January 2018 Updates

We have had a busy month despite the ice day!  I can’t believe that it is already February, 2018!  I’ve shared some pictures below, but the majority of our work and pics are shared in Seesaw.  Here are some of the things going on in GT:

  • GT Report Cards were sent out this week for 2nd-5th grade GT students.  Parents, please make sure you sign the bottom portion and send that back (along with their GT folder or composition book).
  • There will be no GT classes February 6-9 as I will be in Austin at the TCEA conference presenting and learning.
  • 1st Grade GT students are learning the continents.  They have been using their coding skills to program the Dash robots to travel around the world during the “Dash for Treasure” challenge.  They are also writing endings for the story.
  • In 2nd Grade, the students are learning about man-made structures, and have spent the last couple of classes on bridges.  They recently built paper bridges, and have learned that triangles are very strong shapes.  In addition, they were introduced to Algebra with some math balance activities.
  • The 3rd Grade GT students are working on their collaborative Genius Hour project about volcanoes, continuing to learn about Systems Thinking, and doing incredible Algebra word problems.
  • 4th Grade GT just finished reading Tuck Everlasting, and made connections among the theme, characters, and symbols in the book using Hexagonal Learning.  A couple of weeks ago, they applied what they have discussed about Ethics to some real court cases.  They just started researching their Genius Hour projects, and also began a unit on Mathematical Masterpieces.
  • In 5th Grade the students are continuing to read The Giver and made some real-world connections with some court cases in a unit called, “Always Watching.”  They are also learning more about their strengths and aspirations by taking an assessment and courses in Thrively.

November 10, 2017 Updates

There are lots of things going on in our GT classroom this month!  Before I give you the grade level summaries, here are a couple of announcements:

  • Don’t forget the GT Parent Orientation scheduled for Friday, November 17th, from 7:30-8:30 am in the GT Portable (see flyer below)
  • It’s gift-giving season.  Looking for some ideas for your children?  Every Friday in November and December, I blog about great books and games for kids.  Here is a link to my recommendations from past years, as well as a link to the what I have posted so far this year.
  • Speaking of blog posts, I highly encourage all parents to watch the video I posted last week regarding the challenges gifted students need.  I will be sending this out to our teachers as well.

1st Grade GT has been talking about convergent thinking (looking for clues to find a right answer) and divergent thinking (creativity).  They learned a few convergent thinking games: Chocolate Fix, Set, and Sudoku.  They also used divergent thinking to design their own Macy’s Parade balloons.

In 2nd Grade GT, the students have continued to learn about adaptations, and imagined what our classroom would need to look like if we got a wild animal as a class pet.  They are also working on some problem-solving with an activity called, “Find the X-Tile,” and continuing with “Splat.”

3rd Grade GT students are continuing their studies of the brain.  They have also begun brainstorming topics for their group Genius Hour project.  It looks like we may be studying volcanoes!

The 4th Grade GT class made some awesome onomatopoeia sound effects using Scratch coding and Makey Makey this week as they discussed more types of figurative language.  Check out their Seesaw portfolios where they shared their performances!

In 5th Grade GT the students are preparing for the Curiosity Club Convention, which is scheduled for December 11th.  They are also reading The Giver, and discussing how it relates to current events.  During problem-solving stations, they played Rover Control, worked on Logic Links, and tried out Noodlers.

October 30th GT Updates

Wow this month has flown!  I’m still working on routines to get the students regularly sharing GT work in Seesaw, so I thought I would do another blog post to keep everyone informed.

1st grade is up and running!  They have been working on Detective and Inventor Thinking.  Last week, I introduced the word, “convergent,” to describe Detective Thinking.  The students also learned how to play SET, and were the quickest group I’ve ever had to learn the rules!

2nd grade has been practicing their Thinking Hats (and metacognition), learning about behavioral and structural adaptations, and doing some tough math problem solving.  They also have been doing some creative thinking by imagining that our class has gotten an unusual class pet.  Can you guess the pets from their drawings and writing?

3rd grade is learning about the brain and how it is part of a system.  As a connection to that, they made paper circuit “brains” for monsters this week.  They are also learning the “legal moves” of Algebra in our Hands-on-Equations lessons.

4th and 5th grade were busy working on Design Thinking as they worked on their cardboard mini golf courses during the past couple of weeks.  We had quite a few challenges with their first big test – Howdy Night!  The fierce wind dismantled a few of the games, and the technology was hard to see and hear during with all of the crowds.  However, we got many comments about how fun the games were and there were lots of smiles!


Here is the 1st grade research report on China!

3rd Grade Practices Genius Hour Presentation

This week, the 3rd graders practiced introducing their Genius Hour video about Coral Reefs and the accompanying Scratch video game they created so they can present it to their homeroom classes.

2nd Grade Tests Their Bridges

The 2nd graders finished up their bridge designs this week, and tested them out with our Dash robot.  As you can see from one of the pictures, we put a little cushion underneath in case Dash did not make it across.

Unfortunately, Dash was not able to cross for either bridge design.  However, the students reflected on their experiences and felt like they had learned a lot.  Their designs went through many revisions, and they would probably have even better ideas for building the bridges if they had more time.  We compared/contrasted their process to the real-life work that goes into building bridges – and we all decided we would need a lot more training and experience before we could design a real bridge!

Kinder Rescues Royalty

One spatial reasoning favorite in our class is a game called, “Royal Rescue.”  The game comes with blocks, a prince and princess, and challenge cards.  Students must set up the blocks according to the challenge cards, and use the indicated remaining blocks to build a route for the prince and princess to travel to get to each other.  (Some view it as the prince rescuing the princess, and others see it the other way around!)  The challenges increase in difficulty, and our group just made it to the Expert level today.  Solving some of these puzzles literally requires that you “look at things from another perspective,” and the students are getting very good at asking themselves, “What haven’t I tried yet?”