ALP is back in session!

I am SO happy to announce that ALP classes are back in session after having to take a break for the spring holiday and Milestones testing.  We have a lot of challenging and fun higher order thinking activities planned for the rest of the school year that will be sure to encourage our students are working to their full potential!  Please note that all 4th and 5th grade Target students will meet for the remainder of April and through the last full week of May.  Our last class meetings will be the week of May 14th.  I can’t believe the end of the school year is almost here!

GA STEM day is Friday, May 4th.  In order to honor this day, Big Shanty will be having a school-wide STEM day.  Normally, the ALP students would remain in their homeroom classes to participate in the STEM activities with their homeroom.  However, since this is a state-wide activity, we will be keeping our Friday Target students with us and they will be participating in a STEM activity with their Target classmates.  We are asking for your support on this day by requesting that the following items be sent in:

water bottles

poster board

masking tape

craft sticks (various sizes)

cardboard rolls (toilet paper, paper towel, gift wrap)

cleaned plastic containers

cardboard boxes

zip top baggies

Last Week Before Spring Break!

I can’t believe it is almost Spring Break!  How exciting!!!  I hope everyone has a great break and comes back ready for the last few weeks of the school year.

All ALP Classes are Cancelled During Milestone Testing

Please remember that Milestones testing will occur the first two weeks after the break so all ALP classes will be canceled during Milestone testing.  We will resume ALP classes as soon as testing is complete.

5th Grade Independent Study Projects are due THIS WEEK! 

Please come to school prepared to share your Genius Hour projects with the class. Remember to use your rubrics as a guide to ensure that you have covered every area in detail before presenting this week. Everyone has worked so hard on a topic that they are passionate about and I can’t wait to see and hear all about your passion when you present.  This is an extremely talented group of students so I know that the projects are going to be amazing!!!

4th Grade Survival Back Pack Projects

Please use the links to the side in the “Student Website” section as resources to help guide your collaborative group projects.  Remember to use the components of Divergent Thinking, as well as the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. technique that was discussed in class as a guide.

This Week in Target

4th Grade ALP:

Our 4th graders are working on a survival unit and will be tasked with a SCAMPER activity where they will be required to design a new and improved back pack to be presented at the imaginary “Survival Maniacs Convention!”  They will be taught the SCAMPER technique to creativity and encouraged to use the four principals of divergent thinking in this process.  If time permits, we will also be allowed to share and play the survival games that were created by the students a couple of weeks ago.  They games are very thought-provoking and have proven to be quite challenging!  I am extremely proud of all the hard work and collaboration that it took to create each one.  Great job fourth grade!

5th Grade ALP:

Our 5th graders are hard at work on their Genius Hour projects.  These are due March 29th or 30th, depending on which day is your child’s Target day.  The students have been given directions and a rubric to use as a guide.  I can’t wait to see what each child has become passionate about and shares with their classmates in the upcoming weeks.  The students always amaze me!

This Week in Target

All ALP students seem very excited to be back in the Target classroom and are working hard!

4th grade – Our topic of study is survival!  We discussed and evaluated three different types of survival situations from history and listened to a few of the survivors share their stories…The Holocaust, Hurricane Sandy and 9/11.  We also did some “Backwards Brainstorming” and introduced the use of negative integers in our Hands-On Equations program.

5th grade – Our fifth graders are in the process of doing an Independent Study on a topic of their choice.  This is a passion project that many of our students are extremely excited about!  In their words…”We FINALLY get to study something we are interested in and create a product that represents our areas of strength!”  The due date for Thursday classes is March 29th and the due date for Friday classes is March 30th.  A lot of time will be given in Target class to work on these projects, but the students may request time to work on them at home as well.  There is a short video explaining “Genius Hour” and how it works for our gifted students here: 

Genius Hour


Target Classes Start Back this Week!

Target classes will be starting back this week!  Tuesday and Wednesday classes will have a delayed start due to 5th grade testing that I will be administering, but all ALP students will need their supplies and will need to be prepared for class this week.  I hope everyone had a wonderful break and I am looking forward to having my students back in my classroom.  We have some amazing things planned for the second half of the school year!

Coming up in Target!

It is THAT time!!!  The Rube Goldberg machines that the students have been working on are finally due!  The students are required to turn in a working machine with at least 4 simple machines and 5 chain reactions, an advertising banner/poster AND a commercial that is created using some type of technology.  They have been working extremely hard on these projects for a while and I can’t wait to see the end result for each team!  The due dates for each class are below:

Tues ALP – Nov. 14th

Wed ALP – Nov. 8th

Thurs ALP – Nov. 9th

Fri ALP – Nov 10th

Please note that we are not in school on Tuesday, Nov. 7th as this is a student holiday.

The last day for Fridays 5th grade Target class will be Nov. 10th as the fifth grade teachers have “Gobble, Gobble Science” scheduled for the last Friday before the Thanksgiving holiday break.

Upcoming Events in Target this Week

Due to the fact that Friday, Nov. 3rd is a school-wide STEM day, Target classes for that day will be cancelled.  We will resume our regular ALP schedule the following Friday for these students.

The children have been working really hard on their Rube Goldberg machines and projects for the past few weeks.  Each team is required to turn in 3 different pieces for the project to be complete:

  1. Rube Goldberg Machine (at least 4 simple machines and 5 chain reactions)
  2. Banner/Poster advertising their team and machine
  3. Commercial/video created using some type of technology that shows the machine in action

Each team has a rubric and understands what is required.  The students have been reminded of the importance of going above and beyond the typical requirements and it has been stressed that they add some type of “WOW” factor of extra piece of “creative flair” that makes their project stand out from the rest.  I can’t wait to see what the children have come up with!  It is very excited seeing them so engaged in their learning and putting to use the Design Engineering Process that is used in all of our STEM projects.

Due Dates: 

Tuesday Class:  Nov. 14th (We are out of school Nov. 7th)

Wednesday Class: Nov. 8th

Thursday Class: Nov. 9th

Friday Class: Nov. 10th

Target Classes Resume

5th grade ALP classes will resume this Thursday, Sept. 21.  Please be sure to have all of your Target supplies with you when you come to class.  We will be continuing with our Rube Goldberg machines, as well as beginning a new novel study.  I look forward to having my sweet students back soon and appreciate your understanding during this time of testing.