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)!

GT Updates 5/13/16

It has been another one of those topsy-turvy weeks with STAAR testing and power outages, so I am going to do one blog post to summarize the last 5 days.

On Monday 2nd grade was not able to have class as I was helping with STAAR testing.  Fortunately, I finished in time to meet with the 1st graders in the afternoon, and they finished their GT Mother’s Day projects.

Tuesday morning’s STAAR testing meant I couldn’t meet with 3rd grade, but Kinder got to meet and play more Robot Turtles, adding challenges (and even getting to the point where they could”write” a program!)  On Friday, Kinder met with me again, and we reviewed Inventor Thinking by reading Cinderella Bigfoot and trying to think of funny substitutions we could do in other fairytales.

On Wednesday we had no electricity, which meant the planned STAAR testing was cancelled, but we kept our STAAR schedule – so I was able to meet with 4th grade for some of the time.  They worked on trying to add colored sand to their 3-d printed mandals, which was a learning experience for all of us!

Thursday was our last day of STAAR testing, and I was able to meet with 5th grade after the test.  The students worked on thinking deeply about drones, and then we had a somewhat surprise visit from Dr. Smith and his co-worker, Robin, from Smith & Shedd Veterinary Hospital.  I say that it was a surprise because we had planned it a few weeks ago, and it somehow dropped off my calendar;) Fortunately, we weren’t STAAR testing at the time!  Dr. Smith and Robin really helped several of the students with their Genius Hour research, and gave us some fascinating things to think about regarding animal abuse, puppy mills, and hunting.

As you can read, the week was busy and required a lot of flexibility!  We should be back on track for our last two weeks of GT!

Kinder Plays Robot Turtles

This week, the Kinders were introduced to a game called, “Robot Turtles.”  This game is a great application of their Magician Thinking because they have to picture the path their robot turtle needs to take in order to reach the jewel in the center of the gameboard.  The students put down a card on each turn that directs the “Turtle Mover” which way to move their turtle, so the students are also learning beginning programming.  They are eager to play again, especially since they saw some challenges that we can add to the game once they get the basics down!

Photo May 06, 10 19 19 AM Photo May 06, 10 19 32 AM

Kinder Learns about Magician Thinking

The Kinder students are learning about a type of thinking called, “Magician Thinking.”  With this type of thinking, students use visual/spatial reasoning to visualize parts of a pattern that they might not be able to physically see.  They practiced with tangram puzzles at their tables. They took turns playing the Osmo Tangrams game on the iPad, which was projected on our big screen, so everyone else could try to solve the puzzles, too.  One new word that they learned was “parallelogram,” and they also discovered that you can make a parallelogram out of two triangles.

Kinder Uses Logic

The Kinders have continued to use their Detective Thinking to solve puzzles.  This week, they did some logic puzzles on paper and tried to figure out the rule on an interactive white board game with shapes. They also got to try out a game called Osmo on the iPad that shows pictures and the students use the pictures as clues to spell a word.  They were great at working together!

Kinder Buddies Up with 3rd for Detective Thinking

The third graders needed to make up some GT time due to a field trip last week, so they shared an hour of  time with Kinder on Friday. They helped the Kinders to use their Detective Thinking with some different logic puzzles.  It was important to the 3rd graders to be helpful without doing the thinking for the Kinders, so the older students tried to ask them questions to help rather than giving them answers.  Afterwards, the 3rd graders said that was kind of hard to do!

The combined group even worked together on a GoNoodle brain break.  It was lots of fun for everyone!

Kinder is Introduced to Detective Thinking

“Detective” Thinking, which the older students know as convergent thinking, is what we use whenever we are using clues to find a right answer.  The Kinder students this week used Detective Thinking to solve animal mysteries, guess the answers to riddles, and find the “rule” for shapes that could be included in a circle on the interactive white board.  They also got to take some breaks from all of this hard thinking by doing some GoNoodle dancing 🙂

Kinder Shows Off Their Great Divergent Thinking

In Kinder, Divergent (Creative) Thinking is called, “Inventor Thinking.”  The students have been practicing thinking of new ideas that no one else has created.  This week, the students got to draw details on unfinished pictures, and to use some building manipulatives to demonstrate Inventor Thinking.


Kinder Gets Introduced to Inventor Thinking

For their first day of class the Kinder students talked about inventors.  As they colored Isabel the Inventor, I read a story about how Isabel brainstorms and comes up with new ideas for things.  Some of the GT students decided to draw things that Isabel might invent.  Parents should look to see if you recognize your child’s work, and read about some of the fun inventions the students thought to do! (Click on the image to see a larger version.)