Gifted SAT meeting

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by lcr, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. Mamacita

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    Back when our middle school was funded for G/T, my students would often sigh and say things like "It's so nice to be able to REALLY speak my mind for a change," and "Finally, we can do our real best and not be teased or tortured because it's good," and "Wow, a teacher who WANTS us to ask questions!!!" etc. The students often talked about how it wasn't just the other students who resented a really extra intelligent quirky kid, but it was also many teachers who seemed to resent a student asking unanswerable questions, or maybe a question the teacher just didn't know the answer to? Whatever. The minute that federal money was gone, the school system returned all the kids (who were reading Measure For Measure and comparing it to Cinderella and politics and the Greek myths of its origin, analyzing English in terms of Germanic origin, and debating the Holocaust. . . .) right back to the regular classroom where they were once again writing spelling words five times each and 'learning' to fully utilize a dictionary, while sitting next to kids who wanted to copy and throw spitwads and talk and annoy others and handle objects not their own and who hadn't sat still and let others work uninterrupted since the day they were born. Oh, and who refused to take part in group work, debate, or any other project yet received the same grade the rest of the group got.

    I'm not giving in. Frying burgers and cleaning toilets and collecting welfare and living off stamps and vouchers might be good enough for some people's kids, but not mine. And not yours, either, if they're in my classroom.
     
  2. Grammy Teacher

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    When a woman is expecting the birth of her child, the most common feeling is one of pure love. Her entire body is aglow with that love and it is not uncommon for the pregnant mom to place her hand softly over her belly, stoke her baby and talk sweetly or sing. What a truly precious bonding takes place. It is pure love.Our children are born to us deserving of deep respect and tender handling. There is no thought of labeling , testing them, or classifying them. They are each unique and we love them.
    Then they begin school. It's not long before the school decides that your child should be "tested"... to see if they might be "gifted!" Sometimes we think, "Oh, how wonderful! He/she might be GIFTED!" Perhaps some of us might think, "Gifted? Well, o.k. I guess it won't hurt to find out if he/she is gifted or NOT." Mainly the tests look for exceptional math, verbal, patterning, or quick reasoning skills. OPPS...they forgot about the child who displays unusual EMPATHY. After a short period of time, the results are made public. Wonderful! A certain per cent of children are found to be "gifted and talented!"...let's say about 10%...and the other 90%?
    Well, "not making the cut" for the talent pool may be your child's first experience with failure. This is sooooo much more than one of the natural failures we experience in the course of life. This is an artificial , system created trauma for the majority of our children...and it cuts right to the core of self worth. Some children experience devastation.
    It is rather peculiar to take the position that I do. Teachers and parents of gifted children defend the system and when it comes to the inner experience of the 'OTHER' children, they seem to draw a blank....perhaps avoiding looking right at it and really feeling it...perhaps afraid to arouse memories of how we felt when we too were treated without love and respect.
    The point is very simple...we cannot label certain children as "gifted and talented" without labeling the rest of us as "ungifted and untalented." AND when we as adults take it upon ourselves to label a child, we are tampering with THE HUMAN SPIRIT.
    The children themselves are in no position to protest. Now and then you might come across their silent hurt. There is the child who was such good friends with a few nice girls ... until they found out they were labeled as "gifted and talented"... and she was not.
    My objections are many...the fact that the "talent" pool ignores and devalues the gifts of the unchosen other children.
    Classifying children in this way is mean and disrespectful. Would we like it to happen to us as adults? Categorize us and then announce to the world which of us is "gifted?"...or NOT "gifted?" It is little wonder that so many grow up intolerant and disrespectful of others.
    As long as only SOME children are seen as gifted and talented, the dividing line continues...the damage is being done. Teachers are damaged because they must dull their empathy. As for the children who are labeled as such, their inner selves are being damaged and mangled at a tender age. Separating them as an elite group we do damage to their sense of community and compassion for others. And then there are the other children....
    We are all gifted and talented in some way...not just some of us.
     
  3. Carmen13

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    Don't think I'm insensitive about this... I know what you mean! But I still think that a person with a great intelligence/talent has more reasons to be happy than otherwise, or at least as many reasons to be happy as any other person! So, yes gifted kids should develop their gifts, but like any other kids should, in order to be happy human beings! But they have, as well, to realize their own limitations in order to deal with the frustration and dissatisfaction that comes with life- again, like any other kid. I agree with helping gifted kids, but I'm just not sure school holds the "right key" to success. And unless these kids have loving/supportive parents, that don't look at their gifted kids as if they were a strange/rare bird, school help won't be of many help (my opinion, of course)...
    I will read the article.
     
  4. Carmen13

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    I wouldn't say it better!
     
  5. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Sep 28, 2005

     
  6. TeacherGroupie

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    Grammy Teacher, I have to admire your rhetorical skill. Nice job, there, beginning with the emotional appeal of pregnancy and motherhood and the purity of the pre-birth experience with its lack of labeling. Nicely calculated for the audience too, most of us being either moms (cue here the surge of hormones) or hoping to be moms (cue here the vicarious surge of hormones). And then the deft introduction of the villain: giftedness testing, INFLICTED on children and inflicting terrible damage to the ones that "don't make the cut, followed by the rising catalogue of wickednesses imposed and crescendoing to the triumphant conclusion:

    What a performance! What a job of demonizing the other side! You must be a mighty fighter.

    Trouble is, it doesn't hold water. We're all ALWAYS labeling. Take the kid in the belly, to begin with: the very most basic discrimination there is is MINE vs. someone else's, and the boundary formed by the swelling belly is about as concrete as a boundary can get.

    Now take my brother, all five feet four inches of him. In high school he desperately wanted to play varsity football. Do you think he made the team? Not a chance, nor the junior varsity, nor the A team nor the B team. Was he unhappy? Your word, I believe, is "devastated". What an experience of failure! But are you ready to tell the world that the distinctions between levels of sports teams should be abolished? I bet you wouldn't, because you recognize that the kid who IS ready to play varsity ball is going to be frustrated and bored on the same team as the kid who isn't - and that a kid the size of my brother is likely to get injured if he's tackled by a kid who's 18 inches taller and packs three times the weight. And even if only 10% of kids in a high school are on the varsity team, I can't see anyone saying that varsity football shouldn't exist.

    Oh, but that's high school, you say. We don't do that with grade-school kids. Don't we? What about club soccer or other club sports that identify kids in grade school to nurture their talent? Should we abolish those programs because some kids might feel bad about about not making the team? I can't imagine anyone saying yes. We all recognize physical giftedness - Gardner's Kinesthetic Intelligence, at least in the seven-intelligence version of his theory - and our society celebrates those who have it and work hard to enhance it.

    So why not other kinds that have more to do with the mind? If you like, instead of "giftedness", we can call it something else - when I was in fifth grade, we went to the district's "Extended Learning Program", and that was a MUCH nicer label than the "Mentally Gifted Minors" tag that the state slapped on us two years later.

    But the category exists, whatever we call it: if you take kids aside privately and ask who in the class is really smart ("almost as smart as the teacher" or "really ahead"), they can tell you if anyone is and who it is, from amazingly tender ages. (Hey: Maybe THAT should be a criterion: teach kids Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, ask 'em who excels in each - it could work like a reality show, with the geeks being voted out of the classroom instead of off the island?)

    So what can we do? What should a teacher do with or for a kid like Syele? (Syele, forgive me for naming you: it's an oblique thank-you for your post.) Is it appropriate to leave her to her own devices, just because there's only one of her in the classroom? Think about the message she was sent: is it truly right that we sacrifice her needs and self-esteem on the altar of an elusive normality?

    I'm not trying to promote exclusion as the best possible choice. I don't think it is. But I've also volunteered in classrooms with thirty-plus kids in them in which the Syeles didn't stand a chance, because the others' needs loomed so much larger; I saw apathy and disengagement grow, I saw some acting out, I saw little shrivelings of soul - and I think we can do better.

    I'd be perfectly happy going with an opt-in program, provided the choice to opt in would be at least as much the kid's as the parent's. I'd be happy to have it all happen in the single classroom - but that would involve supporting the classroom teacher with resources (aides, clerical help, time) that just aren't there in these days of No Child Left Behind, which is much less about excellence than it is about trying to establish a floor to mediocrity.

    What I want most of all is schools in which it is safe for every kid to work to and achieve his or her potential. And I mean EVERY kid, including the Syeles and the Janes - and the andreakg's, who thrive on the challenge when it's presented.

    But the Syeles and the Janes and the andreakg's tell us it hasn't been happening, and I continue to say that needs to change. Are we going to keep bickering about definitions, or are we going to start discussing some solutions?

    By the way, Grammy Teacher, darned right I tamper with THE HUMAN SPIRIT: I make my living trying to convince people taking tests that they're smarter than their schools gave 'em credit for - or taught 'em for. I'm sure you'll find a way to discredit that too: have fun.
     
  7. Syele

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    I am not offended at being singled out. My posts were to try and point out that what's been happening in the public schools to deal with gifted students isn't working, at last from the end I saw and lived.

    Do I know the solution? No. I truly wish I did. I have a daughter now who likes to study for fun. I won't put her in Public School partly for the reason that if She isn't "Gifted" she will be ahead of the other students, digging in where many will do the minimum to get by. That is not usually rewarded in a regular classroom. If she is tested "Gifted" who knows if her "program" will stay funded, or even be run by people who know what to do with a gifted child. I want my kids to LOVE to learn and strive to excel at what they do, why would I allow them to be punished for it?

    I have memories of being told that though I read on a 5th grade level in Kindergarten I was not allowed to read in class, since that was a 1st grade subject. I was given extra worksheets in 5th grade to keep me busy because I kept finishing early. The extra worksheets were easier than the first ones so I stopped all worksheets (my punishment for that was to demote me to the lower reading group!), I had to sneak into different sections of the school libraries, I was in High school I got in trouble for reading the full version of that book I mentioned earlier. So yes I was being punished for not being at the LOWER level of the rest of the class.

    I'm not posting to say "Hey, feel sorry for me." It's to say... what is going to change? Anything? Ever?

    As I said before the setting isn't the problem. I could have stayed in the regular classes where I was and been given something extra or challenging to do. My 3rd grade teacher managed it and never seemed to break a sweat over it. I wanted to stay in 3rd grade forever!

    I don't agree with the idea that one should not pull out some kids to save the self-esteem of others. Learning to face disappointment is an important part of life. Understanding that there are people in the world who are smarter as well as not as smart is a part of life too. When things were done strictly to "help my self-esteem" I resented it. In high school a teacher recognized I needed to be in AP classes and got my mother to agree, The head of that department felt my grades would not stay at the same level and I'd have to work too hard to catch up with the kids who'd been in AP all along. So he preserved my "A's" at the expense of my education. All to make sure I didn't have to work hard and feel "behind" for the first couple of months that year. Teach me nothing, Give me an A and make me look good or teach me lots and I earn a B- and I'll take the B- any day of the week!

    The real definition of leaving a child behind IMO is to allow a smart kid to learn nothing and give them an A and send them to the next teacher.
     
  8. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    Yes TeacherGroupie, everybody knows who the smart kid in the class is, including the teacher. So what's the purpose of testing, anyway? So as to separate the "gifted" from the "non gifted"?
    Gifted kids need more challenge, you say. What about bright but not gifted kids, or kids with apparently an average IQ but lots of curiosity and the will to learn? Why should any of them be left beside from "challenging classes", just because the test didn't point out "gifted"? I think we all agree that every kid should have the right to develop their potential. The solution you asked? Well, a first step would be making regular classes a challenge for every kid. (After all, as many of you pointed out, regular classes are tending to mediocrity...)Then, maybe something like an extra different class, but I disagree with limiting it to the gifted.
    And TeacherGroupie, about your brother: he should have had the opportunity to play varsity football, if he wanted to. The same with learning how to play an instrument: if we look forward to do it, why shouldn't we?
    (I still have to read the Tolan article...)
     
  9. Mamacita

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    Sep 29, 2005

  10. TeacherGroupie

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    Carmen, reread my post, please, for the paragraph in which I say I'd be perfectly happy with an opt-in program, where kids themselves could choose to be there or not. Testing? Trash it with my blessing! Who needs testing, as long as the kids who are there want to be there and work their little tails off and kick big ideas around and get kicked back and soar gloriously and the teacher wants to work his/her tail off helping them get off the ground again when (not if) they crash? Of course, the well-placed parents of some kids who opt out will object, loudly and in high places, and the element of choice will be taken away and once again - still - that will be that. But one can dream.

    In my more cynical moments, I think testing isn't for the kids, it's for the parents and the taxpayers, so we-the-people can have an excuse NOT to extend really challenging education to everyone. Because, golly, if challenging education is the order of the day in the classroom, some kids of well-placed parents are not going to be up to it; and whether those kids feel bad or not, their parents will feel bad, loudly and in high places, and once again - still - that will be that. What's more, some teachers aren't up to it, as andreakg's story shows, and of the others, a significant number will feel bad, and they will take steps to level the playing field, some kindly by slowing the pace and others like the high school English teacher who spent half an hour reaming me for presuming to be smarter than my brother whom he'd coached in football... in either case, we're back to square one, with most of the population underchallenged but more content and a handful of kids being reminded yet again that they're inconvenient and not particularly welcome.

    As to varsity football, Carmen13, it's real clear you're not in America: Football is way too important to allow just anyone to play varsity. Or let's think about soccer - el futbol - (I can't recall the Portuguese so am settling for Spanish; please accept my apology): can you imagine Lisbon's star under-10 team allowing just anyone to put on a jersey and play? And whether it's football or futbol, everyone knows it takes practice and sacrifice and quality equipment to sharpen the skills and keep them sharp enough to play at top level. But top mental performance? Somehow it's assumed that that will just sort of take care of itself.

    If I sound cynical, it's because I started school just after Sputnik and, except for brief blips here and there, things haven't gotten better, they've gotten worse.
     
  11. Carmen13

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    Over here schools have futebol and some other sport's teams and the Physical Education teacher who coaches them will choose the best elements to play in "official" games, but any kid who wants to practice may attend the classes. In fact, kids are stimulated to go to those extra curricular activities.
    And yes, futebol is the "King sport" over here, but the goal of our school teams isn't (at least not yet and I hope never!) raising sport stars, like maybe in US? We have sport clubs for that purpose.
    Portuguese and American school realities are different...
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

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    VERY different realities. American schools pour tremendous time and energy into (American) football and baseball in particular, not as Physical Education (PE) activities but as competitive sports; it's not supposed to happen, but promising players do get what amount to recruitment offers from other schools, and the varsity players of successful teams are kings on campus. (Football is extracurricular, sort of: football players have their own special PE classes.) A school with substandard science labs and a library just better than worthless may very well have a well-equipped weight room. I freely grant that the young sports stars earn some of that adulation by working very, very hard on their skills. And I certainly don't want competitive sports serving as the model for academics... but there certainly seems to be a double standard, and I can't help feeling that the priorities here are more than slightly misplaced.
     
  13. GlendaLL

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    Jane - I read your "required" story. Fascinating, provocative! I was surprised at the date K.V. wrote the story!
     
  14. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    TeacherGroupie,
    Differences of opinion are more than welcome on the forum. What is not welcome are "personal" attacks and using other person's names. I wish you hadn't done that.
     
  15. Grammy Teacher

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    Jane, I am not very good at expressing myself anymore...and most of the time what I say comes out babble, babble, babble.
    My whole being is about empathy and perhaps too much sadness for the less fortunate...I feel, feel, feel. Perhaps it is because I have lived so long. Perhaps it is because I have lived so much...or perhaps it is because I am oh so tired of it all. I am tired of the schools and all their little programs. I am tired of awful parents. I am tired of trying to reach the hearts of people I cannot reach. I am tired of trying to make people see...really see what it's all about. All we need is love...that's all.
     
  16. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    Grammy Teacher, you have a gifted heart...
    :love:
     
  17. Mamacita

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    Grammy, I'm tired of it all, too. That's why I resigned and left all my benefits and retirement behind. It's all politics, and rich pushy parents, and sports. Did I mention 'politics?' Such a dirty word when associated with education. . . .

    I still maintain, though, that G/T kids deserve G/T classes. If each child (in an ideal world) is supposedly placed in the class most appropriate to his/her abilities, then G/T should definitely remain.

    By the way, in many states, G/T is considered special ed, and therefore any parents who feel that a G/T class would benefit their child have the legal right to request testing and appropriate placement. And to raise bloody hell if the child's special needs are not accommodated.

    I also believe that in school, children learn far more than academics. Learning to get along with all kinds of people is an extremely important part of education.

    Being exposed to all kinds of people is important.

    But when it comes to academic learning, all children should have the right to move forward, not backward, and not even remaining at the same spot till someone else catches up. We send our children to school to learn, to advance, to use prior knowledge. . . not to sit in a crowded classroom twiddling their thumbs 'till five kids catch up.

    Gifted programs are not elitist. They are common sense, and as much within a child's rights as a class for LD, etc. If the State can hire a teacher to change a student's diapers, surely that same State can hire a teacher to change a student from 'bored' to 'fascinated with the universe.'

    That's really what teachers are supposed to do on a daily basis, anyway.

    When will we be allowed to do that?

    Sigh. In the meantime, try to do these things with your kids, gifted or not. And they are all gifted; it's just that once in a blue moon, there is that kid whose mind soars faster and farther and to music none of the rest of us can hear. . . . . please, let's not continue to force those kids into the box of 'average.'

    1. Keep on reading to her.
    2. Read for youself in front of her.
    3. Take her places. Show her things. Ask her about them.
    4. Turn off the TV.
    5. Get her a library card. And a bicycle, if you live in a neighborhood where that is feasible.
    6. Check your school's website for updates. If there aren't any, mention it at a PTO meeting. If that doesn't result in an update, mention it to the principal. Volunteer to be the update-person.
    7. Recommend that each individual teacher maintain a classroom website. SchoolNotes.com is one of the best, and it's public, and good 24 hours of the day. Parents or students can email the teacher by clicking a button, and the teacher's privacy is preserved because the address isn't shown.
    8. Expose your child to classical music. Play with the rhythms. Make up lyrics.
    9. Music lessons. Experiment with instruments so your child can honestly choose the one she likes best.
    10. Do not ever allow a sporting event to take precedence over family business. Or anything else, for that matter. And if your child has low grades, do not allow her to play games.
    11. Keep on volunteering. Let your face become a familiar sight in the hallways. Be careful, however, not to hover.
    12. Look carefully at your child's returned and graded papers.
    13. Do not settle for dumbed-down stories; get the real things from the library. And when your child falls in love with a book, buy it for her. Give her bookplates with her name on them.
    14. Teach your child to cook simple things. It's one of the best ways there is to learn to follow directions and do math. Plus she gets to eat the results.
    15. When you attend an evening function featuring your child, stay for the whole thing. Don't get up and leave after your own child's part is finished. Staying is courteous; it shows your child what other kids are doing; and every child deserves an audience.
    16. Whatever she is studying, take her to the bookstore and find other things about it. Rent a video about it. Talk about it enthusiastically at the dinner table.

    The list goes on and on, of course. Thank you for asking this question. I wish all parents were like you.

    As for changing the school system. . . . run for school board. Please. Most people on boards are old, or childless, or politicians, and they honestly haven't a clue what the schools need unless they are told. Too many parents never go to meetings and therefore the board members abide by whatever the minority who show up want. Often, programs live or die because of one vote. Or because somebody's mommy got up and made a statement before it came to a vote.

    Personally, I think the classroom website should be required of every teacher. REQUIRED. I used to update mine daily. It's so easy, and so helpful to families.

    I'm stopping now. There's more, much more, but I'm stopping now. If I don't, I never will.

    (This was posted previously on this website: http://sigcarlfred.blogspot.com/2005/05/your-kids-mamacita-and-what-we-need-to.html )
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

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    I didn't attack you. I was sincerely applauding a near-classic job of writing to move an audience. The Greeks, who quite properly took rhetoric seriously, would have approved. (I'm jealous: persuading with facts is something I can pull off on a good day and with a following wind, but that Ciceronic emotional appeal lies outside my gift - probably just as well.)

    And since I was responding to a post under your name, and applauding your skill, it seemed proper to respond to you by name. It's not clear to me how that constitutes an attack, but if you're feeling attacked, then that's what matters and I am bound to apologize.
     
  19. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Thank you, Carmen. That means a lot to me.
    Jane, That is the way to raise our children...music lessons...fill your home and heart with music...I really like that one...
    Thank you for kindly expressing your opinions, Jane.
     
  20. Carmen13

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    Teacher Groupie, Grammy Teacher is a so called "emotional intelligent" person, no wonder she writes with her heart... You say she's persuasive? You bet she is, and a good one or you wouldn't have responded to her post the way you did, losing a little bit of you self control! ;) But don't consider her point of view, based on emotions, a less valid one.
    Oh no! Now you will say I've been persuaded to say this :D ...
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

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    Carmen13, if I too didn't have an emotional stake in this issue, it would be a waste of my time to be here. I don't deny the validity of anyone's emotions (to do otherwise would be the chalk calling the tempera paint white). And we all know that emotional appeals - which of course are not the same animals as emotional points of view - have their proper roles in identifying problems and obstacles and other bad things, like Hurricane Katrina's consequences, that must be united against to be overcome. But one of the risks associated with launching an emotional appeal is that it doesn't just identify another side, it invites the identification of the other side as Obstacle, as Them-Not-Us, and ultimately as Enemy.

    And that sort of identification lands us right in the middle of the morass of Politics to which Jane referred, because that's the nature of Politics as we in the US now know it: identify enemy, sling mud, don't stop to ask what the other side might be saying right. It sickens and revolts me too.
     
  22. Carmen13

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    TeacherGroupie, now it is me the one who asks you to read again Grammy Teacher post...
    Maybe you deal with a lot of people that acts the way you describe:"identify enemy, sling mud, don't stop to ask what the other side might be saying right", and so your patience is at a limit (I would too, under the same circumstances). But you shouldn't rush your opinion based on a few posts...
    Jane, I've read the story...I don't see the connection between the story and what's being discussed though. Furthermore, the story "plays" with one of the basic concepts of Humans Rights, the one that stands that we are born equal (in rights!)- which, as you well know, it's far from being a truth anyway.
    Equal rights doesn't lead to equal people!
     
  23. TeacherGroupie

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    My apologies, Carmen13, for having made a transition of topic without signaling sufficiently: the bit about slinging mud etc. was a follow-on to the beginning of Jane's post about politics and was specifically in reference to Politics In The US As We Know It, which involves a great deal of manipulation of emotion - and facts - without anywhere near Grammy Teacher's good heart.
     
  24. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    Sep 30, 2005

    Glad to know it was my mistake!
     
  25. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Sep 30, 2005

    The story is a sci-fi fiction about what COULD easily happen if the current trend towards emphasizing self-esteem and equality over 'letting the cream rise to the top' keeps on at the rate it's going now.

    In a way, it's already happening. Bright kids, gifted or not, are being forced down to the level of the lower brackets, academia-wise. At the very least, they are not allowed or even encouraged to rise, or advance, lest someone's feeling be hurt.

    It is, of course, entirely possible for bright kids to entertain themselves while waiting for the others to catch up, but how is that fair? Bright kids can teach themselves, and usually do, things that are never approached in a classroom because too many other students just aren't ready.

    My point is, why should they have to resort to that? There should be programs for bright kids, so they don't have to spend their time waiting, waiting, waiting. . . . .and enduring slowness.

    Grammy is my idol, but I think everyone on this board has a good heart.

    Even me.
     
  26. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    TeacherGroupie, thank you for mentioning this article. I have read it with great interest.

    When I was doing my Teaching Practice, I taught a 7th grade heterogeneous class. Among the students there were some very smart kids and one Math "Cheetah". I didn't have to wait for written proves to realize this kid gift. He made such interesting questions and remarks! Most of the times, I picked his "suggestions" and challenged the class with them. I said most of the times, but not always...there was no point in exploring something I "knew" the majority of the kids wouldn't understand. But when things like this happened I said "that's an interesting question for everybody to think after the class is over". Of course the smartest and most curious got "stuck" from that moment on, trying to figure out the answer... After the class was over, those kids stayed to figure out the answer. Well, most of the times I didn't have to "present"/explain/explore the answer myself, as.the Cheetah did all the work for me! :rolleyes:
    I tried to be very attentive toward all kids. One time, during the class, I realised that this funny (he had a great since of humour) and very participant Cheetah was looking bored...I knew right away he needed extra challenge. So, from that moment on, when I proposed the exercises and activities for all the class, I always wrote some extra challenging activities and said "Kids, if you finish these ones, you may start doing those extra". An interesting consequence, that I never anticipated, was that many of the students worked their best to reach those exercises, before we "moved on! (It looked like a race at times! :D )

    So, what I'm truing to say is, what a great different this kid made amongst his peers! And he was happy to be there! Would he be a happier kid if he grew up only "surrounded" by Cheetahs? Do you think that the 70mph velocity can only be achieved this last way?

    I'd like very much if the school could provide an extra challenge for the Cheetahs...and also for all the kids that want to accept this kind of challenge!
    Until then, and even then (if that day comes), we teachers will continue doing our best with all our kids.

    One last thought...
    Let's question ourselves if school answers the needs of the majority of kids... For instance, a kid with more practical gift/skills (e.g. working the wood)...does he have the opportunity to develop them in school? Over here, these kids were forgotten for the last 20 years, because "everybody" should take a degree. No wonder they abandoned school...
     
  27. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Sep 30, 2005

    I admire you, Carmen.
     
  28. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    Sep 30, 2005

    I agree.
     
  29. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    :wow: :eek:
     
  30. jcg

    jcg Cohort

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    Sep 30, 2005

    Jane,
    You expressed my thoughts eloquently!
     
  31. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Carmen, I am not sure why you feel embarrassed. You have said nothing to be embarrassed about and you are right on target all of the time.
    Anyway, I am finished with this thread now. It has all been said and I will be moving on now!
     
  32. jcg

    jcg Cohort

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    Sep 30, 2005

    Ditto!
     
  33. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Oct 1, 2005

    I haven't read the whole thread... but:

    I welcome G/T programs as long as they're done RIGHT. I was in G/T all the way through middle school as pull-outs... we went to a different building half-day once a week from 3-6th... (K-2 were in your building). I LOVED it. I was exposed to all sorts of things I never would have gotten in my regular school. Extensive units on poetry, botany, Future Problem Solving, a year of Latin, Voyage of the Mimi, a big unit where we made up our own country, making a time capsule, storytelling, architecture, computers (before they were a staple in everyone's curriculum)... even in the "high" groups I was in in 2nd-4th, I was bored... but Encore challenged me. We didn't do it to get grades, we did it because it was fun. We had great teachers who taught us to THINK and ASK QUESTIONS. I LOVED it.

    My 5th and 6th grades didn't split for ANYTHING, so I was always in mixed groups... and Encore saved me. I don't know what I would have done otherwise, because my classes were boring... but for 3 hours a week, I was with other kids who wanted to be there, wanted to learn this stuff, and had enough analytical skills to actually do the work.

    Starting in 7th, they "tracked" us... 7th and 8th we were split into mini schools (the ever-popular middle school approach with 4 teachers on a team), and each had 10 groups... 4 were high in English, 2 of those were also high math. So my group was always kids who were similar, and it was fun to be with them all the time, even when we were paired with different groups. not because we were "elitist" or anything, but because we all had similar analytical skills, and were into the higher-level thinking stuff.

    In HS, I always enjoyed my honors classes more... because we could actually think and have good discussions... I think the teachers did more with us in the honors classes, I felt they were less busy work and more "useful" things. (Incidently, I couldn't get in to the G/T classes at my HS in IL even though I was in honors and had been all the way through, because I wasn't here in 8th grade to take their achievement tests. I still could do honors, but not the "special" GT class)

    My district now doesn't pull out for G/T, they have Differentiation Specialists, who come in and help the teachers do differentiated instruction (I'm sped, so everything I do is differentiated!!!)... their example at orientation was "3 worksheets on dinosaurs. Your low level worksheet might be "T-rex was hot/cold blooded." Middle level would be 'T-rex was ___ blooded." High level would be a T-chart with facts about different types of dinosaurs." The idea is that they aren't pulled out, but everyone gets work at their level every day. This is the K-4 plan... 5/6 group the real high kids together, but 7-8 they're integrated again.

    I think that as long as needs of G/T kids are being met, it doesn't matter which WAY they're being met. But if they're bored, they're not learning anything. Tutoring a peer isn't always the best use of their time... some kids like it, some kids resent it. Either way, it shouldn't be done all the time. Peer help, sure. But not all the time.

    OK. Sorry that was so long. Just had to get in my... 2 cents? eh, that was longer than that. ;)
     
  34. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 1, 2005

    Carmen, I wish my younger daughter could have had you for her math teacher in seventh and eighth grades - and that I could have been a parent volunteer in the room. How exhilarating!

    As to whether Cheetahs ALWAYS need to be with other Cheetahs, probably not, no: but I think Cheetahs do need to spend SOME time with other Cheetahs. A special kind of energy can be generated when Cheetahs get together, they deserve to know they're not utterly freaks, and in a well-run setting, the kids themselves are much more effective at knocking the know-it-all uppitiness out of each other than anyone else is. clarnet73's district offers an interesting model that bears more thinking about.

    Let me add my voice to this refrain: as long as kids' needs are (a) recognized and (b) met at a level that keeps kids engaged, the exact means is much less important.
     
  35. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Oct 1, 2005

    My sentiments EXACTLY.
     
  36. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    Oct 2, 2005

    And mine.
    GrammyTeacher and TeacherGroupie, thank you for kind words.
     
  37. radan2

    radan2 Rookie

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    Oct 3, 2005

    A speaker (Irving Sato) at a conference I attended said that defensable gifted programs must present materials to students that other students either would not, should not, or could not benefit from.

    Would not, because it doesn't interest them or address their situation.

    Should not , because it requires a level of complex thinking that they are not ready for and would find confusing.

    Could not, because they simply do not understand what is being presented.

    In my experience, most so-called gifted activities do not meet these requirements.

    But there are students who need these programs. I refer to the "severely and profoundly " gifted--those whose IQs are so high they have very little in common with other students. The kid who had built his own Newtonian reflector in fourth grade, even grinding the mirror himself. The kid who read and understood _The Divine Comedy_ in third grade, and prepared a report on research she had done on some of the people mentioned, even comparing the merits of verse and prose translations. (She began learning to read Renaissance Italian in fourth grade so she could read it in the original). The seventh grader who has his own Ardis number because he is published in mathematical journals. Believe it or not, these kids exist, and they need these programs, not for social skills (kids this bright can figure out how to get along with others) , but simply to give them an awareness that they ARE NOT ALONE, and do not have to deny their own ability simply to exist in the world.

    Jim Wayne
     
  38. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Oct 3, 2005

    I absolutely agree.

    Public school is not truly for all children until it really IS for ALL children.

    Yes, even children whose brains are far advanced, above all the adults in the building and even in the community.

    We accommodate the slow; why do we not accommodate the swift?

    Athletics isn't much more than "Gifted P.E." Why do we celebrate games and balls but not the brain?

    Yes, communities are able to 'understand' games while few might understand quantum theory, but it is still grossly unfair to support and fund one without doing equal time for the other.

    I've had students who invented new languages, complete with grammar, while waiting patiently (and UNFAIRLY) for the slow children to finally finish a simple lesson. Students are reading LOTR in second grade, but still required to prove that they can put four simple words in alphabetical order, because "it's today's lesson and they all have to do it."

    First hand, and second hand via my own children, I know that bright children sometimes spend an inordinate amount of time out in the hall, tutoring slow children. This, instead of being in a setting where their own bright minds could be stimulated and appreciated and allowed to blossom.

    Our slow children are not forced to endure lightning-fast relativity research in the public schools; why then are we content to allow, nay, FORCE, our brightest minds to endure, day after day, the elementary concepts they mastered at age 3?

    I will not give an inch on this issue. Our country is wasting its greatest resource: our bright students.

    And many of the brightest drop out, because they can not endure the boredom and futility another minute.

    Empathy is a good lesson, of course. But sometimes it is the only lesson our off-the-charts-intelligent are expected to learn in our public schools.

    And shouldn't empathy be a two-way street?
     
  39. wvsasha

    wvsasha Companion

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    Oct 3, 2005

    My daughter is in the 5th grade and was early entry kindergarten, however, she was held back in 1st grade because the teacher (and we were railroaded by the principal) didn't approve of the early program and refused to support her and thus began the last 5 years of hell.

    DD is in G/T program and all her teachers want to use it as a carrot to get her to improve her grades in the regular classroom.

    I do NOT approve of that philosophy and refuse to all it to be done. It's the one day a week that DD actually does NOT cry about going to school. For the last 3 years we have been able to have one day a week where she enjoys going to class. Do you know what that's like?

    We have done everything we possibly can (and I"m a special educator with a minor in gifted program) to help DD adjust/adapt/whatever to school. One big problem is she doesn't transition well and I can't seem to figure out a way to help her with that - maybe she'll just have to out grow it. I don't know. Another factor is she is horribly un-organized and can't seem to wrap her mind around the need for improving this.

    While I understand alot of the reticence about the GAT programs and some downright disdain of it, I feel that there wouldn't be a reason for my daughter to get out of bed and go to school for at least 1 day in the week without it.
     
  40. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Oct 3, 2005

    I wasn't really going to reply to this thread anymore, but I feel compelled. The grass really isn't greener on the special ed (low end) either. My boys have NEVER fit into any of their spec-ed classes. They have always been MUCH more capable then given credit for, or given a chance to be. Their so called "tests" that "qualified" them for the program they are in, never actually measured anything except for the fact they are poor test takers! THey never allow for those differences, nor do they work with individual talents, or gifts, which both of my boys definitely have. My oldest son designs, builds,flies, and teaches others how to do the same with remote control airplanes. He is very computer savvy, and can dissect and rebuild a computer in no time at all! Does school allow for any of his talents and abilities......NO! Should they, I don't know, but it sure hasn't stopped him from doing what he loves! It may appear that these kids are catered too, but, believe me, this just isn't the case either. They are all "grouped" together, despite differences in abilities and talents. The curriculum is focused for the group, rather then the individual, despite an IEP> For years I have fought with administration, faculty etc. only to find myself back to square one each and every year. Both of my boys will be happiest when they are NO LONGER part of this system that keeps them from excelling in what they love and are very capable of doing and being successful at! So you see, I feel both ends of the spectrum are not geared towards helping these children. It really is geared toward the middle of the road, average Joe. Something of which NONE of my kids are. I think it is wrong to say that it is geared towards the less able, for I haven't seen that to be true in all the years my boys have been in school. Lets try not to be angry at the wrong group here............we really need to be "angry" at the system that allows this to happen.
     

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