GT Times

January/February 2021

Welcome to the newsletter of the Gifted and Talented Department for the Egg Harbor Township School District! This newsletter will be published once per month, and you will find information about all of the fantastic activities we do with our students. We will also post upcoming events and important dates at the bottom along with links to each of our web pages. Enjoy!

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To Bee or Not to Bee, That Is the Question!

P-A-N-D-E-M-I-C...now, there’s a word we all know how to spell! Thankfully, though, the pandemic did not stop the 5th grade Gifted and Talented students at the Miller School in EHT from competing in the school’s 14th Annual Spelling Bee, with the winner going on to compete for a chance to participate in the virtual Scripps National Spelling Bee. The students, under the guidance of 4th and 5th Grade Gifted and Talented teacher, Miss Kelly Hunt, began preparing for the Bee in mid-December. Prior to the Spelling Bee, students are given study materials directly from the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Scripps also provides the School Pronouncer’s Guide that is used for the Bee. The first 225 words in the Guide can be found on the School Spelling Bee Study List. After that, words included in the School Pronouncer’s Guide are taken from the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary. These same words are used throughout the country by anyone holding a school spelling bee. Normally, our Bee is held in mid-February, but it had to be moved up several weeks due to covid-related issues that led to the canceling of the regional bee which is where our school champion would next compete. Instead, Scripps will be holding a county-level online test that will be available between February 22 and February 26 to school champions. The top finishers on the county-level online test will advance to a virtual final bee on March 27th. With our District being on a hybrid schedule, Miss Hunt and school administrators developed a plan to afford all 5th grade GT students the opportunity to participate as in past years. To do this, three preliminary Bees were held. For students who are in Cohorts A or B, their Bees were held in the cafeteria where social distancing protocols were practiced. The Cohort V (virtual) students had their Bee via Google Meet. After three incredible preliminaries that all came down to two students going head-to-head for the chance to go to the finals, three winners emerged: Cohort A representative Joseph Hoang, Cohort V representative Shreevas Arun Prasad, and Cohort B representative Colton McGlynn. The Championship Spell-Off was blended live and virtual, and it was live-streamed to the GT homerooms so all could watch. After 12 rounds of spelling, Colton McGlynn was crowned Miller School champion after correctly spelling mushroom! Something like this would not have been possible without the help and support of Miller School administrators Mr. Battersby, Dr. Singer, and Mrs. Thomas! Special thanks, too, to our pronouncer, Mrs. Lily Moss, English Department Supervisor for the EHT School District, as well as Mrs. Slusarski, Mrs. Levinson, Mr. McClain, Mrs. Lowry, and Mrs. Ritzel Poyas. Lastly, a huge congratulations to all of the 5th grade GT students who participated in this year’s Bee! Well done everyone!

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Order in the Court!

COVID-19 cannot stop Lady Justice in 6th grade GT this year! We have moved into our mock trial unit and are beginning to prepare our cases to present in our virtual courtroom. Students began by learning about different types of courts and cases within the court systems of the United States and New Jersey. They analyzed fourteen possible trial case files and selected their top five choices for the case in which they'd most like to be a lawyer. We then started learning about opening statements and how to write and present them.


Currently, students are writing direct examinations for each of their two witnesses whom they will call to the witness stand, and everyone has done fantastic work so far! Moving forward, we will be learning how to develop and execute a cross examination of a witness, how and when to make an objection, and how to write a closing argument.


After that, it will time to head to (virtual) court! We will have a total of twenty eight trials this year between the two middle schools. The lawyers from the two sides will each present their case to the jury, who will decide the outcome. Jurors will be selected from a class who is invited to attend the trial. Other students in the GT class will serve as the judge, bailiff, and witnesses in each case. Parents, guardians, and friends will be invited to view the trials online. The students always do such a great job with it, so you don't want to miss it! More information will be forthcoming on that once the schedule is put out. We hope to see you in court!

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Swift GT Students Fly High Studying Aviation

Exploring the topic of aviation was definitely on our learning radar this year. Students studied about flight by completing a WebQuest on the history of airplanes. Later, they learned about flight by watching videos and making Jamboards to demonstrate their knowledge of drag, weight, lift and thrust.


Thanks to a Google Meet and slide presentation by Mr. & Mrs. Zanes (Bridget’s parents), the students learned how airplanes are controlled once they leave the ground. The Zanes are employed at the FAA Technical Center and work on the software that is used by air traffic controllers.


Paper airplanes were great fun to make, too! Students learned how to make three different types of planes and test the distance of each one. Steven enjoyed them so much that he created a video. Check it out below...it’s awesome!


Students then choose an aviation topic they’d like to further explore and then create a project to demonstrate their learning. The topics included:


● Helicopters

● Hot air balloons

● Parachutes

● Airplanes

● Paper Airplanes

● The Military and Aviation


Projects made were slide shows, videos, charts, and an interview with a Air Force veteran. In order to share what they learned, they created a website. Our school’s Kindergarten through 3rd grade teachers will be invited to use the website to teach their students about aviation. The link to the website be embedded in the bar below. Please click on it to check it out!

Paper Airplane Design Test
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Engineering A Dream Playground!

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Slaybaugh's second grade small group PEP students concluded building their dream playgrounds. This unit developed the students’ creativity, problem solving skills, and understanding of simple machines. Each student named their playground and determined the best location for it. The dream playgrounds were located everywhere from Slaybaugh to Mongolia. They also wrote descriptions of the featured equipment to persuade people to visit. Great job, everyone!

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What's in a Name?

When William Shakespeare famously penned that line in "Romeo and Juliet", he was not thinking about that question in the same way our 4th Grade GT students were when they created Acrostic, or name, poems recently. The students have been working on a learning unit about birds and birds of prey and were tasked with creating an Acrostic poem using the name of a bird of prey. After a lesson on Acrostics, along with examples by Miss Hunt, the students chose their raptor, such as a Bald Eagle, Snowy Owl, Barn Owl, American Kestrel, Merlin or Great Horned Owl, and began their research about them. After choosing a photo to represent their bird, they had to write facts that went with each letter in the bird’s name. The final step was to put all of the information together to create a “visually stunning” poster. Enjoy the examples of their Acrostic poems!

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The Science and Technology Surrounding the Titanic


On April 10, 1912, the "unsinkable" ocean liner Titanic set sail from Southampton, England en route to New York. Though the Titanic was considered a technological wonder for her time, that didn't prevent the tragic events that unfolded on April 15th. On that day, a series of events led to her sinking to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. It would then take 73 years and great advances in science and technology to find her.


The 5th grade GT students began their study of the Titanic learning about those events described above. They then began to focus on the science and technology surrounding Titanic, especially advances that made her discovery possible.


For this project, students were able to choose from a variety of topics ranging from icebergs and their formation to the formation of the International Ice Patrol. Some studied submersibles and ROVs (some actually designing their own using TinkerCad and printing them out on 3-D printers), satellites, wildlife in the North Atlantic, boat safety, buoyancy, and rusticles, while others focused on food served on the Titanic or creating videos trying to “sell” tickets to the Titanic. Ultimately, each student or group was tasked with creating a video of their project as a final product.


To show proof of progress, students had to meet designated checkpoints during the project. Several submitted photos of what they have done to date to demonstrate their progress. All videos are due by February 26th, so get ready to see some great work! Videos will be shared in a "Special Edition" Smore and can be seen by clicking the bar below!

GT Times - Special Titanic Edition

This "special edition" Smore contains links to video projects created by the 5th grade GT students from their study unit on the Titanic.

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Slaybaugh Students Engineering with Paper!

Slaybaugh GT students are working diligently on their paper engineering activities. Students explored making hoop gliders, focusing on how changing a variable impacted flight. Next they took on the challenge of making the tallest freestanding towers from a single sheet of 8.5x11 copy paper and tape. The competition is still in full swing, but our current record holder, at height of 32 inches, is Alejandro Quintero-Sinclair.

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Using Logic and Imagination!

January & February with Davenport's GT class was full of logic puzzles. Solving, dissecting and creating one and two step logic puzzles kept the GT kids' brains engaged and their classmates on their toes! After all, Albert Einstein said, "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." The students definitely used both here!

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What's In an Owl Pellet?

The 4th grade GT students have been working on a learning unit about birds of prey. After learning about birds of prey in general, the focus turned specifically to owls. In order to get to know the owls better, Miss Hunt figured what better way than to dissect an owl pellet!


As you can see in the graphic to the right, pellets are formed by many species of birds. By dissecting a pellet and studying the contents, scientists can open the door into the lives of these raptors. After reading about how a pellet is formed and why, students were able to dissect a pellet virtually! Unlike a real pellet, each student found the bones for one complete skeleton. When they dissect real pellets, the students will likely find the remains of multiple prey, but not a complete skeleton.


This virtual dissection was great practice for the real thing. During the first week of March, all 4th grade GT students will have the opportunity to dissect their own real owl pellet! For now, though, they can practice with the virtual pellet and not have to worry about the virtual fur and virtual bones getting all over the place!


Check out Kidwings.com (link below) for great resources as well as the opportunity to dissect your owl owl pellet!

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Swift’s 2nd Grade PEP Flipgrids About Newton’s Laws of Motion!



Second grade students in PEP (Primary Enrichment Program) learned about Newton’s Laws of Motion. They learned how to make a balloon car in order to apply their knowledge. Then they created a Flipgrid (video) to demonstrate what they learned in this cycle of small group PEP. To watch their videos, use your cellphone camera to scan the qr codes provided.

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Upcoming Events!

Check out our upcoming events below! Be sure to check the school name for each event!
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Students will have a 1/2 day on Thursday, April 1st. Spring Break is from April 2nd - April 9th, and school will resume on Monday, April 12th.

Click the link below for our individual web pages. Contact information for each teacher is found on their sites.

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