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Posts Tagged ‘teaching gifted’

Discover. Play. Build.

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

On this gloomy Saturday morning, I was drinking my coffee and reading blog posts. Each one added wisdom to my thinking. And I still wasn’t sure what to write today. One blog post suggested that I just open up the page and begin. Another suggested using the month of November to think about gratitude. So here I am, opening the window of a post and writing what I am grateful for this week.

New students: I was apprehensive, as always, to receive new students. This happens in my class around this time of year because the evaluators have finished testing young referrals. This week, I welcomed 4 new gifted students. These new kiddos are so excited to be in the gifted class that they are eager and ready. They love that we blog. They each wrote their first post. “And what? We can read whatever we want!” One new guy read 4 Seymour Simon books this week!

My other students have embraced the new ones, and, so far, so good, we are becoming a new community of learners.

Authors: I love authors, and meeting them face to face is such a thrill. Last weekend I attended the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge. Right before the tornado warning closed down the festival, I met Kimberley Griffiths Little. We had a great conversation. She signed a card for one of my students who loves her books. We talked about connections and writing and hugged as friends.

Kimberly Griffiths Little

Student authors: Also at the Book Festival, I had the privilege of leading an awards ceremony for the winners of the Louisiana Letters about Literature and our state writing contest LA Writes! Seeing wide-eyed proud writers dressed in their best, listening to their little voices read their winning pieces, and sharing in the love of reading and writing filled me with joy and gratitude.

Jacob with his award

Jacob with his award

Two of my students placed first in their divisions, Vannisa and Jacob. Neither of them could attend the ceremony because of the weather, so I gave them their packets at school.

Art Lessons and Reaching: My One Little Word for this year is Reach. I’ve dabbled in art for years. When my mother gave me a nice check for my birthday, I decided to reach and commit to a series of art lessons. We meet once a week for an hour. (I always wish for more time.) At first I was very frustrated. I was not feeling successful. This was a huge learning curve as well as a good lesson for me as a teacher. Finally, after eight lessons, I received some wonderful feedback from my instructor. He said he sees a unique style emerging. Wow! That’s so cool! I celebrate Reaching and becoming the artist I want to be. As in writing, I am discovering you must practice, practice, practice to improve. There is No. Other. Way.

Blue heron

Blue heron

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Join the Chalk-a-bration over at Teaching Young Writers.

Join the Chalk-a-bration over at Teaching Young Writers.

Kendall chalking

Believe it or not, it’s the last day of April and the last day I will be posting Chalk-a-bration with this year’s bunch. I hope they will participate from home over the summer, though. My principal enjoys our chalking-up-the-sidewalks-with-poetry so much that she has asked us to decorate the walkways for the mother’s breakfast, “Muffins with Mom,” next week.

As we continue to work our way through the ABC’s of poetry, we have landed on H, and what better form to use for chalketry than haiku. We should coin the term, “Chalku.” Lots of different thoughts going on today. I was thinking about the humidity that has moved in thick and warm; the cold weather has definitely moved on. Vannisa is thinking about the end of school and summer coming. Kendall responded to music I played. I love the variety of ideas as much as the consistency of form.

This humidity makes my hair curl like wild weeds, all helter-skelter.   by Margaret Simon

This humidity
makes my hair curl like wild weeds,
all helter-skelter.
by Margaret Simon

Playing soft and smooth having a fast-paced tempo. Music comes from you. by Kendall

Playing soft and smooth
having a fast-paced tempo.
Music comes from you.
by Kendall

School is almost out. Summer means no more homework. Summer's almost here. by Vannisa

School is almost out.
Summer means no more homework.
Summer’s almost here.
by Vannisa

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Discover. Play. Build.

Snowy mix

The sun is coming up. The ice still glitters on the trees. Soon it will all melt. Yesterday, the ice and rain and little snow flurries came down all day long. For us in the deep south, temperatures below freezing all day long are rare. I celebrate the day off of school and the beauty. I did not have to get out much, but when I did, I didn’t know that the rain would turn to ice so suddenly on my windshield. The first time I ventured out, I had to pull over to let my car warm up. I felt stupid, aggravated at my lack of expertise with this weather. So while I enjoyed having a free day, I know there were others who struggled.

Matthew's hero

I am Matthew’s hero! The fourth grade teachers have a Student of the Week every week. This week was Matthew’s turn. I didn’t see his poster until Thursday. There in the lower left corner was a section titled “My Hero.” Matthew had written about me, his gifted teacher for the last 4 years.

Mrs. Simon is my hero because she’s been my teacher for 4 years. She’s like an aunt to me, and she’s the best teacher I’ve ever had and ever will have. This is why Mrs. Simon is my hero.

Open collage

My one little word for 2014 is Open. Last Saturday, I went to A&E Gallery to paint with Marcie Melancon. She does gelli plate printing and collage. I made this collage for my OLW. It reminds me daily to be open and creative.

What are you celebrating this week? Add your post to Ruth’s round up.

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poetry friday button

Happy Poetry Friday! For more poetic fun, hop over to Laura Purdie Salas’ site Writing the World for Kids.

Mortimer Minute has hopped over to Michelle’s place today–Today’s Little Ditty.

 Chuck Savall  coral.org

Chuck Savall
coral.org

Ever since I discovered the website, Wonderopolis, I have wanted to find a way to use it with my gifted students. On Tuesday, I saw the widget for the Wonderopolis link on Amy Rudd’s site. It caught my eye. The wonder of the day was the Great Barrier Reef. I got lost in the video swimming along the reef. I decided to make Wednesday into Wonderopolis Wednesday. I showed the Wonder of the Day and the video and asked my students to use at least 3 of the Wonder Words in their writing. I always write alongside them.

In walks my principal for a “walk-through evaluation.” We were finishing up the quiet writing time and getting ready to share. My normally vivacious class clammed up. No one wanted to share. What was I to do? I shared my own attempt at a rhyming poem with this disclosure, “I’m trying to write a rhyming poem and you know how hard this is for me.” When I read aloud, one student suddenly became an expert on rhyming poetry. He explained to me how I had to not only rhyme, but I had to have a consistent beat to each line. My students chimed in to help me write my poem. We continued revising the next morning. I think in the end we created a pretty good poem. But I must credit my students for their guidance.

By the way, my principal thought it was awesome that I had them critiquing me. She thought it was a little “teacher act.” But I explained, “No, I really needed the help. I’m terrible at rhyming.”

Living Treasure: The Great Barrier Reef

Discover our ocean friend.
Twenty thousand years to no end.
Golden-tailed hope rises on the wind.

Coral flowers sway with the tide.
Sea turtles, stingrays gracefully glide.
Among the lacy red, a mollusk will hide.

White-fingered anemone hug dancing fish.
Swimming, swaying, a rainbow swish.
A beauty, a wonder, a diver’s lifelong wish.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

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Sheri is hosting the round up today at her site, Sheri Doyle

Sheri is hosting the round up today at her site, Sheri Doyle

In our district (in Louisiana, we call them parishes), our gifted students are spread across the parish in a dozen schools. In order to bring together our 6th grade students the year before they go to middle school together, we designed an enrichment program. The 6 elementary gifted teachers meet with all the 6th graders for one day a month to work on a specific real world project. This year our theme has been water, and I lead them in a poetry exercise each month.

This month I got the idea of using the triolet form from fellow Poetry Friday blogger, Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy. Last week, she posted a few triolet poems she wrote using quotes about writing. So I searched for quotes about water. The students’ handout included the directions for writing a triolet and a list of quotes about water. I asked them to choose a quote and use it as the first line of the poem. The best part about this exercise was I wrote with the students, and we did 5 small group rotations, so I wrote 5 triolet poems. I will only post my two favorites here.

Snow Day from Linda at Teacher Dance.

Snow Day from Linda at Teacher Dance.

Snow Day
Someday we’ll evaporate together,
But today we’ll play in the snow.
Someday we’ll ignore the weather,
But today we’ll slip and flow.
Like two birds of the same feather,
we’ll talk and laugh and glow.
Someday we’ll evaporate together,
But today we’ll play in the snow.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Clean
Be like water, float.
Let bubbles wash you like soap.
Dance on waves, forget the boat.
Be like water, float.
Find a bottle, read the note,
Wonder, dream, imagine, hope.
Be like water, float.
Let bubbles wash you like soap.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

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