Thursday, June 2, 2011

Session 1 - Question 1

What were your “Ah-ha” moments while reading Chapters 1 -3? Site the page numbers for fellow participants.

28 comments:

  1. I'm the odd one out because I'm an elementary school librarian and not a high school teacher or counselor. I'm participating because GT education is an interest of mine - I am GT, my ex husband and my current SO are GT as are my children. I'm joining this book study as part of my "life long learning".

    I currently work with the GT students at my Housman elementary school. We're a Title I, mostly ESL school and the GT students tend to fall beneath the cracks since so much time, effort and money is expended on students at the other end of the spectrum.

    My "Ah Ha" moment- p. 16" Whereas athletic prowess is typically rewarded and highly valued, intellectual ability is often meet with some degree of resistance". This pretty much sums up the education in the state of Texas and the mindset of the Texas Legislature (I'm a bit of a cynic).

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  2. Greetings to all! The moments that most stand out from Chapters 1-3 are the following:
    1--I was glad to read on page 4 that this book was not going to be a book that would try to convince the readers that early entrance to college is always the best option for highly gifted students. Rather, it aims to present LOTS of information about why it can be an appropriate option, but also when it is not the best option. This makes the book very useful to students and parents, but also for anyone in the field of education that finds these issues of interest.
    2—Reading through the history of gifted education in Chapter 2 left me feeling somewhat depressed. I thought about the wasted potential and how our country has gone through waves of pro and anti gifted education. One can’t help but wonder how many students have missed out on developing their potential, and what a loss our society suffers because of this. On the other hand, as a teacher that works with gifted students on a daily basis, it is heartening to see that many of these kids are on the right track when it comes to developing their potential, and hopefully, our society can reap the benefits of that talent development later.

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  3. In response to the Housman librarian’s post of June 6th, I, too, am bothered by our society’s willingness to recognize and regard athletic ability. However, I do think that as professionals who work with the GT population, there is so much that we can do to show our students that their advanced intellectual ability can be celebrated on a multitude of levels. By instilling this self-appreciation and coupling that with hard work and perseverance, I think that a GT student can develop his/her talents with a differentiated curriculum, and hopefully, along the way receive an appropriately challenging education that meets their academic and socio-emotional needs.
    Another function that we all have as advocates for the gifted, is to find opportunities geared towards the gifted such as talent searches, gifted online programs, summer programs for the gifted and competitions aimed at developing their talents. These are all ways that educational institutions and organizations recognize superior intellectual achievement and work to develop it.

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  4. 1. I guess the “Ah-ha” moment was on page 15 “America’s school system keeps bright students in line by forcing them to learn in a lock-step manner with their classmates. Teachers and principals disregard students’ desires to learn more-.” I think that our present school system lets or forces kids’ to coast through school based on their chronological age, not based on their academic abilities. This is true in the academic classroom also, but is more pronounced in a GT or Pre-AP classroom setting. When truly gifted students are given the opportunity and the time to really explore a topic and develop projects or experiments they can be given the chance to expand their learning and go as far as they can instead of as far as the rest of the class can go. Learning needs to be an individual option for students instead of a lock-step one size fits all setting. The other interesting “Ah-ha” was on page 25, “A common fallacy is that students must be accelerated across all subject areas to be considered gifted.” Although being gifted in Language Arts certainly will help in a science class it does not necessarily mean the student is gifted in science. Again it can’t be a one size fits all approach. Not every gifted students is gifted in everything

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  5. As a GT educator, we often have had students who excel beyond their grade level/age. We use assessment strategies to determine the skill levels, learning styles, interests, strengths and needs of our students. One must not only consider their academic level, but the readiness to advance socially and emotionally. I found it interesting that many students consider their senior year experience a waste of time (page 2). In Chapter 1, it states that educators should be more supportive to the idea of giving high school students an opportunity to be more productive in an environment more suitable to furthering their learning (page 4). I would work with the parents and student to determine what is best for the individual and make it a priority to nurture their special, unique abilities.

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  6. oops, the above is my response to Question 2...so sorry, I am new to this blogging!

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  7. My response to question 1 would be the following: It was of no surprise to me when reading on page 14 that the American educational system has taken steps backwards over the past century. As educators, we can not hold back those who are ready for early enrollment into college. Page 15, in Chapter 2, states: "Know your place. Stay in your grade." That is indeed disturbing for especially those of us who teach gifted students. One of the most profound things I read was on page 15 where the Templeton Foundation has opened doors to a new way of thinking "yes" to acceleration for American students. In Chapter 3, the options for advanced learning is numerous. The advancement of technology has given many students an opportunity for advanced learning. But the decision still needs to be made: What is best for the individual student?

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  8. My 3rd attempt at this blog- Wish me luck

    In reading this first section the page that I put the first sticky was on 16 in the middle where it made the reference to honoring athletics and not treating intellectual ability the same way. We have a big event when the students do an athletic signing at a school, but do we celebrate as much if they have an academic scholarship? There is a group of mentors for all football players who give them a "treat" on every game day, but do we do that for the intellectual students who are going to a Model UN conference or a debate tournament? Education and schools in general need to recognize the academically able students and make it a special item to be gifted instead of being the "geeks" of the building. We need to stop stifiling their abilities in order to keep more in lock step with other sections of the same course. If you can go farther faster due to prior knowledge, let them do that-

    and so I agree with the first entry, OF LIFE-

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  9. In reading the first 3 chapters, I was struck by the variety of opportunities that are finally in place for our students to be optimally challenged. I am disheartened by the fact that early entrance may still be viewed by some educators and the general public with caution and skepticism (page 21). On page 14, early entrance programs do offer the students varied resources to acclimate to their higher level of challenging learning as well as meeting their social and emotional needs. Our young people are our future leaders, and we must step up our expectations and become more competitive with other countries who have exceedingly high expectations of their future leaders.

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  10. I agree with oliverl when they said that "Learning needs to be an individual option for students instead of a lock-step one size fits all setting." We need to let our GT students soar and raise the bar to different heights for each individual student. Let them reach for the stars is they have the drive and the ability!

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  11. One of my "AH Ha" moments was the statement that "grouping students by chronological age has been a common practice in classrooms in the U.S. for only the last century or so", p. 14. I guess I hadn't thought about it much. It is interesting how educational philosophy has developed over the years. At one time, grouping was considered progress from the one room classroom of the praries of America. Even the one room school house was progressive in light of teaching kids to read at home, from the Bible. I thought the list of reasons to stay behind in high school was well thought out and relevant to the decision making process, p. 24. On p. 19, it was thought provoking, as an observer of the Civil Rights movement of the '60's, the statement that the "concern about the underprivileged detracted from the gifted education movement and resulted in the elimination of most programs for the gifted". I didn't realize that. I wonder why they would be at odds with each other instead of being an extention of what was already in place. This appears to be a book where students and their parents have a joint interest in the choices available. I look forward to learning more. U agree wutg Susan that we should "raise the bar to different heights for each individual student". I agree with Oliverl that we can't use the old adage that"one size fits all". We are living in an enlightened age in education. Just think how far we have come.

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  12. In response to Henderss post of June 7, 2011,

    I think that at some of the high schools in Spring Branch, they are now starting to have a sort of “Signing Event” where seniors go in front of the entire school and sign a paper stating where they are going to college, and what education they plan to pursue. Of course it’s not the same as the athletic signing, but it seems to me that more emphasis is being put on the intellectual pursuits. I know that at Westchester, this signing event took place because my daughter participated.
    I also agree with Henderss that education and schools in general need to recognize the academically able students, and I think that one way to do this is by using pre-assessment to see what students already know, and then set acceleration in place depending on the results. I wonder how much differentiation is taking place, as this is very time-consuming.

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  13. my Ah ha moment was on page17, :post-sputnik era when american policymakers and the public focused on the need to improve the quality of education for gifted children who wee seen as a valuable nation resource. I find this ironic with all the cuts going on with NASA right now.

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  14. in response to henderss post of June 7th, i agree the emphasis is always on athletes signing for college of their choice; rarely do we see announcements about students being accepted because of their academic achievements. This sends the wrong message to those who are working hard to maintain their high averages.

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  15. I agree with several of the comments concerning the different valuation of academic vs athletic ability. We are always doing that little bit extra for the athletes so they can remain eligible for athletic competition, and this is fine because this may be the best way to keep these students in school and motivated, but the highly gifted seem to be passed over because "they are going to be OK because they are so smart anyway". These students need to be recognized and allowed to extend their learning experiences, and not just a "good going, you are commended on the TAKS test again this year." They need to know it is OK to be smart. Teachers do recognize students in the classroom but recognition needs to come from higher level administrators to be meaninful for the students. Other students need to see this recognition for it to have an affect in the school. It can be done, because we do it for the athletes all the time now.

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  16. pg 1 - My a ha moment was the quote from the student that attended the college for early entrance. The way the boy describes high school compared to college was very enlightening. I think that with experience you gain an understanding of this point of view, but until then, how can you relate to kids like this? They are so different from the average kid. I think that this book will be helpful for me in gaining knowledge to allow me to view things differently than I currently do.

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  17. Agreed oliverl! Given the time and opportunities for gifted students to explore their academic interests will not hinder their learning on the contrary it will set them free to continue to new heights and further academic exploration. All they should receive is support, praise and encouragement for taking an active stance in their academic careers. I love the sentence at the end of the paragraph stating “and the price may be the slow but steady erosion of American excellence” (page 15). Science vocabulary words being applied to other contexts!

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  18. First, I’d like to say that I found it interesting that some (educators) frown upon the idea of early college entrance. I understand that a student must be socially and emotionally mature (at minimum) to deal with the demands and challenges of college life but if a student is mature in these aspects why not allow them the opportunity to catapult from high school or even middle school into college. The following statement makes sense: “Those who know that academic acceleration works when an accelerative strategy is well-matched to a student’s needs and is well-timed and planned naturally wonder why acceleration is not more widely embraced by educators” (page 16). Tailoring the curriculum to each student’s specific needs, especially a gifted student, is what the main focus should be as a team composed of teachers, parents and administrators for the academic and emotional benefit of the student. Not on the notion that “teachers sometimes fear that accelerating a child will diminish the self-esteem of other students” (page 16).
    My “ah-ha” moment is found in the Chapter 2 section titled Trends in Early College Entrance. It never ceases to amaze me how the government gets excited about a particular issue, in this case “the gifted”, and seems to convert it into a political “fad;” “the gifted education movement is characterized by the swinging pendulum that highlights the extremes of any movement” (page 17). As expected of a fad it lasts a short while until the newest “fad” or issue comes along and catches the governments attention so they then decide to move on to a new issue. After a couple of years they revisit the issue again, make so called “modifications” to federal programs, grants or curriculum, drop the issue, pick it up again, etc. It’s a never ending cycle that seems to be politically and financially motivated. It was an eye-opener to read that “early entrance into college has been perceived as more acceptable during times of war-when the nation has a vested interest in accelerating the learning process”(page 18). It is sad to read that “during World War II, for instance, the need was recognized to get young able men into and out of college faster so they could help in the war effort” (page 18). It’s as if our government comes to the “aid” of these gifted students when it needs to serve from them in pursuit of accomplishing a politically charged effort. For example, the “post-Sputnik period when American policymakers and the public focused on the need to improve the quality of education for gifted children who were seen as a valuable national resource” (page 17), it should be the governments agenda to continually serve the needs of these “gifted” students not only during times of need and war but times of peace and prosperity.

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  19. Svankampen, I concur! This excerpt was powerful. I find that most students are ashamed of being academically curious about what’s “going on over the rainbow.” I can imagine that for gifted students its perhaps more difficult knowing they are different in a positive way but on the other hand I can also think of some students who are above average in the maturity department and “wear” their curiosity proudly thus demanding respect from their peers. It’s refreshing to see that in the classroom.

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  20. PKassir - I so agree with you - chapt. 2 left me feeling very depressed too. So much potential wasted - potential we need desperately to help stop everything being outsourced to India.

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  21. jcanon, your comment "One of my "AH Ha" moments was the statement that "grouping students by chronological age has been a common practice in classrooms in the U.S. for only the last century or so" reminded me of the Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder(hey, I am an elementary school librarian). When Laura takes her first teaching job she has a school with students ranging in age from 5 to 16. She has 2 students using the same book, yet one is mastering the material and the other isn't so she gives them different assignments based on their ability.

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  22. Well, I'm behind in posting this because I had the dates wrong (and I had a baby 12 days ago,so my sense of time and space is seriously altered), so pardon the lateness. My "a-ha" moment came early on, when I was pleased to see on page 4 that Muratori stressed the fact that her "agenda in writing...[was] not to convert" the reader into becoming a believer in early entrance for all bright students but to open us up to the idea of it for some. As someone who thoroughly enjoyed my high school years even though I may not have been particularly challenged, I can't imagine wanting to head to college earlier. I tend to believe what many do, as mentioned on page 14, that there may be many social and emotional "consequences" if one was to enter college early. As an educator, I can't say that I've taught too many students who I believe would profit from this, so my interest is piqued.

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  23. oliverel, one of my comments for question 3 seems to echo your thoughts as well--I do not see intellectualism rewarded or revered nearly as much as I do athleticism. While students are lauded for making the winning play or going to states, others still seem to shirk from being labeled "smart" (apparently it's still a synonym for "nerdy" or "goody-goody" or something!) or get embarrassed when someone highlights a high test score or grade. It's like they said on page 13--we're a superpower that fails to nurture some of our brightest future leaders!

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  24. Sorry I'm late to the party. For me there really wern't any A-ha moments, more like moments where I was shaking my head wondering what can we do to change what's going on? It seems that part of the problem is rooted in what is traditional education. On page two Muratori writes, "for too many graduating seniors, the final year of high school is a lost opportunity that needs to be relclaimed." Maybe it time to either 1)change how we view traditiona twelve year schools or 2) figure out a way (such as a senior year portfolio presentation) that will keep high schoolers engaged.
    My second "A-ha" moment came when I was reading about how Pre-AP and AP courses are viewed as a way push kids along. How often to administrators brag about the number of students in Pre AP courses; when those students cannot keep up with the challenges? What happens next? Those students become a problem in class, taking away from the experience of those students who really should be there. Standards must be set and parents need to know what those standard are.

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  25. Victoria GutierrezJune 21, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    PKassir,
    I couldn't agree more with your June 7th, comment, "I was glad to read on page 4 that this book was not going to be a book that would try to convince the readers that early entrance to college is always the best option for highly gifted students." I too have found the book to be very informative and extrememly unbiased. In no way to I feel pressured to promote early entrance, but rather, obligated to make the information available for consideration.

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  26. in response to Of Life, Education, E-bay, Travel & Books said...
    posted on 6/6 I agree with the Texas view of education. Sports rule! That is the mindset of our great state. I do not think it is cynical if it is true. When I talk with other teachers I am always amazed at how they view education. So many have given up on actually having any impact, since what they do isn't really important (that is the message that they receive). I hope that it will change! I always tell my kids how important it is to get a great education.

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  27. Oliverl said "We are always doing that little bit extra for the athletes so they can remain eligible for athletic competition, and this is fine because this may be the best way to keep these students in school" I strongly disagree with this statement. As a coach and GT teacher, are we not then part of the problem? If we are willing to treat the athletes differently, then they expect it. Eventually what happens? The kid is in college and expecting a professor to "give" them a grade. STOP IT! I have never gone to a teacher and asked for a grade increase, let the kid know that they are a student/athlete. Student first. As far as recognition for our brighter kids, that starts from the top. If administrators value the fact that these are the kids that will bring worldwide recodgition to any school, they will change their opinions about them. Sorry for the rant.

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  28. Victoria GutierrezJuly 12, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    "...for thos who truly need the (early college entrance)option, the experience may indeed be as powerful as leacing Kansas to enter the Land of Oz" (9). What an excellent analogy. Unbeknownst to most, GT students go through high school struggling with the black and white curriculum and grading requirements; however, with early entrance, students are able to put their "Emerald City" glasses on and succeede.

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