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Gifted and Talented School Highlights

Carolina Park students are learning how to make a tent out of a poncho.

Nicole Martin's 4th & 5th grade SAIL students at Carolina Park Elementary are developing concepts and generalizations about the theme of "needs" by taking part in several survival activities.  The groups enjoyed a visit from Colonel Jon Regan Walters as he discussed physiological needs.  Students explored several knot-tying options for creating shelter and learning basic survival skills.  In this picture, students learned how to create shelter out of a poncho.  

Congratulations to Mrs. Lauren Boyd for being named the 2017-2018 Gifted and Talented Teacher of the Year.  

Mrs. Boyd has been teaching SAIL at Angel Oak Elementary and James Island Elementary going on seven years.  This is her 10th year serving schools and students in Charleston County School District.  The Gifted & Talented Department is proud to have her on our team and representing us in the district. 

Lauren Boyd, GT Teacher of the Year

Ms. Jill Cragg and her 4th and 5th grade students at Sanders Clyde participated in the Canstruction Jr. competition.  They chose a local landmark to replicate: The Charleston Pineapple Fountain at Waterfront Park.
The structure was composed of 1,252 full cans of food. All of the cans were donated through direct donations from grocery stores, purchased with cash donations, checks or grocery store gift cards. They were also able to collect cans directly from a South Carolina-owned farm/distributor up in Effingham, SC.  
They were fortunate to be able to work with several engineers from The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) - Charleston Chapter - who made several visits to our school during our after school work sessions.  Ms. Cragg and her students devoted 18 to 20 hours after school learning about how to construct load-bearing structures (they made about 200 paper cans) as well as calculating an approximate number of cans based on the circumference of some of our circles.  Students had to problem-solve in many situations both before the event and on the day of the event itself when we ran into a height problem (4-inches too tall)! 
They placed second in all three categories: People's Choice, Best/Healthiest Diet, and Most Creative.  It was a lot of hard work, but everyone was excited to be a part of this unique learning experience!

Sanders Clyde Canstruction

Mrs. Belk’s third grade reading class at Buist Academy is researching scientists that help us understand the world’s history. She and her students have been using David Hyerle's Thinking Maps, which are consistent visual patterns that promote eight thinking processes. They organized their findings on this Tree Map so they could easily identify the differences between archaeologists, paleontologists, and geologists. They connected these findings to current events that are happening around them. Mrs. Belk refers to these bulletin boards as "teaching boards" because not only are they visual reminders of new knowledge gained, but educate those individuals passing by. As more connections are made, Mrs. Belk and students add to these bulletin boards. 

Tree Map

Congratulations to Georgetta Simmons and the Odyssey of the Mind team from Stall High School.  One team placed 1st overall and has been invited to compete at the World Finals in Ames, Iowa.  The other team placed 3rd overall.  Congratulations to both teams!

Patricia Smoot's 3rd grade students at Whitesides Elementary had a fun and memorable lesson on the food chain of an owl.  They learned about quantitative and qualitative observations while using owl pellets.  They dissected the owl pellets, used bone identification charts to classify the bones, and reconstructed the skeleton of the owl's prey.  

Students from Whitesides Elementary dissect owl pellets. Students from Whitesides Elementary dissect owl pellets.

Congratulations to Becky Luckie at Stiles Point for being selected to receive a 2017 Hess Toy Truck STEM Kit.  Check back for pictures next month!


The Belle Hall BrainBots recently competed at the State LEGO Competition against 39 teams. They finished 7th place in the robot design category.  Most members of the team have been together for two years and are currently enrolled in three different schools.

Belle Hall BrainBots

Ariana Lane- Moultrie 
Charlotte Halford- Laing
Conner Li- Belle Hall
Jay Mirman- Laing
Jacob Olinger- Laing
Sam Henshaw- Moultrie
Ryan Lynch- Moultrie

Coaches- Eva Stratos, Belle Hall SAIL Teacher
Heath Olinger- Boeing Engineer

Sheri Belk and her 3rd grade students at Buist Academy take action to help the homeless.

Sheri Belk and her 3rd grade students at Buist Academy take action to help the homeless.

While reading the novel, A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, Ms. Belk's third grade students at Buist Academy organized their thoughts by using the KWHLAQ chart to constantly record prior knowledge, what they still wondered about, material learned, future actions they would take, and current questions.

The students were also required to use the writing process to produce an extended written selection in cursive describing the changes that occurred in the novel, as well as, changes in them.

Ms. Belk has been using a variety of teaching models developed by The College of William & Mary's Center for Gifted Education to strengthen her students' critical thinking skills. Ms. Belk and her students used the change matrix teaching model to organize changes in characters, settings, and relationships. They created a bulletin board for the school displaying the specifics of these changes from their class reflections. The bulletin board also highlights “changes in me.” Additionally, Ms. Belk and her students came up with a class “taking action” project of collecting snacks, fruit, water, and other drinks and packing them in baskets of cheer. They distributed these baskets on Dec. 19th to the homeless in public areas around Buist Academy such as Marion Square and the Charleston County Public Library. This project allowed Ms. Belk and her students to show IB attitudes of empathy, cooperation, reflecting, and caring for others.

Eva Stratos and the Belle Hall Brainbots won the robot design category and are heading to State competition in February.  They were also one of the top 2 teams in the Water Project and Core Values category.

Eva Stratos and the Belle Hall Brainbots

Lisa Laughlin and her SAIL class at Harbor View Elementary launched (via US Coast Guard) a 5-foot unmanned sailboat on May 10th, 2017.  

Harbor View SAIL class

 The boat spent 154 days and 12 hours at sea and made landfall in County Mayo, Ireland, near Ballycroy.  The vessel was taken to Drumgallagh National School in Ballycroy and the students were extremely excited to discover and examine the contents of the waterproof compartment.  Inside was a painting of the Charleston flag, a keyring, some coins, and some handwritten notes from the SAIL students.  The boat is currently on display in Drumgallagh National School.  

You can see it's current location at http://http//

If you drag the yellow man onto the pin you can see a real-life view of its current location.

You can see what Drumgallagh National School posted on their website at


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