GT Academy Newsletter

Sablatura Middle School / Pearland ISD

August / September / October 2019

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We're off to a great start!

Now that we have settled in for a great school year - learning new locker combinations, adjusting to new schedules, and meeting new friends - it is important to maintain the momentum by remembering these helpful hints for GT Academy success:

  • 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

On October 4th, students boarded busses and headed out for field experiences related to their first round of mini courses. Chess and Junk Box Wars students travelled to Rice University for a tour of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen and a few rounds of chess with Rice students. Robotics students enjoyed collaborating with Century 21 students as they toured the STEM spaces at the University of Houston. Students in the Horticulture course visited Maas Nursery in Seabrook, Community Outreach made several stops, and Anatomy students extended their learning at the Houston Health Museum. Read more about their experiences below.

GTA Students Begin Texas Performance Standards Projects

Each year, GTA students take on the exciting yet challenging task of the Texas Performance Standards Project. Fifth graders choose a topic of interest to research and then work collaboratively to design and sew a quilt for the "Story Quilt" project. Sixth graders choose a person, group or idea that has had an impact on our society for the "Sudden Impact" project.

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.

Developing a Research Question

Team Purdue Visits the International Quilt Show

It has become a tradition for the GTA fifth graders to attend the International Quilt Show each year at the George R. Brown Convention Center. It has proven to be an excellent opportunity for them to view the beauty and creativity of award winning quilts from around the world with the hope that it inspires ideas when they begin planning their own masterpieces for TPSP.

Students Attend First TMSCA Meet of the Season

Alan placed second in General Math among 6th-8th graders at the first TMSCA competition of the season at Clements High School. He is an outstanding math student; working hard in class, excelling at ALEKS, and accelerating his math skills during weekly TMSCA sessions before school. We are proud of you Alan!

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 ( 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

3-Ring Conception of Giftedness, Joseph Renzulli

Friday Night Chess & Pasadena Chess Tournament

Sablatura students, families and friends were invited to enjoy a game of chess on October 18th. Students in the chess mini course planned, organized and provided snacks for the "Friday Night Chess" event. Then, on November 9th, several students joined Pasadena ISD students in a chess tournament. Leetyan was the 1st place winner and Jacob placed 4th! Other GTA students in the top ten were Katherine, Will and Amudhan. Sablatura had the top 5th grade team overall. See Mrs. V if you are interested in the next tournament!

GTA Spotlight

GTA Fundraisers

We are very appreciative of the parents and others who support our fundraising efforts. Recently, GTAB purchased new electric pencil sharpeners for each classroom, beanbags, a class set of novels for 5th grade, headphones, organizational bins for TPSP supplies, and flowers for the Horticulture mini course.

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!

One of the highlights of our year is the Sablatura International Festival. Families are invited to stroll through the elaborately decorated hallways featuring student artwork and research that reflects the culture, customs and geography of countries around the world. Come enjoy an African dance company performance in the cafeteria as you eat dinner from one of the food trucks. The book fair will be open in the library, and there will be crafts and activities to enjoy. Hope to see you there. It is definitely an event you do not want to miss.

Mark Your Calendar

November 14 - GTA Parent Info Night (for prospective GTA students) 6:30-7:30 p.m.

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.

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