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ELP Freshmen Seminar

Curricular topics include:

  • Gifted Overview
  • Programming
  • Community Building
  • Autonomous Learning
  • Academic Planning
  • College investigation

Learning about ourselves and shaping who we are

Students are provided with an overview of ELP Seminar, services provided to ELP students, and are provided a tour of the ELP offices.

Getting Involved at AHS Part I
Guest speaker, Allison DiBlasi, will discuss the academic and social benefits of school involvement emphasizing its lifelong advantages in career investigation and leadership development.
September 3 Club and Activity Panel

Getting Involved at AHS Part II
Students from a variety of Ames High clubs present information to the ELP freshman seminar students on the clubs, benefits of the clubs and how to get involved.  Students are also provided a time to answer questions.

Leadership & “One Lone Nut”
When groups unite for a common cause, not all in the group have similar abilities or drive.  Learning to lead involves both understanding when to and how to guide others. Students will view a video showing leadership and the importance of support in leadership, followed by a group activity reinforcing the role of leaders and supporters in a group setting.
Learning Styles Part I

After participating in the Felder and Silverman NC State Learning Styles Inventory, students will be introduced to the five-learning/thinking dimension and how each relates to science education.

Learning Styles Part II
Students will be introduced to how learning preference adaptations or balance occur during adulthood to enhance individual performance.  Through a review of research (Two Tier by Sheila Tobias), students will become aware of how specific means of thinking are appropriate for scientific careers/studies, but often overlooked. With this understanding, students individually composed goals for achieving balance in the area of strongest preference.

Learning about ourselves and quality communication

Ten Tips for Talking with Teachers
Students will analyze current strategies and will be introduced to recommended practice, “Ten Tips for Talking with Teachers.” Students will practice integration of “Ten Tips” using real situations proposed by students to show the practical application of the material presented.

Town Hall Introduction
After an introduction to the Five Elements of Classical Argument, students will practice presenting ideas, become more familiar with a town hall format, and simulate a town hall argument.

Clear Thinking for Clearer Dialogues
In preparation of an upcoming meeting with the AHS Principal, students will be introduced to the purpose of Town Halls as platforms for discussion with community leaders.  Then in small groups, students will employ the Five Elements of Classical Argument to practice analytical thinking by examining the core elements and multiple viewpoints of divisive and controversial issues.

Town Hall with Spence Evans
Students will present previously brainstormed questions regarding high school topics and concerns–such as Course Rigor & Offerings, Scheduling, the School Environment, Student Life and the High School Transition, etc.–to principal, Spence Evans.

ISU Graduate student and creativity researcher, Melissa Rands, will discuss creativity and ways to help students enhance and use their creativity through a fun exercise thinking outside the box.

Exploring avenues and taking action to achieve our goals

Career Search & Investigation
Through the use of the O*NET Career search tool students will take a questionnaire to match them with potential careers.  Students will then explore these careers further using the O*NET career profiles identifying the job outlook, education needed, potential earning, and colleges offering the degrees.

Career Search Tool

College Search and Investigation
Through a review of the College Board website, support tools and information for college searches and planning, SAT preparation and AP classes will be introduced.  Students will then explore the college selection resource specifically to develop a list of potential colleges, using information and resources to identify preferences, needs, and interests available through each school.

College Search Tool

College Search and Three-Tiers Activity
Using the list of potential colleges created in the previous Seminar class, students will utilize CollegeBoard tools to analyze the admissions, costs, academics and campus life of three college tiers—most, very and less selective. Information gleaned will later inform academic planning.

Students will use the learning styles inventory, and information from the college and career search to develop a SMART goal.  This goal will be revisited later in the year to update progress towards the goal and to make changes to the goal.

Stress and Standardized Testing
Stress- Causes and Strategies- In a small group discussion lead by AHS Counselor, John Burke, students will identify coping skills for dealing with stress in gifted learners and be introduced to stress reduction techniques from SENG.
Standardized Testing- Students will be introduced to standardized testing and its use in undergraduate admission, subject specific credit and diagnostic purposes.  An overview of exam content, structure, scoring and cost will be shared in addition to information to guide students in knowledgeable participation and preparation.
*To create smaller numbers facilitating improved group discussion, larger seminar classes will be divided receiving each session on an alternating day.

Jung Typology and SMART Goals
Students will learn about the benefit of multiple learning and personality style assessments.  The whole group will complete the Jung Typology and report their scores to their SMART Goals page.  The students will then discuss the impact of their own personality and learning style on their goal.

Extrovert and Introvert Exercise
Using the personality diagnostic from the Jung Typology test students are separated into groups of Extroverts and Introverts.  The students are given a list of characteristics about their personality type and asked to discuss within the group.

Taking action to achieve our goals

Honors & AP Course Instructors’ Overviews
Students will be introduced to Honors & AP course content and its various instructional approaches to content through a presentation lead by course instructors.  Students will have the opportunity to direct questions specific to gifted learning goals as well.

Academic Planning: Four-Year Plans Part I
After an introduction to the resources and information available at, students will become familiar with the AHS graduation requirements while comparing such to those of selective and highly selective college admission requirements.  Students will be introduced to an organizational planning tool to create a fluid document to facilitate future AHS course planning.

Four Year Plan

Academic Planning: Four-Year Plans Part II
Students will apply learned information about graduation and college admission requirements by completing a Microsoft Word template that will document and facilitate proactive, individualized, ongoing course planning.

Passion Learning
Through a presentation by dulcimer performer and composer, Reggie Greenlaw, students will be introduced to idea of passion learning, which entails the application of originality and expressiveness to personal talent and interests.

Volunteer Opportunities
Students will hear from Di Schmidt, volunteer for Raising Readers in Story County.  Mrs. Schmidt shared opportunities for students to volunteer with Ames Reads and Raising Readers in Story County.  Students can contact Mrs. Schmidt for more information on volunteer training.

Global Opportunities: World Food Prize
Mrs. Kuhns will present information about Dr. Norman Borlaug and The World Food Prize program as it relates to research, real world problem solving, and internship opportunities for high school and college students.  Information presented will include global food problems and internship application process and participation overview.

Resume Building and Naviance
Students will be provided a brief overview of the resume feature of Naviance, the benefits of beginning a resume early, and examples of resumes.  Students will then complete their own starter resume to practice the skills discussed.

ELP Opportunities Panel
Students involved in various activities through ELP will discuss those opportunities, the benefits of being involved, and how these opportunities have enhanced their learning.

Spring Town Hall Preparation
Students will have the opportunity to organize questions, comments, and concerns for a Spring Town Hall Meeting with AHS Principal Spence Evans.

Spring Town Hall Meeting
Students will meet with Spence Evans, AHS Principal, to present issues related to student life at AHS.

College Scavenger Hunt
Using the sites students were exposed to at the beginning of the year, students will complete a scavenger hunt searching for important information about applying to colleges, what colleges are looking for, and how to apply for college.

Students will participate in a series of challenging activities that highlight the importance of teamwork.  Students will reflect on the challenges and how the team was able to be successful, as well as possible causes for unsuccessful challenges.

Resources and Resource Search
Students will hear about resources available through Ames High School and the local library.  Students will then get to practice their researching skills with a few puzzling research prompts.

Iowa State University Intern Research Presentations
Students will listen to the 2014-15 ISU Interns discuss their research, the benefits of participating, and how students may get involved in this program.

ELP Seminar Folder Preparation
Students will develop a portfolio to use as a guide for future course, college and career planning in ELP.  ELP Student portfolios will contain completed Four-Year Plans, Personal Resume, College Search Results and Preferred College Profiles and a written personal goal for the upcoming academic year.  Application for ELP Study Center is also made at this time.

Class Evaluation & Pat on the Back
Students will reflect upon the seminar topics and instruction and offer assessment and critical feedback. And if time allows, students will summarize individual strengths and contributions of their peers to the ELP Seminar Group.

Nicole Kuhns
AHS ELP Teacher
515-817-0600, Ext. 0633

Julie Skaar
AHS ELP Teacher
515-817-0600, Ext. 3295

Four Year Plan

Career Search Tool

College Board Tool

Juicebox Interactive