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Themes or Units for Gifted Classroom 2014
Old 07-16-2014, 02:39 PM
 
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What themes or units do you have planned (or are planning) for the upcoming school year? I taught gifted one year, then took a year off from teaching to be with my newborn son. I am back to gifted this year and I am so excited! I just wanted to see / hear what ya'll are doing in your gifted classrooms next year!

I am definitely setting up a blog with my fifth grade class and holding an invention convention, a poetry unit complete with a poetry slam at the end, and a Forensic CSI unit. With the 3-4 graders I am planning a recycling unit, geography unit with different countries (having a market day at the end where each student showcases their information) and they will have passports to go to each country where it will be stamped. We will probably invite their grade levels to come tour as well. I will probably do some of the Forensic CSI unit with them as well.

I always have trouble with my 1-2 grade class though! I only have a Cinderella's around the world unit planned for them and I am kind of stuck....

I will of course have tons of mini lessons for all grade levels including STEM activities, problem solving, etc... I was just looking for units and theme suggestions. Sorry for the novel.


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Old 07-17-2014, 09:00 AM
 
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I'm not sure yet what units I will teach this year because I'm not sure what grades I'll be doing yet. Last year I taught first and fourth and here's what we did:

First Grade: apples, the ocean, boats, and a Charlotte's Web book study

Fourth Grade: The history of Coca-Cola, ornithology, seismology, architecture, and speleology
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Sounds interesting
Old 07-18-2014, 10:28 AM
 
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Tell me more about your forensics unit. Sounds interesting and fun!

This year I am doing Latin America and survival unit for sure. Still undecided on others, I just can't focus on planning right now.
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:54 AM
 
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I have been trying to set up a 2 year plan of curriculum so I don't have to re-invent the wheel each year. And I have a weird set up so I don't get my students for long each day. We all did differentiated levels of the Olympics, Recycling, Ocean animals, Dr. Seuss, and math last semester. So this is what I'm doing this year:


Designing a field trip to a theme park ---4, 5, 6
Learning to write computer code from code.org 4,5,6
Cinderella around the world 1,2, 3
Inventors and inventions 1,2,3

special recycling focus with 4th grade

Math challenges - all grades
Creativity challenges - all grades
Stem engineering challenges every week ---- all grades
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:07 AM
 
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With my 2nd and 3rd graders, I will be using the PETS program. I used it two years ago (all three books) for the first time. I have noticed that the students who were taught it are much better at thinking through things. I did a chess unit with them last year and I will probably continue that this year to make sure they really understand and don't get rusty . I never thought much about chess before teaching gifted, but it's amazing how many students really take to it and beg to play in their down time.

I will probably fill in the PETS program with daily activities and centers, like research using Hunt the Fact Monster.

For 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and middle school, I am starting the year off with a transportation unit. I attended a workshop on intermodal transportation this year, and another called RIDES last year, and I have a lot of science activities and hands-on to use with them.

Then 4th and 5th will do a mini-unit on Lewis and Clark which will lead into a longer unit on pioneers, using Little House on the Prairie and a simulation that I have.

6th, 7th, and 8th will be doing a CSI unit as well, with a crime scene culmination activity.

I have other ideas for second semester, but I haven't narrowed it down. I will probably let the students vote on ideas at the beginning of the year so I can go with the majority.


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Old 08-08-2014, 03:59 PM
 
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I'm curious...what chess unit did you use? Do you have a link or attachment to share?
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:09 AM
 
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I used this one: http://www.chesskids.me.uk/ckbook/menu.htm There's a chesskids website that is newer but I like this old one better.

In a typical hour, I would go over the lesson with them (using our Promethean board). Then we would do the quiz at the end of the lesson as a group. Then I split them up into two groups. One group went to the computers and played the games associated with the lesson. They could also start playing some beginning chess games on there. The other group came to my table and worked in pairs (if there was an odd number, I paired with someone). Then we worked on the skill that we talked about that day. For example, the first day we talked about the pieces and setting the board up, so they worked on setting it up and checking it for accuracy. I asked them to name certain pieces, etc. Another day, we might work with the knights and I would have the students play until they captured a piece using the knight.

Overall, it was a good start. I don't know a whole lot about chess myself...so I am a little limited in teaching them advanced moves, but it gives them the beginning. By the end of the unit, they were playing each other without supervision. If someone forgot a rule, their partner usually knew it...or they asked me.
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year
Old 09-11-2014, 08:01 AM
 
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This year we will be doing
Stock Market Game
Passion Projects
STEM challenges
Destination Imagination
and A new(to me) program: Trout in the Classroom
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Themes
Old 12-17-2014, 08:33 AM
 
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Themes/Curriculum I've used or currently use:

Grades 3 - 5:
Junior Great Books

3rd ELA:
Dr. Seuss (great for teaching metaphors) We read many Seuss books then rewrote a common fairy tale in Seuss style. It turned out great.

Fairy Tales: Nancy Polette has a few great resources out there to help with infusing higher-level thinking and creativity into fairy tales. One of my favorite projects is having the kids create a Fairy Tale Land magazine complete with advertisements for products that the characters would be interested in (such as a bone grinder for the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk.)

4th ELA:
Mythology is a great choice. Many resources out there. Again, Nancy Polette has a great resource on Mythology. I wrap up my unit with having a Greek party where the kids come as a character from Greek mythology. They have a choice of 12 projects to work on. The projects are very creative and based on Gardner's multiple intelligences. The students share their projects and we feast on cookies and punch.

5th ELA:
I do an African American Journey unit with my fifth graders. We study the origins of slavery all the way to the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s. There are tons of free resources out there. One of my favorite activites from this unit is having my students take a test that was given to black voters in Louisiana before they could vote. I found it online. The kids are just aghast at how tricky the questions are. It really hits home how unfairly these people were treated.

If I think of anything else, I'll share. Good luck!
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