Kinder: Fabulous First Day!

I was thrilled to finally be done with testing so that I could actually work with my awesome kindergarteners.  It is always fun to have the opportunity to get to know the kids, which is hard to do during the testing process.

We had a great first class.  We spent some time talking and getting know each other.  We talked about the need to feel safe in GT, so that we can take the academic risks that will stretch our thinking in new ways.

The kids had a chance to learn a little bit about coding, using a great app called Hopscotch.  Enjoy.

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:


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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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Kinder: Four Weeks of Fun

I can hardly believe that I have had the awesome pleasure of working with my kindergarteners for four weeks already.  They are an energetic, amazingly bright bunch of kiddos.  I know we will have a lot of fun this year and in the years to come.

One of my goals in GT is to help develop stronger vocabularies for my students.  In Kindergarten we have a word of the week.  I am working to get the kids to use their word outside of our classroom, too.

Word of the Week:


This word connected to convergent thinking, working to eliminate clues and wrong answers to get to the ONE right answer.

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In life it is important to know that we should always be curious and excited to learn new things.  This word connects to our goal to have inquisitive minds.

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Week 4: ELATED

We are obviously ELATED to be at GT on Fridays. 🙂

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In Kinder GT we will be working on developing our convergent, divergent, and visual thinking skills each week.

Convergent Thinking: We use clues to help us find the ONE right answer.

We have worked on X-Tiles, finding mystery numbers.  We have solved some logic puzzles. We used clues to help discover Mystery Creatures.  The kindergarteners then researched an animal they did not know a lot about, wrote their own clues and used a great app called Educreations to share their clues with us.  Enjoy their work below.

By Miles:

By Ellison:

By Aubrie:

By Mila:

By Sayuri:

By: Tristan

Visual Thinking: The kids are learning to look for patterns to find ONE SOLUTION that works.

 They have enjoyed playing with pentominoes to build different size rectangles. They have also used pentominoes to solve different shaped puzzles.

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Divergent Thinking: Learning to brainstorm to find LOTS and LOTS of answers.

 We haven’t done much with this type of thinking…YET!  But I did have the kids participate in an activity called Turn Over.  They were given a squiggle and a noun.  They had to turn their squiggle into that object. We will be working more on this type of thinking in the coming weeks. 

Kindergarten: Six Dots

Our last two weeks together we continued working on developing our divergent thinking skills.  I gave each child a blank sheet of paper and had them draw six dots spread out over their page.  We then tore our paper into six pieces and each piece had to have a dot on it.  The kindergartners had to scrutinize (new vocabulary word) their pieces and think about what they could become.  They used colored pencils to add details so that we could see what they visualized.  It was amazing to see what images were hiding in their torn pieces.

After creating six different images each child chose one to create a Cinquain poem about.  The kids learned parts of speech to create their new poem.  They had to learn the difference between nouns, verbs, and adjectives in order to write their poem.  After writing their poem, they used an app called Fotobabble to put their poem and their torn art together.

I hope you enjoy them.  I certainly had fun watching them create.

**Parents, I am so sorry. As I started adding the kids work, I realized that we were missing 5 due to some technical difficulties.  I am really bummed out, as all the kids did an amazing job.  I will check the iPads for the remaining 5 and see if I can fix the issues.

Kindergarten: Becoming Divergent Thinkers

The last couple of weeks with my kindergartners seemed to be wrapped around becoming divergent thinkers, which can be a little intimidating.  With divergent thinking there are NO wrong answers.  Even kindergartners have learned that teachers and parents find it pleasing when we share the ‘correct’ answer, so the idea that there is no correct answer seems daunting.  We started by discussing the word DIVERGE, to go in different directions.  The kids then looked at a series of circles on a page and we brainstormed things that are round.  The kids were then given the page and they created images out of the circles.  We did a gallery walk to see how our minds went in a variety of directions.  From there I gave all of the kids a paper with the same black squiggle on it.  They could turn their page in ANY direction and turn the squiggle into something by adding details.  Enjoy their work:

Kindergarten: Short and Sweet

I was thrilled to finally get my kinder kids back after having 2 Fridays off, of course our day was shortened for Fiesta Fun and following our Early Dismissal schedule.  None the less we managed to squeeze in some GT Fun.  

This week we focused on the idea that artists communicate through their art.  They tell stories, make us feel, share their feelings all through their work.  We looked through a series of paintings and discussed how they made up feel and why.  The kids enjoyed debating their answers and were surprised that a painting that could make someone feel scared could make someone else feel happy.

Word of the Week:


Kinder: Non-Verbal Communication

The last couple of weeks in kindergarten, we have been focusing on verbal communication, through our study of Tomorrow’s Alphabet and The Alphabet Tree.  This week we took a look at ways we communicate without saying a word. We went through a slide show with images and the kids discussed what each image “said”.  We looked at everything from signs in the world (like the NO CELL PHONE SIGN 🙂 ) to body language in athletes after a big play.  

My oldest daughter must have known that I was teaching non-verbal communication today, because she was ‘kind’ enough to give me the perfect story about body language and facial expressions. So, after sharing my story about my grumpy 5th grader, I read a story called Yo! Yes? and we discussed what the body language of the characters told us about the story.  After the story, the kids listened to me read several sentences and attempted to match the right facial expression to each sentence.  They did a great job.

After matching the facial expressions to each sentence, I talked to the kids about how we can tell a whole story with our bodies.  I modeled choosing 3 different facial expressions to tell a story that I have experienced recently.  Each kindergartner then chose 3 facial expressions to tell their own story.  After they completed their non-verbal story, they used an app called Comic Book to take pictures of their story and they were allowed to add a verbal aspect using speech and thought bubbles.  Not all of the kids were able to finish, but here are a few examples.

ComicBook-App 2

ComicBook-App 3

ComicBook-App 4

ComicBook-App Taylor

Kinder: Tomorrow’s Alphabet and More

Prior to Spring Break we read a great book called Tomorrow’s Alphabet by George Shannon.  It is an alphabet book, but with an interesting twist.  The kids caught on to the pattern quickly, so I had each student create their own page to a new version of Tomorrow’s Alphabet.  Instead of using the entire alphabet, we used the letters that spelled out KINDERGARTEN GT.  After each student made their own page, they took a picture of their work using the iPads.  We uploaded all their work into Dropbox and then the kids learned to insert their pictures into iMovie.  Each student recorded themselves reading their portion of the book, I added a first page and some music to finish the project off.  Enjoy their work below.  You will notice that a few of the kiddos need to learn how to project their voice, but we will get there. 

This week we read another great book, Not A Box by Antoinette Portis.  It is a story about a rabbit that finds many uses for a box, none being that of an actual box.  His Not-A-Box becomes a burning building, a rocketship, a Mountain, a race car, and many more amazing things, but never a box.  To work on our divergent thinking, I gave a picture of a box to each child. They glued it onto the center of their paper and brainstormed things their Not-A-Box could become.  I loved seeing their creative ideas.  Since I happened to have a box in my room, I took pictures of each child in the box.  We then got the iPads out to start phase 1 of a 3 phase project. 🙂 The kids learned about a great app called PicCollage. They learned to insert a photo from the camera roll, how to clip it, how to insert a background, add text and save their finished product back to the camera roll.  Below you will see a few of their PicCollages.  They are part of a bigger Not-A-Box project.

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 This week instead of getting a new word of the week, we reviewed the ones we’ve learned so far: Finicky, Colossal, Pungent, and Elated.  I love how the kids are starting to use these words in their regular vernacular.  I even had one awesome mommy stop by to tell me her son said he was “elated that she had come to have lunch with him”.  Awesome!  Since we were not getting a new word, I had the kids break into 4 groups and I assigned them each one of our previous words.  They used another great app called, Comic Book to create a vocabulary comic strip.  Now, these kindergartners really amazed me!  They had plans for how to tell the story and act out the meaning of each of their words.  I know that by the end of the year they are going to have some amazing comic strips.  

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Kinder: It’s All About Communication

In GT the kindergartners reviewed what they remembered about our discussion on communication.  They recorded ways that we communicate on their brainstorming sheet.  Many of the kids recorded ideas that we had previously discussed, but I also saw many new ideas, which was great.   Some of the ideas: Sign Language, numbers, exit signs, labels, logos, body language, phones, etc.  After we shared the many ways we could communicate the kids showed 4 ways they personally communicate with the world around them.  

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We also read a fun story called Tomorrow’s Alphabet. It is  an ABC book with an unusual twist.  Tomorrow’s Alphabet starts with A is for seed, tomorrow’s apple and the pattern continues throughout the story.  The kindergartners picked out the pattern right away and did a fantastic job predicting what the Tomorrow piece would be for each letter.  We are working on creating our own version titled Tomorrow’s Kindergarten GT.  This week we focused on brainstorming words for each letter in KINDERGARTEN GT.  On Friday each student will create a page of our book.

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We have also been working on our convergent thinking skills through X-Tiles.  The kids have to work through a series of clues to help uncover our mystery number.  This week they learned odd and even, between, and what NOT means in theses clues. The kids write the digits 0-9 on their desks, yes their desks. I did remind them that they shouldn’t use the tables at home to play X-Tiles, so hopefully your tables will stay marker free. 🙂

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Word of the Week: February 21


Jordan T. told us he created a new gamed based on the word colossal.  I love how he made a school to home connection to our new word.  To play the game: You roll a dice and you get that many blocks to help build your tower.  You continue around until one person has built the most colossal tower, without it falling over.  I love his inventiveness.  Thanks for sharing, Jordan T.

Word of the Week: February 28

Pungent-Strong Smell

Things that the kindergartners consider pungent: onions cooking, fire, skunks, garlic, vinegar, feet, morning breath, armpits and many others.  I look forward to hearing what the kids have to say after discussing our new word at home.