Excel Experience

December 2015

Enthusiasm Abounds in the Excel Classroom

‘Twas two weeks before Winter Break, and for GT

Not a sound from the EXCEL room. Quiet as can be.

The binders for Excel were all put away

For we’re doing something else in class today.

The students were nestled by laptops or tables,

Computers were logged in; iPads were enabled.

It’s Hour of Code week and with full concentration

The kids are engaged, and I’m feeling elation.

When out of the silence, I heard someone say,

“This is hard, I can’t do it” “Don’t give up, okay?

Try again. Do it differently. You can do this!”

And when they succeed, they’re beaming with bliss.

On Tynker. On Lightbot. On Kodable too.

On Code dot org website, Crunchzilla for a few.

Coding for all ages, for big and for small.

Now code away, code away, code away all.

Coding at home...

Check out some of these sites for more coding fun at home:

https://www.tynker.com/

https://code.org/

https://www.kodable.com/

https://lightbot.com/

https://www.gethopscotch.com/

https://www.madewithcode.com/

http://www.crunchzilla.com/

Or these free apps:

Hopscotch (IOS)

Lightbot (IOS, Android)

Kodable (IOS, Android)

Tynker (IOS)

BC - Before Coding...

1st Grade GT - students proudly wear their Brainfocals (with the help of bobby pins) to see things in new and different ways - inventive thinking!

2nd Grade GT - Everyone is having so much fun creating individual Prezi's to share endangered animal research, I finally had to say "what you have done is good enough". Now comes the challenging part - next week, each child gets to present his Prezi to the class. When they say "Do I have to?", I ask "Are you trying to ask if you have the PRIVILEGE of sharing your presentation?" First time sharing is tough, but it will get easier!

3rd Grade GT - Passports are ready, complete with fingerprints, photos and visas. Many have booked their flight and accommodations, with some purchasing travel insurance. Keeping accurate balance sheets, matching travel vocabulary and writing in the travel journal is ongoing, as they continue to prepare for their trip to the land of their ancestors.

4th Grade GT - Tension. Compression. Torsion. Not just for bridges. Focusing on building writing skills while addressing social/emotional aspect of gifted children, I asked each student to write about his personal tension, compression or torsion, read only by me. Love their insight and honesty! Next stop...Bridge Companies are forming. We're building bridges!!!

COMING SOON (next week) to an Excel classroom near you...

Rubric Time! Each student will self-evaluate as they look at their first few months in Excel classes. This new progress report incorporates the 7 GT Expectations of Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Autonomy, Growth Mindset, Critical Thinking and Ethics, skills we've been developing this year. The rating categories are Beginning, Developing, Competent and Advanced. This is NOT a report card, and Advanced is NOT where they should be at this point. Our GT students will continue developing these skills throughout high school. I will ask students to provide examples for their self-evaluations. As soon as I can scan the rubrics, your child can bring it home. Let me just say my students this year are truly amazing!

AND FINALLY

Each year I give my students a holiday booklet "Amazing Holiday Challenges" to keep their dendrites growing over Winter Break. As soon as they are printed, stapled and labeled, I'll be handing them out - no later than Friday (hopefully sooner). Actually, Mrs. BarronElf will arrive by sleigh, visiting both WSES and KHES next Friday morning, Dec 18th, stopping by Kindergarten classrooms, and hopefully all the GT cluster homerooms before heading back to the North Pole for a last minute GT staff meeting.

I Ho Ho Hope you have a Happy Holiday Season!

Gayle Barron aka Mrs. BarronElf

Woodland Springs, Keller-Harvel & North Pole GT Specialist

gayle.barron@kellerisd.net