This website is open to everyone. Bookmark us and check us out EVERY SINGLE WEEK for differentiation tips and tricks from our specialists, expert teachers and librarians, and other professionals in the field.
Week 22 - 2019\01\21
I'm getting ahead of the game a little bit to give you all extra time to read through the TEA's proposal for a new...
Please click the link to read through the Plan. Please contact the powers that be to have them resolve any issues you see with the plan. I have found a few things that I fundamentally disagreed with (that I won't go into here), and I'm sure you will too, so please take the time to make your voice heard.
Week 21 - 2019\01\14
The Bright & Quirky Child Summit
January 28th - February 3, 2019
Kudos to Mrs. Woods at Seele Elementary for tipping me off on this one!
From the Bright & Quirky Child Summit Page:
"The Bright & Quirky Child Summit is a free 7 day online event featuring the thought leaders in childhood giftedness, emotional regulation, social challenges, anxiety, learning differences, executive function, and parenting . Each day of content is free for 24 hours."
Looking for Parent Leaders!
The TAGT Parent Division wants to help New Braunfels start a Parent Support Group for our G/T kiddos. Interested parties, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can start conversations to decide on leadership and join other communities in advocating for our kids!
We could also use this facebook page as a staging area. I realized when I moved here with my son, that there isn't a network of support for our G/T kids. I created this webpage before I attained the position of G/T Specialist. Now that I'm doing this full-time, it would be nice to have Parent Leaders step up and take over the website.
Anyone can join the group
While you're at it, here's the complete list of advocacy resources from TAGT:
Week 20 - 2019\01\07
Happy Year of the Pig!
I can't believe it's already been a whole semester!
Way to go, teachers! Way to go, students!
Way to go, families!
It's been a TON of fun keeping this website going. I think everyone out there needs a creative outlet - a place to just let your mind wander to cool things that you'd like to share. Whether that's with music, art, tech, science, or whatnot - it doesn't matter. People with similar interests will start to notice and share. Hopefully, the messages shared here are useful to you. If so, let me know. If you think of anything you'd like for me to share here, let me know about that too!
Honestly, doing this is rewarding no matter what because I'm learning as I go!
Read to Improve - Volume 3
For Parents (and interested teachers):
- Advocacy: Working With Your Child's School, by the Davidson Institute
- And, while you're at it, visit TAGT's page on advocacy and sign up to do your part.
Week 19 - 2018\12\31
Our G/T Depth and Complexity Library is Expanding!
Grade 6-12 Math teachers, please click here to access new Depth and Complexity Prompt Cards for use in your classroom.
The goal of these digital prompt cards is to give early finishers, students who pretest out of a topic, or students who crave more than the basics a choice in topics to expand their knowledge and flexibility within a content area. For decades, teachers have used prompts like these to differentiate for their G/T, high-achieving, and accelerated learners in order to build on what they know, give them a creative outlet, and provide a challenging assignment at their level. As the classroom teacher, it's up to you how you'd like to use these cards, but I created an extensive list of options that you can find below (link). You may also find a ton of ever-expanding teacher-created topic-specific Depth and Complexity resources here (link).
Ian Byrd defines the Depth and Complexity icons as "eleven tools [...] considered essential elements one needs to master a subject."
For example, a quality college basketball coach would be required to understand the specific language of basketball, fine details, patterns, and rules of the game, new trends in the sport, ask clarifying questions to improve their odds, make ethical decisions for players and staff, the big picture (idea) of how their sport fits in to society, put themself in the players' shoes (multiple perspectives), how the game has evolved over time, and the kinesiology and (to an extent) some of the physics involved in the sport (across disciplines).
Week 18 - 2018\12\24
Microsoft Education has put together a library of creative STEM activities and projects that have been tested by teachers, but that can be worked through at home or school. Activities range from 15 minute micro-projects to 2-week creations that can be easily integrated into your classroom PBL. Many of the shorter activities could be modified for a MakerSpace/IdeaLab classroom or as an extension for your interested G/T students to take home.
The one that caught my eye was the Windmill and Wind Turbine Project. I didn't realize until I clicked that the lesson plan contains an in-depth video breakdown of the teacher's role with project examples and students-in-action. Watching students actually record and analyze their data and then improve on their turbine models made me want to do this project at home.
Week 17 - 2018\12\17
𝓢𝓹𝓸𝓽𝓵𝓲𝓰𝓱𝓽 - 𝓞𝓪𝓴 𝓡𝓾𝓷 𝓜𝓲𝓭𝓭𝓵𝓮 𝓢𝓬𝓱𝓸𝓸𝓵 - 8𝓽𝓱 𝓖𝓻𝓪𝓭𝓮
Our 8th Grade G/T at ORMS did a fantastic job selling their wares and services at the NB Farmers Market!
I have a very fine red soy-based scented candle as proof. These kids know how to make a sale!
𝓢𝓹𝓸𝓽𝓵𝓲𝓰𝓱𝓽 - 𝓚𝓵𝓮𝓲𝓷 𝓡𝓸𝓪𝓭 𝓔𝓵𝓮𝓶𝓮𝓷𝓽𝓪𝓻𝔂 𝓢𝓬𝓱𝓸𝓸𝓵
Klein Road Elementary is doing great things with 3D design and printing! Check out these holiday ornaments; fresh from the MakerBot.
Way to go, KRE and ORMS!
Winter (Break) is coming! Don't let your brain ice over!
"Logical thinking is the mind’s ability to make decisions by
Based off of our teachers' awesome notes from TAGT, it seems like the best way to keep your brains primed before, during, and after the break is through daily logic puzzles!
A logic puzzle a day can help students with inferencing, critical thinking, and overall observation. They don't have to take long, they're usually pretty fun for all kids, and you can fit them in to any part of your day.
How can teachers build logical reasoning in the classroom?
- Tell riddles during restroom breaks
- Logical recess games
- Logic puzzles as brain breaks in the morning
- Logic stations
- Keep logic puzzles in 'Challenge Folders' when students are finished with work
- Add puzzles to the backs of tests as a bonus or just for fun
- Add puzzles as part of a choice/tic-tac-toe/menu board on an assignment.
- Slip a logic puzzle into your student's lunch box every day
- Keep logic puzzles handy in your car for the drive home (or that long drive to see family over the break)
- Give students a question to ponder as they go to sleep
- Work one out as a family over dinner
- Give one to a student for down-time after a long day (great for introverts!)
- Compete with a sibling, friend, or parent to find the answer
- Create riddles that students must solve to find presents
- Make family logic puzzles a part of your holiday tradition.
There are tons of games and puzzles out there. Some are better in whole-group, and some are better on an individual iPad or assignment.
Let's cover the whole and large-group ones first:
Twelve and You're Out:
- Students stand up and form circles of 4-5 students. The first student says either 1, 2 or 3 numbers. e.g. The first person can say "1", "1, 2" or "1, 2, 3." The next student continues the counting sequence where the previous student left off and says the next 1, 2 or 3 numbers. The student who says the number "12" sits down. The game then starts again at 1 and proceeds in the same fashion until there are only 2 students left. The game ends when one of those two students says "12" and sits down. The last person standing is the winner. This game can be modified using different "target" numbers and different sizes of groups. (Thanks to Mrs. Fleming @NISD for the clarification on this one).
- Phase 10
- Uno - Try changing up the rules for added fun. For example, instead of limiting one card per turn, allow setting as many cards as can be sequenced in a pattern. Or limit drawing to two cards when a player has no matches to stack.
- Skip Bo
- MindTrap - Comes with a massive list of logical-reasoning scenarios to solve.
- Spot It!
- Go Fish
...and here are your small-group and singles puzzles:
Activity Books and Traditional Paper-Pencil Games (that you can do in Notability):
- The Dot Game (as many players as you want)
- Bridges, or Chopsticks (Hashiwokakero) - Print, copy, or project these fun bridge-building puzzles.
- Skyscrapers - You have a grid of squares, all of which contain a skyscraper of various sizes. Around the grid are clues telling you how many skyscrapers you can see from that position.
- Logic Grid Puzzles - These classic grid puzzles tell a story and make kids organize information to figure things out.
- Tic-Tac-Toe and variations (have students experiment with their own rules and grids)
- Mindbenders Books - Organizational Logic Puzzles
- Think-A-Minutes - Mathematical, writing, spatial, and visual-perceptual, deductive, inductive, and critical thinking skills.
- Word Puzzles - This link takes you to the Wordplay Website.
- Rebus Puzzles
- Magic Triangles
- Riddles - Make sure your riddles are safe for kids!
Websites and Apps:
- Bridges, or Chopsticks (Hashiwokakero) - Print, copy, or project these fun bridge-building puzzles.
- Skyscrapers - You have a grid of squares, all of which contain a skyscraper of various sizes. Around the grid are clues telling you how many skyscrapers you can see from that position.
- Logic Grid Puzzles - These classic grid puzzles tell a story and make kids organize information to figure things out.
- KidsMathGamesOnline - Logic games
- Brainzilla - Puzzles
- TheKidzPage - Some logic games, but there's a lot here.
- MathGameTime - Their Problem Solving section is good too.
- Superkids - This website some good puzzles on their logic games page.
- Minesweeper - The classic game that was made famous on your Windows 98 PC.
- Puzzlemix - Every type of printable puzzle.
- The Art of Puzzles - Every type of printable puzzle.
- Folj.com - Lateral Thinking and Logic Puzzles arranged by difficulty.
- BrainBashers.com - BrainBashers™ is a collection of brain teasers, puzzles, riddles and optical illusions.
- Tangrams (can be two players)
- Bloxus, Bloxus To Go, or Bloxus Trigon
- Apples to Apples
- Prime Climb
- Chinese Checkers
- Connect 4
- Clue or Clue Jr.
- Rumis (Rare)
- Muggins/Knockout (Rare)
- Risk (The rare edition with roman numeral troops is the best)
- Tower of Hanoi
- Triangular Peg Game
- Rush Hour
- Spinergy (13+)
- Wordigo (Rare)
- Tetris Link (Rare)
There's something here for everyone! I even added links so you can easily add some of these great games to your Cart! Enjoy! ~ JBH
Week 16 - 2018\12\10
With SO many great ideas from TAGT, I had a lot of trouble figuring out where to begin. However, with the help of some AMAZING educators and their in-depth notes, I was able to figure out a thread that was fairly common between the sessions we attended:
There is a treasury of books for gifted kids out there!
The books in this resource list are sorted by:
...so there's literally something here for every situation. Whether you're a parent or a teacher, you can find something here for your students - and if it's good enough to be on this list, it's good for any child.
I'll keep adding to this list as ideas come to me (so if you have any, please email me at the usual: email@example.com)
This gorgeous cover art comes from one of our featured novels:The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, by Lauren James.
Week 15 - 2018\12\03
Click the link from Week 14 to peruse the almost 200 pages of notes that our fantastic educators took from the TAGT conference. Enjoy!
While I prepare to unleash a ton of knowledge gleaned from last week's TAGT conference in Fort Worth, please enjoy this excellent article on Supporting Literacy in the Science Classroom that truly applies to any child.
Week 14 - 2018\11\26
This year's Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented takes place this Wednesday through Friday in Fort Worth! We have a lot of educators going, and I'm hoping they'll use this form to take notes on some of the fantastic sessions they plan to go to. Starting Wednesday, clicking the link below will give you access to all of the notes we share. Have a great week! Welcome back from Thanksgiving Break!
Week 12 - 2018\11\12
Four Free Websites that You Should be Using for Differentiation in Student Literacy
I'm not saying you HAVE to use these resources, but they can be a big time-saver. If you're looking for a historical, current event, or STEM article, try some of the sources below.
To demonstrate, I wanted to see what I could find for Veterans Day. I did a quick search on some of these for materials, and for others, I subscribe, so I immediately saw these fantastic resources when I logged in to my email. Each of the links goes directly to multimedia or articles to help you close out your coverage of Veterans Day.
NPR is a fantastic place for current event coverage. There really is something for every subject, weekly. Please read through the text to be sure the content is at an appropriate level for your student.
Use ReadWorks.org to easily find leveled articles by topic and grade level. ReadWorks will also read the article to the student for added differentiation. For your G/T students, articles with a higher lexile can be assigned through the website's hub, or by simply pushing a link through Google or Apple Classroom (see below).
Happy Veterans Day!
Speaking of holidays, Thanksgiving is almost here! There's so much to be grateful for! If you're grateful for curriculum tools for differentiation that I haven't posted here, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. and I'll feature your tool on the website!
Have a great week 12!
There is SO much more out there for free. These four websites are the tip of the iceberg.
For more free stuff, check out this list of Open Educational Resources. Your curriculum gurus add to it as often as possible.
Week 11 - 2018\11\05
TAGT - 10 Books to Spark a Love of Math in Kids of All Ages
(Book of the Month 2&3 because I didn't have any last month)
Depth and Complexity Resources
Do you have a student who knows it all, is a frequent early-finisher, and/or whom you can clearly tell would benefit from deeper, more open-ended questions? Are you killing them with drill and practice on things they have already mastered because that's what you have on hand? Is differentiation even possible?!? Yes.
"Differentiation" doesn't mean you have to have an entirely new lesson for every student.
Prompts with Depth and Complexity are a simple, on-the-spot solution for creative thinkers who crave choice. Many of the prompts that teachers have created (links above) are stand-alone questions on a topic that require little to no preparation.
Prompts with Depth and Complexity can be:
- used by ANY teacher
- given to your G/T kiddos through grades K-12
- used with on-level students who have mastered a concept ahead of the other students
- student or teacher created
- given to students at any level who have mastered a concept in order to add depth and complexity to that concept
- used in place of another activity
- used as a bonus, extra-credit, or as a replacement to a question on their next test
- to give students more choice and freedom in their formal assessments
- extensions to a PBL or as a stand-alone mini-project
- opportunities for cross-curricular connections
- opportunities for students to showcase their talents
Think about it this way:
If you had the knowledge of a 6th grader in a 1st grade class, would you be content with re-learning concepts you mastered years ago?
Of course not!
We need to be able to meet kids where they are in order to help them reach their full potential. Prompts with Depth and Complexity are the ready answer for teachers who need something NOW.
Week 10 - 2018\10\28
Multipotentiality is "an educational and psychological term referring to the ability and preference of a person, particularly one of strong intellectual or artistic curiosity, to excel in two or more different fields."
How many of you have a student who clearly excels in a particular area, but you're not sure if they shine anywhere else? What do you do?
Here's how you find out if your student is a multipotentialite:
- Go to that kid
- Ask them what else, aside from _______ activity, that they're proud of
- Actively listen
You probably won't have any trouble judging signs of the student's multipotentiality. They may have trouble stopping once you get them started on their many academic and artistic endeavors. Either way, you've found out something new about your student that you can use to fuel their days with you.
Remember, most college students don't really know what they want to be when they're grown up. We often tell our kids, "You can be anything you work hard to be!" So, our job as educators is to give students as many avenues for creativity and discovery as possible. Good luck!
Read to Improve - Volume 2
For further reading, please peruse this collection of articles on Multipotentiality, curated from our friends at TAGT.
I dare you to pick at least two articles to read through!
Week 9 - 2018\10\21
𝓢𝓹𝓸𝓽𝓵𝓲𝓰𝓱𝓽 - 𝓜𝓮𝓶𝓸𝓻𝓲𝓪𝓵 𝓔𝓵𝓮𝓶𝓮𝓷𝓽𝓪𝓻𝔂
𝒜 𝒽𝑒𝒶𝓇𝓉𝒻𝑒𝓁𝓉 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓃𝓀 𝓎𝑜𝓊 𝒾𝓈 𝒾𝓃 𝑜𝓇𝒹𝑒𝓇 𝒻𝑜𝓇 𝑀𝓇𝓈. 𝒱𝒶𝓁𝑒𝓇𝒾𝑒 𝒯𝒽𝑜𝓂𝓅𝓈𝑜𝓃 𝒻𝑜𝓇 𝒸𝑜𝓂𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝑜𝓊𝓉 𝓉𝑜 𝑀𝑒𝓂𝑜𝓇𝒾𝒶𝓁 𝐸𝓁𝑒𝓂𝑒𝓃𝓉𝒶𝓇𝓎 𝓁𝒶𝓈𝓉 𝓌𝑒𝑒𝓀! 𝑀𝓇𝓈. 𝒯𝒽𝑜𝓂𝓅𝓈𝑜𝓃, 𝒶 𝓂𝓊𝓈𝒾𝒸/𝒸𝒽𝑜𝒾𝓇 𝒹𝒾𝓇𝑒𝒸𝓉𝑜𝓇, 𝓈𝒽𝒶𝓇𝑒𝒹 𝒶 𝓅𝓇𝑜𝑔𝓇𝒶𝓂 𝑜𝓃 𝒽𝑜𝓌 𝓂𝓊𝓈𝒾𝒸 𝒶𝒻𝒻𝑒𝒸𝓉𝓈 𝑜𝓊𝓇 𝓁𝒾𝓋𝑒𝓈 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝒽𝑜𝓌 𝒾𝓉 𝒸𝒶𝓃 𝒷𝑒 𝓊𝓈𝑒𝒹 𝒾𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒸𝑜𝓂𝓂𝓊𝓃𝒾𝓉𝓎.
I want to share with you one of my absolute FAVORITE tools to use in the classroom, Apple Classroom! Many of you know that Apple Classroom is a device management tool but you might not realize that it that allows you to differentiate on the iPad with ease. Use it to group students by ability and push activities and resources out to them on a group-by-group basis.
You can even name your groups or group by colors! It's really the organized teacher's dream tool. Students can belong to as many groups as you care to make - you can have a student in an ability group on Monday to do an accelerated activity, and then group them into a totally different PBL workshop on Tuesday.
Push out websites – if they’re doing a research project, you can push out a particularly high resource to your G/T kids so that they are the only ones touring it. You can push out specific apps, as well, and use the app to see who is on what appropriate resource.
They Might Be Giants for Kids
I'm going to post about KOI (The Kingore Observation Inventory) soon, but while I'm preparing that, I'd like to share this fantastic playlist with videos from They Might Be Giants. A while back (2005), this amazing band collaborated with Disney to produce some excellent educational songs and videos for kids of all ages. Every song is catchy and fun, and it's easy to look through the playlist below to see if anything fits in your lessons. The songs are split fairly evenly between Math, Science, and Language.
Week 7 - 2018\10\07
Characteristics of Gifted English Language Learners
It can, understandably, be more difficult to identify G/T students who are simultaneously mastering multiple languages. Even on my best day, I imagine I'd have had trouble teaching math in an unfamiliar language. Yet we expect multilingual students to come in and balance their language-learning with new content and often a new culture, and still somehow manage to shine if they're G/T kids. Teachers and parents, please try to find these kids and get them recognized for what they are so that we can help them reach their true potential.
Here are some things to look for in Gifted EL students:
1) The ability to acquire a second language rapidly.
2) High mathematical aptitude (because language is often less of a barrier in math).
3) Displaying a more mature sense of culture than their peers.
4) The ability to code-switch easily (think in both languages).
5) The ability to quickly pick up on idioms and expressions from their developing language.
6) Translates for their peers (especially when those peers have had equal or more time with the new language).
7) Successfully navigates appropriate behaviors between both cultures.
Think of these strengths not only as causes for recommendation for the G/T program, but as foundational strengths compared to their G/T peers who may already be shining in other areas. The gift of language is nothing to scoff at in the G/T world. How many of us, as teachers, have known those profoundly G/T students who struggle to sustain a conversation or to find common ground with their peers? We need bright students who can bridge gaps, make connections, and lead... and many of your Gifted ELs are there to answer the call.
To cultivate their talents, try some of the following strategies backed by research:
1) Employ a curriculum that is inclusive of the students' cultural/linguistic/subject specific interests.
2) Give the student choice in how to demonstrate their learning.
3) Hands-on units
4) Translate instructions into the primary language - especially if they're a new English Learner - and
5) Classes in or spiraling information about the culture and rhetoric of their primary language.
6) AP Language Classes in the EL's primary language (for the older students).
7) Activities that get ELs and native-English speakers talking to each other.
8) Let an older bilingual student mentor a younger student - especially if the students share the same cultural background.
9) Involve parents in their children’s education. The language barrier can be hard for the parents as well. It may seem like they don't want to be involved, when, really, they just need a teacher to reach out and let them know the process and desire for parent participation and engagement in their child's school life. An interpreter may be necessary, and scheduling may be difficult as the parents are starting a new life in a new culture, but it's important and worth it to make contact. With you laying the groundwork, subsequent teachers will have an easier time maintaining communication with parents of EL children. (Ford, 2013).
On a side note...
Poverty and minority status are not the same, though populations may overlap. Poverty manifests differently based on geography, ethnicity, and race. That being said, many of the same strategies that work for your EL G/T students will also be effective for your low-income G/T students. Activities with choice on how to demonstrate their learning, hands-on units, spiraling in rhetoric/concepts, activities that get students collaborating, peer-mentoring, and teacher-parent involvement are especially powerful.
They're really just good practices for all kids.
Iowa Department of Education, The Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development 2008, Identifying Gifted and Talented English Language Learners Grades K-12 https://www.educateiowa.gov/documents/advanced-learning-opportunities/2013/03/identifying-gifted-andtalented-english-language
Ford, D. Y. (2013). Recruiting and retaining culturally different students in gifted education. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press
Week 6 - 2018\09\30
“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.”~ Albert Einstein
It's okay for a student to know more about a topic than you. You don't need to be a paleobotanist to teach Kindergarten. You don't have to speak 6 languages to teach 5th grade...
There's an INTERNET for that.
The quote above isn't meant to sass you. This is a sass-free-zone. But if you don't understand what a G/T student is into, it's okay! Just ask them questions, give them resources, and let them write and share their excitement! To help, this week we're adding YOUTUBE CHANNELS to the website! You can access the YouTube Channels from the drop down at the top left of your mobile device under "Resources," or by pressing the "Resources" dropdown on your desktop or laptop. There is something for EVERY learner, and I'd love to hear from you if you have any channels to add! Remember, I'm at email@example.com. Thanks, everyone! Have an awesome Week 6!!!
Week 5 - 2018\09\23
Major Takeaways from the Webinar:
- Resources for G/T Awareness Day:
- What Is Gifted?
- Texas State Plan
- Fearless Advocacy: A Day in the Life of a Gifted Child's Parent?
- 9 Things I Wish People Knew About Highly-Gifted Children
- TEMPO: XXXVII, Issue 1, 2016 - Advocating for Gifted Learners
- Equity in G/T Education
- Five Ways to a More Politically Palatable Gifted Education
- Why Are Gifted Programs Needed?
- The Ultimate Plan to Help Gifted Education
- Establishing a Parent Support Group
- Advocating for the Twice-Exceptional Child
- FAQ: G/T Education
"What an extroverted act it is in the first place to go to school. All day long, you are in a classroom full of people with constant stimulation."— Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts
SENG Article 1
Introversion: The Often Forgotten Factor Impacting the Gifted, a Reflection
Have you heard of SENG? The mission of "Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted" is "to empower families and communities to guide gifted and talented individuals to reach their goals: intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually." When you're done with this week's G/T Newsletter Entry, please tour their website. It's good to be in-the-know about organizations that strive to help G/T families navigate G/T life. We're pulling from their library this week.
...close your eyes and think of three or four words that describe your ideal classroom environment and how the students interact within it.
Were any of these words yours? fun, loud, exciting, movement, performance, partners, projects, large groups, hands-on, teams, messy, rowdy, games, play, acting...? If you thought of some of these words, don't worry. You're not in trouble. Good classrooms really do have all of these things!
Does that imply that better classrooms have more than these things?
...If your classroom is "ON" all of the time, your introverts (especially those G/T introverts with emotional intensity or overexcitability) will begin to show signs of wear.
What it comes down to is this: studies show that many teachers identify as extroverts. And, for the most part, extroverts are fine being extroverts all day long, and they're fine with their classrooms being the same way... all day long. Indeed, we all feel like we have a handful of time in which to teach a truckload of TEKS - we have to be GO-GO-GO... Right? You might even feel like you need permission to let your class slow down, quiet down, take a breath, and reflect.
Do it. It's completely worth it. More than that, it's good for the kids.
Read this article from SENG: Introversion: The Often Forgotten Factor Impacting the Gifted. It has a lot of juicy nuggets for teachers, parents, and people in general, so it's worth reading as a whole. If you feel like you can't slow down and reflect on the article, I'll highlight a few of the main takeaways for educators here:
① Don't try to "cure" introverts. Teach social skills, not that it's "wrong to be shy."
② Teach with your introverts in mind. This can be hard when you, yourself, are an extrovert. Honor your students' need for structure, quiet, solo time, and small groups.
How does this look in the classroom? To put it metaphorically, if you want to make delicious cookies, you have to both mix the batter AND sprinkle in some tasty morsels. Likewise, in the classroom, you have to allow your students to mix and create together, while also allowing them some time to quietly reflect and internalize their learning.
Next time you're teaching, sprinkle some of the following morsels into your lesson:
Longer wait time for students to answer, journaling, critical writing, book studies or clubs, quiet reading, quiet creative time, have students collaborate in print-only through a shared google doc, give down-time for introspection, small group, let them video or pre-record their presentation, and try dimming the lights every now and then or playing some soft classical music or white noise.
If you have any other ideas, please shoot me an email and I'll add it to the list. Have a great day, New Braunfels!
Week 5 is upon us! Thank you for all that you do! It's 1:11am. Make a wish! ~J.B. Haygood
Week 4 - 2018\09\16
— J.K. Rowling
Read to Improve - Volume I
Understanding Student Self-Expression
One's ability to analyze written and spoken information and produce work that involves oral and written language.
One's ability to develop equations and proofs, recognize patterns, make calculations, and solve abstract problems.
One's ability to interpret and comprehend visual patterns, pictures, charts, maps, 2D and 3D art, etc.
One's ability to understand, organize, and manipulate patterns of sound (pitch, rhythm, tone, timbre).
One's ability to identify and distinguish among different types of plants, animals, and weather formations found in the natural world.
One's ability to use their own body to create products or solve problems. Dexterity, hand-eye coordination, fast reflexes, and physical control are a few traits of someone with high Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence.
One's ability to recognize and understand other people's moods, desires, motivations, and intentions.
One's ability to recognize, assess, and control themselves, their moods, desires, motivations, and intentions.
Howard Gardner first proposed his Theory of Multiple Intelligences in 1983 (For a brief breakdown of the theory, please read HERE). He based the definitions of 8 separate "Intelligences" on his qualitative studies of mental development in youth and the way the minds of artists work after suffering trauma (stroke, etc.). His work led him to conclude that intelligence can't be completely defined by an IQ test. Even if you feel that IQ tests are the be-all-end-all for defining an individual's intelligence, they tend to only look for certain things; pattern recognition, problem-solving, etc. We certainly don't expect every genius to seek a career in logic or mathematics.
Critics of Gardner's definitions argue that his "Intelligences" simply represent talents, personality traits, or abilities. In the last 35 years, there has been little quantitative research to support his theory, yet there is plenty of research supporting the benefits of giving students multiple ways to demonstrate knowledge and skills (Darling-Hammond, 2010), informed by knowledge of students' specific strengths, needs, and areas for growth (Tomlinson, 2014). Whether you believe in Multiple Intelligences or not, teachers, students, and even parents can benefit from a deeper understanding of what motivates learning in the classroom.
GT testing, likewise, tries to gauge an individual's general creativity. It doesn't give us a clear view of a student's specific strengths, talents, or passions. For example, we may know where students excel academically based on teacher recommendations. However, a recommendation from a math teacher doesn't guarantee that the student's greatest ability is logical-mathematical... it doesn't even guarantee that the student likes math. This is where a look at a student's Multiple Intelligences can come in handy.
A common misconception about "Multiple Intelligences" is that it means the same thing as "Learning Styles." This is just not true. A learning style is the way a student seems to be most comfortable learning a topic, it's not necessarily the students' area of talent or expertise. Teachers can usually gauge what works best for student learning in the classroom, but this doesn't define their individual strengths. For example, a student who enjoys learning new concepts through song isn't necessarily a piano virtuoso with a high Musical Intelligence. Conversely, a student who has extraordinary Intrapersonal Intelligence will not necessarily do better by herself than with a group.
More than anything, MI Theory is a tool to help teachers understand how students prefer to express themselves.
Please have your students take one of the below assessments. This would make a great homework assignment - parents may learn things about their kids that they missed. For grades K-2, you'll probably want the student's parents to facilitate unless the child is profoundly gifted. Grades 3 and up should be fine, especially with the Edutopia MI Test. Whether this is done at home or school, have the students save a screenshot of their results or a copy of their printout, and send it to your email address. Voila! you may now use their results throughout the year to inform your teaching!
This brief assessment should last between 5 and 10 minutes depending on the reader.
I recommend this assessment for older kids because it is a bit long, but you can be the judge. If you want to take one for yourself, start here, as this assessment provides a detailed breakdown of your results.
“Multiple Intelligences: What Does the Research Say?” Edutopia, George Lucas Educational Foundation, 8 Mar. 2013, www.edutopia.org/multiple-intelligences-research.
Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). Performance Counts: Assessment Systems that Support High-Quality Learning . Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School Officers.
McGreal, Scott A. “The Illusory Theory of Multiple Intelligences: Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences Has Never Been Validated.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/unique-everybody-else/201311/the-illusory-theory-multiple-intelligences.
Tomlinson, C. A. (2014). The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Thanks for another great week! I'm excited about Week 4! I'll do my best to expand the page to include Depth and Complexity Icons, lists of competitions, clubs, and extracurriculars for GT kids, and more! ~JBH
Week 3 - 2018\09\09
The TPSP recently got a facelift. This is TEA's answer to differentiation based on the State Plan for G/T Students. Section 3.2C of the State Plan directly references the Texas Performance Standards Project: "A continuum of learning experiences is provided that leads to the development of advanced-level products and/or performances such as those provided through the Texas Performance Standards Project (TPSP) (19 TAC §89.3(2))."
Here are a few examples:
The website doesn't just look prettier. The TPSP library has also increased in size. If you're new to teaching G/T students, this is where you want to start. You really can't beat TEKS-aligned, free resources.
If you are a veteran and want to chart your own path, you should look through the TPSP for ideas and to see if what you are doing meets the needs of our kids according to the State Plan. Section 3.2C above is the MINIMUM requirement for us to be in compliance.
At the push of a button, many of their new projects are scaffolded into the "7-E" Model (it's the 5-E Model with "Elicit" and "Extend" added). Each project contains a start-to-finish walkthrough.
What is the PTA Reflections Competition?
The PTA Reflections Competition has been around for 50 years! Every year, over 200,000 students participate in the program. The only guideline is that the participating student's family must be an active member in the PTA program. The process is simple:
➊ Students create an original work that follows a theme. This year's theme is "Heroes Around Me." Reflections judges weigh in on creative works in the areas of Dance Choreography, Film Production, Literature, Music Composition, Photography, Visual Arts, and Special Artist (see below for examples).
➋ Students send their original works to a campus PTA representative who should be able to clarify the guidelines for each area and the deadline for submission.
➌ These works are then judged repeatedly by grade band from the district to national level - with awards given throughout.
𝘚𝘵𝘶𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘲𝘶𝘦 𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘨𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘱 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘺.
How does this look in the classroom?
The theme for this year is "Heroes Around Me." This is really the only guidance from TX PTA.
Upon submission, students must provide a brief written summary of why their original work reflects this year's theme. That's it.
This is a long-term project. Most schools don't require submission until November (check with your campus Reflections coordinator to be sure).
September is the best month of the year for students to hone in on what it means to be a hero. There's no better time to give students the PTA Reflections documents to bring home to their families and get buy-in.
Give students the option of working on their PTA Reflections Project(s) during center time or at times when they have already mastered the material (Step ⓿ is: "Pretest your Students," but I know you already did that because you're the best). The Reflections program doesn't accept group submissions, but if you're living "that PBL Life," students can take the information they gleaned from their group work and synthesize it into a separate solo spinoff.
Check in with students periodically. Students should have a clear understanding of what they want to create by the end of September, and they should be about halfway through with their project mid-October. When the time comes, put a reminder out in your teacher newsletter for parents to get submissions in.
Disclaimer: Do NOT help your students create their product IN ANY WAY. This is against the official PTA Reflections Rules.
That's it! You can do this with any of your students. It's a great way to let their creativity shine! If you can think of any other programs or competitions for G/T kids or All Kids, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll add your idea to a running list on this webpage. Thank you so much, teachers and parents, for all that you do! Good luck this year! Have a great Week 3!
Week 2 - 2018\09\02
"The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well."
~ Lewis Caroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Wonderopolis (a project from The National Center for Families Learning) is another great tool to get those gears turning in class. I can imagine a student going for a quick peek at Wonderopolis, then falling in head first - forgetting the passage of time and literary distance - letting their curiosity take the lead.
For me, the main draw of Wonderopolis is their list of over 2,000 "Wonders of the Day." Whether it's in a station, as a research tool or project extender, or just for fun, Wonderopolis will pique their interest. For kids, the site is as easy to navigate as NewsELA, and its articles includes some helpful text tools to facilitate their journey. Commonsensemedia.org puts Wonderopolis' reading level at around that of a typical 7 year old, so G/T kinder kids with a higher reading level should be fine navigating the content.
With 6 subjects and 29 subcategories, it's easy to browse and find a content-specific extension to the day's lesson.
Each art answer is fully fleshed-out. But the cool part is that students will see links to other questions as they read.
Key words are highlighted and defined throughout. There are even activities and games at the bottom of every page!
The website is built on inquiry! Students pose their own questions and the community votes them up for a faster answer.
Week 1 - 2018\08\27
Looking for a tool to add a moment of curiosity to your classroom? Look no further!
Every week, Ian Byrd curates amazing videos and images from the brightest corners of the internet. It all comes nicely packaged in an email with a brief description of each "Curiosity and Puzzlement." The media he shares will not only catch kids' eyes, it'll captivate their sense of wonder as well!
The best way to use the weekly Puzzlements mailer is to:
- Sign up <-- Click here
- Pick a day to share (Puzzlements come out every Friday, but the kids don't know that).
- Take about 5 minutes to show the video that you think your class will get the most from.
- Before pressing play or looking through the pictures, simply tell them that you want to show them something cool, unique, amazing, intriguing ...something that made you think, made you curious, made you wonder, etc.
- When you're done, ask students for any questions, comments, or connections. Discuss as a class. They can write their ideas down, but it doesn't need to be an assignment - it's just a chance to let inquisitive minds wander.
After a few weeks, you'll see students becoming curious again! Amazing!
Write in and tell me what you think and/or how you used this resource! I'll add your comments to this newsletter! Check back in next week!
Let's make it a great year!
Weslandia is an excellent source of inspiration and imagination, but, more than that, it's a fantastic extension to any Personal Financial Literacy Unit. For that reason, our ELA and Math Specialists propose that this book is best used between 2nd and 5th grade.
To seal the deal, have your G/T students create an imaginary economy of their own using one interesting natural resource as the base for their system. Students can write their own story, make a map of an imaginary civilization, or generate tables and graphs to demonstrate the usefulness of their resource.
"Enter the witty, intriguing world of Weslandia! Now that school is over, Wesley needs a summer project. He’s learned that each civilization needs a staple food crop, so he decides to sow a garden and start his own - civilization, that is. He turns over a plot of earth, and plants begin to grow. They soon tower above him and bear a curious-looking fruit. As Wesley experiments, he finds that the plant will provide food, clothing, shelter, and even recreation. It isn’t long before his neighbors and classmates develop more than an idle curiosity about Wesley - and exactly how he is spending his summer vacation."
G/T Differentiation Support:
www.byrdseed.com [Ian Byrd offers a hub for G/T best-practices]
www.giftedguru.com [Lisa VanGemert keeps a wonderful blog with resources (many w/Depth and Complexity) and ideas to get your creative juices flowing]
www.wonderopolis.org [Articles of inquiry from The National Center for Families Learning]