Save the Date!

You may remember that the GT classes participated in the Global Cardboard Challenge last year.  We will be doing it again this year – only bigger!  This time, the students will be competing to have their cardboard creations chosen for a special evening we will be hosting at Main Event.  Main Event is allowing us to use their party rooms to display the cardboard games, and we are going to be inviting the whole community to come play!  We will be charging a dollar for admission to our cardboard arcade, and the students will be voting on a charity to which we will donate the funds.  In addition, families will be able to buy Fun Passes to use in the rest of the facility for $20, and $5 from each Fun Pass will also go toward the charity (or a separate charity – depending on what the students decide).

So, be sure your GT student is brainstorming ideas for his or her cardboard game.  We will begin making them in September.  Also, you are welcome to e-mail suggestions for the charity to me.  And, mark your calendars for the evening of Wednesday, October 15th, 2014!


Parenting Articles

1 of the 24 suggested books from the Huffington Post for your child to read this summer

1 of the 24 suggested books from the Huffington Post for your child to read this summer

I’ve been collecting a few links over the summer that I thought might interest parents:

10 Things Parents/Guardians Should Do Now – I particularly like #4 and #5!  (If you are interested in #5, I highly suggest you check out this post I did on a neat new product that uses stickers to make electrical circuits!)

How to Get Into Harvard – Bottom line?  “Make your children interesting!”

Brainteasers and College Readiness –  Here is a link to some brainteasers if you need a supply!

Check out this list of 24 Books That Will Captivate Your Kids This Summer from Huffington Post.  I have not read any of them, but I definitely want to try some out!

Are you a parent of a girl?  I encourage you to check out this post I did on my professional blog recently.

If you read anything that you think would be good for me to share with other parents, please e-mail me the link!

Kid President Has a Television Show!


Many of the students in my upper grades are familiar with Kid President, whose short, inspirational videos I’ve shown in the past.  He now has a television show on the Hub network.  If you are like me, and haven’t heard of Hub, you can go to this link to find out which local channel it is, based on your zip code and service provider.  Or, you can view the episodes online.  Here is a link to the full episodes, which are about 22 minutes long.  So far, there are three episodes: Heroes, Families, and Dreams.  These are great to watch with the family – funny and very motivational! In case you are new to Kid President, you can also visit his website, where there are links to the previously mentioned short productions.  The favorite for the students seems to be his Pep Talk.

The Kid Should See This

The Kid Should See This

For this week’s blog update, I thought I would share with you an awesome website that is a collection of videos a mother has curated to “connect kids, parents, and teachers with smart, conversation-starting videos – about science, art, music, nature, and more – that probably weren’t made for kids, but are still perfect for them.”  “The Kid Should See This” recently got updated, and I love the new look along with options for finding videos.  If you are looking for an educational website for your curious child, this is definitely one to bookmark!

Also, I want to congratulate our two winners from last week’s “Make a Theme Park Ride” contest for our online Edmodo class: Anna for “The Sparking Spur”, and Athasi for “Kittyana Jones.”  You can see the blog post I did about our winners here.  Next week, I will announce the winners of our Theme Park Mascot contest!

Summer Learning Opportunities

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I hope everyone is enjoying your summer so far!  I have been happily sleeping late and devouring books in between doctor’s appointments and cleaning my closet:)

I plan to post to the blog once a week this summer.  This week, I wanted to direct you to some of the posts I’ve been doing on my professional blog, as they are all about fun ideas for “avoiding the summer slide.”

I also want to give you some links to the projects from our first week of our online class, Make a Theme Park, for 3rd-5th graders.  This week, the students designed rides for their theme parks.  Here is the link for the Family entries. And, here is the link for the Individual entries.  I love the creativity!  As Joey Hudy, our celebrity guest judge for the week says, “Don’t be bored! Make something!”

1st Grade Sings About Their Year

Today was our last day of 1st grade GT.  I asked the students to try something different, and I was proud of how they met the challenge!  Their task was to rewrite the lyrics of a familiar song to reflect on our year.  This was an idea that I got from one of my favorite 1st grade GT teachers, Joelle Trayers.  Last week, the  students did some great reflections using our class blog as a reference, so they were able to look at those while writing their songs.

One group wrote their song to the tune of “Old McDonald Had a Farm.”  Another group used “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”  And the final group used “Happy.”  They only had about 40 minutes to choose a song and write their lyrics before I asked them to perform, so it was just a quick activity to get them to think one last time about what we have done this year.

None of the groups wanted to be recorded performing their songs, so I just took still pictures.  However, one student wanted a recording of her song, so I have included her video below.  I also included the rest of the Tellagami videos from class.  (Instructions will be coming with GT folders and report cards next week for scanning your child’s Photo Mapo to view the videos.)

With the little time we had left, the students were able to choose to play one of their favorite games/activities of the year: Robot Turtles, the interactive iPad game Osmo, or logic puzzles (Perplexers).

It was a great final class, and I look forward to seeing all of the students in 2nd grade next year!

1st Grade Finishes Up Their Tellagami Videos

We had a bit of a setback on Tuesday with 1st grade as the electrical storm the night before eliminated our internet access for that morning’s class.  However, we were fortunate to have it back on Friday, and almost all of the students were able to finish their Tellagami videos. I’ve included some of the videos below, and will publish the rest in our next post.

On Tuesday, and while some finished their projects on Friday, the students worked on some tough logic puzzles and riddles.  At first, I thought I might have over-reached with the choices I made for them to start.  But, after doing a couple together, they ran away with the others.  I was really proud of how well they worked through these!

We also played a cooperative word game in class on Friday.  It is on the iPad, but interacts with sets of letters that we put on the table.  We projected the game on to our front screen.  It shows pictures, and the students have to guess the word related to the picture by spelling it with their letters.  Our classroom is beta testing this game, but it should be available for purchase soon.  I will send out information to parents as soon as I get it, if you are interested.

1st Grade Works on Tellagami

The 1st graders are wrapping up their research projects by creating short videos using the Tellagami app.  This app allows them to choose an avatar and use a picture of the country they are researching in the background.  They can then choose to type a script and have their character narrate (with several voices and accents to choose from) or they can record themselves speaking.  Almost all of them are done, and we hope to share the finished products next week!  In the meantime, here are some pics of a couple of the videos.

alps meteora

1st Grade Creates Landmark Postcards

The first graders have been working on creating postcards for particular landmarks in the countries they are researching.  They have been using an iPad app called Photo Mapo to do this.  Last week, they were able to finish their postcards, and this week they will be creating short videos to go along with their work.

In addition to their research, the students worked in stations – including doing some math on the interactive board and and interactive iPad tangram game. They also participated in a “Squiggle” contest, and presented their creative ideas to the class using the document camera.

1st Grade Does Some Spring Divergent Thinking

Since we have a holiday on Friday, I am doing 1st grade’s post today.

The first graders practiced using the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. strategy for creative thinking today by doing an activity with “Substitute.”  They imagined a mother bird whose eggs have hatched – only one of the eggs reveals a surprise!  I’ve included some of the ideas they had for surprises in our pictures below.

We checked in with our Twitter friends, who had sent a picture of the flag of Indonesia.  Some of the students thought it was Poland’s flag.  When we did a little research, we realized that the two countries have the same exact flag – only inverted!

The students worked on creating postcards for special sites in their countries that we are also hoping to share with our Twitter friends.  They used a fun app on the iPads called Photo Mapo.  Most of them did not get a chance to finish, so I will share their creations next week.