Third Grade Tests a New Product

We got a great opportunity from a company called Tangible Play.  They are creating a product that is designed to make iPads more interactive – with physical objects and with people.  It is not currently available in stores, but they are allowing some teacher to beta test it.  Last week, the company sent me the special stand for the iPad, some letters, and some tangram pieces.  I downloaded the test apps to my iPad, and needed some instructions for how to get started.  The developers were available to talk to me this morning – but during class time.  So, we decided to do a video conference, and to let the kids ask the developers some questions while we learned about the new game.

We had a few glitches with our video conference, but were able to connect and talk with the developers.  They gave us some pointers on getting started, and the kids took off running with the first app – called “Words.”  It was so fun watching them play this challenging app.  The iPad shows a picture clue on the screen, and two teams try to spell the word with the letter on the table.  The iPad recognizes each correct letter, and gives points to the teams as they solve the puzzle.  Instead of having kids quietly working out a game on a tablet, this game encourages lots of discussion and collaboration!

The other app that can now be used with the product is “Tangrams.”  As the developers warned us, that app is still a little glitchy, but it is definitely a great concept – completing tangram puzzles with the physical blocks as the iPad takes note of correctly placed pieces.

Some more apps to go with the product are in the works – including a drawing one.  We are excited to be part of the testing process!

In addition to app testing, the students worked on collaborating on a Google doc about the brain.  They also tackled some tough holiday logic puzzles.  It was a busy day in 3rd grade GT!


So Much to Do, So Little Time!

Summer has been busy around our house, and I’m already well aware of the fact that we are not going to accomplish half of what I had planned for these couple of months before the new school year envelops us.  Despite that, I am always finding new things to add to the list – usually more than what I have crossed off the list so far!

I’m always on the lookout for what might interest the GT families of our community.  Here are a few resources I’ve collected in the past week that you might want to try:

One More Day!

I can’t believe we only have one more day of school – and that my daughter is graduating from elementary school tomorrow!  Those of you who are 5th grade parents are surely feeling the same way!

I’m going to try to do my weekly summer posts on Wednesdays.  I just want to keep in touch with everyone, and let you know if I find any awesome resources for keeping the kids occupied this summer.

On my professional blog, I am doing a week-long series of resources for parents over the summer.  You can check out today’s article here.

Also, one of my favorite go-to sites for GT kids is Mensa for Kids.  It has great puzzles and games that really get the students thinking.

One of my colleagues, who teaches GT at Bulverde Creek, is hosting a Tech Camp this summer.  The tuition is $100.  You can visit this link to find out more information.

And, one more resource you might like:  Fabulous and Free

You can subscribe to “Fabulous and Free”, and receive a free flyer every day with apps and e-books that are being offered for free.

Stay tuned for more ideas next week!

1st Grade Stacks the Countries!

The 1st graders got to try out the free iPad app, “Stack the Countries Lite” in class today. My hope is for them to learn more geography, and be able to understand where the continents are in relation to where we are located. If you are able to download this app (and the other free one, “Stack the States”) at home, this would be great practice for them.

They then got to decide if they wanted to work with a partner for our next research project, and chose a country to study. The choices were: Canada, Spain, Greece, Germany, and Cambodia. If you have any artifacts from those countries that you would not mind your child bringing to school, we would love to see them!

The students seemed to really enjoy our continuation of Visual Thinking today, which involved decoding a cipher. We will be working on that some more on Friday.

Kinder Tracks Down a Pot of Gold

Well, apparently our leprechaun traps were good at attracting a leprechaun to our classroom, but not good enough to trap him!  He managed to get away with most of our jewels, but he was kind enough to leave some clues to the pot of gold he couldn’t carry.  The students used their Detective Thinking to find the pot of gold, and each took a piece of “gold” home – along with their clever traps.

The students worked some more on their Inventor Thinking by making some doodles into pictures.  (One student turned a couple of squiggles into DNA!) Then we turned our attention to an iPad app called Pettson’s Inventions.  This app is actually more Detective Thinking than Inventor because Pettson has already devised the inventions; the students have to problem solve to put them back together.  It’s a bit like reconstructing a “Rube Goldberg” contraption.  The students were able to complete all of the levels in the “Lite” version of Pettson’s Inventions 1, but parents might want to download the free version of Pettson’s Inventions 2 – or invest $1.99 in the full version of either one of those.  Also, here’s a fun PBS site that follows along that idea: