5th Grade: Color Poetry

Reflecting on life in a colorless world as we read The Giver, the kids realized the power in a color.  We thought about the personality of color, personified it.  The 5th graders each chose a color and wrote a poem.  The bext part of this assignment is that we collaborated with other GT 5th graders from our district.  We read each other’s poems and gave honest, constructive feedback to help make our poems stronger.  It was an awesome experience.

4th Grade: Perspectives

Many, many weeks ago…maybe even months ago…we read a great story called The Blindmen and the Elephant.  Through our reading and Socratic Dialogue the 4th graders learned that it is important to not jump to conclusions, to consider things from many perspectives, and to gain feedback from others.  We learned that ofttimes our “our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.” Our experiences can cloud the way we look at or understand something.  Following the discussion, the 4th graders wrote their own perspective stories.  Click below to read and enjoy their work.

2nd Grade: Tangram Stories

Last week the 2nd graders created pictures using the Tangrams they had made in our study of the square..  This week the  kids created Force Fitting Noun stories based on the Tangrams they created.  I pulled names and put the kids together in pairs.  They had to create a story that encompassed both of their Tangram characters.  Once they created their story, they each took a picture of their Tangram and put them into PicCollage.  They saved their PicCollage and imported it into Fotobabble where they recorded their story.  I hope you enjoy their work as much as I did.  We need to continue to work on voice level and expression, but the kids had some clever story ideas.

We have had a great time learning some geometric terms through squares and Tangrams.  Next week the kids will be taking a Post-Test to show off all they have learned.  We used Educreations to review the vocabulary on Monday.  I would call out a word and the kids had to draw an example on their iPad.  We would then flash our answers and discuss the responses.  It was a fun way for the kids to practice the vocab, but it also allowed me to see which kids really knew their stuff and which were still a little tentative.  I was able to work with the kids that were less confident in a small group while the other kids worked on other geometry related activities.  Here are a couple of examples.

Fingerprint Fun

In 4th grade we have been learning about Mysteries and what better mystery is there, than the mystery of who we are.  We jumped into this discussion through our study of fingerprints.  We learned that every fingerprint is unique, with different twists and turns, just as each one of us is unique.  We bring different gifts and talents to the world.  The students explored their fingerprints and then created an abstract piece of art based on one of their prints.  The 4th graders then wrote a poem showcasing how they are a fingerprint.  Enjoy their work below.

It’s A Wheel…

In fourth grade we are reading a fabulous novel, Tuck Everlasting.  If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.  Natalie Babbitt is an amazing writer, she paints beautiful images with her words.

Today we read one of my favorite chapters, chapter 12.  In it Tuck is speaking to young Winnie about life.  Tuck and his family drank some water that has given them the gift, or curse, of immortality.  He is trying to help Winnie to see that the spring must remain a secret.

“It’s a wheel, Winnie.  Everything’s a wheel, turning and turning, and never stopping.”

Tuck goes onto explain that he is no longer a part of the wheel, that he and his family are stuck.  I had the kids do a quick write about LIFE OFF THE WHEEL.  Here are a couple of their responses.

Life off the wheel…

is like living without living.  It’s like dying but still remaining on the earth.  It is like getting pushed off into an endless abyss of hopelessness and dispair.

By Miguel

Life off the wheel…

is sad because other people get to ride the ride, the wheel and you are off having different experiences–good ones, but not the heart-pounding spirit-raising experiences.

By Preston

Life off the wheel…

is like being a puzzle piece with no place to fit.  It’s like death, but it’s not.  It’s living without the rotation.  Without the rotation of life-death-life-death-life-death.  You don’t get to ride with everyone else.  You’ll never grow, never change.  You’re stuck in your spot.  Right there. You know more than everyone, but you don’t connect with anyone.

By Joanna

Life off the wheel…

is like life alone.  It’s like you are trapped in a cage with nobody else.  Life off the wheel is sad because you don’t get to move on with the cycle.

By Belal

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.

Taking Risks

“Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.”

-Henry Ford

These are important words to live by and ones that we will hold close as the third graders navigate their way through the 3-5 GT program.  To get the students to truly understand the meaning of these words, we started with Henry Ford himself.  The kids looked at a picture that included Ford and attempted to find the genius.  It was neat to hear their reasoning as they attempted to pinpoint Henry Ford.  We watched a brief video clip and read a short biography about him.  The kids brainstormed characteristics that might describe Ford.  They came up with: creative thinker, risk taker, problem solver, brave, persistent, etc.  The kids had not yet been introduced to Ford’s quote, so it was exciting to see them come up with risk-taker.

After we spent some time learning and discovering about Ford, I posed a problem to the kids.  I gave them a 3×5 notecard.  They were to cut the card in a way that would allow it to slide over their head.  They could only use one card and a pair of scissors.  As you can imagine I heard many, “That is impossibles.”  The kids made many attempts.  They looked around at their peers for ideas.  They begged for glue, tape, and extra cards.  We discussed what would have happened if great inventors said “it’s not possible” when they were struggling with a problem.  Finally, I revealed that it was in fact possible to cut a 3×5 card in such a way that it could slide over my head and even my shoulders.  They were in awe…and busily trying to see if they could do it too.

We ended with Ford’s quote and the kids created similes for about taking risks.  Enjoy their work below.   

Taking Risks on PhotoPeach


In 5th grade I sent home a wordle with the words to part of a poem by Langston Hughes.  The words were all jumbled and the kids were responsible for arranging them in a way that made sense to them.  Their versions of the poem were beautiful and fun to read. 


Hold fast to dreams 
For if dreams die 
Life is a broken-winged bird 
That cannot fly. 
Hold fast to dreams 
For when dreams go 
Life is a barren field 
Frozen with snow.

By Langston Hughes

This week we continued our discussion of dreams through a wonderful book, Dream by Susan V. Bosak.  I started by discussing the definition of the word Dream from the Bosak’s book:

  1. (to experience) a series of thoughts, images, or emotions when you’re sleeping.
  2. (to think of) something wonderful or beautiful.
  3. (to indulge in) a fantasy created by your imagination when you’re awake.
  4. (to consider as a possibility) a cherished desire or wish for the future or (to indulge in) a fantastic but unrealistic hope.
  5. (to conceive of) a strong aspiration or goal.
  6. (to live with) a sense of meaning that fills your mind, makes your feet dance, and stirs your soul to sore.

This defintion led to a wonderful conversation about how many ways there are to dream.  Each of the children received a square sheet of paper.  I told them that they were to graffiti their dreams all over the square, front and back, as I read Bosak’s book.  I encouraged them to try to incorporate all parts of the definition into their graffiti.  It was neat to see their finished pieces.  They were bright, colorful, and represented each child perfectly.  After they completed their graffiti we used our square to create an Origami star.  The kids added their star to their Interactive notebook and wrote 2 similes below their star. 

If dreams die, life is like…


If dreams live, life is like…

Here are a few of their similes.  We would love to hear your ideas.  Finish one or both of the similes in the comment section below.

Turtle Haikus

In first grade we read a Japanese folktale called Urashima the Fisherman.  It is a story of a fisherman that catches a sea turtle, but no ordinary sea turtle.  This turtle was a goddess that lives in the sky.  She wanted to marry Urashima and he agreed to join her in the sky.  He became homesick and his wife allowed him to return home.  When he arrived he learned that it was 300 years in the future and his family and home were gone.  He was also unable to return to the sky to live with his wife.  We had a discussion on WHAT IS HAPPINESS and HOME?  It was wonderful to hear the kids think deeply and philosophically at such a young age.  They then followed directions and created an origami turtle and wrote a Haiku about their turtle.  Enjoy their work.