First Full Week of School!


Important Upcoming Dates

September 10 – 6th Grade Parent Meeting GMS Library 6:00 pm
September 16 & 17 – MLTI Parent Meeting, GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
September 17- Team Leaders Meeting in Melanie’s room 2:30 – 4:00 pm
September 18 Faculty Meeting in GMS Library 2:30 – 4:00 pm
September 19 – PIE Meeting in the GMS Library 6:00 pm
September 20 – School Dance in GMS Gymnasium 6:00 – 8:00 pm
September 23 – 7th Grade Parent Night GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm

Field Trip Forms

The suggestion was made by Chris LeSiege at the faculty meeting about getting a single list made available to us for making sure the Field Trip Forms got sent to all of the right people. I am happy to report that Dennis Crowe has developed a single entry for us that will guarantee that everyone who needs to know about field trips can know in one, simple email. To access this list type in the “To” box “GMS Field Trip”, this will automatically fill and send your request to all of the people who need to be aware of the trip.

Thanks for the suggestion, Chris!

Grade Level Parent Meetings

I have mentioned in past posts that we will be holding Grade Level Parent meetings to further build our community involvement in our school. Truthfully, I am not sure what will come of these meetings, but I do have high hopes that whatever comes will help us become even better at helping our kids.

I have been asked what are my expectations for teachers attending these meetings and I can honestly tell you that I have no expectations that any of you will attend. However, you are all welcome to join us on these evenings. Most of the topics that we will be discussing will have to do with how parents can continue to be involved in their children’s lives, a subject that we all know is difficult during these “middle school years”.

I also hope that we begin to talk about some long range goals for their children’s experience during their three years at GMS. I would image that fundraising ideas and activities will be a part of the discussion.

In any event, if you’s like to join us for an evening, please feel free.

MLTI Devices

By the middle of this week all students should have been given their laptop for this school year. Please remember that none of these devices are allowed to leave the building until after the 17th of September and, even then, only after the school has received all of the necessary paperwork form the parents of each child.

We will work very diligently to get out a list of students to all of you with the instructions of who can and cannot take their devices home.

Just to remind all about the schedule for the rollout:

Monday, September 9

1 Set up time
4 Hermit (Peaks)

Tuesday, September 10

2 Set up time
3 Monhegan
6 Monhegan
4 Hermit (Peaks
1 Monhegan

Wednesday September 11th

8:30 am – Sebago
9:45 am – Eagle
10:45 am – Moosehead

Another Great Learning Opportunity

USM Logo

There is still time to enroll in this very exciting and interesting “adventure”.

Ready to broaden your horizons? The University of Southern Maine is pleased to offer a new program that brings China to the classrooms of southern Maine.

The Chinese Language and Culture Program for K-12 educators, offered through the new USM  Confucius Institute, provides professionals with the unique opportunity to become proficient in Mandarin Chinese, earn credits that can be applied toward K-12 World Language Teacher Certification, or even work toward a graduate degree or certificate of advanced study.

The low-residency program is designed to fit the schedules of working professionals, with courses that meet face-to-face weekly with independent study between course sessions. Students also have the exciting opportunity to become immersed in Chinese culture during a study abroad course at Dongbei University in Dalian, China.

Take the first step to professional and personal advancement! [ ]Register today for EPC 567 Beginning Chinese for Teachers, Part I and begin fall 2013!

Getting Cash from Target

There is still time to do this for GMS and I hope that all of you have had a chance to vote for GMS at the target site. If we receive enough votes, we can earn Targetcold, hard cash for our school. Here are the details:

Your vote makes a big difference to our school.
Visit to vote for our school.
This year, Target will give money to schools all over the country for one simple act: a vote. Our school needs just 25 votes to earn a $25 donation from Target. But that’s only the beginning. For each additional vote, our school will get $1 more. So please remember that, although the gesture is small, the rewards are potentially huge. Go to [] to vote for Gorham Middle School once a week through September 21 or until Target has given away all $5 million. And please forward this email to your friends. Vote and see rules at [ ]

The Madison Prize for Written Excellence

James MadisonWe have been contacted by a citizens group from Gorham who are looking to start a new tradition at GMS. The Madison Prize for Written Excellence is and essay contest for students at Gorham Middle School. All 6th, 7th and 8th grade students are invited to participate. The Madison Prize for Written Excellence celebrates our nation’s history by encouraging thought and reflection on the topics presented and offering students the opportunity to express themselves through the submission of original essays. All submissions will be reviewed, with exemplary submissions competing for one of three cash prizes. We invite you to become part of this new tradition.

I have heard from some of you expressing interest with your students, however, this is such a great opportunity I am asking each ELA and Social Studies Teacher to work with your students on crafting a submission.

How does the contest work?
Contestants must complete and submit the entry form along with an original work of authorship responsive to the competition’s question. Essays must be between 300 and 400 words in length.
What is this year’s question?
Question: “What made the United States great?”
When is the deadline?
All entries must be received by October 11, 2013.
Who is eligible to enter?
The competition is open to Gorham Middle School students.
What are the prizes?
Madison Prize: One entrant will receive $250. Runners-up: Two entrants will each receive $100.
What are the judging criteria?
Essays will be judged on the following criteria:
1. Knowledge demonstrated (30 points): Show thorough knowledge of the theme of your essay. Demonstrate that you have considered and researched the issues. Use examples for support.
2. Clarity of ideas (35 points): Write with good logical flow and in a way that is easy to comprehend, leaving your reader with a clear understanding of your answer and reasoning.
3. Persuasiveness/Presentation (35 points): Convince the reader of the correctness of your answer. Use appropriate language and grammar to relay passion and make your essay memorable.

I would encourage all of us  to work with our students to provide an entry to this very worthwhile endeavor. As we approach the full implementation of the Common Core, this type of integrated activity will become more and more prevalent in our classroom expectations.

For more information, please see me.

Genius Hour

Last week I posted about an idea that has gained considerable acceptance at schools across the country called GeniusHour. It has been adapted from the work done at Google and other companies trying to stir up passion within their workforce to, hopefully, harness that passion for creativity. The idea is that if people are given an opportunity to be creative in something of deep interest to them, it can only help them in their jobs with the company.

Daniel Pink, and later Angel Maiers (You Matter video we watched last year), have introduced this idea to teachers an students. If it can work in the workplace, why not try with our teachers and students?

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the web site, I suggest you do. There are some great resources and a couple of very interesting video interviews with teachers who are currently using the idea in the classrooms. They talk about how they got started and how this idea has changed their students’ view of learning.

The interview with Denise Krebs, a 7th and 8th grade, science, social studies, language arts teacher has employed genius hour with her students.

U.S. Constitution Day

September 17th (next Tuesday) is the annual observation of the Ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Several years ago, Senator Robert Byrd (D-WVa), shepherded a bill through Congress requiring schools across the country to observe the U.S. Constitution on September 17th. The observation of the day need not be dramatic or ostentatious, just a simple observation of the importance of the document in our daily life.

If you would like any ideas on how to celebrate this day the web site has lots of resources for all grade levels.

Please let me know what you will be doing to observe this day as I would love to stop in and watch.


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