3rd Grade Welcomes a New Student

Welcome to Maya, who just moved here from out-of-state!  Maya participated in GT in her previous school, where they talked about many of the things we have been discussing this year so far.  She fits right in to our class like a puzzle piece!  Maya even recommended a book that she is reading for the class, and we all decided to read it together (Fish in a Tree).

This week, we discussed more about growth mindset, including the value of learning from mistakes.  The students also got some more details about how different parts of the brain work and made “Brain Hats!”

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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!

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3rd Grade Continues the Discussion about Mindset

3rd grade finished all of the Class Dojo videos about Growth Mindset this week.  You can tell from their reflections that this was something that made an impact on their thinking!  In addition to adding some thoughts about Growth Mindset to their “Thinking about Thinking” slides, they began designing their new product ideas on Tinkercad and worked on Hands-On-Equations.

Aditi One pattern that I noticed today is that we have been talking about growth mindset, our product design, and Hands-On-Equations the last few weeks.
Max A lawmaker may think differently about a growth mindset because lawbreakers may have a growth mindset about what they can do badly.
Dylan A new word I learned today is “Ethics” which means to think about what is right and what is wrong.
Olivia One Mojo seems to have changed over time is that he first wanted to leave school because he wasn’t good enough, and then he helped someone else and realized he was good enough and kept on trying.
Harrison I see a connection between fixed mindset and growth mindset because even though you may have made a mistake because of a fixed mindset you can learn from your mistake which is a growth mindset.

1st Grade Delves into the Art of Origami

The 1st graders learned about the Asian art of origami last week.  We also talked about the importance of having a “growth mindset,” which includes always trying to learn new things.  Since 1st graders typically have varying degrees of experience with origami, after we did one group project they were allowed to choose their own based on their perceived difficulty levels. Some of them quickly learned that they needed more practice before they could tackle some of the more complex origami art.  A lot of perseverance was needed in order to accomplish their goals, and sometimes they needed to re-adjust their goals.  It was a good learning experience for all of us!

3rd Grade Tackle Cubelets Challenges

Jordan is our 3rd grade blogger for the week, and Keely is our photographer.

Today in GT we used robots called Cubelets.They were very cool robots.The way you use Cubelets is by connecting them together.  There are lots of different types of Cubelets like action or sensing. Another thing we talked about is PMI,CAF, growth mindsets,and systems thinking. CAF means consider all factors. PMI means plus minus and interesting.Growth mindset means to not let anything stop you from what you want to accomplish even if it seems to hard.

5th Grade Participates in a District-Wide Twitter Chat

Our blogger for this week is Jordan, and Deuce is our 5th grade photographer.  The 5th grade had the unique opportunity to participate in a Twitter Chat with other GT students in our district.  They discussed ways they would change school, and the conversation sparked not a few debates!  

Today in GT we saw Elijah show us his sumo parrot jumping drone it was not a important highlight of the day but it was pretty cool. One of the important things was when we did the Twitter chat with other GT classes on questions for modifying and changing our schools. We watched a adorable inspirational video on animals that were usually enemies being friends,we loved it. Mrs. Eichholz told us about her talking in front of a lot of people and not doing a very good job so when she went home she had a fixed mindset and said that speeches just weren’t for her and she was staying in the comfort zone and not going outside into the courage zone. The last thing is the funniest Mrs. Eichholz showed us a fail selfie on the ios 8 “instant selfie” it was pretty hilarious but I still can’t wait to see her the next time!!!!


2nd Grade Turns Problems into Opportunities

Last week, the 2nd graders made beautiful watercolor pictures.  After they left, I deliberately sabotaged the pictures by splashing lemon juice on them.  The juice left strangely shaped blotches on the masterpieces – definitely not what the students intended.

I used this lesson to teach students how to make the best out of plans gone awry. They used their creativity to think about how the ugly blotches could be transformed into pictures.  I absolutely love the results!  You can see their new creations below.  After completing this activity, I read the book, Beautiful Oops, to the students.  We discussed the potential that we can find in disappointing results or mistakes.

We also worked more on their Cardboard Challenge projects.  Many are close to completion.  Next class will be the last opportunity the students have to work on their projects before we vote on which ones will go to Main Event on October 15th.  Speaking of voting, the students voted on which type of charity they would like for the money raised to go to, and the majority selected animals.  A couple of more classes still need to give their feedback before we make our final selection.

4th Grade Creates Some Beautiful Mistakes

To reinforce the Growth Mindset, I asked the 4th graders to try to solve the following challenge: using only scissors, make a hole in a 3×5 index card that you could fit your head through.  It was fortunate that we had many index cards because there were lots of failed efforts!  No one quite solved it, but a few students got close.  The best part of the activity was that no one gave up, and everyone had a positive attitude.  If you are intrigued by this challenge, you will need to ask your child for the solution 🙂

When the students came back to our room from Specials, I had hung their mistakes from the ceiling.  These “failures” make our room colorful and fun – and remind us that it’s okay to make mistakes.  Sometimes, we can even turn our mistakes into something new and creative!  I showed them the book, Beautiful Oops, to give some more examples of mistakes turned into art.

Speaking of creativity, the students also began work on their cardboard challenge creations.  They were very excited, and made a beautiful mess of the classroom.  I’ve stopped asking students what they are trying to make because it’s easier to just watch their visions take form.  My main job is helping them to cut something out as they work.

Just like the 3rd graders, the 4th graders mind-mapped their passions and heartbreaks.  They had quite a few in common with 3rd grade, and it looks like many will agree on the charity that we finally decide on to receive the proceeds from the Cardboard Challenge.

1st Grade Creates Origami

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As I mentioned last week, the 1st grade students have been working on developing a “growth mindset.”  To help them think more about choosing activities that will increase their skill level, as well as perseverance, we spent the last couple of classes doing origami.  After doing one project together, the students got to choose what to try next.  I have been very proud of how hard all of the students worked on their creations.  Several did not finish theirs, but we discussed that it was still beneficial for them because they were trying their best and made their brains stronger by learning from their mistakes.  If you are interested, you can read more about the experience on my other blog, Engage Their Minds.

1st Grade Works on Mindsets

1st grade had a special GT class today, as it was canceled on Tuesday due to STAAR testing, and will be canceled on Friday due to a 5th grade field trip.

We got caught up with our Twitter friends, and talked again about the difference between Celsius and Fahrenheit since our Canadian friends tell us their temperature in Celsius.  They easily solved our first haiku riddle, so we sent them another one to see if we could make it a bit more challenging!

I asked the students to think of things that are easy, medium, and hard for them to do.  They wrote examples, and then drew a symbol to represent each one.  We are going to be referring back to those symbols for the rest of the year.  We talked about a quote from Einstein, ” It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”  We also discussed how the things that are easy for us now were not always easy, and the things that are hard may one day be easier with more practice.

Because one of the countries we are researching is Japan, we then did an origami project.  The students made origami bunnies, and then rated themselves on the level of difficulty for them.  Many did not find it easy, and were willing to admit that – which is great progress!

We will continue this next week, and talk more about how good challenges are for their brains.