Oakhurst Gifted Programming
News for Everyone:
I have been fortunate to speak with many of you in person, on the phone, or through email. I do not set aside specific times of the year for conferencing, but please know that I am available for any questions, concerns, or suggestions. It's never a bother, so don't hesitate!
2nd Grade News
We practiced the process once using literature (The Googies are Coming by Shel Silverstein) and creative problem solving. Now that the class has worked through the whole process once, we are trying to combine our creative ideas with logical thinking to solve real-life problems. We problem-scoped (looked for problems around us or things that could be improved upon) and shared ideas. One group of students has already decided they would like to help endangered animals. This research unit is student-driven with only necessary guidance from me so I have no idea what solutions they are going to come up with and implement. I am excited at the possibilities and always surprised by the creativity and ideas that emerge. I encourage you to point out innovative solutions as you come across them (one example we looked at was BMW's concept car, the Gina) and build upon opportunities for your children to be problem solvers. My hope is for problem-scoping to be something that naturally occurs as my students go about daily life and for the kids to see themselves as effective problem solvers looking for ways to make the world better.
We can always use items/supplies for prototyping. If you have craft supplies, bolts/nuts/screws, aluminum foil, tape, PVC, cardboard tubes, or anything else you think could be used to build small models, donations are very much appreciated.
3rd GRADE NEWS
We have spent the past several weeks learning how to code with Scratch. Scratch is a programming language developed out of MIT. The kids all love this research unit! It's self-directed and collaborative--- the kids are encouraged to be creative, share ideas and feedback, and help each other as they are learning this new language. All of the students are being challenged to do something they have very limited experience with--- this does not come easy for anyone in our class. By learning how to code, they start to understand all of the steps that go into creating apps, video games, animations, devices, and other ubiquitous technology. Scratch also incorporates problem-solving as coders must break down their complex ideas into simple sequences and figure out how to "de-bug" to fix what's not working.
The class is assigned specific project goals, but can personalize their projects in an endless number of ways. The goals require the students to create thoughtful projects and learn new coding skills. The students get so immersed in their projects as they are working that time management has been important. Although projects have deadlines to keep us moving forward, students are encouraged to continue working on their projects afterwards. After projects are due, students present their projects and receive feedback. This also provides a time for everyone to share their Scratch skills, too, so students can see who may be able to help them with coding tasks.
Check out the projects the kids have worked on so far in our Scratch studio. We will continue to add projects as they are ready for viewing so be sure to check back. We will wrap up this unit shortly after we return from holiday break, and then we're moving on to learn about electricity.
Oakhurst Scratch Studio: