Welcome to the Shapleigh School Gifted and Talented Education Website.  Please explore to learn more about current happenings, to see the great stuff our students have created, to explore opportunities for gifted and talented students outside our classrooms, and to find more resources about gifted and talented students and their educational needs.
Information on Remote Learning.
All of us are part of this crazy experiment in which the whole country is learning remotely.  Boy do I miss the students.  It definitely isn't my idea of fun to be on a screen all day, and our interactions really aren't the same in a google meeting.  But I'm managing, just like you are.  Students are learning new executive function skills, learning to get along with siblings (or not, as is the case for my kids!), learning to be without their friends and learning to handle downtime.  Parents are learning to juggle parenting, teaching and work, if they still have employment. We are certainly all learning from these times.

I have updated the Resources section of this website with lots of links for students and families who are looking for additional enrichment or ideas.

But remember at the end of the day, while this is a stressful situation for all of us, including kids, we ARE learning.  How can we each make the most of this situation?  If that means we pick and choose what we learn, that is okay.  If that means our learning proceeds at a different pace than normal, that is okay.  We can choose to see this time as a "gift" of sorts.  Not to say the gift is welcome or easy, but we can look at how we can possibly enjoy an element of this time, grow from this time, or strengthen from this time.  I'm an eternal optimist, so I certainly don't want to minimize your struggle if this time is hard for you.  For me I need to remind myself that my attitude affects my outcomes so much.

Here are some links for parents during remote learning:

(from Gorham schools)

First: a snippet video from the Museum of Science of me talking about failure:
new year!  New projects!  But, first, a few pictures of 5th graders with electric engineering success!

We are now moving on!
4th graders will begin reading biographies or other works of non-fiction and then creating books about their person/event using pop-up skills.

5th graders are learning about famous artists are preparing for presentations to kindergarteners in March.

6th graders are in two groups.  One group is working on writing plays that incorporate various kinds of irony following reading several ancient Greek and Roman plays.  The other group is working on 3D design and working collaboratively to print a scale model of the school on the 3D printer.

7th and 8th graders continue working on various independent projects!

4th grade students have just begin exploring momentum and trajectory concepts with an engineering curriculum called Design It!  Here you can see a few groups working on the first challenge: to create a ski jump that launches a marble into a cup.  This year's record was set by Darius and Makili at 39 inches!  New challenges next week!

5th grade students are just beginning an engineering unit centered on electricity.  Students are reviewing the concept of circuits and next week will build on that review to complete some design challenges.

6th grade students completed their portraits this week.  I'll try to add a few photos next week!  A group of students recently began a book group reading Electric Universe, by David Bodanis.  It is an super-interesting look at our understanding of electricity through stories about the innovators of electricity.  Students also spent time this week getting an introductory look at projects going forward: ancient Greek and Roman theater and/or three-dimensional computer design and engineering with the 3D printer.

7th grade students are just wrapping up their portraits.  Some very beautiful artistic efforts I'll try to capture next week.

8th graders are knee-deep in their portraiture projects which will wrap up next week.

4th/5th graders have been getting settled into book groups.  These groups are an opportunity for them to read books and talk about them with a small group.  Here is a picture of one group sharing their early thoughts about The Education of Little Tree.

Meanwhile, 6-8 grade students have started their portraits.  It is fun seeing how they grow and change through the years!  

Welcome to a new school year!  

My groups have just begun!  My 4th and 5th grade groups began meeting this week.  Some photos of our annual portrait project in process are below.  6-8th graders in my groups will begin coming next week.  I can't wait to see them.  

I will be trying to update the Opportunities tab of my page with interesting competitions for students.  If your child might be interested, please see me for more info!

A new year - a new adventure 2015/2016. 
Current avenues:
4th grade - I have two groups of students currently reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH in book groups.  Some enrichment math has begun for a group of students, and more students will be involved in this soon.

5th grade - Having just finished portraits, in which students thoughtfully consider the nature of their brains and environments, students are reading about creation myths from many cultures and comparing them to the Greek myth of creation.  Students will continue on reading about Greek myths and reading books with allusions to Greek mythology.  Separately, students will begin an engineering unit on electricity.

6th grade:   Having just finished portraits in which students thoughtfully consider the nature of their brains and environments, students have begun research on aspects of Greek and Roman theater.  After their initial research is completed, students will read and analyze a Greek comedy and tragedy.  After learning the hallmarks of these types of theater, students will write their own "modern" version of one of these.

Current Projects during WIN:
October/November 2014:
4th grade - These groups are exploring design and construction challenges through balls and tracks (ask them to explain what that means.)  They are working together in groups (sometimes challenging for kids when they find themselves in groups of other students who have great ideas and strong opinions!)  Each day they approach a challenge - design and construct a track to meet the challenge, and then improve their design.  

5th grade - These groups are exploring electricity, and understanding the circuitry involved in making things work. We are building flashlights and will be working towards building stop lights.

6th grade - What a budding group of thesbians I have here!  These guys have read an ancient Roman comedy and an Ancient Greek tragedy.  They are rewriting these plays into modern form, while keeping the theme in place.   They are now working on performing these plays and have broken up in groups to attack various aspects of the performance - set design, costumes, casting, direction.

7th grade - This group is delving into the big questions in life: what is reality?  how do we know?  We are each studying a famous philosopher and hope to have a "Philosopher's Cafe" to discuss our ideas with the public (in costume of course:)  More info to follow.

September 2014 - All groups start the year off with a portrait project.  They are representing their strengths and weaknesses visually as a background for their portrait.  

All students are currently working on independent projects.  Students can choose any topic they want, but the project must fall within the following parameters:
  • The project must expand their knowledge base.  I want them to learn something new, not present something that they are already experts about.
  • The project must employ higher level thinking skills - creating, comparing, evaluating, synthesizing, etc.
  • The project must have a presentation, which can come in many many forms - essay, visual display like a poster, video, a performance, etc.
If you haven't checked out a few of the videos from our poetry project in the gallery of great stuff, make sure to do that!  Most groups have moved onto math!  We will spend about a month practicing creative equation building with the game "Equations."  

The 5th grade will be working on a separate project.  Students will work in pairs to prepare a presentation and a project based on a famous artist to share with the kindergarden as part of Mitchell School's art fair.

1/9/14: Following a project that involves launching marbles across the room is always tough, but we are jumping into some poetry for the next few weeks.  Students will read and write poetry and then create a screen play that incorporates a famous poem.

Starting the week of 12/1, grades 4- 7 will begin an engineering exploration about "balls and tracks."  Students will work in teams to meet various challenges - creating a track that can "launch" a marble as far as possible, create the longest "ride" for a marble, execute a consistent loop, etc.  I will be posting pictures of some of their process in the Gallery of Great Stuff later this week.

In the two weeks prior to Thanksgiving, I met with each group twice.  This, our introductory activity, involved portraiture.  We started with some writing activities, and then students drew themselves in a mirror onto a transparency.  They were then asked to "artfully" fill the rest of the space with images and words that represented themselves.  Color was added with oil pastels.  The results were pretty great and was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn about the chemistry of the groups and the interests of the kids.