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.