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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

August 29, 2018 – Program Introduction and Tour of ELP Area
Students are provided with an overview of ELP Seminar and services provided to ELP students.

September 5, 2018 – Community Building – Your Journey Matters
Students will create a display detailing the events that have helped shape them into the individuals they are today.

September 12, 2018 – 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.

September 19, 2018 – 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.

September 26, 2018 – 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.

October 3, 2018 – AEA Research and Resources – Deb Vail
Deb Vaill, instructional technology consultant, from Heartland Area Education Agency (AEA) will discuss student resources and services available through the agency.  Students will learn how to gain access to these free tools and explore a brief search activity using their new knowledge.

Exploring avenues and taking action to achieve our goals

October 10, 2018 – Career Fair

October 17, 2018 – 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

October 24, 2018 – 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

October 31, 2018 – College Search – Dream, Reach, Reality
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.

November 7, 2018 – Creativity Speaker (ISU Presenters)
Professor, Elena Karpova, from Iowa State University will guest teach on ways to broaden your mind and help become a more creative thinker and problem solver.  Students will engage in hands on practice with the strategies presented.

November 14, 2018 – College Follow-Up

November 21, 2018 – Ten Tips for Talking to 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.

November 28, 2018 – Clear Thinking for Clear 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.

December 5, 2018 – Town Hall Run-Through
Students will brainstorm questions regarding high school topics and concerns–such as Course Rigor & Offerings, Scheduling, the School Environment, Student Life and the High School Transition, etc.–which will be presented to principal, Spence Evans the following week.

December 12, 2018 – 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.

December 19, 2018 – Stress/Standardized Tests
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.

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.

December 26, 2018 – Winter Break – NO SEMINAR

January 2, 2019 – Winter Break – NO SEMINAR

January 9, 2019 – AHS Finals – NO SEMINAR

January 16, 2019 – Expectations 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.

January 23, 2019 – Honors/AP Teachers
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.

Exploring avenues and taking action to achieve our goals

January 30, 2019 – Registration and Acceleration Information – Start 4-Year Plans

February 6, 2019 – Academic Planning: Four-Year Plans 
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

February 13, 2019 – Academic Planning: Four-Year Plans (Workday/Finishing Up)
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.

February 20, 2019 – Jung Typology and Extrovert/Introvert Activities
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.

February 27, 2019 – Study Skills

March 6, 2019 – Creativity
Can creativity be taught?  Can creativity be learned?  Are there creative strategies?  Students will explore ways to guide themselves in the creative process, setting limitations and opening doors all at the same time.

March 13, 2019 – TBD

March 20, 2019 – Spring Break – NO SEMINAR

March 27, 2019 – Resume Do’s and Don’ts and Resume Work Day
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.

April 3, 2019 – World Food Prize (WFP) – Video and Discussion
Mrs. Kuhns and Mrs. Skaar 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.

April 10, 2019 – Teamwork Activities
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

April 17, 2019 – Workday

April 24, 2019 – Volunteer Opportunities and Summer Employment 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.

May 1, 2019 – Digital Citizenship

May 8, 2019 – Iowa State Internship Presentations
Students will listen to the 2017-2018 Interns discuss their research, the benefits of participating, and how students may get involved in this program.

May 15, 2019 – 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.

May 22, 2019 – Semester Final Preparation
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.


Josh Gorman
AHS ELP Teacher
515-817-0600, Ext. 3295

Four Year Plan

Career Search Tool

College Board Tool

Juicebox Interactive