The Governor's Program for Gifted Children

GPGC 2024 | JUNE 9 – JULY 20

GPGC Blog


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.



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.

 




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