GREAT THINKING THURSDAY
For Klein ISD Educators of Gifted
April 11, 2019
Check This Out #KleinGT Forever Learners!
Building GT Community at Strack and Benfer
By Lindsay Roberts
In middle school, finding your purpose greatly revolves around finding a place to fit in. It is a time to try new electives and clubs and get to know new people. Finding that group of friends that you can count on and that accepts you for who you are is what every kid wants. Gifted and Talented kids are no exception, but sometimes they find it harder than others to fit in with their peers.
Being a GT advocate who does not meet with all gifted students throughout the day, I knew I had to approach the concept of community a little differently than others. I had to purposely seek out opportunities to build relationships and create a sense of belonging within my GT students. To accomplish this, I created a “student leadership team” with the intention of planning social events. I figured that if I gave them ownership of the planning, they would be more inclined to participate in the activities. They planned a pumpkin carving party and a trip to the local skating rink in the fall. In December, they hosted a school-wide tree decorating party, which included many of our school's clubs and organizations, and was a huge success. This spring, they planned an ice cream social, which also helps to promote a new business owned by one of our Strack families.
Lastly, I wanted to work on building relationships with our feeder elementary schools. Our National Jr. Honor Society tutors at our neighboring school Benfer, and our GT students have gone over to Benfer to engage in Destination Imagination challenges with their GT students. In May, we are planning a field trip that includes our Strack “GT Leaders” and all the incoming GT fifth graders from Benfer, Haude, and Lemm. We are trying to create a mentorship program with these kids, helping new students find a safe place where they belong before they even get here.
Middle school years are tough, but when you have friends that you can count on and that are interested in the same things you are, it makes these odd years a little more bearable. Strack is working hard to build relationships and help kids find their purpose within the their peer groups, school, and the larger community.
35 AP subjects will receive Course and Exam Description (CED) binders this year. These binders refine and clarify the scope of content that can be assessed on the AP Exam for college credit, and provide teachers with a suggested topic and skill sequence they can adapt to their needs rather than having to build from scratch. Order your free copy at this link: FREE AP BINDER
AP teachers in the United States who have completed the AP Course Audit can request a free copy of the binder by January 31, 2020. New AP teachers should wait to request their binder until their Course Audit form for 2019-20 has been approved by their administrator. CED binders will be mailed beginning in June 2019.
Anyone, worldwide, can download these materials beginning late May 2019.
Note: CED binders aren’t available for AP Computer Science Principles, AP Seminar, and AP Research, because those subjects follow a different curricular model than the other AP subjects.
GT in High School - Landfall Happenings
By Julie Shehata
Klein Cain Teacher
My GT Advisory Team started something new at Klein Cain this year. We are a brand-new campus, and so we decided to try another brand-new idea - an entirely GT advisory period (Landfall, as we call it). While other students around campus are working on remediation and tutoring, we wanted to give our gifted students a chance they’d never had in high school before - time during the school day to be with a large group of their gifted peers and pursue academic activities.
We started off with a broad net. We cast out and drew in every GT student on our campus, all 126 of them! We separated these learners into three groups by their identified gifts in the core content areas. Three lucky people, including me, were chosen to be the GT Landfall teachers. We were so excited! So our Landfalls will have up to 45 students? No problem! They’re gifted kids! We can handle it!
Our biggest challenge: we went in without a plan beyond “Let’s do this!” and space became an issue. Over 100 kids in three rooms spread across campus, and we could only get together if the LGI was open. I set up a Schoology Group and invited all the gifted kids - communications established! We hit a second challenge-this time from the kids (and their parents), who we were so excited to gather in this new and unique way, rebelled at the idea of having “more work to do.” After a few meetings, including a parent night, our course was plotted: this would be an OPTIONAL gathering of gifted during this time. Students could still use their Landfall to study or go to other teachers, while we just asked them to commit two days a week to pursuing a passion without a defined product. By second semester, we had a group of dedicated gifted students who made the choice to be in our GT Landfall.
Several of our students began producing what turned out to be amazing and ongoing projects. Students were and still are exploring everything from music to finance, from engineering to theatre, from careers in the medical industry to large-scale art.
One of our sophomore students, Chris Price, designed a webpage called “Equity Brother - Equity Tips from a Brother” (www.equitybrother.com) and is sharing his financial acumen with the world. I encourage you to sign up for his newsletter - it’s highly educational.
Junior Alex Etienne took things a step further. Alex is an artist at heart, and wanted to paint a large-scale mural. He chose a wall at his home as his canvas. With his mother’s permission, Alex began what I can only hope will be his first great large-scale work. In Landfall, he plans and sketches and researches techniques unique to the large formal. Then he paints at home.
Sometimes, we don’t even see our Landfall kiddos during the week - they are working with other teachers on advanced projects that we can’t help with, like juniors Linden Settles and Corbin Braband, who are working with our amazing Robotics & Engineering teacher, Joe Malchar. They just attended the state Skills USA competition and placed second - a stellar performance, especially considering that our robotics program is less than two years old.
With our success, we also had some students who lost interest. George Fakes, a junior, is passionate about improving the experience of GT students in high school and set out to take surveys and collect data, only to discover there is an administrative research procedure to make that happen in a school setting. However, he wasn’t daunted - despite running out of time this year, he plans to continue pushing forward next year.
At Cain, we are growing and learning every day. I hope that we’ve begun something new that will grow as word about these amazing gifted students and their talents is shared. As with any new endeavor, There will be challenges and obstacles - this year has been an invaluable learning experience - but this dedicated time during the school day, this GT Homeroom, has so much potential. We never know which future bright star will be sitting in that room, daydreaming, just waiting to be given a chance to let their dazzling light shine.
For Sharing with Gifted Learners.....
So many of our gifted learners completed research passion projects regarding endangered animal species-we'd thought we share this amazing compilation of wildlife endangered in every US State.
Math Teacher's Life Summed by the Gifted Students He Mentored
Professor Formerly from Lamar University-Beaumont, Texas
Credit and Source:
George Berzsenyi is a retired math professor living in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. Most people have never heard of him.
But Berzsenyi has had a remarkable impact on American science and mathematics. He has mentored thousands of high school students, including some who became among the best mathematicians and scientists in the country.
I learned about Berzsenyi from a chance conversation with a scientist named Vamsi Mootha.
In the late 1980s, when Mootha was in high school in Beaumont, Texas, he won a science fair. A few days later, a letter arrived in the mail.
"It said, 'Dear Vamsi, Congratulations on winning the Houston Science Fair, this is quite the accomplishment,' " Mootha recalls.
"But then when I started reading the next paragraph, I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach," Mootha says.
The letter went on to say that the math problem young Vamsi solved to win the fair had been solved hundreds of years earlier.
"Of course, the letter went on, 'You can't be expected to know this because you're only a sophomore in high school, and perhaps you haven't had the appropriate mentorship ... If you're interested in solving original problems, why don't you write back to me.' "
Read on here NPR Weekend Edition Sunday