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Gifted & Talented Blog
Check back each week as students, classroom teachers, and Gifted & Talented staff share what is happening with gifted education around the district.
Gifted & Talented Blog
Colleen Boyle's Blog Page
"Youth Social Activism through the Arts at Arts Impact Middle School" by Ronda Budd, Visual and Performing Arts Gifted Specialist
Posted 6/1/2016 at 6:09:17 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
DE@aimsEP – Does Everyone at AIMS Encourage People

Spearheaded by dance instructor, Dr. Sharon Unrau, the AIMS unified arts staff, community partners at Transit Arts, and the CCS gifted and talented staff teamed this year to empower youth to bring about positive social change through the arts. The goal was to utilize arts integration within the school and community as a means of raising awareness of current issues facing youth, as well as to introduce a variety of social service organizations that are available to provide support. In addition to serving students who are identified as gifted in the arts, the program evolved over the course of the year to include academically gifted students from Columbus Alternative High School.

Throughout the year, the students learned to express their emotional feelings in a healthy way through art by utilizing poetry, dance, music, drama, visual arts, and media arts. In early spring, the groups performed through a social justice forum entitled DE@aimsEP, A Celebration of Community & Service, which allowed the students to share their artistic expressions with peers and an adult audience. This event also provided the venue to bring about an awareness of the pressing and unsettling issues that are prevalent in many urban pre-teen and teen youth populations.

The DE@aimsEP forum included artistic performances that highlighted these hot-button topics:

  • Bullying at school and in the community
  • Cyberbullying
  • Misuse of social media
  • Status among peers
  • Trust and mistrust
  • Teen health - both physical and mental
  • Political issues directly affecting the youth population
  • Human trafficking
  • Poverty
  • Teen and family homelessness
  • Discrimination
  • Racism.

Many of the presentations successfully “hit their mark” as attested by the hush that came over the audience at critical moments. The show truly exemplified a pairing of communication and creativity at the highest level of performance!

In addition, on May 19, the AIMS dance troupe performed at the Columbus Museum of Art for the elementary students at the CCS TEDxYouth@Columbus Conference entitled "My Ideas are Significant." The dancers immediately owned the stage and simply “got lost” in their art. They creatively and superbly communicated their deepest emotions through passionate dance choreography. The young student audience was hooked from the beginning! After the performance, the dancers gave observers an opportunity to ask questions about the mission of their work. It was obvious that the young audience gained an understanding that artistic expression is simply one more way to think about any topic.

After the show, Dr. Unrau remarked, “This kind of day gives me MY air to breathe . . . something happened today that almost brought me to tears . . . a student stepped out of line to share how much she appreciated what she’s learned from me far beyond dance. My mission as a teacher is to instill a love of dance as a venue to carry my students through the highest highs and lowest lows. I can personally attest to the fact that dance has saved my life at least 100 times.”

In addition to their interdisciplinary arts workshops and performances with Transit Arts of the Columbus Central Community House, the AIMS DE@aimsEP project also extended into volunteer opportunities with several social service organizations. Students at AIMS collected food items for the Mid-Ohio Food Pantry and conducted a winter coat and sock drive to benefit the OSU Star House, a homeless shelter specifically designed for teens. These service organizations provide judgement-free direct services to individuals and families to help with medical needs, housing, and job training. They also promote good health, emotional and mental stability, and overall well-being by allowing individuals in need to become more self-sufficient.

The project was also utilized in these additional ways:

  • As the AIMS entry for the 2015-2016 Columbus Rotary Middle School Service Above Self submission;
  • An opportunity to perform at The Columbus Arts Festival in June, 2016 with Transit Arts;
  • Mentor/mentee opportunities with local artists;
  • An outreach beyond Central Ohio;
  • An opportunity to conduct pre- and post-surveys (student designed) with AIMS students on current teen issues for next year’s programming.

"Hitting Up the High Schools" by Linda Key and Kirsten Smith, Gifted Resource Specialists
Posted 6/1/2016 at 6:03:17 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The High School Gifted Resource Specialists have been very busy this year presenting Gifted Enrichment Seminars to the gifted students in all the Columbus City high schools. These discussion-based enrichment seminars covered the following topics in gifted education:

  • Identification – how students are identified and what each area of identification means
  • Social Emotional – the characteristics and needs of gifted students
  • Truths and Myths of Gifted Education – what is gifted education and how do gifted students learn best?
  • Summer Opportunities – summer enrichment opportunities including camps, workshops and scholarship opportunities for gifted students

The response from the high school students was very positive! The students enjoyed the discussions, gained a better understanding of gifted education, and expressed appreciation for having the time to engage in interactive discussions with their peers.

"Making Good Choices at Africentric" by Wendi Briggs, Primary Enrichment Specialist
Posted 6/1/2016 at 6:01:34 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The Columbus Africentric is wrapping up the Primary Education Thinking Skills program with Jordan the Judge! Jordan is a wise owl that uses evaluative thinking to help his friends in Crystal Pond Woods make important decisions. The first and second grades are working with Jordan to make choices about school improvement, their favorite things to buy, and the best pet for their family. Students are asked to use criterion based evaluation, value judgments, and judicial evaluation to offer solutions that are based on valid consideration. The second graders' favorite activity is choosing the perfect car for their families. Their choices include fast, red cars with a popcorn machine, a movie theater, and a full service spa! Wouldn’t you love to take a ride? The first grade students are making important considerations about the best things to buy with a limited budget (I could use some help with that). I feel confident that the Africentric Elementary students, with some help from Jordan the Judge, are on the path to making great choices!!!!

"Serious Thinking at Sullivant" by Amy Rodocker, Primary Enrichment Specialist
Posted 5/2/2016 at 7:28:02 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]


In Mrs. Lynch’s class we worked on our convergent thinking skills with Dudley the Detective as we read How Will We Get to the Beach? by Brigitte Luciani and Eve Tharlet.

1st Grade

Students that were pulled for a small group lesson had the opportunity to display their creative thinking with word play. Together we read some radical riddles and discussed what components make up a good riddle. The students then began the brainstorming process and had the chance to create their own riddle.

2nd Grade

Both of the 2nd grade classes were in their 3rd week working with Max the Magician who is a visual thinker. Students had fun using their visual and convergent thinking skills to decode messages from Max, Sybil, and Dudley!

"Fairy Tale Trials at Indianola" by Stephanie Stegall, Gifted Instructional Specialist
Posted 5/2/2016 at 6:10:15 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Students in one of my 3rd grade classes put on a Fairy Tale Mock Trial. Working with the classroom teacher and the class we chose 3 fairy tales to put on trial: Hansel & Gretel, Three Little Pigs, and The Gingerbread Boy. The students had to choose roles and decide if they were on the prosecution or defense side. Then they had to analyze the fairy tales to be able to write their opening statements, witness questions, cross examination questions, and closing arguments. After working on this for a couple of weeks, each fairy tale presented their cases to the jury (the rest of the class). In the end, the students had a better understanding of the judicial system and how to look at text from multiple perspectives. (Plus we had a lot of fun!)

"Welcome to the Club" by Mrs. Marshall's 4th Grade Scholars at Columbus Gifted Academy
Posted 4/21/2016 at 1:54:04 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Amari G.
Clubs at Columbus Gifted Academy are amazing! We have over seven clubs each time and they are awesome. My first club was Techie/Scratch, and in that club I learned how to program using Scratch and my club teacher was my homeroom teacher. The very first program I made on Scratch was a bedroom. My character, also known as my sprite, was a cat and I made him jump on the bed. It was an amazing club and I hope that club is at CGA next year.

My second Club was Newspaper Club. I had all these different ideas for newspaper articles. The first idea I had was a failure but it was about an argument about playground patrol, our so-called recess police. After that, I went on and started an article about the Caldecott and Newbery medals and it was a perfect and successful article. My article got published in the newspaper. It was amazing. This was a perfect club if you were interested in writing.

My present club is Photography Club. In this club I get to take pictures of different and creative things around the school and outside. I love this club because I would love to be a photographer as a hobbie. My partner is Menelek and we’ve taken a lot of nice pictures. My favorite one was of flowers. This is my favorite club because I am interested in photography. Clubs at CGA are always and will be the best no matter what!

Fatimata K.
Clubs at CGA are very fun and exciting. They give you the opportunity to learn about something you always wanted to learn about. For example, last quarter I was in etiquette club. Etiquette club taught me a lot of things I did not know about manners. I learned about the proper way of sitting, eating, and excusing myself, as well as other manners.. We played games and they were not for fun, they were to teach us a lesson. Mrs. Liedtke cooked us a excellent meal of spaghetti. The meal was so we could practice manners and see how much we learned. Finally ,she taught us how to write a thank you note. I wrote my thank you note to my teacher, Mrs. Marshall. It’s fun to learn about subjects you don’t know about, which is why I liked etiquette club.

Daniel. V.
I took sign language club. In my opinion, it was awesome! I learned the whole alphabet and lots of other signs like home, breakfast, soda, and underwear. We made up skits, told jokes, and asked each other questions,, all in sign language! The reason I signed up for sign language club was mainly so I could talk to the people sitting next to me, Shahid and Kevin (shahid and I had to teach kevin sign language) and no one would know what we were saying. I thought sign language club was awesome, and I think you will too.

Malayah A.
At CGA we have clubs every Tuesday. The clubs give the scholars a chance to do something fun when they are still learning at the same time. Some examples are Etiquette, Art, Debate, Student Council, Book, Yoga, Tai Chi, American Sign Language, TEDx, Scratch, Exploring Motion, Leopold’s Reading Cafe, and Makerspace. I love having clubs at Columbus Gifted Academy because it is interesting and I like learning about subjects I do not know about yet! So does everybody else!
"Learning to be Wise at Windsor" by Jean Miller, Primary Enrichment Specialist
Posted 4/20/2016 at 2:21:05 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Kindergarten, first, and second grade students in the PETS program at Windsor are learning procedures that lead to making good decisions. They are being taught how to establish considerations and to evaluate choices. Kindergarten students have written a letter to teachers asking permission to bring something special to school and explaining why they made that choice. First and second grade students have participated in simulation activities, such as getting a new pet and buying a new car. They have also used T-charts to organize their ideas on whether or not it would be a good idea to take a teddy bear when spending the night with a friend. We have had many discussions on the number of decisions we all make each day, the importance of these decisions, and how they effect our lives.

"West Mound Super Spellers" by Nancy Alley, Gifted Resource Specialist
Posted 4/20/2016 at 1:39:07 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

On Friday, January 29, 2016, thirty 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students at West Mound Elementary participated in their annual school Spelling Bee. Throughout the event, we could see that hard work and much practice time was really paying off as round after round passed and still many spellers remained. When the final round ended, Cameron Butt was declared the school champion. He went on to take the Scripps National Spelling Bee online test. Cameron did very well and represented West Mound Elementary in an excellent manner. Congratulations, Cameron, and thank you to Mr. Showalter for organizing the spelling bee and to Mrs. Moore-Tyler, school principal, for her support and commitment to this event.

"Chasing Lincoln's Killer at Gables" by Wendy Mattucci, Reading Gifted Instructional Specialist
Posted 4/13/2016 at 5:21:09 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

My fifth grade class eagerly read Chasing Lincoln's Killer. We had rich, in-depth discussions about what actually happened to Booth: was he killed at a Virginia farm, or was it a major conspiracy? Did he escape and live under an alias? We saw news reports and read other accounts that gave an alternate version to the way his life ended in the novel. The students loved the research. We then imagined that John Wilkes Booth had not been killed and discussed which characters would support the prosecution or defense, if he were to be put on trial for killing Abraham Lincoln. With the students help formulating the questions, I wrote a reader's theater/ mock trial that we performed for fourth and fifth grade classes and parents. The "jury" had to decide if John Wilkes Booth was guilty of first degree murder and treachery or not guilty due to insanity. It was very interesting to see how the different juries voted based on the testimonies of the witnesses!

"Debating Dynamos at Columbus North International" by Michele Ballinger, Gifted Resource Specialist
Posted 4/12/2016 at 5:18:57 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
Ms. Sizemore and Mr. Stegall have got it going on at CNIS. These teachers and their students worked especially hard in preparing for this year's spring debate tournament at Capital. This is the first time these two teachers, a.k.a. debate coaches, have facilitated debate with their seventh and eighth grade students. Their hard work and effort definitely paid off since one of their two 4 person policy debate teams won first place at Columbus City Schools Gifted and Talented Spring Debate Tournament at Capital University on March 24. The team won all 6 of their debates and the other CNIS team also fared well with a record of 3-3 finishing in a five way tie for sixth place out of 14 teams. Way to go Columbus North International!
"Star Thinking at Starling" by Amy Rodocker, Primary Enrichment Specialist
Posted 4/11/2016 at 5:17:25 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]


Dudley, Isabel, Sybil, Yolanda, Max, and Jordan joined forces to introduce The Primary Enrichment Program to Mrs. Brown’s kindergarten class. We read Not A Box by Antoinette Portis, and then the students used their divergent thinking skills to complete an ‘Imagination Workout’ paper.

1st Grade

Students that were pulled for a small group lesson had the opportunity to display their creative thinking with word play. Together we read some radical riddles and discussed what components make up a good riddle. The students then began the brainstorming process and had the chance to create their own riddle.

2nd Grade

Both of the 2nd grade classes were introduced to Max the Magician, who is a visual thinker. Every student was given a set of tangrams and manipulated the shapes to replicate a garage, sail boat, bird, cat, and a house. Most students really enjoyed this hands on activity!

"CGA Students and the CMA" by Dr. Valerie Aveni, CMA Docent and CGA Parent
Posted 3/15/2016 at 3:42:15 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

As the mother of two CGA students (fifth and eighth grades) and as a docent at the Columbus Museum of Art, I've had the great fortune to be uniquely involved in the CGA partnership with the museum. Columbus City Schools sends all fifth graders to the museum once a year for a 50 minute Artful Reading Tour, where students learn to use thinking routines to explore and understand art. These tours are a great introduction to the museum, but their brevity does not allow for deeper explorations. Because of CGA's partnership with the Museum, our middle school students have already visited multiple times for extended visits, each time exploring different parts of the museum and developing deeper critical thinking skills. Personally, I have taken small groups of students to read the social commentary of George Tooker's “Lunch” and Joseph Hirsch's “Supper,” two works in the Social Mirror gallery that further the political and social analysis CGA students are learning through their interpretation of political cartoons in Andrew Cashin's social studies class. Students have explored artistic expressions of environmentalism (Mel Chin), American history (Alison Saar), World War II (Emil Nolde), and race in America (Kehinde Wiley), among other topics.

In February, CGA students visited CMA for a two hour Art and Poetry Tour, in which they explored the artistic relationship between visual and verbal expression. Students analyzed the language of poetry and created their own poems in response to the art. In closing, let me share a poem, written by six sixth-grade students in response to “Sunflowers in the Windstorm,” an autobiographical work by Emil Nolde, a German artist, in 1943 at the height of WWII. The docents have been thrilled with the engagement and creativity of CGA's students, and this poem is an example of why.

“Purple Isn't a Happy Color”

Taste your last breath of freedom.

You can feel the wind almost like it's chasing you.
Feel the freedom being sucked out of you.

The smell of the moist air of fear.
Hiding from a forever lasting storm of pain, growing old and feeling weak.
The smell of smoke.
I would smell death and destruction from the fires that the Nazis left.

I would see the fear in people's eyes as they run for their lives.
The sight of fire.
The purple clouds hover overhead, never fading or ceasing.
Purple isn't a happy color.
Smells like skunks.
I would hear the screams and cries of pain and sorrow as people worry if they will be alive tomorrow.

But you can see the little bit of sun peaking out of the clouds,
showing that there is still some hope.

"Working Hard at West Broad" by Nancy Alley, Gifted Resource Specialist
Posted 3/13/2016 at 3:37:12 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Students at West Broad Elementary have been working on several special activities. The 5th grade classes have experienced their Artful Reading field trip, integrating Art into the Language “Arts.” The Columbus Zoo also made a visit to the school on Monday, February 29th. Six to eight animals were walking the “runway,” helping students understand conservation and endangered species. West Broad is very proud to have four students who participated in the Elementary District Chess Tournament on March 2nd at Linmoor Education Center. Those fifth graders represented the school as they paired up with other students from across the District to compete and demonstrate their skills in the “King’s Game.”

"Scholar of the Month Bulletin Board" by Braden L., Wedgewood Scholar
Posted 3/11/2016 at 3:35:18 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

I am writing about a bulletin board project I have taken over for one month. This bulletin board is called the scholar study of the month board. It is a way of letting kids know about different scholars. Plus it gives interesting facts about interesting people. Here are some scholars that have been chosen for some of the months.

Stephen Hawking was chosen for the first month. He is a theoretical physicist and a cosmologist. Malala Yousafzai was next and she is an activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize Laureate. John Lasseter was after Malala, he is an American animator, film director, and creator of the animation studio “Pixar”. The scholar that I chose was George Lucas. George is a famous American filmmaker/entrepreneur and creator of the very famous “Star Wars” film saga.

When I was picked to take over the board for the month of December, I was very excited. I had to win a competition against my class to actually start the board. I picked George Lucas because he is a great filmmaker and director. Plus he is the creator of my favorite movie series ever “Star Wars”. I like this project because it helps people learn new things. I can’t wait to see what scholar is next.
"Lions, Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!" by Amy Genter, Middle School Columbus Gifted Academy Teacher
Posted 3/7/2016 at 11:02:20 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
Shivering in the 32 degree weather, the middle school scholars at the Columbus Gifted Academy are intently watching the new Amur tiger, Jupiter, pace his enclosure. Why are they watching so intently in the freezing weather? The scholars in grades 6-8 have been collecting data through observations to better understand the animals at the zoo. Working with the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, scholars have completed multiple animal observations throughout the year to help them better understand animals and the science of observation. Using ethograms, scholars can measure the amount of time spent of different activities such as locomotion, intake, social interaction, and inactivity. In addition, scholars can use past data to collected by other scholars to understand how the time spent on an activity may change based on different variables, such as the weather. Sixth grade scholars are using this data to create an infographic about their animal to teach visitors at the zoo. Seventh grade scholars are using the data to create a new habitat for their animal. The eighth grade scholars have written their own research question and will be using the data to answer it. All of these projects will be displayed at the Zoo Showcase held at CGA in March.
"PETS at Trevitt - A Teacher's View" by Keturah Traina, Kindergarten Teacher
Posted 3/4/2016 at 10:58:55 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
My class has enjoyed the PETS program immensely. It has given them the opportunity to think about concepts in a different way and use manipulatives to arrive at solutions to problems. It has also given some students that typically struggle with behavior when performing content area tasks an alternative thinking strategy. The PETS activities each week seem to engage all students with in the lessons.
"On the Case at Oakland Park" by Beth Gasior, Gifted Resource Specialist
Posted 3/3/2016 at 10:56:58 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Have you ever wanted to crack a secret code? Do you know what a cryptologist does? Oakland Park third graders have embarked on a research quest and independent study to learn how to crack secret codes! The students have formed a club and are completing research to study the science of cryptology. Their study includes related topics such as the vocabulary of cryptology, Caesar Ciphers, Navajo Code Breakers, the Enigma Machine, monoaplabetic and polyalphabetic ciphers and the use of encryption during the American Revolution, and other historical events. Solving codes such as anagrams, pig pens and Morse code messages have proven to be quite challenging! They will even be creating some of their own codes for their friends to solve!

"Reading Through History" by Andrew Cashin, Middle School Columbus Gifted Academy Teacher
Posted 2/19/2016 at 8:28:58 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
In Middle School Social Studies, we have done several different activities and are starting to embark on learning History through books other than the textbook.  Scholars in all three grades have been using editorial cartoon analysis from the national archives to analyze editorial cartoons from the Economist magazine. This has been a fun way to engage scholars to think about current events and what in general is happening in the world outside Columbus, Ohio. A second activity the scholars engaged in is using Paul's reasoning maps to analyze National Geographic and Time Magazine news articles.

Scholars are developing and presenting diverse projects based on what they are studying in Social Studies. These include anything from board games to newspaper articles to jeopardy games to little books based on the content to trading cards and puppet shows.  Currently, 6th grade scholars are writing poetry related to the content in their social studies text in a raft format needing to use the vocabulary from the chapter and starting group projects on Africa.  Seventh graders are reading Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford, a New York Times bestseller, and working on their History Day Projects. Eighth graders are reading Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis, a national bestseller and winner of the Pulitzer Prize and working on their History Day Projects.
"READBOX at Avalon" by Carol Anderson, Gifted Intervention Specialist
Posted 2/17/2016 at 8:22:31 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The gifted students at Avalon came up with a goal of reading 45 books each this year. Several have already surpassed their goal! Each month the students choose their favorite book of the month and give either a Book Talk or a Brown Paper Bag report to sell their books to the rest of the class. They have also been “Reading for Pizza” – each student was given a paper plate with six different genres to read during the 9 week grading period. Second quarter they read from the following genres: mystery, a series, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and a free choice. To celebrate their success, we will have a pizza party during lunch! Third quarter they will be reading for a hot chocolate party by reading from the following genres: biography, fantasy, folktale, historical fiction, free choice, and comedy.

"Enrichment at North Linden" by Beth Gasior, Gifted Resource Specialist
Posted 2/15/2016 at 8:21:05 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

North Linden teachers have access to a wide variety of resources to meet the needs of gifted identified students within their classrooms. Students can participate in Gifted and Talented sponsored events, such as chess tournaments, Math Showcase, Debate, Invention Convention or the new TEDxYouth. District events are one option, but teachers can also access resources on a daily basis. Utilizing the website Smore, E-newsletters are sent weekly to classroom teachers. Each newsletter has a focus such as writing extensions, math enrichment, literature activities for gifted readers, vocabulary, etc... Many resources are geared toward using MAP RIT scores to meet the individual needs of learners within the classroom. It's exciting to be able to work with the enthusiastic staff at North Linden!

"Storytelling at Avondale" by Wendi Briggs, Primary Enrichment Specialist
Posted 2/15/2016 at 8:19:58 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The PETS students at Avondale have spent the last week participating in small group activities. These students have been chosen for small group because of their hard work and participation in whole group instruction. The second grade students are using divergent thinking skills to perform oral storytelling. Students sit in a small circle and pick five word cards to use in the group story. The activity begins with a "What if …." story starter. The other group members are then asked to extend the story using any words from their word cards. Avondale second graders were able to create some fantastic tales about hidden treasure, the Columbus zoo, a lizard rock band and many more interesting topics! The students plan to use these ideas to write and illustrate some of their own stories. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!

"On Trial at Olde Orchard" by Evan, 5th Grade Student
Posted 2/3/2016 at 10:29:45 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Hi, my name is Evan. I am in Mrs. Chris’ gifted and talented reading group here at Olde Orchard Elementary. I am in the 5th grade and I’m 10 years old. We read the book, Holes, and it was amazing! After we read it we staged a mock trial. It was fun! We used real characters from the book and dressed up. The characters we used were Stanley, Zero, X-Ray, Mrs. Walker (the warden), Ms. Morengo, Mr. Pendanski and Mr. Sir. I was an attorney for the defense. The defense team was X-Ray, Mrs. Walker, Mr. Pendanski, Mr. Sir, me and the other attorney.

The case we were trying was against Mrs. Walker, the warden at Camp Greenlake. Camp Greenlake was a camp where boys who broke the law were sent instead of prison. It was in the middle of the desert and the boys had to dig a hole in the desert every day. The warden was being accused of child endangerment. The prosecution was trying to prove Mrs. Walker guilty of that. In the book she had done things that may have seemed like child endangerment, but that was her job.

The defense (my team) took a chance and put the warden on the stand. And it worked. She was able to convince the judge that she was only doing her job as warden. The prosecution didn’t have enough evidence to prove her guilty. We won!

"Learning at Linden STEM" by Jean Miller, Primary Enrichment Specialist
Posted 2/3/2016 at 10:27:49 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
First and second grade students at Linden STEM have been busy using their convergent and divergent thinking skills. First graders have been thinking like scientists and learning to identify attributes and then sort items into categories. Students in second grade have been thinking like inventors. They used the SCAMPER method to modify and/or create inventions. Both groups are enjoying expanding the ways that they think.
"Wedgwood Reflections on Malala" by Ava Z., Wedgewood Scholar
Posted 1/21/2016 at 9:50:28 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

In November, the sixth graders of Wedgewood MS studied the book, I Am Malala and took a field trip to see the documentary, He Called Me Malala. One of our sixth graders, Aya Z., reflects on the experience.

“The story of Malala Yousafzai is an inspiration. I’m very lucky to be in a nation where I can get a free education and am able to read her book and watch her story as a movie.

Her story is not the only one, but hers is given recognition. She showed the world that all people need an education, whether boy, girl, or any religion. She is an inspiration to me, showing me that being a Muslim isn’t something to be ashamed of but proud of. I know what it feels like to be called a terrorist, but in reality they aren’t true Muslims because in the Holy Quran it says never to take a life of another. We encourage peace and understanding.

I really don’t understand why people laugh or make jokes about terrorism or Muslims. Muslims are human too, and terrorism is a serious problem. How would you feel to have guns and riffles carried by sick-minded, black-hearted people, and not know if you’ll live to see the next day?

Malala Yousafzai is an inspiration, and she and all girls should be treated equally and not be driven from our rights. The world needs love and compassion, not guns and hatred.

I am really lucky and thankful to have gone on the field trip to watch the Malala movie. It was nice to have read the book before in class so I sort of knew what to expect. However, the bombs and explosions did catch me off guard, and I may have jumped. What I learned out of it was that everyone has a story. Everyone deserves respect, food, water, a home, and an education. We all deserve to live. It was my first time watching a documentary movie in a theater. I bet if I hadn’t read the book in class, I would probably have been lost during the movie. Thank you Mrs. Bartels and Ms. Posey for making it happen.”

"Coding at CGA" by Traci Palmer, 3rd Grade Columbus Gifted Academy Teacher
Posted 1/21/2016 at 9:50:16 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The scholars in Room 201 participated in the “Hour of Code” program in December. They explored some basics of computer science and gained experience in writing code. Scholars were given challenges relating to Mine Craft, Star Wars, or Frozen characters and wrote code to accomplish those challenges. One scholar even taught Ms. R how to write code, and she did it successfully on the first try!

All scholars earned a certificate for their participation in the program and can now access the website to continue their study of computer science if they wish. The link to the website is on our Google Classroom page. Have your child teach YOU how to write code!

"Mastering Math at CGA" by Julie Crosby, 4th Grade Columbus Gifted Academy Teacher
Posted 1/13/2016 at 3:16:43 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

We are taking our students through a mastery based math program. For each standard we pretest and then group students according to the skills they have and have not mastered previously. We each teach the unit catering it to our group of students. For each standard, the students may have any of the fourth grade teacher team. We posttest the students, and then one of us reteaches the few students who have not reached their 80% while the other teachers take the other students into a project-based lesson or extend their learning by working on the fifth grade standards. We then retest the students and continue working with them until they have reached 80%. The results have been very positive and the students and teachers enjoy getting to know the entire fourth grade.

"Partnerships for Poetry at Liberty" by Darlena Jones, 2nd Grade Teacher
Posted 1/13/2016 at 3:14:08 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Our classroom is the "Poetry Hub," where great poets are being developed through our three week connection with the Thurber House. Director Meg Brown visited our classroom on Thursdays to help us with poetry through December. Students were introduced to acrostic poems during the month of November. We focused on the flavor and smells of the season. Wow, our second graders shined in their writing attempts. There was so much excitement and sharing, that we all wanted more, more, more!

Special Note: The Thurber House is a partnership between Liberty Elem grades 1, 2, 3 and 4.

"Getting Underway at Georgian Heights" by Nancy Alley, Gifted Resource Specialist
Posted 1/5/2016 at 9:51:09 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Students at Georgian Heights Alternative are busy preparing for many exciting activities. The school has registered for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Classrooms will be choosing their representatives to participate in the school Spelling Bee to be held after Winter Break. The school winner will take an online test to see if he/she can qualify to participate in the Regional Spelling Bee in the Spring.

Another highly anticipated event is the Math and Science Extravaganza which will be held in January. Students in grades K, 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th will be preparing Science Fair projects, while 3rd grade students will work on Invention Convention inventions and displays. A number of the top scorers in the school’s Invention Convention competition will be invited to participate in the CCS District Invention Convention which will be held March 22, 2016 at Columbus College of Art and Design.

Exciting things are in the works for Georgian Heights Alternative with much more to come.

"Reflecting on Life at CGA" by Julie Levy, 5th Grade Columbus Gifted Academy Teacher
Posted 12/18/2015 at 11:38:47 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

What do you say about being a teacher of a new class, in a new program, in a new-to-us building, especially when embarking on such a unique and evolving endeavor? How can a brief blog encapsulate the roller coaster of logistics, adjustments, triumphs, and challenges that we have all experienced during the beginning of our CGA journey?

Curriculum and projects are important, but one of the ways I measure my days is how students feel about their day to day work and experiences while at school. So from their chromebooks to your page, here are a few student reflections on their CGA experience so far:

“I like CGA as far as academic wise. I think that many people should come to this school. But this school gives me a different perspective. This school shows that everybody is welcome. We show that everybody has something smart about themselves and we also make everybody feel good in a different way.This is what I say about CGA.”

“I feel like I fit in , and I'm not the odd ball out. I feel like I can talk to any person!!!”

“This school is an opportunity for kids to follow their interests and passions with special clubs and music courses that we can all can choose from. We all get a freedom to use our imagination to its limits.”

“CGA is great. I love the teachers, who have lots of experience in gifted education. I also love how we get to choose clubs. I think the idea to have a whole-city gifted academy is a great one, because I get to meet new people from all over the city that are like me.”

The core of what most students chose to share was that they felt like CGA was the “right fit” for them, that they could be themselves both academically and in their personalities; that being at CGA has made school a positive experience. While their reflections, feelings, and experiences might not represent measurable data in terms of school success, for me their words are indications that we are on the right path and on our way to accomplishing great things.

"Thinking Hard at Ohio Avenue" by Amy Rodocker, PETS Specialist
Posted 12/18/2015 at 11:36:08 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

In Mrs. Hurwitz’s Kindergarten whole group, we finished up applying Magician Thinking (visual/spatial perception) like Max the Magician ; however, Mrs. Hurwitz extends the lessons into her teaching weekly. A group of 6 students continued to work with the PETS teacher on activities that attempted to fool their brains through what their eyes perceived through various activities including using a set of combination cards to combine analyzing spatial relationships, with reconstructing the parts into new wholes.

Both of the 1st grade classes met Sybil the Scientist who loves to classify and organize the information that she collects. The students learned about analytical thinking and were given the opportunity to classify loose laboratory limpets into four categories, such as by stripes, dots, number of legs, hair, facial features etc.

Both of the 2nd grade classes were introduced to Isabel the Inventor and her friend Yolonda the Yarnspinner. Both creatures use divergent thinking strategies to help them brainstorm. 2nd graders practiced divergent thinking skills as young writers and were encouraged to brainstorm and use words creatively to add richness to their writing about a beautiful fall day in the meadow.

"Bonjour! from Ecole Kenwood" by Paula Cronan, Gifted Instruction Specialist
Posted 12/18/2015 at 11:33:29 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

In Madame Cadenel's 3rd grade class, we are having a Mock Trial, The Case of the Missing Puppy. We have learned what each person's role is in the court room and have assigned parts. Everyone has a part, even if it is not a speaking part. To get a part, we needed to cite evidence of our qualifications for the part. We even have jurors to make the decision of guilt or innocence. We are reading it as a reader's theatre on Monday. We don't yet know what the jury will decide or if they can come to a conclusion. Will our defendant be found at fault? Will she do community service? Who knows?

In fourth grade, our class has written poetry this week using personification and rhyme. Some of the word inventions are really wonderful. Did you know snowflakes could tango in sparkles on the ground? Imagination is wonderful and fulfilling!

In fifth and sixth grades, we are heavily into debate. The students have learned a lot about the subject as well as learning about formal debate. Most students are surprised that they can have mixed feelings about a subject, and we have discussed this kind of evaluation and judgement and the difficulty of making up the mind about it.

In all the classes, we have discussed the Depth and Complexity Icons from Kaplan and are showing a lot of evidence of application in our writing and reading. One student remarked, "I feel smarter and smarter. I think my brain is growing." 
"Hopping at Hubbard" by Beth Gasior, Gifted Resource Specialist
Posted 12/18/2015 at 11:30:26 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Hubbard Mastery K-6 has been accessing and implementing many instructional and enrichment resources provided by the Gifted and Talented Division. These curriculum strategies are used to meet the needs of gifted identified students within the classrooms at all grade levels.  Additionally, Hubbard teachers have taken the lead to involve their students in district level academic enrichment opportunities. Students in fifth grade are involved in a math club. They work on solving advanced math problems, logical reasoning problems and real wold math studies. Thanks to school staff members and volunteers, a chess club is also up and running at Hubbard. There are students who are new to chess as well as experienced chess players in the club and they are looking forward to participating in the upcoming district tournaments. Hubbard sixth graders will prepare and participate in the first ever Columbus City Schools TEDx event. Students will prepare a speech related to the theme "My Ideas are Significant". It will be exciting to see how the students utilize their research skills, support their ideas with evidence and convince their audience how their ideas are relevant to the world around them. Hopefully Hubbard students will be selected to present their speeches at the Columbus Museum of Art on May 19th!

"More Than Just Music" by Rachel Amey, CGA Vocal Music Teacher
Posted 12/16/2015 at 1:02:38 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Scholars at CGA are learning more than just music in their music class. There are times when our music curriculum is best understood in a game. As passionate people, gifted scholars sometimes struggle to be a good sport. In nearly every class, the statement, "That's not fair!" is shouted after an opponent does something well. We had a discussion about what that really means. Fair is not always equal, unfortunately. Just because something didn't go in your favor, does not mean that it is "unfair." We also discussed how to be a gracious winner. How do we want to be treated if we were on the losing end? The scholars were very receptive to this discussion and were encouraged to think about how this may relate to other parts of their day. If more of us thought about how our actions impact others, the world may look completely different. It is not how it was intended, it is how it was received.

"Enriching Opportunities at Burroughs" by Nancy Alley, Gifted Resource Specialist
Posted 12/16/2015 at 12:58:51 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
Enrichment Options are getting under way at Burroughs Elementary. Chess Club has started for beginning and experienced players. Mrs. Deal is the Chess coach and has an excited group of students eager to learn the moves and strategies of the game. The school will also host its annual Spelling Bee on December 3, 2015. Students in grades 3, 4, and 5 will be studying challenging lists of words to prepare for this event. The school champion will then take an online test, given by the Scripps National Spelling Bee, for the opportunity to participate in the Ohio Regional Spelling Bee.
"Eyes on Eakin" by Wendi Briggs, PETS Specialist
Posted 12/14/2015 at 2:32:49 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The Kindergarten class at Eakin Elementary school is sharpening their visual spatial skills. Max the Magician will attempt to fool kindergarten brains through what their eyes will see!!! The class is reading The Seven Blind Mice and When a Line Bends ….. A Shape Begins. These stories require them to focus on the illustrations, predict patterns and mentally manipulate shapes. Their eyes and brain have to work together to think about the information they have been given. The follow up activities are their favorite part! They love arranging and combining shapes to create new pictures on the smart board and at their seats. Some of their creations include a knight, a variety of facial expressions, and a day at the beach (my personal favorite). Max the Magician is a tricky character, but he can’t fool this class!!!

"CGA Middle School Recap" by Sherry Daniel, CGA Interdisciplinary Studies Teacher
Posted 12/14/2015 at 2:27:15 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Our inaugural year at CGA has been a whirlwind of activity for our middle school scholars. We participate in off campus visits each week at our partner sites. We have had multiple visits to COSI, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Ohio History Connection, and the Columbus Museum of Art. Our visits have included interesting activities such as an archaeological dig, viewing of an autopsy, assisting the zoo with animal data collection, working with high tech equipment, and interpreting art in the new museum wing. In addition to our visits, our middle school scholars have worked with See Kids Dream to create community service projects and with Naviance to explore careers. Teams of scholars have competed in a robotics tournament while some are currently preparing to compete in a debate tournament, a spelling bee, and Power of the Pen. Through clubs, our scholars have participated in a wide range of activities including chess, debate, robotics, student council, book club, newspaper writing, math club, techie club, and independent study. We are very active and hands-on learners here at the CGA middle school!

"New Ideas at Northtowne" by Sandy Dinan, PETS Specialist
Posted 11/30/2015 at 10:46:26 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
First grade students at Northtowne Elementary School have been thinking like an inventor. They have been learning about the characteristics of inventors and inventions that they think are the most important. Students have had the opportunity to use their imaginations and creativity and see things in new and different ways. Students brainstormed many creative unusual ideas for various items including a whisk. Some of their ideas for a whisk were a baseball bat, earring, ice cream cone, hammer and a ceiling fan!
Students in first grade at Northtowne have had a great time brainstorming new ideas!
"Empathy at Easthaven" by Lisha Perdue, Gifted Resource Specialist
Posted 11/14/2015 at 9:58:03 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Students at Easthaven have been busy developing characters and their associated traits through the use of response menus and literature guides. Students and teachers had a fundraiser to benefit those affected by hurricane Joaquin in South Carolina. Students were allowed to dress down, or out of uniform, if they paid one dollar to charity. A total of $450 was raised! The monies will be donated to two schools in the Forest Acres area of Columbia, South Carolina. This area had some of the most devastation. The two schools are Satchel Ford Elementary and The Timmerman School. Satchel Ford lost their library, and many families lost their homes and their belongings. The Timmerman School flooded, and many teachers lost all their materials. Easthaven students will combine monies raised with $240 from Leawood Elementary and hope to videoconference with the schools soon. This endeavor could not have been possible without the effort of Mrs. Hirst, the visual arts teacher at both buildings. She is a South Carolina native. Way to go Easthaven students. What a showing of good character!

"Clinton Considers Chipotle's Challenge" by Kyle Schriner, Clinton Gifted Instructional Specialist
Posted 11/14/2015 at 9:50:20 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Clinton's 5th grade scholars are using YummyMath.com. We have been calculating the mathematical likelihood of Chipotle being able to meet their goal of raising $1,000,000 to the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation. On October 31st, Chipotle offered 3 dollar burritos to people in costume hoping to raise the money. As a class, we have been brainstorming and forecasting on these questions:

  • How realistic is it for Chipotle to sell one million dollars’ worth of $3 burritos in one night?
  • What more information would you like to have to decide if this is even possible?

"Analyzing at Eastgate" by Sandy Dinan, PETS Specialist
Posted 11/11/2015 at 4:07:29 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
Second grade scholars at Eastgate Elementary School have had the opportunity to sharpen their convergent analytical thinking skills by participating in a game called, "Attribute Stax". Attribute Stax is a game played using a set of 60 cards with a variety of shapes that share various attributes. Students had to recognize and use attribute differences to develop a strategy to win the game. They enjoyed challenging each other's moves! Eastgate scholars are all winners as they become good analytical thinkers!
"Elizabethan Endeavors" by Matt Berkal, Indian Springs Gifted Instructional Specialist
Posted 11/11/2015 at 4:07:08 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
Here at Indian Springs, we have been exploring the medieval and Renaissance time periods of England in great depth and with great complexity. Third graders have devoured the critically acclaimed book, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! They have learned about the Elizabethan "Chain of Being," feudalism, and recently visited the Ohio Renaissance Festival as a culminating event. We have delved into classical British Literature for two months with outside monthly reading log assignments. Kids had to read books ranging from Black Beauty, Peter Pan, The Hobbit, and many others, all unabridged. Fourth and fifth graders have studied in great detail the life of Elizabeth Tudor through reading the book, Red Rose of the House of Tudor. Scholars in the upper grades then completed independent learning contracts which included an interactive webquest of Tudor Britain. Fourth and fifth graders also have been reading unabridged British Literature and have been exposed to public recitation of poetry. They are currently drafting a 5-paragraph expository essay about Queen Elizabeth and learning about oratory through the MLK Youth Oratorical option. Fourth and fifth graders visited the Renaissance Festival, as well, and everyone had a terrific time! Huzzah!
"Fall in Mrs. Ferrell's Fifth Grade" by the Students of Columbus Gifted Academy Room 10
Posted 11/7/2015 at 9:39:59 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The fifth grade has been so excited with the arrival of the Chromebooks and we have made good use of them! We finished our informational reports for the writing portfolio with Google Docs. In science, we created a food web using Google Drawing. As part of Google Classroom, we answer questions about the new novel that we are reading, Moonpenny Island. We are also able to comment on our classmates' answers, so it acts as a blog for an ongoing conversation about the book. We have started submitting assignments online using Google, as well. We are studying figurative language and submitted a poem that we found or created and interpreted the type and meaning of the figurative language in the poem. We have enjoyed using the ALEKS program online for math, as well.

We are creating a play with CATCO and the other fifth graders. Our play is from the mystery and science fiction genres. It is about a good scientist and an evil scientist (who doesn't really want to be evil). Our play will be performed by the third graders during the second semester.

We had our first field trip to Three Creeks Metro Park for the SEED program. The naturalist will be coming to visit CGA on November 12th.

While our class choice of school mascot, the wolf, didn't win, we are all excited to be part of the CGA Phoenix. It is going to be a great year!

"Reading Flush" by Kim Styers, Cedarwood Gifted Instructional Specialist
Posted 11/7/2015 at 9:37:56 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
Check out this infographic about Cedarwood 4th and 5th grade's latest novel study, Flush.

"Detective Work at Lindbergh Elementary" by Wendi Briggs, PETS Specialist
Posted 10/30/2015 at 11:22:02 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
The gifted resource specialist and K-2 teachers at Lindbergh are collaborating to bring critical thinking skills into the classroom through the PETS program. PETS (Primary Enrichment Thinking Skills) is a thinking skills program that is easily integrated into the existing primary curriculum. Students work with woodland characters from Crystal Pond Woods to solve mysteries using divergent, evaluative, convergent, and visual thinking. Dudley the Detective is leading the way at Lindbergh with an introduction to convergent/deductive thinking. Each week the classes are presented with clues and must use convergent and deductive reasoning to solve mysteries. All the clues must be read and reflected on to help Dudley find answers and solve problems. Lindbergh has solved the mystery of the birthday present, favorite games, Sybil’s containers and much much more! We are learning that being a detective is hard work, but it sure is fun!!
"Going Deeper into German Village" by Brenda Crumley, 3rd Grade Teacher, Columbus Gifted Academy
Posted 10/22/2015 at 4:46:14 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The third graders at The Columbus Gifted Academy have been using many of the Depth and Complexity concepts while learning this year. The “Big Idea” of focus for our third grade scholars in social studies this year is the concept of Community. We have looked closely at the community of German Village and its history. We have discovered “Patterns” in how houses were built and what materials they used. Scholars saw how the community “Changed Over Time” with the rise, fall, and then the rebirth of German Village via educational videos of the area. Scholars have been able to learn the finer “Details” of the styles of houses built, which range from the “shotgun” style home to the “Queen Anne” style. Walking field trips enhanced these lesson plans. Our last walking field trip to Schiller Park was even more exciting as we participated in activities with The Actors Theater of Columbus. This left the students with many “Unanswered Questions,” which we will research further!

"Burroughs Bits" by Students at Burroughs
Posted 10/14/2015 at 12:05:35 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Gifted reading classes are off to a great start at Burroughs.  Here are just a few comments from students:

"GT is fun! I am doing Depth and Complexity on a book called, Mrs. Basil. E. Frankenweiler. I started chess club. It is awesome!" - Lyndzee

"GT is great! I love going to GT because I learn about Depth and Complexity and there are great books and....FUN! I always laugh and read interesting books! I belong to the Chess Club!" - DayJah

Students are having a chance to explore the points of view, patterns, big ideas, ethics, and more in the novels they are reading (depth and complexity).  Chess club is an additional venue to help students sharpen their logical reasoning skills.  Students are responding positively to these opportunities.

"Great Beginning at Binns" by Nancy Alley, Gifted Resource Specialist
Posted 10/9/2015 at 8:35:34 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The new school year is off to an exciting start at Binns Elementary. Our school is one of two buildings in the District to be piloting a new Reading program. While students had a day off on September 25th, teachers and staff met to discuss the new components of the program and learned how it offers the opportunity for all students to meet their potential. For our children identified gifted in Reading, this is very exciting because, within their classroom, they will be able to access books of different genre and styles on levels higher than the current grade. Books have been selected to match the content and theme for the entire class while challenging our gifted readers.

Cluster teachers will begin learning about ways to incorporate Depth and Complexity into their lessons, starting with Language of the Discipline. While students may be reading books under the theme of Underwater Life, they will learn how to use the vocabulary of an oceanographer or a marine biologist, or research marine life using charts, maps and primary sources.
"Primarily Thinking at Duxberry" by Jean Miller, PETS Specialist
Posted 9/28/2015 at 11:26:24 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
Kindergarten students at Duxberry Park are participating in PETS (Primary Education Thinking Skills), a program that is new to CCS this year. They have been using divergent and creative thinking skills to see extraordinary possibilities in ordinary, everyday items. Students first listened to Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews. Then they used brainstorming to think of different ways to use dots. Finally, they expressed their new ideas artistically.
"Into the Year at Indianola" by Kelly Aitken, Gifted Instructional Specialist
Posted 9/24/2015 at 2:14:58 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Just READ. Fifth grade scholars have been challenged by Melissa and Kelly to read a whopping 40 books this year! Scholars are self-selecting books in various genres while tracking their own progress. Each week, scholars pull out their reading journal and respond to their book through various reading response prompts that utilize Kaplan’s elements of depth & complexity. Scholars are working hard to support each response with explicit details from the text.

Creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking abound! Sixth grade scholars in one Indianola classroom have been working with Trina and Kelly on a variety of STEM building challenges. A tallest structure group challenge was issued first. The tallest structure was 68 centimeters! Scholar pairs have since been working hard to help a not-so-sea-worthy traveler stranded on a deserted island. Using a mastery progression model, they have designed and revised their designs for huts, bridges, and catapults. These hands-on challenges will connect to an overarching architecture theme that will develop through the year.

"First Day Jitters" by Colleen Boyle, Supervisor of Gifted & Talented
Posted 8/26/2015 at 10:48:39 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
Another school year is underway!  This is an exciting time for our scholars and our staff across the district, particularly in the Gifted & Talented Division.  We have many new programs starting this year.  First, we have gifted reading and math classes for students in grades 3-8 offered at an array of schools for eligible scholars.  We also have gifted specialists co-teaching in classes in grades 3-6 as some of our alternative lottery programs.  Next, our primary enrichment program will kick off in 38 buildings as specialists teach critical thinking skills to our youngest learners in grades K-2.  Finally, the Columbus Gifted Academy will open its doors to approximately 300 eager scholars in grades 3-8.  My team has prepared for these new ventures, and they are ready to roll.  But, I have to admit, just like the kids, I have those first day jitters.  My perfectionist side really wants everything to run smoothly and for the programs to be a good fit for the needs of our learners.  The realist in me knows there will be some hiccups we have to handle along the way.  The people pleaser in me doesn't want to disappoint anyone - my team, our parents, and, most of all, our scholars.  
My guess is your children are having a few first day jitters, too.  They probably are a little afraid of the unknown.  They may worry they won't get something just right or may disappoint someone in the new grade.  Take a minute, let them voice the worries and the "worst case scenarios."  Help them sort through the likelihood of some of those fears coming true, weigh just how bad some might really be along with ways to overcome, assure them some are simply impossible, and then encourage them to consider all the wonderful things that may come with the new year.  The great thing is that, after today, we don't have another "first day" for a whole year!  Between now and then, we will realize that those jitters and all that came with them weren't so bad after all.
Welcome back to CCS!
"Transitions" by Colleen Boyle, Supervisor of Gifted & Talented
Posted 5/29/2015 at 5:11:08 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
It's hard to believe another school year is over.  I feel like I was just getting into the swing of things this year, and now it is time to transition again.  There are a lot of transitions happening this summer.  Our students are transitioning to new grade levels, new buildings for some, new stages in their academic careers. . .That can be a scary thing for students, although I have found they often handle it better than we adults think they can or than we, ourselves, do.

Our division staff is in transition, as well.  For some of my staff, I was able to say, "See you later!"  They will be coming back to me in the fall to continue the work we do.  It may be a different role, but they are coming back.  (I'm so glad!!!!)  But to others I gave well wishes as they move to new experiences with a request that they come back and visit. My retirees - Annette Brewer, Marjorie Davis, Jan Higdon, Chris Hoell, Liz Johnson, and Karen Sherman - have dedicated many years to our department with a passion for ensuring our gifted students have opportunities to grow and thrive.  They will be greatly missed.

Our physical space is in transition. Oh, if you could see the boxes surrounding me right now!  The Gifted & Talented offices currently at Shepard will be moving over to the building at Beck this summer.  You can still find us at Walcutt Avenue through June and much of July, but then we will be heading to Beck St. in Schumacher Place/German Village area.  We are eager to settle into our new digs!

All of these changes reflect the bigger transition at hand - the programming overhaul for next school year.  We have some major initiatives in store - the new Columbus Gifted Academy, elementary and middle school gifted reading and math classes, seminars for high schoolers, and our primary enrichment program - all designed to ensure our students who are gifted have an opportunity to stretch their thinking.  We are excited about what is up ahead, and we are are hard at work getting the details together so that we can go full steam ahead when August 26 arrives.

"Transitions" seems to be the theme these days.  Change can be a little nerve wracking at times and a lot of hard work.  But, I am confident these transitions will hold great things for us all - especially our kids!  So, as I end this final blog for the 2014-2015 school year, I bid you a happy summer and look forwarding to you transitioning with us next fall.
"End of the Year at Berwick ECLIPSE" by Julie Levy, ECLIPSE Teacher
Posted 5/27/2015 at 3:30:04 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

End of the year activities are in full swing in Berwick’s ECLIPSE classroom!

Students are busy researching and planning our virtual trip to 15 natural wonders throughout the United States to compete in The Great Race. What is The Great Race?? Think of The Amazing Race television show, but in virtual form, with the competitors being 4th and 5th grade classes across the U.S. The Great Race is organized by the Columbiana Educational Service Center is northeastern Ohio and provides students with real-world opportunities to learn about planning a trip while also researching our country’s natural wonders, like The Grand Canyon, The Everglades and Niagara Falls.

Students in our ECLIPSE class are learning how to research and plan travel while applying math skills and using teamwork. The Great Race requires three different modes of transportation, so rental cars, trains and buses are being used to travel from Miami, Florida, to San Diego, California, and to multiple stops in between. Who wins The Great Race? The team that plans the shortest virtual trip spending the least amount of money on travel, food, and lodging will be the winner and that team will be announced in our final videoconference on May 27th. Good luck Berwick Bulldogs!

In other endeavors, students put the finishing touches on their literature projects for the ECLIPSE end of year literature celebration held on Tuesday, May 19th. Projects combine personal portraits with Haikus and numerical summaries to describe students’ four favorite class novels from this year.

Our final novel for the year, Okay for Now, by Gary D. Schmidt, has been a student favorite for its melding of Audubon’s Birds of America, the Vietnam War, dealing with abuse and illiteracy, and forging new friendships (to name a few). Students have enjoyed Schmidt’s writing so much that during the final days of the school year we will be listening to The Wednesday Wars, which is a companion novel to Okay for Now.
"Lots Going on at Ecole Kenwood" by Jean Miller, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 5/27/2015 at 3:03:10 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
Ecole Kenwood has had an extremely busy year! Students participated in a variety of academic activities and competitions. Elementary students competed in Math Works for Kids, the CCS Elementary Chess Tournament, the Rookie Chess Tournament, the Caldecott Challenge, and two debates. Our middle school students expanded science knowledge by attending the Breakfast of Science Champions at Ohio State and Fantastic Fridays at Columbus State. They also participated at Math Challenge, the CCS Middle School Chess Tournament and two debates. All this took place while we moved from our Shattuck location to our temporary space at Northgate. The transition went smoothly and students and staff settled in quickly. It's been a great year and everyone is looking forward to a relaxing summer.
"Rookies Gain Experience at West Broad" by Beth Gasior, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 5/27/2015 at 2:56:02 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
West Broad had three students represent our school at the W. Arthur Cullman Rookie Chess tournament! Competing with 82 other participants, our West Broad "rookies" were Charles Clark, Dakota Cornett and Katie Johnson. The competition was held on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at the Columbus Museum of Art. Each student had the opportunity to compete for a trophy over four rounds of chess at a table of eight players. In addition to the chess competition, the Columbus Metropolitan Library was on hand to provide chess themed books for the students to read. All rookie chess players were also given a tour of the museum and had the opportunity to discuss various works of art. Special guests included State Representative Michael Stinziano, Mr. Gregg Dodd, Marketing and Deveolpment Director of the Columbus Metroploitan Library, and Dr. Dan Good, Superintendent, Columbus City Schools. It was an exciting day for all of our chess players! Congratulations to the West Broad Rookies!
"Chess Club at Huy/A.G.Bell" by Sean Gill, Chess Club Advisor and 4th Grade Teacher
Posted 5/22/2015 at 6:34:23 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

This is my fifth year as a chess club advisor and, by far, I’ve been most impressed with this group. Though we have had no district tournament champions as in years past, this club of thirty students is the most “rounded” – from top to bottom – than any prior. Each knows the basic moves, many have developed more advanced moves, and some have even begun using historical openers and defenses! Their dedication has been evidenced by their consistent attendance for ninety minutes afterschool on most Wednesdays.

Our chess players have been more diverse this year, too! For the first time in five years, we’ve had more “younger” players than “older” players (though the club is exclusively for fourth and fifth graders, third graders are allowed to participate if they are referred by their teachers, and, in very rare occasions, second graders have been included if referred by their respective teachers and by a member of the gifted/talented faculty). We’ve had more deaf/hard of hearing chess club members this year - with interpretation done by a gracious fourth grade interpreter! All of this ensures that our chess club has great years ahead of it!

The successful Chess Club Dance in October (which will become an annual event) was such a success that it paid for t-shirts, snacks and, for our departing 5th graders, my favorite chess book, Chess For Dummies!

"A View of Valleyview's Year" by Trisha Seiler, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 5/22/2015 at 6:31:57 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

It has been an extremely busy year here at “The View”. We sent students to many competitions…Math Works for Kids, Invention Convention, Spelling Bee, Elementary Chess Tournament, and The Rookie Chess Tournament. Those children worked hard preparing for each competition. They represented Valleyview well! All of our Invention Convention school winners faced their next challenge at the Regional IC. Good Luck to all!

Tons of hard work has been happening in their classrooms too. Students took part in independent study projects, book groups, a debate over vampire bats, creative thinking activities, and our end of the year egg drop activity. Many students also gave up their lunch and recess time to participate in Chess Club.

That sounds like a truly productive school year!

"Fetching Financial Literacy at Sullivant" by Beth Gasior, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 5/22/2015 at 6:29:28 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Learning how to manage money and make responsible financial decisions is important for everyone.  For students, it is even more important.  Understanding how to use and manage money early in life paves the way for a lifetime of financial success.  Fifth graders at Sullivant Elementary participated in Fetch! (Financial Education Teaches Children Healthy Habits), a financial education program sponsored by the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants as part of their CPAs in the classroom initiative. The students learned about saving, budgeting and smart spending through a fun and interactive game based on the concept of owning a pet.  They formed competitive teams for an adventure through a dog park where they purchased items for their dog and saved as much money as possible, while encountering a mixture of risks and rewards along the way. Team members worked together to purchase items for their pet and save as much money as possible. FETCH! required the students to make financial decisions, use their math skills, budget for unexpected expenses, and plan ahead to avoid fines imposed by the Dog Catcher. Through teamwork, strategy and competition, the fifth graders at Sullivant had a a lot of fun while learning valuable financial literacy skills at the same time

"Sparking Interests at Buckeye" by Rosanna Grey, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 5/11/2015 at 11:07:10 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Buckeye staff are instrumental in providing multiple opportunities for students to be involved in clubs and activities that interest them. This includes the kick-off of a student reported school newspaper and the introduction of an after school gamers club for those students who are passionate about playing video games (and who might be the next big video game designer). The importance of continuing education, whether it be completion of high school, enrollment in a a technical school, community college, and/or the pursuit of a Bachelors degree (or higher level of education) is a frequent topic of conversation and exploratory research during the year. Throughout the year, there are dances, academic competitions, and athletic activitiees, all vigorously supported by the Buckeye staff. Several members of the National Guard provide regular, year round mentoring of 8th grade students and even volunteered to accompany students on the 8th grade field trip to Washington, D.C., and which is scheduled for the end of May.  Buckeye is working hard to tap into student interests!

"Research Roundup at Woodcrest" by Jackie Galbreath, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 5/11/2015 at 10:06:37 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
The third graders at Woodcest Elementary are impressive researchers. Recently, each 3rd grade student chose a famous African American to research independently. Mrs. Shenita Lyons, a third grade cluster teacher, has worked diligently throughout the year to provide opportunities for her students to engage in non-fiction digital reading. She taught her students how to use Woodcrest Elementary’s online Blackboard classroom. Using the multi-media tools found on this site, her students engaged with various non-fiction news websites designed just for kids, such as DoGo News and Youngzine. These experiences allowed students to gain confidence navigating the internet while reading and researching online. Everyone’s excitement for online learning continued to grow when 60 new chrome books found a home at Woodcrest in February! Now the third graders are not only academically prepared to take on independent research projects but they had the technology to do it right. Recently, they shared their final Famous African American research project. The students at Woodcrest loved being independent researchers.​

"Stewart Eagles are Flying High!" by Rosanna Grey, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 5/7/2015 at 8:00:00 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The Stewart Eagles were flying high this past year! I am going to highlight a few of the many opportunities for exploration, discovery and enrichment that are consistently offered at this school. All students in grades 3-6 participated in classroom spelling bees before winners moved on to the school-wide bee, which was attended by all students in the school. The Invention Convention assembly was a rousing success and participation in the Invention Convention was embedded within the curriculum of the upper grades. Many students worked diligently on some very creative inventions. For the first time, Stewart participated in the middle school debate competition in the spring. The team was extremely dedicated, and the hours of research and discussion led to a rewarding and eye opening first experience.

“'I am an INDIVIDUAL' at Medina Middle School" by Jan Higdon, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 5/7/2015 at 7:58:38 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Individualizing instruction through tiered lessons and extension menus is what’s happening at Medina Middle school. Teachers at Medina care about meeting the needs of their students and try to find ways to do that each and every day, and the students benefit from their efforts.

It’s fun and interesting for the students to have options that excite and challenge them no matter what the subject area. In Science class a student might create a poster, a Power Point presentation or a model. For Reading/Language Arts Class, the product might a speech, a play or a video. The choices are many and the students are making some good ones!

"Being an Arts Ambassador" by Thea Hartley, Indianola Student
Posted 5/6/2015 at 10:40:44 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
My experience as an art ambassador was very interesting and a lot of fun. I was excited when I got the letter in the mail saying that I qualified; it was unexpected, and I always look forward to trying new things. At our orientation, I was able to look around the museum and see some of the other students that were there. I also got a good idea of what we were going to be doing and felt well prepared afterwards. 

My time in the museum was both informative and a bit of a challenge. I had to be very direct and clear with the museum guests while also being friendly. It was a very good experience, though, because everyone seemed to enjoy us being there, and it was nice to see all of the guests enjoying the artwork. The staff there was also very kind and helpful. All in all it was fun, and I would do it again.
"Debating at Mifflin Middle School" by Amy Genter, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 5/6/2015 at 10:38:54 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

What is your stance on animal testing?  Is it cruel and causes unnecessary suffering to animals?  Or is it helpful and can be used to save human lives?  Four sixth grade students at Mifflin Middle School tackled this complex issue at the Columbus City Schools Spring Debate Tournament.

Izaiah, Alex, Alaishya, and Adina spent time researching both sides of animal testing and looking for arguments and evidence that supported each side. They then worked with Capital University’s debate coach, Chrissy Kearns, to learn about the debate process and rules.  Ms. Kearns helped the students to organize their arguments, write their speeches, and cross examine the other team effectively.  They practiced listening to the other side’s argument and refuting their claims with evidence.

At the debate tournament held on April 2 at Capital University, each side won one debate.  The judges commented on the team’s strength in both asking and answering cross examination questions.  The judges also were impressed with the team’s organization of their speeches.  

Reflecting on the entire process, most of the team loved the cross examinations in debate.  They liked asking the questions and answering them.  That is where they felt the strongest.  One student liked giving his constructive speech and being able to see Capital University.  This process also taught them a lot. It taught one student the importance of teamwork and another to have more confidence in his abilities.  One student liked how debate helped her to think on her feet because you had to switch your questions based on what the other side said.  Finally, one student said that debate helped her to have a stronger opinion on a subject and how you should support your opinions with facts.  When asked if they would debate next year, all gave a resounding “YES!”   

"Going to College at Oakmont Elementary" by Lisha Perdue, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 5/6/2015 at 10:38:44 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

As an incentive for turning in homework assignments and getting no PEAK referrals, star students were eligible to go on two college visits.  Grades 3-5 participated and toured Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.  The purpose of the visits was to show students what it takes to go to college.  Test scores, as well as grades, play an important factor in getting accepted into college.  What better way to show students that the time for preparation is now!  Students were able to tour each campus, eat lunch, learn about various majors, and obtain some history about each university.  They even observed some classes in session.  Students were amazed at how quiet the classes were.

At Ohio University, students were able to watch a girls’ basketball game and pep rally!  They also got to meet the players on the team and watch a great game.  Since the college trips, students have been very excited, and it has carried over into their schoolwork and classroom behavior.  Many classroom teachers created writing projects upon return, focusing on preparing students for college and a career.  

"Trevitt Elementary Chess Club" by Beth Gasior, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 5/1/2015 at 7:54:09 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Trevitt Elementary chess players were asked why they think the challenge of learning how to play the game of chess is beneficial to them. Their response, and without hesitation, was the following: "We need to learn to be confident, take on new challenges, stay competitive, believe in ourselves and especially have fun." Several third and fourth graders are preparing to attend the 19th Annual Arthur Cullman Rookie Chess Tournament on May 21, 2015 at the Columbus Museum of Art. They are very excited to be members of the recently reestablished Trevitt Elementary chess club. What is most impressive is their dedication and commitment. The students have been practicing on their own time and they have even taken it upon themselves to teach others the game, read books about chess and study strategies online. Parents have become involved and have been working with their children at home to prepare for the tournament. It's an exciting opportunity for Trevitt students and the enthusiasm is spreading!

"Things are Moving at South Mifflin" by Jean Miller, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 5/1/2015 at 7:53:01 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
South Mifflin has had a busy year taking part in several district competitions. Students participated in two spelling bees, Math Works for Kids, Math Challenge, CCS ES Chess Tournament, and CCS MS Chess Tournament. A new and exciting event that has taken place at South Mifflin this year is the kickoff of a chess club. The students are very enthusiastic about chess regardless of skill level. We will be sending three students to the Rookie Chess Tournament in May.
"Easthaven's Super Reader Girls" by Acasia and Fernanda, Easthaven Students
Posted 4/28/2015 at 10:20:30 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Many kids love to watch TV or play basketball but we are not ordinary kids. We are the SUPER READER GIRLS of Easthaven Elementary. We possess the power to read and inform. We like to read many books from Greek mythology all the way to graphic novels. We want to our super powers to inspire other children to read good books.Our names are Acasia and Fernanda. Our mission is to save all the children who have not yet experienced the joy of reading. Sit back and relax as we motivate you to read two powerful books that will take you into two vastly different reading adventures.

I, Acasia, love fantasy graphic novels. I’ve been reading a series called The Earl & The Fairy by Mizue Tani. This book is set in the 19th century. Many characters in the series have the gift to see fairies. They are called fairy doctors. They have the power to see and communicate with fairies. A woman named Lydia Carlton the last fairy doctor is captured by a man. She is held hostage by a criminal. The adventure doesn’t end there because she is taken by another man who claimed to be a descendant of the Blue Knight Earl. One unique quality of this series is that the novels are printed backward. You really need to check this series out. You won’t be disappointed.

I, Fernanda, love to read chapter books with interesting characters. I am currently reading a series called Wolves of the Beyond by Kathryn Lasky's. I enjoy this series so much I have read it three times. It tells the life story of a marked wolf. The wolf’s name is Faolan. He was born with a birthmark that has a strange meaning. He was found as a mere pup by a grizzly bear and adopted, but now his second mother has vanished during an earthquake. All Faolan knows is gone and reshaped. Now he needs to join a pack. What will happen to Faolan? Only by reading will you find out.

I think our work is done. We must be off to find other children to save from a life without good books to read.​

"Ohio Avenue Wax Museum" by Lisha Perdue, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 4/24/2015 at 4:32:57 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

As a culminating project to their Black History Month Unit, 4th and 5th grade students at Ohio Ave. Elementary participated in the 3rd Annual Wax Museum. Each student chose a notable African American person and conducted their research over a six week time period. Some notable figures included Harriet Tubman and Malcolm X. More up to date figures included singer, Aaliyah, and actor, The Rock. The students lined up in the downstairs hallway and dressed like their notable figure or provided props that the person would have had. The students stood very still while other grade levels, teachers, and parents “browsed” the museum. Each student had a button on their hand that attendees “pushed” in order for them to “come alive”. Once activated, each student delivered an original speech, done in first person, about the historic figure. The speech included contributions the person made to America and society, obstacles they had to overcome, and childhood memories. What a great way to get students excited about history!

"Windsor is Winning at Math" by Annette Brewer, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 4/23/2015 at 11:03:28 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Windsor sent a great 6th grade math team composed of top students to compete in Math Challenge held on Friday, March 20th at the Metropolitan Library Driving Park Branch. The team consisted of four participants: Michael Marc-Sainvil, Toniya Williams, Na'Ryah Vance and Dashawn Crump. The competition was composed of three parts: Mental Math, Reckoning Relay, and Round Robin. In Mental Math (two rounds) students had around 30 seconds to solve problems without using paper or calculators. This part was individual participation. The Reckoning Relay was group problem solving using a team strategy.This took collaboration and was calculator active. The Round Robin was new this year. They were able to use calculators. Each team member received a packet of problems, then after 8 minutes, the paper was shifted clockwise . The person with the current packet either solved the problems or could redo the problems. The paper was shifted five times within the team.

The Windsor students have mentioned how practicing for this competition  has strengthened what they are learning in Mr. Phillips class and has helped them on the PAARC test. Without the classroom teachers' input and cooperation, this team would not have be possible. One day the students were engrossed in a single problem for a full half hour! They readily took problems in class and worked during the week, testing strategies that might work and reporting back at the next session. This team is impressive on how well they work together. They each had a job, such as Reader, Recorder, Enforcer, and Runner based on their strengths. They all agreed on who did what. This helped the team work like a well-oiled machine. By incorporating math vocabulary, reading and math strategies, and learning the short cuts for competing, Windsor has winning students!

"Ridgeview Middle School Students Take to the Skies" by Amy Genter, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 4/22/2015 at 5:37:28 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Two students at Ridgeview Middle School participated in the job shadow program at the Ohio State University Airport Don Scott Field to learn about aviation. At the airport, they were able to shadow air traffic controllers, airplane mechanics, customer service representatives, and the line crews. The students were also able to meet with current OSU students; one was studying aeronautical engineering and the other was going to school to be a pilot. Finally, they took a ride on the runway, toured different airplanes, and used a flight simulator. When flying on the flight simulator, the students were able to take off, land the plan, and spin or twirl the plane.

Both students enthusiastically replied that their favorite part was flying the plane in the simulator and the most difficult part of flying is landing the plane. In addition, the entire experience taught them a lot about aeronautics. One student was surprised at the number of wires that are needed for the radio and instruments, when he observed the mechanic upgrading the instrument panel on one of the planes. After completing the shadowing experience, both students felt that careers in aviation were for them. One of the students would like to become a pilot and the other one would like to pursue a career in engineering, with a focus on aviation.

No matter what the career, everyone at the airport informed the students that math and science, especially science, are really important to study. You need to understand the physics of flight in order to take off and land safely. You also need to understand the weather and how it affects the flight path. The flight instructor compared aviation to “doing a science experiment every day.”

All of us who participated would like to thank The Don Scott Airport outreach program for creating this experience. Tours and other activities are available throughout the year, so please check out the following websites for more information. https://aviation.osu.edu/outreach or http://www.osuairport.org/21

"Busy, Busy, Busy in Burroughs 4/5 ECLIPSE" by Debbie Ferrell, ECLIPSE Teacher
Posted 4/22/2015 at 5:29:43 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The fourth & fifth grade ECLIPSE class at Burroughs Elementary has been very busy in the past few months. We sent four students to the district Invention Convention and are waiting to hear who will be attending the regional competition. We also had two students from our classroom represent us at the district chess tournament as well as one student attend the district spelling bee. After school on Wednesdays, we take part in Techie Club with the help of volunteers from Nationwide and Chase. We will be participating in Techieloka later this spring. We also are looking forward to the literature event. Our favorite books so far are Curiosity and The Lions of Little Rock.

"Girls with Opinions at CCPSG" by Michele Ballinger, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 4/15/2015 at 11:53:41 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.

This is what the students at Columbus City Preparatory School for Girls have been busy doing the past several months. Students across all grade levels have been writing and expressing opinions through the City of Columbus MLK Oratorical, Better Business Bureau's Laws of Life Essay Contest and in preparation for debate at Capital University.

These enrichment writing activities have been integrated through the English Language Arts and RICA classes. Each activity provides students with the opportunity to develop language and writing skills, ideas and thoughts, as well as express opinions and experiences in response to a theme shared with a larger audience. Each writing opportunity centers on values and ethics that builds character and encourages students to engage in "real world" topics and issues.

This year's MLK Oratorical theme, "Give Us the Ballot," provided students with insight to Dr. King's 1957 speech. Students wrote from a variety of perspectives which conveyed their many thoughts and opinions about issues and concerns they are facing in the world today. Twelve CCPSG students had their voices heard and felt during the MLK Oratorical on Saturday, January 17 at the King Arts Complex. Students rose to the occasion again just recently by writing on the Better Business Bureau's Laws of Life theme, "Integrity." Students poured their hearts into writing about a "law" they live by that gives their lives purpose.

Most recently, students researched animal experimentation to prepare for debate at Capital University. As I continue to watch students grapple with perspectives in order to see multiple sides of a controversial and ethical issue, I have no doubt the students will again rise to the occasion and find their voices.

"Picking Great Books at Parkmoor" by Joan Johnson, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 4/15/2015 at 11:50:36 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The fifth grade at Parkmoor has an after school book club. I recently had a chance to speak with two members of the book club, Devin and Destiny. They both really enjoy book club. Devin likes to read animal fantasy books, especially the Warrior series. He started reading those books when he saw a classmate reading one. He liked it so much he has read most of the many books in the series! Devin also likes to read Manga and other graphic novel style books. In book club, he has enjoyed reading City of Ember and Son of the Beaver. Destiny enjoys reading all types of genres, and recently she has been reading the Whatever After series. She saw one of the books on her teacher’s bookshelf last year and asked if she could read it. Soon, she read more and more! She has now read 5 of the books in this series! Both students told me that they would encourage others to join a book club because:

  • We get to read lots of genres of books.
  • You can embrace your reading and learning.
  • You can find out books you’d like to read.
  • We can enjoy reading somewhere that’s quiet.
  • We get to read books and compare then to other books.
  • We have fun!

"On Our Game at Oakland Park" by Cam Thompson's 3rd Grade ECLIPSE Class
Posted 4/10/2015 at 7:00:41 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
Today's blog is a visual tale. . . 

"Summer is Coming to North Linden" by Sandy Dinan, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 4/9/2015 at 9:07:35 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

“I can hardly think of an aspect of my life that wasn’t positively affected by my camping experience…What a gift camp gives to kids.”

---Michael Eisner, Disney CEO

THINK WARM WEATHER!!! THINK SUMMER CAMP!!! Gifted and Talented students in grades 3-5 at North Linden, and their families, have been researching summer enrichment programs. Examples of some of the activities are Thurber Writing Camp, Phoenix Theater, Camp COSI, Columbus College of Art & Design and Camp Wyandot. These are just a few of the opportunities that are available to students. Scholarships are being offered by Support for Talented Students (STS), so if you are planning to send your child to a camp this summer, consider applying for this scholarship. To apply for an STS scholarship, go to www.supportfortalentedstudents.org. The deadline was March 30, but applications may still be accepted this week.  If you have any questions, please contact STS at stsinfo@supportfortalentedstudents.org.

Fifth grader Gabrielle hopes to attend Junior Achievement Biz Town. When asked why she chose this camp, she stated, “JA Biz Town will teach me how to manage my money. I also want to see what it would be like to have a town run by kids. I think it is very important to learn these skills because all kids and grown-ups will need to use these skills at one point in their lifetime”. Gabrielle is thankful for this wonderful opportunity!

"Cedarwood ECLIPSE Investigates Endangered Animals" by Kim Styers, ECLIPSE Teacher
Posted 4/8/2015 at 3:20:44 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
As part of their study of life science, Cedarwood students studied environments, animals, energy pyramids, and food chains. In addition, ECLIPSE students read SCAT, by Karl Hiassen. SCAT is a mystery surrounding two middle school students attempting to find their science teacher who disappeared along with a black panther in Florida. Incorporated into the unit was a research project. Students researched topics on endangered animals of Florida and the reasons animals land on the threatened or endangered lists. The knowledge gained by Cedarwood students from the book and the research was immeasurable. Students extended the discussion and began to discuss how their actions at home affect wildlife in Ohio.
"Black History is Alive at Leawood" by Jackie Galbreath, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 4/8/2015 at 3:17:46 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
Parent, community members, and teachers gave Leawood Elementary students a standing ovation for bringing Black history alive. Students began 2015 off by strengthen their inquiry and researching skills as they investigated the many African Americans that have influenced our nation. Students worked hard on independent and collaborative projects that highlighted the theme, “Black History, Our History.” During an evening event students presented creative performance vignettes that demonstrated a real connection with history.
"Online Learning at Burroughs" by Beth Gasior, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 4/8/2015 at 3:16:07 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Student interests, accommodating varied learning styles, and fostering a student-centered approach to learning are all driving the development of online resources for Burroughs Elementary students. Utilizing Blackboard, students are engaged in independent learning through research and inquiry based studies. Whether it is completing an independent study, learning real-world math, participating in an online book discussion, or reading and responding to a current event article, students have access to resources that challenge and enrich their classroom instruction. They can even put in a request for a topic of interest, and teachers can provide immediate access to learning resources that may not otherwise be available. Lyndzee, a fourth grader, wanted to study the health effects of eating too much candy. After formulating her research questions, her resources were added to Blackboard with a simple search and click of the mouse. Her research is now at her fingertips anytime her inquiring mind wants to know! Constantly in flux, continuously changing, and always enriching, providing online resources for learning is just one way teachers at Burroughs can meet the learning needs of not only gifted students, but all students in their classrooms.

"STEAM Beams Brightly at Berwick" by Juli Knecht, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 4/2/2015 at 4:06:31 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
The Berwick MS students are getting ready for their annual end of the year event. Although the theme changes each year, the overall idea is the same. The students showcase their talents and academic rigor with displays, performances, and demonstrations. This event is open to members of the community, CCS staff, parents, grandparents and friends. The STEAM theme for Berwick this year is, "A Night of the ARTS". Some of the activities that students will showcase are their geometrical art, artistic literature reenactments through role playing, and a fashion show with styles that students have created themselves. The Columbus College of Art and Design has partnered with Berwick staff to help them with this integration process.
"Dishing about Devonshire" by Jean Miller, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 4/1/2015 at 10:01:56 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
Many interesting things are happening at Devonshire Project Adventure!  Students in grades 2-5 participated in the annual Devonshire Spelling Bee with the winner advancing to the CCS Bee in February. Also in December, fourth and fifth grade students traveled to The Columbus College of Art and Design to compete in Math Works for Kids.  Several classrooms have just completed the Caldecott Challenge, an activity where students read books that are contenders for the Randolph Caldecott Medal in order to predict the award-winning book.  One classroom was able to watch the announcement live from the Midwinter Meeting & Exhibition in Chicago on February 12. The students were super excited to learn that The Adventures of Beekle:  The Unimaginary Friend, illustrated by Dan Santat, was the winner because they had chosen this book as a second choice.  Intermediate students participated in the winter debate and are busy preparing for the spring debate.  They have also begun a Shakespearean study.  The class first read The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood and learned to write sonnets. They are now ready to begin reading A Midsummer Night's Dream and hopefully perform the play in the spring.
"Fun at Fairmoor" by Juli Knecht, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 4/1/2015 at 9:59:56 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
​Fairmoor 5th grade students have been busy preparing for their April trip to JA Biztown.  The students are learning skills across the curriculum. Biztown is a program that allows students to learn all of the aspects of the working world.  They have learned the importance of citizenship and what it takes to be a productive member of society.  The students are currently working on their writing and communication skills.  They are building their resumes and filling out employment applications.  Once they complete this process, they will practice their interviewing skills and the importance of eye contact and answering questions that focus on their outstanding talents.  Mrs. Nguyen and Mrs. Cullen have been integrating the Biztown lessons into their everyday classroom curriculum The students are learning how to balance a budget and checking account. They are  realizing the importance of taxes at the federal, state and local levels. This is only one aspect of the Biztown curriculum that can be  integrated into the everyday curriculum.
"Northtowne Notables" by Joan Johnson, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 4/1/2015 at 9:58:15 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

First Graders at Northtowne are learning about Dr. Seuss during March. We are reading about him, reading his books, and writing responses to his many fun stories. We read The Cat in the Hat and wrote some rules the Cat must follow in our school. Even if he is a visitor, he must be Responsible, Respectful, and Focused.  Students individually wrote some rules that the Cat must follow in their homes. We are having fun learning to read and write with Dr. Seuss!

"Cedarwood Celebrations" by Molly Beam, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 3/27/2015 at 9:56:48 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Cedarwood Alternative (Project Adventure School) gifted students are challenging themselves inside and outside the classroom. Many of our gifted students use their lunch recess opportunity once a week to get together and play chess, participate in creative and logical thinking games, and socialize with other gifted students. Fifth grade gifted student, Andrew Noxon, represented Cedarwood in the District Spelling Bee. Fifth grade gifted student, Braydon Dodd, represented Cedarwood in the District Elementary Chess Tournament. On Friday, Feb 13, Cedarwood held their school invention convention with many participants. Winners, including Lara Fitzgerald with her Chicken Sock, Emma Luft with her board game to get parents and kids to agree on chores, and Riley Justice with her wall climbing web sweeper, participated in the district's Invention Convention last week.

Go Cedarwood! Go Woodchucks!

"Winterset ECLIPSE Inventors" by Traci Palmore, ECLIPSE Teacher
Posted 3/24/2015 at 4:04:33 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The Winterset Room 11 Invention Convention was a huge success! Inventors experienced all parts of the inventing process, including collecting data on everyday problems, creative thinking and problem solving explorations, patent searching, prototype building, experimentation, and journal writing. On our convention day, students presented their projects to two judges explaining and demonstrating the purpose and use of their inventions. The amount of time and work students put into their projects was clearly evident. Two students, Paige McClure and Lucia DiPaolo, went on to the District Invention Convention on March 18th. Paige invented the "Sheep Counting Pillow," and Lucia DiPaolo invented the "Times Extreme Sweeper."

"Immersed in Enrichment at Columbus Spanish Immersion" by Jean Miller, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 3/24/2015 at 4:04:14 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Students at Columbus Spanish Immersion Academy have had a busy year. Several cluster classrooms have participated in the Caldecott Challenge, an activity where students read books that are contenders for the Randolph Caldecott Medal. They then try to choose the winner. We were able to read a few of these books in Spanish. Elementary students had an exciting day at the Math Works for Kids Competition at the Columbus College of Art and Design. Both elementary and middle school students had fun days at the CCS Chess Tournaments. As a result of the tournaments, more students have become interested in chess and are playing more often during the week. In December, students in grades 2-6 participated in the spelling bee. In the spring, students will participate in the first Spanish Spelling Bee. We are very excited about this event.

"On a Roll at Oakland Park" by Molly Beam, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 3/19/2015 at 9:24:20 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Oakland Park is home to gifted students in regular classrooms and two ECLIPSE classrooms. Three students from each classroom participated in the school spelling bee with Britain Wilson as our winner representing Oakland Park in the District Spelling Bee. Oakland Park has a large Chess Club that meets Tuesdays at lunch and sent participants to the elementary chess tournaments and will send participants to the rookie chess tournament, as well. Oakland Park is piloting a new Primary Elementary Thinking Skills curriculum in grades K-3. A gifted coordinator is working with the primary teachers to teach whole group and small group lessons weekly. This program serves a dual purpose of helping identify academically talented learners earlier and teaching all students higher level thinking skills.

"Writing through Woodward Park" by Jan Higdon, Gifted Coordinator, and Stephanie A., Student
Posted 3/18/2015 at 9:54:07 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
Writing abounds at Woodward Park!  we are pleased to be home to the 2015 District Spelling Bee winner, Eric Williams, and finalists in the central Ohio Power of the pen competition, including the 2nd Place finishing 7th grade team, 1st place 7th grade winner Brennan Hall, 12th place 7th grade winner BreAnna Freeman, and Best of Round winner Stephanie Arthur. 

Here is an excerpt from “A New Land” by Stephanie Arthur, based on the prompt, The first time…

     I had just stepped off the plane.  I looked around, amazed by my surroundings.  America is so much different from Ghana.  Tightly, I held onto my mother’s hand as she led me inside the airport to retrieve our luggage.

     I was so confused.  Mommy said, “It’ll be just like Ghana."

     Where are the mango trees I climbed, to reach their ripe, juicy fruit?  Where are the gardens full of flowers in every color imaginable?  Where are the lizards that roamed freely?  I started to cry.

"Genius Hour at Indian Springs ECLIPSE" by Kelly Aitken, ECLIPSE Teacher
Posted 3/17/2015 at 9:24:39 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Every Friday, the ECLIPSE class at Indian Springs Elementary celebrates their week of learning with a Genius Hour. Utilizing research notebooks, print and digital media, and Google Slides, students spend one hour per week learning about a self-selected topic. Presentations are created to share that new knowledge with the class.

So far this year, there have been a wide variety of Genius Hour topics including the Battle of 1812, Alcatraz Island, paleontology, the Asmat tribe, wolves, Greek mythology, extinct animals, LeVeque Tower, and much more!

These research projects help students to gain experience with several of Ohio’s new learning standards for English Language Arts in a student-centered way. Technology is also incorporated through use of Google ChromeBooks for research and presentations with Google Slides.

When I asked why they enjoy Genius Hour, these fourth and fifth graders had this to say…

  • “It gives us the freedom to research what we want. I like getting to experiment with PowerPoint and customizing transitions.”
  • I like Genius Hour because I love research, and I get to pick what I want my topic to be. Last but not least, I get to PRESENT IT!”
  • “I like technology and search. And, I like to talk!”
  • “I like researching things and learning things I don’t know. I like to research J.R.R. Tolkien.”
  • “I enjoy learning about things I’m interested in but don’t know much about. I like learning what others are interested in.”
  • “I like learning new stuff and expanding on it, showing presentations, and getting to learn about Google Docs.”
  • “I learn about interesting topics. I get to choose topics to write about. It’s fun to design on Google Slides.”
  • “I get to use PowerPoint! I get to learn about new things and show and teach others about topics.”
  • “You get to choose whatever topic you want to do. There are so many cool transitions (on Google Slides). You get to share them with your parents.”
  • “I like that we can research almost anything. I like doing PowerPoints and learning things I don’t know.”
"It's all Greek at Siebert" by Kathy Ward, 6th Grade Cluster Teacher
Posted 3/16/2015 at 7:13:29 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
The 6th grade cluster class at Siebert Elementary School is implementing a Greek and Latin roots program offered by the gifted coordinator. I use the words as part of our weekly spelling program. This program is also integrated as part of the students' daily homework, including challenging analogies that are an integral part of the Greek and Latin roots curriculum. The gifted students are challenged, which is improving their vocabulary as well as their perseverance.
"Ins and Outs at Innis" by Annette Brewer, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 3/13/2015 at 9:57:17 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Students had a school spelling bee in December where they showed off their vocabulary and spelling acumen. Our winner studied hard to represent Innis proudly at the district bee, and he even qualified for Regionals in Athens, Ohio. He is learning many language spelling rules and vocabulary!

The PETS program is up and running in Ms. Person's/ Owen's second grade classroom. Teachers can reinforce the gifted concept by extending small group lessons for students who are ready for an extra challenge.  Students are learning to be detectives, inventors, yarnspinners, scientists, judges, and visual magicians!

"On Fire at Olde Orchard" by Kim Meyers Snyder, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 3/13/2015 at 2:01:52 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

After much hard work and preparation, Olde Orchard took home a second place trophy at the Math Works competition. They are already preparing for their next competition. Students in the 5th grade at Olde Orchard are becoming debaters! Students are learning about animal testing and debate as they prepare their arguments using text evidence and creative thinking. They are integrating their reading, writing and speaking skills to compete in the spring debate at Capital University.

"Elementary is Hopping at Indianola" by Chris Hoell, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 3/13/2015 at 2:00:07 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Just when you thought life couldn’t get any busier, Indianola has so many activities it has been hard to fit it all in. Classes read 34 contenders for the Caldecott award, and many students wrote persuasive essays trying to convince their classmates that their book is the one that should win the award at the ceremony held at the beginning of February.

The 4th graders put their finishing touches on their inventions for the building Invention Convention held February 12th. A few others in 5th and 6th also participated. Several students qualified for the Regional Invention Convention that day. It is always amazing how many creative ideas are on display.

Meanwhile the 5th graders visited BIZTOWN for the first time. Learning about how real businesses and banking work was the focus of lessons leading up to the visit. The students were able to spend the day running businesses, probably better than most adults!

And let us not forget the kindergarten and first graders who have just begun their PETS lessons! Primary Education Thinking Skills is a curriculum for higher level thinking. The fun and creative lessons introduce young children to the many types of thinking that are required for academic higher level thinking. So far we have introduced Dudley the Detective who helps children understand Deductive Logic.

As you can see, things are hopping here at Indianola!

"Budding Scientists in Gables ECLIPSE" by Dawn Rensel, ECLIPSE Teacher
Posted 3/6/2015 at 10:55:18 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Hello from the Gables Eclipse 4/5! We have been extremely busy this year! Some highlights have been participating in video-conferences with The Alaskan Wildlife Center in Alaska and with The Ann Arbor Science Center. The students were able to learn all about the intriguing animal called a squid. They had the opportunity to dissect a squid with a scientist via video-conference from Alaska. The students were so engrossed with this dissection that they quickly forgot about the aroma of the squid and enjoyed writing with the "ink and pen" found in the squid! The students were also able to dissect a cows eye with a scientist from The Ann Arbor Science Center via-video conference. Creating a hands-on environment is such an authentic way of learning in our classroom.

The students have also enjoyed classroom visits from science professors/graduate students specializing in anthropology, entomology and neurosciences from The Ohio State University. The students were able to handle and learn about a plethora of insects, and they were able to identify bones and draw conclusions about the height of a human based on the measurements of these bones.  In addition, the students were able to learn about the brain, and they were able to handle human and animal brains!

The students have also taken part in a program called The Walking Classroom. Each child has a podcast that they use to listen to with various subjects covering a range of interests. As a class, the students go walking three times a week as they listen to the podcast and then return to the classroom to apply what they have learned through various projects and discussions. Research shows that children who oxygenate their brains through movement and exercise increase their ability to cognitively retain more information. Many parent have joined us for our weekly walks!

It has been a fantastic year of learning so far and there is still more fascinating learning ahead of us!!!

"Growing Dendrites with Chess at E. Linden" by Carlos, Amelia, and Violeta, 3rd Grade Students
Posted 3/5/2015 at 9:58:01 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

When we play chess in school, it really challenges our thinking! We love playing chess so much that we think all schools should have chess clubs. One reason we think all schools should have chess clubs is because chess teaches us to make a plan and think hard about the consequences. For example, we have to study our opponents’ pieces before we move, or our important pieces will be captured. Another reason everyone should play chess is because chess helps us make new friends and experience new ideas. We learn from each other how to use our knights, rooks and pawns together to protect the king and queen. We even shake hands with our opponents before every game and that helps us feel confident. The last reason we love playing chess is because chess challenges us. It challenges us when we play with really good players. Even if we lose, we can still look at the board and see what went wrong to learn from our mistakes. These are reasons why we, Carlos, Amelia and Violeta, think that all schools should have chess clubs.

"Reading with Ms. Martin’s Fantastic Fourth Grade at Linden STEM" by Wendi Briggs, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 3/3/2015 at 3:59:01 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The fourth grade class at Linden Stem has accepted the challenge to read high level literature as much and as often as they are able this 2014-2015 school year. The student’s in Ms. Martin’s 4th grade class are participating in the Advanced Reading Challenge. The challenge requires each student to read and complete a report on 25 high quality, “classic” books at or above the fourth grade level. Each student received a list of books that meet the high quality criteria. They must stick to the list and are not able to deviate unless the teacher approves. After reading these books, students must complete a short response of their choice in order to verify their accomplishment. This challenge encourages students to exceed school year expectations, model achievement and excellence, and enjoy some great books! Those that participate and meet the challenge will be rewarded at the end of April and have their reports displayed in the 3rd floor hallway. I have read many excellent reports and look forward to reading more.

"Hubbard Happenings" by Sherry Daniel, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 3/2/2015 at 8:56:20 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

It is an exciting time to be a student at Hubbard Mastery School! In addition to mastering their studies, students have many opportunities to expand their horizons. Our 6th grade students attended the Breakfast of Science Champions field trip to OSU in November. Eight students represented Hubbard at the district debate competition in December, and we will be sending another team to debate in the spring. Our young students have been learning chess through our weekly Chess Academy sessions, and our school selected our top players to represent Hubbard at the elementary and middle school chess tournaments in February. Our school spelling bee champion competed at the district bee in February and will be competing for a spot in the regional competition In March. Forty of our students have begun the process of creating an invention for the Invention Convention to be held in March. Soon we will be selecting a math team to complete at the Math Challenge contest also held in March. We are very busy and very excited to be a part of the new Hubbard Mastery School!

"Debate at Hilltonia" by Liz Johnson, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 2/26/2015 at 5:30:44 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Students in Hillonia’s seventh grade have been busy learn the basics of debate in cluster teacher Gayle Benjamin’s class. Using the fall debate topic on allowing increased access to experimental treatments, the class examined the ethics of permitting access to potentially harmful treatments when all other options had been exhausted. Small groups examined the issues and then debated if allowing access was ethical. The students were highly engaged in the exercise, and several students followed up by preparing for the fall debate at Capital University. The group is now in the first steps of researching for the spring debate.

"Cranbrook ECLIPSE Making History" by Donna Harris, ECLIPSE Teacher
Posted 2/25/2015 at 9:58:31 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Cranbrook Eclipse has started to work on our third annual History Day Projects. Ohio History Day is an exciting program with students researching a topic of their choice to go along with this year’s theme of “Leadership and Legacy.” Students then make a thesis, do research, and share what they have learned either through an exhibit or performance. After sharing our work here in our school, Cranbrook students may then compete against other 4th and 5th graders in April. We participate in the Youth Program. Many students are still considering their topics, however, some have already chosen. These include Elizabeth Blackwell, Elizabeth Cody Stanton, Wright Brothers, and Malcolm X, among others. Although it’s a lot of work, the kids look forward to this every year
"My Summer Experience" by Sydney Davis, Eastmoor Academy 11th Grader
Posted 2/23/2015 at 5:33:18 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
I am writing in regards to my experience at the Jazz Camp at The Ohio State University. It was a very interesting and exciting program. The staff were very experienced and had amazing professional backgrounds. From the staff, I was able to learn new things, such as jazz theory and in-depth music history. These topics opened my eyes to new creative aspects that I have been able to add to my music repertoire. I also had the chance to meet and work with other students my age that had the same passions and love for the music. Being able to stay in the dorms on campus really helped me to get to know my fellow campers and allowed for lasting friendships and connections to be made. Overall, I learned a lot from my time at the jazz camp at The Ohio State University. I highly appreciate the support and funding of Support for Talented Students (STS) and want to express my gratitude because without them this would not have been possible.

**Side note from the Gifted & Talented Division:  Applications are being accepted for STS support for summer programs into March.  Apply now at www.supportfortalentedstudents.org.
"Wrapping Up the Caldecott Challenge at West Mound" by Wendi Waddell, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 2/19/2015 at 1:07:51 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

West Mound students are having fun wrapping up the Caldecott Challenge. This school year, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classes have researched the criteria the Caldecott committee uses to select their annual winners. Each week, students read two or three books and participated in debates, creative writing activities, and book talks to choose the best Caldecott contender. Some of their favorites were The Adventures of Beekle, Bad-Bye, Good Bye, and The Pigeon Needs a Bath. When all the books in round 1 were read, students narrowed the field again by selecting from books that made the cut to round 2. The list of finalists were voted on after all selections were presented. The American Library Association chose The Adventures of Beekle, one of the West Mount favorites, as the winner of the Caldecott award in January.

"Learning at Livingston" by Laura Nein, 4th Grade Teacher
Posted 2/18/2015 at 11:14:43 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The Livingston Elementary 4th graders recently completed research projects on Native American tribes. Students were asked to create a 3-paragraph essay, a poster display, and a presentation describing their selected tribe and the changes it has gone through since European settlement. They then presented their tribes in a museum format that other students, staff and parents came to visit. Gifted students were able to extend their learning by comparing their tribes and to compare current tribal life with early tribal life.

Many students took the opportunity to go beyond the project expectations in providing real life examples of dress, food, and cultural pieces. This lays the ground for upcoming research projects, including one in Civil Rights history where students will be looking at the influence of early Civil Rights leaders on contemporary events.
"Gables 3rd Grade ECLIPSE Genius Hour" by Stephanie Stegall, ECLIPSE Teacher
Posted 2/17/2015 at 9:59:34 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

We have had a wonderful first half of our school year. One exciting new thing this year is Genius Hour. Students are given the opportunity to research a passion that they have and then create a project to present and teach the rest of the class. Students are given one Genius Hour about every week to work on their projects. Projects must have a research component, and students work on how to take notes. Some examples of our passions for Genius Hour include: aircraft in World War II, the brain, the circulatory system, pickles, snow, planets and the solar system, and many different kinds of animals. We can't wait to start our new passion projects!

"Great Things at Georgian Heights" by Cathy Mast, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 2/16/2015 at 2:35:57 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The students at Georgian Heights have been very busy this semester!

Some of the 5th grade students prepared hard to attend and compete at the Math Works Competition at CCAD. Tyler Lumbard, Kamryn Withrow, and Kendall Palmer represented Georgian Heights well at the recent competition.

Georgian Heights is also held a Science Extravaganza on January 29th. K-2 and 4-5 grade students prepared a science experiment to share, and all 3rd graders prepared an invention. This is a competition and 3rd grade students competed for the chance to share their invention at the district Invention Convention that will be held in March at CCAD.

"Studying Hard at South" by Juli Knecht, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 2/13/2015 at 2:43:13 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Mrs. Barber-Bradley's 8th Period RICA class is working on a novel study of Animal Farm. We did an in-depth study of the Russian Revolution following a time line of events and researched the reasons why the revolution took place. We completed an analysis of the major players in the novel and who they represented in real life. Once we have completed this book, we will prepare for the April Ohio Center for Law Related Education sponsored Mock Trial competition that is centered around two lead characters in the novel, Benjamin and Napoleon. The South Middle School students will take on the role of attorneys and witnesses from the book characters. They will work collaboratively analyzing witness statements and preparing their case for trial.

"Teacher Collaboration at Olde Orchard" by Kim Meyers-Snyder, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 2/12/2015 at 2:37:05 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Olde Orchard students participated in the Math Works competition at The Columbus College of Art and Design on December 17, where they earned a second place trophy. Now, a team is learning to debate in preparation for the spring debate tournament. These are great examples of what can be accomplished when teachers and gifted coordinators collaborate to embed enrichment opportunities in daily classroom activities. The teachers, students, and I all worked together, and the students were left feeling very proud of their accomplishment.  The enrichment programs in and outside of the district are meant to extend learning related to state standards.  With a little teamwork, the opportunities for students are wide open.

"Career Cafe at Linden-McKinley" by Annette Brewer, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 2/11/2015 at 9:57:39 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

As a gifted coordinator, when I first heard about Career Cafe', I thought, "This is for Linden McKinley." We have a core group of mostly 8th grade students that attend during lunch time on Fridays, usually once a month.  We have had 100% attendance and no student has lost his/her pass yet. We use the conference room, which has a relaxed setting, as well as a chalk board.

Students prepare for the speaker before he/she arrives at least a week in advance, thinking about the career and writing questions in a notebook. At the end of the year, we will reflect and write thank yous.

The career speakers we have had so far are Karen Auble from the Ohio Department of Health and Heather Sherman, a Relationships manager at Battelle. We are looking forward to having a veterinarian, engineeer, and hopefully some artists come. One student suggested LaBron James, but we will see about that one.

I want to include quotes from some of the participants in Career Cafe':

Eddie L., commented, "Career Cafe' is a good way to learn new things about different jobs/careers and a good program for the gifted youth. Also the speakers are nice and polite, and they help us know deep details about their job."

"Career Cafe' gives students opportunities that cannot usually be given to them. Speakers that come may influence someone to one day change the world," stated Ajanay R.

Airyana T. reported, "I started off a week later than everyone else in Career Cafe'. But everybody accepted me as if I've been there from the beginning. Career Cafe' occurs at my lunch time. I don't have to really go, but I choose to every time. I give up my lunch because I don't want to miss out on something that is going to help me in the future."
"Quick Tips for Parents of Gifted Students" by Joan Johnson, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 2/10/2015 at 12:57:17 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
Many parents are receiving letters that their child(ren) are identified as gifted in one or more academic areas. Here are some ideas to extend learning for those children.

  • Encourage your child to read. 
  • Visit the library and help your child select books that interest and challenge him or her, including both fiction and informational books. 
  • Board games offer opportunities to read directions in a fun atmosphere.


  • Have your child help with shopping lists, reading advertisements and comparing prices. 
  • Play games such as Monopoly which include money. 
  • Help your child reach charts and statistics, such as the standings of their favorite sports team or averages of their favorite player. 
  • Look for ways to talk about numbers, money, and time in everyday experiences.

Science and Social Studies: 

  • Encourage your child to keep a journal or “wonder book,” a notebook in which they may record observations, questions (and answers!) they may have.
  • Visit the library and encourage your child to select books about their interests: (Science) animals, plants, planets, or machines. (Social Studies) people, places, history, or economics.
  • Attend events at the local Metro Parks.
  • Contact COSI and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to ask about special family programs and memberships.
  • Encourage your child to read the newspaper to find articles of interest, such as science and health, current events, or local news.

"Forest Park ECLIPSE Holiday Performance" by Mike Pettibone, ECLIPSE Teacher
Posted 2/4/2015 at 11:43:28 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Our class completed our yearly Holiday Music Project on December 19, 2014!

For the last 8 years, my various ECLIPSE students, with help from our music teacher, Mrs. Elaine Robertson, have planned and performed seasonal holiday music for the residents of Oakleaf Senior Center on Karl Road on the north end of Columbus. Most ECLIPSE student also have tons of musical talent and typically participate in instrumental and choir activities in their schools. Our Holiday Music Project is a purposeful experience for our students consisting of hours of practice, tenacity, and overcoming shyness to be a blessing to our community- all while having fun!

Our show consists of several hand bell instrumentals and 5 or 6 holiday songs sung and played by our students on the hand chimes and glockenspiels. Mr. Pettibone, the ECLIPSE teacher, plays guitar with the students and leads the senior citizens in singing. At the end of our show, we pass out real “sleigh bells” for the residents to jingle along to our finale of Jingle Bells! After the performance, about a dozen parents and grandparents join the class for an all-you-can-eat “pig out” lunch at Hometown Buffet. A splendid holiday time is guaranteed for all!

This Holiday Music Project program is part of our school’s community outreach program, as is the Penny Harvest program, of which the Forest Park ECLIPSE students take major responsibility. Now that Winter Break is over, we will begin contacting local Columbus charities and groups to interview as potential recipients of our school’s collection of nearly 400 pounds of coins! Forest Park students have donated nearly a thousand dollars a year to various agencies and groups to help pets, the homeless, children with disabilities, and cancer patients in Central Ohio. We believe in citizenship education, and that kids should learn to give back to the community that supports us in so many ways.

"Dominion ELA Value-Added 'Dream Team'" by Ronda Budd, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 2/2/2015 at 12:02:30 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

When combined with other student performance measures, value-added analysis provides powerful insight for educators to determine the impact of their curriculum, instruction, assessments, and practices on student learning. Last school year, EVERY English/Language Arts gifted cluster teacher at Dominion Middle School was rated as “Most Effective” in achieving value-added in reading on the state report card. As an additional perk, Dominion also enjoyed the status of being rated the highest achieving middle school in closing the achievement gap.

After a careful analysis of their value-added scores, the ELA teachers were better equipped to identify what strategies worked as well as pinpointing areas for growth. Last year’s excellent results allowed the team to confirm that the strategies that were utilized prepared their students for testing and were effective in ensuring that all students received the best education possible. In collaboration with Dominion’s gifted coordinator, all ELA teachers used pre-assessment data to drive instruction in these ways:

  • differentiating lessons;
  • adding depth and complexity;
  • using the claim-data-warrant approach with all lessons;
  • bumping up the rigor;
  • setting higher expectations for extended responses;
  • regularly using close reading strategies with complex text;
  • focusing intensely on roots/stems and higher-level vocabulary.

Dominion’s ELA gifted cluster teachers are Sarah Priebe and Pam Staffen, 6th grade; Pattie Niese, 7th grade; and Fian Kunesh and Laurel Murphy, 8th grade.

"Parsons Pride" by Molly Beam, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 1/30/2015 at 7:02:36 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Parsons Pride gifted and talented students participated in the Math Works Competition at Columbus College of Art and Design. Students designed a turtle habitat, decided on materials and calculated costs to present at the competition. Mrs. Kerr, a fifth grade math teacher, liked the idea so well she had all fifth graders design a turtle exhibit.

During library time for the last couple months, all Parsons students have been hearing the librarian, Alycia Arthurs, read the children’s picture books that are up for the 2015 Caldecott award in January. Students have been critically discussing them and presenting and debating which ones they like best. Ultimately they will narrow their choice to one and watch the results to see if they picked the winner.

Parsons’ chess club is going full force with Kody Waugh chosen to represent Parsons in the District Chess Tournament on February 12th. Parsonss class spelling bee winners have been chosen and studied hard for the School Bee on January 15th. The winner will represent Parsons at the District Spelling Bee in February.

'Stewart ECLIPSE Experience" by D'Laveance, Stewart Student
Posted 1/29/2015 at 1:25:33 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
My name is D'Laveance. I am in Ms. Robinson's class and we have been working on electricity! We are tying it in with City of Ember of course. We know how to write the formula from watts to kilowatts. I will demonstrate. So the formula is basically watts times the hours, then you must divide the product of watts times hours per week. so one of the problems I wrote in my math foldable was 1600w times 4 hours a week equals 6400 divided by 1000 equals 6.4. then multiply 6.4 by $.16 and it equals $10.24. in math we have been constantly working on adding multiplying fractions as well as mixed fractions. We are soon moving on to division. JA Biztwon was fun. We ran the Huntington Bank. I learned that kids don't take the time to collect money, that's for sure! Businesses needed to pay off their loans, but they were not collecting money for their bills! That's not good! Miss Robinson packed us up to move to our brand new school! We are excited! We will finally have AC and more technology, says Miss R!
"Kenyon Academic Partnership Camp 4" by Beechcroft HS Students and Kirsten Smith, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 1/23/2015 at 8:55:04 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The last camp before reaching the peak of Mount Everest is Camp 4. Climbers spend the night there, preparing for the final trek, dreaming (if they can sleep) of the summit. It is the closest to space a human can get and follows weeks of climbing and acclimating to the challenge of limited oxygen. Metaphorically, Camp 4 at Kenyon is the place to prepare for life beyond high school, learning skills at a higher level, getting acclimated to the college experience, gathering the resources to meet your highest expectations for yourself.

Camp 4 at Kenyon is an intensive academic enrichment program which offers high school students three weeks to work with superb professors, strengthen critical thinking and writing skills across disciplines, and experience college life first-hand. The program takes place on the Kenyon College campus, in Gambier, Ohio, cited by Forbes as one of the most beautiful campuses in the world (and often compared to Hogwarts).

Camp 4 is open to both rising seniors and juniors. The program emphasizes critical thinking and uses the disciplines of Neuroscience, History, Writing and the Visual Arts to challenge students. Students are introduced to the culture of a college campus and to dormitory life. Small class size is central to the Camp 4 mission, and the academic program’s focus on science and interdisciplinary studies are the hallmarks of a strong liberal arts education. All students receive individual counseling on college admission.

There is financial aid is available for those who qualify.

Camp 4 brings students together from all over Ohio. The program brought a life changing experience from the first day to the last. The advanced level classes were different compared to high school. I had to put in more effort on assignments entirely, but I have no regrets. The program taught me how to manage time between school and friends. I enjoyed spending time studying together and having discussions in class. I would recommend this program to other students because it had a huge impact on my life at school and home. I learned a lot about the other students and their opinions on some issues. The diversity in the group led to interesting conversations. I'm glad to have spent my summer in Camp 4.” – Daniel B., senior at Beechcroft High School

My experience at Camp 4 was one to remember. Camp 4 challenged my qualities as a person. It gave me a real college experience. I met many new people who later became close friends. The counselors were very helpful. They helped with essays and practically with anything. The classes were challenging and gave me taste of what college is all about. There are so many things that Camp 4 did great: a collegiate experience with the pace of college courses, social activities, and help to determine a college/university to attend. It also created a new family and felt like a second home. If I had the chance to go again I would, there is no doubt about it. Being part of Camp 4 has changed my life.” – Mario L., senior at Beechcroft High School

“Camp 4 is a summer program that helps students to become better readers, writers and analyzers. The program for juniors offered a writing workshop and an African American history course. During my three week stay on campus, I met new people from different cultures; I also encountered people who exhibited different writing and learning skills which helped me develop new skills such as learning how to work in groups. I loved the collegiate experience. My classes were three hours long which was difficult in the beginning but then I got used to it, and it became normal. Camp 4 was all about time management which was very beneficial because it trained me to effectively use my time. We all had to work at a faster pace which helped cover a lot of topics in a short timeframe. We worked extremely hard, but we also participated in fun activities. We played sports every evening after dinner and went out on weekends to shop or go to fun events like the Columbus Clippers baseball game. The counselors also coordinated Friday night events. We socialized, ate pizza, and hung out while making new friends. I remember wanting to go home the very first day I got on campus but cried and wanted to stay for another week when it was time to go home. Camp 4 was a life-changing experience.” Naniel W., junior at Beechcroft High School

"Wonderful Things Happening at Scottwood" by Juli Knecht, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 1/22/2015 at 8:57:34 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Being new to Scottwood ES for the 2014-2015 year was exciting for me. I was a student at Scottwood from kindergarten through 6th grade. Going back in time allowed for me to reflect on all the positive experiences as a student. One such experience was that I was a participant in the first Gifted and Talented pilot program for Columbus City Schools. This program obviously made a huge impact on my life, especially when it came to my career decisions. Now that I am completing my 12th year in the Gifted & Talented Division, I feel that I have come full circle. The Scottwood staff invited me to their first professional development demonstrate how to incorporate Depth and Complexity Strategies into their everyday curriculum. The staff was extremely receptive to the ideas, eager to include more critical thinking and rigorous instruction to their students. I have had the privilege to work closely with Erica Golden’s GT math students, preparing them for December’s Mathworks competition. These students have not only learned several mathematical thinking strategies, but they have learned to work together as a team. I am very proud of these students for their effort and hard work!

"PETS at Cranbrook" by Molly Beam, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 1/21/2015 at 7:01:29 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

All second grade students at Cranbrook are engaged in Primary Education Thinking Skills (PETS). All classes have gotten to know Dudley the Detective and Sybil the Scientist as the students engage in Divergent and Analytical thinking. Small groups of students showing potential for gifted identification are working with already identified students on more complex games and projects. According to some second graders at Cranbrook…

  • “ I like the PETS games because they are so fun. Sometimes normal school work can be boring because you already know it, so I like it best when we get to do PETS.”
  • “PETS makes your brain work harder. Sometimes it makes you think so hard you can’t believe it, like the logic grids.”
  • “I like the puzzles we solve with lots of different clues we have to put together to get the right answer.”
  • “I like Sybil best because she is a scientist, and I’m going to be a scientist.”

"Spelling Tips for Spelling Bee Contestants" by Joan Johnson, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 1/15/2015 at 8:58:43 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Here are 10 tips to become a Spelling Superstar:

  1. Watch the movies Spellbound or Akeelah and the Bee to be inspired.
  2. Keep a journal of “great words” you find.
  3. Design a wall in your room to post new and interesting words each day.
  4. For Family Game Night, have a Spelling Bee, using words from the newspaper, magazines, or cookbooks.
  5. Study like Akeelah. Spell and jump rope!
  6. Ask friends and classmates to challenge you with new, challenging words.
  7. Find a good luck charm – a coin or other object to put in your pocket.
  8. Read lots of books. You will be entertained while you improve your spelling and vocabulary.
  9. Find tricky words in the dictionary to challenge your teachers and parents.
  10. Find a book of word searches or crossword puzzles at the Dollar Store.


Adapted from Spelling Tips from Scripps National Spelling Bee

"Lindbergh's Holiday Spirit" by Wendi Briggs, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 1/14/2015 at 9:05:02 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The 4th and 5th grade students at Lindbergh did an activity from the Byrdseed website to create their own Holiday. They began this activity by discussing holiday themes and selecting those that are most important to them. Charity, family, friendship, relaxation, and appreciation topped the list! Students then developed traditions that celebrate these values. “Homeless Day” requires all to give to someone in need (the wealthy are expected to be much more charitable). “Go to the Beach Week” provides everyone with an opportunity to take a week long holiday to relax with family and friends, and “Best Friend’s Day” is all about showing your very best friend how much you appreciate them.

Students will later investigate the holidays of other cultures and countries. They may discover that some of their Holiday ideas are already being celebrated around the world. I can’t wait to learn more about their findings and hopefully participate in one of their Holidays in the future!!!!! You can find this idea and many more on the Ian Byrd website www.byrdseed.com. Happy Holidays!

"Breakfast of Africentric 6-8 Science Champions" by Lisha Perdue, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 1/12/2015 at 3:21:14 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

On November 13, 2014, students from Africentric Early College 6-8 participated in The Breakfast of Science Champions at The Ohio State University. The students visited the Center for Cosmology and Astro Particle Physics, the Center for Emergent Materials, and the Departments of Astronomy and Physics. That morning they enjoyed a delightful breakfast and hands-on activities including a super conducting train exhibition, planetarium show, comets and craters exploration, and a liquid nitrogen show and ice cream sample. To prepare students for the trip, The Ohio State University PHD students did a pre-lesson at Africentric by leading a hands-on activity teaching the middle school students about the relative sizes and distance of objects in the solar system. A post lesson has also been scheduled entitled: “The Biggest Thing in the Universe.” The students enjoyed the trip and have already been asking about visiting next year!

"Forward at Fairwood" by Kim Meyers-Snyder
Posted 1/9/2015 at 11:36:52 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Students of Fairwood Elementary School are enthusiastically participating in a School Spelling Bee on the 15th of January. The winner of The School Spelling Bee will advance to The District Spelling Bee at The Ohio Dominican University on February 6. MAP scores are being reviewed, and the teachers and gifted coordinator are developing lessons tied to students’ current scores to facilitate students’ academic growth. Additionally, Primary Education Thinking Skills (PETS) is being introduced beginning in the kindergarten to bring in higher level thinking skills and identify gifted students at a young age.

"Mr. Shelton's Chess Club at Moler" by Jan Maragos, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 1/8/2015 at 11:26:56 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

A “shout out” to Mr. Shelton for sharing his exceptional skill and knowledge of the game of chess with his Chess Club members. They have learned special moves, such as En Passant and castling. Currently the students are working on power mates. By winter break he will be enforcing touch move. Mr. Shelton’s goal for this year is that he will have a CCS tournament club champion. Next year he plans to have a chess team in addition to the chess club.

"Starling Robotics" by Liz Johnson, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 1/7/2015 at 10:33:19 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Last year Starling K-8 fielded their first FLL Robotics team. It consisted of five students coached by Liz Johnson, the gifted coordinator and 7th grade science teacher Greg Mouk. This year I was able to bring OSU’s Women in Engineering to coach the team. Eight students, five of them identified as gifted, work after school on the three parts of First Lego League; project, core values and robotics. They received a new robot from WIE and have risen to the challenges of programing the Lego EV3 robot to maneuver an obstacle course while learning to work as a team and share what they learned. Their project looked at how foreign teenagers learn to pronounce English, and they are creating the prototype of an app that would provide immediate feedback on understanding and pronouncing the phonemes Khmer speakers have the most difficulty with as they learn English.

Chelsea, the mentor provided by WIE, has done a fabulous job working with the students. I have worked with Paul, who has begun lunchtime robotics lessons and challenges. He monitors the group and organizes what will be taught while the students are being taught by members of the Spartonbots. They have taught students as young as second grade how to program the NXT robot to make simple maneuvers.

Additionally the Spartanbots are leading an effort to collect money for the Central Ohio Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. When they were looking for a project idea, team member Cerenity Barnhill presented the idea of looking for a way to help Alzheimer’s patients. When the team decided that didn’t fit well with the topic for this year they decided to raise money to help instead.

"Thinking Globally at International" by Sherry Daniel, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 1/6/2015 at 11:28:09 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The middle school at Columbus North International had a busy start to the year. Not only are students focused on learning languages and appreciating other cultures, many are participating in a variety of academic competitions. Our two debate teams competed in the district tournament in December, and several individuals are preparing for the Martin Luther King Youth Oratorical Contest in January. Students will also have the opportunity to compete in the Laws of Life essay contest knowing that one of our own students was a winner in the best essay (male) category last year. Many eighth grade students went on the Breakfast of Science Champions field trip to OSU in November where we studied neuroscience and had the opportunity to hold and learn about human brains. Students also participated in Career Café at which our guest speakers, Walker and Ann Evans from the Columbus Underground, talked about owning an online business.

"Differentiated Instruction Through Technology at CCPS Boys" by Vonda Spencer-Keane, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 1/5/2015 at 11:54:20 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

At Columbus City Preparatory School for Boys, instructors and scholars take advantage of the computer lab daily. Scholars can be observed utilizing internet resources in a variety of ways, including research, assessment, enrichment, skills development, and as a communication tool. The lab has been in full swing since the onset of the school year by both core and ENCORE instructors alike. The following is a list of some of the programs/websites used by teachers and scholars at CCPSB:

Through the use of technology, CCPSB staff members strive to provide opportunities to promote deeper understanding, critical inventive thinking, and practice with problem-solving. Differentiating instruction via technology based on scholars’ interests helps spark their curiosity during activities, makes learning more appealing to all students–even to reluctant learners–and encourages students to become more actively involved in their own learning.

"Excitement in Oakland Park Studio 235" by Andrew Cashin's ECLIPSE Class
Posted 12/30/2014 at 8:47:52 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

It has been a very exciting start of the 2014-2015 school year in Studio 235! We have been fortunate to receive grants and have a variety of guests in the classroom. In addition to that we have the excitement of a 3rd grade Eclipse Unit right next door!

We've had lots of cool opportunities.  First, Mr. Cashin wrote a grant to CAPA and received it for reduced price tickets to the Lion King!  Which we saw! It was Awesome!!! Next, he and Mrs. Thompson wrote a grant to the Zoo, and we were able to see Kinyani, Ivan's girlfriend from the book, The One and Only Ivan! Next they wrote another grant that will enable both classes to go to the Wilds in the Spring. Finally,Mr. Cashin wrote a grant that will provide us with two trips to the Columbus Museum of Art (CMA)!

Also, our class has been reading and analyzing Newbery and Caldecott nominated books! This has been a new and Fun experience for us! We have used the ALA questions along with Habits of A Scholar and Kaplan Themes/12 Common Themes to analyze the books. We have also participated in the Lego challenge at CMA.

We have had a variety of people come to our classroom to teach and inform us. First is the continuation of Victor Dandrige from UCreate Comics. Next, CAPA theater in the Classroom with Heather Berkley visited. Finally, we had Julie Zickefoose teach us about birds and the drawing of them!

Some other interesting things in the classroom that we are doing or have done are owl pellets and owl reports, bird reports and models,origami, food poetry, How did it get there? (creative writing), Zome Tool geometry, Tangram Extravaganza, and there is more to come!
"Young Inventors Just Around the Binns" by Wendi Briggs, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 12/29/2014 at 10:52:16 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
The Student’s at Binns Elementary are eagerly waiting to participate in the Invention Convention. Now thru January they will attend an invention assembly, discuss inventions and the problems they solve, decide on a problem and begin to brainstorm solutions. The student’s will use their solutions to begin experimenting with their invention idea. Once an invention has been created it will be displayed and judged at Binns Elementary. The winner will be invited to the Columbus College of Art and Design to represent the Columbus City Schools. Binns has participated in the Invention Convention for many years and have become invention experts. I look forward to watching these young inventors create and hopefully solve some of our problems. Happy inventing!!!!
"Active at Avalon" by Joan Johnson, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 12/19/2014 at 3:15:01 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

We have many new staff members at Avalon this year, which has brought a lot of enthusiasm for our gifted students! Fifth graders have been working in book clubs, preparing for a grade level Battle of the Books. During the month of November, Avalon students participated in the Invention Convention. The focus was on solving a real problem, not making a fancy invention or using expensive materials. We discussed inventions that were created by young people, including earmuffs and the Super Soaker. Good luck to our young inventors moving on to the district competition!

"Clues are Afoot at Cassady" by Cathy Mast, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 12/16/2014 at 11:16:24 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The Second Grade students have turned into Detectives helping Dudley the Detective solving problems with the PETS program. PETS or Primary Education Thinking Skills is a program with creative and fun lessons introducing students to convergent analysis, divergent synthesis, visual/special thinking, and evaluation. Students have enjoyed making and wearing detective badges to help uncover clues with Dudley to build their own convergent thinking skills. Make sure to ask a second grader what new and exciting thinking skill they have been working on lately!

"Eakin Eagles are Soaring!" by Nancy Alley, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 12/15/2014 at 11:17:50 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

It's exciting to be back at Eakin ES and working with the wonderful staff and students. Chess Club has begun and we meet every Tuesday during lunch to learn each piece's moves and captures. Students will be competing in a school tournament to determine who will have the opportunity to attend our District Tournaments.

If parents are looking for websites that offer enrichment for their gifted child, check these out:

EngQuest is a fun and excellent way of learning science and technology, and discovering what engineers do, and even how you can become one.

Off The Beaten Track
In this webquest, you will be challenged to think differently and come up with solutions to save a small rural town.

Categorical Fun
Fun brain teasers and logic problems.

"Westmoor Robotics Team" by Sherry Daniel, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 12/9/2014 at 11:26:35 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Did you know that Westmoor Middle School has a competition robotics team? It is one of just a couple schools in the district to support a middle school team. They participated in their First Lego League tournament on November 22, during which they were judged on 3 presentations in the morning and then competed to earn points with their robot in the afternoon. To prepare, the team built and programmed a robot, designed a solution to a learning problem, and worked on their presentation skills. As they prepared, they practiced skills in science and math in addition to learning new skills in technology and engineering. They also became skilled collaborators and gracious professionals. Our very talented students are excited for the opportunity to compete and show what they know!

"Top 10 Reasons Westgate ECLIPSE Has Been Awesome This Year!!" by Mr. Leopold and the Westgate ECLIPSE Class
Posted 12/8/2014 at 11:39:02 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

10. We are participating in READING MADNESS, an activity Mr. Leopold created in which we select, after much research, the top 64 novels for grades 4 and 5 of all time. We have been reading the novels and, using specific criteria based on Kaplan's model, have been eliminating books we feel are not worthy of the title of "CHAMPION BEST NOVEL OF ALL TIME." We are down to the "elite eight" and will decide our champion on Valentine's day!!!

9. We are participating in a MOCK NEWBERY reading activity. We selected the top 40 novels for grades 3 through 8 for 2014. Using a literature circles model with Kaplan’s Depth & Complexity and discussing books using the Newbery criteria vocabulary/language, we have narrowed our list to eight favorites. We will select our final four and then watch the awards announced live on February 2nd at the Main library downtown. We are collaborating on this project with four other eclipse classes.

8. In math, we have monthly Mathathons in which we play jeopardy games and have mathcounts contests where we win cool prizes and review all the interesting lessons we are learning in math. We can't wait until PI day when we will be eating all kinds of PIES as part of our math lessons for that day!!!

7. Also, in math, we have daily "table challenges" where rigorous word problems are given and, if all parts of each problem are done correctly, we win Taco Bell and Wendys coupons.

6. In science, we have weekly experiments in which we are able to learn hands-on about the lessons taught in class during the week. GOGGLES are a vital part of this fun!!!

5. We have taken several great field trips related to learning about math and science concepts. We spent a day at the Audobon park, a day at Three Creeks Park, a day at the Zoo, and two days at The Wilds!!!

4. We read, as a class, the book, Brown Girl Dreaming, and spent three hours with the author after school one day and got our books autographed!!! We are definitely rooting for this book to win the Newbery medal!!!

3. We have weekly writing workshop lessons and have become fabulous authors!!! We are creating our own personal poetry/story books and have our classroom walls filled with our stories!!!

2. We have entered some of our writings in contests for students across Ohio and the country. We have won autographed copies of books written by Katy Perry and Demi Lovato!!!

1. WE HAVE THE BEST PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS IN THE WORLD!!! After reading Okay for Now, we wrote speeches and had a HEROES celebration for our heroes----our parents and grandparents----where we read our speeches and presented a STILL-LIFE MUSEUM dressed as characters from the novel!!!

1b. We are excited about everything we are learning in Social Studies/Economics and can't wait to apply those lessons to our day at BIZTOWN!!!!

We love being in ECLIPSE at Westgate!!!!

“'The Leader in Me' at Africentric Early College K-5" by Lisha Perdue, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 12/5/2014 at 4:34:22 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Africentric Early College K-5 students have been engaged in a new educational practice called “The Leader in Me” from Franklin Covey Education. This concept helps develop the essential life skills and chacteristics students need in order to thrive in the 21st century. The students at Africentric have adopted 7 unique habits:

1: Be Proactive – I am a responsible person.

2: Begin With the End in Mind – I plan ahead and set goals.

3: Put Things First – I spend my time on things that are most important. I am disciplined and organized.

4: Think Win-Win – When conflicts arise, I look for a win-win solution.

5: Seek First to Understand, and then be Understood – I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings.

6: Synergize – I value other people’s strengths and learn from them.

7: Sharpen The Saw – I balance all four parts of myself. Body, brain, heart and soul.

The Leader in Me benefits schools and students by developing self-confidence, decreases discipline referrals, improves academic achievement, raises levels of accountability, and aids in the development of character and leadership.

These habits fit in nicely with the social-emotional needs and goals set for gifted children. We know that gifted children sometimes work at the last minute because they haven’t previously needed to plan ahead. They may be disorganized because they have lots of ideas developing quickly. Conflict may sometimes arise if gifted students get stuck in their own logical reasoning or understanding. And, it can be tempting to focus solely on the brain development because of identified talent. The habits listed above will help students develop skills that allow our gifted students to become more healthy, productive, and relational individuals.

"Worth the Sherwood Effort" by Vonda Spencer-Keane, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 11/26/2014 at 11:03:44 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
In September, I learned that Sherwood MS would have the opportunity to host the award winning author, Jacqueline Woodson, in mid-October. Right away, I began collaborating with ELA staff to work with our gifted students on written responses to her work. This included reviewing her latest book, Brown Girl Dreaming, a book I already had my eyes on for use in some capacity since its recent late summer release, along with several other of her well-known novels. So, I was quite excited. Students also approached the reading and writing assignments enthusiastically..at first. As the weeks went on, however, their enthusiasm waned, thus progress and product came slowly, but we pressed on. On the last work day with students, my prayers were answered with a few solid submissions. There was one standout, however, and, though not perfect, it was an honest response to Woodson’s book, Miracle’s Boys, and the poem, What if”, from Brown Girl Dreaming. The piece was a heartfelt tribute written as a letter to the student’s mother, who the student couldn’t imagine his life without her, which was the unfortunate case in Woodson’s Miracle’s Boys. His essay moved me deeply. As a mom myself, I found it difficult to hold back the tears as he wrote of lessons learned and appreciated sacrifices. Furthermore, this particular student, while always cooperative, did not appear confident in his writing. I was thrilled to find out later that his letter was selected as a piece that would be included in an Anthology (from Sherwood students and staff) to be given to Jackie Woodson to thank her for her visit and many contributions to young adult literature.

Eventually everything came together, and the effort on the part of staff and students was evident. It was a tremendous time of collaboration and I am proud to have been a part of it all. As I reflect on the work with students and constant encouragement to get everything complete with pesky time constraints, I recall similar situations. Coordinators, uniquely identify with the deadlines that we need to meet when preparing students for this or that on top of the 101 other things on our “to do” lists. Those crunch times are often filled with stress and sometimes even regret. But, I think most will agree that we’re all relieved, if nothing else, and hopefully satisfied in the end…satisfied that we got our students “there”. This could not have been any clearer than, while reading the Anthology along with the student writer, I witnessed the wide grin form on his face and thought…. this was well worth the effort.
"Exciting Things at East Columbus" by Nancy Alley, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 11/21/2014 at 3:44:26 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
Chess, PETS, and Extension Menus are all coming alive at East Columbus. Our Chess Club has twelve members this year, some returning from last year and some new. We have started playing the Pawn Game, which is a great way to learn each piece and its moves. PETS (Primary Education Thinking Skills) has been implemented in a primary class with hopes of expanding it into other classrooms. This is a great way to help young children become better creative thinkers. Right now we are focusing on Convergent/Deductive Thinking. The Cluster teachers are making great use of Extension Menus to offer their gifted students an opportunity to choose enrichment activities in Reading, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Exciting things are happening at East Columbus.
"Sparks of Excitement" by Colleen Boyle, Supervisor of Gifted & Talented
Posted 11/19/2014 at 2:19:57 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
I had the chance to attend the National Association for Gifted Children annual conference in Baltimore last week.  It was inspiring on so many levels.  First, all career fields have their "stars" - those experts who have helped define the field.  I was taken aback as I casually walked past Joseph Renzulli and Sally Reis, sat a table away from Tracy Cross, attended a book signing with Jack Naglieri, heard Karen Rogers speak firsthand, and chatted in an elevator with George Betts.   I own books written by these individuals or used their research in my dissertation.  To be in their company was a bit humbling.

Aside from being a little star struck, the content of the conference itself was particularly exciting for me. It was an opportunity to connect with other leaders of gifted programs from big cities in Ohio and beyond.  I was inspired by ideas shared that might help us tap into the talents of students who fly under the gifted identification radar.  I was able to hear stories of those with past experience navigating program changes and give and receive encouragement from others tackling program changes of their own.  

This is an exciting time for our gifted program in Columbus. The workgroup is busy trying to make recommendations for services that make sense for our kids and our community.  The state will, hopefully, soon come to a decision about changes they will implement in gifted rules.  This conference sparked more excitement as we travel this adventure together.  I can't wait to see what we - the district, the families, the communities - can do for our kids!
"Celebrating the Arts at Weinland Park" by Jan Maragos, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 11/13/2014 at 10:53:25 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

The students at Weinland Park had the opportunity to meet Russell Brown, who plays Mufasa in The Lion King. His demonstration included video clips from the stage production, teaching the students dance moves from the show and speaking with them about preparing for future careers.

Student Ciya reflected, “I think it’s important for actors and actresses to share their stories about how they went to college and got into music and the theatre. It inspires me to know that the little things in my life can turn into big opportunities.”

Mr. Brown left us with this thought, “If we don't expose the children to what's possible, then they'll never know. And if they never know, maybe some exceptional talent has been lost.”
"Busy at Hamilton" by Annette Brewer, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 11/10/2014 at 3:43:52 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Hamilton is full steam ahead for gifted students. All identified gifted students are clustered. We have 100% participation in Gifted Arts Screening from the Unified Arts teachers and 100% participation from cluster teachers who set Written Educational Plan Goals.   Grades 3-6 are preparing for the school spelling bee in December in their classes with activities from Merriam Webster site and games from Beehive.  Everyone is jumping in to provide opportunities for students to learn and grow.

"AIMing for Great Debates" by Karen Sherman, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 11/4/2014 at 2:36:30 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Students at AIMS are actively engaged in learning the “5 C’s” of 21st century skills: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity and civic awareness. All students in Shanna Clark’s 7th grade cluster classroom have participated in five minute, “Shake It Up, Take It Down” debates. Students have picked a topic of interest, collaborated with peers, researched their topic and presented their information. Each group had two affirmative and two negative debaters, each gave one minute arguments and thirty second rebuttals, and each debater was required to have at least two reliable sources of information.

While each team presented, the class used rubrics in their role as judges. The rubrics were designed to rate their colleagues on the quality of their research, their ability to listen and respond to each other, their ability to present an argument and persuade the judges and their presentation skills. The “judges” were graded on their feedback, as well as the debaters on their performance.

One of the student debaters in the class said,” Shake It Up/ Take It Down was a great experience. I learned how to do effective research. I was nervous about presenting before my class, but as I did it, I gained self-confidence. It was challenging, but also a lot of fun.” Another 7th grade student said,” I really liked learning how to express myself and defend my position. It was thought provoking to view both sides of an argument and then have to decide who presented the most evidence to win the debate.”

The students are actively preparing for the District Debate at Capital University on December 12, 2014. They hope their experiences with “Shake It Up/Take It Down” will provide them with the background knowledge and confidence to do well at the debates.

“Advanced Studies at Columbus Alternative High School” by James Velo, AP/IB Coordinator, CAHS
Posted 10/31/2014 at 12:09:23 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

CAHS students have the opportunity to challenge themselves above and beyond the traditional high school curriculum and potentially earn college credit by taking Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, or by enrolling in the IB Diploma Programme.

There are some specific prerequisite courses that must be taken as background for various AP and IB courses, but the most important criteria for readiness lies in student characteristics such as good habits of study and organization, responsibility and commitment to challenging academic work, determination to work through challenges and problems, and a willingness to ask questions and get help when it is needed. While the majority of AP and IB courses are studied in grades 11 and 12, a few AP courses are available to students in grade 10.

Students and families that wish to learn more about Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate programs are invited to visit the following websites: www.collegeboard.org and www.ibo.org.

"Books for Advanced Readers" by Denise Staffilino, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 10/27/2014 at 2:48:21 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Parents of gifted readers are often faced with challenges when picking suitable books for early or young readers. What is appropriate for their 5 -6 year old who wants to read chapter books? What about the 10-11 year old who wants to read adult level books? While we know their reading level matches more difficult text, often the subject matter is not appropriate.

Below are a few good websites that help parents select appropriate reading materials. Do keep in mind, kids are different. You will want to look at books to see if they fit your values and your child’s ability to emotionally handle the material presented.

Happy reading!!!!

Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented: This site provides recommended books with a synopsis and/or recommended age.

Mensa: You can find book lists along with a variety of information for parents of gifted readers. Take note of the list of “classics” as suggested reading.

Hoagie’s Gifted Resources: Lists books that cover a wide variety of gifted needs(i.e. twice exceptional, girl/boy readers, etc)

"Climbing to New Heights at Alpine" by Cathy Mast, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 10/24/2014 at 5:43:14 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Alpine is already “Climbing Their Highest” in the first nine weeks….

I am excited to be back at Alpine for already a great school year. The cluster teachers, staff, and administration started the year off busy implementing strategies to challenge and differentiate the students at Alpine. Look and listen for the many higher leveled thinking strategies being used daily within the classrooms. It was also a busy start to the year as staff and parents requested testing, so students “Could climb their highest!” Alpine will also keep busy as a myriad of options have already rolled out or will be rolling out this year: Math Works, Spelling Bee, Invention Convention, and Chess Club to name a few! Many students have already approached me anxious for participation in these great opportunities, which I have assured them, will be posted in future newsletters as important dates and requirements become available. As always if you have any questions or concerns please contact me and I will be happy to answer them.

"THRIVING at Yorktown" by Vonda Spencer-Keane, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 10/23/2014 at 10:06:51 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
I have not been assigned to a new building for about 3 years now. As a result, I have grown accustomed to the familiarity of students, staff, and administrators and felt comforted in the sort of way that we all tend to settle into from one year to the next as we build our programs. This year, the trend ended. It would now be necessary to figure out the flow of things at Yorktown Middle School for the 2014-2015 school-year. Tuesdays, I thought, would be a bit uncomfortable for awhile. No real worries. I’d been there before and with time would find my niche' all over again. But, surprisingly I encountered a very welcoming staff and great students to work with so finding that niche' did not take long. Yorktown is a place where we all THRIVE together with TBT’s, Test Prep, and efforts towards challenging students in their actions, and attitudes towards daily learning. Connecting new names and faces is now a breeze. Good work has begun with cluster teachers who possess the willingness to support and meet the needs of gifted students. Yes, Tuesdays are becoming more and more comfortable….albeit busy, but thankfully, comfortable.
"Books for Gifted Readers" by Denise Staffilino, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 10/18/2014 at 12:16:27 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Parents of gifted readers are often faced with challenges when picking suitable books for early or young readers. What is appropriate for their 5 -6 year old who wants to read chapter books? What about the 10-11 year old who wants to read adult level books? While we know their reading level matches more difficult text, often the subject matter is not appropriate.

Below are a few good websites that help parents select appropriate reading materials. Do keep in mind, kids are different. You will want to look at books to see if they fit your values and your child’s ability to emotionally handle the material presented.

Happy reading!!!!

Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented:  This site provides recommended books with a synopsis and/or recommended age.

Mensa: Not only can you find book lists but a variety of information for parent of gifted readers. Take note of the list of “classics” as suggested reading.

Hoagies Gifted Resources:  Lists books that cover a wide variety of gifted needs (i.e. twice exceptional, girl/boy readers, etc).

"Avalon's Davis Delights" by Marjorie Davis' Avalon ECLIPSE Class
Posted 10/17/2014 at 12:46:38 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
On Wednesday, October 15, Mr. David came to our classroom from 1:00 - 1:30 and we did philosophy. The main thing that we talked about was fact and opinion. He said two sentences, "I like chocolate," and "Chocolate is the best." He asked us if they were opinions or facts. There was a lot of controversy over the topic of conversation. Some of the things we came up with were that opinions are things that we believe or things that we think. Also, facts are things that can be proven to be true. We had a lot of thoughts over the topic, and we had fun with Mr. David.
“Salem Elementary Sharks turn into Detectives” by Jan Maragos, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 10/13/2014 at 5:10:53 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Mrs. Chamberlain’s second graders are excited to pilot the PETS program. PETS™ (Primary Education Thinking Skills) is a systematized enrichment and diagnostic thinking skills program. Lessons are presented in convergent analysis, divergent synthesis, visual/spatial thinking, and evaluation. The students have put on their detective badges and are excited to help Dudley the Detective and his friends gather clues to find the right answers to the problems. We are looking forward to working with these students as they are introduced to and given opportunities to use higher order thinking skills and exercise their brains in a fun way.

"Avondale's Chess Club and Choice Boards" by Nancy Alley, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 10/9/2014 at 5:49:14 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Rook to E4,Check! Queen to A7, Checkmate! Chess Club has begun at Avondale during lunch, and we have a great group learning the moves and skills of the game. Students gather their lunches and come together in the Gymnasium for Chess Club each Friday. We are looking forward to holding our school Chess tournament in the late winter and sending school representatives to District Tournaments this school year.

Gifted students are working with their classroom teachers who are focusing on Choice Boards. These are enrichment opportunities with higher level activities with added depth and complexity for students to work on when they have completed their classroom assignments. The activities allow students to explore concepts in their area(s) of gifted identification in more depth and in more creative ways.

It's going to be an exciting year at Avondale Elementary.

"Navigating the 'Forest' of Gifted Parenting" by Amanda Bush, Forest Park Parent
Posted 10/8/2014 at 1:23:00 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
My name is Amanda and I have a son in 4th grade who has been identified as "gifted". From a very early age (12-18months) my husband and I knew that he excelled in the area of speech, vocabulary and later reading. Knowing this we always tried to encourage and challenge him in these areas. We were always reading everywhere we went. We read signs at the store, labels, anything and everything. Anytime he asked what a word meant, we always tried to define it in a way he'd understand.
Now that he is in school and getting older we encourage him to read everyday. Its really not much of a challenge since this is something he enjoys. But, we have made it part of his routine. Every night he goes to bed 1/2 hour early and reads. We try to help him find books that he will enjoy and will also challenge him. Sometimes this means he may have to look up a word or two that he doesn't understand.
One of the most important things I've found is the need to be in contact with his school. This means not only his teacher(s), but also the gifted coordinator, principal, counselor and anyone else who may be helping my child. In doing this I've found some of the most wonderful advocates for my child. They are the ones who will be there when the tough decision and challenges come along. As my husband and I have found having a gifted child comes with its own set of challenges. It is such a tremendous comfort knowing that we have this support.
"Flying High With Writing" by Gifted Coordiantors
Posted 10/2/2014 at 7:00:10 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
Six CCS gifted coordinators learned numerous strategies to enhance student writing at the "Integrating High Quality Writing In All Content Areas" conference on September 23rd. The conference was held near Dayton, Ohio, and presented by Ian Byrd, nationally recognized presenter in gifted education. Among other lessons, gifted coordinators learned multiple strategies to break writing instruction down into manageable parts, to maximize structure in writing exercises, and to inspire students to write. The coordinators are eager to bring these ideas back and share them with cluster teachers around the district.  Pictured left to right: Kim Meyers-Snyder, Sherry Daniel, Vonda Spencer-Keane, Ian Byrd, Ronda Budd, Jean Miller, and Karen Sherman.
"Becoming Middle School Champion Thinkers" by Nancy Alley, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 10/1/2014 at 11:26:35 AM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

“It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.”

– Rene Descartes

As we begin a new school year at Champion Middle School, it is apparent to every student, parent, staff member, and community visitor that the school’s goal is to have students use their minds well. The over-riding focus is to prepare students for high school and beyond. For our gifted students, this means making sure they are challenged and given the opportunity to delve deeply into their own areas of interest.

Since the first day of school, we have been working on seeing that the gifted students are appropriately clustered by subject and grade level. Cluster teachers are receiving subject enrichment and extension menus to allow the gifted students to add depth and complexity to their learning by completing projects based on the Common Core State Standards. We will also be continuously observing all students for possible referrals for gifted identification testing. It has been a very good start to another exciting year at Champion Middle School.

"Dual Enrollment Opportunities at West HS" by Jason Johnson, Principal
Posted 9/30/2014 at 12:36:33 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

West High School is excited to be offering a college-level English composition course to our students this year and would like to welcome Mr. Dustin Gibson, a Columbus State Community College instructor to our school. Mr. Gibson is collaborating with Ms. Amanda Palmer to offer the college course, English 1100, a beginning composition 3-credit hour semester course in place of English 12. Students are offered this course free of charge through the AEP Foundation's Credits Count program in partnership with Columbus City Schools and Columbus State Community College. A follow-up course (English 2367- composition II) will be offered in the spring semester. There are 16 students currently enrolled in the English 1100 course. Other dual enrollment college courses will be added in the future, including Technical Math in the spring semester.

"Third Grade ECLIPSE at Burroughs" by Brenda Crumley, ECLIPSE Teacher, and her students
Posted 9/26/2014 at 2:09:22 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Hello from the third Grade Eclipse room at John Burroughs!  We have been doing a lot of problem solving and using different strategies to solve problems.  We learned about the base ten math system and other bases while we solved the mystery of the Moli Stone.  We also use the Prodigy Game and the 24 math game cards to help us in math. 

We just finished reading “Curiosity” by Gary Blackwood. We really liked that the book was about a boy playing chess because we are all in the Chess Club. We are researching some of the diseases that were mentioned in the book. They are really gross and disgusting.

Our favorite thing is that we just started Techie Club. It meets Wednesdays after school. We are learning all about computers. We are going to learn how to take them apart too! But we can’t wait to learn how to program computers! We just finished building our Lego Robot and learning how to program it. It is way cool!

We hope that you have a great school year like we are!

"Berwick's Caldecott Challenge" by Karen Sherman, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 9/23/2014 at 6:14:19 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

I am delighted to be back at Berwick Alternative K-8 this year and delighted to say that we are off to a great start integrating gifted services into classroom instruction. The cluster teachers and I have met to work out schedules, discuss options, and plan engaging learning experiences for our gifted students. Depth and Complexity posters are displayed in many classrooms and, more importantly, integrated into instruction.

Many of the classes, 1st through 5th, grade are involved with the Caldecott Challenge. Students analyze the criteria that the ALA uses to choose books for the Caldecott Awards and then evaluate a set of books that have been chosen as contenders for the award. Fourth and 5th graders just evaluated the book, Grandfather Gandhi, by Arun Gandhi. Many of the students used the book as a starting point and chose to do additional independent research on Gandhi. One 5th grade student said “I love this project. I get to learn about the award for picture books. It’s a challenge to evaluate and analyze the illustrations; it’s a different way to look at books. The fiction books are entertaining, but I like the non-fiction the best because I learn something and it makes me smarter.”

Looking forward to a great year!

"Building Gifted Learners at Broadleigh" by Nancy Alley, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 9/21/2014 at 2:12:44 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

"There is no better time than today to encourage our gifted learners to shine.” – Angie French 2011

Every day at Broadleigh is another chance to let our gifted students shine. We started the school year off with new and returning children eager to learn and move forward as quickly as they can. Cluster teachers and our principal are already hard at work creating learning environments that encourage every student, including the gifted learners, to expand and enrich their knowledge.

Parents, here are a few tips for nurturing a gifted child:

  1. Assure your child that being gifted is okay. Help them appreciate individual differences in themselves and others. Provide a home environment where it is safe for your child to be themselves.
  2. Emphasize that what is learned is more important that any grade. While we want our children to do their best, rather than focus on the grade, prompt your child’s response with, “Tell me what you learned doing this.”
  3. Maintain a sense of humor! As a parent, every day we can choose to laugh or cry.

"Math Challenges on the West Side" by Liz Johnson, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 9/19/2014 at 5:12:14 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Recently I gave several of the math teachers I work with some Creative Math Warm-ups from Ian Byrdseed’s monthly newsletter. Teachers welcomed ideas for warm-ups. One of the warm-ups follows.

A common math problem is to ask students to identify a pattern, given:

3, 6, 9, 12

But, using the same set of numbers, we can ask a different question: Which number doesn’t belong?

What possible answers do you see?

In a 5th grade class, most of the students gave answers that the teacher and I expected. The only two-digit number is 12; three is the only prime number; nine is the only perfect square. One student, however, came up with an answer neither of us saw when we looked over the question. Nine is the only number on the list that is not a factor of 12. It is so exciting when one of the students comes up with original solutions that no one else sees. A problem like this is great for developing number sense and is great for showing students that there can be more than one right answer to a problem.

Another 6th grade teacher used another problem from the newsletter. He asked his students how they can get the number 17 using any operations they wanted. This was an example of easy differentiation. Many in the class gave easy addition approaches, but he was delighted to see some students use decimals, multiple operations, and one student even gave this answer: √16 ×5 + -3. This can be taken further by asking if there are any patterns in 17, but that is a warm-up for another day.

"Mastering a New Year" by Sherry Daniel & Julie Crosby, Hubbard ECLIPSE
Posted 9/7/2014 at 5:12:47 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]
ECLIPSE at the new Hubbard Mastery School is off to a great start! We began our Living History Project in which we will study the history of our school and our neighborhood in the Short North. We are happy to be part of the new mastery learning program where all our students will master new learning at their own pace and have opportunities for enrichment. Our class began a fantastic book entitled The One and Only Ivan about a gorilla who longs to escape captivity, and we hope to meet with a gorilla keeper from the Columbus Zoo to help us better understand the needs of gorillas. We continue our international studies in Chinese culture and language. Our class is planning multiple field trips this year including regular trips to the public library to study books of different genres.
"Clinton's New Gifted Coordinator" by Tiffany Tripp, Gifted Coordinator
Posted 9/4/2014 at 5:12:37 PM by Colleen Boyle [staff member]

Often entering a new school at the beginning of the year as a gifted coordinator can be overwhelming, stressful, and honestly a little lonely. Everyone is busy getting classrooms ready, wrapping their heads around all the changes they are facing this year, and getting to know their 30 new students. At Clinton Elementary, there is another layer of readiness that sucked me in and energized me for a new year.

Immediately, teachers wanted to start discussing needs of accelerated students who would be attending math classes at different grade levels. We worked out schedules, identified goals, and found resources to challenge them appropriately. I traveled to team meeting after team meeting where each teacher knew their educational goals for their students, discussed the best strategies to use to move all their children forward, and sought out advice and resources from me for their gifted learners. They were like a well-oiled machine where everyone knew their job well and embraced working together for the bettering of their students. And the payoff? The students are engaged in their learning experiences. The students are challenged no matter where they are in their learning journey. The teachers and I are able to support and learn from each other as we all grow professionally. The new gifted coordinator at Clinton Elementary is proud of being a part of this machine and excited for what is to come!

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