It Wasn't Always Like This

19 September 2009

You might not know it, but way back when I was a brand new teacher and working on my Master's, my area of focus was Gifted Ed. I actually did put the degree to some use when I lived in NM as there, gifted children fall under Special Ed rules. They are placed on IEPs and receive special services. In Washington? I can't say that ever used what I'd learned about identifying gifted children and developing program needs. (Here, students only have to score well on an IQ test and a state assessment. Not much "gifted" about that...just smart.)

However, I can't say that the investment in my education was a total loss. The classes I took were very specific about how to construct learning experiences for gifted students---how to challenge them and access higher levels of thinking. Things that were, in fact, good for every student and should not have been reserved for a select few.

It dawned on me the other day that perhaps schools are reaching a point where the "special" instruction for g/t kids is (finally) becoming the norm for everyone. This both saddens me (Why did it take SO long?) and delights me (W00t! It's finally happening!). I think it may well be a result of technology driving that change. Perhaps a lot of what happens inside the classroom is the same-old same-old. But outside? It's a different story in terms of how kids are choosing to connect and learn. We have new "verbs" now for the kind of work students undertake.

I had this little Aha! while I was continuing the hunt for the elusive technology assessment/rubric. (This is truly a snipe hunt, if there ever was one...more on that in another post.) It started with this image from Educational Origami:


I had seen the reimagined Bloom's Taxonomy before...but not with the addition of web 2.0 sorts of skills...which then got me thinking about rubric descriptors for products...and reminded me of all the g/t file folders in my basement all stuffed with skills assessment stuff. It's the Circle of Professional Life, fer cryin' out loud. I'm back where I started, except this time, those musty old g/t folders are going to be put to use for every child. Every child. Maybe that wasn't the case in the past, but from now on, them's the rules.

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2 Comments:

Blogger hschinske said...

"However, I can't say that the investment in my education was a total loss. The classes I took were very specific about how to construct learning experiences for gifted students---how to challenge them and access higher levels of thinking. Things that were, in fact, good for every student and should not have been reserved for a select few."

I'm puzzled by this statement, because it's always seemed obvious to me that the point of separating out gifted students for different work is that they need, well, DIFFERENT WORK. Work that wouldn't BE suitable for regular classrooms, that would bore or confuse other kids that age.

Naturally all children need rich learning experiences and good teaching -- I've no argument with you there. But that's not gifted education. A third-grade classroom may be a wonderful, vibrant environment, but it's likely no place for an average ten-year-old, and while I don't believe in a pure acceleration model for gifted ed either, a gifted student's needs are likely to be *as different* as those of a student in a higher grade.

7:22 PM  
Blogger The Science Goddess said...

Gifted students do indeed need something different; however, this doesn't mean that thinking skills and curriculum should be dumbed down for everyone else. And, at least when I was working on my Master's all those years ago, the implication was that only gifted should be exposed to lessons that challenged them to the higher levels of Bloom's...certain strategies should only be reserved for gifted students. This is just not so. For example, I can do Problem-Based Learning units with all students. My g/t kids will take their learning in a different direction and depth than my regular kids---but they all benefit from the strategy. I'm digging that thinking skills are being made available to all kids these days.

7:38 PM  

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