CMS - GT Parent Newsletter 2022/23

Information about Gifted and Talented Opportunities at CMS

Dearest Gifted and Talented Parents and Community Members,

This newsletter is designed to inform and update parents and students about the latest happenings with Gifted and Talented Students at Chapa Middle School and Hays CISD.

  • Academic UIL is starting up this year. Students that are identified as GT should strongly be encouraged to participate in Academic UIL. Practices will start on October 18th. The UIL Meet will be on a Saturday and we want all 6 schools to participate. They are narrowing down the dates for the meet right now. See below for more information.
  • Our Passion Project/GT Showcase will be done again this year. The date has not been solidified just yet but that is coming. It will again be done in the spring semester. Check the links below to see the previous projects.
  • Destination Imagination will happen this year. Contact Mrs. Dinderman to be involved with this. This is an after school Project Based Learning activity that is based in STEM. See below for more information.
  • Chapa is utilizing Reading Plus and IXL this year as an enrichment tool to rigorously engage even our highest learners. Reading Plus will push students reading levels than their current ability. IXL 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 participated in the National Spelling Bee. Dr. Sweet will be the coordinator for this.

Destination Imagination


  • I wanted to personally invite you and your gifted child to the Destination Imagination Parent/Student kickoff meeting. The meeting will be at Chapa in the cafeteria on Monday September 20th at 6 p.m.
  • A little bit about Destination Imagination (DI):
  • DI is an international problem solving competition for students of all ages. It’s a student led STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) based challenge that reinforces core social emotional learning.
  • Each team will consist of 7 team member and will meet once a week until the tournament in February.
  • Each team will also need a team manager which is usually one of the parents of one of the students. All adult team managers will need to get a background check. Two parents may Co-Lead each group. A teacher can also be a team manager.
  • Please let me know if you can’t make the meeting but would like your child to participate.
  • Thank you,

Mrs. Debbie Dinderman 281-268-8500 ex: 47815

Academic UIL - Chapa Middle School

Academic UIL - Chapa Middle School Coaches and Practice Locations

Gifted and Talented 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 withvideo 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

Kristiania Lorentzen-Marzullo

Gifted and Talented Liaison at Chapa Middle School

7th Grade ELAR

6-7th Grade ESL