Saturday, March 24, 2012

Oneco's Gifted Program Newsletter-Spring 2012

Dear Parents,

A couple of months ago I heard a speaker say, “Your school should have an academic focus not a project focus.” This is a statement I full heartedly agree with. However, just because projects are present does not mean that the academics have taken a backseat. On the contrary, they are as front and center as ever before and as I have stated in the past I throughly believe in the Gifted Program's motto WE are a Laboratory and NOT a Factory. Personally, I feel that by isolating skills we never quite get to the deep problem solving skills needed to prepare our students for their future. The gifted students have worked on several quality projects that demonstrate this principles this quarter. 

First our Healthy Eaters’ Campaign was released and the students have spent some time promoting it. Fifth grade students were in charge of creating a brief survey that Ms Brigance, Ms. McDonald and Ms. Schade so graciously allowed their students to participate in. After that data was collected these students created triple bar graphs, analyzed the data and created a plan to promote our campaign to optimize its effectiveness. After FCAT, we will again ask these three classes to complete our survey again use the data to evaluate the campaigns effectiveness.

Grade 2 students have been exploring Manatee County Schools’ Strategic Objectives and creating a grade level ePortfolio. The Four Strategic Objectives are rooted in The District of Manatee County School’s Mission Statement and is at the core of educations throughout the county. These students have spent a great deal of time reading through The Strategic Objectives and using a graphic organizer (called a Frayer) to break down the rubrics to help them define each Strategic Objectives. Then students wrote and video taped reflections that demonstrates not only their understanding of each, but also how they relate to real tangible things in their lives.

 Grade 3 has been investigating Simple Machines. They have built each machine using legos and other classroom materials and discovered ways to make the workload less difficult. These students also created paper slideshows, much like “Common Craft Videos”. These videos can be found linked on Oneco’s Gifted Website under Gifted Highlights.

Grade 4 are continuing to work their way through Navigate Your World, where they have been learning about basic geography. Soon after FCAT, these students will be learning to use both compasses and global positioning systems.

 Finally, our 5th graders also work together to compete in The Fizz Dr. Lodge’s Video Challenge hosted by Discovery Education. For this challenge the student learned the Kinesthetic Lectures for a song, based on an academic content, in our case geography. We worked with the song entitled “People Move”, which covers The Five Themes of Geogaphy. This has served as a great review for us as we make our way back into Navigate Your World, geocaching and Challenge Based Learning. Our video can be found linked on Oneco’s Gifted Website under Gifted Highlights.