Skip to main content

GATE - Independent Study


Independent Study

We will be starting our Independent Study in this class. This project is not required unless your student is GATE. Should a non gate student chose to do this they will receive points in the subject area of thier independent study. It can only help them. If they (non-GATE) choose to not participate, they will be required to do the regular homework/classwork on nights/days that the rest do independent study. So there is no more work either way, just different.

What is independent study?

Independent Study is a chance for the students to learn about something that interests them. It can be about ANYTHING, yes even if it does not match the standards directly. However it should be an area that the student is not already knowledgeable in.

Topics could include anything from Oragami, electricity, Marco Polo, helicopters, Jello, all the way to how professional teams scout for players. It is meant to encourage scholarly study, but in a way that appeals to the student in an area that INTERESTS THEM.

They will pick a research topic as the first step.  This is very broad such as Oragami. Next they will formulate 10 research questions related to that topic. i.e.

1. What are the origins of oragami?
2. Who uses oragami and why?
3. What are popular oragami techniques?   I will meet with them and pick the best three questions out of the ten to reseach.

Once they have created the research topic, and questions, then they find thier sources. They will need 7 sources, 5 of them must be different (encyclopedia, books, magazines, almanacs, interview, movie, internet, visit exhibit etc) I will provide them with a sheet on how to list their sources.

There is no report to do, unless they choose that for the project, but only create a presentation. This can be anything from a display board, puppet show, Powerpoint, I-Movie, Poster, write a song, anything.
They will need to summarize thier findings, develop a presentation product and evaluate their own work.

The object is to have FUN and research something of interest to THEM. They will have class time to complete some of the research and many evenings will include time to work on this en leiu of other homework.  
Independent Study is an important component of our gifted and talented education program.  It facilitates student learning according to student interest, ability and need.  It is a personalized form of learning that supports the perspective that students can be autonomous learners.  While conducting an Independent Study, students follow appropriate steps of non-fiction research that closely mirror how professionals, scholars and researchers pursue interests and gain knowledge in our world today.  

This Independent Study Showcase provides a special opportunity for our identified gifted and talented Newport-Mesa students.  GATE cluster teachers are aware of the evening, and they are knowledgeable on how to help prepare students for this event. It will be an exciting occasion to learn about the personal interests, passions and knowledge of all of our gifted learners.

Additional Info:  In order to participate, students will need to be present at the event in order to fulfill the final step in the Independent Study process---sharing their information with others.  All students are responsible for transporting their Independent Study materials to and from the Community Center. Please note that the area will be under supervision during this time. First come first serve for spots. Also please have lap tops charged for presentations as there may not be enough power to go around.

If you have any questions, please feel free to talk to me and/or contact the GATE Teacher on Special Assignment, Jenni Krogh, at (949) 515-6715 or at 




Nathan Gibbs


Nathan Gibbs M.S. Ed

Welcome to Mr. Gibbs' class web site. Please check here for updates and more.

Weekly Schedule (Subject to Change)


Weekly Schedule Gibbs 2018/19 – All Times Subject to Change



835-1020           Core Math

1020-1100         Writing/Accelerated Math

                       1105-1120         Recess

1125-1255           Reading/ELA

1255-135             Lunch

130-250             History




835-1005           Core Math

1005-1105         Science Lab

                       1105-1120         Recess

1125-1215         Reading/ELA

1215-1255         Library

1255-135             Lunch

145-250             Science (Vick)



835-1025             Core Math           

                       1025-1105         PE

                       1105-1120         Recess

                       1120-1215          Reading/ELA 

                        1215-1255        Music

                       1255-130             Lunch

                       145-210            Independent Work Time/Pack Up



835-1000           Core Math

1000-1030         Accelerated Math

1030-1105         Writing

1105-1120         Recess

1125-105          SSR/ELA

100-135             Lunch

145-250             Science (Lindquist)



835-930              Core Math

930-1015            Testing

1015-1100          ELA/Testing

1105-1120          Recess

1120-1230          Writing/Presentations/Independent Work Time

1230-1255           Open/Testing

1255-130             Lunch

                        135-250            PBL/PE

Class Credo

Class Credo

The classroom is a place where the genuine care and comfort of my students is my highest mission.

I pledge to provide the finest personal instruction and facilities for my students, who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, yet refined classroom setting.

The classroom experience will enliven the senses, instill well being, and fulfill even the unexpressed wishes and needs of my students.


Monday 12/10

Reading: 30 min minimum/Golden Goblet Projects (12/20)/Ch8 Questions

Lang Arts: /Monthly Writing (1, Dec 20)/ Tree Map/Presentation (Fri)

Math:AM if behind

Science:Study Guide/Study (Dec 11)

Social Studies:PB 59/63

Papers Signed:none

Other:Holiday Music/White Elephant


Tuesday 12/11

Reading: 30 min minimum/Golden Goblet Projects (12/20)/

Lang Arts: /Monthly Writing (1, Dec 20)/ Tree Map/Presentation (Fri)

Math:AM if behind

Science:Study Guide/Study (Dec 11)

Social Studies:PB 59/63 Study for quiz (mon)

Papers Signed:none

Other:Holiday Music/White Elephant


Wednesday 12/12

Reading: 30 min minimum/Golden Goblet Projects (12/20)/Goblet Ch 9 Questions/Section 2 test Friday

Lang Arts: /Monthly Writing (1, Dec 20)/ Tree Map/Presentation (Fri)

Math:AM if behind/4.1

Science:Study Guide/Study (Dec 11)

Social Studies:PB 59/63 Study for Quiz (mon)

Papers Signed:none

Other:Holiday Music/White Elephant


Thursday 12/13

Reading: 30 min minimum/Golden Goblet Projects (12/20)/Goblet Ch 10 Questions/Section 2 test Friday

Lang Arts: /Monthly Writing (1, Dec 20)/ Tree Map/Presentation (Fri)

Math:AM if behind/4.2

Science: none

Social Studies:PB 59/63 Study for Quiz (mon)

Papers Signed:none

Other:Holiday Music/White Elephant

Homework/Classwork Make-up Policy


In most cases as a policy we do not allow students to make up classwork/homework while on a vacation nor do we put together work for those situations in advance. It is the administration and 6th grade teams' firm belief that vacations should not be taken during school time since we are only in school 180/365 days per year. By the time they return we have moved beyond that work and it creates a backlog of things for the student and teacher to do in addition to the current work. If work is missing, they will be required to do it. They will work on it and miss recess the next day to complete it. If it is turned in the next school day it will be 10% off. After that it will not be for a grade, it will go as a zero and we will move on.
They can however make up any quizzes and tests they miss (25% and 50% of the grade respectively). Homework/classwork is only 10% of the grade and we just "excuse" them in the grade book from that so it does not count against them. If they really want to do the work (for practice not for grade), they are welcome to bring their materials and check the homework website each day while they are gone to see what we are doing. 
Obviously a wedding, funeral, retirement, or sick/dying relative out of town, are different situations since they are not planned by you personally. Those situations we will count the work for them should they wish. Like I said before, if they choose not to do it, or if it is a normal unexcused vacation it will not count against their grade.
As for normal absences, if it is not an excused absence (doctors note, or a reason previously stated before) the same applies.
Nathan Gibbs's Locker
3/14/12 9:28 AM
4/5/17 1:58 PM
4/24/17 2:52 PM
6/5/17 11:45 AM
6/1/17 2:54 PM
10/24/11 9:24 AM

Reading Philosophy

Reading Philosophy
My definition of reading is basic and is derived from information received during class and from my own experiences as a fluent reader. Reading is an active process that is cognitively complex allowing the reader to construct meaning form printed language, therefore taking into account the cultural, ethnic, emotional, and intellectual views of the author and incorporating that into his or her constructed meaning. I think Jennings has a good definition when he states that:
In one sense reading is the art of transmitting ideas, facts, and feelings, from the mind and soul of the author to the mind and soul of the reader, with accuracy and understanding and much more…whatever he has read and however he has read, it has always been for “reason”.
Simply put, it is just one of many forms of necessary communication. It carries more weight than other forms of communication because of its timeliness, order and function.
An ideal reader must be a fluent reader. The reader should have the ability to quickly, without much thought, decode, recognize and comprehend words accurately. Once an ideal reader does this, he or she can construct meaning at an acceptable rate. Ideal readers read often. They also read a variety of material. An ideal reader knows all of the word attack strategies and uses these to automat city. Ideal readers can compensate for the difficulty or ease of the reading materials. One way is by taking in meaning and comprehending slowly or skimming and speeding up when the text is too easy. An ideal reader can see the unwritten meaning of authors’ words. The critical comprehension that comes at the evaluation level is easier for a fluent, ideal reader. The ideal reader has an enlightening, knowledgeable and pleasurable experience each time they read. Thus allowing the ideal reader to continually improve reading ability.

In today’s society we understand that there is no single way to teach reading. In the state of California we are aware of the emphasis placed on phonics. However, according to (Burns, Roe, Smith 2002)… teaching phonics alone does not constitute a complete reading program; rather, phonics is a valuable aid to word recognition when used in conjunction with other skills. With this in mind, Adams, (1990) was a part of a subcommittee that grew out of the National Conference on Research in English in 1959. She looked at research and programs being used regularly, and whether phonics instruction was implicit or being taught explicitly and the effects of instruction. She found that students who had received explicit phonics instruction caught up and surpassed the look-say readers in silent reading rate, comprehensions and vocabulary by the end of second grade. Adams (1990) brings up the point that approaches in which systematic phonics instruction, meaning emphasis, and language instruction is included with connected reading material have resulted in the best reading achievement overall. Hence in the early part of a balanced reading program, phonics generalizations, not all rules, should be taught. The ideal program should contain an emphasis on decoding skills and comprehension skills, while providing authentic reading and writing experiences. Literature should be included for reading aloud. An abundance of interesting fiction and non-fiction of different levels and genres should be included.

By doing running records, portfolios, and student teacher conferences the teacher can assess the progress and level of the students, and adjust instruction accordingly. Through writing prompts, journal entries and comprehension tests there can be an increase the reading ability of the students in comprehension. Within any good Reading/Language Arts program there is a need to also focus on other skills. Grammar, spelling and vocabulary need to have their own place. These can be intertwined into daily reading instruction. Last but very important there must be oral reading to the students. Oral reading at school and transferring oral reading to parents at home, both matter greatly. The continuity-or lack of continuity-between literacy experiences at home and in school strongly affects learning (Englot-Mash, 1991). By combining all of the before mentioned topics, it should be basic to manage a balanced reading program. I firmly believe that reading is ultimately the responsibility of the parents then the teacher. The reason being that we have only so much time with them. And yes there is a need to teach them phonics and decoding, which I agree with. But the continuation of that reading instruction has to be done at home. The more support they have at home the quicker and better they will acquire the skills. So in communities where literature is lacking, schools need to provide equal access to all materials.

I found my beliefs focus around the idea that reading is not perfect and that sometimes readers and authors can misunderstand each other. Oral language and print are equally important and should be taught separately. These beliefs of mine have solidified my reading instruction and allowed me to focus and support differentiated reading instruction so I am not pigeonholed into a specific style.

Adams, Marilyn Jager. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990.

Burns, Paul C., Roe, Betty D. (2001), Teaching Reading in Today’s Elementary Schools. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Englot-Mash, Christine. “Tying Together Reading Strategies,” Journal of Reading, 35 (October 1991), 151.

McLane, Joan, and Gillian McNamee, Early Literacy, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990.

Professional Portfolio Of Nathan P. Gibbs

Log of Professional Supervised Experience

Date Setting Client/Subject
Present 4th Grade Teacher Newport Coast
Newport Coast, CA

2002 Principal of Masters class Marion Bergeson El.
Fall tutoring program. Laguna Niguel, CA
23 teachers and students READ 516

2002 Student assessment Project

2000- 3rd Grade Teacher Anneliese Acadamy
2001 After school French Club Laguna Beach, CA
After school Art Class

1999- 6th Grade Teacher R.H. Dana Elementary
2000 Homework Club Dana Point, CA

Summer School 2000 Capistrano Unified School District

Jan1999- Internship/Student Teaching Emma Love Hardee El.
May1999 4th Grade Amelia Island, FL

Sept1998- Internship/Urban Rufus Payne Elementary
Dec1998 1st Grade Jacksonville, FL

Jan1998- Internship Emma Love Hardee El.
May1998 4th Grade Amelia Island, FL

Record of Reading Programs Developed and Implemented

Grade Level Nature of Program Date
4th Houghton Mifflin curr.
Literature series for NMUSD.

4th Rare Finds/Harcourt Brace 2003
Signature Literature Series that uses literature to promote comprehension and story structure fitting to 4th grade Reading Lang. Arts Standards

4th Whole Language Content Area Literacy 2002 Program. Units based on chapter books that tie to CA history standards. Includes but is not limited to: Vocabulary, Bloom’s Taxonomy Comprehension, word and literature projects. (DEVELOPED)

6th Success for All-Reading 2001 program, involving scripted lessons 2002 students all leveled through the entire school. (IMPLEMENTED)

6th Words Their Way-Summer school 2001 developmental spelling and vocabulary 2003 program. (IMPLEMENTED)

Record of Reading Tests Administered


Critchlow Verbal Reasoning

San Diego Quick

CLOZE Passages


Words Their Way Qualitative Spelling Inventory

Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test

Quick Content Area Reading Test



STAR Reading Test

California State Writing Test (4th Grade)

Accelerated Reader Test

Newport Mesa Unified School District STAR Test


Science Camp Link

Class Procedures

Restroom Procedures

1.    Only one at a time may go.
2.    Don’t ask, hold up three fingers, and shake your fingers if it is an emergency.
3.    Wash your hands leave no mess.
4.    Come right back and enter QUIETLY

Drinking Fountain Procedures

1.    Drink water at recess, lunch, or when your work is FINISHED.
2.    Do NOT line up at the drinking fountain outside or inside the classroom AFTER I begin teaching.
3.    Maximum 3 people at sink area at anytime.
4.    Wipe the sink after you drink.

Morning Entry Procedures
1.    Say “Hi” to all your classmates.
2.    Empty your backpack and bring in homework and needed supplies.
3.    Place backpack outside and neatly lined up.
4.    Greet your teacher as you enter.
5.    Enter quietly and orderly.
6.    Turn in homework to be turned in or keep homework at desk to be graded in class.
7.    Start work on your SEATWORK.
8. Expect a GREAT day.

Sink Procedures

1.    Get a drying towel BEFORE you wash your hands.
2.    Maximum 2 people at sink area at anytime.
3.    Wipe sink down any time you use it before you leave.
4.   Wipe up the counter or floor if you drip on it.

Desk Procedures

1.    Only your notebook, assignment book, text books, reading book and supply box belong in your desk.
2.    Toys, food and loose paper do NOT belong in your desk.
3.    Keep hands, feet, paper, books and pencils off your neighbor’s desk.
4.    CLEAN your desk and the area around it before you leave.
5.    Push in your chair EVERYTIME you get up.

Going to
Other Parts of School
1.    Line up quietly when asked.
2.    WALK on the right side of the walkway SINGLE FILE.
3.    Enter the other classroom or library silently and orderly.
4.    Greet the teacher as you enter.

Snack Procedure
1.    Wait to be excused and eat outside at the tables no hanging in courtyard.
2.    Eat something healthy.
3.    Do not stand near the blacktop (playing area).
4.    Clean up after yourself!
6.    Walk to recess AFTER you finish.

Homework Procedure

1.    Write homework assignment correctly in Daily Planner. Check website but don’t rely on it!
2.    Call “STUDY BUDDY” if you have any questions.
3.    Come to school with your homework finished (if you have it).
4.    Keep HW until asked.
5.    Turn in HW into CORRECT BOX if asked!
6.    Unfinished homework will be completed during the day it was due (on your time), then turned into LATE BOX.
7.   Absent homework must be turned into Mr. Gibbs.

Physical Education Procedures

1.    Walk to PE area.
2.    Respect the PE teacher.
3.    Follow her rules.
4.    Use good sportsmanship Life skills.
5.    Take good care of the PE equipment.
6.    After PE return all equipment back into its correct place.
7.    Get drink from outside fountain before returning to class.
8.    Walk back to class.

Computer Procedures

1.    Wash hands BEFORE you use it.
2.    No more than 1 person at a blueberry.
3.    Log in on Log sheet.
5.    Refer your questions to the Technology Assistant.
6.    Clean up the area around you before you leave.
7.    Log out of all programs.
7. Shut off the computer at the end of the day if you are the last to use it.

End of the Day

1.    Copy down homework.
2.    Clean around your desk.
3.    Wait for teachers to dismiss your number to get your backpack.
4.    Pack assignment book homework needed.
5.    Leave ONLY when dismissed by the teacher.
6.    Say “Good-bye” to classmates and teacher.
7.    Remember to tell your family about your day.
8.    Make sure to be to the bus on time.
9.  Plans of how you are going home may not change.

If Done with Everything Procedure

1.    Work on other unfinished work.
2.    Read.
3.    Do a center.

1.    Raise your hand to speak, unless otherwise instructed holding up ONE finger or a fist.
2.    Use Active Listening when others are speaking.
3.    WAIT until instructions are given, then move.
4.    If you hear the emergency bell, freeze your mouth and body!
5.    If you hear Ms. Van on the intercom, freeze and listen.
6.    If you see Mr. Gibbs raise his hand you do the same and LISTEN.

Supply Procedures

1.    If you need supplies or sharpen your pencil hold up TWO fingers.
2.    Be familiar with my “DO NOT TOUCH ITEMS”.
3.    Ask the teacher before you take anything that is not designated student materials.
4.    Keep the cupboards neat!
5.   Return everything you use, to the exact place from where it came.

Goals, Yellow Cards, and Red Cards

1.    When you receive a goal put it in your “safe place”.
2.    At the end of the week have ALL goals totaled for recording.
3.    If you receive your first yellow card of the week keep it too.
4.    You must then see the Peer Counselor and put your entry into the LOGBOOK.
5.    Then check in with the recess aid and sit out for that day.
6.    When you receive your second yellow card put your entry in the LOGBOOK.
7.    Report to Mr. Gibbs to receive counseling.
8.    For remainder of the week sit out at recess after checking with the duty aid.
9.    If you ever receive the nasty red card, see Mr. Gibbs when instruction is finished. --call home and DISCIPLINE ESSAY. See step 8 and continue for two full weeks.

Completed Work
Turn-In Procedures

1.    Put work in the correct box.
2.    Place your work inside, make sure that it is facing the same way as the others
3.    Organizers must order papers.
4.    Stay quiet while others are learning.
Line-up procedures

Leaving Class
1.    Stand in two equal lines.
2.    First excused line starts out of room followed by second line.
3.    Wait quietly.

Coming into class
1.    Stand in two equal lines
3.    Wait quietly.
4.    Use a whispering voice if you need to speak.
5.    Wait for teacher before entering.
6.    Sit in seats immediately and quietly.

Substitute Procedures

1.    Respect Substitute’s Directions and Rules even if they are not exactly the same as ours.
2.    Remember Substitute is taking my place and is an equal of mine.
3.    Be as helpful as possible.
4.    Substitute has all Procedures!

Lunch Procedures

1.    When excused, retrieve lunch if you brought it.
2.    Lunch Leaders in front with lunch bucket.
3.    Follow Line-up procedures.
4.    When dismissed by teacher WALK to cafeteria.
5.    Be seated while in MPR.
6.    Retrieve your card from a teacher if buying.
7.    Say “hello” to any adult in the cafeteria.
8.    Place playground equipment in the correct spot while you eat.
9.    Sit at the correct table.
10.    Walk to lunch line.
11.    Wait in line quietly.
12.    Eat nicely and neatly.
13.    Talk with a low voice.
14.    Clean up your mess, encourage others to do so also.
15.    Make sure all food and trash are in the trashcans.
16.    Raise your hand when you would like to be dismissed.
14.       Place your lunch box in bucket when you are leaving.
15.       Walk to play area.

Bus Pick-Up

1.    Walk to bus area.
2.    Do NOT miss the bus.
3.    Wait behind the line for the bus.
4.    Quietly wait for the bus.
5.    Respect the driver of the bus.
6.    Stay in your seat and talk quietly.
7.    Not following bus rules will result in the loss of your bus pass.
8.    Playing ball or horsing around while waiting is not acceptable.
9.    Respect the teacher on duty.
10.    Alert a teacher if you missed the bus.
11.    Be a good role model and a helper for the younger students on early-out Wednesday.

Car Pick-Up

1.    Walk to car pick-up area near the primary wing.
2.    Don’t walk onto the blacktop where cars park or drive.
3.    You may not meet your ride near the playground area.
4.    Playing ball or horsing around while waiting is not acceptable.
5.    Respect the teacher on duty.
6.    Quietly wait for your ride.
7.    If your ride is late more than 10 minutes, you will sit quietly in the office and wait.
8.    When your ride arrives the driver must get out of the car and sign you out in the Late-Log.
9.    Be a good role model and a helper for the younger students on early-out Wednesday.


•    Walk bike on campus before and after school.
•    Lock your bike to bike rack.
•    Leave others bikes alone.
•    Wear your helmet while riding your bike.
•    Obey all traffic laws.
•    Come straight to school.
•    Go straight home.


•    Walk straight to school.
•    Go straight home.
•    Obey all traffic laws.

Group Work
•     Greet all group members.
•    Be prepared with the necessary tools and resources to be successful.
•    Collaboration is the key to being a successful learning club.
•    All members participate, share, learn from and help one another.
•    Use same procedures for speaking as you do during class.
•    No one group member is to do all the work.
•    Practice Active Listening.
•    Cooperate.
•    Do your personal best.

How to Correct Assignments

1.    Have assignment finished.
2.    Make sure it is ALL legible.
3.     Make sure the correct heading is on the top of your paper.
4.     Switch papers with your neighbor.
5.     Listen for Mr. Gibbs.
6.     Get your correcting implement.
7.     Put an “X” next to something that is INCORRECT.
8.     Leave correct items without markings.
9.     Know what kind on grade to place at the TOP of the assignment. Either a number correct over the total number completed. A percentage. Mr. Gibbs will tell you.
10.    Make sure that all your questions and concerns have been answered after grading has taken place and before the assignment is turned in to the teacher.

How to fill out Student Planner
1.    Copy everything WORD for WORD from the board.
2.    Ask Mr. Gibbs if you are unsure what something means.
3.    Check on status of long range projects everyday.
4.    Never leave to go home with out it completed.
5.    Never come to school without it.
6.    Have parents sign off each evening showing they have seen it.

Basic Assembly Procedures
•    Line Up inside/outside classroom first.
•    Follow class student counsel representatives to the correct area.
•    Pay attention and sit where you are instructed to do so.
•    QUIETLY sit with legs crossed on floor or on the chairs or benches.
•    Remember your Lifeskills and guidelines while waiting, watching, and after the assembly.
•    Enjoy and respect the presentation.
•    Practice patience if you have a question for the presenter.
•    Return to the classroom in an orderly manner and quietly.

Flag Deck Procedures
•    Line Up inside/outside classroom first.
•    Follow class student counsel representatives to the correct area.
•    Pay attention and sit or stand where you are instructed to do so.
•    Be a role model for other classes, especially students who are younger than you.
•    QUIETLY wait for Ms. Van to start her presentation.
•    IF you Say the Pledge of Allegiance, do it with a proud voice and with respect.
•    Remember your Lifeskills and guidelines while waiting and watching Flag Deck.
•    Enjoy and respect the presentation.
•    Return to the classroom in an orderly manner and quietly.

Missing a School Day Procedure
1.         Note that you have as many days as you were absent to make up assignments.
2.        You are responsible for your work not the teacher, not your friends, not your parents.
3.    When you return look in you file under your number for assignments.
4.    Ask Study buddy to help you understand work you do not understand.
5.    Reschedule with the teacher any tests or quizzes you may have missed within 2 days of returning.
6.    Ask the teacher for clarification of assignments during a break time if you still do not understand.
7.    Be responsible and take control.
8.    Work not asked for clarification will be assumed you understand.
9.    Work not turned in will result a zero.
10.    You have as many days to make up the work as days that you were absent.
11.    All late work is turned into the LATE Folder in the Folder section of the classroom.
12.    Late work turned into some other place may be lost or not graded.