Saturday, 26 January 2013

We're Getting Animated!


This week in gifted saw the creation of more fabulous animations using Pivot Stickfigure!  The Wednesday afternoon grades K - 2 class, most of whom have never used this software continue to impress with how quickly they are becoming proficient at creating animations.

Questions for an Inventor

Students from all the classes generated questions that they would like to ask inventor Gary Fong.  Gary Fong invented the Lightsphere attachment for flash photography and lives part of the time in Kelowna.  After viewing examples of the different photographic inventions he's designed, students from all classes came up with questions they'd like to ask Mr. Fong.  Here are some of their questions:
  • What inspired you to invent the Lightsphere?
  • How long did it take you to invent the Lightsphere?
  • Do you find that it is easier to come up with new inventions now?
  • Are you working on any new inventions at the moment?
  • Why do you like photography?
We're hoping to pose those questions and others to Gary Fong soon.

Inventor Project Presentations

Josh and Zack K from the Thursday morning class presented their inventor projects this past week.  Josh made inventor cards on 4 inventors in the style of sports cards.  He also elaborated on one of the inventors, Benjamin Franklin, with a comic strip created using Bitstrips for Schools.  Zack presented the comic strip he had created (also using Bitstrips) about a fictitious inventor.  Both students did a good job and we're looking forward to more presentations from other students in the next few classes.

And those are a few of the things we did... This Week In Gifted.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Projects, Projects, Projects!

We are definitely back in the swing of things!  This week in gifted students were busy on a number of projects.

Inventor Projects (Tuesday & Thursday morning)

This week some of the students in the Tuesday morning class presented their finished projects.  Their classmates listened to the presentations, observed the projects, asked questions, and left feedback.  Each student was asked to leave a written comment on one thing the presenters did well with their project and one thing that could be improved.  We talked about providing helpful and meaningful comments.  The presenters did a very good job.

Chase, Zack and Charlie presented their diorama on the inventor of the parking meter, Carleton Cole Magee.  It was clear from their presentation that they learned quite a bit about Carleton Magee's life and what lead him to invent the parking meter!

Lyndsy did her project on James Dyson, the inventor of the Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner.  Lyndsy chose to do her project as a radio interview.  You can listen to her radio interview below.

I look forward to future inventor project presentations, and I hope to post more of them here!

Pivot Stick Figure Animations

I mentioned last week that some of the classes have started creating animations using Pivot Stickfigure.  As of this week, all of the classes have spent time using this software and the students are picking it up very quickly!  The goal is to create animations of Rube Goldberg machines.  In the previous term we watched videos of quite a number of these intricate contraptions so the students have a lot of good ideas on which to base their animations.

Inventors' Workshop 

During part of each class a small group of students have worked on the Inventors' Workshop which is slowly taking shape.  Right now the focus is on a tunnel leading into the workshop.

MaKey MaKey Inventor Kits

We have 5 MaKey MaKey inventor kits and each week portion of each class will get to try them out.  The idea is that you can make anything into a computer key or mouse just with aligator clipping.  So far students have tried connecting playdough, moist sponges, a wire whisk, and people to the MaKey MaKey.

The Wrap Up

It's been a busy week!  We will continue to work on the projects mentioned above over the next few weeks.  Check back for more updates!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Term 2 Starts!

After a month's hiatus from Gifted Program classes, we started back up this week.  As the school year has progressed the activities each of the classes are doing have diverged.  This is due in large part to the interests and ages of the students in each class.  What follows are some of the things students did this week in gifted!

Catching Up

Many of the students haven't seen each other for over a month so a little catching up was in order.  To facilitate this we played a modified version of 'Some Truths and a Lie'.  Students got into small groups of 3 or 4 and had a chance to talk about some of the things that they did over the break.  Then each person chose one true thing that they did over the break.  The group then came up with one statement that was a lie.  Each group read out their statements to the class (one true statement per person and the lie) and the class voted on which one they thought was the lie.  All of the groups did a great job of choosing their statements!

Inventor Projects (Tues and Thurs Morning Classes)

The Tuesday and Thursday morning classes continued to work on their inventor projects.  Some students in the Tuesday class have completed theirs and will be presenting them starting next week.  I continue to be impressed with the creativity students are demonstrating in their projects and I hope to start sharing their work here over the next few weeks.

Balloon Blasters (Wednesday Afternoon Class)

The Wednesday afternoon class built balloon blasters.  In partners students threaded a straw onto a string and tied the string between two chairs.  They then blew up a balloon and kept it pinched closed while they taped it onto the straw.  Once everything was secure they let go and watched the balloon blaster zoom along the string!  We discussed what made the blasters go and how to make them go faster.

Inventors' Workshop 

In December I was able to get 4 very  l o n g  boxes.  The Tuesday morning class had the great idea of combining two boxes to make a tunnel as an entry into the workshop.  Some students from the Tuesday morning and afternoon, as well as the Thursday afternoon class taped the boxes together and created an entry at one end.  All of the classes had great ideas on what else to add; it will be interesting to see things take shape over the next few weeks!

MaKey MaKey Invention Kits

This week small groups of students from the Tuesday classes as well as Thursday afternoon got a start on trying out our 5 new MaKey MaKey Invention Kits.  The video below explains how these kits can be used.  The kits can be a bit challenging to use and I was impressed with the patience and enthusiasm that students showed.


Pivot Stick Figure Animations

Small groups of students in the Tuesday and Thursday classes started creating animations with Pivot Stick Figure.  Students who attended Gifted Program classes 2 years ago were already familiar with this program and helped others get going.  We will be using Pivot Stick Figure in all of the classes as the term progresses.  One nice thing about Pivot Stick Figure is that is free to download and use on Windows computers.  You can download it here.  At school we are using version 2.2.7.

Term Reports

Just a note that term 1 reports were distributed to schools just before winter break with copies to be sent home.  If you have not received your child's report yet, please let me know.

Wrapping Up

It was a great start to the second term!  Many of the things that we started to work on this week we will continue with as the term progresses.