May Newsletter
Michelle Muir
Tuesday, May 07, 2019

May 2019


Finishing Strong

Already May and so much to do.  From today until the last day of the school year, teachers and students will be busy preparing for next year through our standards based curriculum.   The lessons, units, and skills taught during May and June will set students up for success when they return next fall. There is still so much learning to be had as we finish out the 4th quarter this year.

"I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end." — Abraham Lincoln

Alternative/eLearning Day

On Friday, May 3rd, we will be having the second Alternative/eLearning Day.  A letter to families with detailed information about expectations and requirements can be found here.  Alternative/eLearning Day assignments will be posted in Google Classroom at 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 2nd.  Assignments are due by 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 7th.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at 815-784-5222 or by email at  You can also follow us on Facebook at GenoaKingstonMiddleSchool and Twitter @gkmscogs424.  

Upcoming Major Events

May 6th-- 5/6  Band Concert

May 9th--7/8 Band Concert; 6-8 Choir Concert

May 10--8th Grade Dance

May 20th--8th Grade Promotion and 8th Grade Cookout

June 3rd--Last day of student attendance

         From the Assistant Principal-Mr. Uili

Happy spring to all.  We made it! As it gets warmer and we are enticed to be more active, let’s remember our school expectations while we are at school.  We strive towards Being Responsible, Being Respectful, and Being Safe. Our school-wide behavior goal is still in good standing. We are currently at 88.5% of our awesome GKMS students have received 0 or 1 referral. We are so close to the end of the year and I’m sure we can keep that number above 80%.  

We have also seen some success with our Pride Program students (Check-In and Check-Out).  We had a few students meet their goal and graduate from the program. This is one of our lower level interventions to help students set goals so they can see more success in the classroom or socially with other students and staff.  There are daily interactions with specific staff members that help provide advice, tools, or supplies to our students in the Pride Program so they have a successful school day. If you’re interested in this please contact me at or by calling 815-784-5222.

PBIS Tier 1

We are wrapping up our year of “Imagining Greatness” here at GKMS.  Individual grades are continually working towards goals and many students have done a great job reaching these goals set forth.  As we wrap up the year, grades will be focusing on getting to class on time. We will be having an all school booster for students and they will be working towards all all school activity on May 17th for grades who meet their goal.

Cool tools for expected behaviors continue to be taught weekly in Study Hall classes and reinforced that week in classes. Our focuses have been on respect and responsible behaviors in the classrooms.  

Students of the Week are chosen weekly and Quarter 4 Cogs of the Quarter will be chosen and recognized before the end of the school year.  Congratulations to those past and future students-you should be proud of your accomplishments.

School representatives are rocking it out in our PBIS Tier 1 team and will  continue to help us with our efforts here at the school. Their ideas are truly helping us to improve our efforts with PBIS.  They are helping to bridge the gap with our students so that their voices and ideas can be heard. Again, thank you for your continued support!  #gkcogs.


The drama  performances  were a huge hit!  Many thanks to all the family, friends, staff and students who helped make this a success.

From the 6th Grade Team



We will be wrapping up our 3D geometry unit with finding surface area and volume of pyramids.  After our geometry unit we will be working with displaying data using multiple methods(histograms, bar graphs, box plot,...).  We will discuss collecting the data and then choosing the best method to display it. We will also talk about looking at different displays of data and deciding if what is shown is good data to use or if the data is displayed in a way that meant to trick us.  With all the data available( in advertising, politics, news,...) how can we evaluate if the data is reliable?


In Reading, we will analyze a variety of texts and identify theme while supporting the theme with text evidence, implicit or explicit.  We will also determine central ideas as well as supporting details, ultimately showing comprehension of text. Many of the texts will be Science Fiction to enhance the Language Arts curriculum. In addition, we will  reading the book, Tuck Everlasting, with emphasis on character development, theme, tone, and mood.  We will also analyze and debate the idea of “everlasting life.”

Language Arts

During this final month in Language Arts, we will review and apply the conventions of English specifically in the areas of capitalization, punctuation, and complete sentences. These should be applied in all subject areas as well as everyday writing. Our final writing prompt this quarter will be a narrative, sci-fi story written in 3rd person. The focus will be organization (paragraphing, introduction, body, conclusion), setting and character development. We will also continue working on short writing pieces using the RAFT outline. The RAFT outline consists of a prompt, requiring the student to identify their role, audience, format, and topic in order to address the prompt properly. In the area of vocabulary, we will continue to work on the understanding of Tier II words and applying them in sentences that utilize context clues showing the understanding of the word.


We are finishing up the rock cycle and then we will finish the year looking at the different sources of energy and how we use energy.  What can we do to conserve energy? How will we meet our future energy needs? How will this impact our environment? It has been a great year of studying Earth and Space Science.


Social Studies

6th grade students have just completed Ancient Greece and are now learning about the Ancient Romans.  We will be covering Rome until the end of the year. Topics being covered are geography, the Republic, Republic to Empire and the start of Christianity.  Rome will conclude our learning of the great Ancient Empires.

From the 7th Grade Team



After finishing up our Natural Selection and Adaptations unit the end of April, we will be moving onto our last topic, Ecosystems.  In this unit, students will explore relationships between organisms (predator-prey, competition, and symbiosis), the flow of energy through an ecosystem (food chains), and how resource availability and other changes in an ecosystem can influence the organisms living there.  Students should be familiar with the basic concepts addressed in this unit since ecosystems are introduced in elementary school. We will expand on that prior knowledge to help students think more deeply and critically about these topics. At the end of the unit we will spend some additional time learning about biodiversity and ways humans can help protect and preserve ecosystems for future generations.



As we head into the last month of school, we continue to prepare students for 8th grade through practicing study habits, being respectful, responsible, and safe.  We are confident that they will be ready to have a very successful 8th grade school year.

In 7th grade reading, we will focus on characterization.  The students will identify examples of direct and indirect characterization in reading passages and justify using textual evidence and interpretation.  Students will participate in a group jigsaw on the topic of Children of the West.  They will generate a google slideshow, questions at each level of thinking, and present their findings to the class.  Students will also continue to produce analytical writing in order to demonstrate their comprehension and interpretation of text.  7th grade students are becoming experts in citing valid and relevant pieces of textual evidence to support their analysis of what the text says explicitly and implicitly.  They also include their own thoughts and inferences in order to support their written, constructed responses. Students will be asked to compare and contrast the themes, moods, and tones used in multiple poems and passages read during reading classes. The last book report (pop-up book, cereal box, or dodecahedron) is due May 17.

Language Arts

In language arts class, we will wrap up the year with one last benchmark paper. Throughout this expository essay, we will continue to break down the paper into manageable tasks by focusing the students’ attention on each individual trait and their key qualities.  We will improve our writing by thinking about how voice affects word choice, how ideas affect organization, how conventions affect sentence fluency, and so on. We will take all of these trait interactions into consideration so that our last benchmark paper really shines.  We are very pleased with the great improvements we have seen in the students’ quality of writing this school year!


I can’t believe it, but we are in the last month of the school year!

In the final month of the 2018-2019 school year, Course 2 will be exploring Probability and Statistics. We will focus on Theoretical and Experimental Probability as well as compound and simple events. In statistics, we will focus on predictions as well as biased and unbiased samples.

Acc-7 students will finish the school year with some Probability, Statistics, and Geometry. In Acc-7 we will focus on measures of center and variability. The geometry will include angle and line relationships as well as transformations on the coordinate plane.

Our “Imagine Greatness” legacy wall is filling up as our year comes to a close. There have been so many amazing moments in our classroom throughout our school year and hope to see a few more as we finish the year strong.

As always. keep your eyes on Twitter (@Math2TheFuture and #gkcogs) to see all of the awesome things happening in our classroom and school throughout the end of the school year.

Social Studies

As American citizens, Northerners and Southerners shared a fierce pride in their country and a faith in democracy. Yet their outlooks and attitudes about many things were quite different. Between 1800 and 1850, these differences led to sharply conflicting views on many national issues - so much so that, at times, Northerners and Southerners seemed to be living in two separate worlds.

By the time Lincoln took office, the nation had split apart over the issue of states’ rights regarding slavery and was preparing for civil war.

As Americans took sides, they began to see why a civil war is the most painful kind of war. This conflict divided not only states, but also families and friends. Many historians have call the Civil war the first truly modern war. It was the first war to reflect the technology of the Industrial Revolution: railroads, the telegraph, armored ships, more accurate and destructive weaponry. It also introduced total war - war between whole societies not just uniformed armies.


The month of May is a busy month for the band and chorus students at GKMS.  On Saturday May 4th, 7th and 8th grade band students will travel to Johnsburg High School and perform in the Trills and Thrills Music Festivals.  The students will be assessed by 2 adjudicators and will be provided written and verbal feedback to help them grow as musicians. We will then spend the day as Six Flags Great America!

Concert Performances (At GKHS @ 7pm)

May 6th- 5th and 6th Grade Band Students

May 9th- Jazz Band, 6th-8th Chorus, and 7th-8th Grade Band

We look forward to our end of the year concerts to show the tremendous growth the students have made this school year!

Music Appreciation

We are currently in our final rotation through the Music Appreciation Encore classes. The eighth grade will be starting a unit on program music. They will be exploring the symphonic suite “The Planets” by English composer Gustav Holst. After that, the students will be watching the musical “Fiddler On The Roof”

In Creative Drama, the seventh grade is producing a puppet show in small groups. They will be adapting stories into a script, then creating puppets and sets before rehearsing and performing for the class.

Our sixth-grade American Popular Music students will be learning about the development of Jazz in America. They will also be watching the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma!”


Roller Skating in PE classes!  New this year, students will be participating in a 5 day unit on skating.  Students have the choice to use roller skates or roller blades. Students are not allowed to bring skates from home due to possible damage to our floors.   Students will also be asked to wear proper safety equipment such as helmets and wrist guards. Students may bring their own helmet from home if they do not want to use the ones provided by Skate Time.   The girls will be skating the week of May 6th and the boys will be skating the week of May 13th.

Once skating is completed, the girls will be finishing the end of the school year with our track and field unit.  They will engage in various events such as sprints, relays and field events. The boys will be focusing on the softball unit.  They will work on batting, base running, and fielding during game play.

Spring is finally here!  Please make sure your son/ daughter has sweat pants and shirt in their locker.  We will be going outside as long as the weather allows us to.

Cogs Run is held on the Saturday of Genoa days.  The run is a great way to support the Genoa Day festivities and community. The race begins at the high school located at 980 Park Ave in Genoa (Saturday June 8th at 8:30).  The race runs through two neighborhoods and bike path were the course is pretty flat with some minor hills at the bike path and coming back into the stadium. You will feel like a star when you finish on the track where you will be greeted with water and snacks in the concession area. Stay around for awards to see if you also finished in the top 3 of your age group!  Funds raised during the run help support our student athletic programs for both the middle and high school.

Thank you for coming out to run this great even and for supporting a great program!

GK Athletic Department and Coaches


The last encore groups are off to a great start.  The 6th graders are learning about nutrition and how important it is to add fruits and vegetables to their diet.  The 7th graders are working on decision making and refusing unsafe behaviors. The 8th graders are discussing topics on relationships and how to make healthy decisions in those relationships.


The 6th grade is learning about the 16 career clusters and jobs in each cluster.  7th graders are focusing on skills needed to be successful in a career. These include soft skills, employability skills, and workplace behavior. The 8th grade is analyzing the rights and the wrongs in workplace ethics, along with taking different types of interest surveys to see the career possibilities that match their interests.


In the second semester of STEM Concepts students will be having me as their Encore teacher for the second time this year. All students in 6th and 7th grades will be assessed in their ability to meet the keyboarding standard as described in

Common Core to: “demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.” All of my current 6th and 7th grade classes have an account in Typing Club to practice their keyboarding which can be accessed at Students who are not able to meet the standard will be given daily and weekly practice in class. But all students are encouraged to practice on their own time as well.

In 6th grade students will first be learning the fundamentals of coding using the lessons found at We will learn how to program animations using Scratch found at Then we will create a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system using Scratch.

7th grade students will be building upon the Engineering and Design lessons from first semester. We are solving an engineering design problem to create a puzzle out of excess 3/4" wooden cubes.  And they are to design a therapeutic toy for a child with cerebral palsy. Working individually and in groups, they will be planning, drawing and designing on the computer their ideas. Every student should be taking home a puzzle cube that they designed and assembled themselves.

8th grade students will be using the Engineering Design Process to develop a tool or system to solve a problem. Then we will be learning how to program VEX Robotics using RobotC (a form of the C programming language). Then we will apply the Engineering Design Process with VEX Robotics and C programming to make automated machines and robots to solve problems.

We have a lot of learning to do in just 6 weeks!