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Up-to-Date with GATE March 2013 Mrs. Jennifer Detmar: firstname.lastname@example.org detmargate.weebly.com Twitter: @detmargate (experimenting with this ) Mon-Wed: Green Valley 440-885-2431 Thurs-Fri: Thoreau Park 440-885-2351 Invention Convention The first week of March is the GATE Invention Convention. We have principals, district administrators, and one parent (who is an engineer…yay!) visiting the GATE room to serve as judges. The students will be evaluated based on their ability to communicate their thinking and creative process, including how their invention ideas are different from what is already on the market. As part of the invention/innovation process, the students are learning a real-world business strategy called SCAMPER. Each letter stands for a way to change an existing idea or product into something new and innovative. From the evaluation rubric completed by these judges, students will be selected to develop their idea further, create a prototype or model, and prepare to present their invention for the Regional Competition in May, at Strongsville High School. We wish them luck, and hope to bring home some savings bonds or scholarships! Doodle4Google Every year, Google publishes a variety of “Doodles” to celebrate special observances and holidays on its main page. How many of you join me in that little bit of joy and discovery when you open the Google page to find an interesting graphic about a famous person’s birthday or anniversary? I guess it’s one of my guilty pleasures to click on it and see where it takes me! Excerpt from site: Doodle 4 Google is an annual program that invites K-12 students in the United States to use their artistic talents to think big and redesign our homepage logo for millions to see. This year, they ask students to exercise their creative imaginations around the theme, “My Best Day Ever…” One talented student artist will see their artwork appear on the Google homepage, receive a $30,000 college scholarship, and a $50,000 technology grant for their school along with some other cool prizes! We began the creative process at GATE… I hope that many of you will enter by mailing or uploading your child’s creative Doodle and completing the online entry form that includes a very short explanation of how the Doodle connects with the theme. If you get to go to New York as a finalist…may I come too???? You can find details about how to enter at http://www.google.com/doodle4google/entry.html Heroes Project The research phase of the project has completed. The students are working on their final product for this portion of the overall theme… What makes a hero? For the research activity, the students are creating a product with: Timeline of birth, death (or current location), 5 accomplishments, and 5 other important events in the person’s life Examples of how that person demonstrates these heroic characteristics: Courage, Skills, Sacrifice, Destiny, and Resilience A personal profile of family and other interesting facts After this is completed, they will do an oral presentation for the class so that we can analyze common themes among the “heroes”. We will extend this thinking into literature by analyzing superheroes, including creating a superhero version of the researched person. We will be writing a short comic for the superhero, and also exploring heroes in our own lives and community. Hands-on Problem Solving Each of the GATE centers is working on spatial reasoning and hands-on problem solving strategies in different ways. They will switch activities for the fourth quarter so that both groups will be able to explore each type of thinking. These activities provide a neat and interesting way to encourage perseverance in problem solving and revising their thinking when necessary: Geoboards: These logic puzzles require the students to transform/adapt an existing shape into a new one that fits specific criteria. The second level requires deep knowledge of perimeter and area for success. The puzzles progress from easier to more challenging. Mystical Mirrors: These puzzles extend the students’ understanding and application of lines of symmetry. Given an original shape, the students have to evaluate ten new pictures and classify them as “possible” or “impossible” to create with a mirror. Close observation of details is an essential skill in many real-world applications. Math Block Both grade levels are moving into our algebra unit for the year. We began by solving scenarios that require them to identify, extend, and explain repeating and growing patterns. We will be exploring how to develop functions (A.K.A. What’s My Rule) based on the patterns to solve more complex problems. For example, if you wrote your first name 100 times, what would the 183rd letter be… without actually writing it out? We will extend learning by introducing the use of variables in a function to create a rule that can be used in multiple scenarios. The learning target is not to learn how to solve algebra problems through a series of steps, but to understand how patterns are an integral part of math in the real-world. By finding and understanding them, problem solving takes place. I don’t expect mastery of functions with variables+, but it is always very interesting to see which students are naturally pattern-seekers and which students need to cultivate this skill further. Language Arts Block Along with the hero project, students are continuing to build their analytical thinking about relationships through analogies. We are moving beyond finding and extending these relationships by exploring how analogies are used in reading and writing to draw similarities and mental pictures of characters or objects in the text. I hope to move on soon to challenges that break words into Latin prefixes and root words. By understanding the deeper meanings of these components, and developing the ability to manipulate them into new words, students gain tools for deciphering unfamiliar words in challenging texts. We continue occasional journal-writing opportunities to allow students to make personal and emotional connections with questions and topics used in class. Recently, we read the poem “Hector the Collector” by Shel Silverstein. The discussion took us down the paths of point of view, recycling and repurposing, SCAMPER, and the value that people place on objects. My goal is to increase our exploration of poetry for the remainder of the year. Home Support/ Family Activities Design snowflakes and explore the properties of symmetry with this online tool – http://penflakes.com/flakepad/ I suggest using flashcards and online games to increase speed and fluency with multiplication and division for all GATE students. Based on my observations of how students are able to multiply and divide… most of the GATE students NEED to become more fluent in the basic facts, up to 12’s. Fourth grade students especially: They also need to practice the relationship of division and multiplication to do mental division with remainders (up to 100 as the dividend). Submit a Doodle 4 Google entry for each school-aged child in your family! Play the daily Set solitaire puzzle at http://www.setgame.com Food for Thought Visit http://www.sengifted.org/, the website for SENG, Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted. They have a newsletter, access to articles and parent resources. I found a very thought-provoking article in January’s newsletter, and I wanted to share it because it hit home when thinking about my own bright, energetic and challenging son. Citation First published in SENGVine, January 2013 A Parent’s New Year’s Resolution: I will love the child I have, not the one I want By Lori Comallie-Caplan and Marc A. Caplan, PhD Matt, our 27-year-old son, came home for the holidays. What a wonderful time we had. He is intelligent, creative, generous, kind, and very, very funny. We are so blessed by this wonderful relationship. I do remember a time when I didn’t appreciate these qualities. I wanted more. You see, I was a straight “A,” perfectionist student who loved everything about school. I wanted this same path for my son. I dreamed of him being a straight “A” student who was on the honor roll, received scholarships, went to the best school, etc., etc., etc. It was apparent in elementary school that the “school thing” was not his thing. He lived to be on the stage, to make people laugh, to create works of art, and he excelled at it. Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration) writes: “Love is made up of three unconditional properties in equal measure: 1. Acceptance, 2. Understanding, and 3. Appreciation. Remove any one of the three and the triangle falls apart.” The triangle represents the foundation of the relationship. I wasn’t doing a very good job of loving my son unconditionally. Our triangle had fallen apart. My husband frequently counsels on parent/child relationships. He has interesting insights on this subject: “I would imagine when each of us thinks about our partner, the person with whom we have decided to share our life with, what frequently comes to mind is a sense of togetherness. That is, a sense of being part of a couple. But, the equation remains out of balance if each member of the couple does not feel a sense of autonomy. This dualistic component of a relationship cannot exist unless each partner accepts the other for who he or she is. Acceptance becomes the food that feeds togetherness (the feeling of safety and security with the other) and feeds autonomy (the freedom to be who I am). Togetherness and autonomy form the foundation of trust. Acceptance of our children for who they are, not for who we want them to be, is just as important a factor in our relationship with them as it is in our adult relationships. Acceptance cements the bond we have with our children (togetherness) while acceptance also supports their growing autonomy. A child feels secure experiencing a parent accepting them regardless of who they are.” It is the right of the child to choose his or her own path. “Be involved in your children’s lives, but keep your own desires separate from those of your children. Allow your children to live their lives, and you live yours. Understand the importance of your relationship with your child, cherish and nurture it. Know that even though your efforts may not seem as though they are resulting in the changes you want, they are nevertheless important. Think of your parenting behaviors as a deposit in a bank. Every time you put a little more in, the total grows. Sometimes your investments grow rapidly; other times they grow slowly. But after a few years, there is generally a substantial amount that will be a legacy to your children that will make you feel pleased, satisfied and fulfilled.” (Webb, Gore, Amend, & DeVries, A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children, 2007, p. 248-249). It may have taken me awhile, but I let go of the child I wanted, and loved, accepted and appreciated the child I had. In the end, my son followed his own path, and we were able to enjoy the journey with him. He is now a Financial Aid Officer with the Los Angeles Film School (three promotions in three years) and enrolled at Full Sail University, where he is earning his degree in Digital Cinematography. But most importantly, not only has he brought us great joy, his kind, generous, enthusiastic spirit has richly blessed all he has come into contact with through the years.