Hello to you, those interested in
creativity, intelligence, and thoughtful exploration
of our contemporary reality!
Jackson Talent Development is traveling into new directions this year, seeking ways to reach out and engage the multiple talents students carry within them when they walk through our doors each morning. Expect to hear more as these opportunities become available to an ever widening range of students; personal invitation, teacher conversations, weblinks here and announcements in the school news links will all be utilized to connect with JMS students.
We're thrilled to begin expanding enrichment offerings for talented middle level learners. As a first step, please utilze the links below, posted in hopes of providing a "one stop shop" experience for students, parents and eductors interested in the wide ranging giftedness arc.

anoka-hennepin • talentdevelopment


2013-14 Calendar of Events • Middle School TD


September 24—Young Scientist Round Table @ Wayzata Middle School 7pm-8:40pm


October 7-- Young Scientist Round Table @ Wayzata Middle School 7pm-8:40pm


November 12-- Young Scientist Round Table @ Wayzata Middle School 7pm-8:40pm

December 5-- Creativity Festival 5-7 @ Science Museum of MN (Grades 6-7) 9am-2pm

      Day-long festival at the Science Museum of Minnesota sponsored by Success Beyond the  Classroom. Various sessions for the students to attend during the school day.


December 19-- Young Scientist Round Table @ Wayzata Middle School 7pm-8:40pm


January --   School Geography Bee (Time/Date to be determined)

Formal competition held during the school year, testing students' knowledge of world geography.

 January 6 -- Young Scientist Round Table @Wayzata   MiddleSchool       7pm-8:40pm


January 31-- Optimist Essay Contest Deadline

Topic: Topic TBD

February (Date TBD) -- Optimist Oratorical Contest Pull-out da @ SDC 9-12

Speech writing contest, sponsored by your local Optimist Club

Topic: TBD


February 3-- Young Scientist Round Table —  @ Wayzata Middle School 7pm-8:40pm


March 3-- Young Scientist Round Table — @ Wayzata Middle School 7pm-8:40pm

March 20-- Young Authors Conference through Success Beyond the Classroom

@ Bethel College 9am-1:30 pm

Opportunity for interested students to develop their writing skills, working with living authors.


March 22-- DI Tournament @ Blaine High School 8am - 5pm


March 31--Battle of the Books @ Oakview Middle School


Early April-- Optimist Oratorical Contest (Zone) @  TBD


April 3-- Saint Cloud Math contest @ SCSU (Time TBD)


April 4-- State Geography Bee


April 10-- Young Scientist Round Table @ Wayzata Middle School 7pm-8:40 pm


 April 12-- DI State Tournament @ Jackson Middle School

  Awards Ceremony to be held at Champlin Park High School

(Time TBD)


April (Date TBD)-- Optimist Oratorical Contest (District) @ Watertown, SD



It's important, as with any medium, that work online be examined with a critical eye.  Before we send you off into fantastic resources, please take a moment to read through evaluation criteria established to help students determine the value of web resources.

Website Critique
•   To what extent can we count on the information provided at this site?
•   Is the source trustworthy?
•   How did they come up with the information listed here?
•   Do they cite sources?
•   Did they follow good research procedures?
•   Do they have a bias?
•   A reason to distort?
•   Is this advertising?
•   An advertorial?
•   What are they selling?

•   Are these real numbers and facts?
•   Do they match reality?
•   How do we know they are real and on target?

Currency (Statistics)
•   How recent are the facts and figures? 
•   Were they gathered years ago?
•   What do they tell us?
•   Does it matter?
•   Might they have changed since then?

•   Do they have any credentials to be providing this information?
•   Any evidence of training or professional skill?
•   Do they identify the author or provider by name?
•   Who did this work?

•   Have they presented the material selectively or in an unbalanced manner?
•   Is their bias or slanting in the reporting?
•   Did they leave some information out?
•   Did they focus only on the positive? the negative?

•   Do they tell you enough?
•   Do they provide sufficient data or evidence?
•   Do they go into enough detail and depth?

•   Can you find what you need at this site relatively quickly or is it loaded down with graphics and elements which prolong your visit and your searching unnecessarily?
•   Is the information laid out in a logical fashion so that you can easily locate what you need without wandering around and wasting time?


Humanities/Art Resources -


Fantastic site!  "This Web site contains more than 50 artworks from the Walker Art Center, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, and the Minnesota Museum of American Art.  Each group of artworks was thematically selected to encourage student understanding of the art and artists from the collections of these Minnesota museums."


Minnesota c onnections to museums, art clubs and prominent art supply stores 


This site adds a unique twist to the Art sites available in Minnesota - its folksy feel extends to a tourists guide to Minnesota books, resorts, cultural sites & even The SPAM museum in Austin, Minnesota! 


The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA) located at 5500 Stevens Avenue, South in Minneapolis, MN (55419) is presently the only non-profit museum in North America dedicated solely to the preservation and presentation of educational exhibitions and related events pertaining to Russian art and artifacts from the 19th and 20th centuries. 


A broad, comprehensive examination of the Arts in America.  Site is jam packed with additional links and interesting NEW additions to the dialogue surrounding kids and Art.


The Guide to Great Art on the Internet
Artcyclopedia Guide to Fine Art
 8,700 artists listed
 2,600 art sites indexed
 over 100,000 links


ArtSchools.com - The Art School Directory


These pages are a resource for artists and art students that focus on the technical fundamentals of perspective,

shading, color and painting.

Educator Resources -


The best feature of this rich site is the categories you may sort with after pre-selecting by grade levels - Art, Architecture, Creativity, Critical thinking skills, Dance, Drama, Film, Media Studies, Music, Photography, Visual Arts.  What a list!  The fewest 6-8 lesson plans were seven choices and the most I found had 21 different extensions in the area of 21.  With the five grade level categories, ten artistic media and up to 21 choices in the middle level lessons, the site probably holds 750+ activities, complete with lessons, extensions, and connections.

The site also has four featured articles, connected to national standards in several disciplines.  Today's story I found most intriguing was a comparison of political cartoons and contemporary comics.  Even the synopsis was engaging, filling me excitement to get the material in front of students:
"Cartoons are often conceived as both humorous and deeply serious.  Combining both fictional and non-fictional elements, cartoons have been used as a subversive or radical medium to comment on and critique the mainstream. Often providing a forum for visual protest, political cartoons present diverse perspectives on the pertinent issues of the day. Whether in form or content, many contemporary artists have a strong connection to the comic aesthetic and the comic critique. Drawing from their work, this lesson explores how cartoons use both representational and abstract visual language and messages to narrate social and political concerns.

Walton Ford creates large-scale watercolors of animals and humans interacting in Audubon-like landscapes with biting social and historical commentary. Kerry James Marshall has created the comic strip RYTHM MASTR, which presents a contemporary super hero based on a traditional Yoruba god and myth. Raymond Pettibon's paintings and drawings suggest political or satirical statements about everything from baseball to American presidents. Kara Walker's notecards and silhouette images tell provocative stories about race, sexuality, and power through the visual landscape of the Civil War South."

http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org -

This was a fantastic site to revisit this week, focusing on the music standards, and their accompanying lessons.  Each standard held a handful of lesson plans and activities for the middle school learner:
Content Standard: 1: Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music
Content Standard: 2: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of Content Standard: 3: Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments
Content Standard: 4: Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines
Content Standard: 5: Reading and notating music
Content Standard: 6: Listening to, analyzing, and describing music
Content Standard: 7: Evaluating music and music performances
Content Standard: 8: Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts
Content Standard: 9: Understanding music in relation to history and culture

For example - "Exploring The Sound of Music…..This unit explores the connection between the musical story of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music and the historical context in which the story was set. Students will compare and contrast the ending of the musical with the biography of Maria von Trapp. They will probe the reactions of the characters to the impending Hitler invasion of Austria and compare those reactions to people who lived through this event in history. Students will also explore musical composition based on solfege syllables used in the lyrics of," Do-Re-Mi"."
Lessons outlines, with support materials in most cases included -
The Life of Maria von Trapp: Creating a Conclusion
The Life of Maria von Trapp: Creating a Monologue
The Life of Maria von Trapp: Selecting a Musical Accompaniment
Composing with Solfege
Are the von Trapps Historically Correct?

The line that caught my attention was the fact that this site links to 2076  OTHER websites!  Amazing.  Sorts are by Content Areas, Subject Area & Grade Level.  The Arts section was divided by the following categories,  including their Dewey decimal reference numbers

  * Architecture (#720)
  * Crafts (#750)
  * General/Other (#700)
  * Literature (#800)
  * Money, Numismatics (#737)
  * Music (#780)
  * Performing Arts (#790)
  * Philosophy (#100)
  * Poetry (#811)
  * Visual Arts (#750)


Mixed reaction to this site.  It is jam packed with links.  But it didn't grab my attention.  I felt like it was work to find the gems.  Additionally, when I did dig into a site, it was not as resource-rich as some of the other sites for middle level learners.  I did find some very specific lessons that would be useful if you could access the primary sources, such as a decent interactive connection to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Women's Studies
Dass, Catherine.  2001. - The Girls' Guide to Life:  How to Take Charge of the Issues That Effect You (Grades 5-8)
An assortment of poetry, advice, information and first-person experience is an accessible, refreshing means of introducing young women to feminist issues of today. 
Jobs for Girls


The library's Women's History Month section includes annotated recommended reading lists in five categories: picture books, folk and fairy tales, stories, recordings/videos, and non-fiction.

Lipson, Ed.D. Greta Barclay,  Hierstein, Judy.  2004. - Sides to Every Story-Ethics, Dilemmas and Points of View. Discussion, Writing, Improvisation.
Students will not only enjoy reading these tales of mystery, danger, comedy and humor; they'll also learn a lot from them. Included are discussion questions, creative suggestions for improvisation, role play and writing, and opportunities for students to write their opinions and feelings about each tale. Each story has a surprise ending and will get students discussing and expressing their viewpoints to answer some difficult questions.

For Kids and Teens
Articles, games and book reviews for children and adolescents interested in understanding
mental health issues.  Detailed links include many middle level topics that students may find difficult to talk about.  I have used this site, by just writing the student a note with the site listed, and then asked them to talk if they want.  Several students have told me it is a good site, because its "not boring".  Topics include:  Why Am I In Family Therapy?,  Mood Swings and Drug Abuse, What Makes a Good Joke?, When I Worry About Mom or Dad, A Kid in My Class Has ADHDWhen Your Mom Or Dad Has AD/HD, Why Do We Get Nervous?, Do You Know Your Phobias?, In Case You Want More...The Super Phobia List!, The School Nurse: What Does She (or He) Really Do?, I Am Different But You May Not Know, Hidden Disabilities, Dealing with Bullies, Kids Can Be Depressed Too, Teens and Sexual Harassment

Peacemakers and Breakers
Strategies to explore mediation with middle level students.  Self-reflection and value identity educational lessons/activities.

Sally Ride Science Club

Science for Girls
Careers - The Role Model Project for Girls
Site is filled with fifty different careers for girls and has exercises for writing about the links after reading about the careers

Wiseman, Rosalind. 1999. - Queen Bees and Wannabe:  Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence.
Forget the stereotypes of sugar and spice.  Girls are mean, and this book, with activities, cover the story of the subtle, insidious style of bullying that is rapidly being given attention and concern from girl to girl.

Resources Focusing on Middle School Female Readers/Writers 




Brave Girls and Strong Women
This site provides a well-annotated bibliography of books (including some cover art) from small publishers. The bibliography is divided into three age groups: Young Readers (ages 2-7), Middle Readers (ages 7-14), and Older Readers (ages 12 and up).

Children's Literature:  Women's History Month

Children's Literature:  Women of Note
An absolutely wonderful site with hundreds of reviews of many middle level books and writing resources


The Amelia Bloomer Project
Learn all about the Project and the booklists of recent books in which "...girls and women overcome the obstacles of the intersecting forces of race, gender and class."

Poetry Websites -



Sites for Defining and

Expanding the Idea of Identity


  Quote engine which hones in on thinking, metacognition and interactions between others.

  Games that make people question their identity, both intrapersonally and externally from others.  Though these are games with adult nuances, they would be adaptable with students and take no materials except maybe a pen and paper.

  This site, sponsored by Getty Images, allows for interactions between people from across the globe as they reflect on images and writing.

  National Institute of Health site supplements The Brain: Our Sense of Self, but many of its resources may be used without the text.  This site's unique feature is a student online "center" where they perform activities that demonstrate the physiological responses to stimuli.  Students are then asked to respond to the work, reflecting on how the new information expands their sense of self, sense of identity.

  Excellent collection of tests that query into issues of norms, philosophy, intelligence.  Note - three of the "games" examine the purpose and types of religions in the world.  Mature topics such as death, reincarnation and the existence or non-existence of souls are also discussed.

  National Endowment for the Humanities home site.  Special attention - link to "We the People" bookshelf section and the Digital Humanities area.

  Interactive site full of research about sense of self, culminating with a twelve-question quiz asking to rank the importance of common life experiences.  Results may be compared within demographics from all around the world - gender, age, and interests.

  Over 50 different personality tests online.  Note - this is not a student only site - some of the tests ask questions that may not be appropriate for all student populations.  This site is interesting even if you don't take a single test.  Students can see just how many different ways theorists have tried to quantify, define and determine the impact of personality on identity.

  Online version of Jung Typology Test that focuses on Carl Jung's theory of typology where all people can be classified using the following three criteria:
  * Extraversion - Introversion
    * Sensing - Intuition
  * Thinking - Feeling

  Personality test online that attempts to examine the impact of culture and language into a person's personality.

Educator Resources -

  In this activity, students explore ethnic identity by examining its role as both a benefit and a burden to society. The general discussion of ethnic identity leads to a discussion about a more specific and problematic social issue, discrimination, and its likely cause, fear.

  Over 30 units with hundreds of resources focusing on multiculturalism.

  Bring dozens of Peace Corps Volunteer stories, letters, and folk tales with standards-based lessons to your class. Also discover ways to involve students in service learning - Lesson Plans & Stories - Site provides our many lesson plans to translate firsthand experiences of Peace Corps Volunteers into cultural, geographical, and language arts lessons for your students.

  In this lesson, students explore fiction and nonfiction texts and write literacy narratives as a part of their exploration of these issues of language and identity.

  In this lesson, three picture books depict characters that are different from others in their communities.  Each book deals with questions of identity, stereotyping, and discrimination.  Sixth- through eighth-grade students are challenged to analyze these concepts through class discussions and writing.

  Connecting art, individual portraits and writing

  Site includes multimedia onsite experiential learning, educational videos, slide shows, posters, and podcasts, service learning, enrichment projects aligned to framework and standards, as well as an e-newsletter that updates bi-weekly.

  An obvious inclusion to any web-linked bibliography of human-centered inquiry, but worth looking at often.  National Geographic does an excellent job of updating its site often for teachers.