Sunday, 16 March 2014

Peach City Radio!

This week: visits from Peach City Radio!

Peach City Radio 

Most of the classes were visited by board members from Peach City Radio. We learned that Peach City Radio is a community radio station and is run entirely by volunteers.  Currently Peach City Radio streams online (here) and also archives shows for on-demand listening (here).  I have attended a number of workshops and information sessions that Peach City Radio has hosted and they have been instrumental in me being better able to help the students with their work.

Each of the presenters from Peach City Radio gave their unique perspective on and experience with radio.  We listened to segments from each of their shows and students asked lots of great questions about making radio.  Below are photos of each of our visitors.

In most of the classes our guests were able to listen to the radio shows that students have been working on.  Students were able to ask questions one-on-one and receive feedback from radio experts!  This was a real highlight for both the students and our guests.

In almost all of the visits each class recorded some station IDs for Peach City Radio (the entire class reciting "We're listening to Peach City Radio" or something similar).  The station IDs recorded by Tim Tweed with the Tuesday morning class will air on the stream tomorrow, Monday March 17th, at 9:59 am (Tenatious-T shout out) and 1:30 pm (Peach City Radio shout out).

Peach City Radio has offered to host our student shows!  In the weeks ahead I will be putting together half hour episodes containing student content.  Before any student work is posted, parental consent will be sought as well as permission from the students.

Our guests, and the shows that we listened to were as follows:

Jackie Del Rizzo

Tim Tweed (the Tenacious T!)
Craig Henderson
Larry Saidman

Dave Del Rizzo

Trustees Stopped In

Also joining us this week for one of the Peach City Radio visits were School District 67 trustees Ginny Manning and Linda Van Alphen.  They enjoyed getting a chance to listen to the student projects as well as to see the students in action as they worked on their shows.  It was a great opportunity to showcase what we do in the Gifted Program.  

Thank You!

A big thank you to all of our guests this week for taking time out from their busy schedules to come and share their expertise and to find out a little more about what we've been up to!

Grade 1/2 Class Experiments With Audacity

The Penticton Grade 1/2 class has been involved in recording 2 short stories, but up until this week they hadn't had a chance to use the audio recording software Audacity.  As with the other classes their first introduction was a chance to play and experiment.  The students quickly figured out how to record their voices and then they were off and running, trying out various effects.  There was a lot of uproarious laughter as they listened to their voices sped up, slowed down, with echoes etc.  After the break we will experiment more with Audacity.

Spring Break

We're off on Spring Break now.  Classes will resume again the week of March 31st and continue until the May long weekend.  After that time I will be meeting with all parents to discuss how the year went and to plan for next year.  This is also when I do assessments for students who have been referred to the Gifted Program. 

Thanks for checking in to see what we've been up to... This Week In Gifted!   

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Paper Tables, Improv Bingo, and The Dead Ringer

Lots of different activities this week!

Paper Tables: The Design Challenge

The ASPIRE class finished up the design challenge that they started last week.  The challenge was to build a table at least 20 cm high that would support a heavy textbook.  The trick?  Students only had access to 8 sheets of newspaper, masking tape, and one 8.5 x 11" sheet of card stock with which to build the table.  It was fascinating watching the students build their structures.  There were quite a variety of methods and designs implemented.  At times students were discouraged or worried that their design wasn't working out.  In the end though, success and lots of big smiles!  Below are photos of the different designs (link).

Improv Bingo and Funny Faces

The AIM class continued to hone their communication skills by playing Improv Bingo.  A character, place, goal, obstacle and object are chosen at random and small groups of students create skits incorporating all of these.   For example, one skit involved a rubber man at the library trying to cross the finish line but a book wouldn't open and he needed to use an egg beater.  One of the challenges is working together with others to agree upon a skit.  The students are getting quite good at positively sharing their ideas and compromising when necessary.

The Penticton grade 1/2 class played a different drama game, called Funny Faces.  It is very similar to charades and requires students to act out characters or activities while the rest of the class tries to guess who they are / what they are doing.  Students are getting quite good at using and interpreting non-verbal cues.

The Dead Ringer

The Penticton grade 5 groups looked into the story of the Dead Ringer.  In a previous class some students shared that they had heard a news story that stated the technician responsible for the Olympic ring that did not open in the Sochi Olympics opening ceremonies was killed by the Russian government.  This week we investigated this further.

Students read the original story (here) and discussed whether they thought it was true.   One student noticed that one of the witnesses in the article was Guy Lafleur of the Canadian bobsled team.  Wasn't Guy Lafleur a famous Montreal Canadiens hockey player?  Hmm.  Some other elements of the story seemed fishy too.

Eventually students started to search to see how this story was reported by other news agencies.  Other students decided to find out a little more about the agency that originally reported the story.  After some searching it was discovered that this story was a hoax and that the site that originally posted it, The Daily Currant, was a news satire site.

We discussed how easy it is today to forward on 'news' stories.  Often people do it without really thinking about what they are reading is true.  We talked about questioning the credibility of the source the story comes from.  We also talked about how easy it often is to do a quick search to find out if the story is a hoax or not.  It was a neat exercise in critical thinking that opened up a lot of discussion.

Radio Shows

Many of the classes continued to work on their radio shows.  Lots of students are finishing up their first show and starting in on a new project, whether it be another episode of their show, fake advertisements, logos etc.  Next week, members of Peach City Community Radio Society will be visiting many of the classes to talk about community radio.  We're looking forward to what they have to share!

Thank you for taking the time to read about what we've been doing... This Week In Gifted!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Logos, Design Challenge, 5 Card Photo Stories, and 'A Squash and a Squeeze'

Logos, tables made from paper, and 5 card photos stories.  These are some of the things we did... This Week In Gifted!


Last week the ASPIRE group and the Penticton grade 5s investigated good logo design and tried their hand and designing their own logos, either for their own radio show or for the Creation Station.  This week is was time for the AIM group and the Penticton grade 3/4 group to give it a whirl.  First we looked at logos that had been divided into 2 groups.  The students had to decide why the logos were placed into each group.  In the end we discovered that one group represented logos that followed good design principles (simple, few colours, images that related to the product) and the other group did not.  Below are the slides that we viewed (link).  Student then worked on their own logos.

Paper Table Design Challenge

The ASPIRE group was given the challenge of building a table that was at least 20 cm high and that would support a heavy textbook.  Their materials?  8 sheets of newspaper, masking tape, and a 22 x 28 cm sheet of thin cardboard.  We'll be finishing the tables next week, but the photos below show where we are so far.  Many different designs are being attempted, it will be interesting to see how they work out!  (link)

5 Card Photo Stories

The Penticton grade 5 groups knocked my socks off (yet again) with their creative stories that were based upon 5 photos that I showed them.  The stories were creative, dramatic, surprising and inspiring.

A Squash and a Squeeze

Last week the Penticton grade 1/2s did a great job on the radio play of the story of Chicken Little.  This week we tackled 'A Squash and a Squeeze' by Julia Donaldson.  I'll post the audio once it has been edited.  

Thanks for checking in to see what we've been up to!