4th Grade Meets the Genius Hour Villains

Today’s post was written by Mahli and Athasi.

Today in GT we continued to work on our Genius hour projects and  were introduced to the “villains” of genius hour projects, such as pop up penelope, who distracts you with pop up ads. Today for Genius Hour we did a lot of research on are topics so next Wednesday we can create.

Also we read more of Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. We discussed if it was ever ok to use violence even when you are protecting someone. Most of us said only in some situations others said no. After that we went through some tough scenarios to help us decide if violence is ever the answer .  At the end of the day we got a fun Valentines Day sudoku puzzle. Everyday in G.T is always a new adventure. Today was definitely an exciting day for the fourth grade G.T at Hidden Forest Elementary.


B.O.S.S. HQ is Now Open!

This post was co-authored by Mahli and Athasi.

Today in G.T we read “Tuck Everlasting “by: Natalie Babbitt and took a vote to see how many people would still drink the magic water that makes you live forever, and very few of us raised our hands . After that, we did some hands on equations which is  pre algebra. Also we revised our Genius Hour projects to meet the criteria that we talked about last time and many of us started our projects. Then, students who were on level three got to choose either to paint the sign to our maker studio, which  is called  B.O.S.S. HQ  (Building Of Super Stuff) or create hands on programs with little things called Little Bits. For those of us who were not on level three, tried some challenges on the iPad using the programming app “Hopscotch”.  Also, report cards went home today, along with our G.T folders, full of the cool stuff we do in G.T.At the end of the day Emmett showed us some things under the microscopes at the Genius Bar. There was also a question on the Genius Bar that said,” Should you always listen to the opinions of others?” A lot of us said no, but a few of us said yes.Today in G.T was a good day to show the creative side of yourself.

4th Completes Parallel Poetry

Today’s blog post was c0-authored by Mahli and Athasi.  Click on the images below to see full-size samples of some of the students’ work.

Today in GT we learned fun creative things you can do with Google Drive to make your documents or slideshows stand out and then shared them with Mrs. Eichholz. When we all finished, Mrs. Eichholz reminded us of the acronym, T.M.I., which stands for Think, Make, Improve, and asked us if we could improve the way our poem looked, and many of us added a bunch of things to it. We also went over criteria for genius hour. Some of the criteria was that it had to be able to be researched, and be completed in a reasonable amount of time. We all got time to improve our project and then other people voted to see if it was a good project or not. Today was a fun day in GT.

4th Grade Gets to Try Out Google Glass

Today’s post was written by Athasi, and the photographs were taken by the students:

Today in GT we used Google Drive to type and share our parallel and found poems. For many of us it was our first time using Google Drive. I think that a lot of us will use Google drive a lot more now. Speaking of Google, we had a special guest in the classroom today! One of our student’s dads is the proud owner of a pair of Google glasses! He showed us what you can do with it and how it works. We learned that you can record video and take pictures with it. We also compared it to the water in Tuck Everlasting, which makes you live forever. We said that they both have bad and good things about them and that it is not a good idea for everyone to know about them.Mrs. Eichholz was very disappointed when she learned that it only works with Android phones!

4th Grade Participates in the Hour of Code – For a Few Hours!

This blog post is brought to you by Athasi:

Today in GT we participated in Hour of Code! Except instead of one hour of code, we did a full GT  class of code! We split the class in half, and one half did Scratch, and the other half did Hopscotch, and then we switched. Scratch is a free website created by M.I.T., where you can create programs, and share them with other people. Hopscotch is very similar to Scratch, except it’s an app for the iPad. When we were doing Scratch, we were supposed to create a holiday card. When we were doing Hopscotch, we were supposed to make an object disappear  and make another one become bigger when we clapped. At the end of the class, Mrs. Eichholtz told us that she might set up a programming station. I am very excited about this, because I really enjoyed today’s class.

If the embedded video below does not show, click here for an example of one of our Scratch Holiday cards!

4th Grade Writes Parallel Poetry

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

Today in GT, we got the first look at the green anole! We think it might be a female, since males have red dewlaps,and ours doesn’t. We also got to use the microscopes,and look at different things under it, including scully’s shedded skin. also, we went more in depth with our genius hour projects. We told who was participating in it, how long it would take,and what we would need.

One last thing we did was we wrote parallel poems. First we chose a completely different topic than our found poem. We used the same structure from our found poems, but changed some of the words.


4th Grade Brainstorms Genius Hour Ideas

I am so thrilled to introduce our first student blogger, Athasi!  The following post was authored by her.  The accompanying photos are examples of some of the student Haiku Deck slides, as well as pictures taken by our student photographers. (Click on each thumbnail to see a larger version.)

Today we used the app Haiku Deck and had a contest of who could create the best example of personification. The top two that we voted on were “The ice cream was calling my name” and “The train screamed in the night”. We also read some more of Tuck Everlasting and worked on hands on equations. Additionally we started to  brainstorm ideas for things we want to research or make during our genius hour time. We also used websites to come up with ideas. one more thing we did was brainstorm and vote for the name of our maker studio in the classroom next door. Some of the names we came up with were The outside of the box, Creativity HQ and Creation Station.

Saturday’s SparkFun Class

Wow! I was blown away to see so many people I know at the SparkFun class this past Saturday! I’m sure that Hidden Forest had the most representatives (if you include former students). Thanks to everyone who was able to participate. For those of you who were unable to come, I think we will definitely be incorporating some of what was learned into class – at least for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.

The class was about using the free programming language, Scratch. Scratch can be downloaded for free to your computer, or you can use it online. It is very “child-friendly.” Depending on your child’s interest level, it could probably used from age 7 and up.

The class also provided the students with PicoBoards. These boards can be plugged into your computer through the USB port, and they have sensors. With a little bit of programming knowledge, you can get them to interact with your Scratch program. However, my daughter and I learned that it seems to only work with the downloaded Scratch 1.4 version (not 2.0 or the online version).

I learned a lot, and the kids seemed very engaged. My daughter spent a couple of hours on Sunday writing a new program, so I was happy to see her applying what she had learned. The combination of creativity and logic involved in writing programs really makes this a great activity for learners!

Goodbye, Jeffrey. Hello, Scully!

If you know a 4th grade GT student, you probably have already gotten the news.  Our tarantula, Jeffrey, went back to Region 20 today.  In his place, we are borrowing a ball python named Scully.  You can see some of the pictures of Scully taken by our class photographers (Deuce, Richard, and Emmett) below.

Scully appears to be close to shedding his skin, so that should be an interesting experience for the students!

Despite the excitement about our temporary new addition, we were still able to get some work done today.  The students continued to learn to identify different types of figurative language in Tuck Everlasting by adding examples to this “Padlet” using the iPads.  They also worked on Hands-On-Equations, and more coding with the Kodable Pro app.

We have the good fortune of being able to test Kodable Sync right now, which allows the students to use any iPad with Kodable Pro to continue through the Kodable levels.  If you have Kodable Pro at home, let me know, and I will set you up with the Sync account there, too.  (Our entire family spent the evening playing Kodable Pro the other night – so I can attest that it appeals to many age levels!)


4th Grade Works on Figurative Language

4th grade began to read the novel, Tuck Everlasting, today.  Natalie Babbit, the author, is famous for her use of figurative language, so the students learned about similes, hyperboles, metaphors, and personification today.  They chose some examples of these, and created images with quotes from the book in Haiku Deck.  You can see some of the examples below, as well as pictures taken by one of our class photographers, Emmett.  Click on any picture to see a larger version.

We also worked more on programming, and began our Hands-On-Equations unit.