Rosie the Riveter and Women’s History

Last week, for an anti-bullying week, we were to dress as someone who we look up to or our hero.  I look up to so many people, but many of them don’t have a costume, per say, so I chose a fictional person. Rosie the Riveter was invented by the government to help encourage women to work in the factories during World War II.

I did a bit of research and found a Newsela article that you might find interesting: “Rosie the Riveter” still inspires working women today

As we head into March, it is women’s history month and I will try to link up to some neat women’s history resources for those of you who are interested.

Here is the poster and here I am too! And here is to all women, everywhere taking care of business. YES, WE CAN!

 

 

Gifted and Talented Programs, and Self-Advocacy

I apologize for the tardiness of this post! Some sort of virus got my family sick this week and I have been out for two days! I miss the kiddos, but am glad that we are getting our colds out of the way before the bustle of the Holiday!

In our Book Club Meeting for Gifted Students:

This week in the 5th grade Gifted program we read chapter 4 of “The Survival Guide for Gifted Kids” and discussed our gifted program, other gifted programs out there and how to ADVOCATE for what we need in our education.   We discussed what we see that we appreciate in our current program and talked about how to advocate for ourselves in the current program and in the future when we have needs in the academic setting.

We also looked at the qualifying criteria to get into the gifted program in South-Western City Schools, which can be found here on the district’s website.  While I personally believe that there is merit in providing gifted services to students with high IQ (Intelligence Quotient), I don’t support providing students with their own IQ score as I feel that it is a limited test and the number serves as a ceiling, and providing the number to a child can do more harm than good, since IQ is such a small part of a person’s true intelligence, potential, and work ethic.

While I personally believe that there is merit in providing gifted services to students with high IQ (Intelligence Quotient), I don’t support providing students with their own IQ score as I feel that it is a limited test and the number serves as a ceiling, and providing the number to a child can do more harm than good, since IQ is such a small part of a person’s true intelligence, potential, and work ethic.

If you are interested, there is a high IQ society, MENSA, that many of the students in our program meet the qualifications for membership. To learn more, visit their site: Mensa USA. Please note that I, nor SWCSD is endorsing MENSA, I am simply providing a resource.  While I was browsing their site, I found that they have brain games that some of the students I serve might enjoy. From subject-verb agreement to demolition

While I was browsing the Mensa website, I found that they have brain games that some of the students I serve might enjoy. From subject-verb agreement to demolition division, there are many mind-growing games available on their site for free play.

In Language Arts Gifted Cluster Class

In your student’s language arts class this week, their respective teacher and I are challenging them to write their Holiday Essay’s (Hayes) or their Native American Collaborative Essays (Franklin Woods) to meet the standards outlined on the 6th grade rubric of Informational Text (page 9), if they have shown the ability to complete the tasks outlined on the 5th-grade rubric. This rubric is from our district’s adoption of the Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Program, also known as the Lucy Calkins writing curriculum.

We are also in our 5th week of the Caesar’s English Greek & Latin stems program and students are showing high mastery of the vocabulary and stems that we have studied. I continue to be impressed with each student’s determination to master the new word study concepts by studying regularly, many studying daily! Great job, scholars (and parents, too!)

Humility of Spirit AND Giftedness

I have been attempting to help our students to understand the unique challenges of being gifted. In addition to reading the “Gifted Survival Guide for Kids” we have been working to walk a fine line of being incredibly proud of who we are as a gifted community AND how to operate with humility of spirit, which I define as having a modest view of one’s importance, and in our gifted children’s case, a modest view of one’s intelligence and  abilities. As a teacher and parent, I want to help our students be incredibly proud of who they are and at the same time be able to have humility in their giftings. I take comfort in this quote that I read from the from the SENG website: (SENG is Supporting Emotional Needs for the Gifted) in their article about the Do’s and Dont’s of parenting a gifted child. It read,

“Don’t worry that helping your gifted child know himself (or herself) better will lead to a “big head,” a know-it-all attitude, or undo vanity. True giftedness that is understood by the possessor leads to a more open understanding and acceptance of others (if it has been explained well). The more intellectually gifted a person is, the more likely the person will know how much he doesn’t know yet. That alone should lead to a sense of humility! Don’t worry that the child will feel superior to you; children need to look up to their parents and you are better equipped than you may realize. You are the right parents for your children.”

One of the ways I am finding that our kiddos sometimes get a bad rap with their peers, teachers, and siblings is because it is REALLY hard to walk the fine line between being proud of being gifted and having high intellect without crossing the line into bragging or becoming known as a “know it all.”

In order to bring this issue to light, this week we are playing a game called “Hot Seat” to help build empathy for friends, peers, and siblings who might struggle when they are not included in the GT (Gifted and Talented) programming. It also builds empathy for our teachers who may feel challenged when students question their instruction publically and regularly (which sometimes some gifted students happen to do.) To play Hot Seat, each student received a card of a person who has not (yet) been identified as gifted and answers questions from their assigned perspective about what it is like to not get to participate in GT. They also have to consider what it is like to really struggle to master material that they find comes easily. For many who have participated in this activity, they have agreed that this has been eye opening. Their consideration and management of their gifted identification with true humility will help them for years to come.

To play Hot Seat, each student received a card with a description of a person who has not been identified as gifted and is on the “Hot Seat” to answers questions from their assigned perspective. They are asked about what it is like to not get to participate in GT. They also have to consider what it is like to really struggle to master the material at grade level, a concept that is foreign to most.

For many who have participated in this activity, they have agreed that it has been eye-opening experience. Their consideration and management of their gifted identification with true humility will help them for years to come.

For more on this topic, I found a great article from “All Pro Dad” about teaching your children about humility of spirit.

Know Thy Students- Know Thyself

Over the last two years I have been taking classes to earn my gifted endorsement. When I first started teaching, I had no idea that I would consider working with the gifted. I went into teaching to “work in the trenches”- and what that meant to me at the time (for perspective I was fresh out of college with no true-real-classroom experience) was that I was going into teaching to help kids who really struggled with school. I wanted to help close the achievement gap, or the gap that exists between low-income students and their more affluent peers in academic success.

I taught for two years on the border of Mexico & Texas, and this is what I did– I came in early, stayed late, met with student on my lunch break to ensure that every kid who left my class could read and write on grade level or above. But something bugged me– I was spending so much time and energy on the students who were the lowest, that my high-performing students didn’t always make as many significant gains.

Fast-forward three schools later, having taught in the inner-city of Columbus, in a intervention program, and then in an autism self-contained unit, and I found myself in my current district assigned to teach gifted 6th graders. I thought it was going to be soooo easy…

I am forever changed by my sixth graders who were gifted- they taught me that every child needs a passionate educator who is working for their needs, regardless of whether it is a need to be taught to read, or a need to be taught how to harness the emotional and intellectual energy that accompanies and IQ of 150+ into something productive and powerful. I learned that students who are gifted are much harder to “manage” than most people probably think. They question your choices, they are loud, they are INTENSE. And they are wonderful, passionate, and a great adventurous group to explore the world with. Thanks to all of the gifted students I have had the opportunity to learn with! I’ve learned that every sub-group of students has specific needs, interests, and strategies that work best. You’ve taught me so well!

Buried Under The Weight

I’ve been gone for a few weeks on my blog… I’ve been buried! Buried under:

– buying a house

-raising two boys

-teaching.grading, evaluating, encouraging, motivating 100 8th graders

-unit planning of “Midsummer Night’s Dream”

-batch cooking with my friends

-working on improving my marriage

-celebrating one of my best friend’s birthday

-mourning my other best friend’s grandmother’s death

-nursing a baby throughout the night

-holding another friends new baby

-keeping up with email

-taking two graduate school classes

-coordinating a career shadowing day

-managing a yearbook

-planning Easter celebrations

-being the Easter bunny

Next week is Spring break and I want to dig out. Dig out of the piles of to-do’s, should-do’s, should-have-done’s. I want to be in the moment, connecting with my family, my kids, & my friends, and get refreshed to live out my passion for educational excellence, equality, and building a community of learners.