First Day of Kinder GT!

Today was my first day with my incredible kindergartners   We really hit the ground running and these kids were more than ready!  I will let them tell you about our day below.

A.M.: We rot on the tabl.  We got to yoos the iPad and we got to hav fun.

Ethan: We rot on the tabl.  We mad videows and thot of wrds in GT.

Jovanah: We wrote on the table. We made our feelings.

Juliana: We lrnd all ubowt communication.

Justin: We had fun.  And we droo on the tabl.  But we will be puding this on the blog.

E.S.: We rot on the tabl. We got to yooz the iPads.

Today we started by taking a pre-test to show what we know about COMMUNICATION.  The kindergartners had to think about the BIG IDEA, the DETAILS, the RULES, and the LANGUAGE of the DISCIPLINE related to communication.  This is a great way for me to see where every child is starting out.  We then went and brainstormed ideas and words related to communication on one of our tables…yes, we wrote on the tables!  Don’t worry, I explained that we could only do this in GT, with my special markers. 🙂

Following our brainstorm the kids thought about ways they communicate each day.  Each child brainstormed 4 ways they communicate and drew a picture to go with their idea.  I then put the iPads in their hands.  I partnered the kids up and they had to take each others pictures as they acted out the 4 ways they communicate.  We then used an app called SHOW ME to import their pictures and the kids recorded themselves talking about each of their pictures.  While the quality is not perfect, I think they came out perfectly perfect for their first attempt.  We will definitely work on voice level and expression as we do more projects.  However, they each did all of the work themselves, so that is pretty impressive.  I am excited just thinking of all that we can do this year.  I hope you enjoy the movies.







3rd Grade Has Been Busy

The 3rd graders have been very busy over the past few weeks.  Enjoy a look at a very FEW things that they have been up to.

Punished by David Lubar:

We have been reading this wonderful book about a boy named Logan who finds himself in quite an unusual predicament…he can only speak in PUNS!  While his sister and principal get quite a kick out of it, you can imagine that it is causing a lot of issues with other friends, teachers, and family members.  Logan was punished by a clever guy named Professor Wordsworth.  The kids had to decide whether or not it was ethical for the professor to punish Logan.  Once the kids had made their arguments, they were forced to take the opposing view point and write a letter to Professor Wordsworth.  It was a challenge to get the kids to argue the opposing view, but they did a great job. Click on the cover of the book below and you will see all of their great letters.

Big Ideas of Systems:  The 3rd graders have been working to learn and understand the big ideas related to systems.  After discovering the difference between and heap and a system through our electrical circuit, we looked deeper into what made a system a system.  The kids took those ideas and created a movie to help showcase their understanding.  We will dive into the world of bridges next and connect back to the BIG IDEAS of systems.  I hope you enjoy their Animoto Movies.

First Day…First Grade!

What a fabulous first day with my fun-tastic first graders!  They were so excited to come to class and get their brains working.  Usually I will pull the kids every Monday morning from 8:00-10:20. Today we only met for an hour because I needed to finish up testing for a first grader.  I was pleased that she qualified and was able to participate in our first class.  We are now at 16 students.  Yea!

Today the kids participated in an activity called Find the X.  X is our mystery number.  Each kid used a dry erase marker and wrote the digits 0-9 on their table…yes, I did say table.  The kids thought that was tons of fun.  I then revealed one clue at a time and we discussed the Language of the Discipline in that clue: between, less than, greater than, value, NOT.  After reading and discussing the clues the kids would eliminate numbers until only one number was left as our mystery number.

After Find the X Tile I had the kids brainstorm words, thoughts, ideas that came to mind when thinking about GT.  They brainstormed their words onto their tables.  They then took a walk around the room to look at their classmates’ tables.  Once they had the chance to explore other kids thinking they came back to their table and added new ideas.

Alert: We did not get to share our homework.  There were a few children that forgot to bring their assignment.  Please be sure that your child has their homework November 26.


The Raven

This week the 4th graders worked with a challenging piece of literature by Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven.   The kids started by looking at an image of a raven and thinking of words connector to mind when they stink about a raven.  They brainstormed words like dark, sad, creepy, and scary.  I then gave them a wordle that contained all of the words to The Raven, but they were mixed up.  The words used more than once in the poem are larger than other words.  Based on the words and their sizes, the students made predictions about the poem and its theme.  The kids made some surprising observations before even reading the poem.  The kids listened to and read the poem.  We discussed and summarized the different stanzas.  The kids then created a visual representation of the poem using pastels.  The children also created 6 word summaries to share the Big Idea of the poem. They used an app called Wordfoto to put their visual image and their 6 word summaries together.  Below are 2 examples.  Once all of the kids are done, I will put together a slideshow of all of their work to share.

Last Week:
Last week we read Blindmen and the Elephant. The kids participated in a Socratic Dialogue to better understand the underlying meaning of the story. Below are a few journal entries showcasing their understanding of the Big Idea of the story.


The Unexamined Life…

In 5th grade the kids started with a Quotation Quizzler, that revealed a quote by Socrates.  “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  The students spent time researching and learning more about who Socrates was, his life, his teaching, and his philosophy using a Depth and Complexity frame.  The kids then connected their learning back to our discussion on wisdom versus know it alls from last week. 

Here are some 2-sided people showcasing the differences between a Know It All and a Wise Person.

Coming Soon…Our Utopia Projects

The students spent time brainstorming the worst problems effecting society today.  They ranked the top 5 and came up with a rule that they thought would help erradicate one of the issues.  I think they were surprised to see how challenging it was.  Hopefully their projects will be ready to share next week.

Heap vs System

Heap: a collection of things thrown one on another. 

The 3rd graders started their morning by hunting around the room for an example of a system.  Each student had an opportunity to share their system and discuss what they believe made it a system.  I then introduced the kids to the BIG IDEAS of Systems.  They were surprised to see that each of their systems fit more than one of the BIG IDEAS.

After our pre-test on systems I gave each student a bag of items: tape, battery, light bulb, wire, and paper clip.  The children recorded their hypothesis and then went about proving whether the items they were given could become a system or a heap.  I was astounded by the kids focus and willingness to sit with ambiguity.  They had very few parameters which can be difficult.  When the students started to become frustrated and uncertain several of their classmates reminded them of the Impossible Notecard activity.  It was wonderful to see them make connections in their learning.

Puzzling Puzzles

In 4th grade we finally shared our puzzle pieces.  The kids loved taking a gallery walk to enjoy everyone’s work.  After enjoying each other’s unique pieces, we brainstormed all the things that came to mind when we thought about a piece of a puzzle.  They were wonderfully fluent in their brainstorm and had some great ideas.  Next week the kids will begin writing a metaphorical poem called, I Am a Puzzle Piece.  I know that they are going to come up with some clever connections.

I wanted to share a quick write with you by one of my 4th graders.  We started our first novel, Tuck Everlasting and I had the kids respond to Running away from our problems…

Running away from our problems is like us running away from our dreams and our life.  If we don’t push our boundaries we will never imagine greater and better things.  If we run from our problems it will effect our future because if you run you’ll never truly experience life the way I do.  Running away just doesn’t work.

-Liam S. 4th Grade GT Student

That was a quick write journal entry, meaning they had 3 minutes and no editing or revising was done.  I thought he had a powerful message that we could all be reminded of.


In 3rd grade we have been studying the brain and how it works.  During our study we had some questions about memory.  Why do we remember differently from others?  Why do we forget?  Why do we remember some things forever and forget others immediately?  These were just a few of the questions that were brought up in our study.  To help the kids understand that memory is not neccessarily truth, that emotions and other things play into what we remember and how we remember we did a version of a self-portrait.  The kids were told to fold a piece of paper vertically and draw half of their face.  After completing one side of their face I had them flip their paper over and attempt to draw the other side of their face without looking back at the work they started.  The kids then created a metaphor for memory.  Below are the results.  Enjoy!


Communication…What is it?

What is communication?

How do we communicate? 

What does communication look like? 

Communication is many different things.  Please tell us what you think communication is in the Answer Garden below.

What is communication?



Communication is…… at

Now, think about how communication has changed over time.  Add a comment to the post sharing ways you have seen communication change over time.

Mystery of Me

This week in 4th grade we continue to learn about Multiple Intelligences and the importance of understanding our strengths and weaknesses. That is the only way to grow and develop as learners, thinkers, and creators.

We also began looking into a fascinating number sequence discovered by a mathematician named Fibonacci. The children were fascinated to learn that the Fibonacci Numbers can be found throughout nature and even in the human body. We will continue to delve into this interesting mathematician and look at the mysteries he uncovered.

In exploring the mystery of who we are, the kids created Animoto movies with clues that help us better understand them. I hope you enjoy.