Kinder: We Love GT!

What a great time I have had with my kindergarteners this year!  They are a zany bunch that make me laugh every Friday.  I can’t wait until next year.  I know that they will be the highlight of my Monday mornings. Here are two videos from my cool kindergarteners.  You will see why my Fridays are such fun. Enjoy!

This one shares some of the new vocabulary we learned this year.  The kids used DoInk green screen to model the meaning of the words.In this video we see the fun we had in GT this year. You also get to hear what each of the kids enjoyed most.

Kinder: Brainfocals

Word of the Week:


Click on the pictures below and you will see a full sized image and caption.  


Convergent Thinking: ONE RIGHT Answer

Today we did another Crayon Logic puzzle. The kids use clues to determine which crayon belongs in which spot in the crayon box.

I also introduced the kids to a new logic game called Ken Ken.  It has some similarities to Sudoku, but it has an added math element. This was definitely tricky for a few of the kids, but we will keep working on it.

Divergent Thinking: LOTS & LOTS of Answers

Today the kids met Isabel the inventor and learned that she uses a type of thinking called Divergent thinking, which is different than Dudley the Detective’s way of thinking.  While Dudley uses clues to find one right answer, Isabel is interested in brainstorming and discovering lots of possibilities.

The kids started by making Brainfocals, which will allow them to focus on an object or idea and see all the possibilities.  We then read a story about a friend of Isabel’s that discovered a whisk in her house.  When she found out the function of a whisk she knew that she wanted Isabel’s help thinking of alternative uses.  Yolanda is not much of a cook.

We put on our brainfocals and studied the whisk.  The kids brainstormed all the ways a whisk could be used.  Here are their results.

The kindergarteners were given a sheet filled with bubbles, but they had to think about what else the bubbles might be.  Here are a few of their ideas.

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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.

2nd Grade: Tessellations

In 2nd grade we have been studying structures, both natural and man-made. Before the Christmas break we took a look at how snow crystals were formed, specifically the hexagonal nature of the snowflake.  This led to studying the beehive and seeing the connection between the two.  In looking at the beehive we learned about Tessellations and M.C. Escher.  The 2nd graders are currently creating their own Tessellation art inspired by Escher.  They started by creating their tile, then putting their divergent thinking skills to work and turned their tile into something. I always love to see what the kids come up with.  I will share their finished tessellations next week.

3rd Grade: Brain, Brain, and More Brain

We have been busy little neuroscientists and will be closing our study of the brain in the next couple of weeks.  We are just waiting the arrival of our sheep brains so that we can explore the brain in person to really bring our study to a close. The kids stop me in the halls every day to ask if they have arrived.  I think it is safe to say that they are excited to dissect the brain.  I am a bit more trepidatious, but their enthusiasm is catching.

Last week some of the kids wrote a song about the lobes of the brain using the tune of their favorite song.  You will not be surprised to find that two of the groups used songs from Frozen.

Before becoming song writers, the 3rd graders tried their hand at poetry.  They wrote Haikus about the lobes of the brain using an app aptly named Haiku Deck.

Today we learned about a gentleman that was an unwitting pioneer to neuroscience, Phineas Gage.  He was the unlucky (or was he lucky?) fellow that had a tamping iron drive a hole through his left cheekbone, behind his left eye, through his frontal lobe and out the front of his skull.  After reading about Phineas Gage, we participated in a lively Socratic Dialogue to discuss whether Phineas could be considered lucky or unlucky.  Following our Socratic Dialogue, the kids answered the question using Phineas’ voice.  Enjoy their responses below.

Kindergarten: Starting with Love

I was thrilled to finally have kinder testing complete so that we could start classes.  I will meet with my sweet kindergartners on Friday mornings.  Our first Friday was Valentine’s Day, so we wrapped some GT thinking skills around this special day of love and friendship.

We started with a logic puzzle, a Valentine Soduko.  One of my kindergartners knew the rules for Soduko and was able to teach the rest of his classmates.  The kids used the SmartBoard to drag the letters in LOVE to fill in our Soduko board.  They did a great job working together and explaining why certain letters worked in certain cells.

Photo Feb 14, 2 04 34 PM

After using our Convergent Thinking skills to solve our logic problem it was time to give our Divergent Thinking skills a work out. They started with a fluency activity, brainstorming all the ways we love.  They had some great ideas: HUGS, KISSES, LAUGHING, PLAYING, SHARING, etc.  Many of the kids discussed how hearts showed love, which led nicely into our next activity.  I showed them a cut out of a heart and we discussed what job the heart could have when it wasn’t busy at Valentine’s.  Each child glued a heart to a piece of paper and added details showing what other job it could have. They were quite creative.
Hearts at Work on PhotoPeach

We also read a wonderful poem called Honey, I Love by Eloise Greenfield.  The poem is a list of all the things that she loves, but in a twist at the end she shares something she DOES NOT love.  The kindergarteners made a list of the many things they do love and one thing they do not love.  I enjoyed reading their lists as it gave me some insight into their personalities.  I compiled their lists into a Wordle.  The bigger the word, the more it was used.  You can also see the sentences of the things they do NOT love.  Just like my kids, having to go to sleep is one of their not so favorite things. 🙂

kinder Wordle

And lastly, right before we finished our day we brainstormed many different things we love.  I hope you will add to our Padlet below!

2nd Grade: Tessellations

The last several weeks we have learned about polygons, polyhedrons, their connection to crystals, and then into their influence in the structure of the bee hive.  In looking at the bee hive the kids learned a new term: Tessellate.  We looked at examples in the world.  We explored the difference between regular, semi-regular, and demi-regular tessellations.  The kids were introduced to M.C. Escher and his incredible tessellations.

We first looked carefully at the rules and patterns related to tessellations.  The 2nd graders pulled out the pattern blocks and tried their hand at creating both regular and semi-regular tessellations. Here are some images of the kids in action.

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After exploring the regular, semi-regular tessellations and the demi-regular tessellations by MC Escher the kids and I decided we wanted to try our hand at creating a more complex tessellation, like Escher.  We used a note card, some scissors, and tape to create our complex shape and then set out to cover the plane of our paper with our new shape.  They are not quite done, but they are going to be awesome when they are finished.  Here are some picture so them working.

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We have also started a new novel, Punished.  It is a great book and will introduce the kids to some fun new words.  As I am reading, the kids are doodling what they are visualizing.  Here are some of their doodles.

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Fantastic Fourth Grade

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.


We started out the year by exploring and dissecting the quote above.  The fourth graders brought in their own interpretations of the quote, we participated in a Socratic Dialogue, and thought about the patterns between our discussion and the reports by the kids.  During this discussion we looked at the definition of the word mystery and brainstormed ideas that come to mind when we think of the word mystery.  We would love to hear what comes to your mind when you think of MYSTERY.  Please add your thoughts to the Padlet below.

The 4th graders went to the lab and started to explore different mysteries in history and science.  They are exploring in search of a topic that captivates them.  They will create a project based on their research.

This week the kids scanned some QR codes that revealed a mystery.  The students had to take notes of the details (important facts and features) from the story to help them decide on a solution.  I then revealed 4 additional clues that led them to the correct, or intended solution.  It was great fun to hear the kids solutions and to see how they change as they gained more information.  We will connect back to this next week.  After solving the One Minute Mysteries, the kids started to create their own.  Below is the only one finished so far.  I will post the rest next week.

A couple of the fourth graders had time to explore quotes related to mystery and share what they thought about them.  I also had a student search for a quote that related to them and explain how it connects.  Enjoy all of them below.

Happy New Year! School Year, That Is!

Welcome back to another school year.  I hope that your summer was filled with fun, relaxation and learning.  I know mine was.  My kids and I spent a lot of time at the pool, playing outside, enjoying the river, but I also dedicated some time to learning.  I went to a great conference and learned some exciting things that will impact our class this year.  I know I wasn’t the only learner this summer. I loved seeing so many of you participating in the Summer Edmodo courses.  It was one of the highlights of my summer.  I learned a lot from all of the kids participating and look forward to doing it again next year.  

While summer was great, I am so thrilled to be back in school ready for another fabulous year with my students.  Before I can dive into the best part of my job, teaching, I have to see what other great minds will be joining our classes.  I am starting testing for the second-fifth graders on Tuesday.  I hope to have it wrapped up the week of September 16th.  Be on the look out for Welcome Back letters that week.  They will have an assignment to jumpstart our thinking for the year.  

Classes for the 2nd through 5th graders will begin the week of September 23.  I am excited for classes to get started and have been brainstorming ways to make this year even better than last.  So, you better get in gear for another great adventure.

The End of Another Great Year!

I want to thank the kids and the parents for making this another fantastic year!  I am the luckiest teacher in the world to work with such great kids, with such supportive parents.  Please remember that I check my email all summer long.  I love to hear from the kids and about the kids.  I enjoy seeing pictures of the vacations and hear about all the swimming medals the kids get and their other extra curricular activities.

Here is a link if you are looking for ways to continue to enrich your child this summer:


3rd Grade:

Memories by 3rd Grade on PhotoPeach

4th Grade:

Remembering 4th Grade on PhotoPeach