Where gifted kids love to learn!

Where gifted kids love to learn!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

2016- 2017 School Year

                Image result for school supplies gif

Edutopia has a great article about things to keep in mind when preparing for back to school season. 
Check it out here:  Edutopia 

Here are a few highlights of tips I found really helpful:

  • Getting enough sleep is critical for a child to be successful in school.  Children who do not get enough sleep have difficulty concentrating and learning as well as they can.
  • Set a consistent bedtime for your child and stick with it every night.  Having a bedtime routine that is consistent will help your child settle down and fall asleep.  Components of a calming pre-bedtime routine may involve a bath/shower, reading with them, and tucking them in and saying good-night to them.
  • Studies show that children who eat a nutritious breakfast function better. They do better in school, and have better concentration and more energy. Some schools provide breakfast for children; if yours does not, make sure they eat a breakfast that contains some protein.
  • Many children become nervous about new situations, including changing to a new school, classroom or teacher.  This may occur at any age. If your child seems nervous, it can be helpful to rehearse entry into the new situation. Take them to visit the new school or classroom before the first day of school. Remind them that there are probably a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are nervous and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible. If your child seems nervous, ask them what they are worried about and help them problem solve ways to master the new situation.

Friday, June 9, 2017

End of the Year Anxieties

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An open letter to parents:

We are narrowing down to the last few weeks of school. For some of us that is exciting, for other it is terrifying. Keep in mind that you’re likely to see two reaction from kids. The first is excitement. Our more introverted students will revel in their chance to have time in their comfort spaces and loose schedules where they can have more say over their days. Our more extroverted kids will have more feelings of worry or loneliness as they worry about not seeing people over the summer.

There is third reaction that some of our students will face, and that is hidden anxiety. I use the term loosely to address some of the hidden manifestations of worry and fear. If you’re noticing things like… anger, unwarranted frustration, sleeplessness, obsessions about the date or when school ends, preoccupation with summer plans, or feelings of alienation…don’t panic. It is really common for students to be afraid of the unknown that comes with summer break. School, while occasionally daunting, is predicable. Varying degrees of anxiety like behaviors and emotions are very common in gifted kids.

One way to check if your student might be in this list is to think about how they are the few weeks before school starts. If they show any of these same signs, then just rest assured that if they exhibit some unexpected reactions over the next few weeks it’s just the same thing but in reverse.

Here are a few things you can do to help:

  1. -          Schedule play dates. Going from seeing friends every day to not seeing them at all can create really strong feelings of isolation.
  2. -          Summer camps. Not only are they fun, but they allow social kids a chance to stay in touch with people in a setting that is familiar.
  3. -          Set a schedule. Routines are important. Summer shouldn’t mean that kids suddenly get to stay up as late as they want and sleep all day. Consistent sleep and proper amounts of sleep have serious impacts on a kid’s sense of well-being, emotional resilience, and cognitive strength.
  4. -          Positive Support. Just remind them that these types of changes in the year are normal. Listen to their worries and ask questions about how you can help. What they are feeling is very real. Give it space to be real, without empowering it or dismissing it.

I’m available all summer for advice. Don’t let the end of the school year be a limiter in your ability to reach out to me as a resource.

 -Mr. B

Friday, June 2, 2017

Slater Museum Visit

Recently we visited the Slater Museum on the University of Puget Sound campus. Our goal was to do some observational drawings using the preserved animals that are used for research at the museum. 

We took our supplies and drawing materials and with the help of the amazing staff there, we were able to create some great drawings. 

Some of the subjects we had included incredible beetles from around the world. A real tiger head. Various birds from all over. Even a tiny hummingbird. 

The visit was informative both scientifically and artistically. Drawing from life is the best way to improve. And drawing real life animals is rarely an opportunity one gets. 

It was a really amazing experience.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mystery Box - Stage 1 - Beginning

As one of the final projects, ours class has to solve a mystery box. This box is a set of puzzles solved through decoding ancient text and finding the answer to riddles. 

 It starts off with a mysterious letter, a jigsaw puzzle, and a bunch of letters written in Kushite script.

The goal is for the students to put to use their logic skills, their decoding skills, and test their knowledge of how archaeologists solved problems like it.

Friday, May 12, 2017


A tessellation of a flat surface is the tiling of a plane using one or more geometric shapes, called tiles, with no overlaps and no gaps. In mathematics, tessellations can be generalized to higher dimensions and a variety of geometries.

We used graph paper and markers in an effort to produce a few versions of our own. The pre-determined guides of the graph paper make for great tessellation outlines.

Here we have some abstracted hedgehogs. 

Here we have some simple three square designs.

This piano-esque tessellation pattern utilized both wide and narrow sizes to create a repeating pattern.

This pattern is based on t shaped objects.

This one is based on penguins. 

In doing this activity, we had a chance to pair up with the 1st and 2nd grade students from Mrs. Maitlen's math group. 

Check out a few of our activities. 

Working with the younger students is a great way for us to solidify our knowledge. 

Hana Suleiman wrote a great piece about students teaching students for CSU. 

"Students teaching students also helps maintain a high level of interest so that students stay engaged.  Furthermore, students improve socially.  Students build their confidence and improve their self image not only from learning from their peers, but also from teaching others.  It provides a school atmosphere that is positive and compassionate.  In light of recent events involving bullying and peer pressure, the “students teaching students” model encourages cooperation and understanding.  Students will learn to help each other and lift each other up, rather than putting students down in order to compensate for their insecurities.  Students will become empowered by teaching and learning from each other.  They will not only reap the academic benefits, but they will also reap social and emotional benefits."  (source)

“When one teaches, two learn.” ― Robert A. Heinlein

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Creating our Telescopes - WA EALRS

This is a little review of us making our final versions of the telescopes. This project was part of our final for our astronomy curriculum. Students were graded on their ability to recreate their practiced telescope in a way that worked. They were also graded on their ability to discuss the way the telescopes worked.

We used the Carolina Kits which contains two types of refraction telescopes. As they describe them:

Here is an engaging way to help your students explore how concave and convex lenses refract light to produce real and virtual images. Students measure the lenses' focal lengths and discover how lens pairs can be used to make 2 different types of refracting telescopes. From the determined focal lengths, students calculate their telescopes' magnification powers. (source)

Really the best part was how exciting it was for students to make their own testable product. 

While this kit is amazing for meeting a whole bunch of WA EALR standards. Here are a few that we focused on in the area of engineering in science. 

  BIG IDEA / CORE CONTENTMS-ETS1.Engineering Design
   CORE CONTENT / CONTENT STANDARDStudents who demonstrate understanding can:
    CONTENT STANDARD / PERFORMANCE EXPECTATIONMS-ETS1-1.Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
    CONTENT STANDARD / PERFORMANCE EXPECTATIONMS-ETS1-4.Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Born In China - Disney Film

Today we went to see Disney's Born in China . This is a film depicting the terrain, life, and seasons of China. Born in China follows three animal characters through their lives, exploring topics about family, survival, and ecology.

 A doting panda bear mother guides her growing baby as she begins to explore and seek independence. A two-year-old golden monkey who feels displaced by his new baby sister joins up with a group of free-spirited outcasts. And a mother snow leopard—an elusive animal rarely caught on camera—faces the very real drama of raising her two cubs in one of the harshest and most unforgiving environments on the planet. Featuring stunning, never-before-seen imagery, the film navigates China’s vast terrain—from the frigid mountains to the heart of the bamboo forest—on the wings of red-crowned cranes, seamlessly tying the extraordinary tales together. (source)

A little excerpt about China:

"Almost no country on earth can rival the impressive landscapes and cultural heritage of China. As one of the world’s oldest civilizations, China has a rich history that began thousands of years ago. Today, modern China is home to 1.3 billion people, the largest population of any country on Earth. This population is diverse, with over 56 officially recognized ethnic groups and 298 living languages." (source)

An addition to simply being a beautiful film, this was a great way for us to reconnect with our studies on Ancient China. Much of the terrain and wildlife in the filmed regions have been untouched for hundreds of years. As well, the narrations did a wonderful job of visiting culture influences of animal symbolism and history for Chinese cultures. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

LIGO Field Studies - Day 2

Again I have to start by expressing my gratitude to all the parents, on the trip and at home, for their support and encouragement. We had great day today visiting the LIGO facility in Richland. LIGO is one of two research facilities in the world studying gravitational waves. The tour included a walk-through of the site, loads of information about how and why the research is done, and a visit with the scientists working in the lab.

There were several really interesting hands on experiments. This sorting colors while using color filtering lenses was a fast favorite.

LIGO also had this really interesting device for illustrating wave lengths. When you spun the tube and strummed the guitar you could see the waves in the strings.

This experiment seemed simple in design but did a really good job of altering sound waves.

I think a few kids just liked the silliness of them. They were pretty fun to see people wear.

The presentation about what they do, and why they do it, was very good. Our host did an amazing job.

The tour of the facility was great. We got perfect weather for it. Sunny but cool with blue skies.

Here we are standing over giant laser tunnels. As we stood there, 2km spans of lasers were being fired in giant vacuum sealed containers.

And of course, we left some time for fun. It’s not a good field trip without at least a little playtime.

I’m sure everyone is glad to be home and settling in. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thank you for everything!