The Governor's Program for Gifted Children

GPGC 2018 | JUNE 3 – JULY 21

GPGC Blog

Weekly Reports – Sciences, Week Three

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Science classes for last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Freshman Science (Susan Nunez, Instructor)

This week, we worked on Taxonomy/classification of organisms. Students read and created their own dichotomous keys to classify fictional monsters and types of beans.

 

 

Senior Science (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

During the third week, students planning their own studies had conferences with me to work toward a good design and a feasible plan for data collection. I also encouraged them to find additional background information so that they have some information about similar research related to their topic. (Last week we discussed background sources and how to find them. In addition, I provided students with one background source to get them started; they must find at least two others.) That is, these students pursued the details of turning a good idea into a process of data collection. Students not conducting science studies for their Senior Projects began data collection on the class study, which involved testing in the rat lab. We spend Monday through Friday in the rat lab collecting data from 8 rats in an stimulus control study that varies the reinforcement that rats receive depending on the scent associated with the scent they smell. Each day, half of the rats work in a Skinner box scented with orange, which receives no reinforcement regardless of the number of bar presses. The other half of the rats work in a box with lavender scent and receive reinforcements for bar presses. Our study seeks to determine if the rats will associate the scent with the reinforcement or lack of it. Rats change conditions every day, alternating orange with lavender scent.

 

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

This week was devoted to the topic of mental disorders. We began with trying to define mental disorders, referring to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association. This publication is the official guide for diagnosing mental disorders. We talked about the image of individuals with mental disorders a dangerous and violent, which is another stereotype that is not as true as people believe’ however, some disorders increase the chance of violence. The weeks’ topics include anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia.


Weekly Reports – Humanities, Week Three

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Humanities classes for last weeks in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Freshmen Humanities (Ms. Kristen Harrell, Instructor)

At the beginning of the week, we finished talking about the importance of the poleis in Greece, particularly Athens and Sparta, and we watched excerpts of a wonderful documentary about the Battle of Thermopylae from the History Channel. The students’ discussions were great. They were able to give highly in depth answers to why Athens evolved into a direct democracy. Figures such as Solon and Clisthenes were also introduced. The Persian War was discussed at length including the battles of Marathon and the one at Thermopylae ten years later. We also had a rather fun debate today concerning reality and perception. I showed them how Xerxes was interpreted in the movies 300 and One Night with the King. They immediately recognized that they were the drastically different. One of the main themes of the week seemed to be what actually history is when we only know it through the lens of the victors. The Sophists were introduced to set up Greek Philosophy for next week. The students made good analogies deciding that the Sophists, particularly Protagoris, were born far ahead of their time and would do very well in our modern society. We also talked about how most of what we know of them is from Plato, therefore one should always consider the source when looking at historical figures.

 

Sophomore Humanities (Ms. Lauren Howton, Instructor)

This week we finished up A Wrinkle in Time, read Flannery O’Connor’s short story “Good Country People,” along with getting down to business with our Utopia projects. We had great discussions, worked on inflection by reading the O’Connor piece aloud, and overcame a few obstacles by working to perfect our visions of what Utopia is like.

 

Senior Humanities (Ms. Lauren Howton, Instructor)

This week we began reading 1984 and having discussions in class. Monday we took a quiz on the first chapter and continued reading ~a chapter/day. We had a writing assignment which was to write a journal entry like Winston’s that used Newspeak and tried to imagine what life was like in Airstrip One.

 

Grad Level, Civil Rights/Civil Liberties (Ms. Jessica Markstrom)

This week we finished the 1st Amendment rights. The class discussed freedom of the press, defamation, obscenity, and the intersection between technology and speech. Cases covered included: Near v. Minnesota, New York Times v. United States, New York Times v. Sullivan, Hustler v. Falwell, Miller v. California, Brown v. Entertainment merchants Association, Reno v. ACLU, and Ashcroft v. ACLU (I and II). We ended the week with a discussion of the 2nd Amendment with a special focus placed on D.C. v. Heller.


Weekly Reports – Afternoon Classes, Week Two

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our afternoon classes for the last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Choir (Ms. Colette Tanner, Instructor)

In choir, we will continue to work on the following performance repertoire: RHYTHM OF LIFE, FINALE from GONDOLIERS, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, Vivaldi GLORIA, FIRE & RAIN, and JESU, JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING

 

Computer Tech (Barry Humphus, Instructor)

Students finally got to start 3D printing this week! They asked every day if they could start but first had to understand the process including the easy things and the hard. The process was much more cumbersome than they initially thought.

 

Debate (Ms. Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

Students created and presented affirmative policy cases. Students reviewed and practiced writing affirmative policy cases. Students learned about on-case negative strategies and topicality.

 

Critical Thinking (Mr. Robert Markstrom, Instructor)

This week was puzzle week in Critical Thinking. The students were challenged with various puzzle activities. One activity had each team putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle during the period. Another activity involved non-traditional 3 dimensional puzzles including placing odd shaped blocks back into cube-shaped box, a slide puzzle that was rectangular in shape in that students had to match the pattern and color on each side, etc.. The students had a packet of puzzles that included brain teasers, geometric puzzles, sudoku puzzles of varying difficulty, and mazes.

 

 

Costume/Make-up Design and Drama (Ms. Jessa Lormand, Instructor)

Costume/Make-up Design: This week we worked on assigned character costumes, display board information/content, completed basic stage make-up unit, make-up plots, learned basic hand stitching/how to sew buttons. Students worked in small groups and individually on different projects and troubleshooting. This was the first week that I graded their journals and was overall very impressed with the creativity and care put into them.

Drama: From Monday to Thursday we walked through the entire with dialogue to get a feel for being on the stage with these characters. Friday we did theatre games and movement exercises to prepare for choreography/scene transition work next week.

 


Weekly Reports – Composition, Week Two

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Composition classes for the last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Sophomore Composition (Ms. Stacey Simien, Instructor)

This week’s focus was on the Short Story. Each day this week we reviewed the elements that make a story good. The 6 traits of effective writing, short story elements-irony, characterization, conflict, theme, symbols and Freytag’s Plot diagram. The weekly assignment was an original short story that demonstrates their knowledge and understanding of the literary elements of fiction.

 

Senior Composition (Brett Hanley, Instructor)

In Composition III, we read and discussed craft essays about writing what you know and writing about place. Students completed exercises to help them compose their own poems about home and family. They also read a collection of modern and contemporary poetry and participated in class discussions about what we read. Two original poems were due at the end of the week, and we began discussion flash fiction on Friday. Seniors who chose to write poetry for their senior projects met with me individually to discuss their work.

 

Grad English (Brett Hanley, Instructor)

In English 002, we read and discussed craft essays regarding writing what you know, using images in poetry, writing about place, and writing about family. We also read an array of contemporary poetry and discussed common craft choices contemporary poets make. Students also composed a critical analysis of a poem of their choice and turned in two original poems of their own at the end of the week.


Weekly Reports – Sciences, Week Two

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Science classes for last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Freshman Science (Susan Nunez, Instructor)

Their challenge was to build a structure made of spaghetti noodles and mini-marshmallows. It had to hold the mass of a book for 60 seconds and be the tallest one. They seemed to enjoy this activity and most were successful.

 

Sophomore Science (Ms. MaryKate Core, Instructor)

This week we discussed the chemical and physical mechanics of volcanic eruptions. We also discussed types of eruptions and fluid behavior as it applies to magma and lava. Then we modeled eruptions with the classic soda and mentos experiment. Students took the experiment a step further and designed different trials to see the effects of temperature on the reaction. They are writing their reports over the weekend.

 

Senior Science (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

Week 2 was devoted to covering background in science to bring all students toward a accurate understanding and usage of terminology and to explore various research methods. On Thursday we visited the McNeese Animal Behavior Laboratory (Rat Lab) to acquaint students with the facility and procedure that they will follow to collect data for the class experiment, which is an experiment in which we will vary the smell associated with receiving reinforcement (orange scent vs. lavender scent) to determine if that smell cue will lead to a different rate of bar press responses.

 

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

We continued our discussion of a history of mental disorders on Monday, focusing on the transition from “lunacy” to “nervous disorders,” which occurred in the late 1800s. During that time period, neurologists became interested in what they called “nervous disorders,” which would change to the term mental disorders. During that period a young neurologist named Sigmund Freud developed a treatments for nervous disorders, which soon became psychoanalysis.


Weekly Reports – Humanities, Week Two

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Humanities classes for last weeks in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Freshmen Humanities (Ms. Kristen Harrell, Instructor)

We began the week by talking about the importance and the evolution of the polis. How did this change Greek society? How did the polis rise up in importance? The students also analyzed some archaeological evidence. We also had a test over the first week’s material of which I was very pleased with their results. Next, we delved into the ancient Greeks viewed religion and how it differs from modern concepts of religion. These discussions led us into the polytheism of the Greeks; what we know today as Greek mythology. Of course, most of the student adored this part of the lesson. For the second half of the week, we talked about the colonization of the Greeks in the Mediterranean and its difference from European mercantilism. The students loved our discussion over the polis of Sparta and how the Spartans fear and paranoia led to their military state. I’m afraid that I might have burst the bubbles for many students who no longer want to run off and become Spartans. For homework they were asked to answer four critical thinking questions/prompts concerning Sparta.

 

Sophomore Humanities (Ms. Lauren Howton, Instructor)

This week we continued reading A Wrinkle in Time and started looking at how the Dark Thing and the planet of Camazotz are representative of dystopias. We journaled about the book and took a quiz. We also read Ray Bradbury’s short story “Harrison Bergeron” to continue our discussion of dystopia/utopia. In this story, everyone is forced into equality by state mandated “handicaps.” As a class we voted on what impairments we would be assigned based on our intellect, beauty, and strength. The discussion of course was no longer “equal” due to our different roles. This activity really helped the students understand the nuances between dystopia and a perceived utopia.

 

Senior Humanities (Ms. Lauren Howton, Instructor)

This week we finished reading and discussing Thomas More’s Utopia. We began the week with a writing assignment on the importance of “roles” and government in More’s Utopia. We also began reading T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land.” This poem is long and dense so we broke it up by reading a section a day. We completed writing assignments on each section and then used these assignments to begin our discussions. Friday the first section of 1984 was assigned.

 

Grad Level, Civil Rights/Civil Liberties (Ms. Jessica Markstrom)

This week began with discussions establishment clause of the 1st Amendment with a special focus placed on primary and secondary education. The class primarily covered 1st Amendment speech rights. Highlighted cases included: Cohen v. California, Synder v. Phelps, Cohen v. California, and Morse v. Frederick among others.



Weekly Reports – Afternoon Classes, Week One

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our afternoon classes for the last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Choir (Ms. Colette Tanner, Instructor)

During this first week, the choir is “voice testing” for vocal placement in sections. We are also learning our “Warm-Up” and “Ear Training” routine and beginning to learn concert repertoire.

 

Computer Tech (Barry Humphus, Instructor)

Student are very excited to get started doing 3D printing. We have some preliminary ground rules to set up, but as soon as that is complete, we should be good to go.

 

Debate (Ms. Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

This week began with a mock debate involving whether entities and actions in video games are “real.” I introduced students to topoi, basic foundations in argumentation, debate resolutions, and started covering the affirmative burdens in policy debate. Students engaged in activities that challenge their use of topoi. Basic foundations in argumentation included discussions and exercises in deductive logic, inductive logic, and casual logic. Additionally, students learned about Aristotle’s criteria for persuasive speaking and the Toulmin model of argumentation. Students were able to identify and create resolutions for fact, value, and policy debates. We ended the week by covering the prima facie burdens for the affirmative in policy debate.

 

Critical Thinking (Mr. Robert Markstrom, Instructor)

Students were introduced to numerous games sought to challenge different forms of problem solving and logic this week. Additionally, students were given a personality quiz in order to sort them into groups for the rest of the semester. Games available this week: Abalone, Bloodborne (board game), Chess, Exago, Gestures, Hippos and Crocs, the “Name Game,” Pirateer, Score 4, Set, Stratego, Ticket to Ride, Tsuro, and What Were You Thinking.

 

Musical (Mr. Keith Chamberlain, Instructor)

Auditions began on Monday and stretched into the evening. I am incredibly excited about our new cast. We began rehearsing the music in our production, since there is much of it, on Tuesday and continued that until Friday.

 

Costume/Make-up Design and Drama (Ms. Jessa Lormand, Instructor)

Costume/Make-up Design: This week we began working on daily diaries, sketching costumes, hair and makeup designs for both productions and began working on Brigadoon costuming.

Drama: We completed a full read through of the play which was very good to hear. We also discussed the show and student’s creative input on the production, began rehearsal and assigned/began varying creative duties that apply to the production.

 

Publishing (Ms. Christa Bell, Instructor)

During this week, The Thinker staff created the look for this summer’s paper. They also wrote and put together a four-page edition of the paper with essentially a one-day turnaround time. They are working to grasp the idea of media writing, as opposed to essay writing, and the idea of what makes news and how to relate information to an audience.


Weekly Reports – Composition, Week One

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Composition classes for the last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Freshman Composition (Ms. Cecil Tate, Instructor)

This week the students wrote letters of introduction to me and practiced several writing strategies. They also wrote an anecdote which began in medias res. On Friday the students watched the Odyssey and took notes on point of view, character development, and plot structure.

 

Sophomore Composition (Ms. Stacey Simien, Instructor)

This week was all about narrative writing. We started the week learning about how to write a narrative and the elements that make up a good narrative. We practiced writing descriptively each day when telling a story. The final assignment of the week was an Anecdotal Biography assignment.

 

Senior Composition & Grad English (Brett Hanley, Instructor)

In both classes, we’ve focused on writing and reading poetry. I introduced students to formal poetry (sonnets and villanelles), and they wrote their own. We also read and discussed Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, confessional poetry, and free verse contemporary poetry.


Weekly Reports – Sciences, Week One

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Science classes for last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Sophomore Science (Ms. MaryKate Core, Instructor)

The students began by understanding science as a method for exploring the world, emphasizing creative thinking and formal reporting. In week one, we introduced concepts of data analysis and organizing raw data, analysis, and conclusions in a report.

 

Senior Science (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

During the session, seniors complete courses in science, composition, and humanities and choose one of these areas in which they complete a project. Thus, Science III is oriented around moving students from students to researchers. During the first week of the session, we focused initially on the choice of the senior project. Students who choose a science project must go through all of the steps in the scientific method, which begins with choosing a topic. Some students had ideas about a science project on the first day, all of which were feasible. Students who choose a project in humanities of composition participate in a class study in which they collect data and work as a group on a presentation, so all students have a science experience but not the same science experience.

 

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

This session’s topic in psychology is Psychology as Science and Treatment, which emphasizes the field of clinical psychology and the overall view of psychology research. I plan to use a selection of media (movies, TV, literature) to lead students to a critical evaluation of psychology as a science (that follows the scientific method just the same as other sciences) and the training and work of clinical psychologists (as well as other professions that provide mental health care. Each student received a topic related to mental disorders or treatment methods. The assignment is to become an “expert” in the topic so as to be able to present information when that topic is the focus of discussion, to serve as a re source for other students when that topic is the focus of a written assignment, and to write a final paper on the topic.


One of the best parts of the program


for me was, for once, it allowed me to be one of the "normal" kids, instead of the "brainiac" nerd. I cherish that gift.


– George A., Alumnus

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