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End of MP #2 Update



We’ve made it through the holidays and into the midst of these winter months.  I don’t know about you, but I was beginning to wonder if we’d ever have a full week of school again!  I know the snow can inspire wonder and awe and be magical for our children (& for Katie, my yellow lab above), but as a parent and teacher I am always happy once we get past the interruptions of possible snow days.  We’re not quite there yet!

During gifted support time throughout the second marking period, students have been busy with various challenges.  Briefly, 3rd & 4th graders were working together to create their own “company” that proposed a new bridge in an imaginary/real space.  Students not only had to apply what they had learned about types of bridges, but also had to work collaboratively, problem-solve, and create digitally.  I think this was a fun series of lessons for my small groups of students in grades 3 & 4.

In the upper elementary realm, 5th & 6th graders completed “Bridge to Terabithia” and took their first WordMasters Challenge.  We’ve also been connecting with eachother across buildings during Google Hangout lessons.  This is a great way for students to begin to associate with their peers across the district.

As I mentioned in your Goal Achievement Update, the 4th Annual Elementary Gifted Expo is scheduled for May 21, 2018 at Blue Ball Elementary.  Save this date as your child will be expected to present his/her long-term investigative project at this event.  Having an authentic audience to share what they’ve studied is an important part of the process.  Within the next week or so, your child should bring home their Learning Contract — which I will ask you to sign.  This will be a reflection of the topic area they have chosen and that has been approved by me.  Although work for these projects will mostly be done in school, your encouragement at home is appreciated.

From time to time I have the opportunity to invite students to special events.  These may be Special Enrichment Experiences (SEE seminars)  or special competition opportunities offered through our IU13.  Please know that when inviting students to specific opportunities I am selecting students based on several factors — first and foremost includes a matching of student strengths with the activity/opportunity being offered.  There are also grade level parameters and schedules to consider.  It’s great that our district supports attendance for our gifted students at such events.  If your child has not yet had the oppportunity to attend (it’s usually 5th & 6th graders first), please know that I will try to give everyone a chance to attend at least one of these activities during their elementary career.

Finally, I wanted to share a link to a blog that I follow by gifted guru Lisa Van Gemert.  This article is on how to get your kids to read quality books.  It’s a bit lengthy, so settle in or skim for the main points.  Either way, it’s some great advice for encouraging our children to read more and read well.

11 Tips to Get Kids to Read Good Books



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End of MP #1 Update


Hello families –

As we wrap up the first marking period of the 2017-2018 school year, let’s take a moment to recap what has been happening during our gifted “pull-out” time.  Remember parents – students are participating in a class with other gifted peers once per five day cycle for 40 minutes.  This occurs during our entire school “WIN” (What I Need) time.  So, your students are never missing a core class when they receive these supports.  According to the National Standards in Gifted & Talented Education, Programming Standard #4,  our gifted students benefit from a common time of interaction with like-abled peers.  During this time, while we are supporting skills and competencies in the Common Core, we are also able to address topics and approach strategies that deal specifically with the strengths and needs of gifted learners.

All students have been exploring a theme of “Bridges” as we began the year.  3rd & 4th graders got to experiment with making their own index card bridges while 5th & 6th grades spent some time building more complex popsicle stick bridges.  We’ve learned about different type of bridge structures as well as the shapes/properties that best support each type.  Everyone is also enjoying our “Puzzler Challenges” — allowing us time for problem-solving and little friendly competition between our elementary buildings. I love the enthusiasm of my students!

3rd & 4th graders also spent some time learning about the science behind their learning.  We became neurons and made connections (bridges, if you will) to other neurons when we learned something new.  We even watched some reall footage of neural pathways forming.  When we have new thoughts, we literally make little bridges in our brains.  Wow!

5th & 6th graders are also now “seeing” me a bit more frequently as we connect once a week through Google Hangouts.  In this way, all of our older gifted students (across the elementary buildings) get the chance to interact with one another.  Currently, we are reading “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson and preparing for our first WordMasters™ Challenge Analogy Competition.  Encourage your 5th & 6th graders to study those words!

Be on the lookout for your first marking period Goal Achievement Update in the mail. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email or call.  Also, if you’ve not done so, please subscribe to this blog so you can catch updates and pictures as I post.  Thank you for your constant support of your child’s education!

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Welcome Back Friends!


“True teachers use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.”       ~Nikos Kazantzakis

I love this quote.  Each year, I like to capture students’ attention and guide our instruction and time together for pull-out by establishing a theme.  This summer had me thinking a lot about bridges — both literally and metaphorically.  My boys and I were recently recalling the fun time we had exploring the Natural Stone Bridge and caves in the Adirondacks years ago.  It was amazing to see the result of millions of years of glacial movement and geology right before us.  Fascinating!  It’s a place we’d like to return to again some day.

On our trek south for vacation this year, we were reminded of our crossing of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel on vacation two years ago.  This magnificent structure is known as an engineering wonder of the world and was unprecidented went built back in 1964.

The idea of a bridge brings to mind the joining or the coming together over a spanse that otherwise would have been too far apart to cross.  Metaphorically speaking, we need more bridges today… and we need to teach our children to build them.  Opportunity to connect with others unlike one’s self (maybe even from across the world), appreciate differences, share ideas, analyze problems, and brainstorm solutions are all ways that we can build bridges.  I look forward to fostering students’ engineering capabilities this year as we build bridges together!

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Summer Enrichment Opportunities


Summer is a great time for students to continue to engage in activities and programs that spark their individual interests and help them grow in new and unexpected ways.  Lancaster County is full of opportunities that provide summer enrichment for students.  See the links and information below for some activities that might spark interest:

IU 13 Summer Camps:

John Hopkins Summer Science:

Millersville University Summer Tech Camps





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Gifted Expo is Coming — May 16, 2017!!


This week students were introduced to the 7 Steps of Investigative Research and we began Step #1, Topic Selection.  Once again, students will have the opportunity to take some ownership in their learning and select an area of interest/strength to research.  This hard work of researching and finding new information and making it your own will all culminate at our annual Gifted Expo on May 16, 2017 at New Holland Elementary.  Please save the date now and plan to join us for an evening of sharing, learning, and fun.

Encourage your students to learn new facts, concepts, and ideas throughout this process.  Often times, gifted students have a desire to share their own background knowledge (which can be plentiful), but resist the idea of new learning that may alter or change what they already feel they know.  Investigation and research is about learning something new and then presenting it in your own fresh way to an audience.  I can’t wait to see what students come up with this year!

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Project Gutenberg


Many of the books on our “Excellence in Reading” list are now considered public domain.  Public domain refers to intellectual property or works (pieces of literature, music, art, text) whose copyright rights have expired — making it now available to the public as a whole.  Project Gutenberg is a free, online e-book resource that provides access to literature in the public domain.  It’s a great resource.  Check it out and happy reading!  Here’s the link:



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Excellence in Reading


Books, Old, Old Book, Antiquefrom Pixabay

The New Year is always a great time for a fresh start… and often a time for new beginnings.  Why not challenge yourself in the New Year with a goal to read some classic literature?  The Mensa for Kids Excellence in Reading program does just that.  Students may choose books for their reading pleasure from a list of books (lists are organized as grades 4-6 and grades 7-8, but students may choose which list to conquer based on ability and interest). Students record the date a book is complete and give it a rating.  Upon completion of an entire list, students can turn in the form to Mrs. Lenahan who will send the list to Mensa for recognition.  To see more details, here is the website: Mensa for Kids Excellence in Reading.

If you’re not up for conquering the entire list, it still provides you with some ideas for great reads as you are challenging yourself in your independent reading.  Reading classic literature is valuable because it will help you increase your vocabulary, provide you with the opportunity to understand culture and context, and can even help you boost your emotional/social intelligence.  This kind of reading makes you stretch your brain and you’ll know you are reading something of value as it has withstood the test of time.  When you are finished reading, you’re most likely able to find a film version of the story and this can be a great compare/contrast activity for you too.

Will you rise to the challenge?

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3rd & 4th Grade Vokis


3rd & 4th graders recently made great little online characters of themselves.  These characters are called vokis.  As we examined the lives of successful people who journey, we also discovered traits that we possess that will also help us on our learning journeys.  Check us out below!

Blue Ball Students:

Summer’s Voki

Luke’s Voki

Kate’s Voki

Mae’s Voki

Jackson’s Voki

Logan’s Voki

Maggie’s Voki

New Holland Students:

Abhi’s Voki

McKenzie’s Voki

Cheyton’s Voki

Luke’s Voki

Gavin’s Voki

Breknock Students:

Trenton’s Voki

Christian’s Voki

Megain’s Voki

Emma’s Voki

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My Summer Journey


On our first day of gifted support time this year, we will talk about different kinds of journeys, what characteristics/qualities one needs to go on a journey, and where your journey has taken you so far.  I also want to know what you did over your summer journey!  Take a quick look at my summer journey in pictures.

My Summer Journey in Pictures

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Welcome to another learning journey — the new school year!  This year we’ll explore what it takes to step out on a journey, different types of journeys, and track your own learning journey as the year goes on.  I can’t wait to get started with you…


Image result for journeys begins with the first step

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