November 22, 2013
Having your children attend QUEST continues to be a wonderful blessing. The students have been working hard, thinking broadly, and creating the extraordinary. Overall QUEST focuses on the process of developing critical and creative thinkers. Certain strategies have been the focus through various content areas over the past nine weeks. These strategies have included:
• SCAMPER (substitute, combine, adapt, modify, put to other uses, eliminate,
and reverse or rearrange)
• Logic Problem-Solving with Grids
• Red Herring Puzzles
• Creative Problem Solving
First and second graders have been focused on the study of palindromes. Reading books, creating cartoons, solving riddles, and writing an ABC book about palindrome words and phrases have been ways the learners have incorporated critical and creative thinking through language arts. For math the students have learned how to change any number that is not a palindrome into a palindrome. They have also analyzed mathematical patterns as they have used 0-99 charts to help them discover relationships and connections. In addition the children have manipulated geofix shapes to design and create palindrome geometric figures.
Third Graders continue their reading of Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett. This mystery is providing opportunities for the students to learn about pentominoes, Fibonacci numbers, codes and ciphers, as well as literary elements. As the novel is progressing, the connection to the artist Johannes Vermeer has provided the stimulus to conduct research about his life and art. The children especially have enjoyed the interactive pentomino website, http://www.scholastic.com/blueballiett/games/pentominoes_game.htm .
Fourth Graders are constructing meaning from their reading of The Wright 3 by Blue Balliett while making connections across the curriculum. They are enjoying this mystery that revolves around Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House in Chicago as they ponder whether architecture can be art. Exploring the life and architectural designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, the fourth graders are about to embark on a research project about various structures that Wright designed. In addition, working with 3-dimensional pentominoes has brought a new perspective to the math connection with this literary work.
Fifth Graders have traveled to England with the character, Calder, from The Calder Game by Blue Balliett. They have been making predictions and connections to the real world while delving into this exciting mystery and considering the beauty of Woodstock, Oxford, Blenheim Palace, and the Marlborough Maze. With the connection of this novel to Alexander Calder, research about his life and art have consumed a large portion of the time for fifth graders as they have first explored his life online through notetaking. From those notes, the learners have been given the opportunity to creatively develop three-dimensional timelines to demonstrate their learning. It should be very interesting to see these final products.
The weekly focus on affective education with the investigation of a variety of people demonstrating growth mindsets seems to be a favorite part of our time in QUEST each week. Some of the people are well-known, while others are not. They have included George Danzig, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Thomas Edison, Patricia Miranda, Jim Marshall, Angela Duckworth, the wounded warrior Band of Brothers, and Diana Nyad. It is the intent that the QUEST students develop an understanding that success is about stretching themselves to always be learning something new, and that a growth mindset is about developing themselves through hard work and sometimes failure. “It’s about learning something over time: confronting a challenge and making progress” (Dweck, 2006, p. 24).
Some students will be missing QUEST the week after the holiday break while I attend the TAGT state gifted education conference in Houston. Those classes have been rescheduled and will be made up. Please let me know if you ever have questions or need information about QUEST or your child’s participation.
Enjoy the holiday break!
Teacher of Gifted & Talented Students
Comstock & Taylor Elementary Schools
Frisco Independent School District