Friday, October 22, 2010

Gifted Education

It's been a busy week of school for us, even with a 4 day weekend! First we had Gabriel's field trip to the apple orchard, then an Open House for Gifted Education, and finally parent-teacher conferences. I've kept very busy and had some meaningful times with each of my children. I love being a parent, and I will stay as connected with my children as I possibly can.

This is our second year with the Gifted Education department, and Ariel has loved it. At first it was a little difficult for her to be away from her 3rd grade friends last year, but after a couple months she adjusted and wouldn't dream of stopping her gifted classes. She's had the opportunity to make a lot of new friends, and to get even more involved in her school work, which she loves with a passion. Ariel has always enjoyed learning, and tries to get her hands and brain on as much knowledge as she can possess. It's such a great quality about her.

On Wednesday, Ariel and I got to spend a hour together exploring her gifted classrooms and we viewed several samples of her work and activities that she has been doing. I think my favorite part of the evening was sitting down together playing a computer game where we took turns guessing state capitols.

The science class has a pet bunny named Chewbacca, Chewy for short. Last year the bunny had babies and the school kept the largest one and named it Mischief. (The bunny in the photo) Both Mom and baby live at the school.

I thought these pictures the kids painted were very artistic. I wouldn't mind having it hanging on my wall. They made the autumn picture first by painting the sky and making a horizon line. They added some grass and then the art teacher, Mrs. Hochstetler, painted the black for the trunk. The kids added some ink at the top of the trunk and blew it through a straw. The leaves were painted with Q-Tips. I thought the whole project was very clever, and nicely done.

"American Gothic" is a famous painting done by Grant Wood of a farmer holding a pitchfork, standing next to his spinster daughter. The kids were all able to choose their own theme for the drawing, and of course Ariel choose to do hers with birds.

In Ariel's Social Studies class they have spent a large amount of time learning about the Great Depression. Ariel made this project by putting together several different facts about the 1930's. She wrote paragraphs or sentences each with a different illustration. The most interesting thing Ariel said she learned about was the Dust Bowl.

Another project the kids worked on was finding toys that kids of the Great Depression might have played with. Ariel found a used ring pop piece of trash in her bedroom that could be used to play with like a spinning top. One of the things I saw there that I appreciated was a very intricate doll house made out of everyday household items. That would have been my toy of choice!

Another art project we looked at was about George Frideric Handel, a famous composer. After listening to some music that Handel wrote, Ariel wrote a story about him, and added some other interesting facts to her project. She had a timeline and a map of the states he had lived in. The map was especially neat because she was the only one in the class who was able to draw it by hand. Everyone else in the class just had a photo copy on their project.

It was a very fun night! Something Ariel was especially pleased to hear that her 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Booth, told me at parent teacher conferences yesterday, "Ariel is a ray of sunshine in the classroom." What a beautiful thing to say about my daughter!

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