Friday, 4 December 2015

Taking a Bite Out of Crime

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

Chomp Chomp!

All of the classes did a bite mark activity similar to the first part of this activity.  We made impressions of our teeth by biting down on sections of styrofoam plates.  Then we placed acetate sheets over the bite marks and traced them.  This allowed us to overlay bite marks from two different students to see how they compared.  These bite mark samples will form part of our data bank and will be used next term when we start to stage crime scenes / mysteries.  Stay tuned!

5 Item Story

Last week the students were introduced to BitStrips, an online comic creation application, and they created their avatars.  This week they were assigned an activity similar to the 5 Card Photo Story described here.  Their task was to create a comic strip story that included:
- a chicken or duck
- a musical instrument
- a doctor (or nurse or dentist)
- water
- a vehicle
The strip had to be at least 4 panels long and characters had to have poses and expressions that suited the story.  The students all got a great start on their stories.  The learning curve is steep and we are all learning together how to manipulate characters and scenes.  Completed comics are shared (once approved by me) to the class gallery.  You can see some of the comics here.  There are some single panel comics from another activity called 'My Favourite Place' as well as the '5 Item Story' submissions.  More '5 Item Story' submissions we be added soon!  
Instructions on how to sign on to BitStrips were e-mailed home last week in case your child would like to log on from home (and has your permission to do so).  If your child has forgotten their individual password please send me a quick e-mail.  

Last Class

This week was the last class for the Wednesday morning Penticton grade 5 class and the Thursday afternoon Penticton grade 2/3 class.  Next week (December 7th - 11th) will be the last class for the Tuesday afternoon Summerland AIM/ASPIRE class and the Wednesday afternoon Penticton grade 4 class.  All Gifted Program classes resume the week of January 4th.  
Thanks for checking in to see what we've been up to!

Saturday, 28 November 2015


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

Creating Avatars

This week all of the classes got to sign on to BitStrips For Schools.  This site allows students to create comic strips.  This week we started by creating our avatars.  Though it was tempting for many students to sport mohawks, pink hair or monocles their job was to make their avatar look as much like themselves as possible.  Here's our class pic (the blank characters are students who were away and haven't had a chance to log in yet.)

A pretty good looking group!  After creating their avatars students experimented with making other characters; some were outlandish and some were pretty good representations of family members or friends.  We will be using this site in the weeks to come to create stories related to our theme, Operation Identification.


Todd Manuel, SD 67 Director of Instruction for Student Services, dropped by the Penticton grade 5 class this week.  He chatted with students, joined us for circle, and generally got a sense of what happens in class.  The Gifted Program is one of the programs under the big umbrella of Student Services.  We look forward to welcoming Mr. Manuel again later in the year.

Mystery Prints

This week it was the Penticton 4s and 5s turn to solve the water bottle mystery!  One latent print from the scene of the crime and 28 suspect prints in our data bank.  They made quick work of identifying the culprit!  Some students then took their own prints and determined which prints in our suspect data base belonged to them.  We also watched the following video (link) on comparing prints.

Classes Wrapping up for Winter Break

Classes will soon be winding down for the winter break.  Here are the dates for the last classes--due to our staggered start, not all classes are ending on the same week.
December 2nd -- Last class for the Wednesday morning Penticton grade 5 group
December 3rd -- Last class for the Thursday afternoon Penticton grade 2/3 group
December 8th -- Last class for the Tuesday afternoon Summerland AIM/ASPIRE group
December 9th -- Last class for the Wednesday afternoon Penticton grade 4 group

Thanks for checking out what we've up to! 

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Dusting But Not Vacuuming

Here are a few of the things we've been up to... This Week (and last!) In Gifted.

Ballooning Prints

The students are now experts at taking their own fingerprints, both using ink and using graphite.  A couple of classes also got to put their prints on barely inflated balloons, which when fully inflated really magnified the prints!

Dusting for Latents

The next step was to be able to dust for latent prints.  We tried two different techniques; dusting a dark surface with talcum powder and dusting a light surface with cocoa powder.  We learned a number of things in the process:
- dusting and lifting good prints is challenging and takes persistence
- it was easier dusting with talcum powder (though perhaps it was the surface we were using?)
And some students (the ones who did not heed their teacher) discovered that cocoa powder, though it smells really good, doesn't taste great.

Mystery Prints

The Summerland AIM/ASPIRE class as well as the Penticton grade 2/3 class pulled out their magnifying glasses and got to work trying to figure out who the culprit was in the water bottle caper.  A latent print was compared to prints from our databanks and students were able to make a match pretty quickly.  It was an open and shut case!  

Five Card Photo Stories

The Penticton 5s came up with stories involving the images in the slides below (link).  

Students were partnered up and shared ideas to come up with their stories.  The stories were told / performed in front of the class.  Students did a fantastic job collaborating on their stories.  We saw a variety of formats--some students used props and acted out their stories, one pair's story was a race that was told in play-by-play format, and a couple of pairs summarized their stories in song!  The audience did a wonderful job of giving 'appreciations' at the end of each story; highlighting what each group did well.

Thanks for stopping by to see what we've been doing!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Mugshots, Spaceman Spiff, & Fingerprinting

The first few weeks of classes are in the bag and here are some of the things we've been up to.

Getting To Know You

The first week of classes for students involved meeting new people and getting reacquainted with friends from last year.  During social time students connected and played games or built structures.  We also played a few name games.
Great structure!


With our theme being Operation Identification we started out with 'mug shots' of each of the kids.  The 'smiley' mug shots are now posted in the classrooms.  The serious ones will become a part of their TWIG Police Department file.
Part of the 'Most Wanted' wall in the Penticton classroom.

Spaceman Spiff and the Specimens from Planet Zorg

During our first class we imagined that intrepid Spaceman Spiff had returned from Planet Zorg with intriguing specimens for us to identify!  Students named the specimens and wrote out descriptions.  These were compiled into a Field Guide to Planet Zorg.  This week the challenge was to see if students could correctly identify the specimens.  We discovered that whether a specimen was easy to identify or not was often due to how unique it was and how much detail there was in the description. 


Fingerprint done with graphite and tape.
We watched two short videos on fingerprints and then we got to work making our own fingerprints.  All of the students got the opportunity to take their fingerprints using graphite and clear tape--these turned out really well!  The Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon classes also took their fingerprints using ink pads (the other classes will get a chance to do this too.)  In future classes we'll be analyzing our own prints and learning how to take latents. 

Thanks for dropping by to find out what we did... This Week In Gifted!

Friday, 16 October 2015

Start-Up Schedule

Early dismissal has wreaked a bit of havoc with the start-up schedule for Gifted classes.  Normally I do not adjust the schedule due to early dismissal since every elementary school has a different schedule and my students come from a variety of different schools.  For two of the classes though, all but one student had early dismissal on what was to be their first Gifted class.  For those two classes only (Tues pm and Weds pm) I have adjusted the schedule and notified the families. 
So, here is the updated schedule for class start-up:

Tuesday afternoon: AIM/ASPIRE first class October 27th.
Wednesday morning: Penticton grade 5s first class October 21st
Wednesday afternoon: Penticton grade 4s first class October 28th
Thursday afternoon: Penticton 1 - 3s first class October 22nd

 8:45 - 11:40am  Penticton 5s @ Wiltse Elementary  
12:30 - 2:30pm AIM/ASPIRE
@ Trout Creek Elementary
Penticton 4s @ Wiltse ElementaryPenticton   1 - 3s @ Wiltse Elementary
I keep the calendar with the class schedule on it updated, so if you are ever uncertain about when classes are you can check it out here.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Class Schedule for 2015-16

E-mails have been sent out to families with their child's class time. Below is the overall schedule for Gifted Program classes this school year. In addition, if you click on the 'Calendar' tab at the top of this page you will be taken to a calendar showing all of the class times for the year. Classes will start up the week of October 19th. More information will be posted here and e-mailed home closer to the start of classes.  Cheers!

 8:45 - 11:40am     Penticton 5s @ Wiltse Elementary    
12:30 - 2:30pm   AIM/ASPIRE
@ Trout Creek Elementary
Penticton 4s @ Wiltse Elementary Penticton   1 - 3s @ Wiltse Elementary  

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Welcome Back!

Welcome back!  I hope that you and your family had an enjoyable summer.  The first few days of school are under our belts and so now you may be wondering about Gifted Program Classes.  Classes will start the week of October 19th.  I am still in the process of firming up the class days and times.  As soon as the schedule is set (hopefully by next week) I will contact every family and post the schedule here.  Have a great first week of school!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Field Trip, Open House, and the Last Class

The last few weeks have been busy ones!  Here are a few of the things we've been up to.

Field Trip

On May 5th the grade 3, 4 and 5s attended our annual field trip.  This year the trip was to Scandia Golf and Games in Kelowna.  How did this fit with our theme "X Marks the Spot!  The Search for Treasure."?  Well, for their projects this year many of the students noticed that a large percentage of games focus on finding a treasure.

At Scandia, students played games, had a pizza lunch and played mini-golf.  It was an enjoyable day! Thank you to all of the parent chaperones who volunteered their time; it was much appreciated!  Below are some photos from the trip (link).

Open House

The week after the field trip it was Open House week for the grade 1 - 3 classes.  Parents were invited to drop in and see what we've been up to.  Students showed parents their treasure slide shows and we did some geocaching.  Then it was back inside for students to share their treasure maps, as well as the directions and stories behind the maps.  A big thank you to all of the parents who were able to visit us!
Summerland grade 5s

Last Class

Last week was our last week of classes.   The grade 4s and 5s got to do some geocaching (finding the caches their peers hid a few weeks before) and we had a little party.  For the grade 5 students it was their last gifted class ever as the program only goes to grade 5.  We had a special activity to mark the occasion.  As you can see from the photos, things got a little mustache-y.
Penticton grade 5s

Thank You!

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  It has been a wonderful year!


Sunday, 3 May 2015

Geocache Madness!

This past week it was all about final project presentations and geocaching!


The Monday AIM class (grades 1 - 3) finished up their mapping projects.  All of the students have created interesting treasure maps and many of them have stories or instructions to go along with them.

The Tuesday ASPIRE class presented their projects to each other; they each created a map, 3D model of their booby trapped treasure, and then either enciphered directions to the treasure or a story to go along with it.  We ran out of time so are looking forward to a couple more presentations in the last class; these ones will involve deciphering some pretty tricky messages!

The Thursday AIM class presented their projects; treasure maps and enciphered directions.  We are still working our way through deciphering some of the messages (Iain used a keyword cipher, Caesar cipher and a letter to number cipher so he's keeping us pretty busy!)


Even though we were short on time, the Penticton 4s and 5s and the Summerland AIM and ASPIRE classes were all able to build, hide and record the coordinates for their geocaches.  Thank you to everyone who brought small toys to put in the geocaches.  During the last week of gifted classes we will get the opportunity to search for the caches!

Dates to Note

This Week (May 4th - 8th)
  • No classes
  • Field trip for grade 3 - 5s on Tuesday May 5th to Scandia in Kelowna.  
    • Thank you to the parents who were able to volunteer to come as chaperones.  We wouldn't be able to do the trip without you!  

Next Week (May 11th - 15th)
  • Final week of classes
  • Open House for the AIM (grade 1 - 3) classes on Monday afternoon (Penticton) and Thursday afternoon (Trout Creek). 
    • Parents are invited to drop in and see what we've been up to.  Stay for all or part of the class.

Dates To Be Announced
  • End of year parent meetings

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Geocache Designs

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

GPS Scavenger Hunt

This week it was the Penticton grade 1 - 3 group and the Penticton 4s that got to do the GPS scavenger hunt.  'Landmarks' around the school were marked with waypoints on our GPS devices.  Students had to determine what each of the six landmarks were, given a few helpful hints.  The students did an excellent job!

Creating Geocaches

The Summerland AIM and ASPIRE groups as well as the Penticton 5s started planning their geocaches and scoping out locations.  Small teams of students will be creating geocaches which they will hide on the school ground for the other teams to find.  We need toys to leave in the geocaches.  Students have been asked to donate any small toys (e.g. the sort you might get in a loot bag) they might have at home to their geocaches.  Please do not purchase new toys--the idea is to empty out our closets a bit!

More Project Presentations

This week in the Penticton grade 4 class Ty presented his informative powerpoint presentation on Precious Stones and Jessica presented hers on Animals and Treasure.  In the Penticton grade 5 class, students got to try out two different games using the SmartBoard; Harjas and Oscar's Treasure Jeopardy Game and Fynn's (aka Willis) Treasure Video Game Jeopardy Game.  Their peers loved playing the games, which were well constructed and full of engaging questions.

SmartBoard Jeopardy Game


Grade 3 - 5 Field Trip:
  • If grade 3 - 5 students have not turned in their field trip permission forms and money please do so as soon as possible.
  • Thank you to the parents who have volunteered to join us on the trip as chaperones; much appreciated!
Week of May 4th - 7th
  • Field trip for grade 3 - 5 students on May 5th
  • Regular classes are cancelled (there will be no Monday or Thursday afternoon classes, nor will there be any Wednesday classes).
Last Week of Classes May 11th - 14th
  • Open House in the Monday and Thursday afternoon grade 1 - 3 classes.  Both a paper and digital invitation have been sent home.
  • This week is the last week of Gifted Program classes for this school year.

Thanks for checking in and seeing what we've been up to this week!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

More GPS Adventures!

More GPS Adventures!

Students were introduced to or received more experience using the GPS units this week.  The Penticton students hid tokens around the school playground and set waypoints on the GPS units at their locations.  The GPS units were then swapped around and students had fun finding the tokens that others had hidden.  The Summerland AIM and ASPIRE students did a scavenger hunt.  Students received the GPS units with waypoints already set on them.  The goal was to try and identify the 'landmarks' that the waypoints were marking.  The GPS units aren't terribly accurate, so hints were given to help narrow things down.

Penticton grade 4s using the GPS units to search for hidden tokens.


The Summerland ASPIRE class continued their work on their Treasure projects.  Finishing touches were put on the 3D models and some students were able to finish their encrypted treasure clues or  stories.  We're in the final stretch!

Field Trip

Permission forms were given to the grade 3, 4 & 5 students for the upcoming field trip to Scandia Golf and Games on May 5th.  Please return the forms and money as soon as possible.  

Thank you for checking in and finding out about a few of the things that we did... This Week In Gifted!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

GPS Scavenger Hunts

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

GPS Scavenger Hunts

The GPS unit the students used.
The Summerland AIM and ASPIRE classes as well as the Penticton 5s learned how to use the new GPS hand held units.  In pairs or small groups students hid tokens around the playground and marked their locations on the GPS units.  Each group then swapped their GPS unit with another group and searched for the other group's hidden tokens.  We learned that the devices are sometimes off by about 3 or 4 meters, so you have to still be very observant to find the tokens.  We'll be doing more with the GPS units in the weeks to come!

Project Presentations

There were some more great presentations this week.  Maia presented her comic strip on Blackbeard and Ricki presented her and Gebrielle's magazine about ancient Egypt.  The presentations were top notch as were the questions and appreciations from their peers!  The Penticton grade 4s and 5s continued to work on projects with many students creating animations or games using the visual computer programming language Scratch.

Field Trip!

Every year the older students in the Gifted Program are invited to go on a field trip related to our theme.  This year's theme is 'X Marks the Spot!  The Search for Treasure.'  One of the things that we have explored this year is that many of the games we play involve the search for treasure of some sort.  Some examples are digital games such as MineCraft or Geometry Dash and board games such as Labyrinth or Settlers of Catan.

For our field trip we will be going to Scandia Golf and Games in Kelowna.  Students will get to be treasure hunters; winning tickets when they play games, that they can then retrieve for prizes!  This trip is for grade 3, 4 and 5 students in the Gifted Program.  Detailed information about the trip was e-mailed to families on Friday and paper copies will go home next week.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Word Link and Encrypted Scavenger Hunt

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

Two Truths and a Lie

The Penticton grade 1 - 3 class played Two Truths and a Lie; a game that allows students to share a few of the things they got up to on the break.  Each student tells the class two true things that happened to them and one untrue.  The class has to decide which statement is untrue.  Students had fun trying to trick their peers!

Project Presentations

More students in the Penticton grade 4 and 5 classes presented their treasure research projects; George demonstrated the Indiana Jones board game that he made, Jessica and Logan shared their Power Point presentation on treasure in Minecraft, Marcus shared his Scratch animation on diamond mines, and Max, Jimmy and Graham shared their Scratch animation about Blackbeard.

Word Link

The Summerland ASPIRE class and the Penticton grade 4 and 5 classes played Word Link.  The group sits in a circle and one person starts by saying a word.  The next person has to say a word that links with the first word, the next person says a word that links with the second word and so on.  It is interesting to see where you end up.

Project Time

The Penticton grade 1-3 class continued to work on their treasure directions.
The Summerland ASPIRE students also worked on treasure directions.  (Josh has been creating some really interesting clues--I wish I could tell you more about it, but they are top secret!)  The ASPIRE class also worked on putting finishing touches on their 3D models.
The Penticton grade 4 and 5 classes worked on wrapping up their research projects, and those who are already done created mini-projects in Scratch or Audacity.

Enciphered Scavenger Hunt

Deciphered Clues
With the Easter weekend coming up and with our theme focused on the search for treasure it seemed like a good idea for the Summerland AIM class to do a scavenger hunt!  I created enciphered clues using the Treasure Hunt Clue Generator on  Students worked together to decipher Caesar Ciphers, Letter to Number Ciphers, and a Keyword Cipher.  They had had practice using the Caesar Cipher before, but not the other two which they quickly picked up.

Thank you for checking in to see what we've been up to this week!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Before the Break

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

Treasure Directions

Many of the classes have been creating old looking treasure maps.  Now they are working on coming up with directions to go along with those maps.  The Summerland ASPIRE class looked at some examples of real life treasure clues; the Beale Papers and the poem with clues to the whereabouts of the Forest Fenn Treasure.  The Beale Papers are a series of three cipher texts supposedly leading to a vault of silver and gold.  The Fenn Treasure is a bronze chest containing gold, silver and jewels.

As mentioned last week, some of the students are creating their own ciphers or using ciphers they are familiar with to encipher their directions.  Others are writing rhymes or riddles and still others are using the tools on The Crypto Club website to encipher their messages.  Some are even trying the challenging Affine Cipher!

Around the World

Almost all of the classes played Around the World as a warm-up game this week.  Students sit in a circle and one person starts off by giving the name of a geographic location on Earth.  The next person has to come up with the name of a new geographic location that begins with the last letter of the word just given.  For example if the first name given is Penticton, the next name has to begin with an 'N'.  Each group quickly found out that a lot of places end in the letter 'A' and that you soon run out of 'A' names!

More Project Presentations

The Penticton Grade 4s and 5s heard presentations from:

  • Jamie on 'The Eye of Horus' (info page and plasticine model)
  • Isaac with a poster on the California Gold Rush
  • Tessa who made a newspaper with a number of treasure related articles
  • Joycey with a mini movie on types of gold and diamond objects in Minecraft
Some students who have presented their projects already, explored using the visual programming software Scratch to create maze games.

These are just a few of the things that we did this week.  Thanks for checking in!  I hope that the students and their families have an enjoyable Spring Break.  Gifted Program classes resume again the first week back after the break (the week of March 30th).

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Another Two For One

Hockey playoffs kept me from posting last week (ah the life of a hockey parent), so this week we have another two for one blog post.  Without further ado, here are some of the things we did This Week (and last) In Gifted!

Name Grid

If you've ever played Boggle, then you have a bit of an idea of what the game Name Grid is like.

Penticton 4s playing Name Grid

Players try to make as many words as they can from the letters in the grid.  Some of the rules are:
  • words have to be at least 3 letters long
  • they cannot be proper nouns
  • letters have to be adjoining one another on the grid (vertically, horizontally or diagonally)
  • a letter cannot be used more than once in a word
  • one point for every word
  • an extra point for every 5 letter word, two extra points for every word with 6 letters or more
The grade 4s, 5s and the Summerland AIM group tried this activity and it turns out there are some real word smiths out there!  I was especially impressed with the Summerland AIM group--though they were the youngest group I tried this with, they came up with some wonderful words (long ones too!)  *Note: for instructions on Name Grid along with other games, check out '40 Icebreakers for Small Groups' by Grahame Knox (link).


All of the classes except the Penticton 5s have been working on Maps.  Students have made old, weathered looking maps with an X marking the treasure (or the starting point on the quest for the treasure!)  Below (link) are some of the maps from the Summerland ASPIRE group (gr 4 & 5).

Students who have completed their maps are starting to work on directions for the treasure seekers.  Some students are choosing to write riddles, others are going to use the skills they learned last year to encipher or encode their messages.  One AIM student decided to come up with his own code.

Rhett's Code

Students are also deciding on; what the treasure is that is hidden, who hid it, how it is hidden and how it is protected.

Treasure Projects

Over the past few weeks the Penticton grade 4 and 5s have heard the following presentations:
  • Katie's powerpoint and comic on the California Gold Rush
  • Kieran's powerpoint on Ores
  • Max, Jimmy and Graham's radio show about Pirates
  • Marcus' powerpoint about the precious ores in the game Minecraft
  • Jonas' radio interview with Smaug, the dragon from The Hobbit
  • Jaras' poster on Easter Island
  • Ashley's Comic Life booklet on how to get secret coins in the computer game Geometry Dash 
  • Liam and Sean's powerpoint and accompanying radio show on The Top 5 Video Games That Involve Treasure
There will be more presentations in upcoming classes.

The Summerland ASPIRE class has also been busy.  They are working on their 3D models of booby trapped treasure.  As mentioned earlier, they've also created maps to go along with these models.  As you can see from the photos below, the models are really coming together nicely.

Thanks for dropping by, I hoped you enjoyed reading about a few of the things that we did over the last couple of weeks.


Friday, 20 February 2015

February 16th - 19th

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

More On Maps

The Summerland and Penticton AIM groups (grades 1 - 3) started creating their own, aged looking treasure maps.  Students had fun creating and naming mountains, rivers, lakes, oceans and other geographic features.  They then ripped and crumpled their maps and painted them with tea to give them an aged look.  We will be working with these maps in future classes.

Project Time

The Penticton grade 4s and 5s continued to work on their treasure projects.  Some of the grade 4s presented their finished projects.  Max, Jimmy, and Graham presented their radio interview on pirates and Marcus presented his slideshow on rare gems and ores in Minecraft.  We look forward to more presentations in the weeks to come!

The Summerland ASPIRE group (grade 4s and 5s) continued to work on their 'Protect the Treasure' 3D models.  We have models with rolling boulders, hand scanners, snake pits and more!

Improv Bingo

The Penticton grade 5s continued to explore the process of working in choice versus no choice groups in Improv Bingo.  This week they did not get to choose who was in their group; I made did the groupings (ensuring that the usual pairings were not together).  They did a marvellous job with their skits!  Through this process I hope that the students are getting an opportunity to experience the pros (instead of focussing on the cons) of different sorts of groupings.  I think they are beginning to see the strengths of all of the members of our class and to trust that they can collaborate with anyone in the class to create good work.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Two for the Price of One

I didn't get a post out last week, so here's what we did This Week (and last) In Gifted.

World of Treasure Slide Shows

Below are the last two slide shows from the Penticton grade 1 - 3 classes.  You can see previous slideshows here and here.

Sophie, Ryan M, and Ellen (link).

Anya, Ryan A, Katie, and Gerry (link).

Improv Bingo

The Penticton 5s and 4s did Improv Bingo, the drama game where a person, place, goal, obstacle and object are all chosen at random and then incorporated into skits by groups of 3-4 with hilarious results.  Students brainstorm, collaborate, create and then perform their skits.  At the end of each skit audience members are asked to comment on what each group did well (appreciations).  This helps the whole group to critically think about what makes a good story or play so that we can all improve.

This week was the first time this year that the 4s had done Improv Bingo and they did wonderfully!  The 5s were pushed out of their comfort zone a little as they weren't allowed to go into their 'usual' groups; they were partnered up with people may not normally work with.  We talked about the benefits of 'choice' groups vs. groups that someone else chooses.  All went well.

Protect the Treasure

The Summerland ASPIRE (gr 4 & 5) group continued to work on their 3D models.  Students are creating models showing how they would hide and protect a valuable treasure.  They were busy with glue guns, modelling clay, pipe-cleaners and more and their plans are gradually taking shape.  


The Summerland and Penticton grade 1 - 3 groups worked with maps.  Together we created maps of our classroom.  Then students were given tokens to hide and mark in the corresponding spot on their maps.  Students then swapped maps and hunted down the each others tokens.

Zip Line Design Challenge

The Summerland AIM class (gr 1 - 3) were tasked with designing something to transport a ping pong ball from the top of a zip line to the bottom in 4 seconds or less.  The students tried different ways to balance their carriers and to reduce friction.  Everyone was successful and some even took on the challenge to transpire more than one ping pong ball at a time.

Treasure Projects

The Penticton 4s and 5s continued to work on their treasure projects, with many students finished or nearing completion.  Students have tackled lots of different treasure related topics and are presenting them using a variety of formats.  I hope to highlight individual projects here in the coming weeks.

Thank you for stopping by to find out what we've been up to!

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Little DJs

Little DJs on Go Okanagan

In November Wayne McDougall from Shaw TV visited the Penticton grade 5 group to do a story on the radio project all of the gifted classes worked on last year.  We had a great time being interviewed and learning about how television is made.  The resulting piece, called Little DJs, has now aired on Shaw's Go Okanagan and can be viewed below (link).

5 Card Photo Story

This week it was the Summerland AIM and the Penticton grade 5 groups turn to do the 5 card photo story.  The Penticton grade 1-3s also finished up their 5 card photo stories from last week.  The students came up with some great stories!  We heard about royal bunnies, vampire bunnies, ducks, quests for carrots and so much more.   Here are the slides they had to work with (link):


The grade 4s and 5s continued to work on their projects.  The Summerland ASPIRE group started building the 3D models of their booby trapped treasure caches.

The Penticton grade 4s and 5s continued working on their treasure research projects.  Some students are almost ready to present their work to their peers.  In fact one of the grade 4s, Jonas (pictured below), presented his project on dragons this week.

Body Spell

The Penticton grade 4s played Body Spell.  Students were placed in groups of 4 or 5 people each.  Each person had 3 - 4 letters written on their hands and feet.  Then the class was given a word to spell.  It was chaotic, it was crazy, and it was fun!  The students did a great job of using their hands and feet to spell.




More MaKey MaKey

The Summerland AIM and ASPIRE groups continued to work with the MaKey MaKey invention kits.  They experimented with making foot pads, banana keys and drum kits.  Plans for giant piano keys are in the works!
Keys made out of play dough.

Tin foil footpads.

Banana key!

 Thanks for stopping by to see a few of the things that we did... This Week In Gifted!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

January 19th - 22nd

This Week's World of Treasure Slide Show

This week's slideshow is brought to you by Dija, Jayda, and Kailey from the Penticton grade 1 - 3 class (link)

Paper Table Building Challenge

The Penticton grade 5s had their first building challenge of the year.  Their task was to build a table using only the following materials:
8 sheets of newspaper
1 sheet of cardboard 8"x11" (cereal box cardboard)
masking tape

Their paper table had to be at least 20 cm tall and had to support a heavy textbook.  Prior to building their tables, we talked about how rolling the newspaper into tight tubes makes it fairly strong.  It is interesting seeing the different designs the students came up with.  The students worked in pairs or groups of three.  Agreeing on how to build the table and sharing tasks equally can be a challenge, but they all handled things quite well.  All of the groups were able to get their tables to hold one textbook.  Many of the students took up the challenge to see if they could strengthen their tables so that they could support multiple textbooks.  You won't believe how much some of the tables held!  Check out the photos below (link).  I love how excited the kids are with their creations.

5 Card Photo Stories

This week the Penticton grade 1-3 class tackled 5 Card Photo Stories for the first time.  How it works: I show the group 5 images, and then each student comes up with a story that involves all 5 images.  Prior to creating their stories we discuss what makes a good story.  This class really got into it, many of them wanting more time, so they'll be finishing them off next week.  The Summerland ASPIRE group also did this activity and they knocked my socks off (again!) with their amazing stories!  

My Favourite Thing!

The Penticton grade 4s played 'My Favourite Thing!'  It is a drama / storytelling activity where students are given an object and asked to make up a story on the spot explaining why it is their favourite thing.  Some of the objects used were a fox hand puppet, a plastic coat hanger, and a crystal ball.  We had stories involving lasers, aliens, aliens with lasers, aliens playing ping pong, Dr. Who, aliens and Dr. Who and much much more.  Honourable mention: Graham's Italian coat hanger hat story.  I'm not even going to try and explain it, you'll just have to trust me that it was hilarious (and that it didn't involve aliens).

MaKey MaKey

The ASPIRE and AIM classes used the MaKey MaKey kits.  With these kits students can turn various items into computer keys.  In the photo below Iain is using a banana as a space key.

We've also hooked people up to the MaKey MaKey and then opened up a piano program on the computer; when you touch each person a different note sounds on the piano!

Thank you for taking the time to check out a few of the things that we have been up to... This Week In Gifted!

Friday, 16 January 2015


After a long break, we're finally back at it.  Here are some of the things that we did... This Week In Gifted!

This Week's World of Treasure Slide Show

Prior to the winter break the AIM classes were working on finding images and information on different things that they considered to be treasure.  In small groups they created slideshows sharing what they learned.  This week we are featuring Summerland AIM students Rhett, Oscar and Iain's show.  (link)

Protect the Treasure!

The Summerland ASPIRE group (grades 4 & 5) were introduced to the project they will be working on for the next little while; Protect the Treasure!  They have been given the task of hiding and protecting an incredibly valuable treasure.  Their job: to create a 3D model showing where they have hidden the treasure (the cache) and how they are protecting it! We talked about famous treasures from real life and popular culture and how they have been protected and we watched a few video clips for inspiration (the heist scene from Wallace and Gromit's The Wrong Trousers, trailer for the TV show The Curse of Oak Island, an edited version of the opening scene from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arc). Students are in the planning stages and have some amazing ideas.

Research Projects

The Penticton grade 4s and 5s continued to work on the research projects they started before the break. Despite the big hiatus, the students keenly and enthusiastically got back to work. They are each researching a different treasure related topic and finding a creative way to share what they've learned. Some students are building on the work we did last year, and creating short radio shows. Some are producing newspaper articles or magazines. Others are creating Jeopardy style games using the interactive whiteboard.


The Summerland and Penticton AIM classes (grades 1-3) explored maps.  We talked about when and why we use maps and then we did a little exploring on Google Maps.  Students looked up where they lived and then found out how to get from their homes to our class either at Wiltse or Trout Creek Elementary.  After that we started to go further afield, checking out other places in BC and then on to the rest of the world!  Students used Street View to look at photos of familiar places (homes of friends and family, school etc) and also more exotic places.  The Thursday group strolled around in Moscow's Red Square! 

What is Social Time?

Katie and Gerry look at microscope slides during Social Time
We start every class with Social Time.  This time is an opportunity for students to connect with each other while playing games or building and creating together.  Popular things to do during Social Time include:
- building circuits using the Snap Circuits kit
- building large structures with the Magnetics kit
- playing strategy games such as Labyrinth, Gobblet, Mancala, or Uno
- solving matchstick puzzles or the Rubik's cube
Social Time is also an excellent opportunity for me to touch base with each of the students and see how their week has been.

Thanks for checking out what we did This Week In Gifted!