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)!

December 2015 Updates

Wow, this week has flown by, and our blog posts are way behind!  Part of the problem was that the Edublogs site was down, but the other part is that we just haven’t had time.  The students and I have been super busy, and lots of great things are happening!

Here are some brief summaries of what is going on in the GT Classroom!

  • 1st and 2nd grades both participated in the Hour of Code in GT on Monday.  The 1st graders tried to code our Dash robot to travel from North to South America as we continue to study the continents.  The 2nd graders used an app called, “Box Island,” to learn some basics about sequences, loops, and conditional statements (we didn’t call them that in class, but they definitely figured out how to use them!)
  • The 3D printer so generously donated to our classroom by the parents is up and running!  We had a little glitch with connecting to the district network, but now it is working like a champ!  The 2nd-5th grade classes will have opportunities to design for it coming up soon! (Funny detail – the Aquanet hairspray was included in the box.  It’s used to make the build plate sticky!)

Photo Dec 10, 2 54 41 PM

  • 5th grade was invited to stream live to the District’s Principal’s meeting yesterday.  They got to show the principals how we do Socratic Dialogue in our classroom, and Odin got to ask our Superintendent, Dr. Gottardy, a question, “How do you balance safety and freedom when making decisions for our schools?”  Below is a picture of how our class was viewed by Mr. Bloomer, principal at Bradley.

Socratic Dialogue

    • The 3rd – 5th grade teams worked on their missions so their videos could be submitted by the 12/10/15 deadline to the Wonder League Robotics Competition.  We had four teams total, and it has been so fun to see how the different teams handled each mission!  It will definitely be clear to the judges that the students took control of the programming and “flair” as no two teams did the same thing!  I am embedding their competition videos below.  I had a couple of hours of panic last night while I tried to stitch all of the videos together for our submission because my home computer was so slow – but all of the videos did get submitted before the deadline!

4th and 5th Graders Learn What it Means to Persevere!

The 4th and 5th graders all worked on Mission 4 for the Wonder League Robotics Competition this week.  It has really challenged their brains, and they are learning from many mistakes.  It’s so gratifying to see them cheer when something goes right, but we also had so moments of laughter this week when one program went a bit awry as you will see from the video below!

From 3rd Grade – Mission 3 Complete!

Pascal’s triangle has been an amazing tool for helping the students to have a Growth Mindset for math.  This week, they used the triangle to do some math calculations centered around “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”  Exactly how many gifts would have been received by the 12th day according to this famous song?  After solving that, the students came up with their own questions that could be solved using the pattern they discovered.

Also, the students spent a lot of time synergizing and problem solving this week to program Dash to complete Mission 3 of the Wonder League Robotics Competition.  There are 7 missions total, so we are working hard to get them all done before the December 10th deadline!

4th Grade is Up to the Challenge!

The 4th graders are working hard on the missions for the Wonder League Robotics Competition.  It was great to see the group of 6 (Welcome, Keely!) synergize to complete the first 3 missions!  The challenges are difficult, and you definitely need to have a growth mindset to complete them.

We did not have time to complete our usual reflections today, but here are some photos of the team (The Ticking Timing Tigers) hard at work.

5th Grade Works on their Wonder Missions

The 5th graders are split into two teams for the Wonder League Robotics Competition – The Intergalactic Vegan Hippie Bunnies and The Pickle-Eating Party Platypi. On Thursday, the teams each went to a room to work on completing at least part of their 7 total missions.  They found the first few missions to be particularly challenging, which made it even more rewarding when they completed them!  We did not have time for written reflections, but here are some of the pictures taken during the process.

4th Grade Learns about Figurative Language

Hooray – our blog is back up and running!  We had a short day this week due to Early Dismissal, so I am going to give you a little bit about this week and last week.

Here are screenshots of the incredible personification poems the students wrote to honor the veterans. Congratulations to Max H. on having his poem, “Thankfulness,” selected to be read at the Churchill Veteran’s Day Ceremony.

Here was Connor’s great summary of last week’s class:

“We started GT finishing our poems for Church Hill honoring veterans and soldiers. After that we learned about the one problem for GT 6th grade. So we tried to represent that by doing difficult math problems. To end the day we played awesome Zoombinis.”  

This week, the students started preparing for the Wonder League Robotics Competition and practiced identifying more types of figurative language.

3rd Grade Tackle Cubelets Challenges

Jordan is our 3rd grade blogger for the week, and Keely is our photographer.

Today in GT we used robots called Cubelets.They were very cool robots.The way you use Cubelets is by connecting them together.  There are lots of different types of Cubelets like action or sensing. Another thing we talked about is PMI,CAF, growth mindsets,and systems thinking. CAF means consider all factors. PMI means plus minus and interesting.Growth mindset means to not let anything stop you from what you want to accomplish even if it seems to hard.

4th Grade Paints with Sphero

We have a new blogger this week, Nathan.  Our new photographer is Katie. Alex also contributed some of the video. You can see a video of the Spheros painting at the end of this post.

GT highlights  of the day!

We got back together with our spheros Newton and Einstein which were ready for a fun new challenge. All 6 GT kids were split into teams of 3.Challenge 1  was to brainstorm a shape or a shape pattern. Team one chose a triforce and team 2 chose the 6 pointed star. Challenge 2 was to slather paint all over the sphero and let it draw the shape your team programed. Both did not turn out as planned but were art in the eyes of both teams. To finish the day we worked on our virtual  math museums. Finally we looked at the and pacman on google maps!

1st Grade Programs Dash to Visit Their Countries

The 1st graders are continuing to learn more about the countries they chose to research.  Using our floor map, they each got the chance to program Dash to “travel” to their country.  They are getting very good at using the Blockly app to program!  They are also getting better at identifying the continents and some other geographic locations.

We are trying to find out more about the countries all over the world so that the students can see that, though there may be differences, there are also many similarities.  On Friday, the students looked at some of the popular sports in their countries, and noticed that many of them are played here.  We also discussed how “football” does not mean the same thing to most of the world as it does to Americans!