3rd Grade Starts Looking for “X”

photo-oct-18-1-15-02-pmThe 3rd graders began the first level of “Hands-on-Equations” today. This math unit introduces the students to algebra by using manipulatives.

They also worked on narrowing down their Genius Hour topic and creating a research question. They’ve decided to learn more about the Great Barrier Reef – how it’s changing, and the consequences if it dies.

We read Fish in a Tree, and worked on making connections to our personal lives and the real world.

5th Grade Remixes “Scream”

As we have been reading The Giver, the main character has been apprehensive about an upcoming event.  In this dystopian society, there is little freedom but also little to fear.  The 5th graders brainstormed some of their fears and with the help of the green screen and a couple of iPad apps, used the famous artwork, “The Scream,” to express what scares them.

The students also started brainstorming their Genius Hour project ideas this week, and will work on coming up with their research questions next week.

5th Grade Helps to Plan our Field Trip

We were able to have another teleconference today.  This time, Jake Stanush, who will be our guide during the Mitchell Lake field trip, joined us along with Justin Moore, who will be flying the drone when we go out there.  We learned more about the origins of the lake (one of the two natural lakes in Texas, and sewage from SAWS used to be dumped there) and figured out our timeline and activities for the field trip.  The students also worked on their Genius Hour projects – adding improvements based on peer feedback.

5th Grade Learns About Drones

The 5th graders got to video conference with Mr. Justin Moore this week so they could learn more about the drones he flies, how he guides them, and the rules and regulations for them.  Mr. Moore will be helping us out on our upcoming field trip to Mitchell Lake, and we appreciate his donation of time and knowledge!

The students worked hard on their Genius Hour projects today, listened to a TED talk about perception, and learned more about author Lois Lowry’s inspirations for The Giver.


Katie R. Scientists  might think differently about  learning from kids because of the TED video we watched earlier about how kids can be scientists too. I love learning about kids that are doing amazing things in the world.
Katie C. One way we seemed to have changed over time is the way we look at things. Used to, we might think that adults are the only ones who can teach, but now we go against that and are in the process of teaching the adults.
Odin One question I still have after today is what were to happen if something so bad happened that people started thinking of whether or not to go to sameness.  I wonder if there would be a big battle between whether or not to go to sameness.
Trent A new word I learned today is Blackawton Bees, which is an experiment on bees created by 8-10 year old students. They studied which panel the bees would land on and tried to publish it. We started today listening to barn owls, then working and evaluating peoples GH project. Following that we watched the TED video on the Bees.
Nathan Some people might feel differently about the ethics of the cost of items  because some things people don’t care as much about may lower price and value.If you tried to sell a TV to a person in 1699 they would give you their whole house for it and this item would be of top value.Point is different things are different costs to different people and different generations.
Timothy If I could sum up today’s learning in 6 words, I would say TED, Giver, Diverse, Rate, Genius Hour, Creativity.
Elizabeth I see a connection between the TED talk and the part of the book with Lois Lowry because the bees seemed to have a brain that took color as their life, just like the painter took color for his.
Alex Something I would like to go home and learn more about is, what does our society consider rich? I would like to learn more about this because we were talking about it in class, and I am still interested in learning about it .
Adriel A detail about Lois Lowery’s speech that some people might not notice is that it related to The Giver through her life. We worked on themes and our presentation. I got a response to my person.
Abby Today we talked about Lois Lowry. One thing we talked about that I will never forget is when Lois thought everything was ok since it was somewhere else. Something like that happened to me. I connected more to Alex and Katie’s thing more than something on the news.

3rd Grade Makes Growth Mindset Connections

The 3rd graders watched another Class Dojo Growth Mindset video today, and it mentioned the importance on reflecting on our mistakes.  Coincidentally, they also finished reading Billibonk and the Big Itch, in which Billibonk learns how mistakes can be helpful.  Here are some of their reflections from the day:

Max One pattern that I noticed today was that sometimes you will make a decision and not realize the long-term consequences until it’s too late.
Dylan I see a connection between Billibonk and the Class Dojo video because they both talked about how to reflect on your mistakes.
Olivia One way the elephants seem to have changed over time is they used to think Billibonk was the problem, but now they see Billibonk is a way to solve the problem.
Harrison One question I still have after today’s learning is can mistakes still be bad?
Haasini A detail about problem-solving that some people might not notice is they may make the problem worse by not finding out what the real problem is.
Jonah Something I would like to go home and learn more about is patterns in life.

Here are a couple of pictures drawn by our new students to advertise our “Entertaining Eater” project!

Photo Apr 12, 4 28 18 PM Photo Apr 12, 4 38 39 PM

3rd Grade Works on a Video for their Entertaining Plate

The 3rd graders are about to survey the school to see what the students and staff think about their “Entertaining Plate” product.  Today, the students began to work on an explanatory video to show people before they take the survey.  We worked as a class to plan the sequence of the video, and the students made suggestions for the script.  Then they practiced what they were going to say to make sure they could say it loudly and slowly.

We recorded each student saying his or her part in front of a green screen because we plan to insert pictures and video behind them to show what they are talking about.  Below are the unedited green screen videos, which will be transformed next week! (Aditi’s was not able to upload because the file size was too large – but don’t worry; it will definitely be included in the final product!)

5th Grade Works on Genius Hour Presentation Plans

The 5th graders began work today on the plans for their Genius Hour presentations. They brainstormed ideas for ways to present that would be interesting and interactive. Because they are so passionate about their topics and excited to start organizing their presentations, they were not ready for Genius Hour to end!

The students also worked on analyzing some of the themes in The Giver, which we finished reading last week. They gave thoughts to how the themes might relate to their own lives, and connected them to other books they have read with similar themes.

image from LitCharts

image from LitCharts

4th Grade Learns about Fibonacci

The 4th grade students are learning about mathematical “masterpieces” such as Pi.  This week, they learned about the Fibonacci sequence and how it relates to nature.  The students were entertained by this series of videos by Vi Hart.

Speaking of mathematical masterpieces, we were able to print one of the mandalas the students designed, and hope to get the rest of them printed by next week.


Despite our shortened time period (due to 5th grade STAAR), the students also had a little time to work on their playground equipment designs, and looked for laws that might effect their final products.

Photo Mar 30, 12 30 26 PM Photo Mar 30, 12 30 43 PM

5th Grade Learns about WeVideo

The 5th graders tried out a new Chrome app this week called WeVideo. They can create videos with still pics or live video, add music and voice-overs, and make special effects.  They are using it to make short presentations about the quotations they chose to represent them.  In addition, they worked on their Genius Hour Project Proposals, and also read some more of The Giver – with a great discussion following!

Katie R. One pattern that I’ve noticed is that everyone gets along and understands what to do.
Odin One question I still have after today’s learning is, “How was it decided to go to Sameness?”
Elizabeth One way that Jonas seems to have changed over time is that he and The Giver have gotten really close and have been talking about hard times and understanding each other better.
Alex The Community might think differently about having all of these memories thrown at them because they are not prepared and The Giver might not be able to help.

5th Grade Designs Their Own Logos

The 5th graders reviewed the character traits they believe are important, and began designing personal logos that symbolize those traits in Tinkercad. They also read more of The Giver, reviewed Hands-On-Equations, and selected partners and topics for Genius Hour.  Here are some of their reflections:

Katie R. Todays lesson about The Giver makes me wonder about what would happen about what would happen if our world fell into sameness, and we had our own giver.
Katie C. We burst through the doors and grabbed a seat so we could start learning. Starting off our day, we chose our partners and questions for Genius Hour. Next, the symbol making began. In a circle we read The Giver and learned that Jonas has come to the conclusion that people should be able to see color. We did Hands-On-Equations at our own paces. And now, drumroll please, I’m typing the blog post! Yay! Instead of reading The Giver, I would choose to keep working on our symbols because you can always add to everything. I can’t wait to come again, but I don’t think we have it next week. 🙁
Odin I think the algebra we did today was important because it gave us early knowledge on middle school math. Another thing we did today was that we read The Giver. I think that it was important because we had lots of ethical discussions. Everyone made a symbol that shows their traits in TinkerCad. I think it was important because everyone got to express themselves through creativity.
Trent I think The Giver is important because it proves that we should be grateful for what we can see and do and that we are free and have the choice to choose. In Jonas’s community it proves that we should not only be gracious for color but for the freedom to choose.
Nathan From what I learned today about hands on equations I can infer that most math experts on algebra would have to stay focused on it and think about it because I was rusty on most of the methods or legal moves.Todays lesson about the giver makes me wonder what would happen if we had a reicever or if there was even a reicever and how it would feel to take in all of the pain.
Elizabeth Giver and Hands on Equations. It doesn’t get much better than that….. or does it. Well we did do some genius hour and worked on way   symbols for ourself.  Our symbols showed who we are, but one more exiting thing, we are printing them on the 3D printer. Oh, we are getting two more speros. Well, it was a good day. Learning about our symbols reminded me of nature. No reason, but it did.
Alex I think that learning the Hands on Equations way of doing algebra is a good idea. I think that it is a good  idea because it will give us a head start on middle school. I also think that we can now go back to that way in the future! It is a very  easy way to do algebra and will be very helpful.
Adriel Learning about the new algebra way reminded me of my old school when our G.T teacher taught us algebra before 4th graders were taught it. We read more of the giver, even though I saw the movie but the book is way more interesting. We also discused about it, we had to find pages that had Jonas have integrity, courage, wisdom, and intelligence. Today was a fun and educational day.
Abby Instead of learning about the algebra I would rather read more of The Giver because almost every time we stop at a cliff hanger!!!!!