Again, here I am the odd one out since the students I assist are 6 and 7 year old! The one thing I do is to let them know that the library is their home away from home. I give out early morning library passes and after you've eaten your lunch passes. All the PGP & GT kids come and hang out with each other and explore the computers to their hearts content. They love Proptopica and Club Penguin - G Rated kids interative games.
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
Sorry, this was supposed to be for question 1.
2. As a middle school teacher I think the best way to help our students with unique cognitive abilities and circumstances academically is to provide a differentiated classroom instructional setting and evaluation method. Giving student’s choices on what they do and how they will demonstrate mastery leaves the subject more open ended and does not set an artificial learning cap on the students. Instead of the “What do I need to do for an “A”, or “How much do I have to do so the teacher will leave me alone” approach students learn all that they are capable of learning. Emotionally I think we need to listen to the students. If they have a teacher that they trust they will tell us what they need emotionally. They may not use that word but they will talk to us.
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.
Keeping all students challenged is a constant juggling act in what I teach. Some come to my class knowing almost everything I will say for the year but others are hopelessly behind the average 9th grader ( which really upsets some parents) Geography is a lot of spatial reasoning and it requires some development. The information in this book on page 21 about keeping high school challenging for all makes me wish at times that we did do AP Human Geography for the GT students who were already good with our concepts, instead of just putting all English GT students in Pre-ap gt sections and saying here it is!! Some of my students can take concepts and further develop them due to more world experience either by traveling or reading. and a different thought, several years ago when I was at Northbrook there were more students going to TAMS since there were not that many AP classes available at NHS. Once I even went to the TAMS meeting with a student because she was trying to convince her familiy (hispanic) that she would like to go away to learn more, but their family ties/ culture was too strong. There are so many layers of teaching and each student is wrapped up in a different way so there is a multitude of approaches to every one.
Comment to As Life-Thanks for keeping the library open. That is one place that I know a lot of my students like to visit. Students can go there, do some individual research on a topic, instead of being bored by something being repeated to them that they have known for years.
I would take into consideration the student's abilities and special circumstances (page 9). Some students will manage fine by just accelerating their coursework, while others may be cognitively, socially, and emotionally ready and should go beyond just acceleration - perhaps whole-grade advancement. Although it is stated on page 4, that some students will be served best by full-time early entrance to college,or dual enrollment... I see how this idea relates to our 4th and 5th Grade. These students are served well by extending their opportunity for learning in fields that they excel in like math where they are allowed to take math courses at the middle school level.
In response to theo... at the age we teach (4th Grade) working with the parent and the student to find out what is best for the child and make it a priority to nurture their special unique abilities is a wonderful strategy to better serve our kiddos...do I sense IEP's in the near future for our GT students?
On p 21, Stanley is quoted as believing that "through flexible curricular planning, most talented students could remain challenged through their high school years without entering college on a full-time basis". I think it is imperative, as teachers of the these students, to provide accelerative and enriching opportunities to those who desire academic challenges. IEP's are necessary to the progress of these students. and through profiles have created that type of learning for my students. Each student has his or her own learning style and passions that neeed to be addressed. I agree with Susan that they need their learning extended through opportunities in fields that they excel in. Henderss says there are many layers of teaching and each student is wrapped up in a different way, so there are a multitude of different approaches to every one. I really like that.
One way that I assist students with unique cognitive abilities is by finding out through an interest survey what excites my students intellectually. This is a perfect launching point for independent research, and allowing the students to delve into a topic further. As pages 35-36, indicate, there are a “Smorgasbord” of options available to gifted students. To meet their social and emotional needs, I respect each and every student individualities and quirks. I value each one’s personality. I work very hard at developing a good relationship with each one of my students. I make it a point to allow students to work with other gifted students. This is one of the reasons why our students attend the SPIRAL program.
I intend to give my g/t class more choices. I did this on a test, i gave three essays and they could pick the two they wanted to answer. I also intend to give them more choices in class; such as enrichment activities to work on if i feel they have mastered the current objectives. I intend to give them more projects they can work on. i did this with an african ecosystem project and at first they were overwhelmed because i was not laying out step by step what they had to do. I had them answer questions on their own and then create their power point..I would say this is supported by the quote on page 15, "america's school system keeps bright students in line by forcing hem to learn in a lock-step manner with their classmates'
In response to henderss comment on June 7th, i agree keeping every student challenged is a big juggling act. in my class of 23, some of them knew more than i did about certain topics while i had some who knew very little. i felt like i was depriving those who knew it all in order to make sure everyone else was getting the information needed to pass the TAKS test.
I agree with the need for "flexibility and creativity in curricular planning" is key to helping students with unique cognitive abilities. I think that we must listen to our students and get to know them. Don't just ask them about school, try to connect with them in a real and meaningful way. (pg 9)
In response to mixkid...YEAH to giving your students more choice. This truly empowers the GT student and allows them to feel more "in control" of their learning and educational goals! A lot of time teachers feel it is their responsibility to do all of the work when it comes to adjusting curriculum to meet the needs and challenge their GT students. Offering students choices allows the teacher to share control over the differentiation process making both parties satisfied and happy in the end!
Hendrs, Housman, which is my school is a feeder school to Northbrook. We too come up against the Hispanic Culture and have to convince anxious parents it's OK for their students to leave campus once a week to go to Bendwood. We also have to explain just what G/T is. Right now we have way more identified Hispanic / Bilingual children than Anglo children.
Mixkid - Yeah from me too for giving kids choices. One thing I love about technology is that is so easy to give the G/T kids an outlet. With one 4th grade glass everyone made a Trading Card but the G/T kids made Animtos too. They loved it. I'm facilitating the 11 Tools on my campus so technology is on the brain.
Assisting gifted students and students in general is a challenge. I think it is wise to begin with reliable and genuine assessment to identify actual grade-level skills, unique cognitive ability concrete grasp of concepts and solid experiences with subject matter. Upon identifying student needs differentiated instruction is key to tailor instruction and learning to each student needs. I concur that as an educator we must “help these (gifted) students and their concerned parents by recommending individualized programs that take into account the students’ unique academic, social, and emotional needs, as well as the resources to which they have access.” We as parents, educators, counselors, administrators and as a community must come together and develop individualized curriculums (academic and social/emotional) to assist in the guidance of cognitive and social/emotional maturity of a student contemplating early college entrance.
GT students are unique precisely because of that unique combination of cognitive skills and social/emotional needs. While I feel as though I am lucky enough to teach in a school and district where I don't see "anti-intellectualism" as an issue when it comes to these students, I do think, as a teacher, I am hesitant to let go of some of the control necessary to fully facilitate those students. In numerous GT classes we are told about individual study plans, differentiated instruction, etc., to keep each student motivated, challenged, and interested. It seems daunting and I worry that a student (especially a GT student who seems turned off in class and doesn't do a great deal of classwork) will take advantage of that freedom, when I what I need to do is accept that such an open manner of learning is what is needed to really challenge that student and facilitate his or her learning experience in the class.
The comment that I wrote at the end of this chapter was, "Individual Learning Plans." I realize that faced with growing numbers in our classrooms this might seem impractical; however after the routines are established, I think that the room could run smoothly. Last year I began the process of really differenciating intruction. This next school year, I need to take it to the next level.
in response to Oliverl posted on 6/7 I agree with using differentiated instruction and various ways of assessing the students. Every kid responds differently. It is very important to tailor learning to their styles. This is difficult and time consuming, but a must.
jcanon wrote, On p 21, Stanley is quoted as believing that "through flexible curricular planning, most talented students could remain challenged through their high school years without entering college on a full-time basis". I think it is imperative, as teachers of the these students, to provide accelerative and enriching opportunities to those who desire academic challenges. I really agree with this. Through differentiated curriculum I have been able to really create thirty individual lesson plans. It is a lot of work, but in the end it is worth every minute of preparation. I teach Social Studies and Language Arts, so finding lesson ideas is not difficult. I try to challenge my students to make a change in their community and to think globally.
The first way I am going to assist these students is by sharing the book with my collegues. I truly believe that all AP/GT teachers be required to read and partake in this book talk. Unfortunately, many students have passed through my doors continuing to try to conform to a regular high school setting and expectations when I could have offered alternatives mentioned on pg. 25