If you haven’t finalized which test to use for identifying gifted students, here are some more choices.
If you would like to watch the Google Hangout you can watch it on YouTube
This morning I had my second presentation at the #WCGTC13. It was the first session of the day bright and early at 8:00 am. This particular presentation I was more nervous for than the global one yesterday because this would be the very first time I have spoke on this topic.
To speak on Passion in under 30 minutes is very challenging. I developed a Passion Toolkit for my Passion Project along with several questions and back channel materials for this topic. I had to fly through this to get to the root of my topic: In order to have a Passion Driven Classroom teachers must stop, look within, and discover their own Passions.
If you read this blog, then you know I preach passion all the time this past summer.
Here are some links to some posts about passion from this summer
Without going on another rant here are my reflections on this presentation.
- It is easier to speak to many compared to very few. Literally three minutes before the start there were three people in the room. However, I had a decent crowd when it was time to rock and roll.
- Sell yourself – this is part of my presentation, but due to my presentation yesterday I believe that people showed up today who did not even consider my presentation prior. You have a chance to be heard and make an impact so you better run with it. This applies to the classroom.
- Passion Toolkit LAST – I moved my slides all around with fear of running out of time. Ideally, I will go back to moving my toolkit slides to the very end. It was hard to bridge this without speaking on my thoughts about passion first. It was not a good flow. Slides have been changed.
- Examples: Teachers love examples. I want them to lead the way. I hope to get some great cultural examples with who I spoke with. Fingers crossed. I want more than just American ideas!
- Questions: If you get questions, then you know you have sparked thought. I had some amazing questions. Although I may not have the answers it challenges my thinking. I learn so much from the crowd.
- Can school/administration/policies affect the atmosphere of passion in schools?
- What examples of passion can I share?
- Even more important is the self internal question: Is what I am preaching really passion or am I lacking the proper term? I think I am trying to go beyond the scope of the definition of passion. It is not tangible. It is something that is felt, beyond a manipulative, and can be a deep passion depending on the person AND NOT SOCIETY parameters
Today at the WCGTC13 I presented my first presentation. I am going to be 100% real when I say I was nervous. My poor wife had to read and respond to all my negative texts about how I was not ready to present at this conference. Thank goodness she is amazing and honest and set me straight.
This conference is loaded with many Ph.D’s, university people, consultants, and administrators. There are very little educators here(to clarify, the people mentioned above are educators. I mean classroom teachers). Most presentations are quite heavy on stats, research, and studies. My presentation had none of that, but spoke from real world experience and my heart.
I had to wait for three other speakers in my room to speak before I spoke. It was nerve wracking to say the least. I was very nervous and had the shakes before speaking. We actually had a pretty good crowd. However, once I stood up and started speaking it just took off. I was in my groove speaking about what I love and believe in as a teacher. From that point on I was good to go.
I think the presentation went well.
Thanks to +Ginger Lewman who tweeted during my presentation and has been amazing at challenging all my thinking at this conference for some tweets to give me real feedback. If you know Ginger she is very honest and straight forward so I respect all of her ideas!
In my short time I had to speak I think I made my point clear about the importance of a global classroom. This should really be essential for every classroom. If we want students to be ready for the real world why are we not bringing the real world to the classroom? It just makes sense. I hope that I inspired my audience to think about how they teach and what their schools are doing. We have to give our students full engagement and in order to do that we must bring the real world to the room so they see the practical use in what we are teaching.
You can see my slides below. This is a new presentation and angle that I previously have not used. I think it is much more polished than some previous presentations.
The best part about presenting are the conversations that happen afterwards. I feel blessed that so many connected with me after to investigate more insight and ideas. This is the best part. I feel successful as a presenter because of the many conversations I had as a result of the presentation. I can only hope my presentation tomorrow morning goes as smoothly. It is a new presentation, but one I hold quite dear to my heart and soul as a person and teacher.
Here are my slides, but they won’t provide much without my words. I will speak on slide styles at a later date. But, if my slides tell the whole story, then what use it for me to speak?
Below is the handout I created for the session. I hope that many will answer questions and give suggestions on the Google Doc.
It was a success. I feel good. My many hours of work to get ready paid off. Now off to get ready for the next presentation which is quite early! Get some sleep and be ready to think about your own passion!
- Being a world conference you would think that many of them would be connected via social media. It is rather amazing how many people here are not online. It has really surprised me quite a bit.
- Many people have interesting viewpoints on gifted education. I believe that everyone is trying to achieve the same thing, but based on location, politics, history, and personal story, people have such strong views about certain topics.
- Sitting in a session during the afternoon I really wanted to speak up and share my insight on what was being presented, but did not speak up. Later talking with Ginger Lewman she raised a really good point of speaking up to challenge not only the speaker, but the audience. That push back is essential to move ideas and spark people to challenge their own thinking. I have never thought of it in quite this format, but it is very true.
- As always, the best part of the conference as with any conference has been the discussions I have had with other amazing people between sessions, walking the halls, or a little get together. These conversations allow much deeper discussion and insight and really make the conference worth it. I know my ideas have been challenged already and I have some really deep thinking to do on a few topics.
As I continue to sort through bookmarks, past emails, correspondence, and handwritten notes I came across some great discussions a group of us were having on a listserv. From this conversation that I forgot about completely I went back to revisit some key ideas I wrote down. Here are some thoughts from my brain as I piece together some ideas. As always would love to hear your ideas about these.
The one thing that really bothered me as a gifted education teacher is, “What is gifted?” What is really at the core level of “gifted”? Speaking with many educators and administrators this past year at various conferences, online, and Twitter I think we have this umbrella of thoughts. I think many of us know what “it” is when we see it, but from school to school the parameters change. This bothers me greatly as a professional educator.
How can a student be “gifted” in one district, but not “gifted” in another?
This question drives me to the brink of insanity. Other things that drive me crazy are the misconceptions of gifted. I still am trying to wrap my mind around how to best address the following issues.
- Many educators describe a gifted learner as the teacher-pleasing high achievers. This is wrong as this is a performance. We need to know how they learn. What are exponential reasons why they might choose not to perform? Many teachers still believe in the many of the myths about gifted learners and this needs to be remedied.
- How do we best handle, identify, and stay proactive with underachieving students especially when there is pressure to keep them from the gifted program?
- Motivation or lack thereof is such a problem. How we help them find their passion to get going?
- Is it that they simply do not care?
- Is it just a natural byproduct and a stage in development?
- The whole notion of a certain % of population MUST be gifted. We need to cater to who is really in need of a service and not get wrapped up in having enough numbers or cutting others off who could benefit from the service.
- Talent can be developed, but giftedness is something they were naturally born with.
Okay, so just some thoughts. Weird that as I depart my job as a gifted education teacher my fire still burns intensely for these students. What I struggle with now personally is the whole idea of “gifted”. Can it be developed? What happens if it is not developed or worked with? Is there a need for a “gifted” label? Or the one that drives many people crazy, do we all have a gift and it comes down to if it fits into the criteria of the school?
The one thing that really bothered me the most is that there is not a lot of consistency. You talk to one school and they do this and another school does that. I think as a nation there needs to be a clear set of criteria to help identify and work to find a definition that works best. I don’t believe there is one right answer because this does not exist in education and never will. But, there needs to a be a method at properly identifying gifts and figuring out how to best service these needs. Just my two cents worth.
“It is surprising that very highly gifted children do not rebel more frequently against the inappropriate educational provision which is generally made for them. Studies have repeatedly found that the great majority of highly gifted students are required to work, in class, at levels several years below their tested achievement. Underachievement may be imposed on the exceptionally gifted child through the constraints of an inappropriate and undemanding educational program or, as often happens, the child may deliberately underachieve in an attempt to seek peer-group acceptance“.
� Miraca U.M. Gross4
I don’t know where to start about this training. This is one of those trainings that you cannot really put into words. It is one of those trainings that are so good that it will require several posts and constant updating as I continue down this new path of education.
I attended the SENG model parent support group training. This is a training that gives us the skills and information necessary to facilitate a 8-10 week parent course for parents of gifted children where we focus on the social and emotional needs. This is a topic that is almost taboo in our society. It is a topic rarely discussed in education period. Sure, we will make a blanket statement here or there, but really it is something that we all like to hide from because it is so personal and there are never any clear cut answers.
This training was held at Heartland AEA in Johnston, Iowa. It was a great location. The training was operated by the amazing and world reknown Arlene DeVries who has just a few credentials next to her name. She is so good. I don’t know how else to describe her besides wonderful! She was helped by her two proteges Dal and Jacquelyn Drummer from Wisconsin.
This training helped us learn how to really operate a session. There were so many amazing little techniques and tricks to be learned that I will have to do some serious unlearning. These techniques will allow me to be a better parent, teacher, presenter, and educator in other aspects besides just this parent group.
A little bit about what this SENG Model Parent Group sessions are all about.
Objectives of SENG Model Parent Groups
- Establish an environment in which facilitators provide support and guidance, so parents of talented children can interact and learn from each other.
- Increase parents’ awareness that talented children and their families have special emotional needs.
- Develop parenting skills for nurturing the emotional development of talented children.
- Provide parents with materials to enhance understanding of:
- Characteristics of high potential children.
- Programs and opportunities for talented children.
- Relevant books and professional organizations.
- Referrals for more in-depth professional assistance.
Encourage parent involvement in and support of appropriate educational opportunities
(Gifted Parent Groups: The SENG Model, 2nd Edition, 2007, p. 6)
I walked away from the training with some new connections in the gifted education world. We were a group of 26 awesome educators and parents who just want to do better with our roles in helping children. I hope to continue to connect with these people because I have much to learn from all of them.
I am going to be working very hard over the next few months getting everything lined up and ready to go to unveil and operate the first SENG Parent group here in the Quad Cities next fall. I have to take time to absorb all I took in during the training, finding a location, spreading the word, ordering the materials, working on my craft, and finding a fellow facilitator to help me run this group.
We had a chance to practice the first day when many parents came that night for two hours for us to practice running a session. I cannot believe how open and honest the parents were during the sessions. There was a complete sense of trust. I am still moved by what I heard and what was shared during the one session I operated. It was a sign that despite the idea that we think parents feel connected and have a network of parents to help them figure things out, many really do not. So many felt alone and unsure about what to do, but through the course of these short practice sessions they started to form bonds. My eyes were opened as both a parent and educator. It was amazing.
Any time you delve into sensitive topics that pertain to our own children many emotions can be shared from tears to anger. I am nervous to operate, but I will not let that deter me from offering something that can be a life changer for families.
As I continue to read, study, practice, and prepare for the fall I will keep note of what I am doing to share along the way. The first order of business is to read this incredibly powerful book that was provided to us on parenting gifted children. I will be sharing my notes and ideas while reading and see where that takes me.
In the meantime if you are in the need for a parent group, then please keep this in mind when the next school year rolls around. This is something that could be a great benefit to you.
Let another journey in my educational career unfold!
Here is our crowdsourcing document of resources that we started just yesterday
I am sharing and creating a document where anyone who has something to share something valuable is free to help out. We are trying to gather resources for parents who have gifted children. We have the document broke up into several categories. Feel free to edit/modify and tweak as necessary.
We hope you consider helping build up a great resource tool for parents.