3rd Grade Talks about Things That Break Their Hearts

In preparation for the Global Cardboard Challenge, the 3rd graders brainstormed their passions today.  Then they identified something that “breaks” their hearts about each one. We did this activity to help decide the charity that we are going to raise money for with our cardboard arcade on October 15th.  Here was their list:

Things That Break Our Heart – 3rd Grade

Nature – People cutting down trees in the Amazon Rainforest

Ocean – Pollution in the ocean

Recycling – Throwing away instead of recycling

Animals – Dying from pollution

Soccer – People getting injured

People – People being mean to others

Animals – People are cruel to animals

Gardens – Droughts

Recycling – Throwing away instead of recycling

Basketball – Too much fighting

Football – Head injuries

Soccer – People deliberately break rules that could injure others

Reading – Tragic novels

Fish – People taking fins off of big fish

Animals – Killing animals for skin

Soccer – People getting hurt

Bugs – People killing them

School – Things are sometimes too hard

Soccer – Too many injuries

Hiking – Injuries during hiking

After we looked at the list, we identified some of the major trends:

Sports-related injuries

Cruelty to animals


I will be doing this activity with 4th and 5th grade as well.  Hopefully we will see something that is important to many of the students and narrow down a charity that will be meaningful to them.

The students also presented their Powtoons and began work on their cardboard games.  It was a busy day!

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!”

3rd Grade Presents Their Solutions for Cafeteria Behavior

Yesterday, the 3rd grade students presented their proposals for ways to help with noise and messiness in the cafeteria.  They based their ideas on research they had done, including interviews with principals from other schools (Mr. Gustafson and Mr. Gilpin).  Mrs. Jessop and our “Principal for the Day,” James Allen were the audience for the presentations.

Anna presented a board game that she made that could be played to reinforce cafeteria behavior.  She made one game set for each grade level that includes the directions and game cards.  Classes on the grade level could pass the game to each other when they are finished.

Roman created a video game using Gamestar Mechanic. It also reinforces cafeteria behavior with questions about appropriate ways to act when in the lunch room.  His vision is for the link to be available on the student shares drive, and students who have teacher permission can play the game when they come to the library.

Timothy and Katie were very motivated to use movies as an incentive for good behavior in the cafeteria.  They used an app called Touchcast, which allowed them to use a green screen and add some special effects – including a live, intereactive poll – into their video trying to persuade administrators to use this idea.  (We had a few issues with the app, as you can see from Timothy’s floating head in the photo below, but it finally worked out!) They were careful to look at the idea from many perspectives, and included these in their video.

As a class, the students also liked the idea of engaging student leaders to help out in the cafeteria.  Since we are a Leader in Me school, this seemed like it would fit in well with our school goals.  The class worked together to come up with a vision for how this would happen, and Timothy and Katie put the ideas together into an Adobe Voice presentation.

Mrs. Jessop said that she would share these ideas with the other administrators, and we will hopefully be able to implement some of them next year.

3rd Grade Works on Creating Games and Videos

The 3rd graders are getting ready to present their suggested solutions for cafeteria issues to Mrs. Jessop and Mrs. Bailey next week.  Two students worked on creating a video using a special app called Touchcast.  This app allows us to use our green screen and add some other special effects.  The other students are making games – one a video game and one a board game – to teach cafeteria rules. We still aren’t finished so hopefully we will make good progress next Tuesday morning!

Photo May 20, 12 41 14 PM Photo May 20, 12 41 30 PM

3rd Grade Makes Strides on Their Projects

The third graders spent a big portion of their time in GT getting their projects about the cafeteria ready to present to Mrs. Jessop.  One student is creating a video game, another is making board games for every grade level, and 2 students are making a “newscast.”  What was really interesting was listening to the students help each other out when they hit stumbling blocks on their projects – even if they weren’t technically working together.  They also seemed eager to try to get some of their projects completed at home so they would be able to get done in time.  We only have 2 more GT classes for this year!

We were so busy that I forgot to take pictures today.  So, I included a Creative Commons image above.  What clues do you have that this is not a photo of our cafeteria (besides the image credit)?

3rd Grade Tries to Untangle Some Problems

The 3rd graders spent a good portion of their time Tuesday working on their proposals for solving the cafeteria problems.  They finished up looking at their solutions from different perspectives, then did a PMI by highlighting positives and negatives.  After that, they helped each other think of ways to overcome some of the negatives.  All of that planning will hopefully pave the way for their awesome suggestions to give to Mrs. Jessop.

In addition to that hard work, they then worked on a collaborative math activity called “Tanglers” in which they had to practice their communication skills just as much as their math skills.  Tanglers are puzzles in which each student is given some of the clues to the answer, but they can’t show each other their clues.  They can talk about them, though – which requires good listening and analysis.  Some of the clues are irrelevant, which makes the activity even more challenging.  When first given the clues, they don’t even know the problem that they are trying to solve!  They did a great job synergizing, however, and solved three puzzles fairly quickly.

The last activity of the day was to try out designing video games with the new PixelPress Floors app.  This requires planning and meticulous drawing, and the students were a little frustrated when their first drawings scanned differently than they expected on the iPads.  However, most of them are used to the Growth Mindset by now, and knew that it would just take practice to get better.