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!

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.

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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, Underachievement

Are there underachievers in your classroom? Part 2

There is still a lot of work being done in the field of underachievement in gifted students and one area that has been looked at is building the self esteem of the student.

Different research methods have been trialled recently to see what works best to lessen the amount of students who are underachieving in our schools.

Some tools have looked at ways to:

  • enhance motivation through self interest projects with built in depth and complexity
  • Learning how to set goals and regularly check in with a mentor (trusted teacher, older student or a link with a local university or interest group)
  • Grouping with like minded individuals within and out of school.

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And although these interventions are not all boosting the academic side specifically, they do help. When a student has a good friendship group, when they believe in themselves and when they see themselves achieve goals – they will naturally perform better academically.

So where to from here?

Schools need to consider how we help students to bond with like minded individuals, to build self esteem through challenge and to understand their strengths and weaknesses in a positive way.

More must be done to help all students – not just our gifted to reach their full potential.

A great way to do this is to raise the awareness of teachers about who gifted students can be and how we can help them.

Contact me

Contact me if your school needs assistance in training your teachers in the area of Gifted Education.

Part One can be read here

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.

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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

Parent and school partnerships.

Partnerships such as those that Pfeiffer’s discussions help forge between parents and educators can help minimize the differences between the treatment that athletically gifted and the academically gifted students receive. But what about the glory? What can academically gifted students do that will bring them the rewards and recognition that those who excel athletically often receive? The answer is competition, and there are plenty of competitions open to those who excel in areas such as mathematics, science, geography, writing, and the arts.

There is nothing more important than a good quality partnership between a school and the parents of the students they teach.

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In an article I discovered this week by Linda Neumann, it outlines the importance of deepening that connection so that academically gifted students receive just as much support as our athletically gifted students.

 

Although this article is dated 2011, I would argue that this disparity still exists in terms of how society sees gifts and the importance of gifts.

As educators we need to ensure that ALL gifts are catered for in the best way we can within the school we teach in.

 

As parents we need to advocate for our gifted students to ensure that there are as many provisions for them as possible. If the school cannot have all these provisions on site, there are many great places to go to both online and in person.

 

We also need to ensure there is regular communication between parents and teachers to ensure everyone knows how to support the student in every aspect of their education.

 

 

Read the whole article here: https://www.sengifted.org/post/finding-the-glory-on-and-off-the-playing-field