FORWARD MATTERS - The Newsletter of Guilford County PAGE


Newsletter - May 2016

We Need You!

If you believe in supporting gifted education in Guilford County, we need you!

Serving on the Guilford County PAGE Board gives you the unique opportunity to shape gifted programs, resources and advocacy in our county. And, it doesn’t take a huge time commitment to make a big difference.

The Guilford County PAGE board believes we need fresh voices and perspectives: 

  • From parents and educators of elementary to high school students
  • From public, private, charter and home school parents
  • From Jamestown, Greensboro, High Point, Summerfield and beyond
  • From Title 1 Schools, magnet schools, gifted programs and more

We welcome you to consider the following volunteer opportunities:

Adult Programming Chair: Develop programs of interest and enrichment for adults

  • Identify areas of interest for parents/educators/adult supporters of gifted education to develop programming/events
  • Plan and lead coordination of at least 2 programs per school/membership year
  • Attend board meetings
  • Time commitment: Average 2 hours per month
Sponsorship Chair: Manage community relations, donations and grants
  • Identify and secure funding, grants or in-kind donations to support chapter initiatives
  • Develop strategic relationships with educationally-minded community organizations in  Guilford County
  • Attend board meetings
  • Time commitment: Varies, 1- 4 hours per month

Communications Chair: Manage communications

  • Maintain Wordpress website
  • Communicate via e-mail using Mail Chimp
  • Coordinate, edit and distribute Forward Matters e-newsletter
  • Direct social media outreach via Facebook
  • Time commitment: 4+ hours a month (except summer)
Contact Holly Stewart to learn more.

GCPAGE Contest Winners

Many thanks to all who submitted nominations for our second annual Teacher Appreciation Contest. 

Congratulations to our winning teachers:

  • Brandy Jo Brehm, Gibsonville Elementary
  • Diane Coltrane, Northern Middle
  • Guy Shavers, Southwest Guilford High

After hearing about the successful Rubik’s Cube Club at the Academy of Lincoln in 2015, Dibrelle Tourret, AG Executive Director, scheduled a You CAN do the Rubik’s Cube presentation to AG teachers in the fall.  With the support of their principals (Mrs. Kennedy,  Mrs. Bohn and Dr. Hauser), AG teachers Andrea Matkins of Northern Elementary, Brandy Jo Brehm of Gibsonville Elementary, and Victoria Townes of Jesse Wharton Elementary started a You CAN do the Rubik’s Cube program in their schools.  

Most started during school in AG math or a club time, but they soon moved to after school as more classmates became interested. Gibsonville currently has 65 students in their after school club. “I love seeing the kids coming into the school and talking about their successes and their problem solving. It has literally taken over the school,” said Mrs. Brehm.
To solve the cube, students learn a cube movement alphabet and then memorize algorithms of moves to solve the cube. They work on their memory and their muscle memory. “For the students who learned to solve the cube early on, I think the best aspect was having a chance to teach other students and see them accomplish something new with their help,” said Karen Hornfeck, one of the Lincoln coaches. 

The You CAN do the Rubik’s Cube program supports competitions, designing mosaics and math lessons. For two years, they have sponsored a Rubik’s Cube event during the NC Science Festival. On April 13th the four teams competed in solo and team competitions.
At Northern, the “quick” solvers met after school for six weeks to prepare. Matkins reported, “They are a competitive bunch and had accepted the challenge. The team and most of the individual competitors had their best time at the competition and felt a true sense of accomplishment.”

According to You CAN do the Rubik’s Cube, “Those fortunate enough to solve the cube say this magical puzzle has increased their self-esteem, made them feel smarter and more willing to take risks, helped them overcome their fear of failure and even made them more outgoing.”

After the competition, one parent sent this note to Mrs. Townes: “Thank you for taking the time to implement this fun club.[My son] has been so excited about this. He even sleeps with his Rubik's cube. He hasn't been excited about school for a while now …. This club has made a big difference in his attitude about school and his confidence!”

For more information about how to start a program, contact the AG department for future workshops or Meg McCann at, the East coast lead at You CAN do the Rubik’s Cube. You CAN start a program, too!


Summer Reading With a Twist

Finding just the right books for gifted readers can be tough, especially if they are picky readers, creatures of habit or even reluctant readers. As well, finding books with the right balance of challenge with age appropriate topics is a topic unto its own. If you Google “reading lists,” it’s easy to get overwhelmed, lost or end up with a dud. That’s why we’ve created our first-ever reading list with a twist.

For this summer, we’ve looked far and wide (and into a few of our bookcases and Kindles) for a few familiar titles and hopefully, a few unfamiliar reads across genres that we consider hidden gems. We’ve tried to avoid school lists of required reading, too. So, after your gifted students (or you) have had enough of Diary of a Wimpy Kid or the Maze Runner series, take a look at some of our suggested titles. We’ve rounded up a little something for everyone: Dip into novellas and poetry, graphic novels and non-fiction, and myths and stories, all for emerging readers to high schoolers and beyond. Plus, consider audiobook versions for those long hours driving to the beach in the car!

Emerging Readers

For emerging readers (Pre-K to Early Elementary), check out any of the “Ready to Read", "World of Reading" and "Step into Reading" books, including those about popular characters and movies such as Olivia, Sofia the First, Star Wars and Fancy Nancy.

In addition, we suggest three soon-to-be dog-eared favorites:
Knuffle Bunny, by Mo Willems (Pre-K to Early Elementary)
Willems’ Caldecott winner is a book with real heart. Your youngest readers will identify instantly with Trixie as she loses her beloved Knuffle Bunny. Plus, parents will feel for her parents as they grapple with what’s gone amiss….and how to save the day. 

Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales, by Lucy Cousins (Pre-K to Early Elementary School)
This New York Times bestseller is bold, humorous and retains the essence of the original fairy tales with illustrations in the author’s signature vivid style. As Amazon says, “The heroes are courageous, the villains are horrible, and the children are tasty.” 

Yellow Elephant: A Bright Beastiary, by Julie Larios (Author) and Julie Paschkis  (Illustrator) (Pre-K to Early Elementary)
In this Boston Globe-Horn Book Honors book of poetry, enjoy vibrant animal poems filled with “...alliteration, rhyme, and gentle surprises” (School Library Journal).

Get the Picture

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, written by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Ellen Forney (Middle to High School)
This National Book Award winner features Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to make his own path forward, he attends an all-white farm town high school. Based Alexie’s personal experiences, this coming of age novel shows one Native American boy’s attempts to escape the life he’s destined to live.

D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, by Ingri d'Aulaire and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire (Elementary to Middle School)
As the description on Amazon says, “No education is complete without a large slice of Greek mythology. And there's no better way of meeting that literary quota than with the D'Aulaires' book.” While breathtaking illustrations are perfect companions to the short yet riveting tales of the Greeks, the audio version is a great option for long summer trips, especially with the likes of Matthew Broderick and Kathleen Turner narrating.

Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson (Middle to High School)
Based on her popular web comic, this award-winning graphic novel is quirky, fun and endearing. Nimona is a spunky, punky girl who becomes an apprentice to a classic evil genius Blackheart and arch-nemesis of Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin. As Nimona and Blackheart team up, Stevenson explores stereotypes of good and evil, and gets readers engaged in the process.

A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel, by Madeleine L’Engle and Hope Larson (Upper Elementary to Early High School)
This updated version of a classic is a great example of graphic novels taking on the classics and doing it well. Per School Library Journal, “Larson has remained true to the story, preserving the original chapter format and retaining L'Engle's voice. Black-and-white artwork is accented with blue, echoing the original cover color.”

Something Different

Fishmeal and the Mounching Monster, by Michael Clay Thompson (Upper Elementary to Middle School)
This book incorporates SAT-worthy vocabulary mined from the classics and a cornerstone of Michael Clay Thompson's Caesar's English programs. While Thompson’s objective is definitely educational, he brings literary tropes to life in a fun, engaging and have-to-read story. Within its pages, an unsuspecting partnership develops between unlikely animal characters as they face adventures and learn to life a life of “decorum” together.

Here, There, Elsewhere: Stories from the Road, by William Least Heat-Moon (Middle to High School) 
Do you know an armchair traveler? Someone who appreciates rich, perceptive and humorous short stories? This collection takes readers to overlooked places in Japan, Yucatan, Great Britain and seen through the eyes Least Heat-Moon " of this nation's best travel writers,” according to Library Journal.

The Way Things Work, The and New Way Things Work, by David Macaulay (Upper Elementary and Beyond)
These books are for the curious, the tinkerers and the innovators at heart. The author explains the workings of gadgets and technology complete with rich descriptions, interesting comparisons and clear illustrations. 

Poetry, Stories and Novellas

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices (Elementary School and beyond) and Seedfolks (Middle to High School), by Paul Fleischman)
Both Fleishman’s poetry and novella introduce compelling voices and poetic language that are as accessible as they are moving. While Seedfolks has some mature themes (e.g., mentions of drugs and pregnancy), his Newberry Medal Winning poetry is appropriate for younger readers.

Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling (Pre-K to Elementary School)
With Kipling’s The Jungle Book getting all the recent attention, it’s worth considering his other writing, including these wonderful origin stories featuring sly animal characters.

The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Grades 3 and Beyond)
This book is a treasure to read! The author profoundly ponders the mysteries of life and examines what truly matters, all through the curiosity and innocence of a child.

In the Classical Tradition

Holes, by Louis Sachar (Elementary School)
Holes is a rarity. It's won both a Newbery Medal and a National Book Award. A mystery that’s funny, heartbreaking and thoughtful, the novel tells the story of Stanley Yelnats as he grapples with the curse that has followed his family for generations. After finishing the book, rent the movie!

The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros (Middle to High School)
Cisneros’ lyrical and moving vignettes depict a Latina girl’s life growing up in Chicago. While the novel includes some mature topics (e.g., pregnancy, language), this creates a more complete picture of the lives within the text.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi (Upper Elementary to Middle School)
This is a great read for those who enjoy historical fiction. Protagonist Charlotte Doyle is a 13-year-old girl traveling alone to America in 1832, and she unexpectedly finds herself in the middle of a mutiny aboard the Seahawk.


AIG Plan Public Forum
May 17, 6-7:30 p.m.
Grimsley High media center
May 19, 6-7:30 p.m.
High Point Central High media center



May 7-Dec. 3 (First Saturdays), 10 a.m.
Kids First Saturday
Greensboro Farmer’s Curb Market
Featuring yoga, beekeeping and seed planting for children ages 6-12; free with pre-registration.

May 15, 1-5 p.m.
Space & Sci-Fi Day at SciWorks
High Point Museum

May 15, 2016, 2-6 p.m.
Betsy-Jeff Penn 4H Fun Day and Open House

May 21, 9 a.m.
Greensboro Science Center Tuxedo Trot

May 26, 4-5 p.m.
Makerspace: Memorial Flag at Central Library

June 4, 7:30 - 10 a.m.
Youth Fishing Derby
Hollow Oak Marina, High Point

June 19, 1-5 p.m.
Reptile Day at SciWorks

July 15-24, 1-5 p.m.
Drama Center Children's Theater
Copyright © 2016 Guilford County PAGE, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
Guilford County PAGE
PO Box 167
Oak Ridge, NC 27310

Add us to your address book