KCS GT Update

Summer Edition June 2020 Volume 2


It's officially summer! We hope you are able to enjoy the warm weather. We have compiled a list of resources and activities for you and your child. Since school is out, we focused on fun and unique ways to encourage your child to continue to think and be challenged.

KCS GT Parent Website

Here is the link to the Knox County GT Parent Website. There are many great articles to browse. Let us know if you have any questions.

GT in Knox County Schools

How Can We Raise THINKERS?

Traits of a Great Thinker

  • Raise important questions

  • Gather and assess relevant information

  • Test well-reasoned conclusions against relevant standards

  • Think open-mindedly, recognizing and assessing their assumptions, implications, and consequences

  • Communicate their ideas effectively

  • Figure out solutions to complex problems through a well-reasoned process

  • Consider other points of view/perspectives

What is Critical Thinking?

To think critically about something is to claim to first circle its meaning entirely—to walk all the way around it so that you understand it in a way that’s uniquely you. The thinker works with their own thinking tools–schema. Background knowledge. Sense of identity. Meaning Making is a process as unique to that thinker as their own thumbprint. There is no template.

Critical thinking is more than understanding something — it involves evaluation, critiquing, and a depth of knowledge that surpasses the subject itself and expands outward. It requires problem-solving, creativity, rationalization, and a refusal to accept things at face value.

It’s a willingness and ability to question everything. ~Picasso Creative Writing (CCC)

How can we raise critical thinkers? Allow them to question. Encourage them to stay curious. Model these behaviors so they can learn by watching you investigate the world!

Depth and Complexity

The Depth and Complexity Framework by Gould and Kaplan is the "how-to" in the classroom for eliciting complex thinking and applying knowledge to real-world experiences. The Knox County GT Department has been studying Depth and Complexity to better understand how to thread it into each and every lesson we teach to your child.

Gifted practitioner, Ian Byrd, shares insight on Depth and Complexity:

The overarching goal of Depth and Complexity is to move students towards expert

knowledge of content. Bette Gould and Sandra Kaplan looked to understand how an

expert understands their field differently from a layperson. Through interviews, they saw

that these experts knew things like repeating patterns, required rules, ethical

dilemmas, changes over time, and essential vocabulary within their field.

They identified eleven of these traits and assigned a name and a symbol to each. The idea

is that students can use these same ways of thinking to move closer to an expert’s level

of understanding.

Parents, to find out how you can incorporate more Depth and Complexity

into your family discussions, feel free to visit Gifted Guru, Lisa VanGemert’s website:


Summer Resources

Sudoku is one of the most popular puzzle games of all time. The goal of Sudoku is to fill a 9×9 grid with numbers so that each row, column and 3×3 section contain all of the digits between 1 and 9. As a logic puzzle, Sudoku is also an excellent brain game. Click here to see how fast you can complete one online.

Perplexors are logic puzzles that can be solved through deductive reasoning. Click here to give some of these a try.

Want challenging reading and math activities for your child this summer? Download the appropriate grade level pdf below.

Still wanting more...try out a Zine. Not sure what it is? Click on the link to find out.

Parent Resources


The NAGC created a helpful resource for parents and caregivers with strategies for helping and talking with their child about how our lives have changed because of CoVid-19. The article addresses the different feelings children may have right now. The article also includes behaviors parents may see with strategies on how to support children.

The Bucket List Family

Check out this awesome family. They've sold everything to spend two years traveling the world with their children. Each week they uploaded a new video of their adventures. We think both parents and kids will enjoy these.


Ijams Nature Center has all kinds of education programs. They have added online programs for kids. There are activities like different scavenger hunts, gardening projects, and craft programs for children.

Knox County GT Department

The KCS Gifted and Talented department strives to create a SAFE environment for each other, our teachers, students, schools and parents where we value Support, Advocacy, Flexibility, and Empathy.

As instructional coaches, we will meet each teacher where they are as we seek to create a SHIFT in service delivery and instructional practice in order for every teacher to feel confident in providing challenging and engaging instruction requiring students to persevere through complex tasks.

As gifted practitioners, we will meet each student where they are as we seek to create a SHIFT in student efficacy in order for every student to feel confident in participating in complex tasks, advocating for themselves, and utilizing a growth mindset.