Monday, 29 October 2012

Week 3: Inventor Timelines

This week in gifted class the focus was on doing research using the internet. Last week we discussed using good keywords in our searches and this week students got to use those skills. They looked up information on famous inventors; when were they born, what they invented, interesting facts about their lives.  The older students entered their information into a form like this one.  That information was then put into JS Timeline and the timelines at the end of this post were created (they may take a few moments to load).  The main focus was on learning about a variety of famous inventors and using their internet research skills.  The timelines provide a nice overview of who the students researched, but the focus was on the exploration not on creating a final polished work.

This week we also played one of the following games (depending on the class):
  • Concentration -- a good game to keep you sharp!
  • What are you doing? -- a drama game that encourages students to be creative and to present in front of their peers
Timelines -- Below are the Inventor Timelines which were described at the beginning of the post.  They will take a few moments to load.  Once they are up hover your mouse on the right side of the image and an arrow should become visible.  Click on it to move to the next inventor on our timeline.  The Wednesday afternoon class did not do this part of the activity.

Tuesday Morning Class

Tuesday Afternoon Class

Thursday Morning Class

Thursday Afternoon Class

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Week 2: Getting Down to Business

This week we continued to build community with Name Games.  Our theme is invention so we talked about what makes something an invention.

Internet Searches

We're going to be doing research on different inventors, so it was time to investigate what constitutes a good search.  I used the following resources from Google Search Education -- the lesson was adapted slightly based on the age of the students. 
Beginner 1: Picking the right search terms (lesson plan)
How Search Works (YouTube video)

But what the kids probably enjoyed the most was...

The Straw Bridge Challenge!

15 straws, 25 cm of masking tape, 1 pair of scissors.  Go!!!
Students worked in groups of 2 - 4 people and with very little resources and very little time (5 minutes) they had to build a bridge that could span a 30 cm gap.  Oh, and the bridge had to be able to support a coffee can and up to 9 golf balls!  Students from all classes amazed me with:
  • How well they worked together in their groups.  A time limited task like this can challenge even the most cooperative group!
  • The diversity of bridges they built.
Only two groups out of all of the classes were able to build a bridge that could hold the maximum of 9 golf balls.  Interestingly enough it was a group from the grade 5 Tuesday morning class and a group from the grade 1/2 Wednesday afternoon class.  Below are photos of some of the different bridge designs.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Week 1: Getting to Know Each Other

Week 1 (Oct 9th - 11th) in Gifted was all about getting to know each other.

Some of the things we did this week:
  • Name Game: "My name is ______ and I like to ______"
    • a fun and very active way to get to learn everyone's name
    • knowing the names of the people in our class is the first step to creating a strong learning community
  • Classroom Agreements: we went over these together and students helped to describe and demonstrate each one
    • Attentive Listening
    • Appreciations; No Put Downs
    • The Right To Pass
    • Mutual Respect
  • Discussion of This Year's Theme
    • classes brainstormed the types of activities they would like to do this year as we explore the theme Invention
  • Improv Bingo
    • each class generated a wacky scenario and then in groups of 3 or 4 acted them out
    • this activity allows students to have fun and to be creative 
    • it hits on a number of our goals in the gifted program: creative thinking, divergent thinking and presentation skills
    • the activity can be quite challenging because students have a limited amount of time to come up with their skit; often group members each have differing ideas and must come to some sort of agreement
    • at the end of the skits we discussed what we thought each group did well 
The morning classes also did 'You in 3D'.  Students thought of an activity that they did that gave them the feeling of flow.  They then chose an object to represent that activity and either drew it or created it out of play dough.  Below are photos of some of the student creations.

So that's the Coles' Notes version of the first week of classes.  I'm really enjoying getting to know the students and I hope that they are enjoying the class too!

Sunday, 21 October 2012


Welcome to the TWIG blog!  TWIG stands for This Week In Gifted.  My goal is to let parents know about the different things we are doing in gifted class each week.  You'll get a glimpse at some of the activities we do and the projects students are working on.

As my friend Jan Smith says on her class blog, Huzzah:
Please notice our successes, not our mistakes.  Our blog is an invitation to see what we are up to.  Some of our work will be polished, some will be in draft form.  Please honour our attempts.  We are learning!
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