Challenges from Within

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Each person will summarize the last 2 components (Social & Emotional Issues and Profiles of the Gifted) of today’s training in three sentences or less. Each person will need to share their summary with the rest of the group. It’s okay to refine your summary after getting input from others. Now that everyone at the table has shared, synthesize everyone’s thinking to come up with one 3-sentence summary. Add a fourth sentence, “This is important because . . .” Blog Splash the group summary in the comment section of this post.

The 8 Great Gripes

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This Quick Write is all about the 8 great gripes.  You can write about one particular gripe, or a combination of gripes.  You may have a personal connection, whether it’s with yourself, a family member, or a student.  Remember, the goal of a Quick Write is not to worry about spelling and grammar (although it should be readable).  Rather the goal is to write your initial honest reactions to the prompt.  When the timer goes off, you will have one minute to wrap up your thoughts.

Now that you’ve watched the four movies (Great Gripes Movie #1Great Gripes Movie #2Great Gripes Movie #3Great Gripes Movie #4) that highlight the 8 greatest gripes of gifted kids, it’s time to reflect on those challenges and respond.  Here are the 8 great gripes:

  1. No one explains what being gifted is all about – it’s kept a big secret
  2. School is too easy and too boring.
  3. Parents, teachers, and friends expect us to be perfect all the time.
  4. Friends who really understand us are few and far between.
  5. Kids often tease us about being smart.
  6. We feel overwhelmed by the number of things we can do in life.
  7. We feel different and alienated.
  8. We worry about world problems and feel helpless to do anything about them.

Wonder

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Wonder

Use this prompt as the beginning of your response after watching the Wonder book trailer on YouTube.  Click here to view the trailer again.  Respond by posting a comment.  Share this post and its comments through Twitter, Facebook, Google +, email, or LinkedIn.

After watching the Wonder trailer . . .

Don’t forget to take the poll – After watching the 3 book trailers, rank the books in the order you would like to read them.

Creating Selective Consumers

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For the past few weeks I’ve been reading a lot about underachieving gifted kids, including the subset known as selective consumers.  In Jim Delisle’s book, When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers, he introduces that term.  Previously referred to as non-producers, he suggests selective consumer.  I do like that much better.  The reality is that usually these selective consumers are producing, although they’re not always producing what we need them to produce.  And they are truly being selective about what they process.  Typically, these students are producing all sorts of wonderful things . . .they just don’t align with curricular expectations.  What worries me about selective consumers is that there is a very thin line between that and a true underachiever.  I really feel that if a student continually chooses to zone out, moving in and out of assignments, projects and discussions, then gaps will begin to form.  Often, a gifted learner can not pay attention, but still do the work because it’s knowledge he already has.  But if that happens continually, then eventually he’ll be missing out on too much and not be able to perform as he once could have.  Now it’s not necessarily that he doesn’t want to participate, he can’t and the frustration grows.  It’s such a vicious cycle.  And what makes it even more of a challenge is that there are standards (a lot of them) that must be taught and there’s not really a lot of give on that.  But this is also where a teacher’s creativity comes into play.  How can we make the standards relevant to students based on their interests.  Challenging?  Yes!  Doable?  Absolutely!  And worth it in the end!  Read about how Jim Delisle did this when he first began his teaching career in this interview, Dumbing Down America.

To me, this is why differentiation is so important.  Knowing how to preassess, compact, group, and give choice is important for all kids.  But it’s absolutely critical for gifted learners.  It acknowledges what they already know, offers them choice,and allows them to explore topics and issues that are relevant to them.  But that is for another day.

Anastasia Krupnik

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There are a handful of books that I’ve kept from my childhood.  Storylines that resonated with me, characters I connected with.  These books now line a shelf in my guest room and hold a special place in my heart.  But out of all those books, one is at the top of the list, Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry.   If you don’t know Anastasia, allow me to introduce her.  She is a bright, quirky ten-year old girl, the only daughter oldest child of a painter and a Harvard poetry professor.  She has a pet fish, Frank, and is about to become a big sister, something she is none too happy about realizes might be a wonderful thing.  And she is a master list maker.  In fact, she has a green spiral notebook she keeps all of her lists in; a list of words, beginnings of poems, and important events.  On page fourteen, she keeps a list of things she loves and things she hates; the items are always being updated.  It is through Anastasia’s musings that we learn about the trials of being ten.  Whether she’s mourning the disappearance of her wart or grappling with her grandmother’s dementia, you can see Anastasia’s life as a ten-year old over the course of a year in fifth grade.  Do you remember when you were ten?  How things would change from day-to-day?  How you might struggle to understand what was going on in your world?  Lois Lowry does such a great an impressive job of creating a real character, someone who really does exist, to some degree, in all of us, no matter what our age.  While the experiences of Anastasia are real and sometimes serious, Lowry uses humor to connect the reader and this young, freckle-faced girl.  It is the combination of humor and reality that has allowed me to enjoy Anastasia both as a ten-year old and a forty-something year old.

Not everyone is a list maker, but we all experience the things that Anastasia experiences– love, birth, and death.  Even though this book was first published over thirty years ago, Lowry really has created a timeless story that can still be enjoyed by kids readers of all ages, even in 2013.  Lowry went on to write an Anastasia series, chronicling the challenges of growing up.  As I grew up, I moved away from Anastasia and into different genres and authors.  After rereading Anastasia Krupnik, I think it’s time to spend some more time with her.

 

 

Why Differentiation?

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Now that we’ve learned a bit about differentiation and some of the strategies that work really well for gifted learners, here’s your chance to process your thinking.  What are some points you’re still thinking about?  What action do you want to take right away?  What big ideas have you captured this morning?  Need help getting started?  Use some of the sentence stems to help get your started.  You can also use this blog to ask additional questions you may still have about differentiation.

  • ___ is significant due to . . .
  • It’s important to note . . .  since . . .
  • ___ is especially relevant due to . . .
  • ___ is the same as/is different from . . .
  • Although ___ still/yet . . .

 

 

The 8 Great Gripes of Gifted Kids

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This Quick Write is all about the 8 great gripes.  You can write about one particular gripe, or a combination of gripes.  You may have a personal connection, whether it’s with yourself, a family member, or a student.  Remember, the goal of a Quick Write is not to worry about spelling and grammar (although it should be readable).  Rather the goal is to write your initial honest reactions to the prompt.  When the timer goes off, you will have one minute to wrap up your thoughts.

Now that you’ve watched the four movies (Great Gripes Movie #1Great Gripes Movie #2Great Gripes Movie #3Great Gripes Movie #4) that highlight the 8 greatest gripes of gifted kids, it’s time to reflect on those challenges and respond.  Here are the 8 great gripes:

  1.  No one explains what being gifted is all about – it’s kept a big secret
  2. School is too easy and too boring.
  3. Parents, teachers, and friends expect us to be perfect all the time.
  4. Friends who really understand us are few and far between.
  5. Kids often tease us about being smart.
  6. We feel overwhelmed by the number of things we can do in life.
  7. We feel different and alienated.
  8. We worry about world problems and feel helpless to do anything about them.

Challenges from Within

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Each person will summarize the last 2 components (Social & Emotional Issues and Profiles of the Gifted) of today’s training in three sentences or less. Each person will need to share their summary with the rest of the group. It’s okay to refine your summary after getting input from others. Now that everyone at the table has shared, synthesize everyone’s thinking to come up with one 3-sentence summary. Add a fourth sentence, “This is important because . . .” Blog Splash the group summary in the comment section of this post.

Non-Fiction in January

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Well, 2014 is off to a good start. Apparently I read more non-fiction than I realized.  The five books I’ve read this year have all been stellar, too.

I loved Army Camels: Texas Ships of the Desert.  It’s such a small piece of random Texas history  that so few people know about.  What a neat book to have in a 4th or 7th grade social studies class.  It could be that spark that gets a kid interested in Texas history.

Texas Camels

To Dare Mighty Things: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt is a wonderful biography of Teddy Roosevelt.  I thought the author did a great job of hitting the highlights of such an accomplished public figure.  There are so many things Roosevelt is known for and this book, with it’s colorful, active pictures does a nice job of introducing Roosevelt’s many facets.  I could see using it as a springboard into students researching different aspects of his life.  It’s also a great model for students on how to pick those really key, most important topics that you want to write about.  Have you read The Camping Trip That Changed America by Barb Rosenstock?  It pairs nicely with To Dare Mighty Things.

Teddy Roosevelt

After spending a week with the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham a few years ago, I naturally gravitate towards books like We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March and Birmingham, 1963.  I love how both of them focused on the role of children in Birmingham’s fight for equality.  Birmingham, 1963 is a bit harder to read; it’s about the four victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.  But you’ll absolutely want to include it in any study of the era.  And We’ve Got a Job is a detailed look at the events of 1963 through the eyes of four children who participated in different ways.  Both great resources that will heighten interest in this era.

Birmingham 1963     We've Got a Job

Locomotive had been on my to read list for so long and I’m so glad I finally got to it.  Gorgeous, detailed illustrations that give the reader a deep understanding of the Transcontinental Railroad. Another great resource to include in an American History class; much more enjoyable than reading the textbook I’m sure.  And congratulations to Brian Floca.  Just last week it was announced that Locomotive won the 2014 Caldecott.  Definitely well deserved!

Locomotive

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014! Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction titles.  My goal is to read 25 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 5/25 complete!