Saturday, 30 April 2016

Sabotage on the Space Ship Forensic!

Here are a few things that we've done this week (and last) in gifted class.

Sabotage on the Space Ship Forensic!

We are pretending that we are the crew of the Space Ship Forensic.  The crew is on a multi-year mission to explore the far reaches of space.  Apparently one of the crew members misses Earth and has sabotaged our ship! A note was left for the captain--the author of the note has stolen a computer chip that is important in keeping the life support system going.  If the captain does not return the ship to Earth, the chip will not be returned and everyone will perish!   Each of the classes is using their forensic skills to sift through clues in this puzzling case.  Here are some of the things the crew is investigating:

  • identifying the handwriting on the note
  • using ink chromatography to match the ink to one of the different brands of pens available on the ship
  • matching a fingerprint found on the envelope with the fingerprints of the crew
  • matching the torn top of the note to the paper pad the note may have come from
  • matching hair, fibre and footprint samples found at the scene.  
Stay tuned as we puzzle our way through this case!

Project Presentations Continued

Last week and this week we had the following presentations: 
  • Niamh presented her BitStrips comic 'Mystery'
  • Ty presented his Scratch Mystery Game
  • Katie and Logan had the class play their 'WWII Spies' Jeopardy game on the interactive whiteboard
  • Graham presented his BitStrips comic 'The Stock Mystery'
  • Mykenna presented 'Identifying Birds' which she created in Comic Life
  • Anya presented her slideshow on Koalas
  • Sophie presented her slideshow on Penguins
  • Gerry presented his slideshow on Identifying House Cats
  • Rowyn presented her slideshow on Tiny Spiders
  • Iain demonstrated his Forensic Board Game to the class
  • Dija had her story 'The Blanket Mystery' read to class

A scene from Niamh's comic 'Mystery'

A scene from Graham's comic 'The Stock Mystery'

Field Trip and Other Important Dates

This Tuesday, May 3rd, the grade 3, 4 and 5 students will be hopping on a bus and going to Okanagan Science Centre in Vernon!  We're looking forward to having a great day.  Thank you to the parents (and a grandparent!) who have volunteered to be chaperones for the trip.  

Students are reminded to bring:
  • jacket
  • recess snack and juice / water
  • bag lunch
  • suitable shoes for walking (e.g. no flip flops)
  • good behavior :-)
Things to leave at home:
  • money
  • electronic devices of all kinds
Penticton students are asked to be at Wiltse at 7:45am in the bus zone (next to the playground).  We will be departing at 8am.  Trout Creek students are asked to be at Trout Creek Elementary at 8:10am. I anticipate the bus arriving just before 8:20am and departing soon after.

Gifted classes are cancelled for the week of May 2nd - 6th due to the field trip on May 3rd.

Gifted Classes Wrap Up The Week Of May 16th
This is our last week of classes for this school year.  

Open House May 17th and 19th for students in grades 1 - 3.  
Parents of students in grades 1 - 3 are invited to drop in and see what we've been up to this year.  Parents are welcome anytime between 12:30 and 2:30pm.      

Friday, 15 April 2016

Scratch That!

Project Updates

Projects are rapidly wrapping up!  We had the following presentations this week:

  • Oscar shared his Lego Stop Motion Mystery Movie CS Investigation and his BitStrip comic Bank Robbery
  • Ben shared his BitStrip mystery comic Meow
  • Jessica presented her interactive Smart Board mystery Who Ate the Bagel?!
  • Kieran presented the mystery video game he created in Happy Wheels.
  • Jimmy presented his BitStrip comic Mystery #1
  • Ryan A presented his PowerPoint slide show on Mythical Creatures
  • Ryan M presented his 3 part BitStrip comic Who Did It?
Many more students are ready (or almost ready!) to present.  

Through the projects all of the students have learned new information and/or new skills.  Prior to starting their projects, students were introduced to BitStrips and how to use it to create interesting characters and stories.  Some chose to use this tool for their projects, but in many cases students chose a different format.  Kudos to those students who took on a tool that was new to them, especially the grade 2s and 3s who chose to use PowerPoint even though some of them had never used it before and so were learning on the fly!  Katie D, Logan and Jessica took on Smart Notebook (software for the interactive whiteboard), with little or no exposure to it before.  Many others chose formats with which they were familiar but took it to a new level--using Comic Life and learning how to use image editing software or programming in Scratch and learning how to use more complicated commands or learning how to add audio to a PowerPoint slideshow.  Throughout this process, students are sharing their new skills with their peers.  We are a community of learners where skills that one person learns are celebrated and shared with others--it's pretty neat!   

Scratch That!

So what are the students who have completed their projects doing?  Well, some of the Penticton grade 3s are taking on computer programming using Scratch 2.  Scratch is a visual based programing application that introduces kids to programming concepts.  Students can create animations, video games, interactive stories, and much more.  There is a low bar for entry (ie users can quickly program something fun that works), but Scratch also allows for more complicated programming.  A number of the Penticton grade 5s had a short introduction to Scratch a few years ago in the Gifted Program, and many of them have used Scratch this year for their main project.  

Screenshot of Scratch showing the main screen on the left with the programing scripts on the right.

Field Trip Planning

Thank you to all the grade 3, 4 and 5 families who sent in the field trip forms and $.  A big thank you also to all those parents who have volunteered to chaperone on the trip--much appreciated!

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

Saturday, 9 April 2016

More Project Presentations

This Minecraft tour of DNA was projected onto the big screen.

Projects, Projects, Projects!

Project presentations continued this week.  Marcus presented his Minecraft tour of DNA, Grace and Ellen each shared their Who Dunnit comics (Grace's created in Comic Life, and Ellen's in BitStrips), Kailey gave her PowerPoint presentation on Identifying Bears, and Jayda gave hers on Identifying Big Cats.  Through these presentations students are learning about a wide variety of topics, appreciating what makes a good presentation, and finding out about some of the mad skills of their peers!

Field Trip 2016!

Every year the Gifted Program students in grades 3 - 5 go on a field trip that ties in with our theme.  This year our theme has been Operation Identification and for our field trip we are going to Okanagan Science Centre in Vernon!  How does this relate to our theme?  When we are at the Science Centre students will get to do a hands on forensic activity.  After this, students will have the opportunity to explore the galleries.  There are lots of interesting and educational interactive displays on topics ranging from electricity and magnetism, to space travel and more.

Grade 3 - 5 students brought home Field Trip forms with more information about the trip as well as the permission slip and request for chaperones.  Please send the completed form and $ with your child next week.  Parents and guardians who are interested in being chaperones are encouraged to fill in the appropriate section on the permission form.  If you have any questions about the trip, please contact Claire Thompson.

Thanks for checking in and seeing what we did... This Week In Gifted!  

Friday, 1 April 2016

Gorillas and Airplanes

After two weeks off for Spring Break we were back at it; here are a few of the things we did... This Week In Gifted!

Investigative & Eye-Witness Skills

Students were partnered up with someone in the class who they didn't know too well.  Their job was to find out three things their partner did over Spring Break and report back to the class.  The students did a great job of listening and remembering.  Then came the hard part!  They were told to sit back to back with their partner and imagine the following scenario; they were just in the bank and their partner (who they had never seen before) ran in and robbed the bank.  Their job was to write out a physical description of the bank robber to help the police in apprehending the suspect.  We quickly learned that even though we just spent 5 or 10 minutes in one-on-one conversations with the 'bank robber', it was hard to remember what they looked like!  What color was their t-shirt?  How about their eyes?  Were they wearing jeans or tights or track pants or ...  Once their physical description was written, everyone folded the piece of paper into an airplane and we launched them.  The next step was to retrieve a plane and try to match up the physical description on it with the correct person.  Eventually all of the robbers were nabbed!

This activity led to a discussion of eye-witness accounts and selective attention.  To illustrate the point we watched the following short video (link).

Projects, Projects, Projects!

Yes, we are still working on projects.  Some students presented prior to Spring Break and are working on interesting side-projects, and many more are almost done.  This week Charlotte and Shaylene kicked off presentations in the Penticton grade 2-3 group.  After each presentation the presenter's peers and I ask questions (either about the topic or about the format they used), and comment on what the presenter did well.  Through this all of the students are developing their listening and critical thinking skills; we all benefit when we talk about what a person did well in their project.  The presenters also feel good having the strong points in their work recognized by their peers as well as by their teacher.  Looking forward to more presentations next week!

As always--thanks for checking in to see what we've been doing!