Gifted Education, mathematics, numeracy, Parenting, teaching

Programming for challenge

When we start a new year or a new topic most teachers are lucky enough to be given a program from the year before to use. This can be fantastic as it saves time and also inspires ideas for the current year but there are many things we need to do before we use the program and it goes beyond just reading through and tweaking.

Always pretest

Pre test your students and consider if this program suits them at all. Does the topic need to be changed? Will they engage with the activities and are the activities differentiated to suit the needs of the current class?

Pre testing is vital for all KLA’s so that we are prepared to challenge every student in the different subject areas not just in their ability but also how they view the world through the different topic areas we are presenting to them.

How are they challenged?

How are the students being challenged in the program? Are they being challenged through the questions being asked or the skills they will develop?

Are you using Higher Order thinking stems for enrich their thinking and which model works best? 

What level is the challenge?

If there is challenge and differentiation – great but at what level?

Again, you need to consider the students in your class and think if the level being presented to them in the current program is really for them

Will the main topic generate passion for learning?

The curriculum is much more flexible than we think and as the classroom teacher you need to consider which topic will really excite your learners.

Instead of just looking at ‘living things’ can your more able students look at ‘dangerous living things’?

Instead of just writing a book review – review a book review site instead and create your own. 

How limited does the topic of space need to be? Can you go beyond just the planets in the solar system and discuss how people could live on these orbiting bodies.

It does take time to create new programs and also look through existing ones but when we do, our students enjoy learning and engage with us and this is worth the time spent!

Creativity, Gifted Education, literacy, teaching

Encouraging creative thinking

All children need to be encouraged to think creatively but our gifted learners are able to really go beyond what we imagine the responses to be.

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Having a weekly prompt to encourage more than just creative writing helps with not only creative thinking but also problem solving, independent ideas, collaborative planning and working on ideas and concepts outside of our comfort zome.

There are many great resources on the internet to show students for a ‘power 30 minute creative thinking time’. This thinning time could be:

  • Design a new way
  • Create a way to convince others we need this in our every day lives
  • Change this so that the viewpoint is seen from someone we would not expect
  • Write an advertisement
  • Write a jingle
  • Write a story about the object.

Shaun Tan’s Oppsatoreum is an excellent tool to use for your Gifted students. In this book Shaun Tan has worked in collaboration with The Powerhouse Museum to engage readers in some odd objects.

These objects are part of the museum’s collection and although they do look odd, they are often fairly simple and boring in their original description. 

Instead of outlining the facts about the objects, Shaun Tan has created a story about the object to make it much more unusual and fun!

Imagine an ear piece which is now a love trumpet or a jar for leeches and honey which is not a literacy tester!

The possibilities are endless and you will have a lot of fun not only reading Shaun Tan’s descriptions but also coming up with your own! 

Creativity, Gifted Education, literacy, teaching

A literacy lesson and more on Myths from different cultures…

In Year 3 this term I am embarking on teaching students about myths from different cultures and times.

This week we started on what a myth is and how to tell the difference between a myth, legend, folktale and fairytale.

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But what made this lesson higher order is what we did next.

Choose a natural phenomenon and find as many myths as you can about that phenomenon

Myths about the Sun

 

Key Questions using the KAPLAN Model for Depth and complexity

 

  • BIG IDEAS- What are the big ideas behind the telling of this myth?
  • PATTERNS – Are there similar patterns throughout the different myths?
  • UNANSWERED QUESTIONS – What was the characters motive? What was the purpose of the sun before this myth? Why was this myth created?
  • CHANGES OVER TIME – Has the myth changed over time? How are our viewpoints of this natural phenomenon influenced today?

 

Have you taught myths in your classroom? I would love to know what you have done!

Click to access Kaplan-Depth-and-Complexity-1y4xdgk.pdf

 

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.

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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!