Clarke County Gifted News

Encourage, Inspire, Empower

First Weeks: It's All About Relationships

We began our year with relationship building activities and delving deep into the meaning of teamwork. Students created a Voki Avatar introducing themselves to their fellow classmates. Combining the use of graphic organizers to organize pre-writing thoughts and discussion of character traits versus personality traits assisted students in writing a thoughtful paragraph about who they are. The Voki app provided students the opportunity to be creative using symbolism to attach meaning to color, shapes and objects directly related to their character or physical trait.

In addition, we developed our own working definition of teamwork through Pixar videos and a good old-fashioned team challenge. Through the challenge students were engaged in communication, cooperation, collaboration, perseverance, redesigning and rethinking - all that we hope our students would use to prepare them for the 21st century world.

Team Work Makes the Dream Work

Our Classroom Reveals!

Students are enjoying the flexible seating that was donated to both of our classrooms at Boyce and D.G. Cooley. Thank you so very much for providing the opportunity for students to experience the joy of learning in a way that is comfortable to them. As you can see the students have done a fabulous job of picking furniture that works for them! In addition, a big thank you for the dry erase markers. They are an invaluable tool for us when we partner with a friend to solve some quick math and word brain teasers to warm-up our brain.

Road Rally Design Challenge Starting Off in September (2nd and 3rd Grade)

Road Rally is an engineering design process challenge. Second and third grade students will need to understand the design process in order to design and build a self-propelled vehicle which can move two feet in a straight line. Sounds easy except when you need to stay within a budget of $26.00 and only use the supplies which the Pit Stop Authority Parts Store offers. This cross-curricular unit will require students to generate questions, read text on what makes things move, design and build, run test trials, organize information and market their product. So, students...start your engines!
Big picture

Engineering for Good Coming Up in September (4th and 5th grade)

The Last Straw Challenge with Ocean Conservancy is encouraging people to skip the straw at restaurants but how does plastic really impact our environment? Fourth and fifth grade students will be engaging in a project-based unit during enrichment time focused on developing solutions for the negative impact of plastic on the environment. Students use the engineering design process to ask questions, define a problem, brainstorm a multitude of solutions, develop prototypes and re-design. The project will culminate with students sharing their solutions and research through a variety of multi-media public service announcements.

Gifted Services: A Two-Tiered Approach

A two-tiered approach for gifted services is being implemented through differentiated instruction within the classroom and a pull-out cross curricular enrichment program. The gifted services for your students might look like this but certainly are not limited to:

  1. In the classroom (1-2 times per week during Power Up):

Meet with students within the context of the classroom either extending the instruction which is occurring or providing guidance on project-based learning activities within the area of specific academic ability.

Language Arts

Using the CLEAR curriculum units from the University of Virginia focusing on fiction and nonfiction (for Fourth grade) and research and rhetoric (for Fifth grade) which flows into the standards of learning taught within the classroom providing the depth and complexity supporting gifted students.


Third through fifth grade will be using performance-based projects

Math is all about problem solving and combined with project-based learning, it becomes real-life and therefore relevant. Because many students find math difficult it does not mean it is a higher level of thinking. Challenging students to analyze, evaluate and create ensure that students truly understand math concepts because they can apply them in any situation.

2. Enrichment Units (2 times per week for approximately 45 minutes)

These units are designed to introduce the Engineering Design Process (fall) and the Wheel of Scientific Investigation and Reasoning (spring) to provide students with strategies or tools to use when investigating projects like a disciplinarian for the GRIPS program at the middle school level.

Boyce Back to School Night

Tuesday, Sep. 11th, 6pm

Boyce Elementary School

I will be present at the Boyce Back to School Night to provide an overview of what will be coming up for the gifted students during Enrichment groups on Monday and Tuesday. Hope to see you there!

D.G. Cooley Elementary School

Tuesday, Sep. 11th, 7:15pm

34 Westwood Road

Berryville, VA

I will be present at the Cooley Back to School Night to provide an overview of what will be coming up for the gifted students during Enrichment groups on Thursday and Friday. Hope to see you there!