4th Grade Learns About Faberge Eggs

The 4th graders continued to work on their Genius Hour projects this morning, and two groups did “practice” presentations.

The students also learned about the history behind the Faberge eggs.  We talked about empathy, and how the designer of the beautiful eggs must have had great empathy to produce such masterpieces.  Unfortunately, the person who commissioned the eggs, the Czar of Russia, did not have enough empathy for his own citizens – leading to a violent revolution that resulted in the death of his family and some of the treasured eggs disappearing forever.

This Week in GT – April 13

Between a crashed computer, electricity outages, and short weeks, I’ve once again fallen behind on keeping you updated about GT happenings.  Here is what each grade level did this week:

Kinder practiced “Magician Thinking” (Visual/Spatial) by doing Tangram puzzles and matching rotated shapes.

1st did Divergent Thinking by imagining what surprise might hatch from a mother bird’s egg.  They also got to use the Dash robots, including the robot launcher, to review some of what they have learned during their country studies.

2nd finished and presented their bridges designed for fictional characters.  They also worked on more “Balance Bender” math puzzles.

3rd grade continued to work with Scratch and a movie editing app to get ready to present their Genius Hour project.  They also began a new Billibonk book, which will give them even more Systems Thinking Tools.

4th explored a small virtual gallery of paintings, learned about the theft of the Mona Lisa, and read more of Chasing Vermeer.

5th grade worked on their Genius Hour projects, their websites, and a really tough logic problem (so far only one student has solved it!).  We also got to watch a student demonstrate the robotic vending machine he designed at home (video embedded below)!

4th Grade Practices Creating Mandalas

As we are currently studying mathematical masterpieces, the 4th graders were introduced to mandalas this week.  The mystical properties of the circle, a shape that has no beginning and no end, are the basis of these art/math creations.  To get a feel for making mandalas, students went to different stations that included using apps to make mandalas, spirograph, and sand mandalas. Some of the apps they used were: Camera Kaleidoscope, Drawerings, and PicCollage.  I think that they would all agree that the sand mandalas are the most difficult – requiring steady hands and a lot of concentration!


This Week in GT

I am a bit behind in updating each class post, so I am going to do a summary of all of our GT classes this week today!

Kinder – They worked on Inventor Thinking by making Leprechaun Traps.  We’ve set the traps out to see if we can catch any during Spring Break.  The students also played the Osmo “Monster” game.

1st – The students began their new rotations for studying the individual countries they chose to research.  They are analyzing statistics, programming a robot to travel around a map, and looking at fascinating photos of the countries.  They also worked on a St. Patrick’s Day sudoku.

2nd – 2nd grade GT finished up their limericks from last week, shared them, and illustrated them.  They also did some more Math Analogies.

3rd – The 3rd graders learned how to do Scratch programming, which they hope to use to create their final projects for Genius Hour.  They also learned the Order of Operations, and applied it to an algebra activity.  We read Billibonk, and discussed the habits of systems thinkers.

4th – We celebrated Pi Day this week!  With a few videos, a story about Sir Cumference, and a Pi Day Breakout to solve, the students are fully prepared to make 3/14 a great day during Spring Break!

5th – The students began to work on their “manifestos” using what they have learned about themselves throughout the school year so far.  We had some great conversations and excellent brainstorms.


4th Grade Creates Tessellations

After working on Genius Hour projects today, the 4th graders learned more about tessellations – how to make them, where they can be found in nature, and how mankind finds them useful and beautiful.

They aren’t quite finished with their tessellation art work, but I will share a few pieces of their products so far below.

In addition to studying tessellations, the students also did some challenging math called, “Algebra Antics,” where they learned more about the x and y axis and the order of operations.

4th Grade Works on Math Scavenger Hunt

The 4th graders looked around for mathematical masterpieces in nature this week.  Unfortunately, though the weather has been recently warm, not much is blooming other than grass!  They are also still learning some of the vocabulary, so not every picture in the Pic Collages below is correctly identified.  It was certainly good practice, though!

The students also: got a glimpse at the events going on during our Saturday field trip, worked on Design Thinking, and played a little of the Prodigy math game.

GT 1st-5th This Week

Wow – can you believe it’s February?  This school year is certainly flying by, and this week has been one of the fastest!

Since I’m a bit behind on daily blogging, here is the rundown on what the classes have been doing this week:

1st grade finished their continent stations.  Next class, they will be meeting their mystery Valentine partners, and they will begin studying the countries they chose to research.

2nd grade worked more on empathy and multiple perspectives by pretending they were the fictional clients for whom they are designing structures.  Then they did second drafts of their designs.

3rd grade finished Fish in a Tree, and worked more on their Tinkercad tutorials for 3d design.

4th and 5th grade both analyzed song playlists for their respective novels to choose the songs that best represented the books.  They gave supporting evidence using the song lyrics and passages from the books. (Tuck Everlasting and The Giver)

There will be no GT classes February 7th-9th as I will be attending a technology conference in Austin.

One of the 1st graders shows the model she made of the Eiffel Tower during our stations

4th Grade Starts Working on Genius Hour Presentations

The 4th graders have been working on research for their Genius Hour projects, and many of them are at the stage where they can now plan how they want to present what they have learned.  When they get to this phase of the process, the students must determine their intended audience(s) and mode of presenting.  They are also required to include an interactive portion, which could be a game reviewing information or any other activity which involves the audience.

Many students like to present using slides, as this is a tool most of them have used many times.  So, we went over the World’s Worst Slide Presentation to discuss some of the things a good presenter does NOT include in a slide show 😉

We also discussed some more Courage scenarios this week, as well as attempted to create Thinglinks of their hexagonal learning about Tuck Everlasting.  (We’re still working on the latter due to some technical difficulties!)

4th Grade Makes “Everlasting” Connections

Following an excellent presentation in the library about the Battle of the Alamo, the 4th graders pondered what it means to be “courageous.”  They came up with criteria, and discussed different scenarios.  This tied in well with our book discussion of Tuck Everlasting.  

After relating the book to what it means to be courageous, the students were given hexagons with different symbols, themes, and characters from the book.  They worked in partners to piece the hexagons together, making numerous connections about the details of the book.  Their discussions were complex, and so was their thinking!

4th and 5th Graders Analyze Literature

Both 4th and 5th grade GT classes finished their 1st semester novels: Tuck Everlasting and The Giver, respectively.  To think more deeply about the books, they each played “The Whatzit” game in their classes this week.  During the game, the students compete in teams to answer open-ended questions such as, “What was your favorite feature of the Whatzit, and Why?”  (Substitute the novel title for, “the Whatzit.”)  They submit anonymous responses and I choose the ones that I think are the most creative and meaningful.  I was very proud of how both grade levels worked hard to write “deep” answers!

In other news, both grade levels also did their report card self-assessments, and should return their signed report slips by next week.