1st Grade Puts Reindeer to Another Use

One of the stations the 1st graders went to during our Winter rotations required them to use their creative (divergent) thinking to come up with occupations for Santa’s flying reindeer during the rest of the year when their services are not required.  This class came up with some of the most unusual ideas I’ve ever seen!  From the “Toilet Plunger Teacher” to the “Bermuda Triangle Investigator,” the reindeer have quite a variety of career options according to these students!

1st Grade’s Shamrock Shenanigans

The first graders worked on more research this week, finding out more about special places in each of the countries they are studying.  They will be doing a project next class in which they will be making postcards from those places of interest.

In addition, the first graders practiced creative thinking by doing some more brainstorming.  This week, they brainstormed what else shamrocks could be.  Here are their ideas:

3rd Grade Discusses Mindsets

As part of our Systems Thinking unit this year, we will be talking about the brain.  We began by talking about the difference between a “Growth Mindset” and a “Fixed Mindset” today.  Ask your child if he or she can give examples of each, and which is more desirable.  It was a great discussion, and I could already see the students making real-world applications as we continued the rest of our afternoon in GT.

In addition to our mindsets conversation, the students worked on programming some more by using the Kodable app.  They are learning about functions, and it is great to see that they are hitting some challenges, but persevering through them!

We finished out the day by doing some creative Thanksgiving brainstorming.  First, I asked the students to brainstorm things that they are thankful for that are soft.  Then, I made it a bit more challenging, and asked them to brainstorm things that they are thankful for that they cannot see.  As you can see from the “Padlet” below, this was more difficult for them.  Since there are only 4 students in this class, I thought I should participate, too; that’s why you see so many examples from me!

1st Grade Plays a Creative Thinking Game

Using some of the money from Fun Run, I was able to purchase some games for the GT kids that I think will challenge their brains. Today, I let the 1st graders try a game called Morphology Junior. It’s similar to Charades, except you can’t act out what is on the card (unless you roll the “Morph” number). Instead, you are given various pieces that you can use to build something that will give the team clues to the word. They really seemed to enjoy the game, and it definitely requires some divergent thinking!

Here is a link to my Pinterest board in case you are looking for more games and toys for gifted kids.

Kinder Designs Leprechaun Traps!

This is the first time I have tried this project, and it was a big success!  I loved listening to the planning and logic the students used for creating their leprechaun traps.  (There was even a short ethical discussion about how humane the traps should be, and one child stated that she did not want to come back to school to find a “bloody leprechaun”.)  We used all kinds of materials – from buttons to plastic eggs – but the biggest hit were the “jewels” I had left over from 4th grade’s Faberge Egg project.

The morning was a whirlwind, so I did not get a chance to have each child explain how his or her trap works.  I am going to videotape them after Spring Break, so you can hear their ideas.

Thank you to all of the parents who helped us out!  I don’t often have adult assistants in the classroom, and today it was definitely appreciated!

Kinder Works on Inventor and Detective Thinking

The Kinder class began today with using “Inventor” thinking to try to imagine something new that could be found at the end of the rainbow.  They also practiced their presentation skills by sharing their drawings under the document camera, and making sure to face the audience as they talked about their creations.

To continue the work on “Detective” thinking that we began on Friday, the students did some logic puzzles.  Then I introduced them to Sudoku.  They are still learning that you have to use the clues to solve Sudoku puzzles, and you can’t “jump to conclusions”.  They practiced using the app “Sticker Sudoku” on the iPads.  This is a free app in case any of you would like to download it at home.

2nd Graders Work on Substitutions and Suspensions

In this case, by “substitution”, I mean one of our creative thinking tools from S.C.A.M.P.E.R., with which you can invent something new by substituting something for one of its parts.  And the “suspensions” we were working on were suspension bridges.

The students got into the spirit of the upcoming holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, by imagining what might be fun to find at the end of the rainbow instead of a pot of gold.  They also practiced “combine”, the second part of S.C.A.M.P.E.R., by designing a clock combined with a shamrock.

To complete the K’Nex portion of our Bridges study, the students were able to choose whether to create an Arch Bridge or a Suspension Bridge.  We got some help from one of Hidden Forest’s WatchD.O.G.S., Mr. Castleberry.