The Governor's Program for Gifted Children

GPGC 2024 | JUNE 9 – JULY 20

GPGC Blog

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.

 


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.



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