January Action Update

NMS--Mrs. Pennington

Majors Are Starting!

The students' favorite project is starting!!

Ok, maybe writing a research paper isn't the students' favorite project in Action, but it is a time for them to study a topic of their interest in depth and share that information in written form.

Steps in the Majors:

1. Project Proposal--Students have 4 class days to pick a topic, research to find good quality resources for that topic, and make sure that they actually do like the topic. To work through this part they complete the Project Proposal. It has a brief description of their topic and a list of 6 or more resources that they have already found. To help them be successful in writing a good quality paper, they must justify each resource as a good quality resource and describe the uniqueness of the information.

2. Notes--students must share with me their digital or handwritten notes. Notes should be in the students own words or have quotation marks around portions that are word for word.

3. Outline--This is a very brief outline to serve as a road map for actual writing.

4. First draft--Students must have the word count (8th--2000 words, 7th--1750 words, and 6th--1500 words) completed by the first draft due date.

5. Peer Edit--We will take 4 or more class days for students to read and peer edit classmate's papers. They will experience the information and help each other so that the final draft can be good quality writing.

Creative Day--Designing a Mancala Board

I love the game Mancala for our Action class for a number of reasons: it is easy to learn since there are only about 4 rules, it is a quick strategy game to play, and to win you have to plan ahead and think about the other players point of view. So this last fall I decided that I wanted to have a class set of Mancala boards. Being a little bit of a cheapskate, I wondered if it was possible to make our own and I decided that it might be possible to make a flat Mancala board using felt and paint.

Instead of designing one myself, I gave the students the dimensions of the felt that I had purchased and had them design and test possible options for a flat board. They looked at the 3 boards I already have in my room, drew up their own boards, and played them to see if the boards were functional. I was impressed by the outside the box thinking that many of the groups used to change the layout and shapes to make it more functional than a regular board.

Recent Articles For Affective Needs

Gifted students have so many talents and abilities that can make their life amazing, but sometimes those same abilities that help them learn quickly and make connections between thoughts and ideas, can also cause situations that can get in the way of their success. Because of this, supporting their emotional needs is necessary part of gifted class curriculum.

We have several strategies to help with affective needs, but one I like to use is to have students read articles about affective needs topics. When they read and highlight information in the articles, they can personally interact with the information. Since there are not a lot of articles about gifted issues written for adolescents, I tend to have more luck finding articles written for a parent audience. We always discuss that they are written for a parent audience, but that they can benefit by reading them.

With the 6th and 7th grade students we discussed stress management. Below is a link to and article from a group called SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of Gifted) that we read as one of the beginning activities in the stress management unit. It is one of my favorite articles and I like to share it every year or two with parents.

Overexcitabilities and the Gifted--SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of Gifted)

Another explanation for overexcitabilities that I just came across this morning. I love this way of explaining them.

Calvin: The Unexpected Gifted Kid

As the new year began, one of the articles that I had the 8th graders read was the one linked right below about existential depression in gifted individuals. I think that this works best with this grade level because we spend time in class future careers and discussing topics such as global warming and recycling.

Existential Depression in Gifted Individuals

Summer Opportunities for Gifted Kids

There are some great programs during the summer for gifted kids. Two of the most popular ones for middle school kids are through College For Kids at William Woods University and Drury University Summerscape. Scholarships are available for both programs.

Drury University SummerScape

College for Kids

Discover Engineering Day (targeted to elementary students)

Saturday, Feb. 27th, 12-3pm

Plaster Center for Free Enterprise and Business--Springfield, MO

I recently got an email about this event coming up in February in Springfield. It is targeted for elementary students, but I still wanted to pass it along.

COST: FREE TO ALL, no RSVP required.

INFORMATION: Every year in February the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE) hosts a “Discover Engineering” event targeted to elementary-aged students and people elementary-aged at heart. The event has many different activities and booths that show different aspects of engineering.

LOCATION: The Plaster Center for Free Enterprise and Business

Development, downtown Springfield 406 N. Boonville Ave.

PARKING: In the parking lot on the east side of Boonville and Mill Street intersection.

CONTACT: If you have questions or are interested in having a

display or booth contact: Matthew Pierson (417) 837-2320 or


Mrs. Pennington

Conference TIme--3rd Hour--9:42-10:30