The Governor's Program for Gifted Children

GPGC 2022 | JUNE 5 – JULY 23

GPGC Blog


Weekly Reports – 2022 Week Five – Afternoon Classes and Dorm

Throughout the summer we will be posting weekly reports from the classes. Please let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see or if you have any questions for specific instructors.

We are also posting regularly on Facebook. You don’t have to join Facebook to see our posts. The link is: https://www.facebook.com/gpgcla/

Afternoon Classes:

Critical Thinking (Robert and Jessica Markstrom, Instructors)

We initially planned to have a “Redemption” week where the students could retry activities they struggled with in previous weeks. However, due to several students being checked out, it made it difficult for the teams to compete against each other. Instead, each team got to have a day where they learned Reef, a new game to the course, with the instructor and the other students played games that will be in next week’s game tournament.

PE (Coach Ancil Delaney)

We played basketball, racquetball, and swam.

Dorm Life:

This week the kids were welcomed back to GPGC on the 4th of July with a hot dog cookout followed by popsicles. They had a government meeting to vote on the final design for their end of the summer t-shirt. They also were able to have the second part of their film workshop where they learned how to edit video.

This weekend the kids celebrated Bilbo Baggins’s birthday with cookie cake and a reading of The Hobbit by the students; this is a tradition that has been carried on at GPGC for decades. On Saturday the kids went thrift shopping in the morning to find any last minute pieces to complete their outfits for the Costume Dance later that night. After Lunch they visited the baby alligator park in Jennings followed by snoballs. After some lobby craft time for final costume makings and pizza for dinner, the Costume dance began. Sunday morning started with donuts, cereal, and fruit. In the dorm lobby we had our summer Magic: The Gathering tournament. After lunch the kids chose between going out to play putt putt or staying in and competing in friendly trivia games. Later in the afternoon they had the chance to go to Books’a’Million. Dinner was burgers followed by our weekly Sundae Sunday treat.


Weekly Reports – 2022 Week Five- Morning Classes

Throughout the summer we will be posting weekly reports from the classes. Please let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see or if you have any questions for specific instructors.

We are also posting regularly on Facebook. You don’t have to join Facebook to see our posts. The link is: https://www.facebook.com/gpgcla/

Freshmen (First Year) Classes:

Freshmen Science (Calvin Runnels, Instructor)

Second to last week! This week we focused on physics and math, learning about Newton’s laws of motion and probability.

Tuesday: We discussed the four fundamental forces, Newton’s laws of motion, velocity, acceleration and free fall. We explored these concepts through demos involving dropping various objects.

Wednesday: We talked about probability — I showed them the Monty Hall Problem, discussed the law of large numbers and expected vs. experimental values using dice and Rock Paper Scissors, and then worked more probability problems using a deck of cards and various games such as High-Low and Blackjack.

Thursday: We continued our discussion of basic physics and Newton’s laws, diving more deeply into the concepts of inertia, force, mass vs. weight, and velocity vs. speed. Then we built balloon-powered cars out of water bottles, balloons, skewers, and bottle caps to demonstrate Newton’s 3rd law.

Friday: We watched nature documentaries about bugs, mammals, and the arctic and ate snacks!

Freshman Composition (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

This week, students were introduced to found poems, epistolary poems, and prose poems. They typed and finished their poems for class and workshopped those poems together. They shared their work aloud and gave constructive feedback to each other. In addition to finishing poetry, students also discussed positive workshop practices and started working on their final writing project.


Tuesday- Students were introduced to found poetry and epistolary poetry. They read “Dear Universe” by Wendy Videlock, “Dear” by Jill Osier, and a hybrid poem by Aimee Nezhukumatathil.

Wednesday- Students worked in the library. They were asked to turn in their typed poems by the end of class.

Thursday- Students read “Poetry Workshop 101” before workshopping their poems. They read their work aloud and gave constructive feedback to each other.

Friday- I discussed the final writing portfolio with the class and they participated in an in-class writing activity.

Freshmen Humanities  (Christine Bertrand, Instructor)

This week we read and discussed Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” one of the most widely-read passages from The Republic. It addresses the struggle of humans to face new understanding and knowledge and our natural resistance to accepting that we may have been wrong. Next week students will close the summer humanities class with a researched written paper applying the concept of the allegory to an event or topic of their interest, explaining how some new understanding or discovery faced resistance by the majority of people and how some revolutionary thinkers pushed past that resistance to new understanding of their world.

Graduate Classes:

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

Our topic for the weeks was memory, which included a review of concepts related to learning (because there can’t be memory without learning) and then information about sensory memory, short-term memory, and long term memory. We covered the topic of amnesia later in the week.

Monday was a holiday, so Tuesday was our first class day of this week. We reviewed the concepts of Pavlovian conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning.
We began the topic of memory on Tuesday, but the discussion continued on Wednesday. On those days, we examined three different types of memory—sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. Sensory memory is based on physical sensory input, such as light falling on the retina, which creates an image on the retina. However that image fades very rapidly—in less than a second. When people attend to that information, it may get the person’s attention, and transfer to short-term memory (STM). That memory system can hold information for up to 30 seconds, which allows processing that can move the information to long-term memory.


On Wednesday, we discussed some of the flaws of memory, focusing on a series of experiments that confirmed how incorrect long-term memory can be. That research has become very influential because it showed that people are prone to mistakes in memory, which affects legal testimony. That is, eyewitnesses are not always accurate in giving evidence or identifying perpetrators. I arranged an activity that confirmed that gifted children are as prone to these memory distortions as are others.


On Thursday we began to discuss amnesia and identified two types—retrograde and anteriograde amnesia. Retrograde amnesia affects individuals by making parts of long-term memory inaccessible. However, most recover those memories, which indicates that the information does no disappear from memory. The media are a main source of misinformation about amnesia, and we covered some of those inaccuracies.
We also had our weekly quiz on Thursday, and the grades were good.

On Friday we discussed anterograde amnesia, which occurs due to damage to the hypocampus, which is a brain structure. That disorder results in individuals who are unable to form new memories, but their existing memories are not affected. That description may not sound all that serious, but it is devastating—people with this type of memory have a very short time to notice and process information, and that information will never become long-term memory.

Conflict and Diplomacy (Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

On Tuesday we discussed how colonialization and decolonialization affects civil conflict outbreak and relapse. We watched War Don Don, a documentary on the International Criminal Court’s trial of Issa Sessay regarding his actions as a leader for the RUF in the Sierra Leone civil war, Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday we continued the state development project with several students deciding to engage in international conflict.

Graduate Creative Writing (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

This week, students began discussing hybrid forms. They were introduced to the lyric essay, zuihitsu, prose poem, and found poem. As a class, we discussed their final project. Students began working on their choice pieces and final reflections. They were given time to type in the library.

Tuesday- Students were introduced to the lyric essay and the zuihitsu. As a class, we discussed the final choice piece and the final reflection.

Wednesday- Students were introduced to found poetry and prose poetry. They spent the remainder of class brainstorming for their choice pieces.

Thursday- Students worked on their choice pieces in the library.

Friday- Students worked on their choice pieces in the library


Weekly Reports – 2022 Week Four- Afternoon Classes

Throughout the summer we will be posting weekly reports from the classes. Please let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see or if you have any questions for specific instructors.

We are also posting regularly on Facebook. You don’t have to join Facebook to see our posts. The link is: https://www.facebook.com/gpgcla/

Afternoon Classes:

Critical Thinking (Robert and Jessica Markstrom, Instructors)

This week was Lego week in Critical Thinking. The first activity has student’s building bridges out of LEGO’s. The bridges has to meet height, length, and width specifications and was supposed to hold at least 2.5 lbs. of weight. In 5th period, that class’s second activity tested the students’ ability to understand ratios as each team was given the task of building a tall structure with the best ratio of height in centimeters over time in seconds. In 6th period, the student’s activity involved memory, teamwork, allocation of roles, and communication. The teams were to replicate a model, but only one team member could see the model and that member could not build with the Legos. The third Lego activity allowed the students to be creative. Each team was to build anything they desired around a theme and at the end of the hour the team would give a presentation on their structures and their theme. On Thursday, students played a variety of games.

PE (Coach Ancil Delaney)

The students swam, played volleyball, and swam.

 



Weekly Reports – 2022 Week Four – Morning Classes

Throughout the summer we will be posting weekly reports from the classes. Please let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see or if you have any questions for specific instructors.

We are also posting regularly on Facebook. You don’t have to join Facebook to see our posts. The link is: https://www.facebook.com/gpgcla/

Freshmen (First Year) Classes:

Freshmen Science (Calvin Runnels, Instructor)

Last week was short, but packed! We kicked it off making batteries out of fruits and veggies, held a moving funeral for those departed servants of science, the plants from our plant experiment that died in the first few weeks, and exploded gummy bears.

Freshman Composition (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

Students began discussing poetry this week! Students were introduced to various forms, such as the persona poem, ode, abecedarian, epistolary poem, and haiku. We discussed lyric vs narrative poetry and students participated in literary analysis, as well as in-class writing activities!

Monday: Introduction to Poetry! Discuss lyric vs narrative poetry. Students read and discussed “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver.

Tuesday: Students read and discussed “Mirror” by Sylvia Plath and “Love Song of the Demogorgon” by Jenny Molberg. Students wrote persona poems in class.

Tuesday: Students read and discussed “Oranges” by Lauren S Cook, “Ode to the Flute” by Ross Gay, and “Ode to French Fries” by Pablo Neruda. Students wrote odes in class.

Wednesday: Students read and discussed “Hummingbird Abecedarian” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Students wrote abecedarians in class.

Thursday: Free Write Friday!!!

Freshmen Humanities  (Christine Bertrand, Instructor)

This week we took our first peek at Plato’s tome The Republic. Students read some of the first part of Book II, which considers the question of justice, right vs wrong, and the motivators that drive human behavior. This section includes the story of the ring of Gyges, leading to discussion of the impact of power on choices.

Graduate Classes:

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

The topic for Week four was sleep and dreams.

We began the week with a history of the study of sleep, beginning with the discovery of the sleep cycle, which occurred in the early 1950s. Before that discovery, the assumption was that asleep and awake were the variations, but the discovery revealed five different stages of sleep.


On Tuesday, we talked about the stages, focusing on Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which was of great interest because it is associated with dreaming. We discussed the physiological process of dreaming and how EEGs allow the study of the stages. I pointed out that the content of dreams is not currently possible to study completely objectively—we have no technology that measures dreaming; that technology measures brain activity.


On Wednesday we explored the controversies over the meaning of dreams, with Freud’s view that dreams are messages from the unconscious and a more modern view that explains dreams as the sleep brain’s attempt to make sense of the activation that accompanies REM. We also covered the effects of sleep deprivation and the case of Randy Gardner, who set the world record for sleep deprivation—264 hours.


On Thursday we had our weekly quiz (good grades this week) and talked about sleep problems, which include phenomena such as “jet lag” and disorders such as insomnia, sleepwalking, narcolepsy, and apnea. I said that many sleep disorders are due to problems in coordinating the changes in brain function that occur in the sleep cycles. However, some are dangerous (such as apnea).


No class on Friday; everyone went home for 4th of July break.

Conflict and Diplomacy (Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

We ended our discussion of interstate conflict this week. Our last discussion dealt with mediation. We began investigating intrastate conflict (civil war). This included learning about the causes of civil conflict with a special focus on failed states and the likelihood of civil conflict and civil conflict relapse, the resource curse, the challenge of group action, and how economics plays a role both in state success and civil conflict outbreak. Students read from chapters 6 and 12 of Leashing the Dogs of War. The state development activity continued on Friday with 3 of the 4 countries actively engaging in treaties.

Graduate Creative Writing (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

Students continued discussing poetry this week. They were introduced to a variety of forms and pieces. The class read work from Frank O’Hara, Tom Hunley, Wendy Videlock, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Jane Wong. Students began writing their two poems and preparing for an in-class poetry workshop. Students shared their poems aloud in class during workshop and received constructive feedback from each other.

Monday: Students listened to a recording of Frank O’Hara reading “Having a Coke With You.” The class discussed the poem, as well as O’Hara’s use of rhythm and structure. Students participated in an in-class writing activity.

Tuesday: Students were introduced to the elegy and the epistolary poem. Students read “Dear Universe” by Wendy Videlock. Students participated in an in-class writing prompt.

Wednesday: Students worked in the library on their poems for workshop.

Thursday: Students read their poems aloud as a group and gave constructive feedback during in-class workshop.



Weekly Reports – 2022 Week Three – Afternoon Classes and Dorm

Throughout the summer we will be posting weekly reports from the classes. Please let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see or if you have any questions for specific instructors.

We are also posting regularly on Facebook. You don’t have to join Facebook to see our posts. The link is: https://www.facebook.com/gpgcla/

Afternoon Classes:

Choir (Colette Tanner, Instructor)

The students are making wonderful progress on the performance material. They currently have 10 songs sing-able and are working on the other songs. We have broached most of the topics on our THEORY REVIEW including rhythm, pitch, notation, scales, modes, dynamics, acoustics, vocal production, and music appreciation. Their reviews are due next Wednesday. For their FINAL PROJECTS, each student will choose a song and will create an artistic representation of the song and how it relates to our theme. This can be accomplished through any visual medium, literary expression, dance or music, etc. The final project is due on July 13.

We have also discussed DRESS FOR THE FINAL PERFORMANCE on July 23. Dress for the concert should be BUSINESS DRESSY. Gentlemen should wear dress pants and a dress shirt. Ties and suits are optional. Ladies should wear appropriate dresses, skirt/blouse sets or pant suits. NO JEANS OR SHORTS. Also, in reference to dress length, please remember that the students will be performing on choral risers. Dress/skirt lengths should take that into consideration. Please remember that our performance music, with listening links, is posted on https://gpgcsings.blogspot.com. Also posted are informative video links that you may find interesting.

Critical Thinking (Robert and Jessica Markstrom, Instructors)

This week was survivor week in Critical Thinking. The students were put into different types of survival scenarios to test their ability to thrive under disaster wilderness conditions. The students ranked items based on usefulness. The activities came from NASA, wilderness experts, and military experts. Additionally, the students had to work to either escape or live on an island after they had been shipwrecked. We held an auction in homage to the television show Survivor. At the end of the week students played games like Tsuro, Blokus, Get Bit, Pan Am, Hippos and Crocs.

PE (Coach Ancil Delaney)

The students played dodge ball and swam.

Dorm Life:

This week the kids had a movie night in the McNeese honors college lounge where they met the director of the McNeese Honors College and watched The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. The students really kickstarted their GPGC government with their first two government meetings with students, faculty, and staff in attendance.

Friday night the kids had board game time and soccer game time followed by Star Wars: A New Hope to kick off our Space Cowboy Weekend. Saturday Morning we visited Burton Coliseum and the kids got to learn about Rodeo. They met and pet Big John (the horse), practiced roping, and got to see some adorable baby goats. After Lunch they got some swim time and gym time. Later on they had fun tie-dying t-shirts, and watched a performance of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which they will perform as their end of summer musical. Homemade chicken tacos were for dinner followed by the third GPGC dance. On Sunday the kids split into teams for a brain games competition and watched the TV series Cosmos. In the afternoon they sang karaoke, and enjoyed Chinese food for dinner before Sundae Sunday!


Weekly Reports – 2022 Week Three – Morning Classes

Throughout the summer we will be posting weekly reports from the classes. Please let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see or if you have any questions for specific instructors.

We are also posting regularly on Facebook. You don’t have to join Facebook to see our posts. The link is: https://www.facebook.com/gpgcla/

Freshmen (First Year) Classes:

Freshmen Science (Calvin Runnels, Instructor)

This week, we dove into more advanced topics in chemistry, especially polarity and how it affects the properties of different materials. We used experiments involving oobleck (a non-newtonian fluid), and paper chromatography to animate these concepts in a way the kids found engaging and intuitive. We also took a detour into biology, discussing natural selection, mutations, genetic drift, and the central dogma of molecular biology (the relationships among DNA, RNA and protein). On top of that, we “cooked” eggs in different kinds of alcohols, imploded soda cans, and put balloons to the test on a bed of nails!

Freshman Composition (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

Students were introduced to creative non-fiction this week. They read, discussed, and analyzed essays before working on their CNF pieces in class.

Monday: The class was introduced to creative non-fiction as a genre. The class read, analyzed, and discussed “Peacock” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. After reading, the class participated in an in-class writing activity where they were asked to apply a memory of home to each one of their five senses.

Tuesday: The class read, discussed, and analyzed “The Jacket” by Gary Soto. We continued discussing creative non-fiction. Students were asked to respond to an in-class writing prompt centered around a meaningful object in their lives.

Wednesday: The class continued to analyze and discuss creative nonfiction. We went over the instructions for their creative nonfiction piece that is due on Monday. Students had time to begin working on their CNF pieces in class.

Thursday and Friday : Students worked on typing their CNF pieces in the library. They were able to ask questions and receive feedback if they wanted.

Freshmen Humanities  (Christine Bertrand, Instructor)

This week the students in Humanities I concluded our study of persuasive techniques and fallacies used in attempts to persuade audiences. Students evaluated their peers’ use of rhetorical devices in application letters by anonymously voting on which applicants they would include in their zombie apocalypse survival camp. We’ve now begun a brief overview of the development of civilization beginning in the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia and expanding around the entire Mediterranean region. This historical context will lay the foundation for our study and discussion during Week 4 of the Greek philosophers and their influence on western civilization.

Graduate Classes:

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

The topic this week in psychology class was mental disorders as well as some information about treatment and the effectiveness of treatment.

Monday’s discussion focused on characteristics of mental disorders, such as distressing changes in behavior, socially unacceptable behaviors, etc. We also discussed the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is the document that specifies criteria for diagnosing mental disorders. I explained how the term “insanity” is not a psychiatric or psychological term but rather a legal one.


Tuesday’s topic was Anxiety Disorders, which include phobias, panic disorder and panic attack, and agoraphobia (and how it can be extensively debilitating).
We also began a discussion of depression and how dangerous depression can be, with its connection to suicide. We also discussed bipolar disorder (manic-depression) and how that disorder is different from how most people and can be difficult to live with, live around, and even difficult to treat.


On Wednesday, we talked about schizophrenia. Point that I wanted to convey included how seriously debilitating schizophrenia can be and the personal and social problems that often happen to people with schizophrenia. Also, I wanted to impress the students with the difference in behaviors for people with schizophrenia and the media image, which associated schizophrenia with violence. That stereotype is incorrect.

On Thursday, we began class with our weekly quiz on the topics we discussed over the week. We continued to talk about the difficulties of living with obsessive-compulsive disorder and also some of the treatments for the disorders we discussed this week.

On Friday, we looked at movie clips of portrayal of mental disorders, and students critiqued the accuracy of these portrayals.

Conflict and Diplomacy (Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

This week covered concepts including bargaining, crisis escalation, negotiation, and deterrence. The evaluation of negotiations and deterrence included students reading excerpts from chapters 4, 5, and 6 from Arms and Influence as well as chapters 8 and 9 from Force and Statecraft. These chapters included problems facing long terms disarmament and the potential issues facing states who desire to deescalate a standoff between major powers. On Friday students continued the state development project. While some students want to create a peace treaty, other students are engaging in other forms of limited conflict.

Graduate Creative Writing (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

Students were introduced to poetry this week!

Monday: Introduction to poetry! The class was introduced to lyric poetry and narrative poetry. The class read, analyzed, and discussed an excerpt from Madness, Rack, and Honey by Mary Ruefle. In addition to examining a craft essay, students read and discussed “Road Trip” by Andrea Cohen, “July” by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, and “In Blackwater Woods” by Mary Oliver.

Tuesday: The class continued to discuss poetic form and structure. Students were introduced to epistolary poems and persona poems. The class read, analyzed, and discussed “Mushrooms” by Sylvia Plath, “Love Song of the Demogorgon” by Jenny Molberg, and “Letter to N.Y.” by Elizabeth Bishop. Students wrote their own persona poems and had the opportunity to share at the end of class.

Wednesday: The class continued to discuss poetic form and structure. Students were introduced to abecedarians. Students read, analyzed, and discussed “Hummingbird Abecedarian” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Students wrote an abecedarian in class and had the opportunity to share their work at the end of class.

Thursday: The class continued to discuss poetic form and structure. Students were introduced to the golden shovel and the ode. Students listened to Gwendolyn Brooks read “We Real Cool” before reading “A Golden Shovel” by Terrance Hayes. We discussed the golden shovel form before reading “Ode to French Fries” by Pablo Neruda, “Ode to the Flute” by Ross Gay, and “Ode to the Mattress on the Side of the Interstate” by William Fargason. Students spent the end of class writing odes.

Friday: Free Write Friday! Students participated in a collaborative writing prompt and had the opportunity to share any writing from earlier in the week.



GPGC gave me a sense of community,


a place where being smart was acceptable, where bullying was not the norm, and where creativity was welcomed.


– Cashman P., Alumnus