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.

4th Grade: Begin with the End in Mind

As we continue our journey in the world of Leader In Me, I see the value in Habit 3: Begin with the End in Mind.  We all need to have a focus, know what we are working towards, to have a goal, otherwise all our work is for naught.  I want the kids to think about why they come to GT, the purpose, so I had the 4th graders create a Mission Statement for GT:

IN GT, we are here to OPEN OUR MINDS and STRETCH OUR BRAINS by making mistakes, asking questions, and collaborating.

As GT learners, we will make new friends through interacting and synergizing, allowing us to feel safe to make errors.

By persevering, improvising, and doing things in different ways, we will DEVELOP OUR TALENTS, which will grow our brains.

We will CHALLENGE ourselves by ZOOMING PAST OUR LIMITS, creating new limits and goals.

We will have FUN as we excel as LEARNERS and LEADERS.

I asked the children to think more personally: What did they hope to gain after a year in GT?  Why spend your Wednesdays with me?  How do you want to be different in June.  The kids used Photofy to share the END they expect and hope for.

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4th Grade: Exploring the Multiple Intelligences

The 4th graders had a chance to complete a survey to see how they were smart according to Howard Gardner and his Multiple Intelligences Survey.  In order for the kids to understand what their results mean in their lives, they needed to know what it means to be Linguistically Intelligent or Bodily-Kinesthetic.  The kids participated in a QR Scavenger Hunt to learn about each intelligence.

After researching each intelligence, the 4th graders broke into groups and created a quit skit to demonstrate one of the intelligences.  They performed for the class and we had to use our notes and new knowledge to figure out which intelligence they were showcasing.


4th Grade: What is Smart?

“It’s not how smart you are, it’s how you are smart.”

-Howard Gardner

This year in 4th grade we are working to develop our talents so that we can consider how we can use our talents to do something meaningful in the future.  To start off, I had the kids tackle a quote quizzler.  It revealed the quote above.  The kids loved working through the puzzle…and I loved watching their strategies.  

After reading and discussing what we thought the quote might mean, I asked the kids what it means to be smart.  The 4th graders used Google Draw to showcase their thoughts.  You can see their various perspectives below.

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After thinking about the word SMART and its meaning, the children completed a survey to help determine what their strengths and weaknesses were in regard to the Multiple Intelligences.  Howard Gardner believed that there were many ways to be intelligent and that we all have areas of strength and weaknesses individual to us.  Below you can see graphs of the 4th graders’ results.

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It is About Time!

I do not think I have ever made it into 3 weeks of classes without blogging, as well as barely tweeting and instagramming. Definitely not the norm for me and one I hope to start rectifying now.

As I have said before, I want for parents, friends, and family to feel a part of the learning that is happening in the GT classroom. It should not be a mystery. I know that the parents of these amazing kiddos have a great deal to share with us. I love when parents share articles, video clips, etc. that relate to things that we are learning about in the classroom. Actually I love when you share any thing that provokes thought, even if not related to our units.

I am always striving to improve the GT program here at Bulverde Creek. I want the kids to feel challenged, encouraged to be risk takers, to feel free to experiment with their thinking. This year each grade level wrote (on their own, with minimal say from me) a mission statement. The mission statements are to align with what the kids expect to get out of GT. My job, and their’s, is to be sure that our learning is following the path of this mission. This aligns with Bulverde Creek’s implementation of the Leader In Me philosophy. You will also see that your children have WIGs (Wildly Important Goals) and Leadership Roles in the GT classroom.

I would like to work this year on putting the kids in the path of more hands-on constructivist learning. I would like to do this through an addition of Makerspaces and Curiosity/Genius Hour. I am not exactly sure how this will work with my various grade levels, but I know I want to ease into it. I am excited about the possibilities and seeing what these children are capable of.

I am wrestling with a lot of changes I want to make, while incorporating Leader In Me, in an effort to grow our program. Perhaps all of these potential changes and new ideas is what is keeping me off blogging and tweeting. 🙂

I hope that your children are enjoying GT so far this year. I look forward to growing and learning with them this year and in years to come.

4th Grade: Tuck Everlasting Vocabulary

We are currently reading Tuck Everlasting in 4th grade.  It is a beautifully written book, chock full of amazing examples of figurative language and spectacular vocabulary.  Each week my students are choosing 5 new words to learn from our novel.  Our goal is to start using the new vocabulary in our daily conversations and in our writing.

The kids used a fun webtool, Powtoon, to create cartoons to help teach the meaning of their new word.  Not all are perfect, but I like that they are playing with these new words. 

4th Grade: Sequences and Fibonacci

We have just started to dive into the wonderful world of math and Fibonacci.  Last Wednesday the kids went through a series of challenging sequences, one being the famous sequence popularized by the great mathematical thinker, Fibonacci.  The kids had a blast playing with the sequence and seeing how quickly the numbers grew.

This Wednesday the kids created their own sequences.  They had to include at least 2 mathematical operations.  The 4th graders created QR codes so that we could check and see if we were able to figure out the mathematical pattern in their sequence.  The Thinglink below houses all of the kids sequences.  You can try to solve them and then check your answers by scanning the QR codes on their 2nd slide.  To scan a QR code you need a QR reader on your phone, tablet, etc.  There are ton of free ones: qrafter, red laser, att scanner, any will do.

After creating their sequences, the kids had the chance to use a new tool called Pixton to create cartoons of Fibonacci’s sequence in action.  Not all of the kids are finished, but below are a few of the cartoons created so far.  I will share the rest as they finish up. To see the full cartoon, click on the square with the arrows pointing out on the bottom right of each cartoon.