5th Grade: Pythagorean Theorem


The 5th graders are studying philosophers, many of whom were our early mathematicians and scientists.  We had a lot of fun learning about Pythagoras and exploring his theorem.  The kids had a chance to use the Pythagorean Theorem to find the length of the diagonal of a rectangle all around our room.  They also created their own Pythagorean Theorem problems for their classmates to solve.  I love the creativity of their problems.


By Abby

By An

By Dasom

By Quinn

By Nate

By Evan

Measuring Around the Room:

3rd Grade: Big Ideas of Systems

Systems is the Universal Theme for 3rd grade. The 3rd graders started by thinking about what comes to mind when they hear the word systems.  They created a definition and shared examples of systems in their notebook. We then looked at the generalizations or big ideas and thought about if our definition fit one or more of the Big Ideas and whether our examples fit, as well.

The third graders grouped up and created a presentation to teach their classmates the understanding of one of the generalizations, or Big Ideas, related to Systems.

3rd Grade: Beginning HOE

The third graders are learning algebra using our Hands On Equations kits. These are videos that were made after one of our earlier lessons, before they started learning the legal moves.  The kids will have to make new videos with their new understanding. They love it as much as I do and we are almost done with Level 1.  Next come the verbal problems, which are also a lot of fun.

2nd Grade: Structures

In 2nd Grade our Universal Theme is STRUCTURES.  We will look at how the big ideas of Structure connects to our life.  There is a structure to the houses we live in, the trees we climb on, the water we drink.  There is also a structure to how our school runs, the laws of our land, and our number system. Structure is everywhere.

The kids learned about the Big Ideas of Structure and drew images that connected to each idea.

We also jumped into learning details about the square and how it connects to our Big Ideas of structure.

In learning about squares we wondered which number of tiles could build a square.  The 2nd graders would choose a number and attempt to build it in the shape of a square using color tiles.  This launched us into learning about Square Numbers and multiplication.

From squares we launched into a natural structure, crystals.  We watched a Brainpop on crystals and the children took notes using our Depth and Complexity icons.

We followed our Brainpop video up with a chance to grow crystal snowflakes.  We used Borax, pipe cleaners, and boiling water.  The 2nd graders learned a new language of the discipline: Saturation Point as we grew our crystals.

After growing our crystals we explored how different crystals have different structures. The second graders studied three substances using our Jewlers’ Loupes and recorded what they observed.  They learned the 3 crystals they studied were actually ones we eat: Table Salt, Sugar, and Kosher Salt.  After their observations they used our Zome kit to build the crystal lattice of a salt crystal.

The second graders were interested in what made salt different from sugar, so we talked about how all things are made up of a combination of elements.  I showed the periodic table and we talked about which elements made salt and sugar.  One of our classmates shared that they knew what elements made water, so we added that to our learning as well.  Next week we will explore the water molecule in more detail.


3rd-5th First Day of Class

So, clearly this post is a bit delayed as we are now almost at the end of the first semester of school.  I am going with the theory “better late, than never.” I like to post weekly, so my goal is to get back to that habit.  I am also planning on putting these awesome kids to work.  They should be blogging about our week and I should just be adding the footnote.

Two things still stick out for me from my first day with 3rd, 4th, and 5th.  Break the Box and 6 Word Quotes.

Escape the Room has become a fun challenge for adults and kids alike.  My 5th grader is still talking about how much fun she had at Escape Haus in New Braunfels.  Essentially the goal is to use clues to help break out of a room that you have been locked into.  Fun if you aren’t claustrophobic. Many educators have been doing a similar activity in their classrooms, but instead of breaking out of a room you are trying to break into a box.  The 3rd, 4th and 5th graders each had to use clues to open a series of locks that eventually gave them access to a task in the box.  The task was specific to our Universal Theme for each grade level.  There also may, or may not have been a Starburst awaiting them as a reward for success.  The kids loved it.  I loved watching them have to work together, figure out what were and were not clues in my room.  I learned by Thursday to assure them that clues were not hidden in closets and drawers and there was no need to make my room a crime scene. We cannot wait to do it again.

The second thing that still sticks with me is their first day assignment.  Each student was to bring in a quote that meant something to them, that they connected to in some way.  They had to present to the class.  I then hung the quotes around the room and the kids had to write a 6 word phrase that summarized who they are at the core, or something they believed strongly about life.  They had to use only the words from the quotes around the room.  It was challenging, fun, and engaging. Reading their 6 word quotes also gave me incredible insight into the child as a person, as well as the class as a whole.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

My 3rd Graders are a bunch of little Yodas.

4th Grade definitely had a little theme going. It was interesting to see how many of their 6 words were about imagination and creating.

And 5th Grade: Mistakes, Creativity, Never giving up are the building blocks of a good life.

2nd-5th Grade: Mission Statements

We are a Leader In Me school, which means that we are working hard to live a life following the Seven Habits:

Be Proactive
Begin with the End in Mind
Put First Things First
Think Win-Win
Seek First to Understand, then be Understood
Sharpen the Saw

In order to better live these habits we need to have a shared mission.  During the first week of GT, each grade answered the following questions: What are we here to do? How are we going to accomplish it? Why are we doing this.  The kids added their ideas to a chart on our board with post-it notes.


We then looked for patterns within our answers and used those patterns to create one shared mission.  I think the kids did great.

3rd-5th Grade: Parent Meeting

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to attend the parent meeting. I know that is difficult to do.  It was great seeing and talking to so many of you.  It is always nice to meet the parents of the terrific kids I work with.  Thank you for entrusting me with your children each week.

If you weren’t able to make it, please take a moment to go through the presentation below.  Please do not hesitate to email any question you may have.

3rd Grade: Catapults

In our study of Leonardo Da Vinci as an inventor, the kids had a chance to build a catapult with materials they could find in my room.  Loved their inventiveness.  They had to problem solve and rebuild as they worked to make their catapult fling their fuzzy over the castle walls. 🙂 After testing their catapult, they used DoInk Green Screen and iMovie to bring their catapult to life.  Enjoy.

Kinder: Fabulous First Day!

I was thrilled to finally be done with testing so that I could actually work with my awesome kindergarteners.  It is always fun to have the opportunity to get to know the kids, which is hard to do during the testing process.

We had a great first class.  We spent some time talking and getting know each other.  We talked about the need to feel safe in GT, so that we can take the academic risks that will stretch our thinking in new ways.

The kids had a chance to learn a little bit about coding, using a great app called Hopscotch.  Enjoy.