5th Grade Shows Off Their Manifestos

Some of the 5th graders got their manifesto t-shirts and wore them to class today.  It’s so great to see them so committed to their beliefs that they want to wear them!  (Mine had a glitch, so I am ordering a new one.)

We did some challenging math today by trying to work out these Frog Jumper problems.  The last challenge was very perplexing, and we think that we’ve decided it is impossible for the number 11.  However, it does work for 12, so our next job is to find out if it works for any odd numbers.

The students also continued to work on Genius Hour projects, which are close to being completed.

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)!

5th Grade Designs Their Manifestos

The 5th graders have been doing a lot of self-reflection this year, and determining what character traits and values are important to them.  This week, they used the Canva website to design their own “manifestos.” Basically, these are the strong beliefs they have or, as Oprah says, “What I Know for Sure.”  These are some of their first drafts.  (Of course, I couldn’t resist doing one myself!)

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.


5th Grade Identifies Interests & Passions

Since we are looking at character traits right now, the 5th graders took a self-assessment through Thrively online to determine what their main interests and passions are currently.  What is nice about this is that the students felt, for the most part, that the Thrively assessment was pretty accurate.  In addition to listing the top traits of each individual, Thrively offers suggestions for activities to pursue their interests.  It also gives “Pathways” to different careers so students can learn more about them. By identifying certain strengths in each student, Thrively will allow them to explore activities and ideas that will support their interests – giving them even more opportunities to experience our world in different ways.

My Own Thrively Profile!

5th Grade Examines the Science of Character

The 5th graders watched a short video about the “Science of Character.”  It talks about how we need to recognize our own strengths as well as those of others – but that we can also develop strengths that we admire.

The students then answered some questions in Google Classroom based on the “Periodical Table of Strengths” to determine what character traits define them, the people in their lives, and the people they see as heroes. They also thought about the traits that they would like to work on in the future to become who they want to be.

image from: letitripple.org

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

5th Grade Talks About Making Things Relevant

The 5th graders, like 3rd and 4th, also work on Genius Hour projects.  However, in 5th grade the students take their passions a bit further by researching things that “break their hearts.”  For one group, this is the football injuries that could be avoided by using safer equipment.  For another, this is the rise in school violence.  This week, the students and I brainstormed some people they could talk to that might benefit from their research.  We are trying to find authentic audiences so that these projects don’t just become one more assignment to get through before they can move on.

We also continued to have some very meaningful conversations about Courage, did some Hands-On-Equations, and a few of the students got to try out programming with Python on our Raspberry Pi.

Image from Flickr

5th Grade Defines Courage

The 5th graders continued to refine their criteria for “courage” last week.  They worked on a Google Hyperdoc which gave several different examples of different scenarios, and discussed their perspectives on whether or not each one was an example of courage. Because they had agreed on particular criteria, most of them were able to come to a consensus on each one.  However, there was still room for lively discussion!

In addition, the students listened to Lois Lowry’s Newbery Award speech for The Giver, in which she outlined the life experiences that contributed to the story.

The students also did “hexagonal thinking” by creating maps of connections for themes, characters, and quotes in The Giver.

some of the scenarios on our Courage Hyperdoc

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.