Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Living with Intensity

"Because they can be so greatly stimulated, and because they perceive and process things differently, gifted children are often misunderstood. Their excitement is viewed as excessive, their high energy as hyperactivitiy, their persistence as nagging, their questioning as undermining authority, their imagination as not paying attention, their passion as being disruptive, their strong emotions and sensitivity as immaturity, their creativity and self-directedness as oppositional." excerpt from Living with Intensity by Susan Daniels and Michael Piechowski
It doesn't always make it easier to deal with gifted children's intensity to understand the theory mentioned (Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities), but it helps to recognize that what makes gifted children difficult to parent or teach is actually an asset and strength. It just needs growth and direction. Without that great drive, nothing great will be achieved.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Holidays

Third Grade
Third Grade has been working on simple machines. We completed a science experiment on friction and have gotten to use the Lego Simple Machines kit. Each student has completed one rotation on either wheels and axles, levers, gears, pulleys, inclined plane, or screw and wedge. We have also made a concept map using Kidspiration software and listed two things learned in the station.
Fourth Grade
Students have completed their Independent Investigative Method research on an eminent person. They have identified achievements, obstacles, above average ability, task commitment, courage, creativity and caring for the person they chose to study. As soon as we get back from the holidays, we will begin creating a project to share what was learned.
Many of the students are getting close to finishing their ABC Book of Me so we will work on the cover art in January(fractals, marbling, paste paper, etc.)
Fifth Grade
Fifth grade competed in the Alabama FIRST Lego League competition. They pulled together fine presentations on a booster to a prosthetic leg and a comfort room for cancer patients. They handled the robot competition with gracious professionalism making modification at the tournament, and doing their best. Way to go.
We wrote thank you notes to all the sponsors and helpers. It takes a community to put on a project of this magnitude.
Next semester, we will finish What are Your Chances? - a probability unit and begin Record Breakers, a unit looking at World records, a favorite. We will also begin a unit on Autobiographies. In this unit we look at how talent is developed in children's authors and then in ourselves.
Happy Holidays,

Monday, November 29, 2010

Third Grade

Third Graders have begun our unit on inventions. They are very excited to get to work in the Lego kits on simple machines. We have talked about systems and will go over safe lab proceedures and the Wheel of Scientific Investigation and Reasoning. Our first experiment will be on friction and our first simple machines will be the screw and the wedge.

Fourth Grade

The 4th graders will finish up their research on an emminent person this week or next and we should soon begin creating a project to present their individual. The students completed their first Math Olympiad and although we didn't get a lot of points everyone had a strategy and attempted most of the problems. I was proud of their persistance.

Dream Rocket

Students last year were sponsored by the Huntsville Fiber Guild to participate in the Dream Rocket (www.dreamrocket.com ). Our panel was displayed in Alabama Constitution Hall (www.thedreamrocket.com/in-the-schools/item/447-chaffee-elementary-school?tmpl+component&print=1 ). We have now been awarded another panel sponsored by Lowe Mill. The panel is only 2 feet by 2 feet so I can't have that many students work on it. I need to decide which group will participate and which theme to address. If any parents would like to help out, I am happy to have help. The students really want to stitch, but they are unskilled and it is time consumming to rethread for them. I also will need some supplies since I have no budget for this.

Fifth Grade Robotics

Wish our 5th graders luck. On Friday December 3 and Saturday December 5th, the students will participate in the FIRST Lego Robotics. They have been learning to program the robot to complete missions as part of the competition (www.usfirst.org ), and they have prepared a presentation to address a body system problem. One group will present a comfort room for cancer patients and one group will present an innovation to help patients with prosthetics get up stairs. We got to visit Fourroux prosthetics and learn about the great innovations occurring right here in Huntsville.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chaffee SPACE

Turning a new leaf. Today I begin to use this blog to communicate what is happening in SPACE to parents of Chaffee students. I certainly will appreciate any feedback since I am not sure what parents are looking for.
It is tough to know what needs to be communicated. Some parents are looking for more information than their child is sharing. Some parents are on overload, and just need to know what they need to do to keep their child learning. I don't have a good idea of who will even take the time to read this.
A brief summary of the activities occurring are:
3rd Grade-
Mystery of the Moli Stone (Numerical Systems)
4th Little Pig (Creative Problem Solving)
Inventions (Systems)
Mary Cook Center (Logical thinking)
4th Grade-
Math Olympiad (first test 11/18/2010)
Images of Greatness (giftedness)
Natural Disasters (Creative Problem Solving)
At the Mall (Algebra)
ABC Book of Me (giftedness)
5th Grade-
Math Olympiad (first test 11/18/2010)
FLL Robotics (competition December 3 and 4)
What Are Your Chances? (probability)
Learning contracts

Friday, March 5, 2010


I got interested in sports by simply watching television. My dad played a big part of my extraordinary success, he helped me get though every game! I played many video games and then I got real curious.

The first sport I preformed was t-ball. I started at about 4 or 5 years old. My friends in the neighborhood played too. I had lots of fun with the kids. I made many friends while playing.

When I got older I couldn’t play t-ball any more, I had to play baseball. My friends moved up to baseball along with me. Older kids got to know me and started to hang out with me. I enjoyed playing with them even if they were on the opposing team. I guess you could say I had many friends and wasn’t ever alone.

One day I got tired of baseball and didn’t want to play any more. I had been doing it for a long time right about then. Many of my friends still wanted me to play, but I got tired of it.

I got really interested in football, so I asked my dad if I could. He simply said “Yes”. I made more and more friends. I got to talking with a kid named Jaylin. He played half-back. He was faster than me. I have only played 1 year though. I still want to play. But join a different league, which I’ll have even more friends. I’m looking forward to play other sports. Basketball looks very fun. I think I’ll play it next year. I hope to become a sports professional when I get older. But whatever I do I’ll be happy. If I play anything else I hope I can find friends wherever I go. Any time I play with friends were surely going to play sports, No matter where we are. I am definitely addicted to every game, and so are my friends. If you were me you’d be a fantastic athlete no matter what sport. I’m a absolute star player at any sport. If any of my friends turn on me because I play a different sport, I can say okay and go to other people playing that sport that I’m new at. I will continue to watch ball games and play video games to improve at sports. I’ll just sit back and leave it to the professionals! Computer websites will help too. You know they have a lot of information on those things. Ever need information on sports ask your’s truly.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Man's Best Friend

Have you ever had a dog? If you have you would probably like my story. It all started when I was 4. I wanted a dog. I had seen lots of pictures and I wanted one. Lilly was just a little baby. She had no idea what was going on. We all decided on an English bulldog and named her Ethel. She was the greatest. She would give us rides on her back. She would sleep on our beds. Well, you get the picture.

Here came her personality. She was always perky and wild. She would play with us outside on any day. If we were outside, she was outside. She would run like a murderer was chasing her. If she ran too fast, she would always knock you down. She would play with anything. If it was even your toe, she would have it in her mouth. She was brown and black with white speckles.

One day she was not herself. She would just lie around and be lazy. She wouldn’t even get up to chase her favorite toy. We were all very worried. Then I noticed this green goop in her eye. We took her to the vet. The vet said she was very sick. I think he said she had some kind of flu that never went away. One day when I came home, Ethel wasn’t home. My parents called into the living room and told us the news. She had died that day. You know when you get so sad or scared you laugh? Well that’s what happened to me.

Well we thought what dog we were going to get next. We had to choose from millions of breeds. There was cocker spaniel, golden retriever, boson terrier, black lab, and many many others. We chose another English bulldog. We named her Wheezie.
She was almost exactly like Ethel. She had the same personality and playfulness as Ethel. They could have been sisters. She had white fur with a brown patch on her right eye and on her tail.

We had a lot of problems at first. It was mostly potty training. We got her a small cage just big enough for her to turn around in. I forgot to mention she was very fat. Confined spaces help potty train dogs for some reason. When potty training was over, it was on to running when we called her. We solved that by spanking her when she ran. We still have the problem of eating grass then throwing up. Other than those minor problems, she is a great dog. I will always miss Ethel.

Making New Friends

Have you ever moved to a new place? Well if you have you know how I feel. The reason we moved from Texas to Alabama is because my dad needed a job. At his old job they where taking advantage of him. He was also not getting paid enough and they where lying to him about almost everything. So we decided to move.
My uncle was already at Huntsville so we decided to go live with him. Another reason we came to Alabama was because my uncle already had him a job. We also didn’t want to be alone and over here in Alabama we had family members. His new job was better and it was something he was good at also they paid him more. So we decided to give it a try.

Of course if you move to a new place you need a new house, job, and the worst part a new school. There was a good and bad side for starting a new school. The good thing was that I was going to make new friends. But on the other hand I was going to have to learn a new language! I used to have no friends at all back at my old school so I don’t know if coming here was a mistake or a good thing.

It was my first day of school and I was super nervous. When my parents went to go drop me off, I stared at everybody and I didn’t want to stay. So I started to cry! My parents told me I had to stay so I did. I didn’t talk to anybody but two girls that helped me. And also nobody talked to me because I wouldn’t know what they where saying. I felt so lonely and invisible, I was very shy. There was a girl named Kathie that translated me. There was also this other girl who helped me know where everything was her name is Megan.

When I got home I told my parents that I didn’t want to go back to school. I felt like everybody had gotten in the car and was having fun and I guess I fell out of it because that is how I felt.
Everybody was having an awesome time. My sister had already made friends and my dad already had a job. My mom was only at home taking care of my baby brother. I didn’t want to eat or do anything at all. But finally I came to a solution to learn the language and make friends. I told myself that it all wasn’t going to happen like a snap It was going to take time so encouraged myself to do that.
And know I am in fifth grade so that tells me that I made it through!

Moving Around

Do you know how it feels to move? Well if not I’m going to tell you. Moving isn’t easy, you have to leave your friends. I needed to move because we needed a big house. See we used to live in an apartment. Until then we lived with are Grammy (grandmother).

About a month later we were still in Atlanta , Georgia with my moms mom .One after noon my dad said “ I found a house for sell,” we cheered happily .We heard it was in Auburn , Alabama , so we got into the car and went to go see it . It was one those that was a 1 story house with one family on one side, and another family on the other side. We moved in I got a new bed with a slide attached to it. When we were done I started kindergarten. I had a nice teacher. She was young I think she was in her twenties.

When I was done with kindergarten we moved back to Georgia for 1st grade. I started going to Atlanta Elementary. We were still looking for a better house. In the middle of the year my aunt Jenny said that there were a few houses for sell and rent, so we drove up to Huntsville to look around and we found a house for rent on Whitesburg Drive. For the rest of 1st grade I went to Jones Valley Elementary. I had Mrs. Dunn as my 1st grade teacher. She was so nice and kind. I went to JVE from the middle of 1st grade to the end of 4th grade.

The reason I went till the end of 4th grade was, because we found a real home all to our selves. We moved into it on October 2009. To make new friends I started doing swim and dive team. All the kids were nice and the coaches were cool. There was Terry Keller, Cathy Williams , Donald ,and some others. When I started school I all ready had some new friends. I made some new ones like Megan, Ninfa, Amari, Breelynn ext. Moving around isn’t a bad change it is a good change. Moving changed me by me being stronger when I let important things go. Also when some one says they are not my friends I still have better because I used to get sad every time people said that cause I thought they were my only friend.

My Puppy: Beginning to End

Have you ever gotten a new puppy? Well here’s the story about when I did… It was this summer and we had no idea we were getting a new puppy. Until my dad surprised us and said were going to get a Chocolate Lab. So we all hopped in the car and drove for about 45 minutes. When we got there we saw little puppy’s running around everywhere! They were so cute and they were all brothers and sisters. We knew we wanted a girl so we looked around and discovered there were 3 girls. We picked one that we thought was very playful and just the right size!

After we picked which dog we wanted the owner had to tell us a little bit about her. So he covered the basics like food, and how they react to things and stuff like that. Then it was finally time to take her home. We put her in the car and we had to have a towel just in case! On our way home with the puppy we were discussing a name. Nobody could agree my brother wanted to name her Sweet Tea and my sister wanted to name her Coco.
By the time we got home we home we agreed on a name. We named her Lucy! We got Lucy out of the car and into the backyard. We let her sniff around and get used to her surroundings. At first we really didn’t know what to do with her but after each day we got more and more comfortable with her.
A couple weeks later we started getting used to her. But we were still learning to teach her right from wrong. She still chews on some stuff that she shouldn’t be chewing on, and eats stuff that she shouldn’t be eating. But Lucy has improved on a lot of stuff.
Now we have had her for about a year and she is just like a member of the family [well minus the dog part]. We have a daily routine now and we always know when its time for walking or feeding her.
Getting Lucy has changed me in many ways. It has made me more responsible and made my love for dogs grow even greater.

Football, Pain and Pleasure

Do you like football? You do you should keep reading, if you don’t you should still keep reading anyway. Well never mind this is my story. Two seasons ago my friends played. But I was stuck playing boring upward flag. So next season I got to play tackle football. I thought I would rule the field.

When I got to the first practice I knew I was wrong. Even though it wasn’t contact, I knew I wasn’t going to get Half back or even full back. The no contact practices were hard, and I couldn’t wait for contact.

On the first contact practice I was knocked around a lot, but I LOVED it. I even got layed out once. But one fateful day I was blocking a half back from our team. I tripped and fell back on my arm. At first I couldn’t feel it then it started to hurt. I didn’t want to cry in front of my teammates so I didn’t. When I was sitting out my mom came and took me to the er when I got in I saw someone from football camp. He was just sick. When the doctor looked at my x-rays he said my arm was broken I was so happy.

When I got back my team had played a game already. They had won. As the season went on we kept winning on the last game of the season came around we lost. But it was a tie for first in our division. Then we got by on our gpa.

For our first playoff game we won 21 to 0. Our second we won 12 to 6. But the last game when I was a starter we lost 6 to 18.

Well we had a pretty good season. We were second best out of 7 states. When the coach gave us our game film I watched it about 50 times. That made me feel good. That season was pleasure full and painful.

Life of a Ten Year Old

My life has been happy,
my life has been sad.
My life has been boring ,
my life has been bad.

My tonsils were removed at age six,
and in my life, I have been sick.
I’ve read lots of books, and gotten new hobbies.
And I don’t usually do mopping.

And in my life I’ve had tragedies,
But I’m not going to talk about those things.
So I’ll talk about something that not as sad,
Something that really was a blast!

One day I smacked my head on the slide,
When I hit the water, it felt like a tide.
My mom was concerned when I got to shore,
I definitely had a headache,
that was for sure!

My life frequents change a lot,
Sort of like a light switch turns things on and off.
And so I conclude with this,
My life can be happy, my life can be sad.
Change can go slowly, or change can go fast.

My Life

My life had a horrible beginning,
When I was a baby my grandpa’s life started ending.
Soon after that,
My great-grandpa had a heart attack.

Now I run around the house,
Letting my dog chase a fake mouse.
I named the puppy Wichita,
After a girl in zombieland named Wichita.

When I was 8,
One of my dogs had a terrible fate.
A year ago,
Another one of my dogs had to go.

I got a pet cat about a year ago,
Soon it died in the snow.
We think a truck hit him,
Or it was because he was too thin.

That all made me sad,
But now I’m kind of mad.
I couldn’t do anything about it,
When you play with a snake you get bit.

Me and My Life

My life had a terrible start.
It didn’t take long to tear my family apart.
The divorce happened so fast,
But that is now in the past.

Now I frolic in the fields.
I feel like something is protecting me,
Like a shield.
And when I go to dinner I can feel safe,
knowing that I’m in the right place.

But soon I will have to choose which parent I will lose.
Who will go he or she?
Thinking about it takes away my glee.
It’s a choice that makes me cry.
And inside my heart will die!

After I choose I still know,
That their love for me will still show.
After I choose, after the pain is lifted away.
It will be a very happy day!

Student Work

My students have decided that they would like to post their autobiography work and receive comments. We would love to get feedback. Remember that these are elementary students when you give them feedback!