News and Notes - Bell Elementary (1)

News and Updates from Gifted Education/Enrichment! Spring 2017


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Hello Families!

For me, spring here in the mountains means baseball, planting, color, that sugary smell, and thoughts of trout jumping.  I hope you are all well. 


Mr. Schmidt's after-school Technology Club concluded on March 7th. I want to thank the kids who made the six-week after school club a fun experience.  I hope to host it again next year for 5th graders.   

The kids worked with programming tools such as Makey Makey and Spheros. They learned to use the Aurasma app.  Kids also got a chance to use Snap Circuits and Little Bits.  

You may recall a few weeks ago when I sent out a notice that the Mountain Xpress' Kids Issue was looking for submissions..... Huge shout out to 5th grader Lila Baggott!  Last week, the Kids Issue came out and artwork by Lila was selected for publication!  Way to go, Lila!!

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5th grade AIG students recently finished their unit on Computer Programming, using the website Khan Academy.  Students had the opportunity to learn the HTML language to create a website page.  You can check out the student work by looking at their Weebly websites.  


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Have any of you tried one of these escape room things that are popular around Asheville and other cities?  Groups of people are locked in a room and get one hour to solve clues in order to escape the room!

Breakout EDU gives students a similar opportunity without me having to lock anyone in a room!  5th grade AIG students worked in teams on the "Caught in the Code" Breakout challenge.  Kids had to solve coding riddles to unlock various locks on the Breakout box and get the class out of the code loop!  Ask your kids about it.  It was a very fun problem-solving challenge.  

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The two Breakout EDU boxes we used came as a result of the generosity of donors to my Donors Choose proposal!  Thank you! 

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5th graders have also been working on a group problem-solving simulation called "Decisions, Decisions." In it, students are given a timely issue to consider. For 5th graders it was a situation where thousands of refugees are fleeing to America to escape war in their home country.  The simulation asks students to act as advisers to the President.  They must consider various decisions and use information they read from the 'briefing books' to inform their decisions.  

I love "Decisions, Decisions" for many reasons.  The topics are relevant, students get an opportunity to debate and share their opinions, they must inform their decisions with facts and data, and their success is based on working together.  

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Students will follow up this simulation with other lessons related to the topic of immigration:
-We will read and discuss the poem "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus. 
-We are analyzing immigration data over America's history and discussing how historical events affect these numbers.
-We will discuss "push" and "pull" factors.
-We will look at common myths related to immigration. 
-Students will have the opportunity to research and share some aspect of their own family's history.  Stay tuned for information on the family history project.

4th graders have also recently completed a "Decisions, Decisions" simulation. The issue they discussed was about an environmental problem facing a fictional community called Alpine.  The kids acted as advisers to the town's Mayor, helping her make decisions on how best to act, considering that they wanted to keep the town's expenses low, help the Mayor get re-elected, consider the economic impact to the town, as well as protecting the environment!  Meeting all those goals proved challenging!  

4th graders are also conducting research on an environmental issue that affects western NC.  Students selected an issue of interest to them and will share their work digitally.  

Some of their considerations include:
- informing and educating their audience about the issue
- discussing how humans have played a role in the issue
- discussing changes that have taken place as a result of human interaction
- sharing potential solutions to problems

 The 3rd graders finished their algebra unit which concluded with the test that was sent home for you to review.  Students have been studying various Latin stems and advanced vocabulary that are in their Caesar's English books.  They are working on a digital presentation showing the connection between these Latin stems and our English language.  Kids have been learning that our words are rooted in Latin.  When they are finished with their projects, they will be sharing them with you via email.  


READERS ODYSSEY Competition is Tuesday, April 18th!

The 12 fifth graders on Bell's Readers Odyssey team are getting excited about the competition which will be held Tuesday, April 18th at Johnston Elementary School. 

Readers Odyssey is like Battle of the Books and is a competition which involves kids answering questions about the books they've been reading. This competition includes four other BCS teams.

The books kids will read this year are:

Fortunately the Milk, by Neil Gaiman
Jack Adrift: fourth grade without a clue, by Jack Gantos
Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai
Crow Call, by Lois Lowry
The Truth of Me, About a Boy...., by Patricia McLachlan
The Best School Year Ever, by Barbara Robinson

If your child is involved in Readers Odyssey you should have received an invitation to the competition as well as a permission slip for him/her to ride the bus to Johnston Elem. on April 18th. 


Kids should feel free to let me know if they have any creative ideas or things they would like to share on the class blog!  

http://aigstudentblog.edublogs.org/


Currently, my procedure for having students post items is as follows:

1.  Student shares with me an interest in posting something and then submits to me a draft of what they want to share.

2.  I contact parent and let them know.

3.  I assist student with any edits and make suggestions.

4.  Student uses the username and password for the blog to login and post item.  

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As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me and thank you for your support.

Chris Schmidt
chris.schmidt@bcsemail.org 










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