Up-to-Date with GATE
Mrs. Jennifer Detmar: email@example.com
Twitter: @detmargate (experimenting with this )
Mon-Wed: Green Valley 440-885-2431
Thurs-Fri: Thoreau Park 440-885-2351
The first week of March is the GATE
Invention Convention. We have
principals, district administrators, and one
parent (who is an engineer…yay!) visiting
the GATE room to serve as judges. The
students will be evaluated based on their
ability to communicate their thinking and
creative process, including how their
invention ideas are different from what is
already on the market. As part of the
invention/innovation process, the students
are learning a real-world business strategy
called SCAMPER. Each letter stands for
a way to change an existing idea or
product into something new and
From the evaluation rubric completed by these judges, students will be selected
to develop their idea further, create a prototype or model, and prepare to present their
invention for the Regional Competition in May, at Strongsville High School. We wish
them luck, and hope to bring home some savings bonds or scholarships!
Every year, Google publishes a variety of “Doodles” to celebrate special
observances and holidays on its main page. How many of you join me in that little bit
of joy and discovery when you open the Google page to find an interesting graphic
about a famous person’s birthday or anniversary? I guess it’s one of my guilty
pleasures to click on it and see where it takes me!
Excerpt from site: Doodle 4 Google is an annual program that invites K-12
students in the United States to use their artistic talents to think big and
redesign our homepage logo for millions to see. This year, they ask students to
exercise their creative imaginations around the theme, “My Best Day Ever…” One
talented student artist will see their artwork appear on the Google homepage, receive a
$30,000 college scholarship, and a $50,000 technology grant for their school along
with some other cool prizes!
We began the creative process at GATE… I hope that many of you will enter by
mailing or uploading your child’s creative Doodle and completing the online entry form
that includes a very short explanation of how the Doodle connects with the theme. If
you get to go to New York as a finalist…may I come too???? You can find details
about how to enter at http://www.google.com/doodle4google/entry.html
The research phase of the project has completed. The students are working on
their final product for this portion of the overall theme… What makes a hero? For the
research activity, the students are creating a product with:
Timeline of birth, death (or current location), 5 accomplishments, and 5 other
important events in the person’s life
Examples of how that person demonstrates these heroic characteristics: Courage,
Skills, Sacrifice, Destiny, and Resilience
A personal profile of family and other interesting facts
After this is completed, they will do an oral presentation for the class so that we can
analyze common themes among the “heroes”. We will extend this thinking into
literature by analyzing superheroes, including creating a superhero version of the
researched person. We will be writing a short comic for the superhero, and also
exploring heroes in our own lives and community.
Hands-on Problem Solving
Each of the GATE centers is working on spatial reasoning and hands-on problem
solving strategies in different ways. They will switch activities for the fourth quarter so
that both groups will be able to explore each type of thinking. These activities provide
a neat and interesting way to encourage perseverance in problem solving and revising
their thinking when necessary:
Geoboards: These logic puzzles require the students to transform/adapt an existing
shape into a new one that fits specific criteria. The second level requires deep
knowledge of perimeter and area for success. The puzzles progress from easier to
Mystical Mirrors: These puzzles extend the students’ understanding and application
of lines of symmetry. Given an original shape, the students have to evaluate ten
new pictures and classify them as “possible” or “impossible” to create with a mirror.
Close observation of details is an essential skill in many real-world applications.
Both grade levels are moving into our algebra unit for the year. We began by
solving scenarios that require them to identify, extend, and explain repeating and
growing patterns. We will be exploring how to develop functions (A.K.A. What’s My
Rule) based on the patterns to solve more complex problems. For example, if you
wrote your first name 100 times, what would the 183rd letter be… without actually
writing it out? We will extend learning by introducing the use of variables in a function
to create a rule that can be used in multiple scenarios. The learning target is not to
learn how to solve algebra problems through a series of steps, but to understand how
patterns are an integral part of math in the real-world. By finding and understanding
them, problem solving takes place. I don’t expect mastery of functions with variables+,
but it is always very interesting to see which students are naturally pattern-seekers and
which students need to cultivate this skill further.
Language Arts Block
Along with the hero project, students are continuing to build their analytical
thinking about relationships through analogies. We are moving beyond finding and
extending these relationships by exploring how analogies are used in reading and
writing to draw similarities and mental pictures of characters or objects in the text.
I hope to move on soon to challenges that break words into Latin prefixes and
root words. By understanding the deeper meanings of these components, and
developing the ability to manipulate them into new words, students gain tools for
deciphering unfamiliar words in challenging texts.
We continue occasional journal-writing opportunities to allow students to make
personal and emotional connections with questions and topics used in class. Recently,
we read the poem “Hector the Collector” by Shel Silverstein. The discussion took us
down the paths of point of view, recycling and repurposing, SCAMPER, and the value
that people place on objects. My goal is to increase our exploration of poetry for the
remainder of the year.
Home Support/ Family Activities
Design snowflakes and explore the properties of symmetry with this online tool –
I suggest using flashcards and online games to increase speed and fluency with
multiplication and division for all GATE students. Based on my observations of how
students are able to multiply and divide… most of the GATE students NEED to
become more fluent in the basic facts, up to 12’s.
Fourth grade students especially: They also need to practice the relationship of
division and multiplication to do mental division with remainders (up to 100 as the
Submit a Doodle 4 Google entry for each school-aged child in your family!
Play the daily Set solitaire puzzle at http://www.setgame.com
Food for Thought
Visit http://www.sengifted.org/, the website for SENG, Supporting the Emotional Needs
of the Gifted. They have a newsletter, access to articles and parent resources.
I found a very thought-provoking article in January’s newsletter, and I wanted to share
it because it hit home when thinking about my own bright, energetic and challenging
Citation First published in SENGVine, January 2013
A Parent’s New Year’s Resolution: I will love the child I have, not the one I want
By Lori Comallie-Caplan and Marc A. Caplan, PhD
Matt, our 27-year-old son, came home for the holidays. What a wonderful time we had. He is
intelligent, creative, generous, kind, and very, very funny. We are so blessed by this wonderful
relationship. I do remember a time when I didn’t appreciate these qualities. I wanted more. You see, I
was a straight “A,” perfectionist student who loved everything about school. I wanted this same path
for my son. I dreamed of him being a straight “A” student who was on the honor roll, received
scholarships, went to the best school, etc., etc., etc. It was apparent in elementary school that the
“school thing” was not his thing. He lived to be on the stage, to make people laugh, to create works of
art, and he excelled at it. Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration) writes: “Love is made
up of three unconditional properties in equal measure: 1. Acceptance, 2. Understanding, and 3.
Appreciation. Remove any one of the three and the triangle falls apart.” The triangle represents the
foundation of the relationship. I wasn’t doing a very good job of loving my son unconditionally. Our
triangle had fallen apart.
My husband frequently counsels on parent/child relationships. He has interesting insights on this
“I would imagine when each of us thinks about our partner, the person with whom we have decided to
share our life with, what frequently comes to mind is a sense of togetherness. That is, a sense of
being part of a couple. But, the equation remains out of balance if each member of the couple does
not feel a sense of autonomy. This dualistic component of a relationship cannot exist unless each
partner accepts the other for who he or she is. Acceptance becomes the food that feeds togetherness
(the feeling of safety and security with the other) and feeds autonomy (the freedom to be who I am).
Togetherness and autonomy form the foundation of trust.
Acceptance of our children for who they are, not for who we want them to be, is just as important a
factor in our relationship with them as it is in our adult relationships. Acceptance cements the bond
we have with our children (togetherness) while acceptance also supports their growing autonomy. A
child feels secure experiencing a parent accepting them regardless of who they are.”
It is the right of the child to choose his or her own path. “Be involved in your children’s lives, but keep
your own desires separate from those of your children. Allow your children to live their lives, and you
live yours. Understand the importance of your relationship with your child, cherish and nurture it.
Know that even though your efforts may not seem as though they are resulting in the changes you
want, they are nevertheless important. Think of your parenting behaviors as a deposit in a bank.
Every time you put a little more in, the total grows. Sometimes your investments grow rapidly; other
times they grow slowly. But after a few years, there is generally a substantial amount that will be a
legacy to your children that will make you feel pleased, satisfied and fulfilled.” (Webb, Gore, Amend,
& DeVries, A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children, 2007, p. 248-249).
It may have taken me awhile, but I let go of the child I wanted, and loved, accepted and appreciated
the child I had. In the end, my son followed his own path, and we were able to enjoy the journey with
him. He is now a Financial Aid Officer with the Los Angeles Film School (three promotions in three
years) and enrolled at Full Sail University, where he is earning his degree in Digital Cinematography.
But most importantly, not only has he brought us great joy, his kind, generous, enthusiastic spirit has
richly blessed all he has come into contact with through the years.