GFES: Advanced Academics Newsletter - ENGLISH






Level IV Referral Information


Thank you to everyone who attended our Level IV information meeting on Tuesday evening. In case you missed it, a county video reviewing the same information can be found on our GFES Schoology site.


**As a reminder, the Level IV referral deadline for students in Grades 2-5 is Wednesday, December 15, 2021.**


No referrals will be accepted after the deadline. We ask that parents/guardians complete the AAP Level IV Referral Form as well as the Parent/Guardian Questionnaire which can both be accessed using the link below, or by searching “AAP Forms” on the website.


News from our Level IV Classrooms


5th Grade: Level IV Classroom:

Students have been engaged in a wide range of fun and challenging activities across reading, writing, math and science. As a culminating activity for our creative writing unit, students created Dodecahedron Summary Cubes to compare the classic Cinderella story to a Fractured Fairy Tale version. Students explored a variety of both traditional and fractured fairy tales to inspire them.This project enabled students to combine their writing and artistic talents to create wonderful masterpieces.

Students created amazing book projects for Literature Circles. At the completion of their novels students had the opportunity to select a project of their choice to showcase their book. These projects included Body Summaries, MindMaps, and Scrapbooks to name a few. Students were encouraged to use their imagination and creativity to bring these books to life and they did!

We enjoyed reading The Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe as our Socratic Seminar last week. Students tackled this poetic masterpiece with deep questioning which got to the crux of the story. They enjoyed dissecting this text and investigating the meaning and symbolism while utilizing an AAP strategy called, C.S.I. (Color, Symbol & Image) in which students selected the best color, symbol and image to represent this text.


In math students utilized Frayer Models to capture their thinking around math vocabulary. This graphic organizer helped students to think outside of the box and create both examples and non-examples of exponents. Students worked collaboratively to come with their definitions and characteristics of this important mathematical concept.


Our oceans science unit has inspired students to figure out ways they can become stewards of our planet and protect our oceans from plastic pollution. To encourage their passion for our blue planet students in Mrs. McLarty’s class engaged in a Trash Bash to help clean-up the school campus!


4th Grade Level IV Classroom

The first quarter focus for the 4th grade Level IV Classroom was the concept of change and systems. This year’s curriculum focus is a two hour Interdisciplinary Workshop of language arts, VA Studies, and science; and Advanced Math. In Math, the students have been using the Mentoring Mathematical Minds (M3) Factors, Multiples, and Leftovers unit to begin their study of multiplication and division.


Students in Mrs. Kendrick’s classroom started the year with a PBL, with the driving question “How can we, as a new class, change the classroom community so that everyone feels included, affirmed, and safe so we can all learn together? As the class culminating project, the students decided to create a book outlining classroom procedures. The book was titled “A Guidebook to Success in Room 313.” Their next PBL was the culminating project for the study of the Native Peoples of Virginia. The driving question was “How can you, as a museum curator, create a virtual exhibit that shows how Native Peoples used the 5 regions of what is now Virginia to live and thrive in the past, and how they are living and thriving today?” Each student presented a virtual museum to show how the Native Peoples lived in the past and how they are living and thriving today.



In addition, the students began their study of grammar with a look at some Latin stems. Using Michael Clay Thompson’s Grammar Town, Mrs. Kendrick’s 4th graders are learning to recognize and use the 8 parts of speech. The students are very excited that book clubs have begun! These student-led book clubs promote inquiry thinking and allow the students to openly discuss the texts. Stay tuned for more on their book clubs!


3rd grade Level IV Classroom

The first quarter focus for the 3rd grade Level IV Classroom was the concept of change. This year’s curriculum focus is a two hour Interdisciplinary Workshop of language arts, social studies, and science; and Advanced Math. The 3rd graders, in Mrs. Gundlach’s class, have been learning about the parts of speech through activities in Michael Clay Thompson’s Grammar Island. Using a selection of stories, the students learned to apply the concept of change by identifying the following change generalizations in each story:

  1. Change is everywhere.
  2. Change can be positive or negative.
  3. Change is linked to time.
  4. Change may be perceived as orderly or random.
  5. Change may happen naturally or be caused by people.


As they begin the 2nd quarter, the 3rd graders will begin their first PBL focused on their study of world geography. Stay tuned to read about the culminating projects for this PBL “A Narrative Adventure-A Trip All Over the World”.



Other AAP Happenings at GFES


First Grade Math


Students in first grade are engaging in an M2 Geometry unit called Exploring Shape Games: Geometry with Imi and Zani. M2 units are designed for advanced learners, but are accessible to ALL learners, as teachers work to meet students where they are. Throughout the unit, students help out two characters named Imi and Zani, all while learning how to classify shapes by their attributes (sides, angles, and vertices). Students will play games, sort and group shapes, and learn vocabulary, all in an engaging way.



1st and 2nd Grade Young Scholars


We are excited to begin our weekly Young Scholars groups in 1st and 2nd grade! Throughout the year, Young Scholars will be working on activities to sharpen their critical and creative thinking skills.


This week in 2nd grade, students read a book called Take Away the A. They were then challenged to turn one word into a new word by removing a letter, and drawing a picture to go along with it. For example, CROWN becomes CROW by removing the letter N.Students might then draw a crow wearing a crown.


This week in 1st grade, we read a book called The Beautiful Oops. In this book, every mistake is turned into a new masterpiece! The students were then challenged to use the Critical and Creative Thinking skill Visualization. They looked at a squiggle (Our version of an “oops” mistake), and visualized it as something else by adding on to the squiggle to create a new picture. Next week students will work to add details and refine their designs. We’re looking forward to a great year of learning with our 1st and 2nd grade Young Scholars!


We look forward to sharing more great news with you next month!

Your Advanced Academic Resource Teachers,

Mrs. Edwards, Mrs. Rothman, and Ms. Ulsh