Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Before the Break

Here are a few of the things we did, the last week before the break.

5 Card Photo Stories

The Tuesday and Thursday classes did 5 Card Photo Stories.  This was the first time doing this with the Tuesday afternoon class and they did a wonderful job!  Students working alone or with a partner have 5 minutes to come up with a story involving 5 photos.  For a more detailed description and sample photos check out this post from a few weeks ago. 

Funny Face

The Wednesday afternoon class played 'Funny Face'; a charades style game.  The class was divided into two teams.  One student from a team would come up and be given a scene or action to act out (for example; "be a dancer", "go for a walk in a windstorm") and their team-mates would try and guess what they are acting out.  This would alternate back and forth between the two teams, with everyone having an opportunity to act out a scene.  This class has many talented actors; they did an excellent job acting and making good guesses.

Passport Please!

The Wednesday afternoon class has been designing their own passports or ID cards.  Last week students decided what to include on their passport / ID cards and this week they finished them up.  Each passport / ID card is unique, not just because they identify unique individuals, but because each individual decided what information to include and how to lay it out.

Our Own Inventions

The morning classes continued to work on designs for their own inventions.  Students spent time researching to see:
  • if their invention already exists
  • what technology their invention will require
  • if their invention is realistic
  • what components it will require
 Some of the inventions on the drawing board are:
  • mood paint -- paint it on walls and it changes colours when you touch it
  • running shoes with jets in the soles -- they help you land safely if you fall from a height
  • a variety of robots that can act as pets or do specific tasks for you
  • a mousetrap involving a rubber net
  • multi-coloured paintballs -- single pellets contain more than one colour of paint
  • traceable, re-usable air pellets
  • a magnetic zipper
These are just a few of the inventions, and my brief descriptions have not done them justice! 

For Minecraft Fans

Zach and Tyler from the Thursday am class showed their class the Pixel Paper Craft website.  This site has printable plans for a plethora of Minecraft characters, mobs, skins, backgrounds etc.  Zach brought a very detailed and complex character that he made from the site; Bendable Steve.  The Minecraft loving paper crafting people in your house might enjoy making some of the projects from this site over the break.


Saturday, 9 March 2013

Remixing and a Robbery

Here's a look at some of the things we did... This Week In Gifted.

Identifying a Bank Robber

The Wednesday afternoon K - 2 class were taking care of some banking at the Gifted Program Bank of Penticton when it was robbed!  The bank robber made off with an unknown amount of cash and bonds.  Police interviewed witnesses immediately after the robbery to try and ascertain his or her identity.  It was discovered that the robber was a kid; a boy with light brown slightly wavy hair and blue eyes.  There was some disagreement as to the colour of shirt he was wearing.  It was notable that he was wearing shoes (as strangely most of the employees and customers were in their stocking feet.)  Unfortunately the bank robber has not been apprehended yet, but we think his name might be Graham...

After the robbery the class discussed different ways that we identify people and we looked at a sample BC Driver's license and a sample Canadian passport.  Students then worked on designing their own ID card or passport to use with the tunnel in for the Inventors' Workshop.  (The tunnel has a 'scanner' at one end to scan identification documents.)

Designing Our Own Inventions

The morning classes started to work on ideas for their own inventions.  Students will be deciding on an invention, researching whether it already exists, determining what components are needed for the invention, coming up with drawings and/or models of the invention as well as promoting it.  This will be an ongoing project.


The Tuesday and Thursday classes discussed what a remix or a mash-up is.  We then did a quick 'Creature Construction' where each student is asked to draw a creature in three parts.  First, each student has a minute to draw a “head” for their creature. They fold the paper over so that the head is hidden, with little prompts for where to continue the drawing. After the head is hidden, they pass the creature to another student.  Next, each student has a minute to draw a “middle” for their creature, using the guides from the head, but without peeking! After the middles are hidden (and
prompts drawn), they pass the creatures on.  Finally, each student has a minute to draw a “bottom” for their creature. Once the creatures are complete, students unfold the papers to see the collaboratively constructed creatures.  The resulting creatures can be pretty funny looking! 

After that warm up activity students went onto the computers to make a Pass-It-On story in Scratch (see this earlier post for a description of Scratch).   Students had 10 minutes to set up a story; choosing a background, characters and adding movement and text.  Just like the 'Creature Construction' they then rotated to another student's story and added on to it.  We rotated one more time.  Through this process students got an opportunity to learn from each other by seeing how different things were programmed in Scratch.   (This lesson activity is adapted from session 7 in the Scratch Curriculum Guide).

Sunday, 3 March 2013

5 Card Photo Stories & Inventing New Ways to Sled

Here are some of the things we did, This Week In Gifted.

5 Card Photo Stories

This week the Tuesday morning and both the Thursday classes played a game based on Five Card Flickr.  I showed the class the following five photographs (press play to scroll through images).

Then the students paired up and had five minutes to come up with a story that included all five of the photos in any order they wished.  This activity involves collaboration, creativity and presentation skills.  The variety and quality of stories was amazing!  We had one story involving a Russian spy (disguised as a the black dog) and James Bond's son (boy in the tunnel), another ended with the school bus running over the malevalent dog, one story explained why school buses are yellow (apparently they used to be red) and of course a number of stories involved the dog eating the cake :-)

Sliding Inventions

The Wednesday afternoon grade K - 2 class were "hired" by S4 (Slippery Snow Sleds and Sliders) to invent a new way for children to zoom down snowy slopes.  First we reviewed the current range of sleds and sliders that children use, then students paired up to brainstorm new sliding inventions.  Students illustrated how their invention would look and work in a variety of ways; some made drawings, some created Pivot animations, and others used Lego to construct their inventions. 

Online Brainstorm Session

The Tuesday and Thursday classes tried a different format for brainstorming this week.  We've done whole group brainstorming sessions and we've done small group sessions with one person recording the group's ideas on paper.  This week students tried brainstorming on a virtual bulletin board.  Students were generating ideas for new inventions.  In the coming weeks they will start to plan out their own inventions.