Friday, October 13, 2017

Newsletter-October 2017

Dear Parents-

Our Gifted Laboratory is off to a great start this year! One thing we have been striving for is
to keep a focus on our learning process rather than our final products. Since many of the strategies we use in one inquiry will be needed in another, it is my hope this focus will help strategies transfer. This quarter, we have spent a great deal of time exploring and discussing the idea of metacognition, or the awareness and understanding of your own thoughts. We are identifying and exploring these concepts in a variety of subjects from dealing with text to strategy games.

During the next quarter we will be exploring the ideas around Grit. Grit is defined as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” The research on Grit has shown it contributes to long term success. It proposes individuals who possess a drive to tirelessly work through challenges, failures and adversity to achieve, set goals and are uniquely positioned to reach higher achievements than others who lack similar stamina, no matter their intelligence level. With this in mind, we will spend time defining, listening to experts, holding group discussions and writing reflections on the role Grit plays in our personal success. Throughout the year, these types of explorations will encourage students to own their individual growth process. As a parent, one thing you can do to encourage and/or develop this mindset in your child is to focus your praise on process, learning, and effort (You really worked hard on this and have learned a lot. You did a great job of developing a plan and following it through. You’ve really developed as a musician.), as opposed to ability (You’re so clever. Look how smart you are; you did that so fast. You’re good at math. You’ve got a lot of talent.)

We will also begin to explore the topic of Genius Hour, which is based on a business practice that Google uses with their developers. They are allowed to use 20% of their time, provided that work has the potential to advance the company. Like everything else we do in our program, we will be focusing on the process. There will be mini lessons on strategies such as choosing an appropriate topic, note taking, developing a quality product and other items that may appear throughout. 

Our guidelines/rules for Genius
Hour are as follows:
-You must start with a real-world question or problem.
-Your answer/solution must require research. It must require more than a Google Search.
-Your final project must be shareable.
I am really looking forward to seeing where these students take these projects.

Again, if you need to reach me, the best way is through email snyderf@manateeschools.net.
Thank you,
Frances M. Snyder (Francie)
Educator of the Gifted
Abel, Bayshore, Oneco, and Prine Elementary Schools 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Current Events-8/29/17-Student Post


The process we followed for this activity can be found here


Recently in gifted class we have learned about Hurricane Harvey in Huston, Texas. Due to  the flooding many people are stranded out in the flood water.  There are shelters, but sadly at the time our video was made there were only two shelters that were open. The people who are not in a shelter were told to stay in their homes. We'll have to hope these people have enough food and things to survive in their houses. If they leave it's likely they'll get hurt and possibly die. Speaking of death, sadly because of this hurricane and the rain two people have died. It's actually kind of sad and scary that people could and die because of the weather.  Unfortunate some have gotten caught in the water with no kind of shelter.  Street signs and things that can float have become a blessing. Yeah, you heard me right... people who get caught out in the water without a car or boat mainly try to float on old signs or things. In the video we watched we saw people floating on an old refrigerator. At least those people were lucky enough to find something to float on. It's really sad that so many people are getting hurt because of the weather. This information I have given you is important because out in Huston innocent people are getting hurt. It's not good that this is happening, I even heard that in some areas people will get a year's worth of rain fall in as little as one week.  We can hope the people will be alright and that this will be over soon. 
Gwen
4th Grade Student


Monday, August 28, 2017

August Newsletter


Dear Parents,


Hello, my name is Frances (Francie) Snyder and I would like to welcome you to
the 2017-18 school year. I have been teaching in Manatee County for over twenty years, with the last ten years working with the Gifted Population. This year, I will be working at Abel Elementary on Mondays, Oneco Elementary on Tuesdays, Prine Elementary on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and Bayshore Elementary on Fridays.

I heard a speaker say once, “Your school should have an academic focus not a project focus.” This is a statement I whole-heartedly agree with, however, the presence of projects does not mean that academics take a backseat. On the contrary, academics are as front and center as ever, which is why we began using the Gifted Program's motto - WE are a Laboratory and NOT a Factory. Let me explain, laboratories are places of exploration, questioning, discovery and the focus is on the learning process. In factories the focus is usually about the outcome or products. Those in factories are taught to do something one way and never expected to ask why or to try to find a better way of completing the task. With those principles in mind, we do what we can to construct projects in such a way that a multitude of cross curriculum skills are covered. These skills include: Grade Level State Standards, The State of Florida’s Framework for the K-12 Gifted Learners, and National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for Students.

Finally, I try my best to ask for very little supplies throughout the year and only ask for things that we use a great deal. I want to personally thank you in advance for sending in the items I am requesting and please know the extra help goes a long way.

Supply List:
-2 reams of white copy paper
-4 sharpened pencils
-wide tip washable markers (Crayola are best)

This is going to be an EXCITING year! If you need to reach me, the best way is through email snyderf@manateeschools.net.

Thank you,
Frances M. Snyder (Francie) Educator of the Gifted 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

October Newsletter 2016


Dear Parents-

We have had such fun this quarter getting to know each other! We spent a huge chunk of our time not just discussing things like teamwork and critical thinking through games and projects but each student has had a chance to begin to explore coding with robotics using our Ozobot and simple circuits with our Makey-Makey Kits. The older students are creating a how to video for one of these fun items. In the Gifted Laboratory, we focus on the process and not the final product and the students learned a great deal from this activity.

Also, this quarter our older students have  jumped into Virtual Literacy Circles with the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio with several schools from around the globe. We have been reading and discussing the book through the use of Edmodo and video conferencing software. This book has truly led to some wonderful conversations and we looking for more experience with Virtual Literacy Circles throughout the rest of the year.

Next quarter we will be exploring geography just a bit and we have some fun activities planned. Students will be participating in different projects to explore the world around them and hopefully broaden their horizons.

 Finally, I try my best to ask for very little supplies throughout the year and only ask for things that we use a great deal. I want to personally thank those families who have sent in the items I requested and please know the extra help goes a long way. If you have not already done so we could still use your help.

Supply List:
-2 reams of white copy paper
-4 sharpened pencils

Thank you,
Frances M. Snyder (Francie)
Educator of the Gifted
Abel, Oneco and Prine Elementary Schools

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

How to Use Makey-Makey and Ozobot

We have spent the last several weeks learning to both the Ozobot and Makey-Makey Kits. Students were then asked to create how to video to help those new to these fun little items. A great deal of problem solving  and fun was had by all.
Iva, Amelia, Sophia, and San Juanita 


Leo, Mason, and Donavan


Natalie,  Jadan, and Desi

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"Oh the Places We Will Go"- Breakout



Nothing makes me happier then when my students come into my room, see what we are doing today, and then squeal with delight. This was exactly what my students did this morning when they came into the room saw the Breakout Box. Here are a few of the students' reflection on why others should try Breakout or what they learned during the process.






Friday, August 19, 2016

Newsletter- August 2016

Dear Parents-


I would like to welcome you and your child to our Gifted Laboratory for the 2016-17 school year. Our focus continues to be on the student outcomes from The Florida Framework for K-12 Gifted Learners, which I have attached for your review. It is our true belief that learning should be a lifelong pursuit and that the process is equal to if not more important than the final product. There will be a wide range of critical thinking activities where at each step along the way there will be lessons to learn. Students will be learning strategies, frameworks, and other skills needed to improve their problem solving skills.


Thanks to the use of technology, we will also continue to participate in many global collaboration projects. We will be reading and talking about books through Virtual Literacy Circles, exploring geography with Mystery Skypes, and of course participating in Virtual Field Trips.


Also, this year we will be exploring Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and how we can incorporate these principles into our life. These are timeless and proven principles of fairness, integrity, honesty and human dignity. The Seven Habits are as follows:


  1. Be Proactive
  2. Begin with the end in mind
  3. Put first things first
  4. Think Win-Win
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the Saw


I try my best to ask for very little supplies throughout the year and only ask for things that we use a great deal. I want to personally thank the four or five families who have sent in the items I requested and please know the extra help goes a long way. If you have not already done so we could still use your help.

Supply List:
-2 reams of white copy paper
-4 sharpened pencils

Thank you,
Frances M. Snyder (Francie)