In kindergarten last week the kids started the day by making a pair of BRAINFOCALS. These special glasses encourage divergent thinking, the ability to look at the world with more than one lens.
After creating our new glasses we set them to the side to dry and spent some time thinking about how artists communicate with the world without saying a word. We looked at a series of famous paintings, everything from Picasso to Monet to Van Gogh. The kids considered how the different paintings made us feel and how a picture can speak to us through color, brush strokes, shape, etc. Each student then created 4 images that conveyed different feelings from joy to love to anger.
Once we were done discussing how art can be a way for one to communicate a story, a feeling, an event we were ready to try on our new BRAINFOCALS and see how they can help push us to look at things in unique ways. Each student was given a paper with 4 black scribbles on it. They had to look at the scribbles and think about what they could become. The kids were able to share their different ideas and see that no two people look at things in the exact same way. The kindergartners used crayons to add on to their black scribbles and create different pictures.
Next week we will continue to use our Brainfocals and explore what letters can be…besides the obvious. We will also look at how musicians are able to communicate through lyrics and instruments.
In second grade we have been learning about different walls around the world, understanding both the concrete and abstract purposes behind some of the great walls in our world.
Our study took us to Australia and the kids enjoyed researching animals native to that continent. Each student researched two animals using a great site called australian-animals.net. The students then considered what would happen if they created a new animal using characteristics from the two they researched. You can click on the news flyer below to see the kids research. Currently only 2 students are completely done. I will update the smore as the kids finish up their books. Most are nearly done.
We also had the chance to explore The Great Wall of China and learn a bit out the history of the wall. The second graders used pastels to create an art piece on the wall and then they used the ipads to create a poster with their art piece and a 6 word summary for the wall. Enjoy their work below.
The Great Wall of China on PhotoPeach
Tomato Plant versus Bean Plant
Today I had a math problem out for the kids to solve for their morning work. I thought they would have it finished and turned in within 30 minutes…boy was I wrong! They struggled, I mean really struggled. It was interesting to see and a real eye opener to me. I learned they needed more times to struggle, to be unsure, to have to sit with a problem. When the kids came back from lunch we went over what we knew about the problem and the math needed. I had the kids work as tables to try and find a solution. We ended up spending most of our day on this one problem. They wanted for me to bail them out, to feed them the information and I refused. They all had the tools they needed to conquer the problem, but they weren’t used to the uncertainty. They all eventually solved it and were quite proud of themselves. We discussed the value in making mistakes, in sticking with something that is challenging. I think we all learned from this moment and you better believe that next week they will have the opportunity to feel the struggle again. Below is a video of one of the groups solutions.
In 3rd Grade we have spent the last 2 weeks looking into the world of neurons, their parts, how they work, and why they matter. The kids created a neuron using pipecleaners and used PicCollage to share the parts and functions of the neuron. They also created a simile to help explain what the neuron does for us.
In 5th grade I have been encouraged the kids to commit a portion of their class time to a project that interests or fascinates them. It is not something that needs to relate to anything we have been studying in class, but rather something they are passionate about. I started this at the beginning of the year and it has been quite a challenge to get the kids to understand that this is really THEIR time to explore, think, try, problem solve, etc. They finally had an epiphany a month or so ago and have been getting into the it. I have kids working on fashion lines and thinking about the marketing and production involved, kids working on water-powered cars, kids working on prototypes to help create an app, kids learning how to program, kids studying historical features they want to understand, etc. The ideas are quite diverse, as they should be. I hope that I can learn from my 5th graders this year so that I can make Genius Hour a more productive and successful part of our GT classroom next year.
Here are some of the projects that the kids are working on. Remember that none are completed. This is just a glimpse into their world so far.
The above image is a design for one level of the app the kids are attempting to plan out. It is a maze game, full of multiple levels, and chances to earn new levels, backgrounds, and balls.
These are some pictures of a few of the kids hard at work. The girls are working on the idea of a water-powered car and experimenting with water and batteries to understand more about water and its abilities. The boys are creating a physical version of their maze to test out as they work on the idea for the app they want to create.
I am missing my awesome first graders! I had to be out last week because I had a sick kiddo and this Monday the kids were busy with Fiesta of Fine Arts. While Fiesta of Fine Arts is a fabulous experience for the kids, I sure missed my time with them. I am working to find some time to squeeze in a little time with them on Friday. I had to share a post it note left by one of my first graders, Tyler. I think he is missing GT as much as I am missing the kids.
“Don’t forget to print copies of Ken Ken.”
Tyler loves his logic puzzles. :)
We have still been at work in first grade. We spent time talking about self discovery and then got into crayons as a discovery. With that we discussed that not all discoveries have equal importance. We are currently looking at the Gold Rush and how the discovery of gold changed the landscape of California and the Western part of the United States. We are getting into the idea of inflation and supply and demand, as we look at the Gold Rush. I think the kids are enjoying it, I know that I am.
I have to mention that one of my favorite things about this school year is seeing all of the super dads and grandpas roaming our halls as Bulverde Creek WatchDogs. It is neat to see wonderful male role models interacting with the boys and girls in our school. I am a little late in posting, but I was lucky to have one of these awesome watchdogs come and visit my 3rd Grade GT class one morning in April. I know that the kids loved having him join in our their QR Scavenger Hunt.
In 3rd through 5th grade my students are introduced to algebra through a program called Hands On Equations. The third graders have completed level 1 and have been putting their understanding into practice through algebraic verbal problems. To test their understanding so far the kids were paired up and given a clue and an iPad. They used the iPad to scan a QR code that matched their clue. The QR code revealed a verbal problem that they had to solve algebraically. Once they solved it they had to find me so that I could check their answer. If they had it correct they were given their next clue, if not they had to go back to the problem and try again. It was a fun way to assess how the kids were doing.
Here are some examples of the problems they were solving:
If five times a number, increased by 3, gives the same result as twice the number increased by 30, find the number.
Mark is 4 years older than Kate. Together, the sum of their ages equals three times Kate’s age. How old is each?
Again, a big thanks to Mr. Walls for taking time out of his schedule to diligently patrol the halls and cafeteria and to give of his time in so many classrooms.
In third grade we have been busy learning about the brain. We have explored the large and small parts of the brain, as well as the four lobes. In exploring the functions of the various parts of the brain the kids were introduced to a guy named Phineas Gage that helped develop the understanding of how the brain is connected to behavior. Unfortunately, Phineas Gage suffered a deadly injury to his frontal lobe. The changes in his behavior led his doctor to make some interesting questions and suppositions. The 3rd graders shared their new knowledge of Phineas Gage with their Wideos below. Enjoy!
It has been far too long since I have posted, but rest assured that we have been hard at work in GT. Friday mornings, with my kindergartners, have been especially busy.
Two weeks ago we worked on learning how to amp up a simple sentence into a POWER sentence. After reading The Alphabet Tree the kids learned the strength that words can have when we connect them with other words to make sentences. We then learned how to take the simple subject-verb sentences and make them stronger through adjectives and using more vivid verbs. The kindergartners used a cool web tool called Google Story Builder and worked to move a sentence from the simple to the powerful. I hope you will enjoy the samples below. Just click on the links below to watch their sentences evolve.
After spending time thinking about how words play an important role in communication we did an activity called Which Face? This activity allowed the kids to realize that our facial expressions and body language can communicate just as clearly as our words…sometimes more clearly than words. The kids had 9 faces on a piece of paper. I would read a sentence and they had to match my sentence to the correct expression. After they were finished, they chose one of the faces to create a nonverbal story. Enjoy their interpretations below.
This past week we finished up facial expressions by having each kid choose 4 feeling words (from a list we brainstormed) and they used the iPads to take their pictures demonstrating each feeling. The kids labeled each of their feelings. As you can imagine I got a lot of HAPPY, SAD, MAD, etc. I wanted to encourage the kids to develop their vocabulary, to use stronger words. I introduced them to the term synonym and to a thesaurus. Each student had to find a synonym for each of their 4 original feelings words. It was a lot of fun. We ended up with words like MELANCHOLY SPIRITED, APPREHENSIVE, FEROCIOUS, GLUM. The kids inserted their 4 pictures into an app called PicCollage to create a poster of their four facial expressions. They then inserted their PicCollage into another fun app called Wordfoto. They typed their original feeling words along with their new synonyms. I think the finished products are awesome.
Which Face? on PhotoPeach
Continuing with our theme of nonverbal communication, I had the kids watch a beautiful silent movie called Monster Box. It was created by 4 french graduate students at Bellecour Ecoles D’Art. After watching the video the kindergartners used oil pastels and watercolors to create their own monsters. They wrote a cinquain poem about their monster and used an app called Videolicious to record themselves reading their poem as the audience enjoys their monster art.
Thank you for making the time to come join me this morning. I love getting to know the parents and it was awesome that we had 100% attendance. I just love matching my students with their awesome parents. I hope that you enjoyed the meeting. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns that pop up.
Today in Gt we corrected our very complicated HOE (hands on equations), Taught our classmates about different types of values, Started genius hour (so much fun!!!!!!!!!!!), and read a few chapters from our new novel The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, it is so cool.
Our HOE is complicated because we have started a new lesson where we add and subtract positive and negative numbers, for example: *star-6=3 so what I would do is break up the 6 into two positive 3’s so that the numbers are easier to work with. Now you know that one positive 3 equals another positive 3, but how do you get the other positive 3 to disappear you may ask? The *star that we have needs to be the opposite of the positive 3 and that would be a negative 3 so *star= negative 3. You may think that it isn’t that complicated that is only one of the easiest ones.
Values is something in Gt that we started last week and are really starting to focus on. So to kick off the learning Mrs. Germadnik had us look up definitions of different types of values and create a presentation to teach our classmates. We also had to explain what the value means to us and it was sorta hard when the definitions made no sense to you,but in the end we all learned something about all of the types of values.
Then we started Genius hour.A new tool that Mrs.Germadnik is using to get our class to start working on ideas that we came up with not her (it is like independent study but not independent). Some of us are working on apps, some of us were making books,and some of us are trying to make the world more efficient And I think that it is better than independent study time because you can have the option of working with a partner or to work by yourself, and with a partner you can try different things with some feed back from them too.
Finally we read a few chapters of The Boy In The Striped Pajamas and we talked about the setting where the book takes place. Amazingly it takes place in WW2 at a concentration camp named Auschwitz and the main characters dad actually works for Hitler. So next week we are going to have to see what happens to our main character Bruno and camp Auschwitz.
See ya next time!!!!!
By Madison P.
Wow, I didn’t realize how busy we were until I read Madison’s blog entry. We were moving and grooving today. Please enjoy the kids presentations below.