Friday, 24 January 2014

Radio Show Brainstorm & Chris Walker

It was a busy week.  Here are a few of the things we did, this week in gifted!

Radio Show Brainstorm

All of the students are or will be creating mini radio shows.  These mini shows will be packaged together as part of one large radio show.  The challenge is to come up with a name for the large radio show.  (One of the AIM students suggested the analogy that all of the students' mini radio shows are like chapters in a book.  Now we need to come up with a title for the book!)  All of the students from the seven gifted program classes will be suggesting names and helping to decide which one will be 'the one'.  This week most of the classes spent time brainstorming possible names.  We talked about the DOVE principle of brainstorming:
Defer judgement
Oddball and outrageous ideas encouraged
Vast number of ideas
Expand and elaborate on the ideas that you have and the ideas of others
Over the next few weeks we will go through the process of narrowing down the list of names and deciding upon 'the one'.

CBC Radio's Chris Walker Visits

On Thursday Chris Walker, the host of CBC Radio's Daybreak South, visited the Penticton grade 3 - 5 groups.  Wow, what a presentation!  Chris talked about the technical aspects of radio (what radio waves are, how the sounds are transmitted from the radio studio to our radios etc).  He shared with us some video that he'd shot the day before with a couple of his colleagues who talked about what they do.  Chris also set up a mini recording studio in our classroom complete with mixing board, various kinds of microphones, speakers, and his laptop with his editing software.

We got to listen to one of Chris's favourite interviews.  It was interesting to hear him explain how the interview took an unexpected turn, and how he put the piece together.

The students had lots of excellent questions for Chris.  Some were based on what Chris shared with us and some were based upon the research students had done the week prior.  These are just a few of the highlights from Chris' visit.  If your child was at the presentation, hopefully they will tell you more!

Flag Finale

This week the Penticton grade 1 / 2 class presented the flags they designed to their peers and explained the symbols that they used and why they used the colours that they did.  Students did a great job of incorporating what they had learned about flag design.  The completed flags will be displayed in the classroom for the next few weeks before heading home.

ASPIRE Experiments with Audacity

This week was the ASPIRE students opportunity to try out Audacity.  Students learned how to record, delete, and cut audio.  They were then encouraged to explore the different effects that are available in Audacity.  Students experimented with effects such as echo, reversing audio, wah wah, changing pitch and many more!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

January 13th to 16th

Here are a few of the things we did... this week in gifted!

Storytelling Continues

Julia Cox visited the rest of the Penticton classes this week.  Regardless of the grade, when Julia asked "would you like to hear another story" the answer was always a resounding yes!  Students learned how determine how quickly or loudly to read a passage by following the clues in the text and and in the images.  They also learned the importance of pauses to increase tension in a story.  The students will be able to put what they've learned to use in their audio recordings and in the storytelling activities and games that we play.

Grade 3/4 class.

Grade 5 class.

Grade 1/2 class.


This week the AIM students were introduced to the audio recording software Audacity.  (Audacity is a free open source software program for recording and editing audio.  It can be downloaded here.)  They had the opportunity to explore and 'play' with the program.  They found out how to record audio, delete sections of audio, and add effects such as echoes, changing the pitch and speed, as well as reversing the audio.  In future classes they will be making audio recordings sharing what they have learned in the communication research project.

Researching and Writing Scripts

The ASPIRE students spent time doing more research on their communication topics.  Students will be sharing what they've learned by creating a short 'radio show' on their topic.  To prepare for their shows students spent time preparing their scripts.  We focused on ways to engage your listener.

Questions for Chris Walker

Next week Chris Walker, host of CBC Radio's Daybreak South, will be speaking to the Penticton grade 3, 4 and 5 students.  In preparation for his visit students listened to a segment from his show.  The Wednesday and Thursday classes enjoyed this segment on using the net to name your child.  They then spent time doing some research on Chris Walker and coming up with good questions to ask him when he visits.  Essentially, the students were asked to prepare to interview an interviewer!

Note: For the week of January 21st the Tuesday morning class is rescheduled to Thursday afternoon (12:30 - 2:30p) and the Wednesday morning class is rescheduled to Thursday morning (8:45 - 11:40a) so that students can hear Chris Walker.


I wrote about scytales last week.  This week it was the AIM class' turn to try them out.  They enciphered their own messages, and deciphered messages created by their peers.  Some even experimented with using scytales to make enciphered drawings--neat!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

And We're Back!

Winter Break is over and classes are up and running again!  Here are some of the things we did, this week in gifted.

My Winter Break in 3D

The Summerland AIM and ASPIRE students were charged with making a 3D creation that represented something they did over the break.  They had 30 minutes and access to paper, tape, glue, markers, recycled items (egg cartons, plastic containers etc), play-dough and building toys.  The photos below show most of their creations, though not necessarily in their final form (link).


The Summerland ASPIRE class were introduced to Scytales.  A scytale involves a cylinder wrapped with a strip of parchment (we used paper).  The message is written on the wound strip of parchment.  When it is unwound the order of the letters do not make any sense.  It is only by winding the parchment around a cylinder of the same diameter that the message can be deciphered.  

Storytelling with Julia Cox

Julia Cox, the Youth Librarian at Penticton Public Library, visited the Thursday classes.  Julia read stories to the students and discussed the fine art of storytelling.  Students learned about clues such as the size and amount of text on a page that let you know how quickly or loudly to read a passage.  She also talked about the importance of engaging your audience by making eye contact.  These are just a few of the many tips she shared.  The students in both classes were wonderful audiences.  When Julia would ask if they wanted to hear another story, the answer was always a unanimous "Yes!"  Julia will be visiting the other Penticton classes next week.

Fabulous Felt Flags Finished!

The Penticton grade 1-2 class picked up right where we left off in December.  At that time they were flag design experts, part way through assembling a flag of their own design in felt.  After this week's class, almost all of the students have finished putting together their flags.  Next week students will share their flags with their peers and explain why they chose the colours and symbols that they did.

Radio Shows

The Tuesday grade 3-4 class and the Wednesday and Thursday grade 5 classes worked on their communication research radio shows.  Students are finalizing their scripts and many have recorded some of the spoken word content of their show.