The Python Brainwave

Evergreen Mill's Gifted Education Newsletter

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October 2022

Happy fall, Evergreen Mill Parents and Students!

The autumn air is as crisp as the Autumn Crisp apples I buy every Saturday at the Leesburg Farmer's Market. I love this time of year, when the classrooms are bustling with activities, and students feel settled, safe, and connected with their teachers and peers.

Each and every day, whether I'm pushing my SEARCH cart into classrooms or welcoming EDGE, FUSION, or DCI students into the gifted resource room, I am loving every minute with your children and the exceptional staff that keeps Evergreen Mill humming like a fine-tuned machine.

Now is the perfect time for a visit! On Thursday, October 13, Family Night for the Book Fair, you're invited to a FUSION, DCI, & EDGE Open House from 5-7pm. It's a two-for-one special - browse and buy books in the library and visit the Gifted Resource Room.

Parents, we need your help! We're collecting cardboard paper towel and toilet paper rolls as construction materials to build Rube Goldberg machines later this month. Please send in cardboard tubes by Friday, October 21. Thanks!

If you have questions, concerns, or just wish to share some fabulous news about your student, email me anytime at For more resources and information, visit my EMES Gifted Ed webpage.

Joy to your world,

Martha Rombach

EMES Gifted Resource Teacher

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SEARCH - Kindergarten - Third Grade

Throughout October, most SEARCH lessons feature a celebrated children's book.

Kindergarten - A House is a House for Me, Leaf Man
First Grade - Beekle, Grandpa Gazillions
Second Grade - Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner, Punnidles - Verbal Analogies
Third Grade - Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner, The Day the Crayons Came Home

This month, kindergarten reads A House is a House for Me, discovering that, when you think about it, there are all kinds of special houses in the world (e.g. bird/nest, foot/boot, book/story). Next up is Leaf Man by Lois Ehlet, and the opportunity to create something unique and special with a leaf.

In Buzzing with Questions, first and second graders discover how scientist Charles Henry Turner never stopped asking questions. Students peer through magnifying classes at a swarm of natural items (bark, pinecones, flower, rocks, acorns, etc.), record what they observe, and draw colorful, detailed illustrations--while buzzing with questions, of course! Puniddles, word play with verbal riddles, emphasizes teamwork and problem-solving skills.

What are third graders up to? Buzzing with Questions was such a fan favorite that Mrs. Rombach brought this naturalist lesson to third grade, too. We'll close out October with The Day the Crayons Came Back, an opportunity to practice our friendly letter writing skills.

Specially designed for K-3, SEARCH lessons encourage students to take intellectual risks and to develop an excitement for learning and discovery across a variety of thinking skills. The curriculum spirals developmentally through five components: reasoning, perceiving, connecting, evaluating, and creating.

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FUSION (formerly FUTURA)

FUSION - 4th & 5th Grade

This year's focused theme is INNOVATION, and we have been busy learning about young innovators, understanding the habits and actions of innovators, and working independently and collaboratively on an expansive collection of activities. Your student has undertaken multiple STEM building challenges; solved logic, math, and word puzzles; created the first two of eight Thinking Maps (Circle and Bubble); and worked in groups to use the SCAMPER brainstorming strategy to reimagine applications for common household items.

Later this month, we'll buckle in for a high-octane adventure with Mysterious Inventions and Fairy Tale Innovations. Plus, we'll concoct our own Rube Goldberg machines and try them out with candy pumpkins.



Kindly send your cardboard rolls to Mrs. Rombach

between now and Friday, October 21.

The Fusioneers thank you!

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DCI - Differentiated Classroom Instruction

DCI - 4th & 5th Grades

Language Arts - Our weekly agendas cover a myriad of hands-on activities: vocabulary, short stories, comma rules, reader's theatre practices and performances, creative writing shorts and longs, word ladders, and other curriculum extensions.

Math - Every week, we tackle logic problems, algebraic equations with emojis (try one we conquered for National Techie Day), mystery numbers, word problems, and other ways of solving complex, multi-step math problems with deductive reasoning and analytical thinking. After solving the National Techie Day problems, click here for the solutions.

EDGE - Empowering Diversity in Gifted Education

EDGE - 2nd - 5th Grades

The EDGE program’s mission is to identify, nurture, and challenge high-potential students who have been historically underrepresented in LCPS advanced academic and gifted programs. The classroom and gifted resource teachers work in tandem to promote academic rigor, to foster a growth mindset, and to prepare these young learners for more challenging and rigorous academic pathways.

October Focus: Balance Math, STEM 3-2-1 KEVA Building Challenge, Thinking Maps, Analogies

EDGE takes place in the Gifted Resource Room.

  • 2nd Grade - Weekly pull-out sessions - Winter launch

  • 3rd Grade - Weekly pull-out sessions

  • 4th Grade - Biweekly pull-out sessions

  • 5th Grade - Biweekly pull-out sessions

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Gifted Identification Process - Fall/Winter 2022-23

Like last year, there will be universal screening for all third graders so as to identify students who are eligible for and in need of gifted education services. This process begins in November with talent development and portfolio lessons and concludes in May with parental notifications. Third-grade students who are found eligible for services will begin programs next fall for the 2023-2024 school year.

Later this month, I'll begin portfolio lessons with fourth- and fifth-grade students whose parents or guardians submitted requests to evaluate by the fall deadline. If you missed this cycle, know that the spring evaluation timeline will be announced in the coming months. Visit the LCPS Gifted Education website for updates and more detailed information. LCPS students may be evaluated for gifted services once per calendar year. Contact me anytime at with questions.

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