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.
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!
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
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.
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
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.
The 5th graders worked on Growth Mindset, Systems Thinking, and Design Thinking this week. To practice Growth Mindset and Systems Thinking, they did a challenging puzzle on the interactive white board called, “Blocky Christmas.” As they reached higher levels, the students encountered more obstacles and really had to persevere. They also had to think about what mistakes they were consistently making so they could break out of frustrating cycles of incorrect answers. In a different activity, “Holiday Hink Pinks,” the students again applied these skills to help them solve the riddles.
In addition, the 5th graders also worked on Design Thinking with the Bloxels kits. We hit many obstacles because the app has been updated and only part of it will work with our district filters. But we powered through and got the beginnings of some games completed.
Last year, I backed a project on Kickstarter called, “Hackaball.” The toy is designed to be a programmable ball – similar to Sphero, but it can be thrown and bounced. I finally received it two days ago, and decided to see what the 5th graders could do with the programming.
Hackaball is programmed with an app by the same name. The programming is similar to block programming, and it is pretty basic at the moment. The problem we ran into was that the ball does not seem to respond to certain actions differently – such as being thrown or dropped – so that was frustrating for all of us. The students got to see, firsthand, how some products are a great idea but need numerous tests and refinements to work correctly!
5th grade also worked on “profiling” Jonas in The Giver, making excellent comments about the changes he has gone through during the story.
The 5th graders have been working on a new site called CoSpaces to build virtual 3d scenes of their favorite memories. This goes along with our reading of The Giver, in which the main character learns he lives in a dystopian world when he receives memories of the past. The students also used multiple perspectives this week to consider what the characters in the story might be thankful for.
The students are working hard on their Genius Hour projects which include: how to prevent school shootings, how copyright affects creativity, the need for safer equipment in football, and the consequences of oil pollution.
They also had a little time to work on some challenging math perplexers that test their understanding of radius and diameter.
A favorite memory of camping