This is a professional development blog. We'll be discussing books we read as a group. Our discussions will be focused on gifted children.
I like this idea. I learn more from reading personal experiences. It shows turbulence and triumphs that allow me to reflect on my own life and teachings. I especially enjoyed the Q and A on page 204. I have often wondered that and now I know why!
I loved this question and answer approach in Chapter 14. This approach is innovative and seldom one I see in many "education related" books. All of the questions were so relevant to the topics in this book and were truly "real life" situations that could reflect students and families in any of our schools or communities. I felt that the answers and recommendations provided were excellent and practical ones that could be utilized by parents and educators and offered sound educational and psychological approaches to the questions at hand. I was particularly impressed with the recommendations in the answer portion on page 200-201 regarding GT students who have difficulty on standardized tests. I found these recommendations to be very sound, useful, and ones that students in this category could relate to and utilize to improve their test taking abilities.
Re Ch 14, Q & A format: I think it is "hit or miss". I enjoy reading the questions as little "studies", but it doesn't impart that much information. One question that piqued my interest was on p.204 and had to do with a teacher that required her all of her students (in a regular classroom with G/T students mixed in) to explain the steps they took to solve a problem. This comes up often in my classroom (PreAP/G/T Chemistry) because students must show all work to recieve full credit. I have a poster in my room that states: "No work, no credit, no kidding." Just last week I gave back several points to a student who had given a correct answer to a problem that required a large amount of work to be shown (my method). He had some numbers written, but, they weren't labeled and I didn't follow his logic. He was able to verbally explain his thought process to me, which was correct, and so I gave him the credit. He grade was raised from a 72 to 84. There is almost always more than one way to get the right answer, but the answer must be justified! And by the way, this student is not labeled G/T on my roll, but he is in G/T English and Social Studies. Sometimes I have to wonder how the designations are made.
In response to Karend. I agree with you as for this approach seldom used in education related books. I too enjoyed that the questions were so relevant to the topics in the books and that allowed me to apply them to real life situations.
I thought the question and answer format was very interesting. The parent questions seemed authentic. I wanted to tell that last parent (whose daughter forgets stuff and the mom drives 15 miles to bring it to her) that she is enabling her daughter and to stop being her daughter’s errand girl! The authors of the book handled it much more nicely, though. Kids need to learn about natural consequences. Parents who don’t let their children experience these are doing their child a disservice. I also wanted to tell the pull-out class teacher whose district is getting ready to change that she can still have social-emotional goals and do the acceleration if she integrates and thus differentiates instruction. Integration can really make things gel—but it’s a lot of hard work, too.
I thought this was an interesting format...it made me more motivated to keep reading! I thought a really interesting question was on page 201 "Our eight year old daughter in introverted and if we praise her, she becomes really uncomfortable. How can we let her know we are proud of her?..." I love the idea of referential speaking too, and I am looking forward to trying it!
In response to patricet: I completely agree that the parents are doing that child a disservice...and natural consequences need to be enforced! Thanks for bringing that up!
I liked and disliked the Q and A format. I liked that with a few pages the reader could be made aware of the diversity of issues/challenges that parents, educators, and the gifted face/deal with. I disliked the choppiness or the lack of flow. I think one chapter of this is enough, and I thought that this chapter was perfectly placed. The first question caught my attention most (p. 197). The fear of “transitioning from the familiar to the new” is very real in my personal opinion. I know a couple of gifted people that have this fear whether they admit it or not. It seems that the little girl in this Q and A does not like being the “new person” or does not like not knowing exactly what is going on and how to do things. Not knowing something or being wrong about something could lead others to believe or treat her like she is dumb or incompetent. This could be a huge issue for someone who is highly sensitive and/or a perfectionist. For example, without the interventions recommended by the authors this little girl could end up staying in a job that she feels safe in because she knows it inside and out rather that moving up, into a job that pays more, or a job that is more challenging/appropriate for her abilities because of the fear of being the “new person”, making mistakes, and/or having to learn the ropes from someone who may be significantly less intelligent than her. This could be an extremely unfortunate situation for more that just her: she knows she is selling herself short and that could affect her emotionally, her emotions could have a negative effect on her social/family life, and society is not benefiting from her gifts/talents.
The Question and Answer format of Chapter 14 was a different approach compared to books I have read for past book studies. The questions and responses were a delightful read in the sense that I could review what I would answer to such a question before reading the authors comments. Many of the questions seemed pertinent and offered what seemed to be relevant information for those first learning about gifted students. For me, my favorite question was the second one found on page 197. Wanting to have a young male student tell you something…work on something together, sit/stand beside…and LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN.
I really enjoyed the Guestion/Answer chapter because many of the experiences that were shared I have had in the past 20 years teaching so I could connect with the teacher/parent that was sharing. I especially connected with the one about the student who had " checked out" of 4th grade, and was having so many problems in school. It seems like intermediate grades see this more and more and it doesn't have to be a GT kid to have it happen to. It's like the students lose the will to produce anything which is so sad to think that what they have to say and do doesn't matter.
I totally agree with Patrice T. in her comment of parent enabling their students to be too needy. I think if limits were established and carried through then students wouldn't have so much trouble with consequences given by any adult because they have experienced them before. The trouble lies when you are the first adult to tell a child like this no- then you are a bully and mean. Reality shouldn't have to sink in until middle school- it needs to happen sooner!
I liked the format. The parents seemed honest in their appraisal of their own students, they should know them better than we do, and had realistic expectations. I thought the question/comment about standardized testing on page 200 was very good. Some of the gifted students really don’t do that well on a standard, everyone should know this material type test. They sometimes read too much into the question and know too much about the material to give a simple standard answer.
I agree with sharon g. students need to learn the word no before middle school and learn that being very smart does not remove accountability from your class work. One of our biggest challenges is to hold students accountable for everything in middle school, both academically and behavior wise.
I liek the Q & A format. I find it easier to read and digest. I found the question on page 201 useful. The part about "referential speaking" was really interesting. I have never heard of this technique. I have some students that I think this could be very useful with.
I love this approach because it makes the reading personal to me. The second question about getting boys to open up (page 197) spoke to my heart. I never know how to approach boys, and seem to always end up making them cry, no matter how gentle I think I am being. When I read this section I realized that I was doing all of the wrong things! I need to just sit next to them and work some math problems, or write a story, and gently lead them into conversation. I am being too forward and frank with my boys, and they need some TLC too!Comment: I agree with everyone about the enabling. It seems to me that each year I have a group of students who are a little less able to do things for themselves than the year before. I do think that parents coddle way too much these days. I want to protect my daughter too (who is almost 4), but I don't give in to her every whim. Sometimes she throws a fit or gets sent to "take a break", but she will learn how to be her own person. Kids need to feel confident in their own decisions, and learn to face the consequences when their decisions are not right.
I like this approach as it seems to incorporate real life situations. The one that stood out to me the most was on page 205 about the boy who had checked out but was showing use of his giftedness with puzzles at home. sometimes there is a discrepancy between what is seen at home and what is seen at school. It also again points out the importance of differentiating curriculum and providing enough rigor for the student to stay engaged.
The stories about parents wanting to get their children retested reminded me about the past GT coordinator talking about how some parents never accept the answer of NO. How some parents would put their students in other schools where the rigor was not as hard as others to get them classified in GT and then knowing that classification was good for them for 6 years. But I did like the approach. It reminded me of Dear Abby and that is a quick easy read for information.
response to lguidry: Although you are speaking of older students, my GT second graders also wish to simply give me the answer, not an explanation. It is so frustrating for them to slow down, but I hope these students will gain a confidence from learning how to explain themselves fully.
page 200: Many gifted students find these sorts of tests challenging. Often the teachers are discouraged with poor scores from the very brightest students. They, too, need to know to manage their time, eliminate wrong answers, and look at all the choices. It can mean a huge difference in their futures to learn strategies, even when they don't think it worthwhile.
I found this format very interesting because it expresses many questions that educators have had for quite a while. I believe that sharing our concerns and ideas can help us to be refective on our own teaching pedagogy and also allows us to open a dialogue to share various points of views to come up with options to problem solve as one not just as an educator but also as a parent.
responding to evessli, your point is very true that sometimes students show different aptitudes at school and home and that can be very puzzling for parents and sometimes teachers so having the communication line open with parents is crucial to identify any behavior patterns that will showcase their strengths but also pinpoint their weaknesses.
responding to patricet, I agree that parents need to allow their children learn natural consequences so they are accountable for their behavior and academics. If parents shelter their children too much it can hinder them from knowing how to make decisions so giving them opportunities to make choices is necessary.
responding to wonderweiss, you are definately correct. The feeling of needing to protect our own children cannot be avoided but letting them be their own person is also important. We cannot forget that we will not be eternal so giving them the tools to be able to face consequences and make choice is what they will need to confront academic and personal choices as sdults and hopefully they will transfer that knowledge to their own children.
I found this format appealing. In fact, I skipped to this chapter early on in the study. I particularly liked question 2. It reminded me that as we make time to be alongside our students in activities, they reveal their personal selves, giving us more opportunities to understand their world, give informal assessment and feedback, and to develop insights into their learning styles.
In response to Sharon G: I agree. It is a problem when students have not ‘practiced’ being independent and accepting responsibility at home. However, we all learn what is expected in various situations, and make those adjustments. This is another one of those layers of awareness that we as educators must have, and it points out the need for strategies in yet another area.
I liked the Q&A format, but I wasn't as personally connected to the actual questions that were asked compared to the subject matter of many of the previous chapters. I felt like many of the questions would be the types asked by parents instead of by teachers. The one question that I connected with was the one on p. 204 about not all gifted students being able to show their work. I found this advice interesting for G/T students who struggle in the area of proving their work: "Oddly enough, children can sometimes show their work if they're allowed to begin at the answer and trace their steps backward to arrive at the question" (205). I always feel bad if a student has already figured something out and then they have to go back to show their work. It seems like it might be viewed as a waste of their time. However, I suppose that if they have trouble understanding how to show their work, then the "reverse engineering" process might actually help them.
In response to wonderweiss:I was always interested in reading the Q&A about communicating with boys. It makes sense that boys would feel more comfortable talking when they are working on a task and don't realize that they are opening up. I think I've had success with that in the past, but I didn't really realize that I was using a proven method at the time.
In response to svankampen:I agree that the tip about referential speaking on p. 201 was interesting. I've actually tried that on a few of my students since reading that part. I need to keep using it, and I need to be careful to make sure it is directly connected to the student's efforts. I'm usually good about praising my students, but sometimes I forget to make it specific.