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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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Elementary STEM Bowl Competition 2016


On March 9, 2016, four of our elementary gifted students represented ELANCO at the 2nd annual IU13 STEM Bowl Competition. Lilly Burger (grade 4) and Danya Rose (grade 5) from New Holland and Sarah Davis (grade 4) and Tanner Laukhuff (grade 5) from Blue Ball competed as a team in a series of six Quiz Bowl style rounds.  The questions asked in each round were all STEM related — that is, they could relate to Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math.  Our team won five out of their six rounds!  Our students worked as a team and performed well.  Most importantly, they used great sportsmanship and had fun!  What a great day!  Way to go SPARTANS!  Check out more pictures from the day in our “Gallery”.20160309_083806

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Save the Date!


Our second annual ELANCO Elementary Gifted Expo will be held Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at Brecknock Elementary.  We will gather from 6:30pm – 8:30pm.  Students will share their projects/findings from the independent research.  Don’t miss it!


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Phenomenal Learning


My students have phenomenal ideas!  During our first classes in the past two weeks, they’ve shared what they would like to learn about this year.  Here is a list of some of their learning topics:

  • Stonehenge
  • Machu Picchu
  • Altitude Sickness/Reactions
  • Albert Einstein
  • The making of Robots
  • The Ancient Pyramids
  • Famous Chefs
  • Human Growth
  • Germany’s involvement in World Wars I & II
  • History of the piano
  • The development of Apple Inc.
  • The Holocaust
  • Giant Caterpillars
  • Computer “languages”
  • Solar Eclipses
  • Bioluminescence

Wow! We’ve got a LOT to learn!  I love the enthusiasm behind these ideas.  Our students will become investigators, researchers, explorers, scientists, inventors, and more…there’s lots of learning ahead.

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Chasing Fireflies?


photo taken from:

Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by living organisms.  If you spent any time chasing fireflies at dusk this summer, you were chasing a bioluminescent organism!

As I was reading “Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World” by Leigh Ann Henion this summer, I had the opportunity to reminisce back to one of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve ever had.  One of the phenomenal natural occurences that the author wrote about was the bioluminescent bay in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.  During my college years, I spent some time teaching in Puerto Rico and studying the biology of islands.  While there, I went kayaking at night on the bioluminescent bay.  The little creatures that produce the bioluminescence in the bay are dinoflagellates.  While they are invisible to the human eye during the day, at night they light up the water as it moves.  So, as our kayaks moved through the bay, the water glowed.  Even better, when my friends and I abandoned our boats for a swim, the glowing water swirled around us.  What a phenomenal experience!  I was filled with wonder and awe.  That made me want to learn even more.  I hope our experiences in learning this year fill you with that same motivation to learn!

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