Category Archives: Critical Thinking

Developing Teamwork Challenges for GT Students

gtchat 05172018 Adventures

This week, we welcomed Greg Laufer of Adventures in Learning located in El Paso, TX as our guest to chat about developing team work challenges for gifted and talented students.  Adventures in Learning provides services to both educators and gifted students with professional development, academic competitions and summer camps. Every year they host an academic competition called Team Quest – The Ultimate Academic Challenge.

Grouping strategies are most often used in full inclusion classrooms. For in class grouping, peer-grouping greatly benefits gifted students. Another popular strategy is flexible-grouping which may yield benefits by reducing misconceptions of elitism. Gifted and talented students report overwhelmingly preference for work with other intellectual peers for numerous reasons. They get frustrated when group members expect them to do a majority of the work.

“I have seen how grouping helps students learn, become better listeners, learn life skills, and understand their classmates and themselves. Grouping by ability and interest are important, BUT we all know life is not always so neat and tidy. Students will face MANY situations in life when they will not get to work with someone like them. They also need to see the value in how others think and do things.” ~ Greg Laufer

What are the benefits of fostering team building through group work for gifted students? They need to experience working on a team early on to understand how to interact with others and prepare for later academic challenges. Gifted students can benefit from the experience of working with multiple ability peers that mirror the society in which they will one day work and live.

“Probably the biggest benefit (of grouping) is helping GT students to see they do not have to deal with everything on their own. It is common for GT students to take on too much and place pressure on themselves. Grouping helps them to see it’s OK to reach out and ask for help. Differing perspectives is another reason we at Adventures in Learning love grouping students. Inside our academic competition (Team Quest) we see this every day.” ~ Greg Laufer

We can encourage gifted students to see the value of group work with respect to successful participation in the workforce. Parents can communicate their own participation in working in groups to their children and how it has made a difference in their work experience. Teachers and schools can provide opportunities for job-shadowing and career day programs during the school year.

“With a global economy that we see today, being able to communicate and work with others is more important than ever before. The days of sitting in a cubical for 8 hours and never talking to anyone are not as prevalent as they once were. Students must be TAUGHT teamwork. Companies today are learning that being a team player and someone having still to collaborate is SOOOOOO important! After if a job candidate can demonstrate the ability to work together, they have a better chance at getting the job over a more “qualified” person.” ~ Greg Laufer

One of the best ways to impress upon children the importance of anything is to model the behavior you want to see in them. Participating in community service and including them whenever possible sends a powerful message. Parents can provide opportunities for their children to be on a team during after-school and summer recess.

Our final question of the chat was for our guest Greg Laufer: How did Adventures in Learning begin conducting Academic Competitions? Greg started Adventures in Learning over 20 years ago. His longevity in the business speaks to its benefits for the gifted community.

“I started out 22 years ago when I was asked to assist a friend to present the “paper/pencil” portion of an academic competition. It was such a fun experience that I have turned it into my life’s work. Over the years I have worked with nearly 60,000 GT students in our program TEAM QUEST. The Team Quest Theme for next school year will be “Secrets of the Sea” We will be posting about our new program throughout the summer.” ~ Greg Laufer

A transcript may be find at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Adventures in Learning (El Paso)

Adventures in Learning: About Us

Team Quest The Ultimate Academic Challenge

Adventures in Learning University Workshops

Adventures in Learning Professional Development & Trainings

10 Team-Building Games That Promote Critical Thinking

Developing Critical Thinking and Creativity through Team Building in the Classroom

Elementary Matters: Team Building Activities

Gifted and Talented Center: LEGO Science and Engineering

Developing Leadership Skills in Young Gifted Students (pdf)

AUS: Tournament of Minds – Inquiry into the Education of Gifted and Talented Students (pdf)

12 Ways to Promote Teamwork, Creativity & Problem-Solving During the Summer (pdf)

Ability Grouping and Self-Esteem of Gifted Students

Adventures in Learning’s Summer Reading Program!

Team Quest: The Ultimate Academic Challenge

What Educators Need to Know About Gifted Students and Cooperative Learning (pdf)

Gifted Education and Cooperative Learning: A Miss or a Match? (pdf)

Gifted Students’ Perceptions of the Academic and Social/Emotional Effects of Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Grouping (Abstract)

Cybraryman’s Collaboration Page

Cybraryman’s Connectivity Page

Guiding Gifted Collaboration

Image courtesy of Adventures in Learning.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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Building Empathy Through Critical Thinking

gtchat 03082018 thinkLaw

This week, Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT welcomed Colin Seale and Sarah Pfeiler of the team from thinkLaw to chat about “Building Empathy Through Critical Thinking” on Twitter. thinkLaw helps teachers teach critical thinking  through legal cases. To learn how your gifted students can benefit from thinkLaw’s standards-aligned program that helps educators teach critical thinking  to all students, click this link to schedule a brief call.

Colin Seale

Colin E. Seale, Founder & CEO

 

Sarah Pfeiler

Sarah Pfeiler, Curriculum & Training Manager 

 

GT students often experience a significant lack of empathy from their teachers at very young ages. It can cause a lifetime of discouragement when they feel misunderstood and marginalized by adults. When teachers fail to understand what the label ‘gifted’ entails – more than academics; it can create an atmosphere in which GT students no longer feel they should be expected to show emotions that aren’t extended to them.

 

Empathy pic thinkLaw

 

Students need to understand what empathy is and ways to express it. By opening a dialog on what it is and isn’t, students gain a greater appreciation of its importance in their own lives. Introducing the idea that empathy can improve both the student’s life and the lives of those around them becomes challenging when you realize that they’re only in school a fraction of their day. Home environment matters, too.

“We often see little empathy for gifted students because too many think “they are going to be just fine.” 4 students in my 2nd grade g/t class didn’t graduate from HS. They are not going to be “just fine.” And even if they were, is “just fine,” really good enough?” ~ Colin E. Seale

Emotional empathy can be extremely difficult to foster in classrooms where teachers are overworked, underpaid and expected to be defender, counselor and psychologist all while trying to teach. It can be integrated across the curriculum with careful and thoughtful planning and included by subtle reminders to students to think before they speak to or act toward others.

“Using mentor texts is a great way to teach empathy because it’s not personal.  You might select a story about a kid who is struggling socially but has a lot going on at home that people don’t know about. It’s harder for students to start with trying to understand what’s really going on behind the scenes with someone who is targeting or being mean to them.” ~ Sarah Pfeiler

Intellectual empathy must be modeled by teachers and administrators every single day. It isn’t enough to touch upon occasionally. It should be an integral part of lesson planning throughout the school year. It requires teachers to thoughtfully listen and respond to students in a respectful manner. GT students don’t tolerate ‘lip service’ when they are giving careful consideration to the questions they’re asked.

“Building Empathy vs. Academic Rigor is a false choice! When your instruction involves analysis of multiple perspectives, root cause analysis, collaboration, and design thinking, you necessarily enhance our students’ ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.” ~ Colin E. Seale

Intellectual empathy is drowned out by emphasis on test prep, lack of support staff, tight budgets and time constraints which redirect discourse to rote learning and preconceived notions of what is meant be ‘education’. It is not valued any longer by society; it’s not included in the standards. Base knowledge trumps comprehension in most general education classrooms where GT students spend a majority of their time.

We all can play a role in teaching empathy in an effort to build critical thinking. It’s important to realize the impact it has on the lives of students. A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2 PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

thinkLaw website

The thinkLaw Team

Help Me Understand: 4 Ways to Use Critical Thinking to Develop Empathy

The Critical Thinking Gap: How thinkLaw is Fighting the Equity Issue of Access to Deeper Learning

The State of Critical Thinking Part 1: What is Critical Thinking?

The State of Critical Thinking Part 2: Persevering When Thinking Gets Hard

Webinar: It’s Time for a Critical Thinking Revolution!

Empathy plus Critical Thinking equals Compassionate Action

What are the Importance and Benefits of “Critical Thinking Skills”?

How to Be Empathetic

How Dialogue Teaches Critical Thinking and Empathy

How Cross-Cultural Dialogue Builds Critical Thinking and Empathy

Compassionate Critical Thinking: How Mindfulness, Creativity, Empathy, and Socratic Questioning Can Transform Teaching (Amazon)

How Empathy Affects Learning, And How to Cultivate It In Your Students

Teaching Empathy through Design Thinking

Template Independent POV Project (Google Doc)

Bad Luck? An Exercise in Critical Thinking for St. Patrick’s Day (TPT)

Story Telling with Persona Dolls (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Empathy Page

Gifted Unit Plan (Google Doc)

40 Kindness Activities and Empathy Worksheets for Students and Adults

Five Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching (TEDx 14:41)

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Children

The Care & Feeding of Advanced Readers Resources (Google Drive)

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Authentic Learning in Gifted Education

gtchat 01252018 Authentic

Authentic learning occurs when a student confronts real-world problems and explores ways to solve them. It can only truly happen when the student feels the project or problem is relevant to them. Authentic learning engages students through opportunities to create meaningful outcomes by doing real-life tasks.

Why is authentic learning important for gifted students? It requires higher-order questioning and thinking; as well as an ability to express conclusions in writing. This leads to intellectual development and career success. Authentic learning is achieved through academic discourse and argument which is the essence of intellectual maturity and a way to nourish critical thinking capacity; all factors important to gifted students.

Authentic learning activities must include real-life tasks that make a difference to both the student and their immediate environment. They can be viewed through the lens of student passions; ideas and concepts achieved through deeper-learning. These activities need to encourage students to think critically; then organize and evaluate their findings.

An authentic learning environment must provide a way for meaningful exploration and discussion of real-world concerns; not simply predetermined projects. They extend beyond the boundaries of the traditional classroom and must be a place where ideas are tested and meaningful concepts actually used to solve problems. Authentic learning environments can include simulation-based learning, student media creation, inquiry-based learning, peer-based evaluation, working with research data or working with remote instruments.

Authentic learning helps students develop skills to be able to verify the reliability of newly learned information; the ability to complete complex problems; and to recognize relative patterns in new contexts. It encourages them to engage in cross-curricular activities; seeing value in this process. It also creates curiosity to work across cultural boundaries and find creative solutions to problems on which they’re working.

How should authentic learning be assessed? Authentic assessment measures significant and meaningful accomplishment which reflects student choice and investment in the outcomes. It may be produced by a teacher and is in stark contrast to standardized testing. Presentation before an authentic audience can enhance the product for students.

In the final analysis, authentic learning is something that should be considered essential for gifted students at every level of their education. It plays a vital role in their academic careers and is a solid predictor of enhancing future opportunities for success. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2 PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

How to Develop an Authentic Enrichment Cluster

The PBL Classroom of Twists and Turns

The Four Characteristics of ‘Authentic Learning’

Authentic Learning Environments

What is Authentic Pedagogy?

What Is Authentic Assessment?

Authentic Literacy and Intellectual Development

27 Characteristics of Authentic Assessment

Authentic Learning: It’s Elementary!

Authentic Learning: A Practical Introduction and Guide for Implementation

Authentic Assessment Toolbox

Bringing Authenticity to the Classroom

Examples of Authentic Culminating Products (pdf)

Top 12 Ways to Bring the Real World into Your Classroom

Authentic Task- Based Materials: Bringing the Real World into the Classroom (pdf)

Linguistics Course for Language Loving Kids

Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School (Hack Learning Series) (Volume 3) (Amazon)

Pic courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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