Tuesday, 21 May 2019

It's A Wrap!

Gifted Program classes wrapped up last week.  Here are some of the activities we did in the final classes.

Design Challenge

In our second to last class, the Tuesday afternoon group and the Wednesday morning groups were given rubber bands, sheets of paper and tin foil and asked to use them to design something to solve the problem "I need to create a safe light source for a home with no electricity."  The solutions students came up with were creative and varied.  Many involved using the reflective properties of the tin foil to reflect sunlight into the home.  Check out the construction process in the slides below (link).

Name That Noise

Students from the Tuesday class, as well as a small group from the Wednesday morning class, took the field recorders and recorded some sounds from around the school.  The sounds were played back to the class to see if they could... name that noise!

Mustache Ceremony

Wait, what?  Mustaches?  All I can tell you is that on the final class for the grade 5s, we do the Mustache Ceremony.  It involves mustaches.  It also involves highlighting the accomplishments of each grade 5 student for the years they have been in the Gifted Program.  It may also include some funny dancing and waving of objects by Ms. Thompson.  Pictures of mustachioed grade 5s are in the slide show.


On the last class you definitely have to have a party!  Depending on which class we're talking about there was; cake, muffins, cookies, watermelon, chips, pretzels, cheezies, pickles, doughnuts, juice...  Thank you to everyone who brought something to share.  We had an abundance of food!  See the slides for some party pics. 

Reports and Parent Meetings

At the beginning of June year end progress reports will be sent out.  I will also be scheduling parent meetings  to review how the year went and to plan for next year.  Information will be sent out in a week or so. 

Monday, 6 May 2019

Field Trip

On April 30th the grade 3s, 4s and 5s, along with four wonderful chaperones toured Global Okanagan and CBC Radio in Kelowna.  Our hosts were wonderful, we learned a lot, and the students were keen and asked great questions!  Please check out the slides below to see what we got up to.
Link to slides.  To see full screen click on the full screen icon (next to the gear) in the embedded slides below, or click on this link.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

CFUZ Visit and Zip Line Challenge

Here are a few of the things that we did... This Week In Gifted!

CFUZ Station Visit

The students in the Tuesday afternoon class from Summerland hopped in Ms. Thompson's van for a visit to the CFUZ Peach City Radio Station.  We toured the small station and got to sit in the studio with the headsets on and speak into the microphones.  It was a small taste of what we'll see on our field trip to CBC Radio and Global Okanagan. 
We were not actually on air at the time, but we were using the microphones.

Radio Production

In all of the classes students are in the process of finishing up recording and editing their radio segments.  The segments will be aired later in May and early June.  More info to come!

Zip Line Design Challenge

Students in the Wednesday morning class were given the challenge of designing a carrier that could transport a ping pong ball down a 4 foot long zip line made of fishing line.  They were allowed to use the following materials:
  • bamboo skewers
  • plastic straws
  • metal washers
  • small paper Dixie cups
  • masking tape
Prior to starting their designs we discussed how the design process involves:
Some students were lucky enough to come up with a design that worked well right off the bat, but everyone, regardless of how successful their initial design was, went back to the drawing board to improve their design.  Some went over and above -- designing carriers to transport 2, 4, 8, 10 and even 22(!!!!!) ping pong balls!  Check out some of their handiwork in the slides below (link):

Monday, 22 April 2019

5 Card Photo Story

Here are a few things that students got up to last week in the Gifted Program:

5 Card Photo Story

The Wednesday afternoon class exercised their creative storytelling chops by playing 5 Card Photo Story.  Students were shown 5 photos and given 5 minutes to come up with an interesting story involving all of the photos.  The stories were presented orally to the class.  Students worked individually or in groups of two or three.  Here are the photos they had to work with (link):

We ended up with some very outlandish, and very funny, stories!  Some stories were even acted out.  After each story the audience was asked for their appreciations -- letting the storytellers know what they did well.  The students did a great job, both as storytellers and audience members. 

Radio Production

All the classes continued to work on their radio segments.  We now have the following segments:
  • Animal Fun Facts episodes 1, 2 and 3
  • Cinderella Fractured Fairy Tale
  • Humpty Dumpty Fractured Nursery Rhyme
  • Fake Ads
    • Noah's Mechanical
    • Smart Jacket
    • Jam Ad
    • Cheat Chip
    • Polly's Perfect Popcorn
    • Auction Ad
  • Marlowe's World of Ice
  • Iain's House of Jokes
  • Pancakes vs Waffles Debate
  • Name that Sound 
  • Roberto Baggio story
  • Rose Angevin story
These segments, as well as others that are just wrapping up production, will be stitched together into a number of half hour episodes that will air on CFUZ - Peach City Community Radio.  Students and their families will all be informed prior to the episodes airing.  The episodes will also be archived and a link to the archive will be sent out once the episodes air.

Coming Up...

This week the Tuesday afternoon class will be heading over to the CFUZ - Peach City Community Radio Station in Penticton.  Students will get a chance to sit down in a bona-fide radio studio and see how the magic happens.

Next week on Tuesday April 30th all of the grade 3, 4 and 5s will be going on a field trip to Kelowna to tour the Global Okanagan television studios as well as the CBC Radio station!  Regular gifted program classes on Tuesday April 30th and Wednesday May 1st are cancelled.

Gifted Program classes wrap up in mid-May; the Tuesday afternoon group has their last class on May 14th and the Wednesday groups have their last class on May 15th.  Shortly after that progress reports will be sent out and parent meetings will take place.  The goal of the meetings is to review how the year went for your child and to plan for next year.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Two Truths and a Lie

Last week was our fist week back after Spring Break.  Since it had been three weeks since we were together it seemed like a good time to play...

Two Truths and a Lie!

I'm always amazed at how popular this game is with students.  The students were told to tell the class two true statements about their break and one false statement.  The group had to vote on which statement they thought was the lie.  Before choosing their statements we talked about different strategies to make it difficult to determine which statement was the lie.  I have good news and I have bad news; some of the students were very good at tricking us...

Interview Skills

The Tuesday afternoon group watched part of a short video (link) with tips on interviewing people.  We then got some practice interviewing each other.  Students were paired up and asked to find out 3 interesting things about their partner, but they couldn't outright say "Tell me three interesting things about yourself".  Some great questions were: What do you want other people to notice about you?  Where do you dream of travelling?  What is an unusual thing that you can do that most of your friends cannot?  

Work continues on our radio segments for the Creation Station.  We have not aired any of the segments yet, that will be happening later this month (hopefully).  All students and families will be informed prior to shows airing so that you, and all our other fans, can listen live or access the link to listen on demand.  Stay tuned!

Field Trip

Every year the grade 3s, 4s and 5s in the program are invited to attend a field trip related to our theme.  Classes will get info on this year's trip during their class this week and field trip forms will be sent home with them.  Just like our theme, I like to keep the details of the field trip top secret until the last minute.  Thus, no info will be leaked at this time!  

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Radio Sampler and Improv Bingo

Here are a few of the things that we did... This Week In Gifted!

Radio Sampler

Students listened to a short sample of the different audio segments that have been produced so
far this year.  The quality of the work is great and the students enjoyed hearing what others have been creating!  It seems to have spurred students on to want to complete segments they have in production and to start new segments.

Improv Bingo

The Students in the Wednesday morning class played Improv Bingo.  It is a fun drama game where students have to quickly come up with a short skit that they act out.  In this case the students had to include (link):

There was a lot of discussion about why you would have a blizzard in the Sahara, but eventually folks accepted that it had to be part of the skit.  Before getting into their groups to brainstorm ideas we talked about how to work positively with your group members, ensuring that everyone was able to contribute and participate fairly.  When it was time to get to work, the students were amazing!  They generated ideas and everyone looked like they were happy with how their group was working.  This is pretty incredible.  When I've done this activity with other groups there are always times I have to step in to help mediate conflicts or deal with tears.  Not with this class!

The skits were hilarious!  One skit involved a giant lollipop god who was generating the blizzard (which was actually a DQ Blizzard), another involved creative use of furniture to depict a character struggling with a beefy 5 foot tall butterfly.  There were creative uses of lollipops, amazing acting, excellent use of narrators, and so much humor!  At the end of each skit the audience members were asked to give appreciations and to comment on what the group did well.  This helps all of us understand what elements people enjoy and what makes a great skit.

The Wednesday afternoon class did a modified version of Improv Bingo.  Instead of doing skits, students worked alone to come up with stories which they told aloud.  Again, there were creative and humorous stories!

The Tuesday afternoon class had another go at My Favourite Thing, the storytelling activity described in last week's post.  The creativity from this group is wonderful!  One of our students from this class is moving away at Spring Break so we wished her well with some donuts -- but everyone had to tell a creative story about why donuts were their favourite thing in order get in on the food!

More Project Time

All of the classes had lots of time again this week to work on their audio projects -- either writing scripts, voicing them, or editing the audio.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Music and My Favourite Thing

Stingers, Bumpers and Music

This week we discussed the function that music plays in radio and video.  Music helps set the mood, and often in radio there are short clips of music that listeners identify with the show and that are used to help separate different segments of a radio program, these are called stingers.  If you listen to CBC radio's Daybreak South in the morning you are probably familiar with the music they use in their stinger for the start of each segment after the news breaks (it's upbeat and groovy).  The CBC radio show Q uses the intro music from the BROS' song Tell Me

Radio shows also use bumpers.  A bumper is a short segment of audio that is prerecorded and usually consists of a voice over music, for instance a bumper for our radio show might say "you are listening to the Creation Station on Peach City Radio!"  Bumpers serve as transitions from one audio segment to another.

Where to find music to use with an audio segment though?  This week we looked at a music site called Incompetech.  This site has royalty free music and graph paper -- an intriguing combination!  (I have to admit to using the site for both of these items.)  Royalty free music is music that is free, or that you have to only pay for once, that you can use in different projects for as long as you like.  If you've ever tried to add a favourite track of music to a video that you are uploading to YouTube you may have had the unpleasant experience of having your music blocked.  This is probably because you do not have permission from the song's distributor to use the track.  Royalty free music can be used without this problem.  Incompetech's site is really handy because you can search for music based on how it feels (ie the mood it conveys).  Maybe you need a piece of music that is bouncy and humorous sounding, or perhaps you are looking for something eerie and dark.

My Favourite Thing

Students exercised their creative and divergent thinking muscles this week by playing 'My Favourite Thing'.  In this storytelling activity students are shown an ordinary object and they have to explain (in 2 or 3 sentences) why it is their favourite thing.  The Wednesday classes told some great tales about a frying pan, sponge, fake flower, and other items.  The Tuesday class came up with riveting yarns about a tissue box, a small plastic hand, and part of a marble works track.

Project Time

Students continued to work on their radio projects.  All of the classes got quite a bit of recording done.  The Wednesday morning class tackled another fractured fairy tale, this time written by Char G.  The tale involved 10 voice actors and the students did a great job working together to get the recording done!   

Check out the photos below of the students at work (and at play!)