KISD EXCEL CLASS NEWSLETTER

3rd and 4th Grades

EXCEL CLASS HAPPENINGS


We hope that this newsletter finds you all doing well and that you had a wonderful and relaxing winter break. Since our last newsletter, we have been busy in the GT classrooms introducing the students to the Kaplan Depth and Complexity Icons. These visual prompts were designed to help students go beyond the surface level understanding of a concept. It is our hope that they will enhance each student's ability to think critically and dig deeper into a concept (depth) and understand it with greater complexity. Our goal is not to teach the icons themselves in isolation, but rather to utilize them as visual “thinking” tools to help students gain a deeper understanding of a topic or concept. In order to learn about a topic in greater depth, the students must learn about the language of the discipline, big ideas, essential details, rules, trends, unanswered questions, and ethical issues. We then ask them to consider their topic of study from a more complex viewpoint by considering changes over time, multiple points of view, and making connections to other topics. Each one of the icons are necessary in order for a student to become an expert on a topic. For example, chemists need to understand the language of a chemist, the different points of view in chemistry, the rules that govern chemistry, the ethical decisions chemists face, etc. We have been spending our time in class by doing group research over the different holidays celebrated around the world and learning about them in a more deep and complex way. In the upcoming weeks, GT students will begin to choose their own individual topics for independent research. The GT Specialists will move into the role of a facilitator as we begin to guide the students to complete their own research on a self selected topic that correlates to their grade level curriculum. At the conclusion of their research, the students will be asked to create a presentation and report their findings to the class. More on this will be discussed in a future newsletter. Thank you for sharing your children with us. We are so lucky to get to spend time with these precious kiddos each week in the GT classrooms. More information will be sent home soon, but save the date for the evening of Feb. 19. We will be having a guest speaker, Lisa Van Gemert, visit our district, and she a is goldmine of information of everything gifted. Should you ever have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at anytime. Being that we all travel between multiple campuses, email is usually the fastest form of communication.


Respectfully,


Third and Fourth Grade Excel (GT) Specialists