Wednesday, December 11, 2013

October 2013 Newsletter

We had a good time this quarter exploring literature to discover the attributes of a  hero. Students read several different types of literature from comic books to biographies for this exploration. Students were asked fine=d evidence from their reading to prove that these hero attributes exist. We have had some wonderful discussions about what character/hero attributes we find admirable. 

Our primary groups are exploring different community heroes and how each of them meet  the attributes we have discussed (integrity, helpfulness, smart, brave, selfless). These students will then find different ways to say thank you to those heroes for their contributions to our community. 

Our intermediate classes are venturing out with their first Challenge Based Learning (CBL) Project. We are busy exploring issues here on Oneco’s Campus that we feel we can be heroes to overcoming. According to the Challenge Based Learning: Classroom Guide, “CBL is a collaborative learning experience in which teachers and students work together to learn about compelling issues, purpose solutions to real problems and take action.” We have used the CBL Framework in the past, but this year I am enhancing this process by working to make the students more responsible for their own journey through each of these projects or challenges. Students will be documenting and responding to their process in their reflection journals and in their Interactive CBL Notebook.

Also, we are up and running with Rock Our World. We have been learning from our global collaboration team and have had several video conferences with California, Michigan and beyond. At the same time creating music using the Apple Software GarageBand and completing a few art projects as. 

 The following is a supply list. For those of you who have not I would like to ask again that you send them in. The three things in bold are the things we are in the most need of at the current time. 

Supply List
-2 Composition books
-1inch three ring binder
-2 ream of white copy paper
-4 sharpened pencils
-glue stick
-8 AA batteries (Energizer, Duracell and Marks Brands preferred)

 As a reminder, I have an open door policy and if you have any questions and/or concerns please contact through email snyderf@manateeschools.netThank you for the continued support!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What a START!!

We hit the ground running this year and we are off to a great start. We began exploring our year long endeavor of learning to be heroes/heroines. As we begin, we felt that is important that we all have a clear definition of what qualities it takes to make a hero/heroine. Our first step will be to identify noteworthy attributes that we find similar in our heroes/heroines. We began our exploration we pulled out a variety of different genres of literature with strong heroes/heroines.  Students will then identify and record text evidence for the different character traits of each hero/heroine using a Frayer Model. After, we have had time to read several different heroes/heroines we will go back through our Frayer Models use the evidence recorded to create a T- Chart that will compare and contrast these traits. From that list we will then make a master list of heroes'/heroines' attributes and start brainstorming on ways we can live the attributes out. At that point, we will begin to explore ideas for our first Challenge Based Learning (CBL) Project.  CBL always adds such electricity to our laboratory and we are looking forward to starting that process!

Finally, this past weekend I got the great news that we will again be participating in the global collaboration project  Rock Our World. This fall's round is entitled "Deck the Halls" and is focused on brightening up our community through art. Oneco's Gifted Laboratory is totally looking forward to meeting and working with our friends from around the globe. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

August 2013 - Newsletter

I would like to welcome you back for the 2013-14 school year. I am so excited about this year and really can’t wait to get started. Again this year we will be working with Challenge Based Learning
(CBL) and collaborating with different classes throughout our country and world. With CBL, students are required work collaboratively to solve a real world problem. Through CBL many
Common Core Standards are infused into this process. However, our main focus in goals/standards will continue to come form Florida's Framework for K-12 Gifted Learners, which the
CBL framework also covers effectively. 

 Throughout this year we will be exploring ways that we as individuals can be a heroic and promote others to do the same. We will be exploring ways to be heroic on Oneco’s Campus, in our community, to our earth and within the worldwide digital community.

After a few conversations with parents at back to school night we will again be applying to Rock Our World. This project has a several components GarageBand Tracks, a CBL project and Video Conferencing with school throughout the world. A ROW release form is attached. Please sign and return these as soon as possible.

I am thrilled to announce that I will be on Oneco’s campus full time this year. The gifted schedule is below and I will have other responsibilities on campus. If you need to reach me, the best way is through email If you need to reach me, the best way is through email

Supply List
-2 Theme books
-1inch three ring binder
-2 ream of white copy paper
-4 sharpened pencils
-glue stick
-8 AA batteries (Energizer, Duracell and Marks Brands preferred)

 Looking forward to another great year!

Friday, May 31, 2013

End of the Year Newsletter

            Oneco Elementary’s Gifted Program
                  “ We are a laboratory, NOT a factory!” 


Dear Parents,

What a wonderful year we have had and I can not believe it is almost over. We have all learned a lot this year and yes I did mean WE. Some say that an educator’s biggest job is to promote life long learning in our students and the only way I know how to do that is to model it. Honestly, your children have inspired me on a daily basis to explore, to question, to discover and push my boundaries just a little bit further, which I truly thank them for. I suppose the general philosophy for Oneco’s Gifted Program truly fits us nicely, We are a laboratory, NOT a factory.  As explained on our website, 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. There will be adjustments being made in your child’s general education class to meet Common Core Standards and I am aware of these changes. As it has been, within our laboratory we will hone and strengthen not just the seven goals from Florida’s Framework for K-12 Gifted Learners, but Common Core Standards as well. We will continue to do what we can to construct projects in such a way that a multitude of cross curriculum skills are covered.

In closing, it has been a wonderful year and your children continue to amaze me. They have been a true joy, and I would like to thank you for sharing them with me. As always our laboratory has an open door policy so please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Please have a wonderful and safe summer!

                                       Thank you for the support!
                                       Frances M Snyder (Francie)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Digital Literacy and Technology Night 2013

Next week, Oneco Elementary will be hosting our Fifth Annual Digital Literacy and Technology Night. This year's event will be held on Thursday, May 23rd starting at 5:30pm. During that time, the gifted students will be Skyping with our good friends form Tasmania, showing off some of our Challenge Based Learning Solutions and demonstrating a few of our digital tools Below is our laboratory's highlights video we also are planning to show. We are ALL really excited!


Also, here is a link Oneco's Digital Highlights from 2011. 

Big thanks to Katie Morrow for the use of her CBL presentation that appears in the middle of our video. Too good not to use. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dealing with a Rock Our World Deadline

   This past month our schedule has been a bit crazy. First, we had FCAT Testing and then we had to quickly finish up our Rock Our World Public Service Announcement (PSA) I could not be prouder of how my students took on this deadline. They quickly went to time saving ideas; like using just drawings and audio files for the PSA rather than having students act things out. They felt that due to their limited time they would not be able to memorize their script well enough to not use them on camera and do a good job with the editing

With that said, here is our PSA. As well as links to the assessment used throughout it's production. 


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

3rd Quarter Newsletter

Oneco Elementary’s Gifted Program
“ We are a laboratory, NOT a factory!”


Dear Parents,
  It has been another wonderful and exciting quarter!! As more students have qualified for gifted services, the schedule did have to be adjusted a bit to meet our growing needs. Our new schedule has Kindergarteners coming by themselves on Monday and Tuesday afternoon and this adjustment has made a world of difference.  
We started Round 18 of Rock Our World (ROW)  in March. During ROW we are making music using GarageBand and video conferencing with classes from around the world. Another component of Rock Our World (ROW) is a Challenge Based Learning (CBL) challenge around a specific assigned topic. We were assigned hurricanes and will be required to make a Public Service Announcement that will be part of the UStream broadcast in May. Along with that we will be authoring a chapter on hurricanes for an iBook that this Round of ROW is publishing.

Our assigned CBL topic for ROW  goes along with what we have been working through with our natural disaster CBL challenge with a few classrooms across Manatee County that we started in January.   Different groups had different topics and their CBL solutions will be working toward helping others know what to do before, during and after; a hurricane, a lightning/thunderstorm or a wildfire.
Also, the intermediate students (grades 3-5)  are reading books on their reading level, writing reading responses, completing a Literature Circle Job and discussing the book with their peers who are also reading a particular book. In the end, there will be an “Book Battle”, which teams of students will answer questions related to the book they have read. Depending on time I may also  have teams create some sort of advertisement for the book they have read.
As always our laboratory has an open door policy so please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
                                                   Thank you for the support!
                                                   Frances M Snyder (Francie)
                                                   Educator of the Gifted
                                                   Oneco Elementary School 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Big Observation

 Conversation during my big observation today.

Me: What is shape in the middle of your paper?

5th grader: A diamond.

Me: (with a horrified look on my face) Are kidding me?

5th grader: (giggles/turns to look at my boss) I knew that would get her going. Really, I know it is a rhombus.

Whole class starts laughing (including myself and my boss).

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lesson on Teamwork

 Last week, we had a lesson about teamwork and co-operation. In that lesson, I read the Marcia Brown book Stone Soup, we had a discussion and worked with a graphic organizer to define what it takes to be a good teammate. This week a third grader brought me her copy of The Little Red Hen. Then she suggested that we read it and discuss teamwork a bit more. When I asked her why that book and why she wanted to continue our conversation. She said," I was reading the book to my little cousin and it made me think of what we talked about last week. I just really felt like I had more to say." Truth is, my students might be not able to fully articulate or live out cooperation or teamwork yet. However, how great is it that they want to continue to the discussion?

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rock Our World- Garage Band Track

We began our fifth round of the global collaboration project Rock Our World (ROW) this week. ROW consisted of several components GarageBand Tracks,  geography,  Challenge Based Learning (CBL)Project, and video conferencing.  Using the Apple software GarageBand (GB) Oneco Students will be working collaboratively with eight international schools to create eight different GarageBand tracks. Each week we receive a new track and new instrument to added. We all start our tracks with drums and this is what our fifth graders came up with to get us started. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

CBL Interviews

While working on our  Challenge Based Learning (CBL) the students conducted several interviews based on their group's topic.

     We had a visit from Mrs. O'Connor educator here at Oneco to discuss her extended family's experience with Hurricane Sandy. 

       We also had a Skype interview with Mrs. Hicks, from Bashaw Elementary School. She lost her home in a wildfire and took the time to share her experience with us.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Critical Thinking With a Side of Humor

Hilarious conversation that took place a couple of weeks ago while the students were working on their Challenge Based Learning (CBL) Natural Disaster Challenge.

5th Grader: Did you know that hurricanes are partly formed when cool air rushes over warm water?

Me: That is so cool! How does that information help your group with your challenge?

 (Challenge-To help others know what to do before, during and after a hurricane.)

5th Grader: Well we thought to keep the water cooler we could create a campaign telling people to stop peeing in the ocean. You know to prevent hurricanes (giggle).

Me: (laughing) I think that campaign might be a good idea, but not to prevent hurricanes.

5th Grader: (to his group) See I told you all she would laugh.

Well at least he was using his critical thinking skills.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Why a new blog?

Since  Oneco’s Gifted Program  was established we have had a website that we do our best to update regularly.  At the same time, for the last several years I have had a personal blog “Tales and Thoughts from Digiduchess” where I have share my thoughts , experiences and what I have been learning. However, I truly believe that learning takes place in the process and I have become increasingly frustrated with the fact that these venues have been unable to fully demonstrate that believe. It is my hope that with this blog we will be able to open up the doors to our laboratory just a bit more and allow others to see a bit more of our work in progress. The posts here will be brief glimpses into the laboratory and occur on a much more frequently than on my blog and/or our website.