GT Academy Newsletter
Sablatura Middle School / Pearland ISD
August / September / October 2019
We're off to a great start!
- Get Organized - Middle school is a time to develop independence. Students are expected take ownership of their learning as they pay attention in class, ask questions, and keep up with assignments. GTA students are encouraged to keep assignments organized in a zipper binder with color coded folders for each class. Binders and backpacks should be cleaned out at least once a week.
- Complete and Turn In Homework - In addition to keeping assignments and supplies organized, students must complete and turn in homework. This can be a challenge for many gifted students, so using a planner to record due dates, especially with long term projects like the TPSP, is critical for success. It is best to learn to manage class time so that classwork does not become homework.
- Keep up with Tech - GTA students use many online tools and programs. 5th and 6th graders complete ten ALEKS lessons each week as part of their math grade, and are assigned math videos through EdPuzzle and Edmodo as new topics are introduced. Students are expected to take notes while watching videos and add to their math notebook. 6th graders have a weekly STEMSCOPES assignment as part of their science homework. All students use Edmodo and Office 365 to produce, collaborate, and assess. Other online tools frequently used include FlipGrid, Socrative, Quizziz, Trello and No Red Ink.
- Get Involved - Middle school is a great time to meet new friends and try something new. One way to do that is to get involved in clubs and competitions. Our students are involved in many ways, including Quiz Bowl, Future Problem Solving, Chess, Robotics, Art Club, Student Council, Book Club, Drone Club, and more. We love to celebrate our success with these clubs, so make sure you follow us on Twitter @SabGTA and read this and future GTA Newsletters!
Mini Course Field Experiences
This group of students travelled to the University of Houston for their field experience. They toured and participated in demonstrations and hands on activities in several STEM labs on campus, including Chemistry, Engineering, Geology and Astronomy. We look forward to returning to the University of Houston for the Mars Rover Celebration in the spring!
Students in the Horticulture course collaborated with Community Outreach students to create flower arrangements that were delivered to residents at the Windsong Care Center. They visited Maas Nursery in Seabrook for a tour and to purchase several of beautiful plants.
This group stayed busy throughout the the first mini course session. In addition to leading the campus "Go Gold" campaign for Childhood Cancer Awareness month, they made keychains to deliver to our PISD transportation department and police officers.
The Art of Math
Students explored the connection of math and art through the concepts of symmetry, tessellations, origami, parabolic curves, and optical illusions. They spent the field experience day painting and preparing some of the artwork for International Festival.
Junk Box Wars
Thomas Edison said, “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” Students in Junk Box Wars did an amazing job creating catapults, super structures, and even went pumpkin chuckin’. We visited Rice University and finished the course with the Magnificent Marble Maze exhibition.
Dungeons & Dragons
Students created imaginary characters for heroic adventures as they learned the rules of the D&D game. They created game pieces with the owner of Bedrock City Comics in Sugar Land and learned more about the game from GT Academy alumnus Mitchell Jackson as he shared some of his games pieces.
The Art of Math
Junk Box Wars
Dungeons & Dragons
Chess is always such a fun mini-course! Students learn advanced moves, practice good sportsmanship, participate in tournaments and host a community chess event. We wish this could be a year long mini-course!
After learning about the function of parts of the brain and eye, and bones in the body, our future surgeons and neuroscientists visited the Houston Health Museum. Thanks to support from GTAB, students were able to extend their knowledge through dissections of sheep brains and cow eyes. Listen to them sing the brainstem song on the link below!
GTA Students Begin Texas Performance Standards Projects
Currently, fifth graders are developing their guide questions and will research for several weeks before writing their research paper in their language arts class. Topics include the declining bee population, food desserts, immigration, and colonization of other planets. During the second semester, they will design and sew a quilt. Parents and grandparents are invited to monitor the sewing process after Spring Break. Those interested are encouraged to let teachers know.
Sixth grade students have been researching and will begin writing their papers soon. Steve Jobs, MD Anderson, West Point and the Red Cross are some of the topics being researched. They have several choices for their final products, and will act as a museum docent as they share at the GT Academy Student Showcase on April 22nd.
Parents that missed the October 17th presentation are encouraged to view the powerpoint slides below. Important dates and deadlines are included.
Team Purdue Visits the International Quilt Show
Students Attend First TMSCA Meet of the Season
The next competition will be in Atascosita. All interested students are encouraged to attend the practice meets. Sixth graders who qualify at upcoming meets can attend the state competition in San Antonio in April. We always appreciate parent help at the meets. See Mrs. Needler for more information!
Executive Functioning Skills
Executive functions are like the CEO of the brain. They help us plan, organize, make decisions, shift between situations or thoughts, and control our emotions and impulsivity. Kids rely on their executive functions for everything from getting ready in the morning to managing a long term project and picking priorities. *When working properly, executive functions help us:
— Make plans
— Keep track of time and finish work on a deadline
— Manage more than one task at once
— Prepare for upcoming tasks or events
— Evaluate ideas and reflect on our work
— Change our minds and make mid-course corrections while thinking, reading and writing
— Ask for help or seek more information when we need it
— Wait to speak until we’re called on
Students in the Brain Games mini course are learning how to develop these skills. We started out with a great video from Seth Perler (www.sethperler.com) that explained Jospeh Renzulli's Three Ring Concept of Giftedness. Students were reminded that is is not enough to have above average ability and creativity, but we must also have task initiation to work to our potential as gifted students. Support for autonomy, and well-structured and consistent rules can help kids develop strong executive function skills over the long run. Take a look at the video below.
*“Understanding Executive Functioning Issues” Amanda Morin, Understood
Friday Night Chess & Pasadena Chess Tournament
Josh is an awesome GTA student! His teachers admire his positive attitude and genuine interest in learning new things. He even found a great science lab to share with Ms. Singleton. He works hard, is responsible, and is respectful to his classmates. He is on the TCEA "Bumble Bees" robotics team and also participates in TMSCA competitions. Keep up the great work, Josh!
Teacher: Mrs. VanderWoude
Mrs. V is always smiling and willing to lend a helping hand. On Tuesday mornings her super awesome classroom, that feels like a comfy living room, is overflowing with kids playing chess, and on Monday afternoons she is coaching our Quiz Bowl team. She has led our team to victory two years in a row! She is also the Queen of TPSP and International Festival. We are lucky to have you, Mrs. V!
Parent: Mrs. Sherman
Mrs. Sherman is such an asset to our Sablatura Robotics program. She is the parent of two GTA students, Andy and Joey. An engineer by profession, she has been our mentor for three years. She has dedicated countless hours after school and on weekends to lead our teams to success. We appreciate you, Mrs. Sherman!
Teacher: Mrs. VanderWoude
Parent: Mrs. Sherman
Current fundraiser opportunities for the GT Academy:
- Food Trucks and Drinks at the International Festival - Our Quiz Bowl team will sell drinks at the Sablatura International Festival on November 21st. They will also receive a portion of the proceeds from the Food Trucks, so stop by and grab a delicious to eat with your family that evening!
- Poinsettia Sale - Sablatura Robotics is selling beautiful poinsettias again this year. Funds raised help with competition fees and purchasing new parts. Order through Robotics team members. Pick up at Sablatura on December 10th.
- GTAB Ham Sale - See flyer attachment below. First pick up day is November 21st in back Sablatura parking lot.
Don't Miss the Sablatura International Festival!
Mark Your Calendar
November 21- Sablatura International Festival 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
November 22 - Poinsettia Orders Due
November 25-29 - Thanksgiving Break
December 4 - Bee Hive (for Spelling Bee representatives and alternates) 3:50-5:00
December 10 - Poinsettia Delivery 4:00-6:30 p.m.
December 13 - Sablatura Spelling Bee 9:00 a.m.