Sablatura Middle School - Pearland ISD

February / March 2015

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GTA Students Shine at Competitions!

All the extra hours of hard work, focus and dedication have paid off! Our students continue to excel in area competitions this year. Our 5th and 6th grade Quiz Bowl teams, led by Mrs. Austin and Mrs. Stenvall, came in first place in the district's Super Quiz. Sablatura's first competitive Seaperch underwater robotics team placed second in the "finesse" challenge out of over one hundred teams in the regional competition. We have twenty-one sixth grade students who have qualified for the Texas Math and Science Coaches Association (TMSCA) state competition and will be traveling to San Antonio with Mrs. Needler and Mrs. Cybak in April. And sixteen students will be traveling with Mrs. Sisk to the Future Problem Solvers (FPS) state competition in Austin. We are proud of these students, appreciate the extra time our sponsors give, and are thankful for the GTA booster club for their generous support of our clubs traveling to competitions out of town.

Field Experiences

Ask any GTA student to tell you one of their favorite aspects of the Academy, and most likely they will mention what they learn from mini courses. The third round of mini courses offered a wide range of topics. Highlights included:

  • Students in the Storytelling mini course visited two elementary schools and practiced their VIP (voice, eye contact, and posture) as they told stories to first graders.
  • Aviation students toured a control tower and experienced a flight simulator at Ellington Airport.
  • Sixteen students presented their inventions to a team of experts at the Inventors' Showcase. Five students will advance to the Houston Young Inventors' Showcase at the University of Houston in May.
  • Students studying forensics investigated a crime scene at the Houston Health Museum.
  • Docents led students on a paleontology tour at the Museum of Natural Science.
  • Richard was named our chess champion!
  • Many pillowcases, bags and pajama pants were sewn and 5th grade students are now prepared to sew quilts for the TPSP final product.
  • Students learned how exciting it is to build and program robots and are eager to be a part of one of our robotics teams next year.

Learning With Experts

Space exploration is a fascinating topic, and students in Mrs. Stenvall's science classes have been learning with experts in the field. Cheri Armstrong, a NASA contractor, spoke with the students about the International Space Station. Mr. Eckelkamp spoke about robotics and its impact on the future of our space program. Mr. Stokes, a flight controller, taught students about flight control and the human aspect of space flight.

"Intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings." - Salvador Dali

As the school year progresses, we are working hard to continue the success of the GT Academy. We are proud of our students and their success, and we are encouraging them to be responsible learners with respect for others.

We often use the term “GRIT” with our students to help them understand that success often follows hard work and perseverance. We also understand how important it is to prepare our middle school students for expectations at the junior high and high school levels. Recently, we met with all students to review expectations that need to be reinforced, such as:

1. Students should come to class with all necessary supplies ready to learn. Pencils should be sharpened and students should be seated and ready to go so that valuable class time is not wasted.

2. Students should check Skyward often for missing work. Students should understand that when graded papers are passed out, and they didn’t get one back, it means that assignment was not turned in. Late work must be turned in within 3 days.

3. In an effort to encourage responsibility, teachers will no longer make extra copies when students discover they have not turned in a paper.

4. Graded work below a 70 can be made up and returned within 3 days. The corrections must be correct to get credit.

5. Students are expected to be respectful during instruction. Making unnecessary comments and attempting to get others off task is not respectful.

Look Out Hollywood!

We have several aspiring news reporters, actors, directors, and cinematographers roaming the GTA hallway! Students in Mrs. Maricle's Reading classes used iMovie to produce newscasts. Students worked in groups to write, edit and produce their stories in roles of reporter, director, anchor and interviewee. Down the hall in Mrs. Austin's Social Studies class, as part of their study of Africa, students created movie trailers. Each movie trailer incorporated key terms from the unit and students chose which area of geography (climate, landforms or natural resources) to focus. Students were encouraged to be creative, so many interesting storylines were produced! This project turned out to be a fun way to learn about the sometimes dull geography. (You can take a look at two by following the links below.)

GTA Student Showcase Scheduled for May 8th

Students are working diligently on their Texas State Performance Standards Projects (TPSP). Sixth graders have been working all year on "Culture Shock," a unit that allows students to study and explore the history, geography, and culture of a foreign country from a tourist’s perspective. They are now putting on the finishing touches to their travel blogs, budget spreadsheets and reports. Each group will produce either a display board creatively showing highlights of their journey, or a trunk containing student created artifacts that represent their journey.

Fifth graders spent two weeks before Spring Break learning about the Independent Investigation Method (IIM), which is a step by step method of doing research. You can learn more about this method by clicking the link below. Students are expected to follow these steps as they research their selected topics such as:

  • The role zoos play in conservation and preservation of species
  • 3-D printers and how they enhance human lives
  • The dangers of concussions in youth sports
  • Childhood cancers and the science used to fight the disease
  • Robotics and its role in medicine
  • Protecting sea turtles in the Gulf Coast

Fifth grade students will design and construct quilts that represent what they learn as a result of their research. Our GTA booster club has donated several sewing machines for this exciting project, but we could use more. Please contact one of the fifth grade teachers if you are willing to let us borrow one!

All GTA students, grades 5th - 8th, will showcase their TPSP projects at the Pearland ISD Education Service Center (ESC) on Friday, May 8th 6:00-7:30. More information will be coming soon!

Sablatura Seaperch

The pioneer Seaperch teams represented Sablatura and Pearland ISD well at the regional competition at the Pearland Natatorium on March 7, 2015. Students learned that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) can be exciting and that working as a team takes GRIT. We are thankful for Mr. Dylan Weber's help leading the teams, and are looking forward to next year! For more information on Seaperch, visit

Summer Opportunities:

Summer is a great time to take advantage of camps and other learning opportunities. Although Pearland ISD does not endorse or sponsor any of the programs listed, it is a good place to start your search.

Duke Talent Identification Program

Texas A&M Galveston

Lone Star Leadership Academy

ID Tech

Engineering for Kids

Botshoprocks Robotics

American Robotics Academy

Camp Invention

CompuCamp & Scholar Weekends at UH

In addition to enrichment opportunities in the summer, students interested in acceleration in a subject area can take online courses through Texas Tech University, University of Texas ISD, or Texas Virtual Schools Network. All summer online courses and exams should be completed by July 1st so that scores are reported prior to school starting in August.

See the link below to review the presentation given by Advanced Academics.

Just another day at the GTA...