Thursday, December 4, 2014

O.R.E.O. Project

  A couple of months ago we finished up our work on The OREO Project,  which I became aware of through the Discovery Educators' Network (The DEN). This annual project put together by Jen Wagner and found on her Projects By Jen Website.  It is the projects 15th Year and extend Math, Language Arts, Critical Thinking, Health and more. 

During one part of the project students stack the original Oreo Cookies, collect, graph and analyze the data. As the students, each took turn doing each of the following jobs: the stacker, data collector, and photographer. They took some great shots and I thought I wold share them here. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

October 2104- Newsletter

Dear Parents-
We spent the first quarter exploring the characteristics of a true inventor. Each students also explored real life inventor; such as Ben Franklin, Grace Hopper, Steve Jobs, The Wright Brothers, Temple Grandin...After these projects are complete we will be spending some time comparing and contrasting a few based on their characteristics of these inventors.

Also, this quarter we participated in a couple of quick projects to get our creative juices flowing. First students had a blast building spaghetti and marshmallow towers. In teams they were given the challenge to build the highest tower they could using a set number of dried spaghetti and marshmallows. Some were very successful and everyone learned a great deal. The other creative activity we engaged in was entitled What's in the Bag?. This idea came to us via some friends from The Discovery Educator's Network (The DEN). Each student was given a bag filled with a variety of art supplies with the following directions: Inside this bag you will find a variety of items. Please create something using as many of these items as you can. You may only use the items in your bag scissors,
a stapler and glue. We truly ended up with some wonder ideas.

Finally, starting this quarter we will begin the inventing process. To help us with the process we will be in contact with Quirky is a company that takes individual’s (or team’s) ideas for a product that solve a real world problem and then manufactures some of those product. They will spend sometime with us laying out their process from how they decided which products are manufacture to distribution. After learning about Quirky we will use The Challenge Based Learning 
(CBL) Framework to help guide us through our process from defining a problem to our plans for an invention (or our solution).

Since I am only on Oneco’s Campus on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the best way to contact me is through email

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Writing Our Own Rules

Like everywhere else on campus our Gifted Laboratory has rules and here the students worked to help develop them. Before we put our heads together to establish a set of rules we first explored the reasons why rules exist. 
We spent some time with the Cougar Expectations:

 We explored the P.A.W.S. expectations by using the following graphic organizer and exploring what each would look like, sound like and feel like in our laboratory.
 We then participated in a thinking routine entitled Chalk Talk.  During a Chalk Talk there is a piece of chart paper with an open ended questions in the center of the group and students are asked to respond to that prompt in written form only. They may respond directly the question or they can respond to another person's thoughts. 

On our Chalk Talk questions were: 
-Why should rules be followed?
 -What would happen if there were no rules? 
-Why do we need rules? 


Finally, we spent time writing a set of rules for our time in gifted and signed them in agreement. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Spaghetti Towers

            This week we had a blast building spaghetti and marshmallow towers. Students were placed in teams and given the challenge to build the highest tower they could using a set number of dried spaghetti and marshmallows. Several tips to aid them in the challenge were shared and teams were given time to plan their strategy. Some were successful and everyone learned a great deal. 
Please enjoy some pictures of our fun!


After each trial,  I asked students to spend some time reflecting in their Interactive Gifted Notebooks (I.G.N.) and here are few of my favorite quotes:

"There are a lot of things I learned like even if you are smartest person on Earth you are still going to face challenges and things that our tough. Today was tough!"
                                                             -4th grader

"United we stand, divided we fall. If everyone only wants to do their own thing and won't listen nothing is going to work." 
                                                                             -5th grader

What is in the Bag?

         During the first week of gifted, we engaged in an activity entitled What's in the Bag?.  This idea came to me via some friends from The Discovery Educator's Network (The DEN).  The idea was simple fill a bag with a variety of art supplies. Give each students a bag with the following directions: Inside this bag you will find a variety of items. Please create something using as many of these items as you can. You may only use the items in your bag scissors, a stapler and glue.  I also asked my students to tell personal narrative or a few things about themselves with their finish product. 

Take a look at the fun we had!

Friday, August 22, 2014

August 2014 Newsletter

Dear Parents-

I would like to welcome you back for the 2014-15 school year. I am so excited about this year and really can’t wait to get started. This year, I will be at Prine Elementary on Monday and Tuesday with the rest of my week being spent at here Oneco Elementary.

Throughout this year we will be working towards becoming inventors that solve real world problems.  To help us with that process we will be using the Challenge Based Learning (CBL) framework, Interactive Notebooks and The Maker Movement.  While we have utilized the CBL framework for several years now, Interactive Notebooks were only introduced this past year.  The purpose of the interactive notebook is to enable students to record and organize  notes, observations, thoughts, reflections and new ideas so that they can become more independent thinkers. The Maker Movement is a do-it- yourself (DIY) movement that could include art, science, technology, music, technology, and any hands-on-activity.  To do this we will be utilizing some informal avenues such as: “How To” videos on You Tube (and other sites),  Skyping with experts and other forms of networking. Through these activities the Florida State Grade Level Standards are infused into this process. However, our main focus in goals/standards will continue to come from Florida's Framework for K-12 Gifted Learners. This is going to be an EXCITING year!

If you need to reach me, the best way is through email, the best way is through email

Supply List
-2/ 70 page spirals
-2 ream of white copy paper
-4 sharpened pencils
-8 AA batteries (Energizer, Duracell and Marks Brands preferred)

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

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Gifted Newsletter April 2014

Dear Parents,
    We had such an exciting quarter and we have been very busy with our Challenge Based Learning (CBL) Challenges. We began the year with exploring the idea of what it takes to be a hero. With our CBL Challenges the students set out with the Big Idea of “Being heroes on Oneco Elementary School’s Campus”. The students have chosen several issues on campus to tackle.

Challenge #1 -Grade 3
To encourage better cooperation at recess.   

Students will be creating a video explaining the playground rules and providing rules posters for each general education classroom.

Challenge #2 - Grade 4/5
To prevent bullying on Oneco’s Campus.
Students will be creating an Anti-Bullying Campaign including a Public Service Announcement (PSA) as well as some other components not yet defined

Challenge #3 - Grade 4/5 and Grade K-2
To keep Oneco clean and beautiful.
This project is going global and we will be working with several schools around the US to apply ways to keep our schools clean and beautiful.

Much of this solution is yet to be discovered. However, our fourth and fifth graders have written and applied for a $2500.00 grant entitled “Spruce up Your School Grant.”

Challenge #4- Grade 4/5
To improve morning snacks.
After a lot of research, the students learned that this issue was not a school based decision. Due to this fact, this group has decided to break up and join others challenges. Just like in the real world, it is important to know where your limits are. Still these kids learned a ton in the process!

    As always our laboratory has an open door policy.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Gabbing With the Gifted (Grade 4/5)-Thursday

Pictures of two group's Ah-Boards and the third is being revised (or under construction).

Finally, our Reflection Journal Prompt for today was:
 How did analyzing your data help you understand your challenge better? Explain using examples from your work today.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Gabbing With the Gifted-Thursday, 2/6/2014

We were running late and these were done really quickly. 

Group 1-"Thunder Kats"
CBL Challenge- To work to improve morning snacks. 

Group 2 -"Gummy Bears"
CBL Challenge- To prevent and eliminate bullying on Oneco's campus.

Group 3-"Gifted Wolfpack"
CBL Challenge- To promote students spending more time appreciating nature. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Gabbing With the Gifted-Tuesday 2/4/14

Third graders discussing their Challenge Based Learning (CBL) Project.
Their Challenge Aha Connection Board is what the group uses hold their Guiding Questions and answers. This board is helping us track of what we have learned and still need to learn before proposing possible solution.

Each class period the students are ask to write in their reflection journals.  Today I gave them the following prompt:

Eighteen teachers took your survey and we learned a lot. Please explain two or three things you learned from the survey and how that information will help lead us to a solution.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Return of Gabbing With The Gifted

A couple of years back we use to have a Podcast Series entitled "Gabbing with The Gifted" where my students and I would briefly record a conversation at the end of most class periods. I felt it was a great way review and a wonderful way to let the community know what we did during class. Today I decide to pull the idea out and amp it up just a bit using PhotoBooth. The new and improved "Gabbing With the Gifted" will be quick one take videos with little to no editing. 

Monday, 2/3/14
Kindergarten and First Graders

Here are the two anchor charts used to guide students in deciding if a character is a hero or not. I have found that if I start with the character traits frayer and then move to the attributes T-chart students have an easier time using the text to justify their decisions.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 2014 Newsletter

Dear Parents,

We are all busy exploring topics here on Oneco’s Campus that we feel we can make a difference with meeting the needs of our students. We are exploring these topics through Challenge Based Learning. With Challenge Based Learning, students are required to work collaboratively to solve a real world problem. The students work on variety of academic skills and many higher level thinking skills. The framework to this curriculum consist of the following:

-Big Idea: a broad concept that can be narrowed down by asking a questions and exploring its different aspects.
-Essential Question(s): Comes out of the Big Idea and helps identify what is important and helps narrow down the topic and define a manageable idea.
-The Challenge: Comes out of the essential question(s) in students are asked to create a solution that can result in a measurable action or actions.
-Guiding Questions: These questions are generated by the students and are based on what they need to know to solve the problem.
-Guiding Activities: Activities to help students solve their answer the guiding questions and gather.
-Solution-Should be student generated, require student , thoughtful, clear, concrete and publishable in one form or another.

Throughout this process students use many academic skills and will be documenting and responding to their process in their reflection journals and in their Interactive CBL Notebook.

Also, we will continue to have weekly “Mind Joggers”, which are brief (5-10 minutes) weekly creative and critical thinking activities to begin class with. An example might be: Tell how many ways you can communicate a hundred. These activities have proven to help us all expand our thinking.

It is a true honor to work with all your children and thank you once again for sharing them with me.  As always, if you have questions or concern please contact me at 751-7018 Ext. 2049 or

Thank you, 
Frances M. Snyder
Educator of the Gifted

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Comparing and Contrasting CBL and the Scientific Method

Oneco's Science Fair is tonight and the school is abuzz with excitement. In honor of this event, I thought I would ask my fourth and fifth grade gifted students to compare and contrast Challenge Based Learning Process and the Scientific Method. We started out with a T-Chart, but went on to writing in our reflection journals. Below are just a few of those responses.