GT Academy Newsletter

Sablatura Middle School / Pearland ISD

October / November 2016

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American History and World Cultures Come Alive

Fifth graders have been busy studying the necessity, purpose, and importance of the Declaration of Independence. In groups,they performed act-it-out skits explaining the various grievances the colonists had against King George III. Collaboratively, the class read the poem "What Shall We Do?" with each group creating props and presenting a different stanza. Through the lessons, students learned that our country was founded on the ideals of fairness, liberty and human equality.

In sixth grade World Cultures, students researched NAFTA and chose a side to take a stand for or against. They debated the positive and negative effects NAFTA had on the economy of the United States. These debates naturally led into great discussions leading up to the election. Document Based Question (DBQ) lessons gave students an opportunity to look at four primary sources related to the forming of the constitution. Students studied Federalist papers from James Madison and several articles of the constitution. They used this data to answer the question "How does the constitution guard against tyranny?" Using Office 365, students shared their final essays with parents through email.


GTA students have begun research for their Texas Performance Standards Projects (TPSP). The goal of the TPSP is for students to "create professional quality work in alignment with the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/ Talented Students." Students begin with an introduction to the Independent Research Method (IIM). Through IIM, students learn that there is a process or method to doing research which involves seven steps: Choose a Topic, Set Goals, Research, Organize Information, Evaluate, Develop a Product, and Present.

Fifth graders have chosen a topic of interest related to the central idea of sharing the planet, and are developing questions to guide their research. Once the research paper is complete, they will design and create an original quilt to reflect their research findings. Some of the topics are:

  • Threats mosquitoes pose to world health
  • Preventing animal poaching
  • The role of plastic and potential health threats
  • Securing safe drinking water
  • Managing nuclear energy
  • Supporting those living in extreme poverty
  • Urban sprawl and habitat loss
  • The role of sports in culture
  • How music create cultural bridges
  • Using social media to spread kindness

Sixth graders are locating good sources and writing notefacts for the "Culture Shock" TPSP. Some questions being asked are:

  • How does schooling in France compare to the United States?
  • What is the traditional cuisine of Norway?
  • What is daily life like in Greece?

Students will apply their new knowledge of the culture, geography and history of a country to develop a travel blog which will be posted on a website they create. Also included in the website will be an expense spreadsheet used to document their travel budget.

TPSP projects will be ready for parents and community on April 25, 2017. Mark your calendar to come see us at the GT Academy Student Showcase!

Students Prepare For Upcoming Competitions

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  • Our TCEA Robotics teams recently attended the TCEA Area 4 Robotics Competition at Davis High School in Aldine. We are proud of the Robo Bearz, Not A Bot, Blue Cobras and mAcBoT teams. They will continue to refine their robot design and program to accomplish the six tasks that make up this year's "Code 3: Emergency Prep Drill" challenge.
  • Math/Science Club students have spent several Saturdays testing their math skills at TMSCA competitions. The most recent competition was at Klein ISD. Wende, Eric, Isabella, Harrison, Ethan and Kate all came home with awards in their events. Our friends from PJHW did an outstanding job as well. All math enthusiasts are encouraged to attend Math/Science club on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. We want our team for state to be super strong this year!
  • This year's Future Problem Solving topic for the state qualifier is 3D Printing. Students have discovered through research that problems associated with 3D printing include: it is expensive, takes a long time and is difficult to regulate. These dedicated students work hard each week to solve global challenges under the excellent leadership of Ms. Sisk.
  • The Sablatura Quiz Bowl General Trivia and Super Quiz teams have been announced! These students will represent Sablatura at the district competition at Turner High School on February 17th. Students have studied this year's topic of World War 2 and will focus the next several weeks on intense study, forming strategies, and honing their competition skills.
  • Seaperch teams have completed the construction of their ROV's (Remotely Operated Vehicles) and have tested them out at the Pearland Natatorium. Teams will go through the engineering design process to get the ROVs to move quickly through the underwater obstacle course and will also practice interviewing skills as they prepare for the regional competition in March.
  • Ecobot teams are learning how to program and are working on the Space Challenge. Teams will begin working on the challenge for competition soon. It will be held in Houston on April 22nd.

Taking a Closer Look

Students in the neuroscience mini course traveled to the Houston Health Science Museum to take a closer look at the anatomy of the brain. While there, they dissected a sheep's brain to locate parts such as the cerebellum, cerebral cortex, corpus callosum, and gyri.

Mini Courses

Lights, Camera, Action! - The Sablatura stage has been a busy place lately! Student directors, actors and stage crews are preparing to present "The Gingerbread Girl " and "Pandora's Box."

Passion Projects - GTA students are passionate about learning. Students in this course have selected a topic of interest such as architecture, advanced mathematics, steps to becoming a published author, and canine trainers. One student will Skype with a math professor and another student went on a field study to interview and observe a canine unit. What a great opportunity for students to dive deeper into an area they are passionate about. Projects will be shared soon!

Mythology - In Mythology, students are examining Greek vases and understanding how pottery reflected Greek culture. Scratch boards are being used to create vases that reflect a myth students have studied, and they are designing a museum display with Greek columns in the hall

Build A Business - Six teams of future entrepreneurs have worked together to learn the steps necessary to run a small business. Skills and topics that have been explored include profit and loss, hiring employees and advertising. Team members collected "wealth points" which determined who the business owner would be. The popcorn cook off was a highlight for sure! Next, each student will individually develop a personal business plan.

Zoology - In addition to the excitement of watching chicks hatch and observing the eating habits of Cam the caiman, zoology students have learned about various zoo careers through a video conference with an expert at the Houston Zoo. Students will enjoy a field experience to Moody Gardens to extend their understanding of coral reefs.

The Art of Math - Which came first, the artist or the mathematician? There is an undeniable connection between math and art. Students have created works of art that reflect symmetry and patterns and are studying optical illusions. They have explored artist Frank Stella's "protractor series" focusing on geometric shapes and Charlie Harper's simple shape animals.

Mars Rover - Mars engineers are turning household junk into important instruments that will be part of a Mars rover made from a disassembled RC truck. Other members of the team are researching a specific landing site, creating a script, and planning a display for competition that will be held at the University of Houston on January 28th.

Sewing - Walk down the GTA hallway and you will see evidence of our aspiring designers! Students are completing pillow cases and pajama pants, and some are beginning to create patterns for shoulder bags. These skills will come in handy when fifth graders begin to sew their TPSP quilts.

Coding - Students have used coding skills to design original games. After receiving feedback from their peers, adjustments were made, and Mrs. Boyd says that the final versions of the games are amazing! Students are also designing themed mazes using Microsoft Word and will create a "homework machine" using Excel.

Boys to Men - What does it take to be successful? Students are learning to develop "Habits of Mind", have explored Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences, the importance of a good handshake, and how to initiate and hold a conversation. This group will be joining a special guest at Killen's Barbeque to refine these skills.

Battle Bots

The first Sablatura Battle Bots event was a success! Sponsored by the GT Academy Booster Club, Robots-4-U provided a kit for each student to build a robot that would battle to be the last one standing in the battle arena. After each battle round, students were encouraged to improve, modify or completely change their designs, to help them survive in the battle arena. The goal of the event was to provide students with hands-on experience with the engineering process while raising funds for Sablatura's growing robotics program. The next Battle Bots event is being planned for Feb. 20th. Stay tuned for more information coming soon.

Mark Your Calendar

December 1st - Sablatura Math & Science Night 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

December 1st - Sablatura Band Concert @ Nelson Auditorium 7:30 p.m.

December 3rd - GTA Windsong Retirement Home Door Decorating 10:00 a.m.-12:00

December 3rd - TCEA Robotics Competition @ Aldine ISD

December 7th - Poinsettia Pick Up - Sablatura Cafeteria 4:00-6:00 p.m.

December 7th - Zoology Field Experience to Moody Gardens

December 8th - Sablatura Choir Concert @ Nelson Auditorium

December 12th - 6th Grade GTA Math Benchmark

December 12th - Holiday Ham orders due

December 13th - Team TCU @ Alley Theatre

December 13th - 5th Grade GTA Math Benchmark

December 14th - 5th/ 6th Reading Benchmark

December 15th - 6th Science Benchmark

December 15th - Holiday Ham pick up 4:00-6:00 p.m.

December 16th - Early Dismissal

January 14th - TMSCA Competition @ PJHW

January 19th - GTA Parent Info Night for New Students 6:30-7:30 p.m.

January 20th - GTAB Spaghetti Dinner

January 28th - UH Mars Rover Celebration

Thoughts to ponder...

Read more about gifted students:

National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)

Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT)

Hoagies' Gifted Education Page

Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG)

Duke TIP Digest of Gifted Research

2e- Twice Exceptional Newsletter

The Gifted Guru

Byrdseed Gifted