When Fifth Grade came in the room today, that made me one happy teacher. It was exciting to have everyone back to begin a new year. They started with a logic and a balance bender puzzle for warm up. I discussed with them then the expectations for the year and we also began talking about Leader in Me in the Fifth Grade GT classroom and how that should look. Definitely the roles of Leaders in media and photography were popular ideas. Next week, we will finalize the Leadership Roles and also define our Mission Statement for our class. I followed this up with a book that is so special I just have to share it with them. It is Only One You by Linda Kranz. This book helps plant the ideas of wisdom, purpose and change in the fifth grade mind. It also opens the door to the idea of finding our place in the World and the dreams and goals that help define that place.
The students all shared their First Day Assignments and I was totally impressed. What phenomenal thinkers they demonstrated themselves to be with their examples of interpretation of the wordle sent home last week. After everyone finished presenting their ideas, the Langston Hughes quote which the wordle came from was shared with the class. It was interesting to observe the students analyze how close their words were to his words. Of course, a great discussion of multiple perspectives followed as they delved into the idea of how people can see something in a different way from one another. The class then worked in partners to discover some information about Langston Hughes and used Kaplan Depth and Complexity tools to create a more interesting product. This led into another look at the topic of dreams. Origami stars were then created to reflect their own dreams for their future. The day ended with a review of Hands on Equations lessons from Fourth Grade. What a terrific Thursday!
The Fantastic Fourth Graders showed up on my Las Lomas doorstep today and it was fabulous. The students warmed up their brains with some logic activities. The returning class members shared with their new classmates how to think about and then solve these puzzles. Class expectations, behavior and work habits, were our next order of business. As a Leader in Me school, we then discussed how this should look in our class. Next week, they are to share their ideas for Leadership jobs and a class Mission Statement just for the Fourth Grade GT class. I then shared a precious book with them titled Ish by Peter Reynolds. They discussed how this could apply to their own daily experiences. The conversation then led to how people see and do things differently and how that is okay. We ended with talking about the power of words to hurt or be constructive.
Class continued with the sharing of the first day assignments. Each student showed in a different way how they interpreted the wordle they received in their welcome packet. After viewing all of the assignments, they studied a quote by Einstein which directly connected to the wordle. They individually thought about the quote, shared it in their groups and then they discussed it as a class. This led to the introduction of the Fourth Grade unit of Masterpieces and Mysteries. Mysteries is definitely an idea loved by all. The students talked about why mysteries are so popular and so fascinating to most people. Then they reflected on this activity by creating a Mysteries of Me product for their journals (more on this next week). The day ended with students from last year reviewing their Hands on Equations lessons while I introduced the first lessons to the new students in the class. What a wonderful Wednesday!
What a great day with Third Grade! After a short warm-up activity, we discussed classroom business matters. The expectations, behavior and work habits, used in the GT classroom was our focus. We also discussed what “the Leader in Me” ideas would look like in our room. Students are thinking of classroom jobs and a mission statement for the Third Grade GT classroom. I then read the book So Few of Me to the class. It led to a discussion of the demands of third grade, the GT class and all the activities in which they participate. They had fabulous ideas on how to organize and take care of the different areas of their lives this year. Next, the class moved onto the presentation of their first day “GT Word” assignments. The students shared the words they felt were GT level vocabulary and we did several activities with them. These words were the very first words to go on our GT Third Grade Vocabulary board. Then, the students attempted an activity requiring a notecard and ingenuity. Several students came very close to solving the dilemma, but after they saw the solution, all were able to have success. We paired this with a wonderful quote from Henry Ford and had a super discussion on what the quote meant to them and how everyone could use this idea. The students then wrote a reflection that connected the quote and what they learned from the notecard activity. Class ended with some free time to explore some fun GT games!
What a wonderful feeling today was with Second Grade. Now that testing is complete for 2nd – 5th, it felt so good working with the new and returning Second Graders. To begin, I gave the students some logic warm-ups. The returning students then shared with newcomers how to think about and complete these puzzles. Business matters came next. We discussed the expectations, behavior and work habits, in the GT classroom. Also, we talked about how the Leader in Me would look in our class. The students are thinking about classroom jobs and a Mission Statement just for Second Grade GT. I read the book Beautiful Oops to the class and we discussed how creative all the solutions were to each of the problems. The students learned about using Green Hat thinking and how to be creative with all types of situations. Next, second graders shared their first day “new head” assignments. What fantastic ideas of how they would change the human head once again bringing home the ideas associated with Green Hat thinking and of course multiple perspectives.
We then moved on to a word sort which was completed in groups. Each group had to explain the criteria they used for sorting their word cards. Finally, a conclusion of words having to do with manmade things and those found in nature was the decision of the class. This led into our discussion of structures, which is the theme unit for second, and what they know about that concept. Each student then drew a flower of details of what they knew and learned about Structures today as a reflection. Finally, we began our literature piece. I will be reading the book Walls Within Walls. After a little vocabulary introduction, we started Chapter 1 and I think the students will love this book. It was a fabulous day to be in Second Grade GT!
Today Fifth Grade GT students took a bus trip to Tejeda Middle School to participate in Think-a-thon. The day began in the cafeteria where the Las Lomas students were divided into two teams. The teams rotated through stations which consisted of different types of challenges. They worked together to solve and meet these challenges and record their answers before moving onto another station. After rotating through the 4 stations, the students were again divided into groups that consisted of Fifth Grade GT students from Bulverde Creek, Cibolo Green, Encino Park, Hardy Oak and Roan Forest. For the second part of Think-a-Thon the students worked with their new team mates to solve new challenges. They would work through three different stations that each required a different type of thinking. It was fun to watch them meet new kids and make some friends along the way. After lunch we headed back to our beautiful school and worked on a Reflection of the day through Edmodo and Google Docs. We want to send a big thank you to Mrs. Lasher (Cibolo Green and Roan Forest GT) for all her hard work and preparation for this awesome day!
Today the Fourth Graders began to work on their Mystery Projects. I gave the assignment guidelines in Edmodo and the students are taking notes on a Google Document. Each student has picked a mystery to investigate and after notes are gathered he/she will turn it into a Google Presentation (I will share those here when completed). They also had time to work on their Independent Research and one of those projects is shared below. Which leads us to the finishing of Chasing Vermeer. There was discussion about predictions of “who dunnit” and the outcome of this book. Definitely learning about pentominoes, deciphering codes, and “blue ones” were some of the highlights of the book. The class also took Hands on Equations to another level and began to use their knowledge of algebraic equations to solve story problems. It is interesting to watch students know the answer but prove through the use of an equation how they could achieve that answer. What a great day of great thinking!
The students started their day with a popular warm-up called Get To Zero. This game helps with number sense and the vocabulary used when thinking in those terms. Third graders are continuing to explore the anatomy of the brain. They have seen it divided into two sections, then three sections and this week the four lobes were what they explored. After researching each lobe at the Neuroscience for Kids web site, the students did a Smart Board chart of each lobe’s attributes. Next week they will use this information to create a model. The students completed reading Tuck Everlasting and had a great discussion about how this book changed through time but also the dilemmas facing Winnie and the Tucks and ultimately how those were resolved. They continue to use their knowledge of Algebra to set up equations and use those equations to find the answer to the word problems.
For the past few weeks, Second Grade has been making connections by learning about different types of bridges. The students began by researching in groups the four different types of bridges (suspension, draw, cantilever and arch) and then sharing what they learned with one another. Next, each student, with a partner, researched a particular bridge and designed a research paper to reflect what they have learned. The students also continue to work on their Figurative Language booklet while we read the book Punished. They have been intrigued and delighted to study puns, oxymororns and anagrams. They are all watching carefully as Logan hunts for figurative language as part of his punishment.
In Kindergarten we continued to look at Communication. We read Tomorrow’s Alphabet and discussed and drew some new ideas to go with the theme of the book creating a Kindergarten Tomorrow’s Alphabet. Then the students continued to work as Detectives with their friend Dudley and find clues when they attended A Party in the Woods. Using magnifying glasses, the students found the clues to solve all the puzzles.
First Grade learned why they need fresh water to live rather than salt water. After soaking potatoes in both types of water, they were able to understand why people and most animals need fresh water to live and survive.
Second Grade continues to research and build their bridges. The students have collected their data keeping in mind the details, language used when speaking of bridges, how they have changed over time and even their own unanswered questions. They are now transferring the data to reflect what was learned about the bridge they researched with a partner. The students also continued to build the different types of bridges we have learned about like the suspension bridge and the draw bridge.
Third Grade continues to study systems and now they are learning about one of the most important ones we know of, the brain. Using Inspiration, they shared everything they know about the brain at this time. Then they began to discuss what else they might like to learn about the brain. The students did some research on the web at Neuroscience for Kids, and learned a few new facts to add to the web they had created. They used their Hands on Equations knowledge to solve word problems. Finally, the tale of Winnie and the Tucks is coming to a close and the students are deciding how they feel about some of the dilemmas that Winnie has faced throughout the book.
Fourth Grade continues to work on their Independent Research. Today they started taking notes they collected in a google document and turning the notes into presentations. Each student is also choosing a Mystery of history, math or science that intrigues them, and they will begin to research that mystery topic. Chasing Vermeer is very exciting as Calder and Petra come closer to finding both the thief and the painting itself.
For the past few weeks second grade students have continued to look at the structures built and used by our animal friends. They are studying Bees and their hives and the math behind that structure. Viewing several polygons it became clear why the hexagon is the shape of choice for the life of a bee. The students are also completing learning centers to discover more information about the buzz on bees. In groups, they are exploring a web site to view many architectural wonders in the natural world. The groups will be sharing what they learn with the rest of the class further enhancing their knowledge of natural structures. They used Venn Diagrams to problem solve and now understand it is another way to organize their thinking. Of course, we are continuing to look at Mancala with depth and complexity to see it as more than just a game. Finally, the class mission statement is complete and it will help guide the class as we successfully move into 2013.