Pfluger Gifted and Talented News!

Fall 2020

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Happy Fall Y'all!

Hey Falcon Families!

We know this fall semester of the school year has been very different than it has been in the past, but we just want to let you know how much we appreciate your students as well as all of your support at home whether your child is an in-person learner or a virtual learner! We hope that this newsletter gives you some helpful information about gifted and talented children, and shows you the many ways that Pfluger teachers are supporting your students.

Per the Hays CISD Website; " Hays CISD is committed to recognizing the special needs and talents of the individual student. HCISD provides appropriate educational services for identified gifted and talented students as part of its overall K-12 program."

The gifted and talented services take a multidisciplinary approach at the elementary level. Students are provided services through differentiation in the cluster classroom."

Keep reading to see how our wonderful GT teachers here at Pfluger are doing just that! :)

As you already know, gifted and talented children learn differently than their peers. As educators, we have to use many different strategies to ensure we are challenging each GT student and to make sure that they really understand the concepts that they are learning about. Really understanding the concepts is what then allows them to go more into depth on a topic.

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter which highlights the different activities your student is doing in the classroom that might look the same as their peers, but differ in the depth and complexity that they go into. Also, don't forget to check out the resources that we share with you to use as you support your child!


-Ms. Collins and the Pfluger Falcon Staff

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First, Let's Review! What is Gifted and Talented?

“Gifted and Talented student” means a child or youth who performs at or shows the potential for performing at a remarkably high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience or environment and who:

  • exhibits high-performance capability in an intellectual, creative or artistic area;
  • possesses an unusual capacity for leadership; or
  • excels in a specific academic field.

- Texas Education Code
This definition is now codified in The Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students (Texas Education Agency, 2009), it is the basis for identification and services that must be provided for gifted and talented students in Texas.

“Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports).”

- National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)

"The term ‘gifted and talented,” when used with respect to students, children, or youth, means students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in such areas as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities."

- Federal Definition

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In Order to Accommodate Our GT Students' Needs Here at Pfluger We...

At Pfluger, we cluster our GT students together into classes taught by GT Certified Teachers. These teachers differentiate the curriculum on a daily basis for each subject. Differentiation can happen by process, content, or product.

What is differentiation you ask?

**Check out the link below for a definition of the term as well as examples of what that would look like in the classroom setting for GT students.**

**Here's a great link for you to look at. Make sure to check out the common "buzzwords" that you might hear in relation to your GT student(s) and what they mean!**

**Here's a link that gives some helpful information about the terms depth and complexity!**

Our GT students also have the opportunity to do higher level/interest projects during our daily FIT times as well as, for the 4th and 5th grade Saturn V students, Genius Hour! This allows them to have a chance to be challenged to take the concept that they have shown a strong understanding of to a deeper level. We want DEEP roots, not surface level roots. DEEP roots will really help guide our GT students on their future classwork.

Our Pfluger GT teachers for this school year are:

1st grade: Heather Chapman

2nd grade: Jessica Reed

3rd grade: Jackie Bittner, Talitha Johnson, Candy Gonzales, Morgan Bardequez, Rhonda Rodriguez, Megan Miller

4th grade: Mary Oldham and Tammy Knutson (Saturn V STEM Program)

5th grade: Christine Coats and Jessica Stackhouse (Saturn V STEM Program), Bryanna Valverde, Laura Steffy, Berday Castillo

Check out these Hays CISD GT Parent Resources!

Did you know that Hays CISD has some great resources for parents to look at and utilize when working with their GT students? Click on the links below to check them out!

Hays CISD Gifted and Talented Services Homepage:

Hays CISD Gifted and Talented News, September 2020 Edition:

Hays CISD GT Resources for K-2 Students:

Hays CISD GT Resources for 3-5 Students:

Don't Forget! There is a Hays CISD GT Parent Schoology Group AND a Hays CISD GT Parent Facebook Group You Can Join!

Whether your student is a virtual learner, or an in-person learner, they are using Schoology! Parents have access to their student's page, but we want you to know that you also have the ability to join the GT Parent Schoology Group too! This is a great place to find more resources and information that you might need!

Please join the Schoology group for parents of Gifted/Talented students using code PPW5-P8P8-ZK3B2.

Do you have a gifted and talented child? Are you looking for some ideas and support from other parents to help you understand your child’s social and emotional needs? If so, please join the Facebook Group created by Jennifer Storm, a parent at Elm Grove. She created this support group and would love for you to join and share ideas. For more information, click on THIS LINK.

Here is a Fun GT Student Resource!


Welcome to Wonderopolis®, a place where natural curiosity and imagination lead to exploration and discovery in learners of all ages. Each day, we pose an intriguing question—the Wonder of the Day®—and explore it in a variety of ways.

Now Let's Check Out What Your Students are Doing in their In-Person or Virtual Learning Classrooms!

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2nd Graders are Becoming Biographers!

Second grade GT students are currently working on a biography research project. Students are beginning to explore and gain knowledge about famous people and how they use their gifts and talents. We started by brainstorming a list of interesting historical figures and then decided how to categorize them. The students discovered that most of the people could hold space in multiple categories. Then students began to compare and contrast the people in each category by figuring out if they had any attributes in common or ones that stood out. We discussed, in depth, what it means to be gifted and what special gifts these particular historical figures possessed. Finally, students were able to choose a historical figure to explore further.

Moving forward, students will research their person by answering questions such as: What attributes, gifts, and talents do they possess? What challenges did they face? How did they use their attributes, gifts, talents to overcome these challenges? What are this person’s contributions to society?

Students will work at their own pace and check in with their teacher at specific “checkpoints.” They will choose a creative way to present their final work to their teacher and (optional) classmates.

All of this is being done in our virtual classroom via Zoom meetings!

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3rd Graders are Project Experts!

Mrs. Bardeguez says:

"In our class students have been working hard! They have been exploring science experiments in GIZMOS and solving math riddles. They also had opportunities to crack the codes and breakout of math related escape rooms. For projects, students were given a choice and some have been creating their own “breakout” escape rooms!"

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Mrs. Bittner, Mrs. Gonzales, and Mrs. Rodriguez want you to know that...

"For GT, we are doing a charity research project. Students are looking up local charities or charities that kids have started to get inspiration. They need to find out specific details about the charity, such as the following:

Who started it?

Why was it started?

What is the mission?

Who and where do they serve?

How do they need help?

Once they have completed their research, students can think of their own charity to support. For instance, do they want to support the Hays County Food Bank, Childhood Cancer, Animal Shelter, International Rhino Foundation, etc.? Next, they will decide how they will support it. Will they ask for donations directly, have a bake sale or lemonade stand, GoFundMe? Finally, they will put all of this information in Google Slides to share and present with the class! Since this is still work in progress, and has not been fully completed yet, the slides are just examples, and not the finished product."

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Look at These Fun Fall Themed Projects These 3rd graders Got to Do as Well!

Adalyn Mancha and Elliot Bauer created a Pumpkin Catapult. The students designed a catapult and tested their design in front of their peers using several candy pumpkins as their launcher.

Adalyn Mancha also created a Candy Tower using candy pumpkins and toothpicks to create her tower. She created a 3D object using only two materials. She was able to keep it balanced and stable.

Adalyn also created a Spider Web Bridge. She used yarn to create the spider. The web was strong and sturdy. She was also able to put several candy pumpkins on the web to show the strength of the web.

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Elliot Bauer and Adalyn Mancha both created a Thanksgiving Mayflower Ship. We also tested their ship by putting it into water to watch it float. They also added objects into the ship to see if it will still float with the extra weight.
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4th Graders LOVE Genius Hour!

Genius hour is a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom. It provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time during school.

The teacher provides a set amount of time for the students to work on their passion projects. Students are then challenged to explore something to do a project over that they want to learn about. They spend several weeks researching the topic before they start creating a product that will be shared with the class/school/world. Deadlines are limited and creativity is encouraged. Throughout the process the teacher facilitates the student projects to ensure that they are on task.

Click on the PDF Documents Below to See Some AWESOME Google Slides Presentations They've Been Creating!

5th Graders are Creative Writers and Diving into Coding and Engineering!

Fall 2020 Saturn V STEM

Creative Writing/Poetry

Students in the Saturn V 5th Grade STEM Virtual ELAR classroom are publishing E-Books using Bookemon to showcase their Creative Writing skills and Poetry. The students are creating a book in an edCenter, a safe, private, online book project center. Students work collaboratively in a Zoom breakout room or independently as they write, revise, edit, and publish their story or poetry collection.

Click on the link below to read an E-Book created by one of the 5th grade Saturn V STEM students!

Our World: by Alice Davis, PES Saturn V STEM 5th Grade Student


In December, Saturn V 5th Grade STEM Virtual students will participate in the Hour of Code. The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week - December 7-13. Computer Science Education nurtures problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. During Engineering, students will select extensions from the Engineering Design Choice Menu created by Saturn V STEM teachers. Using the Engineering Design Process, students explore various fields of Engineering through the research, design, and testing of their individual projects.

Click on the links below to get more information about the Hour of Code!

In Ms. Valverde's Class:

Students were asked to create a boat using 12 plastic straws, pieces of tape, scissors, and one index card. Students had 20 minutes to design a boat using the assigned materials. Students were asked to choose a name for their boat then finally create a boat that is able to float on water. After 20 minutes students were able to test to see if their boat design was able to float on water. Once students determined if their boat was able to float or not then they needed to write down what they thought made their boat design successful or what changes they could have made to their design to make it successful.

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If You Have a 5th Grade Student, Be On the Lookout for Information about this AWESOME NPR Podcast Challenge!

NPR is inviting 5th - 12th grade students around the country to create a podcast, then — with the help of a teacher — compete for a chance to win a grand prize and have their work appear on NPR. For more information, click on the link below.

More GT Parent Resources!

There are so many resources these days for parents! Here are a few more for you to check out!


A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children - James T Webb

The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids: How to Understand, Live With, and Stick Up for Your Gifted Child - Sally Walker, PhD

TAGT Legacy Book Award Winners for Parents Link:


National Association for Gifted Children

Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented

Hoagies Gifted Education Page


Family Confidential: Guiding Gifted Kids

Giftedness Knows No Boundaries