Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Classes Starting Up Next Week!

Gifted Program Classes begin next week and Mrs. Evans is looking forward to starting off the year with the students.  Ms. Thompson is on medical leave, but will return after the winter break.

Mrs. Evans and Ms. Thompson have done some planning together and are pretty excited about this year's theme.  Check out the animation below (if it doesn't show up, go here).  Pengy the Penguin is trying to figure out what the theme for the Gifted Program is this year.  He will get lots of clues; see if you can figure out the theme too!  Click on the green flag to start the animation.

To check out the computer programming behind the animation go here and click on the blue 'See inside' button.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Field Trip!

It was an action packed day on Monday for the grade 3, 4 and 5s!  Here are just a few of the things that we saw on our field trip!

The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation at Okanagan College

This was our first stop.  The students were divided into two groups and then toured through the centre by our two wonderful guides, Marcy Trotter and Jackie.  Students learned about many sustainable features of the building such as:
  • the fact that as many materials as possible were sourced locally
  • the use of beetle kill pine for base boards
  • much of the flooring was made from recycled rubber
  • all of the furniture was refurbished--the stools in the student study areas were originally from a casino!
  • geothermal heating
  • the use of Sola Light Tubes to light certain areas
  • the experimental natural lighting system
  • Fluorescent lighting that automatically adjusts brightness based on the natural light in the room
  • using untreated geothermal water for the toilets
  • motion sensitive lighting that only turns on when people are in an area
  • solar panels produce most of the building's electricity with excess feeding back into the grid
Students also got to tour the college's tiny home that was built by their students.  

Check out the images from this part of our trip below (link).

Structurlam South Plant, Okanagan Falls

The students had been learning about Tall Wood buildings, and they knew that Structurlam produces Cross Laminate Timber and Glulam and that they were involved in building the tallest contemporary wood building in the world; Brock Commons.  Brock Commons is an 18 story Tall Wood building on UBC's Vancouver campus.  This was our opportunity to see how the mass timbers are produced.  Stephen Tolnai, VP of Sales and Marketing, gave us a presentation and toured us around the plant.  Joshua Jenkinson, Safety Coordinator, and his capable crew kept us safe on the busy plant floor.  It was a thrilling experience!  As an added bonus, we found out that Structurlam provided the mass timbres for both of the other stops on our field trip--the Centre of Excellence as well as Outma Sqilx'W Cultural School.

Check out the images from our Structurlam tour below (link).

Outma Sqilx'W Cultural School and Snxastwilxtn Centre, Penticton Indian Band

Our last stop was the Outma Sqilx'W Cultural School and the adjacent Snxastwilxtn Healing Centre.  Penticton Indian Band Councilor Joseph Pierre and SD 67 Aboriginal Education Cultural Coordinator Anona Kampe gave us a tour of Outma Sqilx'W.  Joseph was on the planning committee for the school and shared his wealth of knowledge on the design and construction of the school.  Like the Centre of Excellence the school uses sustainable building practices including;
  • sourcing materials locally
  • using geothermal heat
  • taking advantage of natural light where possible
  • using beetle kill wood
The heart of the school, the cultural room is modeled on a traditional pit house.  The design is beautiful with a skylight at the top of the roof, similar to the roof opening in a pit house.  Outma Sqilx'W students learn the Okanagan language, Nsyilxen, and culture.  

From the school we walked over to Snxastwilxtn Centre.  The centre was named by Anona Kampe and it means a place for healing.  Anona and Tammy Kruger toured us through the centre, which provides medical, dental and other health services.  The facility is situated with one of the most beautiful views over Penticton.  Located on the grounds of the centre is a memorial to all the children who attended residential schools created by Penticton artist Clint George. 

Check out the images from this part of our trip below (link).

A big thank you to our hosts at each of the sites.  Thank you also to our wonderful chaperones; Terry McCartan, Jane Advent, Tannis Hiebert, Jacq Kemp, Laura Wong, Kristen Maier, Harjit Sidhu, and Julie Read.  It was a pleasure having you join us and I couldn't have done the trip without you.  Thank you also to our bus driver, Sheldine.

The upcoming week will be the last week of Gifted Program classes for all students in the program.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Challenges, Trips, & Projects Wrapping Up

Here are  a few of the things that we did... This Week In Gifted!

Field Trip Prep

On Monday, May 8th, the grade 3s, 4s and 5s will be coming together for our year end field trip.  Detailed information about the trip can be found in last week's post.  Thank you to everyone for returning the signed permission forms on time.  Also a big thank you to the parents and grandparents who have volunteered to chaperone on the trip!  As mentioned in the field trip information sent home, we will be meeting at Wiltse Elementary School bus zone (adjacent to the playground) at 8:45am and that is where pick up at will be at 2:30pm.  It promises to be an exciting day!

Final Schedule

Gifted Program Classes are winding down.  Here is the schedule for the rest of May:
- May 8th -- Field Trip
- May 9 - 11th -- classes cancelled (due to trip earlier in the week)
- May 16 - 18th -- Last Gifted Program Classes of the year
- End of May / beginning of June -- Year end Parent Meetings

Watercraft Challenge

It was a small class on Wednesday morning as many of the grade 5s were at the KVR orientation.  Did we mope--no we did not!  We did a design challenge.  The goal--build a watercraft that is capable of carrying 8 big metal washers without sinking using only duct tape, two 9oz paper cups, 10 straws and 20cm of plastic wrap.  A couple of students in the afternoon class, who had finished their projects, also took up the challenge.

Take a look below at the different crafts they created.  Four watercraft, four very different designs!  Maximum washers carried without sinking?  Katie aka "the Duct Tape Queen" built a craft that carried 36 washers without sinking, and almost carried 44!  Gerry's craft was able to transport 42 without sinking--amazing!  All of the students who took on the challenge did a great job designing and refining their watercraft.  Check out their work below (link).

Projects Wrapping Up

The Tuesday afternoon class all completed and presented their projects this week.  Oscar created an animated interview with Frank Lloyd Wright, programmed in Scratch.  Rhett made a 3D model and drawings of a small home on wheels.  Ezra shared his design for a castle as well some inspiring castles from around the world in a slideshow presentation.  Iain created an animation in Scratch sharing information he learned while researching the CN Tower.  More projects will be shared in the other classes on our last day.    

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Visitor & Field Trip Info

Here are a few things that we did... This Week In Gifted!


The Wednesday morning class was treated to a visit by Gifted Program parent Paul Adolph.  Paul has a background in drafting and home design and his company, Deckworks Contracting, designs and builds decks.  Paul showed the students blueprints and technical drawings for homes that he has designed.  Students were able to compare hand drafted drawings with those made using AutoCAD.  They were impressed by the level of detail required when designing a home!  After his presentation, students showed Paul the projects they were working on.  A big thank you to Paul for sharing his expertise with the students! 

Field Trip Info

Every year Gifted Program students in grades 3 - 5 do a year end trip that links to the year's theme.  This year the theme is ArKIDtechture and for our trip we are visiting 3 sites:

The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation at Okanagan College in Penticton.  We have been learning about sustainable building techniques and at the Centre we'll see them in action!  The building uses many sustainable building technologies including solar panels, geothermal heating and sola tube lighting (yes sola, not solar).  We will get a tour of the Centre and hopefully also see one of the tiny homes that the students at Okanagan College built.

Our next stop is the Structurlam Manufacturing Facility in Okanagan Falls.  The above video (link) shows some of the mass timber products Structurlam makes.  In class we have been learning about Tall Wood Buildings.  The tallest contemporary tall wood building in the world is Brock Commons at UBC in Vancouver.  It is 18 stories tall and Structurlam made the wood floor panels and posts.  This video (link) shows a time lapse of Brock Commons being built.  Structurlam has also built the wood components in the 6 story addition to the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

After a picnic lunch at Kenyon Park in Okanagan Falls, we will head to the architecturally stunning Outma Squilx'W Cultural School (pictured above).  We will learn about how the design of the building reflects the culture of the Okanagan People as well as the landscape and the building's function.

The field trip will take place on Monday May 8th.  An information package was sent home with all grade 3 - 5 students.  Permission slips need to be signed and returned by Thursday May 4th.  Parent chaperones will be needed; if you are able to chaperone, please let Ms. Thompson know.  It promises to be an interesting and fun trip!


Students continued working on their projects, with a few more students finishing theirs.  We look forward to presentations of finished work in the next two weeks!

Classes Winding Down

It is hard to believe, but there are only a few weeks of classes left!  Here is the schedule for the rest of the year:
Week of May 1st: regular classes
Week of May 8th: Field trip on May 8th for grades 3 - 5.  No regular classes this week.
Week of May 15th: Last week of classes
Week of May 30th: Parent Meetings to review the year and plan for next year

Thank you for stopping by to see what we've been up to.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Zip Line Zaniness

Due to a busy few days and video editing challenges, this is coming out a bit late, so thanks for your patience.  Here are some of the things we did... This (Last) Week In Gifted!

Zip Line Zaniness

The Tuesday afternoon Summerland group and the Wednesday morning Penticton group were given the following challenge: transport one ping pong ball along a slanted 4 foot length of fishing line using only the following materials:
  • small paper cups (3oz)
  • metal washers
  • plastic straws
  • masking tape
  • wooden skewers
Were they able to do it?????

Yes!  (link)

The variety was great!  Iain's only used 2 different materials--a paper cup and a washer!  While others used all of the materials.  Oscar hung his carrier over the fishing line with masking tape--he put it on so the smooth side was next to the fishing line making is really fast.

After a successful run with one ping pong ball, the best thing happened.  Almost without exception, each student or pair of students said "Can I try it with more ping pong balls?"  They all either refined their designs -- made them faster or run more smoothly -- or they increased the number of ping pong balls they could transport.

Check out the craziness in the following video (link).

Incredible work!  So many different designs and such persistence!  I didn't show the fails, and there were many, but students were not deterred.  They know that an unsuccessful attempt is part of the process.  We've been talking a lot about the design process, illustrated in the following image.

If your first prototype doesn't work, no worries.  It has taught you something and you will use it to improve when you make your next iteration and your next one.  That loop at the bottom of the diagram can get pretty addictive too.  I think had we had more time and more ping pong balls, the record might have climbed even higher than the amazing number it got to (you have to watch the video to find out what that amazing number was!)

Project Time

All of the classes are very busy working on their projects.  Ellen presented hers on Wednesday and we're looking forward to seeing more projects in the next couple of weeks.

Thanks for checking out what we've been up to!

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Sunday, 16 April 2017

Short Week

Due to the short week, only the Tuesday and Wednesday classes met.  Here's what they got up to... This Week In Gifted!

Name Grid

For a change of pace this week, the students played a word game called Name Grid.  Names of 4 students were arranged on a grid, then students were given three minutes to write down as many words (three letters or more) that they could make only using the letters in their names.  Letters must adjoin each other in the grid, but do not have to be in a straight link.  This game comes from 40 Icebreakers for Small Groups (page 13) and is very similar to Boggle.

5 Card Photo Story

The Wednesday morning class has really gotten into 5 Card Photo Stories, with some of the students submitting their own images for the stories.  The idea is that you have five minutes to come up with a story involving all five of the images you have been given.  Below are the images that Ryan A selected for the Wednesday morning class, they generated some great stories! (link)

Project Time

All of the classes worked on their projects.  We're hitting the final stretch and looking forward to students starting to present their work.  Many of the students are making scale models of the buildings they have designed while others are making Scratch animations, drawings, and slideshows. A lot of them of using the photo editing skills we learned earlier in the year.

Construction zone, Wednesday morning class.
Thanks for checking in to see what we've been up to!

Saturday, 8 April 2017

To Scale

Here are a few of the things that we did... This Week In Gifted!

Some photos from the Wednesday classes (link).

Two Truths and a Lie

To get caught up with what everyone had been up to since Spring Break we played 'Two Truths and a Lie'.  Each person comes up with 2 true statements and one that is false.  They tell their statements to the group who then vote on which statement they think is the lie.  It's a test of how well the group knows you and the challenge is to try and trick the group into voting for one of the true statements.

Design Questions

Every few weeks we discuss a design question.  This week the Tuesday and Wednesday classes discussed the following question:
The kitchen in a new home is in a shady spot.  It is north facing and sheltered by tall trees.  How could you make the room seem brighter without adding a lot of extra electric lights?
Students came up with a number of great suggestions!


This week the Tuesday and Wednesday classes learned about earthships.  The motivation behind building this type of home is to reduce the amount of energy and resources required to build and maintain it.  Here are links to two short videos we watched on Earthships; Garbage Homes - EarthShips,  and Ontario Couple Build Earth Ship.

Project Time

Students are deep into their projects with a view to having them completed near the end of April.  Examples of the different projects students are working on:

  • Oscar and Anya are both researching famous architects.  Oscar is sharing what he's learned in a animated interview in Scratch.  Anya is designing a home that she thinks her architect would like.
  • Rhett, Ezra, Ryan(s), Katie, Kyle, Jayda, Alexis, Dija, Charlotte(s), Kailey, Gerry, Finn, Hannah, Sophie, Logan, and Rowyn are all designing buildings such as homes, apartment buildings, ski chalets, and castles.  All of the students have drawn up plans, either with paper and pen or on the computer.  Some of the students are making 3D models of their buildings.
  • Ellen, Iain, Damon, Ellis and Omar are researching famous buildings and presenting their findings in a Scratch animation or Slideshow.  They are all using their great photoshop skills too!
Thanks for stopping by to see what we've been up to!