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-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.

5th Grade: Utopias

In 5th grade as we consider what our responsibility is to the world. In order to have a better understanding of our responsibilities and ways we can make an impact we need to think about problems  impacting the world. This is the only way to  how we can impact change and where we should focus.

We went on QR hunt and recorded lyrics to the song World by Five for Fighting.  The 5th graders organized the lyrics in a way that made sense to them.  As a group they shared what they thought the song was talking about.  The kids then broke the lyrics down further, individually, as they listened to the song. Students brainstormed changes that might make a positive difference in a variety of areas: economy, Education, Government, and Basic Needs. The kids recorded their own thoughts in their notebook when after our chalk talk.

The 5th graders also grouped up to consider which of the problems brainstormed were within our circle of control and which were not.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We looked at two quotes to help us understand our role in attempting to make a change in the world.

“In dreams begin responsibility.”

-W.B. Yates

“If you take responsibility for yourself you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams.”

-Les Brown

To help us see how dreams, responsibility and impacting the world tied together, we looked at the definition of RESPONSIBILITY and DREAMS.  The kids created an object with origami and they had to force fit their item to connect to both definitions.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

5th Grade: #Responsibility

The 5th graders participated in a QR Hunt where they had the opportunity to learn about some Young Leaders taking responsibility for the world around them.  Some of the kids were making a big impact across the globe, others were impacting their immediate community.  After the kids read about these amazing kids we discussed patterns that emerged as they researched.  The 5th graders agreed that most of the kids saw a problem impacting their world and chose to DO something about it.  We looked at the word RESPONSibility and saw response in it.  The kids we read about saw a need and decided to respond.  So, the 5th graders again looked at our essential question, “What is our responsibility to the world around us?”  It was fun to see them start to see that they have the power to make a positive change.

The kids created a PicCollage with hashtags connected to responsibility and them.

Molly Journal Responsability

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

5th Grade: Defining Responsibility

In 5th grade our essential question is:

What is my responsibility to the world around me?

I wanted the kids to think about what the word responsibility means to them in this moment of time.  They had to think about ways and times they have to be responsible. Most of the kids thought about responsibility in terms of things we HAVE to do, chores, tasks, work assigned, etc.  Hopefully as we move through the year their understanding of responsibility (and mine too 🙂 ) will change.

After thinking about the the definition of responsibility we read a great short story by Langston Hughes, Thank You, Ma’am.  We looked at Mrs. Jones and what her responsibility was to Roger, a young boy who tried to steal from her.  We had a great Socratic Dialogue and some of the kids definition of responsibility started to deepen.


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.