2019 GT Fall Newsletter


Please take a moment to read about all the exciting things that are happening at College Community!


Our next ACGE meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 from 6:00 to 7:30 in the Board Room. We will be talking about intensities. We hope you can attend! An article is attached about the topic from The National Association for Gifted Children. You can reference the article at the end of the newsletter.

Crest, Ridge, Hill, Ridge, View

A few notes from Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Mason, and Mrs. Zastrow...

Verbal Groups

Future Problem Solving is underway! Future Problem Solving (FPS) is an international competition where students read a scene that takes place in the future, and then as a team use a six-step problem-solving process to determine an action plan. Their work is then sent to judges for evaluation, with the hopeful end-goal of being invited to the state competition in the spring. Future Problem Solving is a wonderful process for students to take part in, as it offers students life skills while learning a variety of topics. Our first two completed topics: International Travel and Sleep Patterns have been fascinating to the children! Our elementary teams will be convening together in January to solve the qualifying problem: Gamification. Results will be sent to each coach by February to see if any team will qualify for state bowl.

Quantitative Groups

Our mathematicians started the year with sequential patterning with Fibannoci and Pascal's Triangle. We then moved our focus to multiplication of large numbers and multi-step problem solving. To show their knowledge of these concepts we challenged the students to design their own resort with set criteria. To build their background knowledge, our groups went to the Kirkwood Hotel to learn more about hotel design, mathematical applications, etc. A good time for all, the next journey is to strengthen division through a movie theater challenge and begin Hands-On Equations.
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Visual-Spacial Groups

We have been exploring optical illusions. Students have been analyzing different kinds of optical illusion that currently exist. Currently, they are learning how to make an optical illusion from an existing tutorial. Our next step will be view objects from different perspectives.
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Creek Intermediate

A few notes from Ms. Tendick...

Students have set their goals for their Personalized Education Plans (PEP). Each student has set an academic and an additional goal. They will reflect on their goals at least twice during the year.

My 6th grade students started off the year by working on a project and reading a short story. My 6th grade students worked on a problem-based unit - Mystery at Golden Ridge Farm. The apple production had been steadily decreasing and students investigated to find out why this was happening. They formulated a theory and provided a solution. They then presented their findings to the class. My 5th grade students read the short story The No-Guitar Blues and did extension activities to extend their learning. We are now reading a book about a gifted student. My math groups have been busy learning new concepts and have been working on real-world examples to deepen their learning.

Students have enjoyed working with the 3D pens. They are a favorite! The template to create your own pair of glasses has been very popular! Students have made many wonderful creations. Lots of creativity!

Future Problem Solving

Great topics again this year for Future Problem Solving! The first was International Travel and the second was Sleep Patterns. The teams use the six-step problem solving process to solve future hypothetical scenarios and they are now preparing for the regional bowl in January. The topic for the regional bowl is Gamification. The teams are learning so much about the topic and how it is used in our society. The topic for the state bowl is Living in Poverty (for those teams that receive an invitation). It will be held in Ames in March.

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Prairie Point

A few notes from Mrs. Ling...

7th Grade

Students from 7th grade are off to a great start acclimating to their new Point teachers, classmates, and building. Students have been pulled from their clustered reading classes and:

  • Worked on their Personal Education Plans (PEP) - wrote goals and connected their goals to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)

  • Learned about the role of fluency and originality in their classwork and how to implement challenges throughout their school day in every content area

  • Read The Cat and The Coffee Drinkers by Max Steele from Junior Great Books (JGB) series and participated in Socratic Circle discussions to analyze the text and a mystery problem solving pre-reading exercise (boys in the photo - problem-solving)

  • Wrote their own “Everything I Needed to Learn I Learned in Kindergarten” poem based on their connections to two texts read in class, including JGB

  • Read Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut from JGB series to analyze intelligence and the role it can play in society and in student’s lives in school and outside of school

  • Some 7th-grade girls attended the “Open Minds Open Doors” girls STEM conference at Coe College and learned a plethora about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. (Girls who did not attend in 7th grade will be invited in 8th grade)

7th Grade students will begin working on analyzing strong speeches and most will write a speech titled “Just iMagine a World Without Optimist”, the Optimist Oratorical 2019-20 topic. The focus in December will be the power of personal voice and student’s ability to advocate for themselves and create change in their world.

8th Grade

8th grade is a special year. The last year of middle school and preparation for high school dominate much of student’s thinking. Students have all written four-year plans for high school. Throughout the year, I address any concerns and questions students have regarding their soon to be high school years. In addition, students have been pulled from their literacy class to:

  • Worked on their Personal Education Plans (PEP) - wrote goals and connected their goals to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)

  • Read Flowers for Algernon and discovered the role of intelligence in society and how it can impact student performance and self-esteem

  • Students participate in an intelligence study and test to discover how our minds work and how we interact as a result

  • Future City Competition - In addition to guest engineers and speakers from the City of Cedar Rapids, DNR, and DuPont, students visited the Fairfax Water Treatment facility to learn about this year’s theme “Tapping into Clean Water” for their Future City design.

  • Twenty-five 7th/8th grade girls attended “Open Minds Open Doors” girls STEM conference at Coe College and learned a plethora about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

9th Grade

High School is off to a smashing start for our G/T 9th graders. While I am not always able to pull G/T students from high school credit classes, I am able to meet and plan with their teachers as well as pull students from study hall. 9th graders have been:

  • Worked on their Personal Education Plans (PEP) - wrote goals and connected their goals to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)

  • Some students are working on extending their high school learning through an elective, extended learning challenge course, pursuing an area of passion and connecting it to a potential future career choice.

  • Twelve 9th grade girls attended “Go Further”, an Iowa State University girls Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) conference. Girls heard from leading women in the STEM field and experienced college classes to help them connect with their possible future careers.

  • 9th-grade students will have the opportunity to hear a guest speaker on November 21st who will introduce the Poetry Out Loud Competition. All G/T students are encouraged to attend from their English classes that day. In addition to the Poetry Out Loud Competition, Optimist Oratorical and Scholastic Art and Writing Competition will begin as well.

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Prairie High School

A few notes from Mrs. Danker...

Mrs. Danker offers support for students who seek extra challenge; need academic support; would like enrichment or seek opportunity above and beyond coursework; need advisement for college applications, scholarships, and career paths; want ideas for test prep; and/or have individual concerns that they want to share. ALL GT STUDENTS are encouraged to email Mrs. Danker or seek her out in the counseling office. All GT STUDENTS should be checking their GT GOOGLE CLASSROOM for information daily. ALL GT STUDENTS should have updated their Personal Education Plans for the year by now. Parents, School, and Community: thank you for supporting PHS GT!!

Congratulations to National Honor Society students who are new inductees!

10-12 GT Large Group: On intermittent Thursday mornings, students who can, and want to participate, gather together for 10-12 GT Large Group. Topics are selected based on student input and are aligned with Gifted and Talented Standards.

Students interested in participating, and students who would like to be a part of the leadership planning group should see Mrs. Danker. (See photo below)

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More Important Info From Mrs. Danker...

Please Check These Important Events!

Thank you to all parents who were able to attend conferences! I enjoyed visiting with many of you! Remember, you don’t need to wait until conferences to have conversations. Please contact me anytime at ldanker@crprairie.org or 319.848.5344 x 2027.

For Parents - An article from the NAGC on sensitivities and intensities

Family Dynamics (NAGC)

In what ways can we help our children who have sensitivities and intensities? The National Association for Gifted Children notes several strategies that families can use to support their gifted children:

Family Dynamics

Gifted children's sensitivities and intensities often influence family dynamics. However, other factors such as culture, traditions, parenting and communication styles, siblings and birth order, and extended family member attitudes also affect how a gifted child experiences relationships within a family. Parents play a significant role in teaching their children how to interact with others, both inside and outside the family unit.

It's important for parents to accept and love their gifted child unconditionally, no matter how demanding or difficult the child might be. Gifted children need to feel they have at a few adults in their lives who will always be there for them; parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are typically the first adults children turn to for support. Parents and family members should:

  • Listen to the child, as they work through their thoughts and ideas
  • Create a positive, open line of communication
  • Support the child’s interests and areas of passion
  • Praise the child appropriately—for effort, not the end result
  • Avoid words such as “the best,” “smartest,” “brilliant”
  • Avoid put downs, such as “lazy,” “messy,” “inconsiderate”
  • Help develop social skills
  • Remain patient
  • Laugh—humor is a great tool to defuse tense situations

NAGC Article