Saturday, 26 April 2014

The ROT 13 Cipher and Research for the Field Trip

Guvf jrrx fghqragf yrnearq nobhg gur EBG 13 pvcure.  Qvq lbh xabj gung gur EBG 13 pvcure vf n glcr bs Pnrfne Fuvsg pvcure gung vf cbchyne va bayvar sbehzf gb uvqr chapuyvarf be fcbvyref?

The paragraph above may look like gobbledegook, but chances are that students who attended gifted class this week recognize it as the ROT 13 Cipher. Below is a diagram showing how to encipher and decipher messages using this cipher.

Image from Wikipedia (link)

Crypto Kids

Continuing with our Top Secret Communication theme, the Penticton grade 1/2 class tried their hands at the ROT 13 cipher (above) and they also learned how to use some of the cipher tools on the website. A few of the students were keen enough to make it all the way through the cipher challenge called 'Desert Oasis'. Pretty impressive, especially considering this site is designed for middle schoolers!

Field Trip Research

Students in the ASPIRE and Penticton grade 3 - 5 classes did some research into the places that we will be visiting on our field trip next week; CBC Radio and Global Okanagan Television in Kelowna. We know a bit more about what programs are produced in both studios and who some of the on air personalities are. Students also generated some good questions that they could ask when we are on our trip. Stay tuned... next week I share what we learned on the trip itself! (*Note: students received a newsletter with the field trip itinerary. If you have any questions, please contact me.)

5 Card Photo Stories

The ASPIRE and Penticton grade 5 classes took another shot at storytelling with 5 Card Photo Stories. They are given 5 photos and asked to write a short story that incorporates all of the photos. I don't know why I wear socks anymore because they always get knocked off when we do this activity; the stories the students come up with are amazing! There's humour, death, explosions, humour, twists, turns, cliff hangers, and did I mention humour???

Radio Marathon

This week the students really pushed hard to finish off the shows they have been working on. The variety and quality of the shows are amazing. Students took home permission forms this week in order that their shows may be shared on Peach City Radio. The student mini-shows will be compiled into a variety show of sorts called The Creation Station. I will be putting together a number of 30 minute episodes that will be submitted to Peach City Radio to be broadcast on their live stream and then archived on their site.

Thanks for checking in and finding out about some of the things we did... This Week In Gifted!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Trustee Visit, Roving Reporters, and Upcoming Events

Trustee Visit

The AIM and ASPIRE classes played host to school trustee Linda Beavan this week.  The students did a great job of showing Mrs. Beavan some of the things that we have been working on.  The AIM students shared their mini radio shows with her and impressed her with their knowledge of how to work with audio.  The ASPIRE students explained how the Caesar cipher works and then got down to solving a Caesar cipher challenge called Desert Oasis on the Crypto Club website.  Mrs. Beavan appreciated the warm welcome students gave her, and the opportunity to see what we do in the Gifted Program.  We appreciated her taking the time to visit!

Roving Reporters

The Penticton grade 1/2 class continued their Roving Reporter project.  They have been recording interviews with fellow students where they have been asking about people's favourite things (tools, candy, movies, colours...)  In the process they are learning about how to record and edit audio.

Improv Bingo

The Penticton grade 5 classes as well as the AIM class played Improv Bingo this week.  Students did an excellent job in their small groups sharing ideas and they came up with inventive and very funny skits!

Field Trip Update

The following classes will be going on a field trip to Kelowna to visit CBC Radio and Global Okanagan TV:
- ASPIRE class (Tuesday April 29th)
- Penticton grade 5s (Tuesday April 29th)
- Penticton grade 3/4s (Thursday May 1st)
Thank you to the parents who have volunteered to chaperone!

Radio Shows Wrapping Up

Most of the students have completed their mini-radio shows or are almost there.  In the coming weeks I will be talking to students about sharing their shows on Peach City Radio and sending home permission slips in order for their work to be aired.

Upcoming Events

Below is a listing of upcoming events.  These events can also be found on the calendar here.

Wednesday April 23rd
SD 67 2014/15 Budget presentation to the public.  6:30p Penticton High School Library.

Tuesday April 29th
Penticton grade 5s and ASPIRE class field trip to CBC radio and Global Okanagan TV in Kelowna.

Thursday May 1st
Penticton grade 3/4 class field trip to CBC radio and Global Okanagan TV in Kelowna.

Monday May 5th
AIM Open House: Parents/Guardians of AIM students are invited to join us for all or part of the class.  Students will have a chance to show you what we've been up to.  12:30 - 2:30p in Portable #2 at Trout Creek Elementary.

Wednesday May 7th
Penticton grade 1/2 class Open House: Parents/Guardians of students in the Penticton grade 1/2 class are invited to join us for all or part of the class.  Students will have a chance to show you what we've been up to.  12:30 - 2:30p in room 32 at Wiltse Elementary.

Last Week of Gifted Classes May 12th to 15th.

After classes wrap up I hope to meet with every student's parent to discuss how the year went and to plan for next year.

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

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Unexpected Visitors

Here are a few things that we did... This Week In Gifted!

Cheap Cheap!

The Penticton grade 1/2 class had some unexpected visitors this week.  At the beginning of class we were lucky enough to be visited by the new baby chicks that Dija's family had just picked up.  Who would have thought that 24 two day old chicks could be so noisy... and so cute!  Their stay was brief, but memorable.  Children were able to hold the little brown fluff balls.  The chicks were so noisy that they attracted the attention of the junior kindergarten class next door who ended up coming over and having a look.  Thank you to Dija's parents for bringing the chicks by.

Field Trip Forms Rolling In

As mentioned last week the Summerland ASPIRE class as well as the Penticton grade 3 - 5 classes will be visiting CBC Radio and Global Okanagan Television (CHBC) in Kelowna.  One group will be going up on April 29th (ASPIRE and Pen gr 5s), the other on May 1st (Pen gr 3s and 4s).  Thank you to everyone who has returned their permission forms and money.  Thank you also to those parents who have volunteered to come on the trip as chaperones.  I still need a few more parent chaperones, so if you are able to help out please contact me.  If your child hasn't returned their forms yet, please do so for the next class.  Thank you!


We are nearing the end of our radio project; many students have completed a mini show and some are working on a second (or third!!) episode.  We've learned a lot during this project about how to edit audio, import music, fade music in and out and some classes have learned what the mysterious Auto Duck feature does.  

Pigpen Cipher

The past couple of weeks we've been decoding messages that were enciphered using the Pigpen Cipher, pictured to the left.  Enciphered messages look complicated, but the cipher is actually very easy to use and to remember.  The pigpen cipher is thought to have been used since at least the 18th century.  In popular culture the pigpen cipher shows up in the Dan Brown novel The Lost Symbol, in the 39 Clues series of children's books, as well as some video games.  (Image and information from Wikipedia, accessed April 12th, 2014) 

To the right is a message enciphered using the pigpen cipher.

Can you tell what it says?  It is the name of a game that many of the classes played this week.  Students listened to the sounds below and tried to identify what they were.  We talked about how sounds can evoke other sensations and memories.  For example the sound of a lawnmower may remind you of a warm summer day or the smell of freshly cut grass.  

Below is the answer key, enciphered of course!

Thanks for checking in to see what we did... This Week In Gifted!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Newspaper Tables & Intermediate Field Trip

From the sounds of things the students had a relaxing Spring Break.  They were ready to dive back into our activities though, and here are some of the things that we did... This Week In Gifted!

Field Trip 2014

It is time once again for the intermediate field trip.  The Summerland ASPIRE class as well as the Penticton grade 3 - 5 classes will be visiting CBC Radio and Global Okananagan Television (CHBC) in Kelowna!  The ASPIRE and grade 5 classes will go up together on April 29th while the Penticton grade 3/4 classes will go up together on May 1st.  Students took home information on the trip and permission forms.  I also e-mailed copies of the forms on Friday.  If you have any questions about the trip, please let me know.

Field Trip 2014

Newspaper Table Design Challenge

Last month the ASPIRE class took up the challenge (here), this week it was the Penticton Grade 5 classes chance to give it a whirl!  The challenge is to build a table that can support a heavy textbook.  The table has to be at least 20 cm high and you can only use the following materials:
  • 8 sheets of newspaper
  • masking tape (unlimited)
  • 8.5" by 11" piece of cereal box cardboard  
Prior to receiving the materials, we discussed potential designs, and we looked at how rolling the newspaper into a skinny tube resulted in very strong supports.  Students then sketched out their designs and got to it!  Lots of students incorporated triangles in their structures, some cut their tubes into smaller lengths to make straightforward table legs, others went crazy with the masking tape.  Students who finished up fairly quickly challenged themselves further by seeing if they could fortify their structures so that they could hold up 2 or 3 heavy textbooks.  See below for photos of tables being constructed or click here.

Radio Projects

While the grade 5 classes did the paper table challenge, the other classes continued on with their radio shows.  The AIM students were putting the final touches on their shows as well as coming up with some funny advertisements.  The grade 1/2 class continued to explore using Audacity with a focus on importing in music.  Many students have got their first show "in the can" so to speak.  Soon I hope to be able to put together a couple of half hour episodes featuring the radio students have produced.