GT Newsletter


Conversations with the Counselor – “Embrace the Essence”

Thursday, February 4th, 8-10 a.m. (BCE iLab)

How is the gifted brain different anatomically? What are some ways that gifted individuals experience life at a more intense level? How does that impact their learning and relationships with others? How can we support and “embrace” our children. Mrs. Coulter, our school counselor, and I will offer a parent session on how gifted brains are different, overexcitabilities and the implications of both. There is a 20 person limit based on a first come/first serve registration basis. Contact Kelly Coulter at Mention the topic, please.

Message to all families:

New students will begin classes this week. We will welcome the new children and will help them integrate into the classes. This will take some time as we also focus on the start of new units for all grade levels. Some grade level classes grew by just a couple, while other grade level classes grew by a significant number.

It is also really important for the adults in their lives to remind them to be sensitive to the feelings of the children who may have been assessed for the GT Program, but were not recommended at this time. Some children may not test well or may not have blossomed to showcase their talents yet. We will also have a brief conversation in class that people may be “better at” different things, but we are never “better than” others.


Thanks to those who have signed up to follow our class on Instagram. I am still trying to promote this opportunity to see more photos of what goes on in GT more frequently. It offers a visual diary of what I try to synthesize in my newsletters. And, you get to see some hard-working, happy children! What could be better?

It is PRIVATE and only I can approve who sees what is posted. The only people I will approve are parents of students in GT and the other elementary GT specialists in Eanes so they can see what is happening in GT at BCE. It is a quick way to see what is happening in GT more frequently. I will still post slide shows after major events to share with friends and family members. You can click on the Instagram icon on my main page or search for bartoncreekgt on Instagam. You will send a request to follow and I’ll approve.


Conversations with the Counselor - "Embrace the Essence" - Thursday, February 4th (see info above)

First Grade - Thinking Fair
– Thursday, January 7th, 8:00-8:45, room 112

Fourth GradePresentation of Ideal School to Architects – Wednesday, January 13th, 8:00-8:30 a.m., BCE School Library

Outside of School – Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day at UT, February 27th, 12-4, UT Austin Campus - (Parents and boys welcome!)


I look forward to learning more about each of the children. They will be introduced to Kaplan’s Depth and Complexity icons and their meanings through a variety of books and experiences. In addition, they’ll start working on creative and critical thinking skills.

First Grade

Our new friends will attend one class on Tuesday the first week of school and then continue on the second week. The original class is preparing for their Thinking Fair.

We can’t wait to see you at the Thinking Fair on January 7th, 8:00, room 312. The children have worked really hard developing their thinking skills. They are very excited to be your “teachers” as you participate in many of the activities.

The children will then become “zookeepers” as part of a simulation, Zooland, in order to study how zoos have changed over time and the ethics of zoos. This will be their first “real” unit of study that will last the entire semester.

Second Grade

As we welcome new second grade friends to class, we’ll take a short journey to delve into the concept of a “growth mindset”. There have been books and articles written about the impact of a growth mindset vs. fixed mindset on learning. The children will briefly explore the brain and its neuroplasticity. They will also examine ways they can develop their own “growth mindset” to enhance personal learning.

Third Grade

Thanks to all of the parents who helped with our balsa wood span project. The photos from the UT Span Contest are now posted on our website: .

The third graders will leap into a study of the inventive process, famous inventions and famous inventors in Eureka! They’ll begin with a “quick” invention of creating something useful from bubble wrap. The famous marble ramp will be their first in-class invention. The children will have numerous opportunities to practice techniques to enhance the creative thinking process and collaborate on team problems. Then, the inventors will be challenged to design and build a spaghetti-eating tool. This invention also focuses on the planning skills needed to reach a goal. Of course, the inventors will test their tools by eating spaghetti in class.

Fourth Grade

I hope you have had a chance to see the fabulous iMovies the children made after their Tour of Austin’s Architecture. They worked in teams to organize their notes, develop storyboards, and create the movies. There is just one more movie to upload from an iPad. They may be seen on my website at: . You can also see a slideshow of our trip at

The architects in fourth grade are looking forward to sharing their Ideal School with an authentic audience, two Austin architects. They will share the Ideal School next Wednesday, January 13th, at 8:00 a.m. in the BCE School Library. You are welcome to stop by and see their final school and presentation.

The children will also begin a study of archaeology, DIG. The children will start by thinking about artifacts that represent themselves and artifacts that might represent many of our cultural universals today in Austin, Texas. Then they’ll do a quick comparison of the universals of some famous ancient cultures.

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Fifth Grade

We start our final journey together as we ponder the future during the second semester. The children will learn a couple of techniques that futurists utilize, such as trend extrapolation and futures wheels. This unit also provides opportunities for personal reflections about their futures, near and distant.

The children will also begin their Pursuit of Passion, a final independent study project that will showcase their creative and critical thinking about a personal topic of interest.

In addition, the small groups of children will take turns leading the class with the Creativity Challenges they developed and tested for the final experience during their study of creativity the first semester.