Friday, April 30, 2010

Mapping the World By Heart

Second semester 2009-2010 the 6th graders embarked on a huge project called Mapping the World by Heart. Each student complete nine regional maps. After the regional maps were completed students then drew the world map using the information from their regional maps. The original year-long curriculum was compacted into 16 weeks. The maps turned out great, you can see all of them here!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Booklist for Very Young Very Precocious Readers

Not to repeat myself but I've taught gifted kids for 25 years. Part of our assessment process for services include meeting with parents and classroom teachers. I'm on the hunt for kiddos who are (in part) reading two-three years above peers. With older students 4th-6th this is fairly easy (except for the fact that some gifted kids are not pleasure readers). Older gifted readers will have read all the regulars--popular series as well as YA fantasy and science fiction series; some classics and even outlier titles like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Animal Farm, Robert Ludlum thrillers, or Stephen King.

My problem was in discussions with parents and teachers of very young very precocious readers. These kids were in kindergarten through second grade and reading 4-5 years above grade level. I'd mention Charlotte's Web and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and then I was at a lost for good titles. Reading 4th grade books like Junie B. Jones or Captain Underpants was not good enough for me so I went on a hunt for recommended titles for these very young readers. I wanted the books to have rich themes and vocabLinkulary but age appropriate content.

So for several months I asked everybody I knew--current gifted kids, old gifted kids, parents of gifted kids, classroom teachers, gifted ed teachers, and public and school librarians to send me good book titles. I have compiled the list. You can find the link to the list at the bottom right of my website A Different Place. If you have some MUST ADDS let me know. N

I have not read all these books. Be sure to let students self-select, you will be pleased with the results.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cleaning Out File Cabinets Part II: A Vingette of Five

A Vignette of Five
by Ethelouise Carpenter

He was five, and in kindergarten. The first time he was told his boots were on the wrong feet, he said, "No, these are mine" and the next time, "Well, it doesn't matter. I know where I'm going."

As the weeks went on, we learned that he had a copper spaniel dog, he slept in a four-holster bed and he lived (in this university community) next door to merry housing.

He had a hole in his boots that sucked up water, and he objected to walking to school on lumpy sidewalks. He had a new baby sister who leaked and who had a bath when there wasn't any dirt on her.

In school he complained about a child who was acting too deteriorating, and one day he announced he had had a messtressing accident.

At the workbench he ground wood and made Swiss cheese. He didn't like pineapple juice because it kinda bit him. He said he loved to eat celery-he could hear the noise inside his head. He couldn't play with guinea pigs because they were bad for his energies. He made a very mykannic thing of wood and wire and touched dry cell wires to the globe to make the world turn.

He squeezed shoots of water from a plastic soap container, discovering he could do it to the rhythm of Yankee Doodle. He made a mousetrap and a suit of knight armor. He bottled milkweed seeds so he could see them loose without losing them. He raced two worms across a board and blew noises out of mailing tubes. He took off his shoes because he liked the rug feeling through his socks. He wore a man-shirt and necktie that he invariably wound up in the workbench vise.

His smock was loaded with paint, his zipper was halfway up, his long belt gathered in too-large corduroy pants. He was a loud-voiced, door-slamming laugher who came to school early so he could get some things done before he got too busy. He wanted to go outside when it rained because that's when you see the best things.

He moved to another town that summer, and the next year he failed first grade. The school evidently was not ready for him.

I've had this in a folder for 20 years, I was glad to be reminded of it and glad I didn't have to retype it because I found it online.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Cleaning Out File Cabinets Part I: Bosch Indicators of Giftedness

I am getting ready to retire so I'm cleaning out file cabinets and computer files. I found this list and it made me laugh. Wanna add any?

Bosch’s Indicators of Cognitive Giftedness

1.The student knows all the dinosaur names as a kindergarten
2.The student’s favorite movies will be Monty Python movies.
3.The student will “get” all your jokes even if no one else laughs.
4.The student will look like they are not paying attention but every time you call on them they will know the answer.
5.When ask to name things that fly will respond “Time…(pause) but only when you’re having fun”.
6.When asked what would happen if scissors had never been invented would respond…”Well, you know how you have those little scissors on your computer screen? Well you wouldn’t be able to cut and paste.”
7.When asked what would happen if there was no air transportation would respond…”I just have two words for your…organ transplant. You wouldn’t be able to do organ transplants because you couldn’t get the organs to the right people fast enough.”
8.The student will read J.R.R. Tolkien as a third grader and will also love mathematics. (Early and high ability readers will not always be cognitively gifted, some are just that—early and high ability readers. If they don’t have math abilities they probably will not score in the 99%ile.)
9.The student prefers science fiction and fantasy genres.
10.The student watches the evening news, Discovery Channel, History Channel.
11.One or both parents have postgraduate and/or professional degrees.
12.The student takes less for granted, seeking the 'hows" and "whys" and may drive the classroom teacher crazy asking questions and wanting in-depth explanations.
13.The student prefers to work alone and is not a good “cooperative learner”.
14.The student is a fluent and abstract thinker, able to produce a large quantity of possibilities, consequences, or related ideas and may actually never get anything done!!
15.The student’s response to a classroom question will at first seem wrong. You’ll wake up in the middle of the night and say to yourself…;”Damn, he was right!”