Salem Middle PTA Fundraiser has Begun!

Dear Parents,

Each year, the Salem Middle School PTA does a TON of work on behalf of our school. They invest tons of time, energy and dollars into making Salem a better place and into providing learning experiences and opportunities for your kids that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to provide.

Pulling that work off depends on having access to resources — including cash. And the way that the PTA raises funds around here is through a once a year fundraiser.

That fundraiser started for Tracks 1 and 4 yesterday. It’s a Color Battle this year. And all proceeds raised will go towards purchasing Chromebooks that can be used in our classrooms. Our goal is to get to the point where every student has access to a computer in every class, every day.

The Color Battle works like this: Your students are collecting donations from family and friends. Those donations earn them the right to participate in a fun field-day style event on September 7th. The event is capped off by a “coloring,” where participating students get covered in pink, green, yellow, and blue powder thrown into the air by volunteers and by participants. It really is a lot of fun.

Perhaps the best thing about the fundraiser for parents is that there’s nothing to sell or to deliver to people who are contributing. It is strictly a donation that allows the PTA to raise funds and your kids to participate in a special event.

To get involved, ask your kids for their “Anython Code.” That came home on a glossy handout advertising the fundraiser yesterday.

That code can be used to sign into the Anython Website — where students (and parents!) can send text messages or emails to family members who might be interested in donating to our fundraiser.

If your child has lost their code, please have them come and see me — OR you can send me an email.  I’ve got the master list of codes and I’ll be happy to give it to you again. 

Thanks for considering this.  As usual, it’s difficult for teachers to ask parents for donations — but we live in a time when schools seem to be perpetually underfunded.  Our PTA is working to push back against that problem with their yearly fundraiser.

Let me know if you have any questions,

Bill Ferriter

Please Make Sure Your Kids Have Earbuds, if Possible….

Dear Parents,

Here at school, kids often have the chance to watch videos as a review or a refresher of in class content.

Watching those videos, though, REALLY depends on having earbuds or headphones that they can use to listen to the content without disturbing the students around them.

If possible, can you make sure that your child has a pair of earbuds? I always tell kids to store them in their pencil pouch. Then, they’ll always be able to find them when they need them.

Thanks a ton,

Bill Ferriter

PTA Fundraiser to Buy Chromebooks for Classrooms!

Dear Parents,

Our Salem Middle School PTA is starting its one and only fundraiser for the entire school year tomorrow. It is a Color Battle — which is a lot like a color run. Participants will play several field day games while being sprayed with colored powder!

Your students have come home with two different handouts in the last two weeks with details about the fundraiser.

Tomorrow they will participate in the Color War Kickoff during Spartan Time.

As a part of that Kickoff, they will have the chance to sign into the fundraising website and to send messages to anyone in your immediate family who may want to participate in the fundraiser. To make this easy, please consider writing out phone numbers for important family members and sending your students in with a list of those numbers. Students can then automatically send a text message to those family members with details about the fundraiser and chances to make donations.

I would REALLY appreciate it if you thought about participating in our fundraiser this year. Here’s why: Our PTA is going to invest anything we make into buying more Chromebooks for Salem Middle School’s classrooms.

It’s that kind of investment that helps us to create more engaging learning spaces for kids.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions,

Bill Ferriter

LA Update

I hope everyone had a great week! We are moving quickly through The Lightning Thief and will read a few more chapters next week. We began the work of understanding more about Greek mythology and Greek gods this week. They play a role in the background of The Lightning Thief, so it’s interesting to learn how the two are woven together. We will continue that work next week reading the myths of Cronus and Prometheus.

Towards the end of the week we will introduce a group project, Myths to Movies. In small groups, students will study a myth and make a short "movie" to educate classmates on that myth. Planning for this will begin Wednesday and move into the following week. Should be fun!

Please check the Gnomes Calendar for next week’s homework, and have a great weekend!

Chambliss Barrow

6-4 Language Arts

Salem Middle School

A Word on Missing Work in Science

Dear Parents,

Just a quick heads up: Many of you have been emailing to ask about an assignment that Google Classroom’s Guardian Summaries has told you is missing from your child.

Please note that those messages were sent in error.

When students have a missing assignment, I will let them know here at school — and if it is persistently late, I’ll email you directly.

I’m not sure why Google Classroom is showing that task as missing for so many students, but there’s no reason to be worried! The majority of your students are caught up on their work.

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter

Website: Paying for Field Trip Online

Dear Parents,

I had a few questions today about how to go about paying for this year’s field trips online.

Here’s how you do that: The total cost for both trips is $20 — you can pay online by visiting this website.

Paying online is totally optional.

You can still send in cash or check made payable to Salem Middle School

For what it is worth, though, I would REALLY appreciate it if you paid online. It saves me tons of class time that I would have to otherwise spend collecting and receipting cash and checks.

Hope that makes sense, Bill Ferriter

Flipgrid Assignment

Students who were not ready or able to record their Flipgrids today during class may choose to record it tonight at home or can use Spartan Time or Team Time to record this week.

Below are instructions that can also be found on page 16 of the ILL. If Flipgrid asks for a code, use the last few digits of the Flipgrid link (8a8t5p).

Have a great night!

Chambliss Barrow & Nicole Messier

Percy Jackson is a hero.—-Now Prove it!

Videos must be posted by tonight at 9 p.m.

In a flipgrid video, answer the reflection question below. State your First and Last Name and Class Period before saying your response.

Percy Jackson is a character in The Lightning Thief who follows “The Hero’s Journey”. Use evidence from one of your favorite parts of the book and explain how Percy is demonstrating a stage from “The Hero’s Journey”


  1. Go to the link (you can use your phone, computer, ipad, any device with a camera).

    flipgridcard-student.jpg 8a8t5p
    This grid is password protected.
  2. Read the video directions on the Flipgrid website

  3. Click on the "+" sign and Record your video

  4. Feel free to retake your video many times if needed

  5. Enter info when finished

Permission Slip for This Year’s Field Trips Coming Home Today.

Dear Parents,

This year, we will be going on two field trips.

The first is to the North Carolina Museum of Science on November 6th, where we will be seeing a 3-D movie and participating in a scavenger hunt.  The second is to Bond Park on May 7, where we will be participating in a science scavenger hunt and having a team cookout for lunch.  Both trips should be a ton of fun.

Today in class, I will be giving your students itineraries and a permission slip for both of this year’s field trips. Those permission slips are due back to school no later than September 16th, 2018.

I know that’s early, but due to new county policies, we are required to turn signed permission slips in to the front office well in advance of our field trips so that the school nurse can read through them and develop medical plans for students.

You can find a digital copy of the permission slip posted online here.

The total cost for both field trips will be $20.  You can pay for the trip two different ways:  You can send in cash or a check to me here at school OR you can pay online by visiting this website.

For what it is worth, I would REALLY appreciate it if you paid online.  It saves me tons of class time that I would have to otherwise spend collecting and receipting cash and checks.

We will also need parent chaperones for both field trips.  The more parent chaperones we have, the better both trips are because kids can participate in both scavenger hunts in smaller groups.

If you are interested in chaperoning our first field trip — on November 6 to the North Carolina Museum of Science — please fill out this Google Form.  

And remember — to chaperone either field trip, you will have to fill out the WCPSS Volunteer Screening Application.  That can be completed at computer stations in our school’s media center between the hours of 8 AM and 4 PM.  Your screening can be tied to more than one child at more than one school and it is good for one full year.

Please let me know if you have any questions,

Bill Ferriter



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