The Gifted Gazette

Pleasant Garden Volume 1: Issue 5

Calendar of Events

Feb. 9th Subway Night 5:00-9:00

Feb. 10th-Genius Hour Select 4th and 5th grade students

Feb.17th-Early Release

Feb.19th-3rd grade Family Immigration Research Project Due

Feb.24th-Genius Hour Select 4th and 5th grade students

Feb.25th-Interium Reports

Classroom Needs- We are in need of tissues and spiral or composition notebooks. Any donations to our classroom are appreciated.

Curriculum Updates

3rd Grade ELA

In reading this semester we will begin exploring our unit "Who Is My Neighbor". In this unit students will explore how immigrants have contributed to the development of the United States. Third grade students will gain an in depth knowledge about what it means to be an immigrant in the United Stated. Students will learn about immigration trends of the past and present through a variety of complex texts. We will take a trip back in time and learn about Ellis Island and the history behind the Statue of Liberty through the use of poetry and an online web quest. We will also discuss current immigration policy's and the differing viewpoints that stakeholder and government officials hold concerning immigration today. Third grade students have also been assigned a family immigration project. Your child should have brought the guidelines home for this project. The goal of this project is for your child to trace back their ancestors and explore where they came from in order to help make this unit more relevant to your child. If you have any questions about the project please ask. The project is due Friday, February 19th.

3rd Grade Math

In what world might you find an Arithma Tic attacking travelers' water, a Decimalus Rex who inserts decimals to your team's treasure amount, or a Geomet Tree that, if climbed, will give up its treasures? Only in the Math Quest world, of course! Math Quest is a role-playing simulation which acquaints students with six strategies for problem solving: Guess and Check, Draw a Picture, Use a Table or Chart, Look for a Pattern, Act It Out and Work Backwards. Groups of students work cooperatively to travel through several exciting worlds while their fate rests in the card their team draws and the supplies they chose to take with them. Who will make it to the $50,000 treasure chest first?

Please note that the plan is to play Math Quest each year grades 3-5. Each grade level will be asked to solve different problems, however, the strategies they use to do so remain constant as do the friends and foes of the game. By fifth grade, the kids are usually begging to begin our Math Quest adventures at the beginning of the year.

4th Grade ELA

4th grade students will begin our new unit titled " The Power of Literate People."

Students will explore the issue of illiteracy as they research and apply strategies/skills to evaluate the issue and develop solutions that will lead to an action plan and project. The focus of the unit will be on developing research, writing, speaking, listening, and planning skills to help students examine key issues regarding the public concern of Literacy through informational and literary texts and through analyzing community needs related to Literacy.

4th Grade Math

Ratios, Rates, and Proportions

Using North Carolina's rich history with pirates, students will work in teams to review equivalent fractions and to use this knowledge to solve problems including understanding ratios, creating proportions, determining unit rates and understanding problems involving time, rate, and distance.

5th Grade ELA

The Arts: Wherefore Art They? Students will explore the importance of art in our society.

Here are the essential questions we will explore throughout this semester-long unit:

  • How can research help me to understand how the Arts are important and valued in the lives of individuals?

  • How can the empathy and understanding I gain from reading and talking about the arts being threatened help me to develop and participate in a class action project to address that issue in my community?

  • What influences creative expression?

  • Where do artists get their ideas?

  • In what way is it evident that Nature is an inspiration for artistic expression?

  • What is Human Nature and how is it expressed through The Arts?

  • How is feeling and mood conveyed musically? Visually? Through movement?

  • Does art have a message?

  • How does a piece of art warrant merit?

  • What is beauty and who decides?

  • Is art a matter of taste or principles?

  • To what extent do artists have a responsibility to their audiences?

  • Do audiences have any responsibilities to artists?

  • How do the arts affect a person’s life?

  • Is it important for young children to be exposed to The Arts?

  • What does the lack of arts exposure take away from a person’s life?

  • How does knowledge gained through the arts make a person powerful?

  • What is my responsibility in improving access to the arts in my community?

  • Why must literate people speak up for the rights of people who have not had the opportunity to participate in the arts?

  • How can I make a difference in my community’s access to the arts?

  • Why is the value of The Arts threatened during hard economic times?

  • How could an individual’s emotions and well-being be affected by a lack of access to The Arts?

  • Who decides what is artistically relevant?

  • How do the arts shape, as well as reflect, a culture?

  • What can artworks tell us about a culture or society?

  • How do artists from different eras explore and express similar themes in their work?

This unit will culminate with a service project to promote/save the arts in our community. Please send your ideas and resources our way!

5th Grade Math

Think Like a Scientist

The goal of the unit is to help students develop critical thinking and sound judgment based on data. The instructional activities emphasize the collection and analysis of data and its connection to scientific inquiry.

Imagine that you have been invited to join an international think tank studying a group of unusual and often misunderstood creatures - kids. What would your team want to know? What methods might you use to conduct an investigation? During this unit you will learn to collect, display, and analyze data to answer your questions with the same strategies used by scientists and statisticians.

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Cultivating Creativity in Mathematics

Have you ever wondered how to cultivate the same sort of creative expression that children have in their artwork and storytelling in their mathematical work? Have you even wondered if that was possible? Harvard professor, Heather Hill, believes kids can be just as creative in their approach to solving math problems as they are in the creation of their own stories and songs (Kris, 2015). In fact, this creativity can lend confidence to children’s study of mathematics and connect to their study and understanding of more advanced and complex mathematical ideas.

In her article about creativity and mathematical thinking, Deborah Farmer Kris shares several suggestions for ways to encourage students’ use of creative thinking to work and solve mathematical problems.

  1. Encourage children to question and observe: Ask what they think about the concepts that are introduced in school and allow time to mull over, ask questions and make observations about what they already know about and what they wonder about.

  2. Pose open-ended questions: Challenge children with questions that require them to grapple with the solution. Arm them with the tools that they need to solve the problem, but allow them the opportunity to make choices about which tool that they may want to use.

  3. Apply skills to new contexts: One way to see if children really understand the concepts that are being taught is to require them to use those same concepts within different contexts. Children can create stories or visual images to apply the new skills and ideas that they have learned.

  4. Look for patterns and sequences: Challenge children to see patterns that are around them in the world that they live in. What things go together? What things don’t? Taking walks, shopping, and picking up toys can all provide children with the opportunity to sharpen their observational skills and notice order and patterns.

  5. Leave math notes: Challenge your children’s thinking by leaving them mathematical notes. “Did you eat more fruit snacks or potato chips today? How many hours did you watch television? Was it more than the amount of time that you read today?”

  6. Have math chats: Engage your children in conversations around math skills. Have them count the number of items that you put into the shopping cart or pick up in a store. Challenge them to add and subtract numbers or even multiply and divide if their skills are ready to be stretched. Ask them to explain how they solved the problem.

    For the Full Article, see:

Kris, D. F. (2015, November 25). Mind/Shift. Retrieved January 28, 2016, from