Kinder Identifies Leaves and Bugs

To practice their “Scientist Thinking” this week, the Kinder students used a combination of traditional and 21st century tools.  On Monday, they used magnifying glasses to take a closer look at some leaves I gave them as examples.  They observed the similarities and differences.  Then, they went on a leaf hunt, and collected some leaves from around the school. When we returned to class, they used an app called “Leafsnap” to take pictures of each leaf.  The app, once a picture is uploaded, gives suggestions from its database as to the type of tree to which the leaf might belong.  Because the app gives several recommendations for each picture, the students really had to study the information carefully before identifying each leaf.

On Friday, the students talked about bugs and different ways to sort them.  We looked at the number of legs, the parts of their bodies (some students even learned about the thorax and abdomen of insects).  A fun book by PopAR Toys called Bugs 3-D was used to see different bugs up close and personal.  We were able to scan the pages, and see 3D images of samples such as ants, grasshoppers, and tarantulas.  Each child got to scan a bug with the iPad, and we were able to project the information on our classroom screen for everyone to see.  The interactive book included videos of the animals, as well as diagrams and fun facts.  I think we all learned a lot!

Kinder Students Learn How to Think Like a Scientist

The Kinder students finished up “Magician Thinking” this week by playing a board game called, “Robot Turtles.”  This game helped them practice some basic programming skills that they learned from the “Daisy the Dinosaur” app. They got better at visualizing the steps they needed to take to reach the jewels in the center with the least number of steps.

We then started a short unit on “Scientist Thinking.”  For this type of thinking, the students look closely at items, and try to group them based on their similarities.  We played some games on the interactive board on Monday and Friday to practice sorting.  Then, on Friday, the students used magnifying glasses to match miniscule pictures with their larger counterparts.  Since their eyesight is far better than mine, I don’t think they really needed the magnifying glasses 😉

Kinder GT Learns How to Program

In Kinder GT this week, the students continued to learn about “Magician Thinking,” which is looking for patterns and trying to visualize things in your head.  On Monday, they were introduced to a free app called “Daisy the Dinosaur,” which teaches basic programming skills.  We did it as a class on the big screen on Monday, and then the students worked independently on the iPads on Friday to practice their coding.

The students also finished up the stations they started a couple of classes ago – Tangrams and Q-bitz.  These also reinforced “Magician Thinking.”

A couple of the pictures below show the students doing a “Go Noodle” brain break where they performed some “Surfer Dude” movements 🙂

Oh, and I tried to get all of their pictures during the Fiesta parade, but most of them came out blurry.  Sorry!

Kinder Practices Magician Thinking

Parents, I am posting the Kinder blog entry for the week today, as we will not have class on Friday due to the holiday.

The Kinder GT students continued to work on Magician Thinking – looking for patterns – today.  First they did a color pattern game on our interactive white board.  Then they worked on a “rotational dominoes” activity.  Matching the shapes to their mirror images was a bit tricky, but they all did very well!

For centers, half the students played a Tangram iPad game that our GT classroom is beta testing.  It uses real tangram pieces on the table that are recognized by a special piece placed by the iPad.  The other half of the students played a game called Q-bitz, where they had to build pictures with colored cubes. Next week, the students will switch so everyone will have a chance to do both stations.


Kinder Finishes Up Detective Thinking

Photo Apr 11, 8 26 01 AM

The Kinder GT students finished working on Detective Thinking this week.  You can see them in the picture above proudly displaying their detective badges! They learned that detective thinking requires that one find the right answer by looking for clues, and did lots of logic puzzles, Venn Perplexers and thinking games to practice this.

So far, they have learned about Inventor and Detective Thinking.  Our next unit is Magician Thinking, where they must look for a pattern to find the right answer.

Kinder Works on Detective Thinking Centers

I am posting for Kinder GT  today because we will not have GT on Friday due to a 5th grade field trip.

The Kinder students continued to work on Detective Thinking today with logic puzzles and Venn diagram puzzles.  We are increasing the difficulty level, and the students are doing great!

They also started doing Centers for Detective Thinking.  With their partners, they worked on some of the logic games that I introduced last week.  It was great listening to them collaborate and talk about how to solve each puzzle.  Some of them are still “jumping to conclusions” too quickly, and need to slow down to see if their responses make sense.  However, they are definitely meeting each new challenge with enthusiasm!

Kinder Explores Detective Thinking

As they continued to work more on “Detective” Thinking, the Kinder GT students did several logic puzzles this week.  They also started doing some puzzles using Venn Diagrams.  In addition, I introduced them to some different games they will be starting to do in centers, which will help them to develop their Detective Thinking: Sudoku Jr., Zoo Logic, and Camelot Jr.  They are working on metacognition – thinking about their thinking – by trying to figure out which type of thinking, Inventor or Detective, is best for different situations.

Kinder Begins Detective Thinking

On Monday, the Kinder class worked on making inventions out of a bunch of materials that I put on the table.  I asked them to imagine what they would like to find at the end of a rainbow instead of a pot of gold, and they tried used their Inventor Thinking to create their ideas with boxes and various other items.  While I helped some of the students work on their inventions, the other students played an iPad game called “Pettson’s Inventions.”

Friday, the students learned about a different type of thinking – Detective Thinking.  With Detective Thinking, one uses clues to find one right answer.  They did a few activities using Detective Thinking, including one where I gave them clues about animals and they had to guess the animal I was describing.  A few of them are still learning to combine all of the clues instead of just guessing based on one clue.  We will do some more logic puzzles and games next week to practice that.

Of course, the highlight of every class is our “Go Noodle” time!  The students like to take a Brain Break to do a little dancing in class, and we use the “Go Noodle” website to keep track of our minutes of physical activity.  We all have a good time dancing to “I Like to Move It!”

Kinder Learns About Inventor Thinking

The GT Kinder students are currently learning about “Inventor Thinking.”  We have been talking about what it means to think like an inventor (be creative, come up with unique ideas, look at things in different ways) and when might be good times to use Inventor Thinking.  I read a story to them in which the main character uses “Brainfocals” to spark her own Inventor Thinking, and the students all made their own.  They also did an activity where they made pictures out of letters, and we made paint inkblots that they wrote about.  When we come back from Spring Break, they are going to make their own inventions out of recyclable materials.


Kinder’s Last Day for the School Year

We had our last GT class for the 2012-2013 school year today. The kids took some class photos in the library, and we spent the rest of the time playing Tic-Tac-Chec. They are getting the hang of how the 4 chess pieces in the game can move, and also considering strategies (such as that it is not always the best move to capture your opponent). I hope that they will be able to continue practicing this game or similar ones throughout the summer.