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Posts Tagged ‘gifted education’

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Not really, but I didn’t get the DigiLitSunday post up this morning.  I have my excuses.  Don’t we all?  But the basic reason was self-doubt.  I battle this as much as anyone. Even some of my favorite authors go through this, so why would I expect anything different of myself?

I’ve been trying to keep up with #cyberPd.  This group is reading and responding to Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading by Vicki Vinton.  This week’s posts are around chapters 7 and 8.  I just now finished chapter 7, so I didn’t do all of my homework.  I was reminded by a friend that this is a self-made assignment and if I don’t want to do it, nobody will care.  That is true, but then I had to re-assess why I am reading and writing in the first place.

I want to be a better reader, a better writer, and a better teacher of both reading and writing.  I believe that I should practice what I preach.  So, for better or worse, here I am.  If you did write a digilit post, link up below.  It’s not too late.

Chapter 7, Creating Opportunities for Readers to Interpret, begins with this epigraph:

We search for patterns, you see, only to find where the patterns break.  And it’s there, in that fissure that we pitch our tents and wait.  –Nicole Krauss

Readers do not build interpretations on what is obvious in a text.  We sit in the fissure of broken patterns, wondering, questioning, testing out our theories, and peeling away the layers the author has set up for us.

I feel I have done a disservice to my gifted students in not helping them understand that we don’t always understand.  Julieanne Harmatz wrote in her reflections about Chs. 7 & 8 that we must embrace confusion as part of learning.  Vicki Vinton shows me how to honor my students’ thinking and hold onto it in order to promote engagement, a sense of agency, and ownership.  They need to understand that not knowing is part of the thinking process. And what’s wrong with going back to the text to re-read?

Have you ever had an Aha moment while reading, and turned back to say, “Oh, that’s what that was about!”?   Of course you have.  Because that is how authors grab us and make us want to read more.  By focusing on the process rather than the product (test, essay, whatever), we can mold our students into problem-solving thinkers.

Reading is a transactional act.  The text comes alive in our minds when we interact using our own interpretations and our own hearts.  Then a story becomes real and meaningful.  We can encourage this flexibility of thought within our classrooms.  Vicki Vinton helps show us how.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

quotesgram.com

quotesgram.com

 

Yesterday I tweeted a call for topic ideas.  Julianne suggested balance.  And now I’m stuck.  I liked that this was a topic that would make people think, but I wasn’t prepared for being stuck.

Balance is so open to interpretation.  Are we thinking about the balance of reading to writing, technology to paper, challenging to easy?  There are so many ways we can look at balance.  In my own life, I need to balance work with play, eating healthy foods, using my time wisely, and on and on.

I look at each one of my students as a small balancing act.  I need to give them enough but not too much.  This week we were behind.  Most of my students had spent their class time on creating digital Wonder presentations, so they hadn’t completed their writing assignments (Slice of Life and Reader response).  A few of them were actually in a panic over getting it all done.  The title of the day was “Finish it Friday.”

When I announced that I wanted to do a poetry activity, I heard groans.  I insisted that we all stop and take 5 minutes to write together.  This turned out to be a good decision.  Creative juices flowed.  My kids turned back to technology not as a chore but as a choice.  I posted some of the results on Poetry Friday.

Teaching gifted students is always a balancing act.  I want to challenge them to think deeper and work harder, and yet, I cannot forget that they are children.  They need creative play as well.  The best lessons are ones that balance the two.  The funny thing about my kids is even if the assignment is not all that creative, they find a way to interject their own voices.  They will be heard.

Kaiden’s presentation on how books are made included his own sense of humor as well as information on how paper became books.

Do you have "Da Knawledge?"

Do you have “Da Knawledge?”

 

Please add the link to your digital literacy blog post.

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Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Without-Hard-Work
This was the second week of school here in South Louisiana. We started the hard work of teaching and learning. I celebrate that my students and I began the process of reading and writing together. Having my students move from recreational reading to reading for meaning is not an easy task. While I want them to have free reading time, and I’m determined to build this into our time together, I also want them to become critical readers. This is hard work. We will find value in this hard work together.

I celebrate the hard work of my daughter, Maggie. She is a public defender in a nearby parish. This week she had a trial, only her second one. She worked long hours and talked through the case with her father and grandmother and, while I didn’t understand all the lingo, I enjoyed this hard and gratifying work. In the end, the prosecuter dismissed the case. Maggie received lots of kudos from her colleagues. My mother-in-law is so proud when she gets calls from others in the business saying what an impressive lawyer Maggie is. There can be joy in hard work when you care about the work you do, and Maggie is one of the most caring people I know.

I celebrate the hard work of my gifted team. We will be starting our 6th grade enrichment project this week. We are all putting in extra time to research and prepare. This year we are planning to participate in the Unsung Hero Project by the Lowell Milken Foundation. This is an amazing project, and I look forward to instilling the joy of discovery and the satisfaction of hard work with our students this year.

What hard work are you celebrating today?

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Magic Mike and Magic Matt

Magic Mike and Magic Matt

I received my masters in gifted education in 1999. I have been teaching gifted students for the last eight years, but only this year was I able to put into practice the idea of using mentors. In a chapter titled “The Role of Gifted Personnel in Counseling the Gifted” by Joyce Van Tassel-Braska and Lee Baska, the writers include mentorships as a strategy for addressing the special affective needs of gifted children, needs such as “understanding one’s differences, yet recognizing one’s similarities to others and developing skills in areas that will nurture both cognitive and affective development.”

What they do not say is how the mentor relationship is as rewarding to the mentor as to the mentee. I have had the privilege of offering a mentorship to my 5th grade student Matthew who dubbed himself “Magic Matt” years ago. I just happen to know the family of a famous magician in New Orleans, Michael Dardant. Michael visited with Matthew for the first time back in February. I wrote about it here.

A magical package arrives.

A magical package arrives.

Since then, Michael has emailed with Matthew and sent a package of magical stuff. When Michael contacted me to say he was coming by for another visit, I was thrilled. On Wednesday last week, he personally delivered a magician’s jacket to Matthew. And once again taught Matthew a few tricks. As a bystander learning the slights, I am still in awe. Even knowing how they are done, I could not possible execute the trick. There is a talent in the slight of hand, the patter, and even the stance of the magician.

After witnessing again the power of mentorship, I told Michael by text, “You have become someone’s hero.” I can feel Michael’s passion about magic and his increasing interest in this relationship.

Matthew performed for the Mother’s Day program at school on Friday. He was a featured performer on the sidewalk outside a local gallery for Art Walk on Saturday night. He is well on his way to following Michael’s footsteps. I do not have a crystal ball to predict the future, but I am convinced that mentorships work. (And wearing a red jacket helps.)

Matthew amazes children and adults with his slight of hand and card tricks.

Matthew amazes children and adults with his slight of hand and card tricks.

Michael is on his way to the world championships of magic in Italy this summer. Watch his promotional video (He has a hilarious Cajun accent.) and consider supporting his trip.

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

IMG_4208

Take the wonder tour of Iberia Parish. Our 6th grade gifted students culminated their year long enrichment project with a presentation of the Wonders of Iberia Parish. The video was created from a PowerPoint slide show of the 10 wonders. Students created a list of possible wonders after meeting with the director of the Iberia Parish Tourist Commission. They created a survey on Survey Monkey. To display the results, each student painted a wonder image. These images have been glued to a quilt top. They also researched and wrote a blurb for a selected wonder.

The quilt is on display at the Bayou Teche Museum on Main Street in New Iberia. The video is posted on the Iberia Parish Tourist Center website.

Click the link below to find more digital literacy posts. Link up your digital literacy posts here:

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Every month the gifted 6th grade students in our parish (district) are getting together to work on a collaborative project. We started this program four years ago as a way of overcoming 6th grade underachievement and to get all our students together for one purpose. In our district there are often only one or two gifted students in each grade in each school. Isolation and low motivation were hampering our oldest students. This program has also helped the students as they move on to middle school in 7th grade.

This week was our second meeting with these students. The theme for this year is Wonder. We are looking at different Wonders of the World as well as reading Wonder and thinking about other wonders such as art and oak trees. I led a technology lesson on the use of Thinglink. I opened the program and led them through step by step by making a mock Thinglink on cats. Then I showed them one I had done on the Aurora Borealis.

While many technology lessons were learned (how to link, fair use of images, and reliable sources), I don’t think the students learned much about their chosen topic. I know this because I asked my sixth graders to present their Thinglinks to the other students in our class. One student presented his Thinglink about Mt. Everest. He didn’t even know where it was located. So what was the problem?

Expectations! Ah, yes. When I introduced using the Thinglink, I did not set up expectations through a rubric. Today, I am working to solve that issue before I have my own students try Thinglink. We are beginning quarterly book talks. Thinglink would make a great site for creating a book talk.

I searched online for rubrics for Thinglink. Here is one in pdf form by Spokane Schools.

I edited another rubric using some of my own requirements. The downfall in my lesson for the 6th graders was I did not set up a content requirement ahead of time. If I’m not intentional, students will play with the app adding in link after link without ever learning anything about the topic. Here is a general RubricforThinglinkProject I created for Thinglink projects.

https://www.thinglink.com/scene/571760040139030530 (Click here to go to Thinglink on Analyzing Tone.)

Thinglink is a great app for teaching as well as for student projects. I need to teach my students about tone in literature and poetry. I found a blog post complete with images and videos to analyze. So for my lesson on tone, I linked up a Thinglink. (The content for this Thinglink was gathered from David Sebek.) You are welcome to use it, but please let me know how it goes.

Link up your Digital Literacy Sunday posts here with Mr. Linky.

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  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

I continue to try my hand at creative endeavors. #CLMOOC Challenge for this week is fairly easy, a 5 image story. I got the Tapestry app on my phone (free), so it was easy to upload 5 silly shots of my cat hiding in a grocery bag. It was as though she thought she was invisible. We are a little nutty about our animals. I took some shots of this cat trick and made a 5 image Tapestry story. Unfortunately, wordpress does not embed Tapestry. Click on the link. I promise it’ll only take a second. Can you add the words?

https://readtapestry.com/s/ZDImIgGiA/

Mimi in a bag

Last week I got my brain fried in pre-AP training. I finally had some time to process and work with a frame that my colleague Beth and I came up with. We want to use the theme of Wonder for our year. I tried Wonderopolis with my students a few times last year and they loved it. In my thinking/planning journal we brainstormed what each letter could stand for and began planning to use this format for our daily language lesson. I’m thinking it can guide my whole week.

Wonder frame

I am such a teacher-geek passionate teacher that I spent hours planning out Wonder frames for the school year.

First I selected an interesting Wonder from Wonderopolis, such as Fireflies. Each Wonder includes a video, a nonfiction text passage, vocabulary, links, and interactive quizes. A teacher’s dream website! I mean who doesn’t get excited about learning about bioluminescence?

On Monday, students will read and paraphrase a quote: “All that I know about us is that beautiful things never last, that’s why fireflies flash.”

On Tuesday, they will analyze a Robert Frost poem about fireflies: (Underline the word(s) that fireflies are compared to in the poem and explain how they are similar to fireflies.)
“Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
And here on earth come emulating flies,
That though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart)
Achieve at times a very star-like start.
Only, of course, they can’t sustain the part.” Robert Frost

On Wednesday, they will define bioluminescence and use it in a short paragraph.

On Thursday, they will edit this sentence, “Fireflies may be none for there glow power but their knot alone. ”
On Friday, they will read another passage from Mental Floss and make an inference.

I can only imagine how my classroom will be buzzing about fireflies. In the meantime, my students will be able to read their own choices (I am determined to channel Donalyn Miller this year) and will be writing their own pieces during writing workshop. I’m excited to find a way to feel like I am incorporating valuable lessons without sacrificing student choice. Here is a pdf file of the Wonder template for ELA (2).

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