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 want to implement diversity in my intervention groups and be better able to advocate for my above average granddaughter who needs more challenging work.
I would like to be able to create a more differentiated instruction for not only my GT students, but all of my students. I would like for my students to be doing more independent or paired investigations and how to incorporate it into my classroom.
Since all students do not all learn the same way, I want to continue to adjust both the curriculum and instructional strategies for my students. I hope to enchance instructional concepts to maximize learning for all students - regardless of their ability.Differentiated Instruction strategies can create different pathways to learning.
In response to Kimberlym, I enjoy that fact that you are willing to create a more differentiated instruction for all students. I think that inquiry groups for excellent for independent studies to motivate and to investigate further research. Amitch
I teach all GT students but I know they are on many different levels, multiple talents, and still need differentiation. I would love to find out how I can reach each of my students on their own level.
In response to kinberlym: I also would love to be able to have my students do more independent and small group investigations. My students are all able to do many things, but getting them to that point is where I need to do more research.
In response to a mitch: When you used the "different pathways to learning" I really connected with that. I remember being in school and not "getting it" the same way other students would. We all learn in different ways, no matter our age or ability.
Upon completion of this course, I would like to be able to differentiate for my students more effectively and to measure their success based on differentiation more accurately. I currently differentiate, but sometimes I feel it takes longer on my part than it should or that even though I do differentiate, I wonder if it's actually as effective to my students' learning as it should be.
In response to kimberlym on June 4th, I understand about providing different learning opportunities for students. I really want to incorporate menus more often. I used menus once each nine weeks, but I'd like to incorporate them more often. I have used menus where assignments must be completed independently, with partners, and in groups. Students look forward to them due to having choice in their selections.
In response to brookec on June 5th: I agree. I will have gt students in my class for the first time in a LONG time. I have been working with special needs students instead. Hopefully the transition won't be too difficult, I just need to differentiate on a different level, but the goal is the same- to keep my students motivated and learning no matter their level.
I would like to be able to differentiate more effectively with all my students. I feel I do a good job for my GT kiddos, but there are always those children who don't fit the GT label who can achieve just as high as the GT. I want those children to feel they are learning the most the can in my room and reaching their potential.
I would like to learn specific differentiation strategies to reach the needs of all my students.
In response to nlopez and kimberlym, I would like to know more about "menus." I'm not familiar with the term.
I just caught on to the term menus. This is the term used in the book. The analogy was problematic for me. Do the authors expect the teacher to prepare a different "meal" for each student? I agree this would be incredibly time-consuming!
In response to ratliffb, I want to congratulate you for wanting to stretch those students who aren't classified GT but need challenge. My granddaughter is one of those students and making all A's and 100% on TAKS should not mean she has achieved at her highest potential.
When I have completed this course I hope to add more information on differentiating to my toolbox –keeping in mind students’ interests, needs, levels, time for planning, resources, and implementation.
In response to nlopez on June 5th, I wholeheartedly agree. I like the use of menus and would like to include them more often. When used, they seem to be embraced by the students.
In response to kimberlym on June 3rd, I am also contemplating the use of paired groups to help with differentiation and socialization.
In response to kimberlym... I agree with trying to reach the non GT students and trying to make them more independent when it comes to partner work or even in group situations.
In response to illgl...There are so many children who are not classified GT, but can accomplish the same if not more than some GT students. They just need to the right push in right direction to think higher and above what they are used to.
I expect this book will enlighten my differentiating practices and teaching strategies. I expect this book to address students' varying levels of knowledge. We teach a GT program that is focussed on differentiation and realize the necessity of applying these strategies.
Teaching a GT program, we have found that students are much more productive when differentiating stategies are being employed. This book will prove to be worthwhile in investigating alternative teacher strategies.
In response to brookec....conducting interest inventories may be helpful to you in reaching each of your students on their own level.
In response to nlopez on June 5, I commend you for differentiating and giving it a go! So many teachers need to do this and lack the knowledge and/or "bravery" to take that step and give it a try! Way to go!
I will be piloting the sophomore physics class at my school. At this time, I am supposed to have GT sophomores and MMA seniors in the same class. I have to get them all ready for the same test – yet they will all come in with very different needs and backgrounds. This should be the most diverse group I have taught and I will need to differentiate not only on the physics I teach, but their math skills as well.
At the end of this course, I would like to be able to offer various strategies to allow the students to differentiate and grow in a specified content area. Presently, I offer a lot of choice in reading and presentation of their work. I would like stretch my repertoire as a teacher where I could allow the students to test out of "the norm" and be sufficiently motivated to move on to a higher level independently of the class.
At the end of this book study, I would like to learn how to differentiate for all students in my class, both gifted and not gifted. I would like to place choices in my centers and make sure that each child is challeged and engaged. I am looking forward to getting more information on how to differentiate and keep records of differentiation.
At the conclusion of this book study, I would like to gain tools to become a more confident teacher when differentiating for all my students. I hope to understand how to use the students strengths and interests to guide our classroom instruction. I would also like to learn ways to hold the kids accountable for their tasks. What I am thinking about is at math workstations & literacy stations. Also, I attended a menus GT training last year & I'm hoping this book study will also show ways to use menus for the kids as well as other resources.
Gaining knowledge through a variety of resources helps me to better address the diverse needs of my students. I hope to discover additional GT strategies that will address and influence the diverse learning styles of the children I support at both ends of the academic spectrum in the classroom. Differentiation is needed for GT students as well as those with diagnosed learning difficulties.
In response to a mitch (June 4-9:05 am), "differentiated instructional strategies can create different pathways to learning" certainly gives thought to the construction of the brain. It is important to continue to utilize the wealth of medical research available to us as educators in order to truly tap into the brain's capability and choose activities for our children which help them to access these critical learning pathways.
I would like to share the information I learn from the book study with all the teachers I work with in order to empower them to help their students in their classrooms. In addition, I want to continue expanding my knowledge to learn more about differentiation for all students not just for our GT populations. I strongly believe that it is vital to keep growing professionally in order to self reflect so that we implement best practices all the time for all of our students.
In response to Illgl I completely agree that beoming an advocate to improve best practices and instruction is the key to reach all students, especially our students that need challenge in order to grow and expand their knowledge even further. According to all the educational research that one reads it is stated that our brains are designed for challenge so it is vital that educators become strong advocates so that all students obtain an equal education. In response to NLopez, menus are an excellent tool to implement differentiation. In the past I have used differentiated menus for all my students where they are doing independent studies besides collaborative groupings or independent work. Menus definately help the students to become more independent and helps students see each other as resources so they learn that the teacher is not the only one that can help. Also, it is a fabulous way to have all students engaged and focus when students are allowed to choose from the menus so classroom management becomes a lot easier to manage. Eventhough you have been working mostly with special education students I am sure you will do great with all your students this coming school year.
My goal for this book study is gain the knowledge and skills to differentiate instruction for all my students. I like the words " continuous progress" that are used throughout the book. It is important that teachers make sure all their students are making"continuous progress".
In response to illgl and ratliffb: I have found the ‘Non-GT’ students often respond better to differentiation than GT – It is usually a unique experience for them, since they have been in traditional classes and not GT. They get more excited – since it is new.
I want to learn specific strategies that I can implement immediately in my classroom. I want to be able to better manage time in my classroom. I want to ensure that all students are reaching their full potential.
I want to learn how I can add more differentiated learning into my classroom. I have been successful in this past year using inventories and small grouping to meet the needs of my students as individuals, but I want to further enhance my practices and truly meet the needs of each student. It is a daunting task, but I feel it cana be done. All I worry about is more documentation, I can barely keep up with my lesson planning and documentation as it is now.
In response to angelam on June 6 @ 5:42 I agree that I would like to learn more about implementing menus for centers. The menus give the student choices of learning activities and allows for differentiation and freedom for each student daily.
In response to SERMONSL on June 7 @ 8:45 I too like the term "continuous progress". If all students are growing in their knowledge daily then my job has been done well. If I leave any student unchallenged or overchallenged and frustrated than I have not successfully taught to my fullest ability. Students will not always communicate their frustrations with us, therefore we must assess often and the preassessment is key to achieving "continuous progress".
Hopefully after completing this book study I will be able to manage and assess my student's differentiated work more efficiently. In response to nlopez I also wonder how effective my menus and pretesting are when it comes to advancing student learning.
In response to AngelaM on June 6th, I am also really interested in the holding kids accountable part. I am hoping that if the center materials are engaging and challenging, then the students will want to stay on task.
I am excited about discovering new ways to "add layers" to my classroom. Specifically, how can I use the ideas in the book to enhance the "workshop" experience for all of my students.
@Anglelam - I love the fact that you are going to be using this study to enhance your math classroom. I'm anxious to hear how it goes - in working with TAKS "retesters", it was apparent that the kids were at all different levels and would have greatly benefited from opportunities to work at their own level and pace.
In response to nlopez, I feel the same way about menus. I've used them in the past, but not as consistently, or as extensively, as I could have. I'm hoping this book study will show me ways that I can implement them as a REGULAR part of my classroom, and not as just a "once-in-a-while" occurrence.
In response to nlopez and rebecca, I tried a menu this year for the first time and it did not go the way I hoped. I learned a lot including that I need to clarify expectations. The students responded positively (they were VERY excited about getting to choose). I'm hoping this book study will enable me to manage menus more effectively.
As a result of participating in this book study I, too, hope to better meet the needs of the students in my classroom. I want to help develop self-determining learners. I would like to be more efficient and to have more effective teaching practices.
In response to Christy Giordano's comment regarding the analogy used in the book, I agree that it sounds overwhelming and time-consuming to create a "meal" for each student. I like the idea, though. I hope to use pre-tests more this year and to be smarter about how the students spend the limited amount of time we have together. I am hopeful that this book study will give me some specific ideas on how to make this possible.
One of the most challenging responsiblities that we have as teachers is to meet the needs of each of our individual students. The needs of these individuals is so incredibly different. I am looking for some ideas and strategies to be able to implement in my classroom that will better allow me to reach each of my students.
In response to what amartin said, the management piece is always the hardest part. We start off with good intentions, but it seems that we often run short of time and don't always get to put the right steps into place.In response to what angelam said, I agree that we need to look at their strengths and interests when we are looking at the various activities that we offer in the classroom. I know that when the kids are interested, they are more easily engaged and everything tends to run smoother.
In response to nlopez June 5th, I use menus continously throughout the year. I find them extremely helpful when students pretest out of content lessons. As you said I also wonder if the menus are as effective as I believe them to be.In response to wattb June 6th I am also hoping to help my students become more independent while working on challenging tasks.
In response to amandas on June 6th, I would also like to explore ways to create a variety of leveled tasks at literacy stations. I feel as though some tasks at stations are too easy for the gifted kids and they loose interest and are not motived to do their best. As well as, I feel as though implementing this and managing this could be a bit challenging. I could see setting up a color system with certain kids completing a specific colored task at each station but the management piece seems hard as well as the accountabily piece. This could also be used in math workstations.
In response to bbielik on June 7th at 10:26am, I am also looking for ways to implement these great differentiation ideas without adding too much more to our already crowded documentation, curriculum, and planning plate. I love adding more ideas to our ever growing "tool belt." I'm hoping this book study will also teach us how to add these ideas smoothly.
I would like to be able to find ways to meet all my students needs, even those not identified as GT, but very high achievers as well. I would also like to find some help in leveling my literacy stations. I have enjoyed using menus in my book club groups but would like to find a way to extend the menus for those who can work quickly without adding busy work to their plate.
In response to tjensen on June 6, @5:19 PM… How marvelous to be a part of a pilot program for GT sophomores and MMA seniors in the same physics class. I can see how important it will be for you to differentiate for all students and to have a clear understanding of pre-assessment and the important role it will be during your pilot course.
I agree with bbielik that it will be great to add thing to help our kids without more documentation and paperwork to our already overloaded plate
I want to learn strategies for meeting the needs of all my students. I want all of my students to learn at a challenging level, but I'm concerned that I'm not reaching a few kids.
I agree with brookec. I want to reach ALL of my students on their own level. That takes a lot of differentiation! I need tools to make this possible in a large class, please!
In response to ratliffb and illgl, I agree that some of my students who are not labeled GT can reach such high levels. It's all about the push in the right direction! On that note, though, I guess that goes for all students. I can't wait to learn strategies that will help me reach all of my students!
In response to weedin, your enthusiasm is contagious! Now that I've read through Chapter 4, I'm beginning to see how useful the strategies suggested in this book are going to be in helping me reach more of my students' learning goals.
I am looking forward to digging deep and sharing new ideas with other teachers to reach ALL my students. I teach at a school where many of my students are able to achieve above grade level expectations way before the end of the year. I believe that these kiddos need more opportunities with higher level thinking strategies and opportunities to apply them. I am hoping that this book study will provide me with fresh ideas and give me opportunities to provide a level instructiion that pushes ALL my students to achieve their personal best!