The Governor's Program for Gifted Children

GPGC 2022 | JUNE 5 – JULY 23

GPGC Blog

Weekly Reports – 2022 Week Two – 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 have already progressed to the second level in both VOCAL EXERCISES and EAR TRAINING. They are taking rhythmic dictation using rhythms divided down to the 16th note and have started using simple syncopation. With their performance music, they are able to sing through 7 of their pieces and can sing 4 of those with accompaniment. The students are working on learning parts for another 4 songs and have received the remainder of their music. We also discussed the significance of our Traditional Songs: STOPPING BY WOODS and IMPOSSIBLE DREAM. Next week, we will continue to advance our MUSIC LITERACY and begin discussing AMUSIC APPRECIATION and HOW OUR BRAINS PROCESS MUSIC. We will also continue to work on our PERFORMANCE MUSIC.

If you would like to hear the music we are learning, links are posted on our GPGC CHOIR BLOG at :https://gpgcsings.blogspot.com/

Critical Thinking (Robert and Jessica Markstrom, Instructors)

This week was puzzle week in Critical Thinking. The students were challenged with various puzzle activities. One activity had each team putting together as much of 1,000 piece puzzle that they could during the period. We had the students complete 11 logic puzzles of varying difficulty. Another activity had a packet of puzzles that included brain teasers, geometric puzzles, sudoku puzzles of varying difficulty, and mazes. The students engaged with various 3D puzzles in a timed environment. We allowed the students to play with the 3D puzzles in an untimed environment on the last day.

Dorm Life:

This week students visited the local McNeese Radio Station, KBYS. They got a tour, and several got to speak on air during a live radio show! On top of that students who were interested also gave their election speeches for positions in the GPGC Government. Elections were held Friday afternoon, which was our kickoff to a fun-filled weekend.

Friday the students either competed in the weekly soccer match or competed in a round of Werewolf, a team building, interactive card game. For Movie Night this week, we watched Matilda. Saturday morning the kids made friendship bracelets after breakfast. In the afternoon the students watched a video about the history of Juneteenth and why it is relevant today. Then everyone went to the Juneteenth Freedom Festival at the park where they got to hear local musicians and poets, see local artists selling their work, and enjoy some snoballs which were very appreciated in this June heat. After the kids cooled down, we had our second Dance of the summer in the dorm lobby. Sunday included a Shrek movie marathon and Brain Games competition in the morning. After Lunch the kids spent time at the mall or the quad, and then we tie-dyed t-shirts. Dinner was followed by another Ice Cream Sundae Sunday to reward another successful week. This weekend we got meals from Mama Reta’s and Leonard’s; both are local and Black-owned restaurants.


Weekly Reports – 2022 Week Two – 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 continued to explore chemistry, using exciting experiments ranging from dissolving magnesium in acid to inflating balloons with dry ice to learn about solution concentration, gas laws, electromagnetic radiation, and the organization of the periodic table! I was very impressed with the students’ commitment to laboratory safety. Their curiosity about the world around them continues to encourage and inspire me!

Freshman Composition (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

Students shared their first finished fiction piece this week and participated in a writing workshop. In the writing workshop, the class was respectful, collaborative, and communicative. I am impressed with their feedback and creativity! In addition to workshop, they have become more comfortable with literary analysis. Overall, this was a great week! I am looking forward to seeing the class grow in their writing as the summer continues.

Freshmen Humanities  (Christine Bertrand, Instructor)

This week we continued learning about communication in society by learning about logical fallacies that often pop up in arguments to distract audiences from the main purpose of a message or to attempt to defend a weak position. If an audience can recognize fallacies, they can better analyze the true purpose behind a speaker’s message. After learning about persuasive techniques last week and logical fallacies this week, students wrote a letter of application for acceptance into a zombie-proof compound during a zombie apocalypse, hoping to convince the staff at the compound of their value to the community and the future of humanity. This week, students will vote based upon the merits of the contents of the letters, which are written anonymously using fake names and identities.

Graduate Classes:

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

For week two, the students chose to focus on gender issues, the details of which appear in the day-by-day breakdown. The week went well.

Monday: I carried over one of the concepts from Freud by explaining one of the most famous psychological assessments—the Rorschach Inkblot Test. That test dates back to the early part of the 1900s, when Hermann Rorschach borrowed Freud’s concept of projection (seeing our own faults in others rather than in ourselves). He constructed blots of ink as ambiguous stimuli and asked psychiatric patients to interpret these images. The test became very popular and continues in the present, although its validity as a psychiatric diagnostic is questionable.


Tuesday: We began the material on gender with an examination of gender stereotypes and how stereotypes can lead to prejudice and discrimination. We also reviewed the history of gender stereotypes and how those beliefs still echo in our society. Our discussion included both how men and women are subject to stereotyping, as well as prejudice and discrimination based on these stereotypes.


Wednesday: I led them through a review of the “bad old days” when sex discrimination was legal and some of the changes that have occurred as a result of legal changes.


Thursday: We ended the week with an assessment that I intended to test how well they had paid attention and remembered some of the terminology that we discussed.


Our continuation of the topic of gender consisted of a discussion of some of the big changes that have occurred in gender roles and how those changes are well-accepted by some people but not others.


The students asked for next week’s topic to focus on mental disorders, which is always of interest.

Conflict and Diplomacy (Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

This week we discussed three major paradigms of international relations (realism, liberalism, and constructivism). We discussed the rise of weapons of mass destruction and the impact they had on conflict and diplomacy during the Cold War and in a post Cold War environment. Coercive diplomacy, the use of force, and interstate conflict were explained. Students learned about game theory and how it relates to conflict including the Prisoner’s Dilemma, Chicken, and Stag Hunt games. Bargaining theory and a basic theorem for bargaining was introduced.

Readings for the week included: Arms and Influence, Chapter 1, by Thomas Schelling; Night of the Living Wonks by Daniel Drezner in Foreign Policy, June 15, 2010; Leashing the Dogs of War, Chapter 2, International Sources of Interstate and Intrastate Conflict, by Jack Levy, 2007.

Graduate Creative Writing (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

This week was great! Students shared their flash fiction pieces. They were enthusiastic, focused, and collaborative. They effectively communicated their goals for each piece and provided constructive feedback for each other as a class. They are making progress in their writing and I am excited to see them continue to grow as writers.

 




Weekly Reports – 2022 Week One – 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 will be posting the first issue of The Thinker (the student newspaper) as soon as the online version is ready.

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)

We have finished voice testing and are starting to work on our music. We have also worked on a Music Theory review. They are doing extremely well!

P.E. (Ancil Delaney, Instructor)

This week the students played table tennis, tennis wall ball and swam.

Critical Thinking (Robert and Jessica Markstrom, Instructors)

This week the students took a personality test that allowed the instructor to see what types of traits they had (shy, leader, etc.) in order to place them into teams. Games introduced this week included: What Were You Thinking?, Pirateer (a MENSA select game that utilizes vectors), Ticket to Ride, Twixt, Score 4 (a 3D version of Connect 4), Speed Chess, Blokus, and Hippos and Crocodiles.

Dorm Life:

The students got acclimated to dorm life this week! After classes they are able to play ping pong, board games, and card games in the lobby. We discussed the history of the GPGC Government which we will have our first official meeting of on Monday. 

On Friday after class the students got their first weekly allowance (based on their grades in their classes and dorm behavior/cleanliness). That night they enjoyed playing soccer or competing in an Uno Tournament followed by a movie night of The Princess Bride with popcorn, soda, and candy. Saturday we took the kids for a picnic in the park with more soccer and frisbee. In the afternoon they got to go to the comic book store and Albertson’s to stock up on snacks for their rooms. Dinner that night was spaghetti and meatballs. After dinner everyone had lots of fun at our first GPGC Dance of the summer. Sunday started with donuts and a viewing of recent GPGC musicals from previous years. The kids also had arts and crafts time to make father’s day cards for next weekend. In the afternoon we took the students swimming and had Mario Kart game time. After having Cane’s for dinner the students attended the Calcasieu British Brass Band performing on campus and were treated to ice cream afterwards.


Weekly Reports – 2022 Week One – 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 will be posting the first issue of The Thinker (the student newspaper) as soon as the online version is ready.

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)

We had an excellent first week in science. The students were each assigned a plant for the summer, and they were asked to choose any ONE aspect of its care to change — we’ll compare each plant’s growth to a control plant over the course of the summer. The kids got pretty creative, from watering their plants with Gatorade instead of water to depriving their plant of light. In class this week, we carried out experiments to explore important topics in chemistry such as density, precision versus accuracy, and acid-base reactions. We are emphasizing laboratory safety, scientific note taking, and above all, excitement and curiosity about the world around us!

Freshman Composition (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

During the first week of class, students were exposed to major literary genres. They discussed and analyzed works of short fiction and wrote stories of their own. Students are becoming more comfortable with their own writing and the class atmosphere is encouraging and community-focused. Students have been excited to share their work aloud with the class and their feedback has been constructive and thoughtful. Overall, this was a wonderful first week of class! I am impressed by the students’ creative ideas, writing capabilities, and critical thinking skills!

Freshmen Humanities  (Christine Bertrand, Instructor)

We all differ in our beliefs and values, holding a wide diversity of opinions on everything from politics to popsicles. While these differences could and should present opportunities for fascinating, engaging civil discourse, a quick peek at Facebook proves that instead of celebrating and embracing others’ views and taking the time to find commonalities, many of us instead attack and disparage one another. It should be clear to anyone living in our society today that humanity as a whole needs better communication skills.

Considering the need for better communication skills overall and as a foundation for continued discussion, this week the Humanities I class has focused on the art of discussion and persuasion, identifying various means of conveying one’s message. We’ve considered various categories of thought and evidence, including illogical, emotional reasoning, scientific reasoning based on empirical proof, and philosophical reasoning based on subjective but logical assumptions. We then explored the three primary categories of rhetorical appeals used in persuasion (logos, pathos, ethos) to equip students to recognize them in texts or media and to use them for developing their own arguments.

Graduate Classes:

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

Psychology includes a wide range of topic, which even a full college semester cannot cover adequately. No chance to do so during the 6-week GPGC session. Therefore, I chose to ask students what they were most interested in so that we could cover information about their interests.
I began by showing them a 40-item True/False quiz that includes some of the “myths” of psychology—things that are “common knowledge” yet incorrect. As expected, the students did poorly (but I did not score the activity or count it for a grade). The activity worked to prompt a discussion that covered many topics in psychology.


I asked students to write down topics that were covered in the quiz or that they had heard about and wanted to know more. This list forms the basis for the class this summer.

Conflict and Diplomacy (Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

Students watched the movie Dr. Strangelove. It provides an understanding of the Cold War international system and brinksmanship. The class engaged in a discussion regarding the Russian invasion of South Ossetia and Abkhazian regions of Georgia in 2008, the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014, and the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The students started the state development project on Friday. Each student will run their own country and engage in international relations with the other countries in the fictitious international system.

Graduate Creative Writing (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

During the first week of class, students were introduced to creative writing! We discussed genre, craft, and literary elements of fiction. Students were introduced to flash fiction this week. They read, analyzed, and discussed three pieces of flash fiction in class, as well as an article relating to craft. In addition to literary analysis, students participated in daily writing activities. Overall, this was a great first week of class! Due to the small size of the class, every student was able to share their work aloud and receive constructive feedback from each other! The work each student produced this week was creative and included strong sensory details and imagery. Each student has their own style of writing rooted in tone and interest! I am proud of their participation this week and very excited to read more of their work as their writing progresses in my class!


Weekly Reports – Grad Classes, Final Weeks

Conflict and Diplomacy (Ms. Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

We continued an exploration of the causes of civil conflict by reinforcing economic sources, evaluating group and individual reasons, and addressed how the flow of weapons can also create instability. We watched “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” for the rest of the short week. This movie provides a biting evaluation of the Cold War and brinkmanship with nuclear weapons. While dated, the issue of accidental war in an age of nuclear weapons coincided with topics we discussed earlier in the summer.

 

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

During week 4, we began topics related to social psychology. Students had chosen topics upon which they were to prepare information to share with the class. We also saw Crash Course videos on social psychology topics. Students had papers due on Thursday.

Our final week consisted of discussions and evaluations of several of the most controversial studies in psychology, including Milgram’s study on obedience and Zimbardo’s prison study, which was conducted at Stanford University. These studies raised ethical questions due to the disturbing results. In addition, we will have an exam on Thursday, which will have a similar format to the exams we have had throughout the session, plus some written questions that will require evaluation of topics in social psychology.


Weekly Reports – Afternoon Classes, Final Weeks

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 (Colette Tanner, Instructor)

The students are working very hard on preparing their music for the end of the summer concert. Students have also been taking rhythmic and melodic dictation. All of their repertoire is listed on our GPGC CHOIR BLOG with listening links. We have discussed our END OF THE SUMMER BRIDGE PROJECT that is due next Wednesday. We have also discussed dress for the end of the year concert. The students seem excited about their songs and I greatly enjoy working with them.

 

Computer Tech (Barry Humphus, Instructor)

Students were introduced to the Arduino platform and Integrated Developer Environment and constructed their first of several electronic circuits.

 

Critical Thinking (Ms. Jessica Markstrom, Instructor) 

This week students participated in a quiz bowl. Questions come from a high school Quiz Bowl tournament. We also played games. Games included Blokus, Chess, Hippos and Crocs, Lords of Waterdeep, Score Four, Set, Stratego, Tsuro, and Twixt.


Weekly Reports – Sciences, Final Weeks

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:

 

Senior Science (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

Week 4 was briefer than anticipated due to hurricane Barry; we missed Friday’s class. When students left for 4th of July, none of the students conducting science projects had collected data. This situation prompted me to impress upon these students how little time they had left to complete their projects. They got to work, and all students began (and two completed) their data collection this week. Data collection for the class study was complete before the holiday.

This week is the one during which we prepare for presentation of projects on Friday. Ideally, all students would be finished collecting data and would have a good rough draft of their final paper. However, some students working on their own projects had not completed data collection, which created a time problem. I drilled students doing science studies repeatedly to help them become very clear about the design of their study and what their variables are. We also discussed their hypotheses and how analyzing their data would allow them to confirm or fail to confirm those hypotheses. Students worked on creating a PowerPoint for their presentations and a final paper. I went to study hall on Wednesday evening to provide assistance to students working on science, both individual projects and the group working on presenting the class study. All students had a completed PowerPoint and were able to present their studies on Friday. Three of four students who chose science projects had not submitted a satisfactory paper so must spend Week 7 on this task if they are to graduate.

 

 


Weekly Reports – Composition, Final Weeks

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 (Mrs. Cecile Tate, Instructor)

Composition I continued working on adding concrete details and commentary to their literary response using one of the short stories they read in class. The plan was for the students to write  a topic sentence then structure the paragraph using one concrete detail from the story and two sentences explaining the concrete detail. This pattern was repeated and the paragraph ended with a concluding sentence. I wanted the students to be aware that literary responses are more meaningful if they have structure.

Senior Composition and Grad Composition (Ms. Sarah Harshbarger, Instructor)

With the seniors, we discussed poems from various periods of American literature. We talked about narrative poetry and lyric poetry and what differentiates each from flash fiction. The students began brainstorming for their poems to turn in on 7/3.

The Grads discussed poems from different periods of American literature and how each period influenced the poetry that came after it. We discussed different kinds of poetic technique and how to make writing choices based on the subject matter and tone of the poem. The students began brainstorming for their poems which are due on 7/3.

 


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