Once a child is identified as gifted it is our responsibility (as teachers and parents) to help the child understand what that means. Of course the words we choose to explain what it means will depend on the age of the child. Here are two great resources to help explain what it means to be gifted.
Last week classes were cancelled to allow our gifted department to conduct Penn Manor’s universal gifted screening. Now that the screening is complete, we are back in class. This week marks the 4th week of class. In addition to receiving weekly instruction I post optional contests and enrichment opportunities in your child’s Google Classroom. Here are two of the most recent postings. All postings are optional and are announced in class.
1) Create a “Math IS…” poster for Global Math Week
2) Write a Personal Narrative for the New York Times writing contest.
Students completed a self portrait and a creative writing assignment where they were to describer their favorite food, sport, subject, or special talent without naming it. Eshleman students read the pieces written by Conestoga students and guessed what they were describing, and Conestoga read the works of the Eshleman students.
Here’s Emma Gring’s (Conestoga Grade 5) response to the prompt, “Without Naming it, what is your favorite sport?”
The four legs running as I see the jump ahead of me. His tail swooshing in the wind. We may not have won but we still got number three.
Can you guess what sport she is describing?
Most students completed their identity portraits and others are still working. The right side of the drawings depict visible identity markers and the left side shows invisible identity markers. Symbolism was used to represent individual passions, curiosities, interests and fears that make students who they are. This is the type of project that will be fun to look back on when students are older!
The world has looked different since COVID-19 and some children may be experiencing loneliness and isolation that could be contributing to negative mental health. If you are looking for resources to help your child, childmind.org created Connect to Care. The resources there are designed to help you through the process of getting care for your child, from the first phone call to the final treatment session. Connect to Care is part of our newly launched Family Resource Center, which features over 700 evidence-based resources on kids’ mental health, learning disorders and common parenting challenges — all in both English and Spanish. No matter what your child is struggling with, you’ll find expert advice and practical guidance to help them thrive.
Welcome to another school year! Gifted Services will begin the week of September 13th. Hopefully you received my email letting you know the day and time your child will have class. Class schedules were also communicated in your child’s Google Classroom (they will have to join to see the announcements).
Here is a little Back to School Video with information about where classes will be held in each building, and how to reach me.
And lastly, here’s an article I read today that I felt was worth sharing:
Even after 20+ years of teaching, graduation season serves as a reminder of what it’s all about. Seeing the 2021 graduates walk the halls of their former elementary schools in their caps and gowns reminds me that THIS is what we are working towards. We are working together as a team of elementary, middle, and high school teachers to help students reach this milestone of High School Graduation.
I love Penn Manor’s tradition of having former students parade around in their caps and gowns while younger students look up to them as if they were famous youtubers or TikTok sensations! Having the little ones see the graduates reminds them what it’s all about as well.
Having former students visit their elementary school classrooms and their teachers is a win win. Students reminisce about the wonderful memories they made and teachers get to see first hand the fruits of their labor. Hearing students refer to our gifted classroom as their favorite place in the school, the place they learned to be who they are, and the place they found their voice reminds me of the value of my work. Yes, I teach content. But above all, I teach students to listen to their voices, to get to know who they are, and to be their best selves.
Congratulations class of 2021! I wish you all a lifetime of learning!
Seventh graders just finished a mini unit designed to broaden their understanding of what it means to be gifted, and help them realize that using the word “smart” doesn’t begin to scratch the surface! Students listed 12-15 characters from books, movies, history that they consider to be smart. Then, they chose three characters from their list and identified at least 3 specific compliments they could give them beyond using the word, “smart”. For each compliment, they explained their reasoning with supporting evidence.
Finally, they were charged with writing a story where two characters teamed up to solve a problem (of their choosing) using their unique strengths. Students read each others stories and identified the many ways people can be “smart”. Finally, students identified 3 specific strengths of their own and unpacked what it means to be gifted.
This is what students had to say about the mini unit:
I liked being able to come up with different words to describe the word “smart”.
I liked looking at myself and my strengths and weaknesses.
I gained a better understanding of what smart means.
Smart doesn’t mean getting all “A’s”.
I learned a lot about myself, and this unit helped me recognize what I am good at.
I was able to be very creative by selecting two characters, that would not otherwise be in the same situation, and have them team up to solve a problem.
It expanded my mind to think in new ways.
My brain is different than most other people.
That I’m in this class because of certain strengths that I have and I can expand on them.
I don’t need to always shoot for the A in a class and I need to always do my best and whatever my best is needs to be enough for me.
There are many different ways to think and people have many different strengths.
I think lessons like this are helpful for me because it lets me know I am not the only one who feels the way I do sometimes. I always associate my self worth with my grades and how well I do things and it was nice to know I am not the only one.
This unit made me feel more “normal” about the way my brain works.
This unit made me think about what I am good at and what I’m not. Which is very helpful in the sense of what I might do in the future.