We Grow Thinkers by Nurturing Their Gifts
What does it mean to nurture the gifts of our students and why is this important to our culture of thinking and learning?
Nurturing student gifts is focused on valuing the interests and individuality of each student in our schools. By knowing the interests and gifts of our students, we are better prepared to engage them in rich learning tasks that are relevant and engaging to them as learners. When we make knowing our students' interests a priority, we ask important questions such as:
- Who are our students?
- What feeds our students' curiosities?
- What do they wonder about and find interest in?
- How can we incorporate student interests into our planning and instruction to provide an enriching learning experience for all?
- What gifts can students share with their peers so students grow together in a collaborative environment?
- How do we continually monitor the ever changing interests of our students?
Nurturing gifts also helps establish a culture of trust and mutual respect in our classrooms. Students grow confident in their own wonderings and questions and learn to respect the unique perspectives and passions of their peers. Diversity in thought is welcomed and celebrated in all learning spaces.
What does this look like in our classrooms?
We make it a priority to create a thought-filled learning environment and culture where every day, all children are provided opportunities to share and explore their interests in rich, meaningful learning experiences. We do this by:
- Helping students identify passions
- Cultivating respect for others who hold similar and differing perspectives
- Giving students choices in their learning
- Supporting students in asking thoughtful questions that will guide them in their inquiry and study
- Providing structures for students to collaborate with students with similar interests (small groups, interest groups across classrooms or grade levels, etc.)
- Setting high expectations that each student will grow
- Empowering students to be part of the problem solving process within the classroom
- Supporting interests and self-selected goals of students
- Fostering independence
- Establishing a growth mindset for students
How do we work collaboratively to build a culture around this instructional practice?
As a district, we are committed to a schoolwide culture that honors every member's gifts. We actively seek opportunities to work collaboratively as a staff and engage in ongoing dialogue regarding students' interests, gifts, and talents for the purpose of developing student as thinkers across learning environments. We celebrate individual learners by encouraging students to embrace the interests of their peers, by encouraging teachers to embrace our student's gifts, and by encouraging teachers to embrace the gifts of their colleagues.