2nd Grade Turns Problems into Opportunities

Last week, the 2nd graders made beautiful watercolor pictures.  After they left, I deliberately sabotaged the pictures by splashing lemon juice on them.  The juice left strangely shaped blotches on the masterpieces – definitely not what the students intended.

I used this lesson to teach students how to make the best out of plans gone awry. They used their creativity to think about how the ugly blotches could be transformed into pictures.  I absolutely love the results!  You can see their new creations below.  After completing this activity, I read the book, Beautiful Oops, to the students.  We discussed the potential that we can find in disappointing results or mistakes.

We also worked more on their Cardboard Challenge projects.  Many are close to completion.  Next class will be the last opportunity the students have to work on their projects before we vote on which ones will go to Main Event on October 15th.  Speaking of voting, the students voted on which type of charity they would like for the money raised to go to, and the majority selected animals.  A couple of more classes still need to give their feedback before we make our final selection.

2nd Grade Begins the Cardboard Challenge!

Today was the first day of 2nd grade GT, and many of the students were already prepared with ideas for this year’s Cardboard Challenge!  For those of you new to the Cardboard Challenge, you may want to visit this site for more details.

The students will be making their own games, and the best ones will be chosen to take to Main Event on October 15th and put in the Party Room.  The community will be invited to donate $1 to a charity in order to play the cardboard games.  We will also be selling $20 wristbands for access to the other activities at Main Event, and $5 from each wristband will toward our charity.

The GT students (2nd-5th) will be deciding on the charity in the next week. Stay tuned for more news about this exciting event!

The students also made some watercolors today.  They will be doing a special activity with them next week…


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!”

2nd Grade Reflects on Their Year

It was very difficult to say farewell to the 2nd grade GT students today!  It’s hard to believe that this year has flown by so quickly.  We have lots of fond memories, and the students went through our class blog posts for the year to choose some of their favorites.  I’ve posted their collages below.

GT report cards should go home next week, along with the student’s GT folders.  Each folder will contain a picture from their final project – their Puppet Pals videos.  Directions will be included for scanning the pictures to view the videos or for accessing them directly online.

I have really enjoyed working with this class of exceptional students.  Thank you, parents, for all of your support!

2nd Grade Finishes Puppet Pals Presentations

Due to the field trip on Monday, 2nd grade GT was held today, Wednesday.  Our last class is next Monday since there is no school the last Monday of May (Memorial Day).

Last week, the students recorded presentations about their structures using the Puppet Pals app, but they realized they needed to revise them after we played them in class.  This week, they worked on improving them.  Unfortunately, we could not play them for everyone as our projector seems to have shorted out due to the big storm the other night!

The students also tried out a new iPad game called “Words.” It is similar to the Tangram game they have been playing during centers, but this time they used letters on the table to guess words that were on the screen. They seemed to agree that this game is their favorite!  It is currently being beta tested, but the company hopes to make a big announcement next week about when it will officially go on sale.