Summer 2018 Gifted & Talented Institute
6th Grade Seminar Communications
Over the past few weeks, the sixth-grade seminar communications students have been writing and creating a DigiTale, which is a culminating project from the William & Mary Autobiographies and Memoirs curriculum. Students wrote a memoir, gathered images, recorded their memoir on the computer, and edited their work to create a DigiTale using iMovie. Here’s an example of a student’s DigiTale project.
National History Day Update
The seventh-grade honors communications students participated in creating a History Day project about conflict and compromise in history. Three students have submitted their projects to the Metro Junior Central Regional competition. The regional competition is free and open to the public. It will take place on Thursday, March 15th from 4 – 9 pm. The event will take place at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, West Bank campus. For more information please refer to the National History Day MN website.
Patriot’s Pen Update!
The 7th grade communications students participated in the Patriot’s Pen essay contest this fall. This VFW-sponsored essay contest is conducted nationwide. It gives students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme. The theme this year was, “America’s Gift to My Generation”. Three McGuire Middle School students’ essays advanced to the district level. McGuire’s three finalists were Elena Kulshar, Olivia Riley, Zoe Zweber.
National History Day
National History Day (NHD) is a non-profit education organization based in College Park, Maryland. The largest NHD program is the National History Day Contest that encourages more than half a million students around the world to conduct historical research on a topic of their choice. Students enter these projects at the local and state levels, with top students advancing to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park.
Every year National History Day frames students’ research within a historical theme. This year’s theme is Conflict and Compromise in History. The intentional selection of the theme for NHD is to provide an opportunity for students to push past the antiquated view of history as mere facts and dates and drill down into historical content to develop perspective and understanding.
Our seventh grade honors communication students have been working hard on their History Day projects for the past two months. Many students are planning to submit their projects to the state completion in the spring.
6th Grade Honors Communications – Concept of Change
Lakeville middle school language arts and communications teachers incorporate the William & Mary curriculum into their honors classes. This curriculum was created by the College of William and Mary’s Center for Gifted Education. These lessons are anchored by guided discussions and structured around advanced literature. Students are able to develop their analytical and writing skills. The William & Mary curriculum, Autobiographies & Memoirs for 6th grade students develop the following:
interpretive skills and analysis in literature and writing
persuasive writing skills
listening/oral communication skills
the concept of change in language arts
Activities in the William and Mary units are organized around broad, interdisciplinary concepts. For example, the concept of change was chosen as a unifying theme for many of the units based on its ease of application to various areas of the language arts as well as to other areas of study. Students use the following set of core generalizations about change, derived from extensive reading on the concept in philosophy, sociology, and science, as a starting point:
Change is pervasive
Change is linked to time
Change may be perceived as systematic or random
Change may represent growth and development or regression and decay
Change may occur according to natural order or be imposed by individuals or groups
6th grade honors communication students began the unit, concept of change last week. Below are pictures of students working together to think of examples of change.
8th Grade Honors Science – Laser Security System Unit
Summary: Laser Secure, Inc. designs security systems to protect valuable assets, and the company is seeking help from students to design a laser security system to protect the artifacts in a traveling museum exhibit. In the engineering-driven STEM unit, students investigate properties of light, including reflection, refraction, absorption and transmission. Based on knowledge and data collected throughout the unit, students make evidence based decisions to design, test and improve a prototype security system.
A Socratic Seminar is an AVID strategy that is named for its embodiment of Socrates’ belief in the power of asking questions, inquiry over information, and discussion over debate.
Elfie Israel succinctly defines Socratic Seminars and implies their rich benefits for students: The Socratic seminar is a formal discussion, based on a text, in which the leader asks open-ended questions. Within the context of the discussion, students listen closely to the comments of others, thinking critically for themselves, and articulate their own thoughts and their responses to the thoughts of others. They learn to work cooperatively and to question intelligently and civilly.
Participants seek deeper understanding of complex ideas in the text through rigorously thoughtful dialogue. This process encourages divergent thinking.
The 8th grade honors language arts class recently participated in a Socratic Seminar after reading the novel, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keys. Students discussed their thoughts, feelings, and opinions about the novel.
The 7th grade honors communications class also recently completed a Socratic Seminar as well. Students read three articles about immigration. Students answered open-ended questions about the articles to prepare for the seminar. Students discussed what they learned from the articles and their opinions about our current immigration laws.