In fifth grade we read a story called The Three Questions. The main character, Nikolai is on a quest to find answers to his three most important questions:
When is the most important time?
Who is the most important one?
What is the right thing to do?
After the Thanksgiving break we are going to be thinking about the power of questions. I would love it if you would take a moment to post to the Padlet below the three questions you think the most important. I hope you will share this post with other friends and family members. The ideas posted will help us jump start our lesson on questions. I welcome the kids to share their ideas too, from the youngest to the oldest. :)
This week in first grade I introduced the kids to one of our Depth and Complexity icons: RULES. I figured this is one that they are fairly familiar with. :) We are going to use it for more than discussing behavior, but decided we would start there to cement the icon. The kids thought about 2 rules that their parents have for them, our school has, and they have for themselves. Here are two examples.
The kids then brainstormed discoveries they have made about themselves throughout their long 6 or7 years. They had some great ideas: learning to hula hoop, riding a two-wheeler, learning to throw a ball, knowing multiplication, that they don’t like spinach, etc. The kids then began working on a poem titled When I Was… They will finish their poems using the iPads after the Thanksgiving break and I will post them. Here are a couple of the rough drafts to give you a taste.
This week the kids started their morning by reading some mirror writing, to get a feel for what it would be like to read Leonardo da Vinci’s notes. The kids had a good time trying to figure out the phrases. They then chose one phrase and created a cartoon that demonstrated the meaning of the saying.
We took a brief break from Leo to learn another legal move in Hands On Equations. I love that the 3rd graders enjoy HOE as much as I do. Everytime I start a lesson there is a resounding “YES!” from many of the kids. We are nearly done with level 1 and will then start in on some tricky verbal problems. Who knew algebra could be so fun?
To celebrate the wonderful Thanksgiving Feast put on by our awesome cafeteria, I invited the kids to eat their lunch in our room and watch an animated movie about Leonardo. We all had a great time, and learned a little more about this amazing thinker.
After lunch the kids broke up into groups to complete their Educreations on their assigned chapter from Who Was Leonardo da Vinci? The kids will share their video with the kids from our class and from two other GT programs in our district. Rather than read the whole book, fellow GT students will be their teacher. It should be a great experience. Here are the chapters that my students covered:
Last week the fourth graders participated in a survey that revealed ways they are smart…the Multiple Intelligences, according to Howard Gardner. Before deciding if they agree with the results, they are having a chance to work with each of the intelligences and learn more about each one, through various centers. Enjoy some of their work so far.
Using our Mathematical Intelligence to Make Graphs:
Visual Spatial Intelligence: Taking photographs of the best part of us. They used photo editing apps on the iPad to improve their picture.
Naturalistic Intelligence: Ranking the intelligences from most to least importance from different perspectives.
Here are some pictures of the kids in action. They are just getting started, so I look forward to seeing what they do after the holidays.
Multiple Intelligences in Action on PhotoPeach
This week the kids focused on two important skills of a philosopher, and hopefully a graduate of our GT program , to communicate effectively and listen actively. We brainstormed what it means to communicate effectively and the kids had some good ideas. One that came up a lot was, thinking before you speak, which many kids think is a weakness in our society. Then we discussed the differences between hearing, listening, and listening actively. The kids agreed that listening actively involved asking clarifying questions, restating or rephrasing what you hear, and making personal connections. Most kids agreed that by and large we are more passive listeners.
Now it was time to put our communicating and listening skills to the test using an activity from Plato Was Wrong! by David A. Shapiro. The kids paired up and one became the ‘eyes’ and one became the ‘painter’. The painter faced away from the board and the eyes faced towards it. I had to put my amazing drawing skills to the test as the ‘eyes’ were watching what I was drawing and was communicating the information to the painter. There was a lot of laughs, some frustration and exasperation, and a lot of anticipation in seeing the finished products. After the first round, we discussed what we learned about communicating and listening, what went well, what could have gone better and tips that helped. The first drawing was a simple house, tree and flower. The kids said that it helped having an idea of the end in mind when explaining and having something familiar that both people understood.
We then did round two. Round two I drew something that was not familiar…a monster. The kids talked about how much harder it was to communicate when they didn’t know where things were going. This brought in the idea that philosophers “live in the question” in the uncertainty. It was a great experience for us all. Enjoy the finished products below.
We also read The Three Questions by Jon Muth, adapted from a story by Leo Tolstoy. The kids thought about each of the characters’ personal philosophies and how it connected to their philosophy. Next week we are going to think about what we consider to be the three most important questions and the power in questions.
This week we worked on finishing up our work with Polygons and Platonic Solids. The kids worked on finishing up some of their polygon centers. We then created our own hexahedron, a 3-D shape with 6 faces. It is a special type of polyhedron and is one of the 5 Platonic Solids. The kids recorded rules of a Platonic solid, their favorite polyhedron, what one of the polyhedrons reminded them of, the names of the 5 Platonic solids, and their own name on each of the 6 faces of their hexahedron. Below you will see a video of the kids with their hexahedrons. They did a terrific job making them.
At the end of the day, I had the kids put on their scientist caps and their observations skills to examine three different substances. They used pictures and words to record what they observed. This will lead us into the world of crystals and hopefully the kids will see how crystals connect to polygons, polyhedrons, and structures. Here are some images of the little scientists at work.
For the last three weeks the 5th graders have had time to work on exploring topics that they are interested in, not ones chosen by the teacher. We are calling it Genius Hour, but in truth the kids have not had a full hour to work. They have had anywhere from 15-50 minutes each of the three weeks. The first two weeks were a bit of a challenge because the kids weren’t used to complete autonomy. As they started, they realized that some of their ideas overlapped with a classmate and decided to work in teams. This week, I really saw the kids focused, with a plan…and they are making progress. I am happy with the direction of things…for their FIRST attempt. The kids are studying everything from Colloids, to Space, to Important Battles in WWII, to learning Java Script, and Baking. Below you will see some video and pictures of the kids in action.
Liam and Nick are going to create a game. They have sketched out a plan for their game, and are now using Hopscotch (a programming app) to create an advertisement. Here is a video of their progress.
Nic is interested in learning how to write code. I introduced him to a website called Code Monster and he has been a coding monster ever since. He is using the site to learn how the language works and is then going to teach the rest of us.
Preston and Spencer are interested in some of the important battles in World War II. They are researching the battles and are planning to create a model of one of the battles. They are then going to use StopMotion to recreate if for us. The video below is of them trying StopMotion out, so they would know how it works when they have their model made. Nothing too exciting yet, but know that it will be an awesome addition to their project.
Here are some pictures of the kids working on their projects.
In 3rd grade the kids have been learning about the Big Ideas of Systems, learning that systems are more than just objects that have parts that work together. That a family is a system, the weather cycle is a system, that there are systems within systems, etc. Learning the Big Ideas will help as we work to become Systems Thinkers like Leonardo da Vinci.
The kids grouped up and took pictures around the school that demonstrated the twelve different Big Ideas. They used an app called Haiku Deck to showcase their understanding. Here are three of the 4 projects.
This week the 3rd graders began their study on one of the great systems thinkers: Leonardo da Vinci. They explored some of his amazing accomplishments in Kids Discover: Leonardo da Vinci. We then watched a BrainPop on him that added to their understanding. I introduced the kids to MindMapping and they began a mindmap on Leonardo that we will add to throughout the next several weeks during our Leo Study.
When we were finished adding to our mindmap I broke the 3rd graders into groups of 3-4 and assigned them a chapter from Who Was Leonardo da Vinci? Each group is responsible for reading their chapter and taking notes using the Depth and Complexity icons. After finishing their notes and reading, each group started using Educreations, PicCollage, and StoryMe to create a lesson over their section of the book. When they are finished they will be presenting and teaching to the rest of their fellow GT friends, but not just their peers, they will also be presenting to two other GT programs in our district. We divided the book amongst students from Northern Hills and Windcrest and will share virtually with all of those students. The kids are excited about having the opportunity to present to other schools in our district.
In 2nd grade we continued to work on finishing our Polygon centers. Many kids are nearly finished and ready to showcase all that they have learned next week in their final assessment. The centers have been fun and their new knowledge will positively impact their understanding of man-made and natural structures. Enjoy some of their finished centers below.
Polygon Riddle by Nate
Another Polygon Riddle by Michael and Dasom
Polygon Riddle by Jonas and John
Polygons by Abby
This week the kids were also introduced to another new word: Polyhedrons. The second graders knew right off that it probably had something to do with shapes because it started with POLY like polygons. One even guessed that maybe they were 3-D shapes. We watched a BrainPop and learned some new vocabulary related to polyhedrons. In the video the kids were introduced to a special type of polyhedron called the Platonic Solids. The 2nd graders had the chance to touch each solid and count the edges, faces, and vertices. Next week they will make the hexahedron. They are very excited.