Gifted Grayhound Gazette

September-November 2017 1st Edition

Urgent! Urgent! Read all about it!

Introducing the First Edition of the Gifted Grayhound Gazette

Burlington Community School District's Talented and Gifted Department will be issuing the Gifted Grayhound Gazette newsletter to parents and teachers every two months. The TAG program will strive to communicate pertinent information to parents and teachers regarding the Burlington Community School District's Talented and Gifted program and information about educational and affective needs of gifted and talented students.

"Inspiring Students Through Diverse Opportunities"

TIER 3, TIER 2 and TIER 1

Tier 3 students are identified for intensive services, meaning they have strengths in multiple subject areas requiring academic services beyond the general curriculum. Tier 3 students will have a Personalized Education Plan (PEP). PEPs will be issued this Spring.

Tier 2 students are identified for targeted services, meaning they may exhibit strengths in one or two subject areas requiring academic services beyond the general curriculum. Tier 2 students will have modified Personal Education Plans (PEP).

Tier 1 students are not formally identified for the TAG Program. Teachers may connect these students to opportunities related to their interests.

Students at the secondary level can move fluidly from Tier 2 and 3 based on the level of services he or she requires.

Growing Our Gifted: Partnering Parents and Teachers

Developing a Growth Mindset

Research shows that parents can have a powerful impact on their children's mindsets. The language you use and the actions you take show your children what you expect. Giving process praise, talking about the brain, accepting mistakes as learning opportunities, and understanding the role of emotions in learning are all practices you can begin today. See the graphic below from
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Elementary Extended Learning Program (ELP)

ELP Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd Grades

Kindergarten students are served based on teacher recommendations through the use of a gifted characteristic checklist. Small group sessions are provided to the children based on their areas of strength. A variety of activities are explored in the areas of language arts, math and critical thinking.

In 1st and 2nd grades the Extended Learning Program (ELP) teacher will visit each classroom approximately once a month to conduct whole-class thinking skills lessons. These lessons will enrich all children, while screening for potential giftedness in various areas of thinking. In the weeks following the whole-class lesson, the ELP teacher will work with small groups of students who demonstrated an aptitude for the thinking skill focused on in class.

Participation in these small groups does not mean the child has been identified for ELP. Each child will be monitored for possible further involvement in the program.

ELP 3rd Grade

The Extended Learning Program meets with small groups of third grade students as part of the screening process to determine future placement in the program. Lessons focus on divergent, convergent, visual and evaluative thinking. Other components of the screening process include review of assessment data collected from:

  • First and second grade whole-class and small group screenings

  • Classroom teacher recommendations

  • Individual Testing: Key Math Diagnostic Inventory, Peabody Vocabulary Test, Gifted and Talented Evaluation Scale

  • Iowa Assessment scores

  • Cognitive Abilities Test scores

  • E.L.P. small group sessions

Formal identification occurs at the end of the second trimester. Parents will be notified if their child is to continue with services.

ELP 4th Grade

The 4th grade students have been true “brainiacs!” They have been involved with a program called Brainology from Mindset Works. Brainology helps students develop a growth mindset by teaching them how the brain functions, learns, and remembers, and how it changes physically when we exercise it through study and learning. In addition, the program teaches a practical set of skills for tackling academic challenges by showing students how to apply what they have learned about the brain to their schoolwork. When students understand that they can develop their intelligence through learning, they are more motivated to seek challenge, value learning, invest effort, and persist through difficulty. We are hoping that students will benefit this year, and in years to come, by understanding and developing growth mindsets. (photo: student created models of neurons)

ELP 5th Grade

The 5th grade ELP students have been involved in a unit called Dig. This unit combines social studies, geography, technology, and higher order thinking skills. Students began by exploring the field of archaeology through a QR code activity and exploring an online source. They also enjoyed an “archaeological dig” through packing peanuts. After reading the book Motel of the Mysteries, students discussed how assumptions are made about cultures through the findings of a culture’s artifacts. Furthermore, students have learned about cultural universals, basic elements of living that all human groups share (e.g. language, family and kin, attitude toward the unknown). The unit culminates with the students creating a unique culture, complete with original artifacts. Finally, the elementary buildings will swap artifacts, decipher them, and learn about each other’s created cultures. (photo: students creating excavation devices)

ELP 4th and 5th Grade Goals and Portfolios

Goal Setting and Digital Portfolios

The 4th and 5th grade ELP students began the year with goal setting. Students were asked to think about 3 goals for themselves: an academic goal, an affective goal and a physical goal. We discussed how goals become merely wishful thinking unless you further define them as objectives with specific measurements. Using the acronym SPAGHETTI, students then had to determine specific objectives to fit their goals. Students will continue to monitor their progress in reaching their goals.

The students also began working on digital portfolios where academics, interests, passions, and extra-curricular activities were recorded in a digital “diary.” The students created a title page where they shared their interests and passions. On the second page, the students shared their experiences in elementary ELP, which included their goals. The students will continue to add to their portfolios throughout their academic careers.

ELP Additional Services

Future Problems Solving (FPS) is a fantastic educational program offering creative problem solving activities to small teams of 4th and 5th grade students. A future scene (an imagined future) prompts students to tackle social, scientific, political, economic, or technological issues. The members of each team will research and apply the six-step FPS process to several topics this year. FPS evaluators from our state will score the students’ work and make suggestions for improvements. Each team will be competing with other teams throughout the region.

Some students qualify for Challenge Math in which a variety of problem solving strategies are taught. Math is not just about computation, but has also evolved to emphasize a deeper conceptual understanding. Students are expected to share their thinking process as we focus on how they went about solving the problems. Students will be developing the skills and understanding needed to successfully solve math-related problems throughout their lives.

Independent Studies are provided to some students in order to assist them in their pursuits of interests and passions beyond the present curriculum.

Secondary Extended Learning Services (ELO and ELC)

Restructuring at the Secondary Level

The secondary program has restructured. Mr. Fleece and Mrs. Salisbury will be collaborating to assist our secondary students’ needs from sixth through twelfth grade. Mr. Fleece will monitor Edward Stone students and Mrs. Salisbury Aldo Leopold students.

Individual Student Interviews

  • Learning Styles Assessment: Students took a brief survey to determine whether they prefer to learn visually, auditorily or tactily. This information is saved into the students’ profiles and will be shared with classroom teachers.

  • Students shared interests, extracurriculars, and viewpoints toward different subject areas.

  • Students reviewed programming interests as expressed through the ELS inventory.

  • Students determined three personal strengths and weaknesses.

  • Students selected one strength and one weakness on which to improve through the writing of two SMART goals.

  • Students were instructed to begin thinking about specific goals within these two areas and to begin reviewing the handout on how to write the goals.

  • A presentation video will be shared with students on how to write their goals. Students may request a meeting for assistance and will be contacted by the ELP teacher.

  • Information gleaned from the interview is assessed and utilized in forming clusters, studies, and enrichment services for students to meet needs.

Juniors and Seniors! College and Career Prep @ Burlington Public Library

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Enrichment Updates at the Secondary Level

Land, Water, Air...Toxic Materials Everywhere! (6-12)

Students participating in Future Problem Solving (FPS) are discovering that toxic materials are closer than they think as they research the different toxic materials that surround them everyday. Students have received the meeting dates, agendas and assigned work to complete this practice problem that is due on December 19th. What is Future Problem Solving? Find out more here.

Water: Not Just for Drinking (6-8)

First Lego League (FLL) participants have been studying the human water cycle interaction: how water is found, used, transported, and disposed in this season’s theme Hydrodynamics . The teams are trying to identify a problem/concern associated with this topic to determine a possible solution. Students will begin exploring the programming process and robot design principles. Our regional competition will be Saturday, December 2nd at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa. Information will be sent home with participating students. What is First Lego League? Find out more here.

Conflicts in History (6-12)

History is full of conflicts, but do you know about the compromises that followed? Students wishing to participate in National History Day this year will need to select a topic related to this year’s theme: “Conflict and Compromise in History” and begin preliminary research. Participants take on the role of a historian as they use primary and secondary sources to help them understand a topic and create a thesis to defend through one of five possible final projects: website, exhibit, performance, historical paper, and documentary. Notice a local history lab is happening in our area soon! What is National History Day? Find out more here.

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National History Day Research Workshop @ Burlington Public Library

What: Local History Lab: research open house

When: Saturday, November 11th

10:00 am-1:00 pm

Where: Burlington Public Library

Who: students, teachers and parents

Why: to discover primary and secondary resources, special collections and to network with local

librarians and historians


Calling all Artists and Writers (7-12)

Middle and High School students wishing to submit work(s) of writing or art for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards must have work submitted to Mr. Fleece and Mrs. Salisbury by November 27th! Please follow submission guidelines provided by Belin-Blank!

Categories of Submissions

Scholastic Writing Guidelines

Scholastic Art Guidelines

Fireball Run

Fireball Run Support team, composed of students from Edward Stone, Aldo Leopold, and Burlington High School, met with Mayor Shane McCampbell and Mr. Chad Palmer on Monday, October 30th at the High School Library. Fireball Run contestants, Mayor McCampbell and Mr. Palmer, shared their experiences of completing the missions that BCSD students helped them solve throughout competition. The students will be honored with a Mayor’s Award during the council meeting on Monday, November 21st!

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Meet the Teachers of the BCSD TAG Department

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Craig Fleece, Kahri Plein, Julie Coleman, Katie Salisbury, and Terri Van Hagen.