February 2016 Newsletter

for Archer & Allen Jay Elementary

LEGO Showcase Event Registration Will Open Sometime This Month

Please be on the lookout for a flyer about the LEGO Showcase event that will be held in April at High Point University. If you want your child to attend this AMAZING, FREE event it is important that you sign up as soon as you receive the link. I attend this event last year with a friend of mine and her sons. We had a blast! Students get to use a variety of LEGO kits, Little Bits, and more! The event WILL fill up REALLY, REALLY quickly once people realize that registration is open, so don't hesitate!

Here is the blurb from the HPU website:

This Showcase event held twice a year on Saturday in November and April draws in more than 800 people each date. The entire School of Education is transformed into a giant LEGO Learning Lab! Parents go online to register their children for this free event that takes place from 1:00-6:00. Engineering competitions, machine building, robotics, free build and story telling with LEGO are just a few of the many activities that occur during this wonderful event. Online registration begins in September for the November event and in February for the April event. These events fill up quickly!

Who Are Our Neighbors? (3rd ELA)

In this unit we will look at the diversity that makes our schools and communities such amazing places to learn and live. We will be looking at how we are similar to others who may at first appear different from us.

Students will work on presentation skills and how to work together in a cooperative group as we begin our unit.

By the end of the year students will decide on what type of service learning project they would like to do that has a focus on immigrants or those who are new to our communities.

In the past years we have done the following:

  • created friendship pins to share with classmates and new students to promote friendship with students who are different from you
  • created posters to bring awareness about the countries students at our school represented and information about each country
  • created flags to hang near the front entrance of the school representing the countries of our students
  • created presentations about currency of other countries our students are from
  • helping English as a Second Language (ESL) students by creating a reading lesson to share with a student one-on-one

The Power of Literate People (4th Grade ELA)

We will begin our study of the topic of literacy. By looking at barriers to becoming literate using a variety of texts and multimedia sources we will better understand the struggles of illiterate individuals. Through their exploration of a variety of literary and informational texts, students will discover facts about literacy and will establish empathy for those who face barriers to literacy. At the end of our unit students will develop an action plan to address a specific literacy need in the community.

In the past years we have done the following:

  • created a coloring book about literacy for K-3 students
  • created a game to teach about literacy
  • held a book drive to make sure every student went home for the summer with at least 1 book each
  • got the READBOX at Allen Jay and filled it by having a book drive
  • read with students one on one and asked higher level comprehension questions

The Arts: Wherefore Art They? (5th Grade ELA)

Exploring the arts: dance, drama, music (the performing arts) and visual arts, students will see how life would be less interesting and meaningful without the ability to express ourselves and appreciate the expressions of others through the arts. By helping students understand the critical impact of the arts on humanity, students will have the opportunity to evaluate the threat of a decline in arts education and potential consequences to the value of the arts in the fabric of a community. At the end of our unit students will develop an action plan to address either the education of the arts, or an arts related project.

In the past years we have done the following:

  • painted the USA map on Archer playground
  • created posters about the importance of the arts
  • researched and did a living museum about artists and the variety art forms and mediums used in creating art

Math Quest (3rd Grade Math)

The students will be traveling through an imaginary land where they are learning how to work cooperatively to solve math problems using different strategies.

The Six Problem Solving Strategies are:

  • Guess and Check
  • Draw a Picture
  • Make a Table or Chart
  • Look for a Pattern
  • Work Backwards
  • Act It Out

Along the way they choose fate cards which allow them to advance, earn gold or could lose points for the day. Their goal is to earn enough points through problem solving to make it through all 7 gates and finally to the treasure!

There are 3 levels of this unit. Third grade students will use level A this year.

Which strategy do you think would be most useful in solving this problem?

There are nine students who wanted a chance to play against each other in checkers. How many games will they have to play so that everyone has a chance to play every other student only once?

Rates, Ratios, and Proportions (4th Grade Math)

Students will become proficient in using ratios, rates, and proportions to solve problems routinely faced in daily life. Students may practice comparison shopping to make budgetary or dietary decisions and may apply their learning to an analysis of sports statistics.

Think Like a Scientist (5th Grade Math)

Students will participate in an authentic scenario where they have been invited to join an international think tank studying a group of unusual and often misunderstood creatures - kids. Students will determine a plan of action and necessary data. Students will learn to collect, display, and analyze data to conduct an investigation with the same strategies used by scientists and statisticians.

2nd Grade Talent Development

Students have been chosen for our small group pullout services. We looked at which students had shown great thinking skills during the whole group lessons that I had taught.

We will be working on a unit that focuses around the story, "Henry and the Kite Dragon". We will analyze character traits and ways to solve conflicts.

Social/Emotional Corner from the AG Department

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 http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/11/25/using-creativity-to-boost-young-childrens-mathematical-thinking/

Guilford County PAGE Information

Click here to find out more about Guilford County PAGE and how to become a member.

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A Letter from the Executive Director of AG

February 1, 2016

Dear GCS Parents,

The Academically Gifted Department is in the process of revising the Guilford County Schools AG Plan for 2016 – 2019 as required by the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction.

In an effort to accurately represent the needs of our district, we are asking all stakeholders to participate in the process by completing a short survey that will be used to inform plan decisions. We would appreciate your support in this endeavor and will consider all input provided through the survey. Parents with multiple children only need to complete this survey one time. The survey will be available on-line at the GCS AG department’s webpage.

If you do not have internet access, hard copies of the survey are available in the front office of your school.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call our office at 370-8361.

Thank you in advance for your support,

Dibrelle Tourret

Executive Director, Academically Gifted

District Coordinator for AP/IB

Magnet and Choice Schools

Guilford County Schools

AG Schedule

Click here to view the full schedule

Contact Information and Websites

I enjoy working with your children to help them reach their potential. Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

My email is deprezb@gcsnc.com

Allen Jay (AJE) phone # 336-434-8490 (voicemails left from this number come to my email)

Archer phone #336-294-7335

My Class Website: http://ajes.gcsnc.com/pages/Allen_Jay_Elementary/Classes/deprezb

or http://archer.gcsnc.com/pages/Archer_Elementary/Classes/deprezb

GCS AG Website: http://www.gcsnc.com/pages/gcsnc/Departments/Academically_Gifted

On the GCS AG website be sure to check out the tab called Elementary Curriculum for a variety of different sites dealing with the units we are currently teaching.