Exciting Things are Happening

Wright, Crockett, and Curtis Quest

Passion Projects: iDream, iDesign

The next two weeks, the students will focus on deciding a topic to research for the iDream project and finishing the Stop Motion videos for iDesign.


Please take time to have a conversation with your students to get them thinking about what they love in their lives, to do, to have, etc..., and what really bothers them in their lives, in the world, etc..., and what is something they can do to make this better or improve the situation. We are going to use the bracket below to guide their search to identify a topic about which they are really passionate. It would be helpful if you all talked about this some at home. Help them go beyond their first initial responses, i.e., I love my family, friends, pets, etc... What really bothers me is when my siblings come in my room without knocking or tear up my belongings. They may want to research a topic that will lead to their future career. How will this career choice make the world a better place?

When we come back in January, students will spend time working on their chosen topics and creating a product to use to share the information they have learned. These products will be showcased in the spring at a time and place to be decided later.

iDesign: This past week, the students began delving into Stop Motion videos. They watched some videos that defined stop motion and looked at some examples. After doing this, there were three activities to complete, a Story Map, a Materials List, and a Story Board. These assignments were outlined on our class Edmodo page as referred to in last week's newsletter. If you need to review this information, you can access all newsletters on my website. carlacheshire.weebly.com

This week, the students will create a Stop Motion video in class if they have not already done so at home. Please make sure they bring all the materials needed to create the video.

Some students wanted to create their video at home. These students should bring their videos to school on a device or a way to share with the class.

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Question Starts for iDream Projects

These question starts can be used to help guide the conversations about "what I love" and "what bothers me."

  • Why...
  • How would it be different if...
  • What are the reasons...
  • Suppose that...
  • What if...
  • What if we knew...
  • What is the purpose of...
  • What would change if...

Have your student make a list of some of the responses and bring to class this week.


Wonderopolis is an excellent website where students can explore what interests them. This would be a great place to research and discover a topic about which they are passionate. Click on the link above to visit the site.

Finding Students' Hidden Strengths and Passions

Maurice Elias, professor of Psycology and director of the Social and Emotional Lab at Rutgers University, has written a very informative article on ways to find students' hidden strengths and passions. The article was published on the website Edutopia. Click on the link to learn more.

Hour of Code

This week, December 7 - 11, has been designated the "Hour of Code." The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify the basics of computer programming and to show that anybody can learn how to code. You can learn more about it on the code.org website. Click here to access the tutorials lessons.

In Quest, the students have already been exploring coding on the website, Made With Code, and they are currently learning to create their own video games using the app, Pixel Press Floors.

Scratch is also another great website that Quest has used in the past to introduce computer programming. This site was developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab.

You will notice that these resources do not use the traditional programming languages. They make the fundamentals of coding more understandable to children by using blocks of "code" that users drag and drop onto a palette to create a program. The blocks attach to each other like Legos or a jigsaw puzzle. Take some time to look at these websites and join us this week for an "Hour of Code."

Google Cardboard

At the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented conference this past week, I had the privilege of presenting a session to other GT educators over Google Cardboard. As I visited with some of them, many stated how they were going to purchase this for their own children either as a Christmas or birthday present. I thought I would share this information with you as well since you may be looking for an inexpensive, fun gift that supports learning.

Google Cardboard is a product that came about from Google's 20% Time or Genius Hour time it uses with its employees. The Google company gives their employees 20% of their work week to focus on their passions and interests. One group who was really interested in virtual reality (VR) gaming wanted to make this more affordable for everyone. In 2014, they developed a viewer out of cardboard that would hold a smart phone and an app that contained several virtual reality experiences. Using the app, the cardboard viewer and a phone, users can visit places all over the world and beyond in 3D. One experience that my students really love is the Urban Hike option on the Google Cardboard app. This allows you to visit iconic cities around the world... Paris, Tokyo, San Francisco. There are also apps that take users into outer space, on roller coasters, and into the world of dinosaurs. In addition, there are many VR games that can be played. New apps and uses are being developed daily for this new technology.

If you are interested in Google Cardboard, take a look at their website to learn more.

Also, check out how Mattel reinvented its View-Master after Google Cardboard came out.

Carla Cheshire

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me.

My schedule is:

Monday: Wright (817) 598-2828 ext: 4960

Tuesday and Wednesday: Crockett (817) 598-2811 ext: 4429

Thursday and Friday: Curtis (817) 598-2838 ext: 4556