L. Howard What "spoke to me" while reading Appendix A is the importance of teachers collaborating with one another to plan instruction for our advanced learners. Those of us that work on a team can plan lessons and activities that will meet the needs of our diverse learners. If we take this time as a team, we can each share what we know about the strengths and areas needing growth in each of our students. We may find out from our conversations with one another about strategies that have been successful with an individual student or group. I think that if we are going to help each child maximize his/her potential, it is important that we work as a team. I agree that our goal should always be to build equity and excellence in our classrooms and schools. We need to always be open to the idea that we can learn more. When we learn a new strategy, we need to share it with other teachers on our team and department. We need to have that shared sense of responsibility for doing what is best for each and every one of our students.
In response to travelingbug on July 17th, I agree with the idea of collaborating as teams to take the time to share what we know about the strengths and areas that need growth in each of our students in order to better understand them and how best to teach them. Discussing strategies that have or maybe have not worked for a particular student or group of gifted students can only benefit the learning environment. I also agree with the common goal to build equity and excellence in our classroom and school.
In response to Travelingbug on July 8th, I agree that teacher collaoration is key to keeping our teaching from becoming stagnant. As he stated, working as a team f allows for productive dialogue on what works best for a student that is not performing to their potential in your class. Grade Level meetings where all teachers of that grade can get together to discuss discipline issues and student patterns of testing, homework, etc helps us all be informed. We can therefore be proactive in helping students reach their full learning capacity as well as stop discipline & bullying before it gets out of control.
I agree with L. Howard about how in Appendix A teachers need to collaborate with other teachers when planning instruction for advanced learners. Each of us has different knowledge sets on topics and by working together to plan lessons we will enable a higher level of learning. I agree that we all can learn more on any given topic and that by using each other as resources we help raise the level of learning for our students. This will help the students reach their full learning potential.
When I worked in HISD we were teamed. All five core teachers taught the same group of kids. We had a planning period as well as a period where we met and discussed all sorts of things related to the kids we taught. It was true collaborations. We need more of that in SBISD.
One of the things that spoke to me while reading Appendix A was the section about assessments. I do believe that it is important to have ongoing assessments that include pre, in-process, and post assessments. Giving our students a consistent opportunity to be successful is important to gauge what they know about a related topic. I also really liked the part about students greatly benefiting from a learning environment in which they feel safe, one that reinforces worth as individuals, one that allows each student to become more powerful and productive. The last topic that spoke to me was the importance of building partnerships. These partnerships with parents, other teachers, counselors, and administrators are all vital to the success of our students. We can learn so much by conversing with others for a common goal of bettering our teaching styles and bettering our students.
L. Howard in response to Hannah B on July 17I agree with you that all of us need to work towards a common goal of bettering our teaching and our students. We can do this through continual communication/conversation with other educators, counselors, and parents. I think that we need to make such conversations a priority and set aside time for them. I think it can be very easy for us to slip into our own classroom and lose sight that we will most likely serve our students in the best way possible if we act as a team.
In response to Hannah B on July 17th- I agree with the section on assessments. Ongoing assessments on same topic delivered at different times is also important. It shows a true read if the student really understand and got the topic into full detail. Sometimes as teachers we only assess on a given chapter one time and do not return to the subject. This may help us to understand that we should assess and re-asses throughout topics and curriculum.
I agree that pre-assessments and ongoing assessments are necessary so we can determine what level the kids are in and provide a more dynamic curriculum. Hopefully, through this means, we can keep the kids challenged and engaged because we are providing advanced and enriching work and not merely "busy"/repetitive work. (PV)
The Section, “Affective Development”, of Appendix A spoke to me the loudest. In the age of ratings, rankings, and scores, too often the emotional needs and self-esteem building activities are sacrificed in the name of academic excellence. The unique sensitivities of the GT student are often overlooked as the parent demands “A” work on everything! Highly intellectual abilities and talents can lead to confusion in this you should “be_____” world. Educators of the gifted hold a great responsibility to keep the emotional well-being and self-esteem of the GT learner in mind constantly. At times, on this front, we are their only advocate.
The Affective Development of Appendix A was of interest to me. Middle school is such an awkward age and that it is critical years for positive development. It seems that is focused on so much in Elementary that most think they will be fine in middle school. It is important no matter what age that all students reinforcement as individuals will help to become more powerful and productive. Feeling accepted by teachers and peers will influence their learning and roles among peers.
In Response to Stacey on July 25th, I completely agree that middle school is a difficult time for kids, especially our GT kids who frankly tend to be a little different at times than their peers. We all know that kids are mean, and for a student to not feel accepted by anyone in their school will lead towards poor performance. I do believe that teachers need to spend more time truly getting to know their students, and connecting with each one. Every student in the classroom should know that their teacher cared about them and values their input. It is only once a student becomes comfortable and trusts the teacher, when they will really begin to come out of their "shell" and begin to live up to their true potential. Ryan Harvey
I agree with the statements above concerning affective development. GT kids know they are different which, in adolescence, may cause undue stress because of the inherent need to conform. We need to reassure our students that it is ok to be different but this can only become possible if we have established a connection with them. (PV)
In Appendix A, the paragraph on Curriculum and Instruction spoke to me. All students need to have the opportunity to explore curriculum that is rich in meaning and with continued emphasis on real world application. I concur that flexible grouping and pacing gives students more ownership of their learning as well as meets the individual needs of each learner.
I also agree with Laura's comment on August 10th, we need to address ALL learners no matter their levels. By creating flexible differentiated lessons, we can confidently step into the classroom and know we are providing students with the best opportunities to succeed.
In appendix A the section that stood out to me was on assessment. I think that not enough teachers take the time to do a pre-assessment. Throughout many development opportunities we have seen how it is proven that taking the time to gauge what the learners already grasp saves everyone a great deal of frustration, and insures that the learners will reach further than they already are. The section takes this one step further in stating the importance of pre-assessments, in-process assessments, as well as post assessments. Being able to see what the students started with, and gauging the learning in the middle of the unit is something that I think a lot of teachers will not take the time to do, but is in my opinion, one of the best ways to really understand what they are grasping. This will ensure that all students are learning what is expected, and should in turn ensure that all understanding on the post assessments are higher than they would have been without this step.Ryan Harvey
I think the item that spoke to me the most was the Affective Development section on 317. I always knew coming into the middle school that the students are in transition between childhood and in many ways adulthood. Seeing and learning things from their peers, feeling unimportant at times, and wanting to make some sort of difference. I just never thought that the middle school years would be that defining moment. I assumed that the process would continue to change, grow, mutate throughout high school as well. We, as teachers, have a very high power when interacting with our students that in many cases could change them for the rest of their lives. One must then always remember with that change be positive or negative.
I think the area on Assessment really spoke to me. This is my area of focus this school year, getting to know what my kids bring to the classroom, so that I don't waste time teaching what they already have been taught. I've noticed this with my son, in his district, he is given work (mostly because this is what the district says all students my learn on this particular day) that is well below what he can do. For example: he was working on multiplication in second grade, but was bringing home work in which he had to count money.
What spoke to me in Appendix A are the "persistent goals of equity and excellence for each learner" (p. 315). We need to ensure that students, regardless of socio-economic status, will have access to the same resources. (PV)