October 2017 Updates

After many weeks of testing, our year is finally up and running in the GT classroom for 1st-5th grade GT students.  Here are a few of the things that have been going on (click on thumbnails to enlarge pics):

First grade began GT this week by learning about the creative thinking tool called “S.C.A.M.P.E.R.”  They used “Substitute” to make scarecrows out of material different than hay.

2nd Grade has been learning about using their “Thinking Hats” to make decisions.  They also just began studying animal structures, and have been enjoying some math problem-solving with “Splat.”

3rd grade worked on solving a very difficult papercraft challenge and learned about growth mindset.

4th and 5th Graders have been working on using Design Thinking to create miniature golf courses for Howdy Night next week.  5th grade has also been piloting a program called, Curiosity Club, from the UK.

4th Grade Builds Some Spooky Scenes

The 4th graders used various building materials to represent spooky scenes today. They also analyzed Tuck Everlasting as “Literary Luminaries,” finding quotes to best represent the characters, conflict, and setting. The class split up for some problem solving so the new students could learn the first level of Hands-On-Equations, while the “old-timers” worked on some tricky exemplar problems.  Then, the students worked on selecting Genius Hour topics and writing their research questions.  During all of this, Dylan, our current photographer, snapped some shots!


1st Grade Practices Flexible Thinking

The first graders worked on flexible thinking this week.  I gave them die-cut hearts, and they brainstormed what they could draw that would include a heart – but not as a body part or valentine.  We worked a LOT on the brainstorming piece so they could generate ideas that would be unique.  You can see their final pictures below!

A talking purse

A talking purse

Photo Feb 08, 1 31 13 PM

A brilliant light, like the sun


Hockey Puck

Hockey Puck


Pencil Top Eraser

Pencil Top Eraser

Air Vent

Air Vent

Cardboard Arcade Videos



We have 2 videos so far to advertise our Cardboard Arcade for Wednesday night! The first one was created by Jordan G. in 5th grade.  The 2nd one is a compilation of pics and videos taken of the student during the construction process.  Enjoy!

Hidden Forest Maker Club

This year, we started the Hidden Forest Maker Club open to students in 2nd-4th grades. The sponsors are Ms. Kirkwood, Mrs. Richardson, and Mrs. Eichholz. We meet with the 24 members every Thursday after school in the portables.  The empty classroom next to Mrs. Eichholz is slowly being transformed into a Maker Studio – which the GT students named B.O.S.S. HQ (Building of Super Stuff Headquarters) last year.

The first project for Maker Club has been to work on the Global Cardboard Challenge. The students are making arcade games out of cardboard using supplies that we purchased with a grant from the North East Education Foundation and cardboard that has been donated from parents and staff members.  We will be taking a select number of the games to the Party Room at Main Event on October 15th where the community will be invited to donate $1 to play the games from 5-9 PM.  There will also be $20 wristbands sold for access to the other activities at Main Event.  All of the money we raise (we will receive $5 from each wristband sold) will go to a charity that is being selected by the students.

To see the inspiration for the Global Cardboard Challenge, check out the Caine’s Arcade Video embedded below.  And, enjoy the pictures that we have taken so far of students in the process of making!

International Dot Day

September 15th is International Dot Day, a day inspired by the Peter Reynolds book, The Dot. The book is about celebrating creativity, and not feeling like you have to conform.  I am testing right now, so I can’t formally meet with the GT classes, but I would love to have the students participate.

If you visit this site, you can download a dot to decorate.  Or, if you are unable to print it at home, tell your GT student to ask his or her teacher to visit my classroom and pick one up. (If your child is currently testing for 3rd grade GT, I will send one home.)

The student should decorate the dot in a creative manner.  Please emphasize making the dot unique!  When your child is done, ask him or her to bring me the dot.

If you read the website, you will see that these dots have special properties!  You can follow the instructions at home to download the app, or your child can wait until he or she comes to GT to see the dot “come to life.”

I hope that I will soon have a plethora of fantastical dots to decorate my bare classroom!  Also, don’t forget to encourage your child to start thinking about our Global Cardboard Challenge!

My Classroom Makeover – What Do You Think?

Are you worried?  Are you wondering, “What has she been doing all of this time?  I know she’s testing right now, but where are the kids supposed to sit?”

Don’t panic.  This is not my classroom.  (“Whew!” – right?)  It’s the classroom next door.  I am collecting boxes for a project for the kids.  I sent out an e-mail to the staff asking for donations – and they have responded with lots of boxes!  It’s fortunate that I have a place to store them!

The project is, “Global Cardboard Challenge.”  I would like all of my GT students to be involved.  However, we do not start classes until the week of September 23rd (2nd-5th), and the Day of Play is scheduled for October 5th.

So, Parents, you can help me out by watching the video at this link with your child to learn more about the challenge.  Have your child take a look at the picture above, and help him or her to imagine something awesome that could be made out of one or more of those boxes.  If possible, even work on a rough sketch, or gather some recyclable trash to supplement your child’s idea.  I will give your child time in class (except for 1st grade who does not meet with me until November) – but we won’t have much.  So, the more pre-planning that can be done, the more your child can accomplish with me.  If 1st graders make a plan and show it to me, then I will let them take a box home to work on the project.

Remember to encourage creativity.  Caine’s Arcade is great, but we don’t want to copy what he did.  The whole point of this is to use a box to think outside the box:)

1st Grade Plans a “Loop” Party

1st grade did some divergent thinking today. One of the pieces of S.C.A.M.P.E.R. is “Rearrange”, so I asked the students to think about rearranging the letters in “pool” so they would spell “loop”. Then, I asked them to draw what at “Loop Party” might look like (as opposed to a Pool Party). They did some other Summer Pool Party activities as well, and presented them to the class.

2nd Grade Imagines a Different Kind of Bridge

Today I read The Great Bridge Lowering to the 2nd graders.  We had a short discussion about the ethics and perspectives that were in the story.  (Is it right to build a bridge with weaker materials to save money?  How would the architect feel about having his plans changed?)

Then, the students brainstormed their own solutions to the problem in the story, which was that a city had been split in half by a great river after an earthquake.  Instead of a bridge to the other side, the students imagined jetpacks and portals that might help you cross instead.

After that, the kids got to think about the pros and cons of different types of bridges:  a bridge with pockets, a bridge made out of rubber bands, a bridge that could move itself, and a bridge made out of jello.  Ask your students about their responses!