to hear from all of you about whether or not you can still come on the trip with us. If you haven’t replied to that email yet, I would appreciate it if you could reply ASAP so that I know if I’ve got enough parents to help with our day.

Bill Ferriter