This is a professional development blog. We'll be discussing books we read as a group. Our discussions will be focused on gifted children.
-Differentiating instruction/curriculum; balancing emotional needs; motivation.
Gifted students cannot be blankly placed in a gifted education setting--they will most likely have areas of advancement, giftedness, and areas of weakness. All areas need to be addressed, so differentiation in the classroom is a must.
One issue is the amount of differentiation required to teach sped, on level and gifted teachers in the same classroom (pg 9). Another is teachers assuming that gifted kids can take care of themselves - they will learn no matter what.
page 9:-more diverse student bodies with multiple languages and disabilities in a classroom--"continual flow of children in and out of the mainstream classroom"--insufficient time to give to individual student needs when outside pressures exist
This is my test to check for posting. KHarrell
As noted on page 9, some of the issues facing educators are that classroom populations are more varied and diverse than before. Therefore, within one class, there may be several English language learners, special needs children, gifted children and "regular" children. So then, the educator has to juggle meeting the needs of all these children in addition to the gifted students.
Keeping GT kids motivated when they feel like the regular curriculum is beneath them is very difficult. Having a extremely wide span of abiltilities within a classroom whose levels are K- 7th grade in a 5th grade classroom is difficult to juggle.
No book yet so no comments yet.
I am checking in today.
Educators face the stress of differentiation in their instruction as well as the time to differentiate for gifted students. Stated on page 10, teachers may feel forced to adopt instructional methods that are less effective for gifted students. They may be required to teach both content and test-taking skills by controlling, correcting, and lectureing rather than by guiding and exploring.
cstrickland mentioned that one way the book said on page 9 to address special ed needs of gt students is to do nothing--they will figure it out on their own. I believe they will figure out non-special ed needs on their own, but not learning disabilities. If they could, there would not be a learning disability, would they?
Page 9 has a great example of what most teachers experience in a typical classroom - a variety of languages, various levels of academics, a student with special needs, and just the regular average student. Teachers have to juggle all of the above...meeting the needs of the GT students sometimes falls behind as there are so many needs for individual students..differentiation is important, however it is difficult to provide an individualized program for every student. For me now, I am working with a disabled GT student. It is sometimes very difficult to create a learning space just to meet his needs even in a GT classroom without all of the other distractions that you see in a regular classroom. The classroom teacher and myself are contantly working together to meet his needs. Reading this book reminds me how important it is to provide for the GT student...and how we can easily cause them to loose interest in learning.Responding back to Melanie M. I agree that we need to find the area of giftedness for each student and meet their needs.
In response to Whitney's description that there is a negative notion of elitism towards providing for the specific needs of gifted students comes as a surprise, though I'm not sure why. Lack of awareness on parents' part? Moving onward....do you think parents' awareness of motivational factors might make a difference, assuming it's an issue? I really have benefited from reading again how motivation plays a role in the success of gifted students’ success in the classroom. It is troubling, distracting, counterproductive, and frustrating to try and determine what gets each child motivated, gifted or not, and then work towards intrinsic motivation and academic success. Teachers benefit from support teams who can assist with identifying and working on areas of concern, as well as assisting with celebrating student successes.
-Pressures to meet standardized testing goals (page 10)-Meeting differentiation needs to prevent motivation issues…especially in inclusion classes.-Overcoming student habits that have already formed (lack of motivation, fear of trying/failing, underachievement) when trying to accelerate or differentiate to provide challenge.-Lack of knowledge/understanding of giftedness (page 9)-Work overload and time constraints (page 9)
Some issues educators face in meeting the needs of gifted students are differentiation, motivation, and meeting the social and emotional needs of GT students. Differentiation is often difficult, especially in the first grade, when there is such a wide level of academic development. As noted on page 21, motivating gifted students is usually multi--factored undertaking. What works for GT student may not work for another. Meeting the social and emotional needs of GT students is often difficult when the students’ development varies academically and emotionally.
Some issues facing schools and teachers today is that not all teachers are aware of what giftedness really is. Therefore, there may be children who are gifted but are just seen as a very smart child in the classroom. Furthermore, finding time to plan tiered activities to differentiate for the gifted children is a challenge when you have so many levels in the classroom. As a bilingual teacher I am aware that there may be bilingual gifted children, but the instrument to identify them may not be available sometimes or appropiate. Another factor that can influence the identifying of giftedness is that not all children the day of testing for identification may be ready for the test because for home or environmental situtations the children may be facing at home the night before.
Page 10- Standardized tests and state standards put pressure on teachers and students. "These one-size-fits-all methods choke off depth and breadth of instruction, and it's precisely that depth and breadth that gifted students need to reach their potential" (11). It's hard for teachers to individualize education when the state clearly values one type of performance (test scores) over others (projects, writing). The book also discusses the stress that students feel from these tests. I have never witnessed it personally, but it does make me wonder if some of my students have experienced it, but I just didn't know.
In response to e. Vessali's comments to page 9, there is greater significance in the amount of diversity in classrooms today. It has always been there; not just the many societal changes that time has brought us, but also the advent of differentiation has impacted teachers' perceptions of teaching children.
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E. Vessali I agree with what you stated. Populations are more varied and diverse, but I feel that there are also so many new initiatives for each student group such as ELL, Sped, GT, etc that the teachers are losing their love for teaching because they don’t have time to plan and create for all the student groups especially the GT students.
In response to Karen D., you will find the book a pleasant read. When you get your book read and enjoy. Blogs away!
Educators of the gifted face the same resentments that the gifted face: teachers think it's a way to avoid problems! In teaching the gifted within a "regular" class, there is the problem of motivation of the gifted kids, and the problem of not defeating themorale of the not gifted.
I agree with rcelibrarian. I have 9 gifted students in a Pre-AP class with students who are not G/T identified. The rest of the day I teach students who are not G/T. It's very challenging to switch gears and give all of our students the differentiation they need. I'm trying,though.
There is not enough time to differentiate the curriculum enough for the G/T students when there are so many other students in the class that require a lot of attention just to get the basic understanding and/or to pass TAKS.
Some issues educators face:*Testing (page 10)--spending so much time trying to get students to pass takes time away from coming up with creative and interesting lessons.*Stress and threat (page 35)--teachers who feel stressed and threatened (usually about test scores) pass that on to their students.*Too much extrinsic motivation (pages 30-34)--students' intrinsic motivation quickly gets squashed in a win-win-win to get a reward society.
in response to E FoyeThe State valuing TAKS scores over everything else is one reason GT students often get the "short end of the stick" in education. Most GT students can pass the TAKS with little or no instruction. Teachers are pressured to get every student to pass the TAKS so they know they do not have to come up with ways to challenge and motivate the GT kids - that's not part of their appraisal.
Responding to Solorzano:I agree that not all teachers are aware of what constitutes giftedness. I have several students in my class that I consider very intelligent but not gifted; I don’t see that special spark that you observe in gifted students. I have also seen students that others consider Special Ed and actually they are gifted, and only interested in what they consider worthwhile, for example, studying bugs.
In response to Melanie M--I believe you misunderstood C Strickland's post. She was commenting that a common misconception is that GT students can survive on their own--not that this is an acceptable practice.
In response to Sharon G~Motivating GT students can be very difficult period. Throw in a curriculum they consider to be too easy and not worth their effort; add students they consider not as intelligent and the difficulty of meeting the needs of the students begins.
Educators these days are facing multiple challenges in the classroom. starting with a mori increase and diverse population due to the enormous wave of inmigrants from some of the most unpoverish countries. page 9. I may add hispanic pop. Also a mayor cuplrit is that some teachers do not understand the characteristcs and NEEDS of GT Teachers had so many schedules to managed from "breakfast in he classroom" a noveliyt these days, to mindless meeting that let little time to really plan for these diverses classsroom.The mayority of the classroom are overbook with too many children to teach ( special education, GT, and the unruled ones)
1. Issues facing educators today include: meeting state testing retirements for students that are working at significantly higher grade levels with more demanding curriculum, overcoming the “elitism” argument against providing special services of any kind for these students, high mobility rates for these students, creating or implementing IEP’s for students, differentiating instruction for students in mixed ability classrooms and language barriers in classrooms or when contacting parents.
I have noticed some of the testing stress Mrs. Foye talks about in GT students in science. I have had and currently have students who have a goal of perfection on their testing.They become very nervous during the test and have come to tears after if they don't reach their perfect standard. The other side of that coin is that I have also had GT students with absoulely no stress level about testing, homework or much else.
In response to lguidry entry on the statement of there may not seem to be enough time to differentiate the curriculum enough…this is why our district has spent tons of money on resources for these children. We have to remember that the GT student will most likely pass the TAKS for that grade level on the first day of school so it is imperative that something in implemented to counting the students growth. In math one of the simplest ways to differentiate is through problem solving. The Exemplars are a fabulous resource.
I totally understand the comments of lguidry in feeling frustrated by time limits in meeting the needs of all the different level of students in a classroom. I have all the GT kids in my room, and meeting the needs of each and every one with their particular learning styles/giftedness is very hard to juggle. I have the needs of special education students and ESL students to also consider. Resources for how to juggle the mix is needed.
K harrell - not responding to just one comment, but to several - the frustation level of teachers working with GT students appears to be high...although we all know "the perfect" classroom, reality hits with what students are in the classroom. I am very thankful that we now group the GT students in a classroom so that one teacher doesn't just have one GT student and another teacher another...it helps the students to work together and gives the teacher a small group to work with rather than a one person group. I think we need to look at using technology as a way to help differenciate for GT students as well as remedial students - we need to work better not harder....the hard part is finding time to try new technologies and become proficient enough to make them work in the classroom settings.
I think that teacher knowledge and fear are big pieces. Many teachers don’t know how to truly differentiate instruction. Others fear trying new things with their gifted students, such as complex projects that differ from what other students are doing in class. There is also the issue of finding time to plan and gather resources for these students as well as for the ELLs, SpEd, at risk, strugglers and the middle of the road kids that make up classrooms today. The testing culture that we live in kills creativity in both students and teachers. How do we make it all fit together? It is an exhausting and mostly rewarding juggling act that we balance every day.
The following are some examples that teachers face in meeting the special educational needs of gifted students:1. Teacher must be all things to all students sometimes feeling more like a “ring-master than a teacher”…page 10 2. NCLB…teachers and schools judged by “how well they [students] perform on specific tests on specific dates”…page 10… without looking at the whole picture as to whether or not it was “optimal testing conditions”3. Lack of understanding of many educators in regards to the nature of the gifted student…page 9 4. Professional Development – want support and feel inept in transferring knowledge regarding differentiation into practical classroom use…page 95. Understanding and “basic knowledge of motivational theories”…page21.
Hey RCELibrarian…I agree with everything in your posting on 2 October @ 4:39 PM …from the “perfect” classroom to cluster grouping and even the technology component! Oh, if there were only more time or different priorities so the time would avail itself for experimenting with new technologies and lending itself to the concept of “working better not harder”.
With the No Child Left Behind policy in place, teachers today must meet the needs of all students.Group activities and projects using visuals, charts, front loading vocabulary words, and creating foldables help all students. All students today are held accountaable with standard test. On page 10 it states "Im not turning out widgets here, I'm trying to teach children, who aren't interchangable units in some factory".The gifted student must be challenged or his needs to achieve and engage will not be met.
I agree with e. foye, it is very hard to shift gears everyday.I go from Co teach classes to GT at the end of the day. My biggest challenged is how to keep the GT students engaged, and take charge of their own learning.If I do not set goals for them, certain students will give me very little. They too like to socialize.I am working with my SIS to come up with engaging and challenging activities.
In regards to the comment made by mary p. regarding shifting gears, after being out of the classroom for six years teaching DLL and reading intervention I find teaching more exhausting than ever. I attribute it to mental fatigue, mainly from the differentiation. I do visualize applying what Whitney (pp. 42-43) identified as the four Cs, challenge, commitment, control, and compassion for some of my children who are very bright, but not identified as gifted. If they/we know how to exert control and problem-solve together it could work to let them engage in constructivist projects while I work with my ELLs, academic strugglers, and SPEDs.
I think that a really big issue is being able to keep them motivated. How do you do that? Especially if you are a new teacher and you have a hard time trying to figure out how to keep the other students with you, how do you also figure out how to accelerate the course for the GT kids? And what if the school district doesn't allow acceleration?
The biggest hurdle I see in educating gifted students is the same as most of the previous posts. Keeping students engaged and interested in what they are learning is always a challenge, but when the student is gifted, the task becomes enormous. The teacher must know the students and their abilities and personalities in order to hit that "just right" spot for each student, regardless of giftedness. Emotional needs are also important to consider, as well as differentiating academically.
In response to mary p on Oct. 3, I have the same sentence highlighted in my book. I think all to often, we just crank out the content without stopping to think about the fact that we are teaching children. When we step back and really look at our students, we see where each of them are and where they need to go. Then we can help them get there.
To e.foye: There is stress from the standardized testing because GT and other kids have reasons for choosing to bubble a, b, or c, and they are not given the opportunity toqualify their answers. On the one hand we encourage our kids to think; n the other, we accept only short soundbyte answers.
In response to hassidg and many others: Another issue with differentiation that comes up in my high school classes, is the issue of "fairness". If I try to get the G/T kids to answer different questions, they resist because it is seen as "harder" or "more work" than the regular PreAP students have. This might not be an issue with elementary kids, but in a PreAP/GT mixed class, it always comes up. High school students won't do anything for nothing! They ALL want to know what they will get (they usually want extra credit) for doing something extra. They are also aware that they are getting the same grade points as PreAP and that it is just one more than Grade Level gets. I realize that this has to do with motivation, but by the time they are in high school they have become quite the little "mercenaries".
As noted on page 9, classroom teachers face the inclusion of a myriad of students with specialized needs for tutoring, reading and math support and various therapies as well as a need for support for ESL students who have various “first languages.” With the inclusion model for special education students being the primary model utilized nationally at this time as well as the pressure of rigorous yearly academic testing being the norm in most states, the classroom teacher has many pressures presented to her in meeting the needs of all students. Many teachers perceive that the GT student is going to learn on their own with instruction anyway and sometimes in spite of instruction. Therefore they feel more pressure to directly, in a purposeful way, meet the individualized needs of students in other special populations. Many teachers also do not fully understand the instructional needs as well as the nature of the gifted students.
When I was reading this section page 9 is where I placed the sticky note and made the comments. Over the years when I used to have a GT class made up entirely of GT learners it was challenging enough since they were bringing in their own special talents, but this current blending of GT/Pre-ap to meet the needs of the master schedule makes it more of a juggling event. You want to go ahead with those students who are taking it to higher level thinking skills, but then you see that some of the students who are trying to do Pre-ap work are being left behind. I want to go farther in the GT students development, but then I need to go back and pick up where there are the different language issues, or other situations with the pre-ap students. I have known for years that many GT students are"special" in their own ways, but now the class blending is having more categories. And the other problem with this blending is that I "lose" the GT students when I need to go back and reteach to catch the others up. They take out their books, get involved there, and then there is the old getting everyone back with the program. I feel like I am wasting their time.
Comment: I agree with Melanie M. Students cannot be expected to be gifted in every aspect of their lives. I think an additional challenge is helping students to understand that as well. Many of my students have come to believe that they must excel at everything the first time, putting extreme pressure on themselves.
In response to cstrickland:You are so right. It's hard to remember to give gifted kids the same attention as other students because they often make it seem like they can take care of themselves and that they will learn no matter what. I must frequently remind myself that that is a misconception.I also agree with lguidry:When teaching a PreAP/ G/T mixed class, another struggle is being fair. By middle school, many G/T students are very aware of fairness and grades and hesitate to do something different out of a fear that they will have to work harder than regular Pre-AP students. I've had many G/T students who have a passion for reading, writing, or creative projects and have no problem with doing something different or more complicated, but those G/T students who are harder to motivate are also frequently the ones who resist the thought of doing something different from other students.
What I found most significant in this section regarding the reasons for loss of motivation was the sheer numbers of reasons that were addressed in these 4 chapters. It’s not that I haven’t been introduced or thought about most of these reasons many times during my career. But to see them addressed in a concentrated, concise format provided the opportunity for me to notice the extraordinary number of factors that can affect a child’s motivation, particularly in regards to how those reasons affect a GT student’s life and perspective. I particularly found the section on the effects of fear of success and fear of failure on a GT child very insightful. Several points were mentioned that I hadn’t thought about before. I also found the paragraphs on “fear and procrastination” particularly helpful.
My first impression is one of being overwhelmed; that we are expected to “be all things to all people;” that the needs of the students in our classrooms are so varied, where is one to start?• “Our definitions of who is gifted may have been too narrow.”. . new concern with inclusivity . . may save gifted education. (xv) • At the beginning of the school year gifted students are ready to ‘hit the ground running’ while other students need review. (xviii)• “Teachers must manage myriad schedules and interventions.” (p 9) “There is great pressure on students to achieve particular state standards.” (p10) However, gifted children may not perform well because they have been so bored by repetition and drill. (p11)
CStrickland said... One issue is the amount of differentiation required to teach sped, on level and gifted teachers in the same classroom (pg 9). Another is teachers assuming that gifted kids can take care of themselves - they will learn no matter what.Well said! I find it very difficult to do all of the things required of me. I am a second year teacher and it can be very stressful trying to master all of it!