GT Times

January, 2020

Welcome to the newsletter of the Gifted and Talented Department for the Egg Harbor Township School District! This newsletter will be published once per month, and you will find information about all of the fantastic activities we do with our students. We will also post upcoming events and important dates at the bottom along with links to each of our web pages. Enjoy!

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Alder MS Crowns a Spelling Bee Champ!

The 2020 Alder Spelling Bee took place ​on Wednesday, January 29th in the LGI, with a total of sixty eight spellers competing. Spellers included the 6th grade GT students as well as 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students who qualified to compete. After twenty rounds and a total of 358 words, a champion was finally determined. The winner was eighth grader and former GT student Jessica Rondinella spelling the word avocado. Second place went to seventh grader Victor Nguyen, and third place was a tie between Andrew Lisa and MacKenzie Finn, all of whom were former GT students as well!


As the school champion, Jessica will move on to compete against other school champions at the South Jersey Spelling Bee in March. Good luck, Jessica!


Photo: Alder MS Assistant Principal and Pronouncer Ms. Perone, Jessica Rondinella, and Mr. Warner

Contantinescu Is Fernwood Spelling Bee Champ!

Fernwood also held its Spelling Bee, this one coming on January 31st in the Fernwood auditorium. The 75 spellers were made up of the 6th grade GT students plus other interested 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. The Bee lasted for twenty-one intense rounds and a total of 334 words before 7th grader and former GT student Alex Contantinescu was declared the champion when he spelled folklorist! The next four places all went to current 6th grade GT students. Belina Zhang was the runner-up. Third place was a tie between Rishan Rashed and Alex Derbyshire, while fifth place went to Olivia Liang. They all did a fantastic job and any one of them could have won the title.

Alex will join Alder champ Jessica Rondinella and other school champions from throughout South Jersey at the South Jersey Spelling Bee on March 21st. The winner there will receive an expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee!


Photo: Fernwood MS Principal Mr. Fricke with Alex Contantinescu, Belina Zhang, Alex Derbyshire, Rishan Rashed, Olivia Liang, and Mr. Warner.

Lenovo Travelling Storybook Contest Team Update

The Lenovo Future Academy Traveling Storybook contest team recently received some awesome swag from Lenovo for their efforts in the contest! Team members Anastassia Mytnik, Madison Gladney, Brianna LaChina, Jason DeNafo, Ben Gettings, and Steve Slusarski received hats, stickers, popsockets, and USB flashdrives, as well as a backpack and water bottles.

We are still waiting to see if we are chosen. The top 10 best submissions from across the country will have their story professionally animated. Then, a nationwide vote will be held to determine the Grand Prize Winner, who will get a complete technology center upgrade in their school, for free! Keep your fingers crossed!

Exploring and Experimenting with Simple Machines

First grade small group Pep classes at Davenport have been exploring and experimenting with simple machines. First, students explored wheels and axles by creating their own clothespin racers and using inclined planes to see who’s car went the furthest and the fastest. Then, students experimented with pulleys and gears, finding that simple machines really do help make life easier!

How Newton's Laws of Motion Work!

Second grade small group Pep classes at Davenport delved into Newton’s Laws this cycle. In January, we studied and investigated Newton’s Second Law by experimenting with force and mass after creating Marshmallow Poppers. Students popped marshmallows, rubber balls and empty eggs to resolve the amount of force needed to hit a target depending upon the objects’ various masses.


The Pep students also designed and constructed Balloon Cars to demonstrate Newton’s 3rd Law. Races were held, distances measured and winners determined in this challenging and fun activity!

Mythology From Around the World!

Check out the stories and photos below from the 3rd Grade GT classes at Davenport, Slaybaugh and Swift Schools. All of the students at each school have just completed an interactive unit on Mythology!

Davenport’s Gifted and Talented students have been investigating Mythology and how it connects the past to the present. The students have examined myths, characters, allusions, themes, elements, and constellations to name a few. Each student then chose a character from mythology to research, build a project and costume upon, and emulate in first person point of view, for Davenport’s Mythology Living Museum.

Slaybaugh GT students hosted their Mythology Museum from January 27th-31st. Each student selected a character to bring to life through the monologues they wrote and costumes they created. Greek, Roman, Indian, Norse and Filipino mythologies were represented. The students also created an exhibit room with interactive stations for the 3rd grade classes to participate in. Topics included astronomy, geography, allusions, and word origins. We ended the week with parent visitation on Friday. A great job by all!

Where else can you see Zeus, Medusa, Hera, Heracules and Athena come to life but in a classroom of students who love Greek mythology! Swift students learned about the Greek culture by studying their history, allusions, constellations, the Olympics, architecture, Greek roots of words and of course their wild myths! Then they each chose a god or goddess to portray in our living museum. They researched all about their god/godesses, designed a costume and prop and wrote a monologue explaining what they learned about their god/goddess. During Museum Day, students took turns giving tours outside our classroom while others were statues that came to life inside the classsroom. Families and friends enjoyed their day at our museum!

Microscopic Discoveries!

The 5th grade GT students are working with digital microscopes to investigate a variety of items and organisms. This is an extension of a project they did last year, and gives them another opportunity to master the use of digital microscopes. Through the project, they will be looking at, photographing, and learning about dust, hair, soil, preserved insects, preserved pollen, and pond organisms. Stay tuned for a look at their data and research!

Simple Machines at Swift

During the winter cycle of Swift’s small-group PEP, 1st grade students studied simple machines and how they are used to make work easier. In building their machines they learned to look for the type of force being applied to their machine. To learn about inclined planes, students observed how roller coasters work and then built marble runs using the Engineering Design Process. After learning about the wheel and axle, students worked in pairs to create ferris wheels. Their last project-based learning experience involved creating an example of a lever, the catapult. After construction, students had to determine the best place for the load (pom pom) to be placed in order for it to travel the farthest distance.

Graphing Kingdoms and Phylums

The 4th grade GT students have been learning about cells. They began with Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic cells and then learned how scientists classify organisms. From there, began to work with specific single and multi-celled organisms by doing a virtual pond dip. They investigated 10 unique organisms such as Amoeba and Actinosphaerium, and had to determine the kingdom and phylum for each.

Once these young scientists gathered their data on the organisms, they were tasked with creating a bar graph and pie chart using Google Sheets to display their findings. From here, the students will now begin creating a scientific journal that will be used to gather data from their microscopic investigations of actual, living microscopic organisms!

Preparing for the Spelling Bee!

The 5th grade GT students have been preparing for participation in the upcoming 13th Annual Spelling Bee at Miller! Besides having study materials on their Google Classroom, the students have also been practicing in class each week. Besides spelling words, they are learning how the Bee works, where to sit, how to move from place to place, what questions they are permitted to ask the pronouncer, and what happens at the end of the Bee. As a result, all students will be well prepared for their Bee on February 19th!

Balloon Cars & Newton's Laws of Motion

Swift’s 2nd grade PEP students explored Newton’s Laws of Motion through project-based learning. Students participated in a variety of activities that demonstrated each of the laws. Then, following the Engineering Design Process, students designed, built and improved cars powered by air in their balloon. They raced their cars and measured the distance their car traveled to the nearest ½ inch. Students also created Marshmallow Poppers to continue applying the Laws of Motion.


To the left are the students whose cars traveled the furthest distances:

1st place - Ivannah Madan; 38ft 4 ½ in.

2nd place - Neena Peter; 35 ft 7 in.

3rd place - Bridget Zanes; 33ft. 4 in.

Parachutes Are A Drag!

First grade PEP students from Slaybaugh School applied their learning about material properties and drag as they created parachutes. After testing their parachutes, the students identified what made some designs more successful than others. They were then given the opportunity to redesign and test again. The second tests resulted in huge improvements. Well done!

Scientific Inquires and Investigations

The 4th grade GT students are preparing to do an investigation of microscopic organisms utilizing digital microscopes. Before they begin, they, like all great scientists, must create a journal for all of their findings. They will be using Google Slides to create this journal, and, at the end of the project, will be presenting their findings to their peers.

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Upcoming Events!

Check out our upcoming events below! Be sure to check the school name for each event!

Miller School

WordMaster Challenge Test #2

The 4th and 5th graders will be taking the second WordMaster Challenge test on February 13th and 14th. They have study materials that were posted on Google Classroom in December to help them prepare.

13th Annual Miller School Spelling Bee

Wednesday, Feb. 19th, 9am

2 Alder Avenue

Egg Harbor Township, NJ

The 13th Annual Miller School Spelling Bee will take place in the cafeteria beginning at 9:00. All 5th Grade GT students will be participating. All parents and grandparents are welcome, but no small children please.

Fernwood Avenue Middle School

Fernwood Avenue Middle School Science Fair

Friday, March 6th, 11:30am

4034 Fernwood Avenue

Egg Harbor Township, NJ

The Fernwood Science Fair is open to parents at 11:30 AM. Please stop by and check out our great projects, then stay for the awards ceremony from 12:00 to 12:30 PM!

Alder Avenue Middle School

Alder Avenue Middle School Science Fair

Wednesday, March 11th, 11:30am

25 Alder Avenue

Egg Harbor Township, NJ

The Alder Science Fair is open to parents at 11:30am. Please stop by and check out our great projects, then stay for the awards ceremony from 12:00 to 12:30 PM!

Click the link below for our individual web pages. Contact information for each teacher is found on their sites.

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