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Wednesday's Class

September 14, 2016

This week we took some time to check out our new surroundings and got to know each other a bit better. We shared our thoughts on the "giftedness" label and personalized our composition notebooks to be a keepsake representing the 2016-2017 gifted year. We also did some fun activities to teach procedures in each room in the gifted hall. 


Exceptional: adj. unusual, uncommon, unusually good, much better than average. 

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Wednesday's Week 2: Character Corner

September 21, 2016

We began with a review of last week's discussion surrounding "Giftedness" and the common misconceptions that often encompass this title.  We emphasized the concept of character and the importance of identifying as well as building certain traits within us.  We watched a video showcasing many distinct Gifted traits.


Character: noun, The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. 


This will be an ongoing series where each week a character trait is high-lighted, discussed and journaled about.  We read a story focusing on friendship and what character traits a friend should possess. We began practicing online research skills to prepare for the start of Genius Hour in the next few weeks. The safe search site Kids Click was featured and the students practiced isolating facts surrounding research topics.  During BrightBoard time we expressed our opinions in our journals to this statement, *”The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is practice.”  Vladimir Horowitz.  We even joined classrooms for another team building opportunity!

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Second Semester Week 15

April 19, 2017

We are continuing to fill in the gaps with Pop Culture items that we may have missed this year!  From Stretch Armstrong to Beyoncé, we are enjoying the rich discussions that come with analyzing what is "popular" in our culture.  This week begins "Read Week".  The students are allowed to read from 3pm when school is dismissed to their bedtime.  We had an extensive discussion about sacrificing time normally spent on other activites in order to meet their reading goal, without giving up non-negotiable family time, group activities and responsibilities.  Their past homework has been to get approval on their independently set "Reading Goal", obtain pledges and now to read!!!  Good luck meeting your goal!

Words of the Week:

Cooperative - Adj. involving mutual assistance in

working toward a common goal

Ambitious - Adj. showing a strong desire to succeed

Second Semester Week 14

April 12, 2017

This week we again looked back on what we've missed covering the past decades and continued on with Genius Hour projects. This is pledge week for the Read-a-Thon! Students should be collecting pledges this week for "read week" (April 17th-21st).


Discernment   – Noun, the ability to judge well

Grateful - Adj. feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful.

During our Genius Hour Research time, we are continuing to research relevant sources, pull important information from our gathered resources, put them into our GoogleSlide presentations and insert digital images and video.  We will keep you updated on a day/time at the end of April where we would love to have you come in and watch the student presentations!

Second Semester Week 13

April 05, 2017

Welcome to our Annual Gifted Program Spring Read-A-Thon!  PAGE (Parents and Advocates for Gifted Education) is sponsoring the annual gifted student Read-A-Thon to raise money to support activities at the Joplin Elementary Gifted Center.  The money will be used to provide field trips, continuing education for teachers, and to purchase items needed for the classrooms.  In the past, PAGE used the funds to purchase Ipads for the classrooms and have sent students on field trips to the Discovery Center, Silver Dollar City, Crystal Bridges the Joplin Globe, the Springfield Cardinals facility, among others.

The goal of the Read-A-Thon is for each student to raise a minimum of $35.  Through this fundraiser, we hope to provide students with opportunities they would not receive in their home classroom while promoting the love of reading.  Research show that children who love to read have better test scores throughout their academic career.

Read-A-Thon Timeline:

1.  Kick-Off - Week of April 3rd:  Students will be bringing their envelopes home to discuss the read-a-thon with you and to show you their nightly reading goal for "Read Week" as well as their pledge goals. Please sign your initials next to the Read-a-thon goal so we know you approve of the student goal.  If you feel it needs to be tweaked, please let us know!

2.  Obtain Pledges -Week of April 10th:  Students will officially start seeking donations from family, friends and anyone interested in supporting the Gifted Center.  Donations may be pledged "per minute read" or in a "lump sum".  No door-to-door collections unless with an adult.

3.  Read Week - Week of April 17th:  Students will read after school from April 17th through Sunday, April 23rd to complete their reading goal.  Both the student and parent will sign off on the number of minutes read each afternoon/evening.

4.  Collect Pledges - Week of April 24th and May 1st:  Student will use their collection envelopes for any donations they need to collect.  All pledges and your reading log must be turned in by your gifted day during the week of May 1st to be considered for the contest.

Prizewinners will be announced at the Gifted Park Night on Friday, May 5th from 5:30-6:30 at Leonard Park.  Prizes will be awarded for the top pledge earners and for the top minutes read.  Prizes are donated from local businesses.  Thank you for your support and for making it a great year at the Gifted Center!


Independent   – Adj. free from outside control; not depending on another's authority.

Integrity - Noun, the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

During our Genius Hour Research time, we are continuing to research relevant sources, pull important information from our gathered resources and to put them into our GoogleSlide presentations and insert digital images and video.  We will keep you updated on a day/time at the end of April where we would love to have you come in and watch the student presentations!

Second Semester Week 12

March 29, 2017

Pop Culture Potpourri!  This week we are focusing is upon pulling in the aspects of Pop Culture that we have missed  - from the student's standpoint.  Last week's home enrichment activity was to post on Padlet what facet of Pop Culture each student feels that we missed when studying the decades.  

Genius Hour - We are diligently working on putting our researched facts into individual Google Slide presentations.  Our home enrichment activity for this week will be to bring in a non-fiction resource pertaining to your student's topic.  We will take notes from this resource in class.


Words of the Week:

courage - Noun - the ability to do something that frightens someone.

covenant - Noun - an agreement

Second Semester Week 11

March 15, 2017

This week we concluded our decade research by discussing the 2010's, better known as "the tenties". We learned about the finality of some ongoing conflicts and what events have taken place thus far in this current decade. We wrapped up our study of pop culture with an iconic problem solving activity that built community, collabortion and communication skills. 

Words of the Week:

Analytical - Adj., relating to or using analysis or logical reasoning.


Circumvent - Verb, To find a way around an obstacle

Second Semester Week 10

March 08, 2017

This week we focused upon Communication being a two-way street.  It sounds so simple: say what you mean. But all too often, what we try to communicate gets lost in translation despite our best intentions. We say one thing, the other person hears something else, and misunderstandings, frustration, and conflicts ensue.  Fortunately, you can learn how to communicate more clearly and effectively. Whether you’re trying to improve communication with others, you can improve the communication skills that enable you to effectively connect with others, build trust and respect, and feel heard and understood.

We practiced communicating effectively by emphasizing showing "empathy" toward others. After watching a video clip on the difference between empathy/sympathy, we tied this feeling into effectively communicating with others in our day to day lives.

Word of the Week:

empathy - the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

sympathy - feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune.

Second Semester Week 9

March 01, 2017

This week we wrapped up the "noughties" or the "turn of the century"  by discussing some awe-inspiring events that took place, such as Hurricane Katrina, the Hudson plane landing and the collapse of the housing market. We examined how Americans sought after fantasy as a form of escapism, through fantastical novels and movie series. As documentary films became a new political outlet for hot button issues, the popularity of "mockumentaries" ruled TV. 


Character Word:

Impatient:  Adj. having or showing a tendency to be quickly irritated or provoked.

Unit Word:

reverie:— Noun, a state of being pleasantly lost in one's thoughts; a daydream

Home Enrichment Activity:

There are "heroes" around us everywhere!  The students brainstormed people they believe have shown courage.  There job is to write about someone they know or have known who displays/ed outstanding achievements or noble qualities.  I have highly encouraged neat handwriting with descriptive phrases about their choice, in order to paint a picture of their subject's  achievements.  This assignment is due next week!  Additional forms are attached to the link below.

Second Semester Week 8

February 22, 2017

This week we began discussing the "noughties" ....better known as the first decade of the 2000's. We focused on the impact of social media, the events that shaped the decade from the beginning, such as 9/11 and two historical elections that took place. 



Character Word:  vengeful - adj. seeking to harm someone in return for a perceived injury

Unit Word:  pandemonium: -  noun, wild and noisy disorder or confusion; uproar.

Home Enrichment Activity:  Use the link below to visit the Padlet page for your student's Gifted Day.  Each student will add a quote that inspires him/her by writing it in the form of a tweet.  A historical figure, iconic person or the words of an inspiring family member may be used.  Remember to add the student's name!

Second Semester Week 7

February 15, 2017

Today we focused on enhancing our creativity skills!  Creativity is the "use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work".  Creativity is like a tap - the more you turn it on the more it flows!  After watching a BrainPop about enhancing our imaginations in the areas of speaking and writing we did several activities to enhance this way of thinking!

Words of the Week:

overbearing - Adj., unpleasantly or arrogantly domineering.

serendipity - Noun, The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

In the area of creativity, there are certain salient features - originality, elaboration, flexibility and fluency.  After defining each term with a demonstration, both classes combined worked on listing the similarities and then differences of two random objects.  For example - a tennis shoe and a rocking chair.  Both can be comfortable and allow you to have parts of your body protected.  Both can also have differences when a shoe needs to be replaced more often than a rocking chair and are made of different materials.

Second Semester Week 6

February 08, 2017

Today we began with Genius Hour!  We assembled our GH books in an order to make sense to the process - a Source page, a Reflection page to guide our thinking and Fact pages to record our researched facts.  We reviewed the purpose of "safe searches" and the site available to them on our class Portaportal.  This site has been linked below.  The guest password is whughes.  Today their job was to use "" (a safe Google search) to find, read and print an article about their topic.  Next week we will focus upon how to highlight important information and paraphrase it in their GH notebooks.  

Next, we jumped into Week 2 of our study of the 1990's.  

Word of the Day:

Character Word - narcissistic - Adj., having an excessive interest in oneself and one's physical appearance.

Unit Word - unrelenting - adj. not yielding in strength, severity, or determination.

The character word was used to describe how many viewed to OJ Simpson trial - from OJ himself to the lawyers on his team.  The unit word was used to begin a conversation on Osama Bin Laden and his quest to rid the Middle East of Western influence through violent means.  The students summed it up when they reflected that we have liberties and freedoms in this country that others don't fully understand and that we teach to "agree to disagree".  We looked at the boy and girl bands that dominated this decade as well as the Latin influence infused in some of the popular music. The students enjoyed dancing The Macarena!!  We looked at 90's tv, popular movies and fashion of the decade.  They either really liked or really disliked the "grunge" style!  We briefly looked at the Y2K scare in 1999 and the looks on their faces was priceless!  Our afternoon was spent in our 90's celebration.  We danced to 90's videos, solved 90's puzzles, played with 90's gak/ooblek and played 90's online arcade games!  Our snack was gatorade and cheeseballs. Both made popular in the 90's with numerous celebrity endorsements!

Next week:  Parent/Teacher Conferences

Wednesday, February 15th - 2:30-6:30pm at MEC

Thursday, February 16th - 2:30-6:30pm at MEC

*No appointment times necessary.  We try to keep conferences to 15 minute increments.  Peek your head in and let me know you are there and I will be cognizant of the time.  I hope to see you there!

Second Semester Week 5

February 01, 2017

This week we dove into the 1990's with a review of the U.S. Presidents that we have studied so far (see attached picture).  We watched a BrainPop about Bill Clinton and journaled positives vs negatives that occurred during his administration.  In order to understand the idea behind the impeachment process, we watched another BrainPop clip about the 3 branches of government.  The students were then able to "wrap their brains around" the charge of impeachment being filed and the process of it having to pass through both parts of Congress.  It gets a little confusing when discussing the difference between what happened to Johnson, Nixon and Clinton.  

Words of the Day:

sincere - Adj., truthful, genuine, candid and straightforward.

desensitize - Verb, To make less likely to feel shock or distress at scenes of cruelty, violence, or suffering by overexposure to such images.

The students enjoyed getting into teams today to first hypothesize and then study the effects of video games on heart rates.  For the most part, each "gamer" discovered that his/her heart rate was higher after playing "Whack a Mole".  The students who were "desensitized" to this effect felt like it was due to an increased amount of time they personally choose this activity at home.  

Home Enrichment Activity:  Visit the link below to research a fact on a Safe Search Site and respond on Padlet - an online "chalkboard".  Enjoy!

PS  Due to a high volume of requests, we are sending home another opportunity to order a Gifted t-shirt, hoodie or car decal.  Please attach payment at the time the form is submitted to the teacher.  Thanks!!

Second Semester Week 4

January 25, 2017

We began the day with a "Brain Strain" activity testing their critical thinking skills as well as enhancing their ability to think creatively.  Using white boards and their ability to visualize oral directions, the students participated in a listening activity called "Surprise in the Middle".  Sharpening our lines of communication is always a time investment well made!  Our Major Unit again focused upon the 1980's and how the many uniques elements of Pop Culture  - fashion, music etc. were so unique during this time period!  

Word of the Day:

Character Word - perseverance

Unit Word - inflation

Before lunch we focused upon refining our research skills.  We watched a Brain Pop helping us to know how to search the web more thoroughly.  Using specific guide words helps to refine searches and cut down on the number of websites needing to find the wanted information.  This will help us know how to search wisely during Genius Hour.   Their homework last week was to discuss their project idea, Essential Question and product choice with their family.  They need to have it signed and brought this week so that we are all on the same page.  This week's homework is to use the search site Wonderopolis (attached below and on our class Portaportal)  Out of the 14 questions listed, each student chooses 4 questions to type into Wonderopolis.  They will need to read the information listed and write down the answers on the paper provided.  

The afternoon was spent enjoying 1980's iconic items.  The students chose a treat from that decade and were allowed to play board games such as Monopoly, Operation and Life, visit online arcade games such as Pacman or Simon, have a 80's video dance party, solve Rubics Cubes or build Jenga towers to symbolize the building and tearing down of the Berlin Wall.

Second Semester Week 3

January 18, 2017

Today we began studying the 1980's by looking at how Reagan's positivity resulted in a change of emotions for citizens coping with unemployment, the of newly discovered presence of AIDS and the end of the cold war. We explored how T.V progressed as a tool for women empowerment as well as a socially acceptable guilty pleasure. 

Word of the Day:

Character Word:  optimism - Adj., hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.

Unit Word:  consternation - Noun, feelings of anxiety or dismay, typically at something unexpected.

We looked at 80's sitcoms that had "families with a comedic twist" such as the Cosby Show and Growing Pains. We also looked at shows illustrating "the lives of luxury" such as Dynasty, Dallas and Magnum P.I.  We discussed talk show that illustrated human nature such as Donahue, Geraldo and Oprah.  Similar to our discussions of past decades, we also discussed "the empowerment of women" and how the 80's began to feature powerful roles for females in such shows as Murphy Brown, Cagney & Lacey and The Golden Girls.

Genius Hour - Today we worked on "unwrapping" our Essential question that will guide our research.  We did this by look at the "juicy" question we formed last session and wrote down words, phrases and areas where to start with our research.  See baseball example.  The student's job today was to look at a list of product examples and to choose how he/she wants to showcase his/her research.  The information was written on a paper contract sent home as homework.  The student's job is to share his/her Essential Question and product idea.  This product will be mainly worked on at school, and at home as well in certain instances.  This product will be based upon the information researched about the topic in the weeks to come.  This form needs to be signed and returned next week.  Please let me know if you have any questions!

Second Semester Week 2

January 11, 2017

We were fortunate today to begin with a visit from a local Star Wars troop to greet our students as they arrived at the Gifted Center!  They offered the students a question & answer session after!

Back in the classroom:  

Morning Message - Which Star Wars character do you most identify with? (Yoda, Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker)

Table Activity - Deciphering 1970's slang/expressions

Major Unit - We began with a discussion on the "the good, the bad and the ugly" of Richard Nixon's administration.  After watching a TedEd clip, the students used the application "Mentimeter" to individually vote on whether or not his administration should be remembered positively or negatively.  We reviewed our first week to focus on the 1970's (before break) and then dove into the iconic fashion, music and art of this time period.  We watched a BrainPop on Pop Art and focused upon the contributions of Andy Warhol.  The homework activity reflects this discussion.

Character Word:  hopeless

Unit Word:  conscientious

We reviewed the Presidents that impacted the 1970's and then focused our discussion on Gerald Ford vs Jimmy Carter.

We then spent time looking at the lyrics for John Lennon's song "Imagine" and tied in the impact of the words with this time period.

Our afternoon focused upon turning our Genius Hour topics chosen before the holidays and forming these ideas into an essential question.  This question will guide our research in the weeks to come.

Second Semester Week 1

January 04, 2017

Winter Break still is session . . . see you next week!

Wednesday's Week 13

December 14, 2016

Can you believe it's the last week of the semester at the Elementary Gifted Center!!!  Time flies when you're having fun!  This morning we focused upon spending time together and enjoying each other's company completing a holiday logic puzzle! Next, our Holiday Party consisted of making Fudge in a Bag, designing a psychedelic ornament and playing strategic group games.  

In the afternoon, we held our annual holiday See, Run, Do communication game!  See, Run, Do is an excellent team-building activity to reinforce the idea of how important it is to work together and effectively communicate. In this game, teams of students race to recreate a poster that only one person out of each group may see.  In each group, another person's job is to run from meeting with the Seer who "sees" the poster to the room where each team has the rest of their team making the poster.  The runner's job is to communicate to his/her team's "doers" on how to recreate the image only the seers saw when analyzing the poster.  The game lasted for close to an hour before the Seers judged the posters, not knowing which one their team created.  The true value in this game is the debriefing at the end.  Each team discussed aloud with their group "what went well and what did not".  A whole group discussion then occurred on which person had the hardest job, the Seer, the Runner, or the Doer. 

We will resume classes at the Gifted Center the week of January 9th - 13th.  We will finish our 1970's focus as well as brainstorming Essential Questions relating to our Genius Hour topics.

Happy Holidays!!!!

Wednesday's Week 12

December 07, 2016

Welcome to the 1970's!  From the first sports arcade video game Pong, console TVs, rotary dial phones and digital watches, we began our discussion of the 1970's with a flashback to some of the popular items in this decade.  We went into the evolution of the computer to the evolution of video games.  The students enjoyed playing a Price is Right game as they guessed prices from this decade.  We went into popular TV sitcoms when "Family Hour" was created - Happy Days, Grizzly Adams, and Little House on the Prairie to television shows that reflected Americans desire to speak what was on their mind - All in the Family and the Jeffersons.  Children's shows such as Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers in the Neighborhood and School House Rock felt the need to educate and enhance the character of America's youth.  

In the afternoon, we kicked off Genius Hour!  This is a time set aside each week for each student to explore his/her own passions through research.  Created by the search engine Google, productivity is increased when employees/students are allowed to benefit their knowledge level of what interests them. through choice.  We brainstormed our interests/passions and then narrowed our topics down to one each.  The students will be working on researching information on this topic each week until a final project/product is created.  At that point, they will be presenting what they've uncovered!  We will keep you posted each week on our progress!  


Our quote:  "Peace means far more than the opposite of war," Mr. Rogers.

Our Major Unit time featured many of the contributions and events overseen by Richard Nixon - the development of the EPA in 1970; the establishment of the National Cancer Act and Institute in 1971; the Draft ending in 1973; fully desegregating the schools in the South in 1970; lowering the voting age to 18 with the 26th Amendment in 1971; and ending the Vietnam War in 1975.  The students watched a video clip on these contributions as well as the controversies surrounding his Presidency.  Using a "menti" (interactive presentation software) the students then voted on whether or not they felt like his presidency should go down as "Accomplished" or "Shameful".

Words of the Week:

Transcend: - to go beyond the range or limits of

Persistent - continuing in a coarse of action in spite of difficulty 

Home Enrichment Activity:  As an extension of a higher level critical and creative thinking activity done this week in the classroom, the students brought home a Tin Man Press page to increase elaboration, flexibility, fluency and originality.

Wednesday's Week 11

November 30, 2016

Morning Message:  What would be the perfect Christmas gift? (a gaming system, a puppy, a bicycle)?

Character Corner Word:  passionate - showing strong feelings or a strong belief

Pop Culture Word:  antipode - the direct opposite of something

We began by writing in our Composition Notebooks "My Dreams for the World  . . ." after watching Martin Luther King Jr's Brain Pop video as well as listening to his "I Have A Dream" speech.  Each student then responded to the quote, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” and the quote, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness:  only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate:  only love can do that."  

*This was the Stores With Holes that we worked on today.

Stories With Holes:  "A man lives on the twentieth floor of an apartment building.  Every time he leaves, he rides a self-service elevator from the twentieth floor to the street; but every time he returns, he rides the same self-service elevator only to the fifteenth floor, where he leaves the elevator and walks up the remaining five flights of stairs."

Our Major Unit focused upon many facets of the 1960's that we had not gotten to focus upon yet such as the popular genres in music - Beach, Motown, Folk and Rock.  We examined each type and discussed the importance of this type of music to the Counterculture - the way of life and set of attitudes opposed to or at variance with the prevailing social norm.  The influx of the "Hippie" movement was also focused upon.  The students had the opportunity to create their own "Hippie" name!  

We also gathered both classes together to enjoy 60's related creations - our snack - Captain Crunch and Tang and also enjoyed toys such as Twister, the Slinky and the Etch-a-Sketch.

Wednesday's Week 9.

November 16, 2016

Today we began with a review of last week's discussion on how TV in the 1960's opened the eyes of the country to what was happening in the world.  TV impacted American dining by introducing the public to fast food restaurants such as McDonald's as well as the concept of frozen "tv" dinners.  TV impacted health when cartoon characters could no longer smoke due to the uncovered dangers in that habit.  TV impacted politics with the first televised debate, tipping the scale toward the confident Kennedy away from the nervous Nixon.  TV also impacted politics as the public saw the American involvement in Vietnam as well as the peace activists coming out of the college campuses.  Anti-war marches due to the war as well as the civil unrest due to "separate but equal" not being accepted any longer.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was slowly being enforced as the American public saw the mistreatment of those with differences.  TV also exposed the rise of the feminist movement with women wanting equal pay and the ability to make important decisions in their lives. 

Word of the Day:  Credence - belief or acceptance as something true

Character Word:  Equitable - fail and impartial

The students began with a table activity that required them to understand the important words of the First Amendment in order to decide if an abrasive political group would be granted a permit to peacefully march through the center of a fictitious town.  After the "pros and cons" were written down, the students had a fantastic discussion about how hard it is to protect someone's speech if you don't identify with the words.  


The students brought in as their homework assignment, 5 things that "ruffle their feathers" about the world.  One of these ideas was chosen to make a picket sign to "peaceably protest" by either marching or staging a "sit in" in the hallway.  

Quote of the Day:  "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Martin Luther King, JR.

***No homework!!!  Our Wednesday class will not be meeting next week!  Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday's Week 8

November 09, 2016

Welcome back Gifted students!!! The Gifted teachers were very fortunate last week to participate in a week of Professional Development at the National Association of Gifted Children in Orlando, FL.  A week filled with gaining ideas and educational insights from professionals across the United States who teach or advocate in Gifted Education.  

We began today with an announcement to the students that since we would be studying the 1960's for the next two weeks that they would be following an additional set of rules today given to us by the one and only Mickey himself!  Periodically throughout the day I would ring a bell and announce another "Mickey's Mandate".  Our goal was to begin the discussion of many of the injustices brought up in the 1960's from past suppressions of subgroups in our society.  A few of the mandates the students participated in were:  boys got 3 animal cracker/girls a small bag; blond hair students at one water fountain/dark haired students at another; girls had to sit for the first activity/boys got chairs; girls got a voice during the first discussion/boys did not; boys made locker tags with their non-dominant hand/girls dominant hand and the "straw that broke the camel's back" - boys receive a whole candy treat at the end of the day/girls half to illustrate the 1.00 to .59 cent wage difference between men and women in the 60's.

We watched several video clips - Brown vs Board of Education; Rosa Parks; the first televised debate - Kennedy vs Nixon; tv sitcom theme songs from the 60's (Gilligan's Island, Flintstones, Get Smart, Andy Griffith etc.) 


Quote:  "Authority doesn't come from the loudest voice, but the wisest,"  JR Morales

Word of the Day:  Dissention

Character Word of the Day:  Tolerant

Our homework activity is filling out an attached sheet where the students will list the top 5 things that "ruffle my feathers" about the world.  We will use this information to learn about peaceable protesting next week.

BONUS POINT OPPORTUNITY:  The students will have an opportunity to earn a sweet treat if he/she brings something into class next week to represent the 1960's - either by dressing up, an artifact or a piece of historical information about this decade

Wednesday's Week 7

October 26, 2016

Entering our 2nd week discussing the Fabulous 50's was a daunting task!  We reviewed the climate of the culture in the United States after WW2 and the affects those events had on the Pop Culture of this decade.  With the Cold War overshadowing this time period, many Americans chose to lean toward optimism and positivity. Leisure time was a fairly new concept and the American family benefitted from quality time together.  Suburbia flourished with pre-fabricated homes.  This week we focused on many toys that were invented during this decade - Play dough, the Hoola Hoop, Barbie, and Mr. Potato Head to name a few!  Disneyland was created and the suburban life was born (as well as millions of infants due to the Baby Boom)! After lunch we treated the students with a soda fountain experience, sock hop and hoola hoop contest!  *Thanks to our PAGE group for the treat!  We would be remise not to create an understanding within our students that there were still problematic aspects to the culture during this time period.  Brown vs Board of Education (1954), Rosa Parks (1955) McCarthyism and the creation of the atomic/hydrogen bombs (Arms Race) were overshadowing the decade.  Out of chaos comes hope, and the American spirit was greatly focused upon this week!

Weekly Quote:  Authority doesn’t come from the loudest voice, but the wisest. -J.R Morales

Character Corner Word:  "authoritative" - able to be trusted as being accurate or clear; believable

Word of the Day:  "escapism" - the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities.

Check out our PAGE Facebook page for updates!  Reminder:  Elementary Gifted is not occurring the week of Oct. 31st - Nov. 4th due to the Gifted teachers gaining professional development at the NAGC conference in Florida.

Wednesday's Week 6

October 19, 2016

Welcome to the 1950's!  In our quest to understand our Over-arching unit "Pop Culture",  we took a blast to the past! We uncovered many of the historical and cultural aspects of this decade.  In order to enhance the understanding our discussions, we walked through the beginning of the 50's and looked at what was happening in the world and how it affected those who lived during this time period.  During our Major Unit time, we discussed the ending of WWII as the Germans surrendered, ending the war in Europe to V-J Day when the Japanese surrendered.  Later the Marshall plan was explained.  Our focus was on the positivity that came as a result to the war ending and the American family flourishing. We incorporated the word "optimistic" when discussing the overall culture, as well as the word "mendacious" when introducing the students to Eddie Haskell, a character on the popular show at the time - "Leave it to Beaver".  The day ended with a Research opportunity to explore a website dedicated to the 50's and a partner activity comparing popular product advertisements comparing a 50's product to one produced today.  Their job will be to create an advertisement for that same product in the future!  Stay tuned for pictures!

Character Corner Word:  "optimism"; literary focus - What If Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick

Unit Word Of the Day:  "mendacious"

BrightBoard quote:  “It is better to fail at originality, than to succeed at imitation.” Herman Melville

Wednesday's Week 5

October 12, 2016

Today's Morning Message was, "How many pockets are you wearing?".  After reflecting on that question, the students proceeded to their tables for an activity in the area of creativity.  While the students were working they enjoyed guessing which student  we were discussing as I read aloud their homework, "Two Truths and a Fib".  The Character Corner word featured this week was "courageous".  We read aloud, The Empty Pot by Demi which features a humble character who shows courage by being honest and thus inherits a kingdom.  Next we dove into our Major Unit topic, "Pop Culture".  We reviewed the meaning of "culture", the term "popular", and last week's Word of the Day, "multi-faceted".  We introduced this week's word:  "cyclical" and recalled things we know to happen again and again.  We looked at cycles in Pop Culture by watching short clips of 4 different Addams family series from 1964 to 1992.  We discussed our thoughts about a black & white photograph of the 1969 USA moon landing and how Pop Culture can be greatly affected by one event.  The students were introduced to the Jetsons, Tomorrowland at Disney as well as the popularity of playing "spaceman" with their friends.  We even watched a short 1957 clip of "Invasion of the Saucer-men"!  We participated in a Space Launch STEM challenge with the other gifted class and battled to fabricate launchers to propel a spaceman down the hallway! After lunch we got into our Icon Research teams with our big buddies to launch into Chapter 2 of their books and isolate 2 "juicy" facts.   We ended our day with a research opportunity in the Computer Lab where research pairs from our class uncovered information from the Space Race between USA and USSR - Sputnik to the Moon Landing and reported these facts aloud.  

*Our Homework activity is to visit the clickable weblink below to have your student give his/her thoughts on the quote, "My thoughts are stars I can't fathom into constellations."

Wednesday's Week 4

October 05, 2016

Today we incorporated a variety of activites to introduce our Major unit for the year.  Our Morning Message:  What would you rather NOT be for Halloween:  something funny, something scary, something homemade?  These questions are for fun to get conversations started.  Our Table Activity consisted of decorating our Character Corner notebooks.  As the students were decorating, we reviewed the definition of 'character' and why it's important to work on this as well as our intellectual selves.  Our Character Word today was 'diligent'. After defining, we read, "Our Fantastic, Elastic, Brain" to discuss how our brain power combined with our hard work can be a powerful combination.  Our Word of the Day was multi-faceted.  After reviewing this definition we started our Major Unit discussion on Pop Culture with a powerpoint to get them thinking about the influences around them.  They picked their brains on what they feel is popular in their world in the areas of food, books/movies, hobbies/recreational activities and words/phrases that we use.  We also compared and contrasted the introduction of the Batman series in the early 20th century to the current cartoon installments.  Our Brightboard quote, "Hide not your talents.  They for use were made.  What's a sundial in the shade?" - Ben Franklin

After lunch we got into big buddy/little buddy Research teams with Ms. Mascher's class.  Each team will begin a research study over a Pop Culture icon from the children's series, "Who Was . . ."  We will teach them how to analyze Chapter 1 and isolate 3 important facts.  We ended our day with a lass research study in the Computer Lab. We learned that one aspect of identifying important information is by reading non-ficition information and answering questions that require the students to look back in the passage.  Today's topic - lions and tigers!  Our Home Enrichment activity consists of working on our character in a fun/backwards kind of way by filling out the Two Truths and a Fib paper to work on presenting information about ourselves aloud next week to see if we can trick our friends. Attached to the Homework tab is the paper if it didn't make it home in your student's backpack.

Wednesday's Week 3

September 28, 2016

We began with a Morning Message asking what they wonder more about . . . the US Presidency, the British Royals, or life on Mars.  The students voted with their class number and it's always fun to see what they are thinking!  The Table Activity consisted of completing a Brain Strain game with their table group.  The categories centered around food.  Giving them opportunities to share their thoughts is time well spent, as well as teaching them how "to agree to disagree" amicably.  We began our classroom jobs today, setting the tone that Room 308B is their space.  They take it very seriously! We read, The Name Jar aloud and discussed the homeland of the main character -Korea, as well as the concept that we may not all like the names we are given.  We visited to experience finding out the origin of particular names.  


Our Home Enrichment activity centers around each student studying the origin of his/her name at that website (  The weblink can be accessed by clicking on the tab.  Before viewing this site, please add the extension AdBlock Plus to your web browser (by Googling AdBlock Plus and pressing Install) then go to the website.  It blocks most all advertisements so the student can focus on the site's intended content.  Our Word of the Day:  "confident" supported the idea in our story that we should have the ability to accept who we really are.

confident:   (adj) feeling or showing confidence in oneself, self-assured

We practiced this concept by each student answering a Spontaneous Speech question while standing on stage in the auditorium.  Such as, "what would you do if you had a million dollars or is it better to live in the city or the country?"  Building Language Skills one minute at a time! Our daily journal quote featured Bear Bryant's thoughts that he would often share with his football team, "What you're doing today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it." We defined the word logic, discussed the origin of "arguments" of Greek philosophers and then practiced by solving a logic problem together. In the Computer Lab we practiced a "Jeopardy" approach by turning our researched facts into questions after using the safe search site KidsClick.  We ended the day with a game of "Would You Rather . . ." with both classrooms.

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