Welcome back to The Mysterious Gifted Society!
Well, today was a little bit difficult as I realized more and more how much differentiation my kiddos need. After listening to my daughter's frustration with her education, I visited with one of my gifted classes. I asked them about what they liked about our gifted class and what they would like to change. They gave me a couple of suggestions, like having class outside sometimes, and things like that. When I asked them about their regular classes, the conversation changed a little.
It's funny how you wouldn't think that kids would want their school to be harder, but they do. They really want to learn and to show their excellence, but the honest truth is, gifted students are not really a priority for America. Of course, this makes no sense at all. We need smart over-achievers to create jobs, change our world, and, of course, pay taxes!! :)
But how do we do this? Honestly, it's hard to say. We need to differentiate, but it's difficult to know how and to find the time with all of the requirements of teaching. This discussion has really been on my heart, and I will be doing my best to try to help everyone meet the needs of these students. This is not a criticism of any teachers, just of the system. And what I want most is to help teachers give an equitable education to ALL of our students. I know how crazy busy it is and how hard teaching is. My goal is for us to colloborate together and find some ideas, suggestions, and solutions to help these kiddos reach their goals!
One area that's been on my mind is math. I am absolutely no mathematician, so trying to determine how to differentiate for kids is hard. I was wondering if we could put them into math groups the way students are grouped in reading, with pre-tests to determine placement. Older kids could possibly function in a small group learning environment with little instruction. This would be more difficult with younger students, but I still think it might be workable.
Teachers out there, what do you think? Do you see problems with this? How can we better differentiate for these "smarty pants"?
Carol Ann :)