“The emotional well-being of a child must be considered if they are to grow and learn in a healthy manner.”
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 #1, Great Gripes Movie #2, Great Gripes Movie #3, Great 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:
- No one explains what being gifted is all about – it’s kept a big secret
- School is too easy and too boring.
- Parents, teachers, and friends expect us to be perfect all the time.
- Friends who really understand us are few and far between.
- Kids often tease us about being smart.
- We feel overwhelmed by the number of things we can do in life.
- We feel different and alienated.
- We worry about world problems and feel helpless to do anything about them.
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.
Last Thursday, Dr. Bertie Kingore was the keynote speaker at TAGT. As always, Dr. Kingore was a very motivating and inspirational speaker. Her topic? The Rights of Gifted Learners When Life-Long Learning is the Goal. A topic, that as educators and advocates of the gifted, we can never hear or spread too much. Because it’s such a vital issue, I thought it was important that I share Dr. Kingore’s words.
Right #1: Continuous learning
Gifted learners have the right to experience continuous learning. Preassessment is a strategy that allows us to eliminate redundancy in learning, just one of many ways we can continue to motivate gifted learners to achieve their potential. Other strategies that allow for continuous learning? Acceleration, curriculum compacting, and cluster grouping are all cornerstones of gifted education. Dr. Kingore says that when making instructional decisions, there are some key questions that must be asked:
- Is this an appropriate learning experiences?
- Can all kids do this?
- Should all kids do this?
- Does it promote critical thinking, as well as depth and complexity, beyond grade level?
- Is the pace of instruction appropriate?
Right #2: Uniqueness
Gifted learners have a right to their uniqueness. And the culture in a gifted classroom should respect that uniqueness and the ideas that come from gifted learners. Dr. Kingore posed the following question the group: What is the worst thing you can do for gifted learners? The answer? Nothing. Think about that for a minute. Feel free to reply to this blog with your thoughts.
Right #3: Unconditional Encouragement
Gifted learners need to be reminded that it’s struggle that pays off in the end, so instead of recognizing the finished product all the time, let’s take the time to discuss a student’s effort, including any mistakes made in the process. Take note when a student selects a difficult task or utilizes various strategies and discuss the value in learning and inquiry. Model how to reflect and assess, and expect students to do the same. Encourage GB, XL, and 4Me. That’s going beyond, extending the learning challenge, and what will help me learn more.
The key to success is a teacher who likes gifted kids and is quite accomplished at differentiating instruction. Definitely a tall order, but one that can be obtained with committment.
Right #4: In-depth Study and Long-Term Learning
Gifted learners deserve the right to be experts before their time (or before the timeline dictated by state-mandated standards). In fact, Dr. Kingore shared a quote from Nodding (2009), which I think warrants further conversation: “Over-promoting teaching to standards and tests reduces content to Cliffs Notes for everything and forecloses learning to think.” Anyone care to comment?
With the focus on state standards and testing, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find time for students to particpate in in-depth study. But there are a host of strategies that allow for continuous learning that support in-depth study as well. In addition to the strategies mentioned above, Expert Quest (student-developed learning stations) permits students to read, write, research and create about topics that interest them. Consider using replacement tasks in your classroom. If a student is already proficient at something, why torture him or her by making him/her do the activity anyway? Replace the activity with something more appropriate, rewarding, and challenging. A possible resource that would further a student’s learning? Any one of the thousands of instructional videos found at the Khan Academy.
While I’m not nearly as eloquent as Bertie Kingore, I hope I have gotten her point across. Our goal, as gifted educators, is three-fold: 1) be an advocate, 2) make a difference, and 3) maximize potential. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got some work to do. Read the rest of this entry