Gifted Education, mathematics, numeracy

Ease off the drill and practice

In this time of remote learning I have noticed one of my children has been set a lot of drill and practice activities for mathematics.

Drill and practice has a place, even for our bright and gifted students – but not an overload.

help-your-gifted-child-reach-their-potential

Once a person has understood the concept, drill and practice is no longer necessary –  as they understand!

Teachers need to move these students onto using these skills in real world situations, problem solve with them, see how they work in our every day lives.

Children can be accelerated through the grades in one subject such as mathematics, and this may involve some more drill and practice so they understand the topic further, but it still needs to be minimal.

For bright and gifted students, all drill and practise does is demotivate them. Anything we understand well becomes repetitive and boring, even as adults.

We switch off, we no longer enjoy the topic and that’s when mistakes happen.

Mistakes in drill and practice activities should not be penalised unless it is obvious the student has misunderstood something.

Too often teachers seek perfection and this is something we cannot ask of our students who clearly understand what is being asked of them. Mistakes are a normal part of learning.

So what should schools and teachers be doing whilst remote learning?

  • Give students real world activities. This way they can apply the basic skills that have been mastered on the worksheet or in the computer game.

Here are some great links for you to give to your children so they are engaged and are learning.

  • National Geographic at home

https://www.natgeokids.com/au/teacher-category/maths/

  • Taronga Zoo

https://taronga.org.au/education/digital-programs-online-resources/zoo-mathematics

  • Nrich Mathematics

https://nrich.maths.org/9993

  • Edutopia

https://www.edutopia.org/article/7-real-world-math-strategies

  • Scholastic Maths magazine

https://math.scholastic.com

 

Gifted Education, Parenting, teaching

Mathematics and Gifted Education

little girl with clock

Many educators and parents are often quick to jump onto online games, free worksheets and you tube tutorials to help support mathematics.

But what about gifted students?

At times, most gifted students do need support from a teacher  in the classroom – even if it is a quick five minute lesson.

But do they need online games at harder levels or harder worksheets as homework or as a fast finisher activity?

The answer is mostly, no.

Any gifted mathematician, once they understand the topic or new skill only need a small amount of drill and practice to master and from there it is up to the educators to give them tasks that allow them to use this new knowledge.

This can be done through

– Problem Solving

– Real world tasks

– Projects that embed the new skill/s

Some examples that I have used in the classroom and online

  1. Measurement: Stage 3 – Length, Area and Perimeter

My group of students had understood how to measure length, perimeter and area and from this were given the task of finding these dimensions in their own bedroom BUT – Let’s add challenge by increasing the parameters: I gave them the task to design their own tiny house. These houses have a set area of 40m2. They also had to use furniture that they had to buy from a particular homewares shop. So not only are they using their knowledge, they are also problem solving with a real world task. The students had fun and enjoyed the challenge. https://aussietinyhouses.com.au/tiny-houses/casuarina-84/

2.  Measurement – Time – Stage 2

This group of students understood how to tell the time on an analog clock. The main class were given the task of making their own clock to use the learnt skills but this group were asked to design a clock or a set of clocks that would help people to know what the time was in other countries. From here they had to decide the best time for the people in the different countries to call each other. Another additional activity is to challenge these students with elapsed time such as I started lunch at 1:27pm and ate for 1 hour and 17 minutes. What time did I finish?

There is no excuse for extra worksheets – problem solving and real world activities are the answer.

If you would like me to support you at your school or as a parent need support to talk to your school, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Vanessa

Gifted Education, Parenting, teaching

Building resilient learners

Without considering learning difficulties or underachievement, many gifted students cruise through their schooling years.

I come across many gifted students who just cannot cope with a challenging task – although they are gifted, have tested highly or are anecdotal extremely able.

photo-1493612276216-ee3925520721.jpeg

They cry, they misbehave, they say ‘I’m hopeless’ at the drop of a challenging hat.

Although school is fun, there are friends and great activities – School is easy. There is little challenge.

And this poses a problem.

These children NEED to be challenged on a daily basis and many schools are doing these students a disservice by always giving them work they can achieve easily.

Without challenge, students never feel a sense of failure.

Without challenge, students do not need to change their way of thinking.

Without challenge, students do not need to build resilience

Without challenge, students do not know how to problem solve. 

Every teacher, in every classroom needs to set the bar just that bit higher. They need to pre test students to understand what they know so they can give them learning opportunities where they will be challenged.

When students are challenged they may fail, but they can work out solutions to fix that problem.

When students are challenged they understand how to deal with mistakes and failure and build up resilience.

When students are challenged they feel a better sense of achievement. 

It is too often I teach gifted students who get easily upset in pullout programs or misbehave because they are being challenged. They do not know how to stretch themselves or deal with mistakes.

Teachers of every grade need to constantly challenge their students in some way so that they grow every day and become stronger believers in their own abilities.

Visit my facebook page for some great discussions and ways that I can help you as a parent or teacher to challenge these students with my online or face to face course.

Educate Empower Gifted: https://www.facebook.com/groups/293988788179957/

 

Gifted Education, Parenting, teaching

Providing support for your gifted students.

High-achieving year 6 students have identified their relationships with teachers and peers and participation in extra-curricular activities as three of the most important factors in their schooling.

In a recent article it was found that Gifted students who felt supported by their community are more likely to develop their gift into a talent. This lines up perfectly with Gagne’s Model of Differentiation and is something that all schools, parents and wider community need to take on board.

So what do you need to provide for your Gifted students?

 – A sense of belonging. Allow them to work with like minded peers on topics they share interests in and at a level that challenges them.

– Pre-assess for every new subject area so you know how to cater for each student, their knowledge and learning style.

– Pursue interests. Learning shouldn’t be confined to the classroom. Encourage extra curriculum activities that spark joy rather than focussing on what they can’t or don’t want to do.

Get to know them. The better a teacher understands his or her students, the more the student feels at ease in the classroom. Find out about their interests, their strengths and their weaknesses. Find out who they socialise with and what makes them happy. Lannie Kanevsky’s possibilities for learning is a great tool to use in the classroom for teachers to get to know their students.

children-playing-grass_1098-504.jpg

 

Gifted Education, Parenting

Finding your child’s gift

Have you ever wondered if your child is gifted?

Perhaps they taught themselves to read at an early age?

Maybe they display empathy towards others beyond their years?

Some gifted children can manipulate numbers ten years before their age peers.

Being gifted can be seen in many different ways and although my blog has a strong focus on books and global issues, gifted education is something very close to my heart.

Having a masters in Gifted ed and working closely with gifted children over many years of teaching I have come across gifted children in all different types of classrooms.

One issue many gifted children have is not being recognised by their teacher. Parents often have a good sense (but sometimes doubt themselves or don’t know who to compare their children to) of what their children can and can’t do – and need to pass this onto their child’s teacher.

In order for our children to be supported we need to recognise the gifts they have and support them.

Here are some possible ways you can recognise if your child is gifted

  • Walk and/or talk early
  • Have an unusual sense of humour
  • Be very curious and ask complex questions
  • Show an early or intense interest in books, often learning to read at a young age
  • Make unusual connections between topics
  • Be self motivated, perfectionist, persistent or independent
  • Have a long attention span and unusual memory for details or facts
  • Learn rapidly, with little practice
  • Think faster than they are able to write
  • Prefer the company of older children
  • Have unusual perception and problem solving ability
  • Worry about adult issues and problems
  • Need less sleep than most children
  • Not always show their abilities in a school setting

It is important to remember that:

  1. Giftedness is not static – it is always changing so don’t arum just because your child can’t read at two that they are not gifted.
  2. Anyone can be gifted – It is not restricted to age, race, gender or disabilities/abilties.
  3. Being gifted does not always mean you are gifted in everything – You may only be gifted in one particular area

 

There are many different ways gifted children can be supported depending on their needs, some are:

  • Subject acceleration
  • Grade acceleration
  • Mentoring
  • External programs with like minded peers
  • Working alongside teachers in planning how they learn.

There was a great article in the Australian last year stating that one of the key problems gifted students face is boredom in the classroom which can lead to low self esteem, poor behaviour and disengagement with education. As parents and teachers we need to make ourselves aware of what to look for in order to identify gifted students and then how we can best support them so that their gifts turn into talents.

gifted-ed-the-australian-21st-july.jpg

Gifted Education

Enriching a literacy lesson – character

As a teacher of gifted students in a pullout group setting that focuses in literacy I am always trying out new ways to extend and enrich these students.

img_4647.jpg

This week, in Year One, we looked at characters. The scene was set – we had just invented a machine that could travel inside books to meet different characters.

  1. Students were asked to think of as many characters from books as they could (noting books not movies)
  2. We then classified these characters as being either from the Past, Present, our world or other worlds. Some characters fitted in more than one quadrant. Students needed to justify why the character was placed where it had been.
  3. Once we did this, students chose a character from each quadrant that they would like to meet.
  4. I then introduced Gardner’s multiple intelligences in a simplistic way to show students all of the different ways someone can be smart.
  5. Students then worked out how their character showed different types of intelligences throughout their story with examples from the book.

 

This is a great way to look differently at character analysis and also helps students to see that being smart isn’t just about academia, it can be about so much more than that.

Let me know if you get to share this lesson in your classroom!

Gifted Education

Ways that schools help and hinder Gifted students.

The justification for gifted education is simple: Academically advanced children should be given work at their speed and level, both to nurture their talents and prevent them from becoming bored and disruptive in class.

diagram-template-guy-thinking_23-2147671150.jpg

I came across an interesting article this week: 4 ways schools help  or hinder Giftedness

This does make links to schooling in America but I believe there are links to Australia too.

Slow growth – it is often found in many schools that students who score highly in NAPLAN (albeit controversial testing) often do not show growth. How can we ensure that high achievers continue to achieve? There are many ways we can do this but change may be needed within the classroom – pull out groups, grouping within the classroom, acceleration, project based activities are just a few ideas.

Identification – are we using the appropriate identification tools for the students in our schools? Do you consider if you have students from a non-english speaking background? Indigenous background? Born overseas? Refugee? Each school needs to consider how they use standardised testing BUT they also need to consider how well teachers are equipped to create high quality pre assessments to gather data as well as good observation skills so they can pick up underachievers and 2e students (Twice exceptional)

Advanced curriculum – How well do we cater for gifted students in the classroom? Do we extend or enrich their learning? Teachers need to consider if they just need to be stretched sideways (problem solving, critical thinking within the current grade outcomes) or advanced to harder content (acceleration through stages). Many Gifted students will benefit from a combination of both but many do not receive this in the mainstream classroom. Teachers do need support for this to happen.

Tailor to students interests – It is really important that with Gifted students – and with other students also, that we tailor to their interests as much as possible. Think about how a lesson can be taught that catches students attention so not only are they excited about learning, they can use the great skills they have to build on skills in other areas. A students who is talented in mathematics can be extended in other ways – not always just in mathematics. They have the reasoning skills and the problem solving skills that may help them to solve environmental issues, humanitarian crisis or just something as simple as an issue in how the school timetable flows.

Creativity, Gifted Education, Parenting

Creativity

Gifted children, from an early age can show the capacity to think creatively, critically and abstractly.

Have you ever had them ask a question and you wondered how they came up with that thought? Or wondered why they have thought so hard about something that just seems trivial to you?

Gifted children need to know that these thoughts are valid and wonderful! As a parent you need to support this thinking and foster it in the best possible way so you not only have a confident child but you are a confident parent.

Being a confident parent allows you to inform teachers the strengths and weaknesses of your child.

What can you do?

  • Build a home environment that nurtures this creativity. Allow your child to flourish at home and have a space that they can always create.
  • Before praising them about the way the have responded or created something,, ask them how they came up with the idea. Learning how to explain their thinking is a great tool.
  • Provide them with opportunities to explore their area of interest and link in with like minded individuals. Think after school activities, holiday clubs, online groups, links with universities, visits to art galleries, performances and music halls.
  • Keep records of their creations and try to create with them.
  • Encourage taking risks when trying new techniques and talk about mistakes and why we need to make them to learn.

If you need support with your gifted child or a gifted student in your classroom. Please get in touch for one on one consultations and workshops.

Vanessa: educateempower1@gmail.com

And read this great tip sheet created by The National Association for Gifted Children

http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/Publication%20PHP/NAGC%20TIP%20Sheet%20-%20Nurturing%20Creativity-FINAL-UPDATED-October%202017.pdf