The Governor's Program for Gifted Children

GPGC 2022 | JUNE 5 – JULY 23

GPGC Blog

Weekly Reports – Humanities, Week Six

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)

For this week, we spent a great deal of time discussing some of Aristotle’s theories, such as the Theory of Potentiality and his concept of the Unmoved Mover. The class decided that Aristotle would have loved modern science and especially quantum physics. We also had fun when we discussed Aristotle’s ideas of Syllogism; the idea that if A=B and B=C, then A=C. The students had a lot of fun coming up with their own ‘truths’ through the use of syllogism.

For the second half of the week, we had fun with talking about the birth of the Roman republic. This is when I wish the class could be 14 weeks long! They adored talking about the Romans. Sadly though, we could only go as far as the Triumvirate before the week was finished. All in all, the kids were highly enthusiastic about history and social studies in general which makes it a blast to teach!

 

 

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

We finished discussions on the 14th Amendment and discrimination. We began evaluating voting rights. Students learned that voting rights primarily come from amendments to the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. We examined the 15th, 17th, 19th, 24th, and 26th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. We also discussed issues like voter ID laws and the circumstances surrounding and effects of the Bush v. Gore decision.

This week we discussed the 14th Amendment “equal protection” clause and its application to voting rights. Discussions focused on the 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th amendments to the U.S. Constitution; the Voting Rights Act; gerrymandering, and state voting laws. The students took a 1963 Louisiana voting literacy test to see if they would have been able to vote prior to the Voting Rights Act. We dissected the current session rulings in Abbott v. Perez, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, and Gill v. Whitford. We closed out the week watching “Good Night, and Good Luck,” which centers on Edward R. Murrow’s responses to McCarthyism and the importance of an independent press. Cases examined: Shelby County v. Holder, Citizens United v. F.E.C., Crawford v. Marion County, McCutcheon v. F.E.C., Reynolds v. Sims, Miller v. Johnson, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, Gill v. Whitford, and Abbott v. Perez.


Weekly Reports – Afternoon Classes, Week Four

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)

The choir is continuing to learn their concert literature. Parts are known on almost all of the songs and we are beginning to shape the songs musically. We are now taking rhythmic dictation and adding in pitches with syllables. Soon, we will begin taking both rhythmic and melodic dictation on the staff. Students should have completed their MUSIC THEORY & APPRECIATION review by Friday. Their final projects are due on July 13. For these projects, the students are choosing a piece from our concert literature, researching the composer/time period and presenting the song, composer or time period in a creative way.

 

Computer Tech (Barry Humphus, Instructor)

Students started the week by building their first Arduino program. They followed by constructing a simple circuit and used that to program the circuit. The followon was to increase the complexity of the circuit with additional programming.

 

Debate (Ms. Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

This week we finished discussions of off-case policy positions. The students learned how to structure value debates and fact debates. We discussed the requirements of each speech in a debate. Students began debating on Thursday and will continue to debate each other for the remainder of the class.

 

Critical Thinking (Mr. Robert Markstrom, Instructor)

This week was Lego week in Critical Thinking. The first 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 second activity was a relay race that required students to solve problems utilizing communication. Two legs of the race involved one student being blindfolded and required the other student to communicate (one leg verbally and the other Leg non-verbally) how to build the structure. The third activity tested the students’ ability to build sound structures. Each team built a bridge. The bridge had to meet width and height requirements. Up to three, two and a half pound weights were used to test the structure. The last 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 Friday students played games.

 

 


Weekly Reports – Composition, Week Four

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)

Students read about the trial, and death of Socrates from the biography by Cora Mason. They then wrote a short opinion about Socrates’ verdict. On Tuesday the class read Aristotle’s description of friendship. They applied the descriptions to one of their friends in a short essay. Next they read “The Cask of Amontillado” and began analyzing the story using the elements of drama and the parts of a short story. On Thursday the students filled in a short guided writing planner and developed an original short story.

 

Sophomore Composition (Ms. Stacey Simien, Instructor)

This week’s focus was Poetry. Each day we concentrated on learning about a different type of poem. Monday-Blackout Poetry, Tuesday-Ode, Wednesday, Ekphrastic, Thursday-Sonnet, Friday-Freevers. Several students really shined this week as poetry was their niche.

 


Weekly Reports – Science, Week Four

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 tried to create Rube Goldberg contraptions. The game Mouse Trap was our example. Students had to use all Six Simple Machines. They first drew/ made a blueprint of what they wanted to create. Then, given a specific set of materials, they tried to actually build that creation. Each one had a specific final outcome. Like Mouse Trap, the goal was to catch a mouse or whatever idea they attempt.

 

Senior Science (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

The students doing the class study spent Monday through Friday in the rat lab collecting data. By this time, those students have become comfortable with the procedure and handling the rats. By Friday, we had completed the students’ participation with the data collection. I met with students conducting science projects in the dorm on Sunday to help them clarify their designs, understand their variables, develop their materials, and prepare to collect data. Some students were clearer than others on what they needed to do to move forward with their studies, but it was important for all students to begin collecting data this week. For each of the other days, I met with those students to help them produce a finished set of materials and a script to use in interacting with participants. Supervised their work and helped them get copies of the materials they needed to conduct their studies.

 

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

We considered topics related to therapies for mental illness, taking a historical view. We had already covered Freud’s psychoanalytic approach, which is a talk-based therapy. This week’s topics focused on biologically based interventions, including lobotomies, electroconvulsive therapy, and drugs used to treat schizophrenia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorders.


Weekly Reports – Humanities, Week Four

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 spoke about the life of Socrates and his school of thought concerning Truth. After going over his trial and death, they made the connection between Socrates to other historical figures who’ve been killed for passive beliefs in teaching. They brought up Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and even Jesus to name a few. I had the students act out the allegory of the cave. I had students face the wall with their backs to the door. I then placed the overhead projector behind them to mimicking the fire casting shadows and I opened the door for more lighting which mimicked the outside world. I think they really enjoyed when one of the captives left the cave to discover Truth outside. For when he returned, according to Plato, and tried revealing Truth to the others, he’d be killed. They really enjoyed the play acting and no students (or teachers) were harmed in the making of the cave. At the end of the week, we continued with Plato’s concepts of Utopia and what Utopia actually means. The students brought up ideas such as socialism, capitalism, and communism. Again I let them debate with on the idea of the Philosopher-King and the caste system.

 

 

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

This week we covered the 14th Amendment “due process” clause and “equal protection” clause. Students learned about substantive due process and the rights formed from interpretations of the “due process” clause (privacy; procreation; marriage; private, consensual adult sexual relationships; and abortion). We also began an evaluation of civil rights with a focus on discrimination and the “equal protection clause.” Additionally, students watched documentaries on religious freedom and school integration. Documentaries watched this week included: “First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Liberty” by PBS and “Frontline – Separate and Unequal” by PBS. Cases discussed this week included: Griswold v. Connecticut, Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Skinner v. Oklahoma, Loving v. Virginia, Lawrence v. Texas, Dred Scott v. Sanford, Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education (I and II), Grutter v. Bolinger, Fisher v. Texas (I and II), etc.


Weekly Reports – Afternoon Classes, Week Three

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)

The students are continuing to learn their concert repertoire. If you would like to see the music they are learning, click on www.gpgcsings.blogspot.com . All possible concert repertoire is listed there with listening links. The students are also working on their MUSIC THEORY and APPRECIATION packets. At the end of this packet is a creative project due at the end of the summer. We have also been taking rhythmic dictations and will begin adding syllables to those rhythms this week.

 

Computer Tech (Barry Humphus, Instructor)

Students to continue to explore 3D printing, finding new (and sometimes impossible) items to print. We have had some failed prints and that is good as they learn what works and does not.

 

Debate (Ms. Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

The students needed more time with topicality this week. We spent most of the week working on topicality position exercises. On Thursday and Friday we the students learned about and began to prepare disadvantage positions.

 

Critical Thinking (Mr. Robert Markstrom, Instructor)

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 survival and military experts. Additionally, the students had to work to either escape or live on an island after they had been shipwrecked. The last survivor related activity paid homage to the television show “Survivor” as students engaged in an auction. On Friday students were able to play games offered by the instructor.

 

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

This week the students continued to work on their assigned female Brigadoon characters. They were also broken up into 3 groups and assigned the remainder of the Brigadoon cast for costuming, along with the men to work on together. All students now have individual and group assignments to work on. Their individual sewing kits also arrived Tuesday and they were all super excited to receive those. Almost everyone is now a master at using the seam ripper and removing “ugly things” from old costumes and they have each successfully patched up rips, holes and hem issues so next week we can begin adding the decorative elements (which they have all been waiting for.) Students learned how to make and sew fabric rosettes that we will be attaching to sashes and across dresses. The groups also finished measuring and charting the remainder of the actors along with beginning research online for their additional assignments (bagpipers, sword dancers, wedding guests etc.) and display board content. I was again very impressed by the journals turned in this week.

 

Drama (Ms. Jessa Lormand, Instructor)

This week we began scene transitions and choreography, which is abundant in this production. We went over the set design and sketches for each scene and transition into the next. Collectively, the group made decisions on other aspects of staging and design. Some of the cast were able to try on costume pieces this week and began watching some of the movie “Never Been Kissed” as it is referenced and used in the play itself. We worked through all family kitchen scenes along with Tammy/Parent scenes in detail, assigned and read through/worked all the voice over parts to prepare for recording them next week. All students are focused and working on something at all times. When not actively on stage working or acting, they are running lines, designing for the show or creating art for the lobby display. I can not express what a joy this group is. Every single child in this production puts in 100% daily. Their energy and passion is infectious.

 


Weekly Reports – Composition, Week Three

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)

On Monday of week three, the composition classes read story beginnings and practiced writing an original descriptive beginning, The next day they read “The Lady or the Tiger” and wrote their own endings. On Wednesday they volunteered to share their endings with the class, then they wrote apostrophe poems to subjects of their choice. We found a few examples of apostrophes and they were interested in the form. Thursday was another day of poetry writing. This time the students had to try to create poem using a list of words given to them. They seemed to enjoy trying to make sense out of nonsense. They also tried creating a snapshot of a friend just using words. Friday was freshman fun day.

 

Sophomore Composition (Ms. Stacey Simien, Instructor)

This week was all about rhetoric. We explored rhetorical devices with a fun Quizziz on iPads and through songs. We then reviewed the rhetorical appeals in advertisements. This week’s writing was an argumentative essay due on Friday.

 

Senior Composition (Brett Hanley, Instructor)

In Composition III, we discussed how to model plot in fiction, completed a critical analysis of a short story, completed a 100-word story, and read fiction by Amelia Gray, George Saunders, Lydia Davis, ZZ Packer, and Michael Cunningham.

 

Grad English (Brett Hanley, Instructor)

In English 002, we discussed key elements of flash fiction and plot, completed in-class creative and academic writing assignments, and read stories by Lorrie Moore, ZZ Packer, and Michael Cunningham.


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.

 


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