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            SAGE (Students Advancement through Gifted Education)

            Mrs. Carmen Giurgiu

             Room 312

             (623)445-7448

                              E-mail: Carmen.giurgiu@dvusd.org

                           Website: https://www.dvusd.org//Domain/2156

     

     

    Welcome to the Gavilan Peak SAGE Program.

    Gavilan Peak is a gifted friendly campus! We have one of the highest numbers of identified gifted students in the district. We cater to students not only with SAGE, but through mastery learning, Thinking Maps, Depth of Knowledge Activities, JGB (Junior Great Books), PBL, EQ, sports, fine arts, and world languages (Mandarin Chinese).

    SAGE students enjoy a rich curriculum, showcasing their skills in a SAGE talent show, STEM and Problem Based Learning activities, Growth Mindset and EQ discussions, and leadership seminars provided by guest speakers.

    Typically, young gifted students come to us with a great deal of knowledge, yet they enter our classrooms with a variety of intellectual and emotional needs, strengths, weaknesses and learning styles. They are hungry to make sense of the world around them and desire to exercise and expand their minds intellectually and creatively. I believe that when gifted students feel recognized and accepted their motivation to achieve increases and they become more likely to seek challenging learning opportunities.

    I plan to encourage and foster my students’ unique talents, to provide them with opportunities to experience intellectual challenge, leadership and a sense of accomplishment as well as delight in learning. By incorporating my knowledge and resources of gifted strategies like : curriculum compacting and acceleration ,problem based learning, planning lessons that provide rigor and relevance to the students’ real life experiences, opportunities for project based learning that incorporate personal interest and novelty enabling them to produce original and creative work, I hope to encourage them to :

    *discover new possibilities for themselves
    *experience delight in fresh challenges and the excitement of learning
    *think of school as an exhilarating adventure of intellectual and aesthetic discovery
    *thrive in a setting created to foster their individual needs
    *lead themselves and others
    *play an active role as community helpers and leaders
    *take pride in their academic progress
    *set individual goals and strive to meet them
    *use technology as a productivity tool (AZ K-12 Standards)

     

    “Challenge “during SAGE classes does not always or only equal acceleration (we are learning things this many grade levels above our own), but it means a more in depth and complex understanding ,as well as an  opportunity to apply ,analyze and synthesize the students’ acquired knowledge. For example in math, exceeding does not  mean solving an algorithm ,or knowing fractions and exponents but a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts, being able to explain mathematical practices and strategies, an ability to collaborate with a group and discuss multiple problem solving strategies ,persevering when a road block comes along as well as leading others to pursue greatness. My goal is to create DISCOURSE in my classroom, to cause the students to think, debate, to respectfully agree to disagree, to see other points of view, to defend their stance on issues and to prove their point or strategy by using research and solid evidence as well as precise, academic vocabulary.

     

    I believe that “Bored” is an overused word in our society. As a teacher I often ask myself “What are my goals?”, “What am I doing to achieve them?”, “Is what I’m doing giving me the expected outcomes and if not what am I doing to change that?”, “Am I doing my best? “or “Can I push myself harder?” Students, please ask yourselves the same questions and reflect from time to time. Taking ownership of your learning experiences, goals, decisions and choices as well as asking for support when needed are life skills that will serve you well in the future.

     

    Classroom Community Building

     

    I believe in building a strong classroom community. I want our classroom to be a safe space academically and socially, a learning community where I guide and provide opportunities to grow and where students feel cared for by me and each other, and a space where they can make mistakes and learn from them, a place to grow and feel like they belong. Part of this the following will take place:

    1. Compliment Project-various students volunteer to sit in the “hot seat” facing away from the board. The class takes turns writing compliment to them.
    2. Dialogue Journals-A dialogue journalis an ongoing written interaction between two people to exchange experiences, ideas, or reflections. It is used most often in education as a means of sustained written interaction between students and teachers at all education levels.
    3. Interest inventory
    4. Learning Style Inventory
    5. Growth Mindset discussions
    6. EQ discussions

     

    Scope and Sequence for Reading Grades 3-6

    The DVUSD SAGE Reading Curriculum meets and exceeds the Arizona State Standards as well as the Common Core Standards. Besides using the JGB Program (Junior Great Books), award winning novel studies, Socratic Seminars, SAGE Reading students use comprehensive language arts materials provided by the College of William & Mary for Gifted Education and participate in research Passion Projects. Literature studies are also designed and implemented, which provide for expectations of increased depth and complexity that commensurate with the academic abilities and potential of gifted and talented students.

    The following will be part of our ELA program:

    Poetry

    Novels

    Socratic Seminars

    Chat stations

    TQE’s-thoughts, questions, epiphanies

    Grammar-sentence diagraming

    Vocabulary

    Quick Writes

    Response to Text

    Current Events-6th grade

    Writing

    Passion Projects

     

    ELA 6th grade will be taught in a 90 minute block by Mrs.Giurgiu

     

    3rd Grade gifted reading students see Mrs. Giurgiu for Enrichment only-novel studies, Socratic seminar Discussions, and social –emotional support for students with high abilities.

    Scope and Sequence for Math: Grades 3-6

     

    SAGE math students move at an accelerated rate, at least one year ahead of the basic curriculum. The sixth grade SAGE math students receive instruction from a highly-qualified middle school Algebra teacher.

    Walk Up To Math –students go to the next grade level math class with a teacher trained on working with gifted students  while the gifted education specialist on campus works closely with the math teacher to ensure that the needs of each student are met and pulls out the students daily for Application Math Projects and Enrichment Math Activities STEM during RTI time .Depending on the school master schedule and numbers of students in each class, math could also be like the reading class-a pull out only SAGE model with the gifted specialist on campus.

     

    The SAGE math curriculum emphasizes problem solving and application of mathematics in real world situations as well as the examination of standard topics in greater depth. Students are expected to read, write, listen, speak and think mathematically with an appropriate degree of precision. They will develop multiple strategies to solve problems, reason, explain their thinking processes as well as defend their solutions by using precise academic vocabulary. This curriculum is intended to develop a greater understanding of mathematical concepts in an interesting way, by integrating technology, math investigations, novelty, student choice and interest, manipulatives and games.

    Common Core Standards will be addressed by implementing Eureka Math Curriculum.

    Math Discourse: a student centered approach to learning-students will set math classroom norms and work in groups to discuss strategies, question each other through open ended questions, agree and disagree, explain their thinking while solving math problem to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts, help each other learn, figure out why they think/solve problems the way they do while the teacher takes the role of a facilitator and guide. Within the SAGE math class students will be met by the teacher at their own level and move through the curriculum at a slower or faster pace according to their individual needs. This will be accomplished by the use of small group instruction.

    We will continue working on problem solving skill by using the ACE strategy (answer, compute, explain), Metacognition, Math Investigations, Math in the Real World (applying mathematics to real world situations), problem of the day (POD) as well as Exemplars.

     

    The Passion Project

    The purpose of The Passion Project is to empower students to connect with their best ideas. It is a quarterly opportunity to synthesize your knowledge about something you’ve learned or know about or seek new opportunities to explore a passion, research it, design a choice presentation tool and teach the class about it.

    This sounds simple, right? It is! But it is also a lot of work.  At Gavilan Peak we believe in empowering our students with the right to and the responsibility for having a voice in how they learn. By allowing time to connect with their best ideas, we are allowing them to experience learning at its finest while encouraging risk-taking, embracing 'failures' and sharing in creative break-through.

    I will send home a revised packet explaining this activity.

     

     Leadership Seminars

    I will schedule them for the upcoming early release days starting in November. Students will participate in interacting with fabulous guest speakers throughout the year and learn about the world, careers, college, cultures and leadership opportunities. Please let me know if you have any leads on great speakers.

     

    Mastery Learning

    Students will be pre tested at the beginning of each math unit. This maximizes the effectiveness of classroom instruction time by allowing me to design lessons based on student needs rather than covering concepts they might already know. They will be taking quizzes throughout the unit to assess knowledge as well as to give me the opportunity to pace lessons, reteach concepts, compact and accelerate the curriculum or refine teaching strategies. Students will be allowed to retake quizzes and final unit tests to ensure concept mastery after they’ve conferenced with me and have a goal and a plan in place to improve.

     

    Communication

    I believe that parents, students, teachers, and administrators are a team that has a common goal: your child’s educational success. I believe in weekly classroom news articles. I will let you know what is happening at school, what we are currently learning about, upcoming events as well as learning celebration by posting an article on my website .Also, please contact me first (just as I would contact you) if you have a question, an issue, or need clarification and I will do my best to accommodate you in a timely manner. If we are unable to resolve the matter at hand we will follow procedure and take it to administration, specialist or counselor.

    PowerSchool-I will update grades weekly. Let’s stay informed about it so we can correct failing grades, missing assignments, etc. before it becomes too late to do so.

    Agenda-please check daily.

    E-mail-please check daily.

    Organization

    Students and parents should take a couple of minutes at the end of each week to go through backpacks and folders. You may want to keep, acknowledge, toss, sign and return to school papers. Building good study and organizational habits is an important life skill and will help you stay on top of assignments as well as provide a time for the family to discuss school happenings and learning.

    Homework

    Homework assignments will be given Monday –Thursday. I believe that homework should be an opportunity to practice what was facilitated in class, as much as I believe that homework should be based on quality rather that quantity. Homework will not be graded (this is an opportunity to practice, not an assessment), but I expect it to be turned in daily since I will take time to offer feedback and clarify concepts. I will keep track of homework assignments and discuss with you and your child if not doing homework on a consistent basis is becoming an issue.

    Behavior

    I believe in building a safe learning environment for my students. I will be fair and use positive reinforcement to encourage learning, maximize on task behavior and student engagement, recognize effort and allow risk taking –failure and mistakes often lead to incredible growth. I see myself as a lifelong learner, a facilitator of learning experiences, and a guide and by the end of the year I will hopefully inspire my students to become lifelong seekers of knowledge and discovery themselves. Our class will be a collaborative learning community, where high expectations are seen as challenges and where respect and discipline are required in order to allow learning to take place.

    A progressive School Wide Discipline Matrix will be sent to you soon by homeroom teachers.

    Please come to class prepared with:  a positive attitude and willingness to work, materials, homework.

    Please show leadership and model good choices when you walk to and from the SAGE classroom .Please be on time and quiet as you come and go from your classroom (students in your rooms should be able to continue learning).Also, please wait by the wall patiently and quietly outside the SAGE room as we switch classes.

     

    PERFORMANCE LEVEL INDICATORS-will be part of the new reporting system. They do not correlate with the letter grades A, B, C, D, F (which still show an average of earned points for assignments) but explain student performance on state standards.

     

    Performance Levels

    • 4 = Demonstrates above grade level proficiency independently
    • 3 = Demonstrates grade level proficiency independently
    • 2 = Demonstrates grade level proficiency with support
    • 1 = Demonstrates below grade level proficiency with support

     

    Description of Performance levels
    The Performance Levels indicated by 1-4 are not based on a percentage. It is a performance indicator based on the student’s performance toward meeting grade level standards

    • 4 = Demonstrates above grade level proficiency independently
      • The student consistently demonstrates above grade level proficiency independently* for this reporting period
    • 3 = Demonstrates grade level proficiency independently
      • The student consistently demonstrates proficiency for the grade level concepts and skills independently* for this reporting period
    • 2 = Demonstrates grade level proficiency with support
      • The student usually demonstrates the skill or understands the concepts and meets grade level expectations with support for this reporting period
    • 1 = Demonstrates below grade level proficiency with support
      • The student performs below grade level with support and is not meeting expectations for this reporting period

     

    Independently: The ability to demonstrate proficiency of standards without assistance after being taught a concept or skill

     

    AZ College and Career Readiness Standards Tagging

     

    What is tagging?

    • Associating a specific standard or standards to an assessment entered into Power Teacher Grade Book. After tagging, teachers enter a Performance Level (1-4) based on how the student performed on the task linked to the given standard(s).   

    What should be tagged?

    • The teacher of record should tag summative assessments and final projects. Every standard has to be tagged at a minimum of one time per school year.

    When should teachers tag?

    • Tagging of standards is completed when the teacher puts a grade into the grade book.

    How many standards should be tagged to each assessment?

    • This is up to the teacher as long as the other requirements of tagging are fulfilled.

     

    *Independently: The ability to demonstrate proficiency of standards without assistance after being taught a concept or skill

     

     

     

    Students will earn points based on classroom work, tests, quizzes, presentations and special projects. I will update PowerSchool weekly. Nothing new regarding this aspect.

    SAGE Reading students will receive a reading grade from me. Spelling (Words Their Way Program-individualized spelling for each child) and Writing are part of their regular classroom and will be graded accordingly.

    SAGE Math students will receive a math grade from their Walk UP to Math teacher or if they are in 6th grade from the 7th grade teacher assigned to meet their needs.

    Website

    Please check the website daily if possible before emailing me for general information.

     

     Agendas

    Please check with your child daily

     

    Parent Conferences

    At parent conference time I will hold student led conferences. Students will conference with you by using their Data Folders/Portfolios and taking charge and responsibility of their own learning growth. They will discuss their data, goals, reflections, areas of strength, celebrations as well as opportunities for improvement. You can always schedule one on one conferences with me to discuss the needs of your student.

    RTI (response to intervention)

     

    I see gifted students for a period of 40 minutes daily while the rest of the grade levels receives intervention/instruction on missing /not yet mastered skills.

    This is a time for me to offer academic support for either math or reading, have Gifted Learner Talks (social emotional support for gifted learners), do enrichment activities, STEM and PBL(problem based learning) or Dash and Dot robots-coding/programing.

     

    Growth Mindset/EQ

     

    In our school we focus a lot on having a growth mindset. We discuss embracing challenges, accepting mistakes and responsibilities and using them as opportunities to learn, giving our best, making an honest effort, using positive self-talk  and most of all believing that success and intelligence can be achieved by hard work-your brain can grow like a muscle if you exercise it daily. In addition we also work on praising the process, effort, the persistence and grit and not just the result.

     

     

    I am looking forward to an enriching year,

    Carmen Giurgiu