4th Grade Creates Some Beautiful Mistakes

To reinforce the Growth Mindset, I asked the 4th graders to try to solve the following challenge: using only scissors, make a hole in a 3×5 index card that you could fit your head through.  It was fortunate that we had many index cards because there were lots of failed efforts!  No one quite solved it, but a few students got close.  The best part of the activity was that no one gave up, and everyone had a positive attitude.  If you are intrigued by this challenge, you will need to ask your child for the solution 🙂

When the students came back to our room from Specials, I had hung their mistakes from the ceiling.  These “failures” make our room colorful and fun – and remind us that it’s okay to make mistakes.  Sometimes, we can even turn our mistakes into something new and creative!  I showed them the book, Beautiful Oops, to give some more examples of mistakes turned into art.

Speaking of creativity, the students also began work on their cardboard challenge creations.  They were very excited, and made a beautiful mess of the classroom.  I’ve stopped asking students what they are trying to make because it’s easier to just watch their visions take form.  My main job is helping them to cut something out as they work.

Just like the 3rd graders, the 4th graders mind-mapped their passions and heartbreaks.  They had quite a few in common with 3rd grade, and it looks like many will agree on the charity that we finally decide on to receive the proceeds from the Cardboard Challenge.

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!”

4th Grade Mandalas

One of the final projects in 4th grade was to create a mandala.  Some of the students chose Thinglink to explain the symbolism of their mandalas, while others chose to write out their explanations.  Here are the links to those that are available online (the others will come home with their GT folders):

Freedom” by Elijah

Independence” by Keaton

Nature” by Athasi

Happiness” by Logan

Power Mandala

Passionate” by Gage

Creativity” by Devlin

Math” by Emmett

Life” by Richard

Math” by Aiden

4th Grade Continues to Work on Mandala Masterpieces

This blog post is brought to you by Athasi.  We had a slightly short GT day due to Battle of the Books.

Today in GT we worked some more on our mandalas. We used special color pencils to make our mandalas stand out. Each of the colors and symbols had a meaning to them that tied into the theme of our mandala. At the end of the day we continued to work on our genius hour project.

4th Grade Learns More About Fibonacci

Today’s blog post is brought to you by Athasi.

Today in GT we watched a math video about the Fibonacci sequence and spirals by a someone named Vi Hart. We learned that lots of things in nature use Fibonacci numbers. We also learned how to draw perfect spirals. Next we categorized different jobs into different MI. Then we did Genius Hour.  Finally, we did Hands on Equations and Maker Studio.