CMS - GT Parent Newsletter

Information about Gifted and Talented Opportunities at CMS

Dearest Gifted and Talented Parents and community members,

To say that this year has been the most challenging and difficult years to be in education, would be an understatement. We are trying to do the best we can here at Chapa to create engaging and well thought out lessons.

  • Academic UIL will be starting up after Christmas Break. Although it is not a requirement,, it is an expectations that all GT students be involved in UIL Academics. All students will be meeting virtually through Zoom, and the event will look different this year because of Covid. Tests are being digitized and although we will meet at Chapa, students will compete virtually with students across the district. More info is listed below.
  • Chapa is utilizing Reading Plus and Dreambox this year as an enrichment tool to rigorously engage even our highest learners. Reading Plus will push students reading levels than their current ability. Dreambox will help conceptual understanding of higher mathematics.
  • This year Chapa is involved in the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) grant that is trying to bridge the gaps between equity of minority groups to help build our advanced math programs.
  • We are also participating in the National Spelling Bee, see info below.
  • Last year we started our GT Showcase and we called it the Passion Project. This year we are going to be doing something similar albeit virtually. Instead of meeting in person, students will create a video about their passion projects. More information will be sent out about this after the holiday break.

Academic UIL

For students that are designated GT, it is an expectation to be join a UIL Team.

Virtual students are still welcome to participate!


This years event will be hosted at Chapa but we will still compete against the other middle schools since everything is being digitized this year. The coaches will meet via Zoom and they will put out their days to practice soon.

Spelling Bee Opportunity

Chapa will participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee

Week of December 14th Parent Link will be sent with grade level spelling words to study.

Grade level spelling bee would be Jan. 19th

School wide bee on Jan. 26th.

These are tentative dates and are subject to change.

Click the links below for resources available to GT Students

G/T Resources

Activities for Students

My History Project - You are living through an important and unique time in history—the COVID-19 pandemic. Years from now, historians will learn from the experiences of people who went through it—people like you and your family.

Breakthrough Junior Challenge - Students ages 13 through 18 are invited to create a short— under three minutes— video explaining a challenging concept in physics, mathematics, or the life sciences in an engaging, illuminating, and creative way. Winners will be awarded prizes!

Region 7 G/T Symbaloo - Region 7 Education Service Center’s Gifted/Talented department has created a Symbaloo of resources to challenge and inspire gifted students.

Genius Hour (At Home) - Andi McNair is an expert on Genius Hour which is a process where students learn about their own passions. This site includes videos explaining every step of Genius Hour. In addition, she provides resources to help throughout the process.

Region 7 updated the Texas Performance Standards Project “Texas Gateway” to make it cross curricular for grades 4-8. They included websites to help students complete it from home. To view the project click on THIS LINK and scroll down to slide 33.

Region 7 updated the Texas Performance Standards Project “We Are the World” to make it cross curricular for grades 5-8. They included websites to help students complete it from home. To view the project click on THIS LINK and scroll down to slide 46.

NuMinds Enrichment - website or Facebook - Interactive, educational videos including STEAM, Around the World, and Parent Power Hour

Great Books Foundation - Selections paired with thought-provoking discussion questions to engage students (requires login)

National Inventors Hall of Fame - STEM activities

The Texas Performance Standards Project (TPSP) comprises a set of performance standards, curricula, and assessments for differentiating instruction and deepening academic learning. TPSP enhances gifted/talented (G/T) programs from kindergarten through high school.

Thinking Skills Activities for Grades 3 - 6 - Logic Puzzles, Math Bafflers, and More

Google Arts and Culture - Virtual Museum Tours

New York Times Coronavirus Resource Page for Students - Daily writing prompts, current events, Lessons of the Day, Film Club documentaries, Student Editorial Contest, and Podcast Contest related to Coronavirus (Requires parent permission to create an account)

Gifted Guru Parent - English Class: This is a free live-streamed secondary English class (7th-12th grades) that explores the short story genre. The class will live stream at 12pm CDT from March 16-March 27, and recordings will be available afterwards. The class will stream on YouTube here. There will be a different story discussed each day. The list of stories, along with links to online free sources for the links, are available here. Each day is standalone, so students need not attend all of the classes.

Smithsonian Resources for Tweens and Teens - Smithsonian educators have identified specific online learning resources designed for self-directed learning. These documents will continue to be updated as we develop and align additional resources.

Distance Learning Resources from the Smithsonian - The Smithsonian is committed to supporting teachers and their students around the globe as they face unprecedented new learning challenges. Here, on the Learning Lab, teachers have access to millions of digital resources from across the Smithsonian's museums, research centers, libraries, archives, and more. You will also find pre-packaged collections that contain lessons, activities, and recommended resources made by Smithsonian museum educators as well as thousands of classroom teachers like you.

Kennedy Center for Performing Arts Digital Stage - Watch extraordinary performances from the Kennedy Center's stages and beyond, featuring original works, new clips, and access to vast archives for self-exploration. Includes ballet, hip hop, comedy, jazz, theater, and performances by the Washington National Opera and National Symphony Orchestra.

PBS Learning Media - Austin PBS and PBS have curated FREE, standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans, and more for teachers like you.

With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.

edHelper - Daily free learning workbooks including coding and Sudoku - Learn computer science and coding.

NASA - STEM activities

Unicef - Introduce the Sustainable Development Goals to children and young people everywhere and unite them in action.

BreakoutEDU Fun at Home - A collection of digital games that students can play at home. Students can click on any game and start playing!

Mensa for Kids - Variety of games

TEDEd - List of videos and questions on a variety of contents and topics.

Wonderopolis - Each day, we pose an intriguing question—the Wonder of the Day®—and explore it in a variety of ways.

Khan Academy - Free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.

Story Bird - Become a better writer with writing prompts, lessons, video tutorials, and quizzes. (Requires login)

National Archives - Includes a variety of teaching and learning resources based on primary sources in the holdings of the National Archives.

Scholastic Learn at Home - Day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and learning.

CommonLit is a free collection of fiction and nonfiction for 3rd-12th grade classrooms. Search and filter our collection by lexile, grade, theme, genre, literary device, or common core standard.

Crash Course - Tons of awesome courses in one awesome channel! Nicole Sweeney teaches you sociology, Carrie Anne Philbin teaches you computer science, Craig Benzine teaches film history, and Mike Rugnetta is teaching mythology!

Check out the playlists for past courses in physics, philosophy, games, economics, U.S. government and politics, astronomy, anatomy & physiology, world history, biology, literature, ecology, chemistry, psychology, and U.S. history.

Big Ideas for Little Scholars - You’ll find here a collection of recommended learning resources designed for use with K -8 gifted and advanced students including ideas to go beyond Sudoku.

At Desmos, our mission is to help every student learn math and love learning math. Explore and enjoy our collection of free digital math activities for you and your students.

The NRICH Project aims to enrich the mathematical experiences of all learners.

National Museum of Mathematics - Offering online programs and virtual field trips

Actively Learn - Tests and videos for ELA, Science, and Social Studies with scaffolds and higher order questions (login required)

National Geographic - Explore curated collections of activities that have been developed for educators, parents, and caregivers to implement with K–12 learners anywhere, anytime.

American Association of Chemistry Teachers - Includes activities, animations, projects, simulations, videos, and more

American Chemical Society - Explore chemistry

iCivics - Free resources provide enrichment activities and lessons to keep learning going at home.

Factitious - Read articles and determine if they are fact or fiction.

HMNS at Home - From the comfort of your own home, dive into our online collection with video archives, virtual tours, Beyond Bones Blog, and more.

Harry Potter At Home Hub - Includes all the latest magical treats to keep you occupied - including special contributions from Bloomsbury and Scholastic, nifty magical videos, fun articles, quizzes, puzzles, and plenty more for first-time readers, as well as those already familiar with the wizarding world.

Hogwarts Digital Escape Room - Harry Potter themed digital escape room

Blogs and Articles

Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP) - Resources for families

JUST IN TIME: 20 Terrific Free Content Resources

Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP) Teachers Workshop - This blog contains resources to help teachers and parents with online learning.

Lindsey Nelson is an engineering educator who designs activities that use low-cost supplies you already have around the house and are easy to deploy in a hurry.

Home Based Art Lessons - Cassie Stephens shares her favorite art lessons.

Gifted Guru - Learning at Home Resources: Ideas for Teachers and Parents

COVID-19 and Anxiety in Gifted Children

Helping Your Child Manage Stress through Mindfulness

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Alan D'Etcheverry

Gifted and Talented Liaison at Chapa Middle School

Teacher: Gateway to Technology, Computer Science, and STEAM.

I coach Soccer and Track and Field as well.