We’ve Moved!

Mrs. Harris’s lesson plans and more can be found on the new and improved WesterGT blog at http://www.westergt.wordpress.com! Visit and follow the new site to stay informed! 


FGA Meeting

Check it out!

Advanced Academics

FGA Meeting: Divergent Thinking

Featuring games for kids and parents, a free Numinds’ parent talk, and a performance by the global finalist D.I. team from Griffin MS.

May 13th

Griffin Middle School

6-8 PM

Food will be available!  As a fundraiser for the Global Finals Tournament, the DI team will provide a sub sandwich and a drink for $5. There will be a bake sale with delicious goodies as well! Don’t forget to RSVP to FGA at friscogifted@gmail.com and let us know how many would like dinner.

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FISD January GT Game Night

Thursday, January 16, 2014
from 6:00-8:00 PM
Wakeland High School
10700 Legacy Dr, Frisco, TX 75034

  • Bibliotherapy: 10 Books that Represent Giftedness
  • Presented by NuMinds Enrichment speakers

Additionally, you got a preview of Frisco Gifted Association at the last meeting.  Find out more about this exciting new opportunity for our GT and high-achieving students and families.  This is a great way to get involved in an up-and-coming advocacy group at the ground level.  If you want to know more now, LIKE their Facebook Page to get updates!

Finally, after many requests, we are adding the dinner element back into our program with the help of Frisco Gifted Association.  This is as a convenience to parents and students and their busy schedules.   We want to make your attendance at game night as convenient as possible.  Meals will be $4 each and will be pizza, side and drink.

Please let us know when you RSVP how many people plan to eat & if you prefer vegetarian options.  
RSVP’s for food should be sent no later than Tuesday, January 14 at midnight. 

Frequently Asked Questions:
Q.  What kind of games should my child bring? 
A.  The best games for game night are ones that require skill and strategy, not just luck alone!
Q.  What if my child is not identified as GT by the district?
A.  If your child would enjoy the challenge of strategy games or you would enjoy the topic in the parent program, we welcome you to attend!
Q.  Can siblings attend even if they are not GT students?
A.  This is for the whole family.  Preschool siblings must be supervised by a parent at all times.
Q.  What if I don’t bring a game or do not have a game that seems like a good fit?
A.  There are always plenty of games and plenty of kids looking for someone to play the game they brought.  
Q.  Will there be a meal that we can purchase this month?
A.  YES!  By popular demand, Frisco Gifted Assocation has agreed to handle this for us!  
Q.  Is it necessary to purchase a meal in order to attend?
A.  No!  This is offered as a convenience and not a requirement.
Q.  Do parents have to attend the parent program?
A.  No.  You may stay and play games if you wish, but most parents choose to attend the program.
PLEASE RSVP TO FriscoGifted@gmail.com with the following information:
1.  Number of students attending game night.
2.  Number of parents attending parent program.
3.  School your child(ren) attend(s).
4.  How many will be eating. (FOOD RSVP’s need to be sent by Monday, December 16 at midnight!)
5.  If you want to volunteer to help with game night or with FGA in general, please let us know when you RSVP!  We are looking for committee members!

Computer Science: This Generation’s Impressionism?

Check out an article one of my former students wrote for the Dallas Morning News!

, The Dallas Morning News

Betsy Smith for Voices, photographed August 2, 2013. (Evans Caglage/The Dallas Morning News)

“You should drop out of school and become a poet. Don’t worry about paying the bills.” This is something a child will never hear his or her parent say, and for us creative types, it can be frustrating.

I have struggled accepting the fact that although a career in the arts would make me happy, it would not be a practical career choice. I refuse to go to medical school, do not want to be a lawyer, and would make a terrible psychologist.

Two years ago, when selecting the classes I would be taking the next year, yet another science stared me in the face: computer science. Since it is a mandatory class, I had to take it, but I signed up grudgingly. I had every reason to believe I would loathe the class; according to every personality test I had ever taken, I am not the engineering type and despise limitations.

However, after the first day of school it was clear I would love the class. Why? Because computer science is actually art.

Whether you are designing a website, animating a cartoon, creating an app, or coding a robot, you have to use creative problem solving and have an open mind. There is no right answer, but there are few wrong answers. The class was challenging, but it was also fun to see which way I would solve the puzzle.

Our first assignment was to design a website. I could decide the layout, had control over the content, chose pictures and coordinated a warm autumn color scheme for the site. Basically, it was like painting without needing superior motor skills.

The next task was to digitally animate cartoon characters to make a holiday card. After choreographing a two-minute dance routine for a cartoon polar bear and reindeer, I am confident I could score an internship at Pixar.

Our third project was my favorite, probably because it was similar to writing. We could choose any global issue we were passionate about and design an app to spread awareness or help fix the problem. Authors, journalists and poets alike all write about what they are passionate about, hoping they can expose the problem and even make a difference. App designers are just like writers, only they work on a digital platform.

I had a choice to make for every element of the app. I could use links, location trackers, multiple screens and efficient picture buttons, just as writers use words, devices and sentence structures to make their point.

I had limitless opportunities to create something avant-garde in computer science if I chose to look at my assignments with the same perspective I use for art classes.

Everything is technologically driven now. All companies have websites; social media has taken over the world. Flying cars have even been invented (a fact I learned from my computer science class). But technology still needs creative minds to push the envelope and discover new ideas.

Thousands of jobs are created yearly for computer science majors, but there are not enough people out there to fill these jobs that will advance the country. The industry needs innovative artist types who can team up with the engineer types to create new, artistic programs.

Fellow creative students, you could work for Twitter and still have time to paint on the side, but this way you would be using the right side of your brain the whole day.

Impressionism was the new art form of the 1800s, photography was revolutionary in the 20th century, and the 1980s were home to performance art. A century from now, when people look at history books, they will see computer science as the major art movement from this age. Will you be a part of it?

Betsy Smith of Dallas is a junior at Ursuline Academy. To respond to this column, send an email to voices@dallasnews.com.


The Misunderstood Face of Giftedness

“In K-12 classrooms everywhere are children at risk for being misunderstood, medically mislabeled, and educationally misplaced. Not limited to one gender, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic group, they could be the children of your neighbors, your friends, your siblings, and even yourself.

These at-risk children are gifted children.

Contrary to common stereotypes, giftedness is not synonymous with high academic achievement. The gifted student archetype, while expected to be a mature classroom leader, does not fit all gifted students. Some are the class clowns, the lonely awkward child in the back row, the troublemaker. Special needs classrooms are where a number of gifted children end up — their giftedness left unsupported.”

Read more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marianne-kuzujanakis/gifted-children_b_2948258.html

Paschal High science whiz, who will graduate at 16, mentors younger students

FORT WORTH — When Dominic J. Yurk was in kindergarten, his classmates were learning the alphabet but he could already read 100-page books and multiply numbers.

He went on to skip first and fifth grade, entering Paschal High School at age 12, and racking up titles and awards in science competitions across Texas. Now a 16-year-old senior, Dominic plans to attend the California Institute of Technology in the fall to study computer science and physics. He is ranked sixth in his graduating class.

And in addition to his own academic achievement, Dominic enjoys mentoring other students in the hope of sparking the same love of learning, he said.

“Throughout high school, I have pursued my passion to better my schools in return for the opportunities they have given me,” he said. “My goal is not only to mentor and excite younger students, but to create a culture of mentorship such that those students will support others in the future.”