Blog Archives

Authentic Learning to Create 21st Century Learners

gtchat 11012018 Authentic

Authentic learning begins when a student engages because they can see relevance in what they are experiencing in the classroom and beyond. It is participating in meaningful, real-world learning that is in response to active student voice in the process of deciding what they need as an individual to succeed.

Our guest this week was Todd Stanley. Todd is the author (Prufrock Press) of many teacher-education books including Project-Based Learning for Gifted Students: A Handbook for the 21st Century Classroom, When Smart Kids Underachieve in the Classroom: Practical Solutions for Teachers, and his latest, Authentic Learning: Real World Experiences that Build 21st Century Skills. He served as a classroom teacher for 18 years and is currently the gifted services coordinator for Pickerington Local Schools (Ohio) where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

giftED 18 logo

Todd Stanley will also be a speaker at this year’s TAGT Wednesday Institutes prior to their annual conference, giftED18 in Fort Worth, TX, on November 28, 2018. He will present two sessions: Authentic Learning to Create 21st-Century Learners and Project-Based Learning (PBL): A How-To Workshop . Todd will also present three sessions on Thursday, November 29th: Let’s Talk: Project-Based Learning in STEM, The Myths of Gifted Children, and Tired of SMART Goals? Create DUMB Goals to Build 21st-Century Learners. You can register for the giftED18 here.

Authentic learning breaks through the decades of monotonous rote-learning to prepare students to become innovators, critical thinkers and leaders. It benefits all of society by providing future problem solvers who have learned the skills to think, assess, and imagine solutions unknown to us today.

What teaching strategies enable authentic learning? It does not lend itself to the old-time adage – ‘sage on the stage’. Authentic learning should be facilitated; not taught. Authentic learning strategies go by many names today … problem-based, cased-based, portfolio driven, etc. The goal should be to use the strategy most responsive to the student’s individual needs.

Authentic learning promotes critical thinking by pushing beyond content and striving to understand why things are the way they are and how they work. It encourages critical thinking by engaging a student’s curiosity because the learning is relevant to them. It gives them a reason to want to learn. It makes a difference in their lives.

Which 21st century skills have been missed by elevating ‘data and measurable goals’? A good friend of #gtchat once said, “Every time a data-driven decision is made, a fairy dies.” Many may disagree, but the point is that children are more than the data collected about them … and they know it! We should learn from them. Folks in the business community were first to realize that our test-obsessed, only by the numbers education system was missing things like creativity, working together for a common purpose, and being able to adapt to new situations.

Capstones are a good choice to show growth with gifted/high ability students. They are a reflection of growth not captured by standardized testing and an excellent choice for both gifted and high ability students. Capstones provide a vehicle to showcase the cumulative experience of students near the end of their educational experience. They are generally long-term in production and investigative in nature which result in a final product, presentation, or performance. A transcript of this chat can be found 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 1 PM NZDT/11 AM AEDT/Midnight 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, check out 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

Resources:

Authentic Learning: Real-World Experiences That Build 21st-Century Skills (Prufrock)

Todd Stanley – The Gifted Guy (website)

Todd Stanley’s Books

Todd Stanley’s Blog https://goo.gl/MH1ecq

Higher Level Thinking with Gifted Students with Todd Stanley (YouTube 36:12)

Authentic Learning for the 21st Century: An Overview (pdf 2007)

9 Ways To Make Student Work Authentic

Creating Authentic Learning Experiences in the Literacy Classroom

AUS: “Authentic” Learning Experiences: What Does this Mean and Where is the Literacy Learning? (pdf 2009)

Why Authenticity Matters: 5 Ways Authenticity Impacts Student Learning

AUS: Authentic Learning

10 Ways Authentic Learning Is Disrupting Education

The Futures of Learning 3: What Kind of Pedagogies for the 21st Century (pdf 2015)

21st Century Learning: Research, Innovation and Policy (pdf)

CAN: Technologies that Aid Learning Partnerships on Real-World, Authentic Tasks (pdf 2015)

Deepening and Transferring Twenty-first Century Learning through a Lower Secondary Integrated Science Module (pdf)

Allowing Authentic Discovery in the Middle School Classroom

How to Develop an Authentic Enrichment Cluster

Authentic Learning: A Practical Introduction and Guide for Implementation

The Global Achievement Gap: Why Our Kids Don’t Have the Skills They Need for College, Careers, and Citizenship–and What We Can Do About It (bn)

Image courtesy of Flickr  CC BY 2.0

Photo courtesy of Todd Stanley.   Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

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Resources for GT Kids

gtchat 08302018 Kids Resources

Many websites, blog posts and conference presentations offer resources for parents or educators, but this week at #gtchat we focused on resources for the gifted child. When discussing books, it was noted that often books for parents are accompanied by books for children as well. This presents parents with the opportunity of talking with and interacting with their child on a particular subject.

Many gifted organizations (national and state) include information specifically for kids. It’s a good place to start. Other resources include Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, Mensa for Kids (last week’s guest), Byrdseed, and Hoagies Gifted.

Classroom resources which are uniquely suited for GT kids can be used in a standalone class or used in conjunction with a differentiated curriculum. It’s important to have a certified GT teacher who can help select appropriate classroom resources.

There are so many excellent available competitions. Most involve teamwork, but there are also those who have an individual opportunity for kids. It is important to match a kid’s interests to the competition. This isn’t always possible, but should be considered.

Online classes may be used to complete specific required coursework and should be taught by certified teachers. However, many GT kids like to take classes for fun where a certified teacher is not needed. MOOC’s are also a good way to provide acceleration opportunities for GT kids. Many now include credit granting options.

When planning for college, GT students may have unique challenges regarding situations involving acceleration, early (early) entrance, college credits earned in high school, and financing their education. College may not be the first option for all GT students; many may opt for a gap year or may not need college to utilize their talents. Career planning is important at this point. A transcript of this chat may be found 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

Resources:

100 Resources for Gifted Kids

Byrdseed’s Puzzlements (weekly email)

Mensa for Kids

Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth – A CTY Reading List: Good Books for Bright Kids

Guide to Scholarships & Competitions for Gifted Youth

Gifted Study: Resources for Students

Academic Programs and Competitions

Enrichment Program Listing

NSGT: Educational Resources for Gifted and Talented Children

Exquisite Minds: Best Sites for Kids

Youth Code Jam (SATX): Online Resources – Learn to Code

GHF Online

QuestBridge

Gifted and Talented Students in Australia – Resources and Services

Davidson Institute

Nothing You Can’t Do (Prufrock Press)

The Gifted Kids Workbook: Mindfulness Skills to Help Children Reduce Stress, Balance Emotions, and Build Confidence (bn)

VA Association for the Gifted: Resources

Tom Clynes: Resources for the Gifted

Wonderopolis

Hoagies Gifted: Reading Lists for Your Gifted Child

Peter Reynolds: Creatrilogy (bn)

Royal Fireworks Press: Novels about Gifted and Talented Children

The Little Prince

Desmos (math site)

GeoGebra Math Apps

Wolfram Alpha Computational Intelligence

Kenken Puzzles

Code.org

The Kid Should See This

National Archives

Scratch

3Doodler

LEGO Education

TED Talks

Cybraryman’s Educators Page

Stories with Holes

Mathcounts

Destination Imagination

Science Olympiad

Future Problem Solving Program International

The Stock Market Game

First LEGO League

Odyssey of the Mind

Speak Up! Speak Out!

AUS: Aussie Educator Student Competitions

Solar Car Challenge

MaPP Challenge

Explore UT (TX)

Photo and graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Improving GT Parent-Teacher Communications

gtchat 08022018 Communications

Unique challenges exist in relationships between GT parents and teachers, and this week on #gtchat we discussed ways to improve how parents and teachers of gifted students communicate with each other. In many situations, gifted-identified students have an education plan which places certain requirements and responsibilities on all parties involved in the agreement. GT students often receive accommodations or interventions which place additional stressors and constraints on the teacher/student/parent relationship.

In a perfect world, good parent-teacher relations most often benefit the student. Depending on their age, a student can explore their potential with the help of a supportive teacher/mentor. Good parent-teacher relationships don’t just happen. They need to be cultivated and maintained in the spirit of mutual respect. A good start is to make sure all stakeholders have a firm grasp of the need for gifted education.

Today there exists a wide range of tech tools and apps to facilitate open communication between parents and teachers. Schools have long acknowledged that open lines of communication can avoid misunderstandings between parents and teachers. Educators and schools, however, must be cognizant of a family’s ability to access technology and take steps to provide access when it doesn’t exist or provide other means of communication.

Face-to-face activities can improve parent-teacher relations. This relationship can be enhanced through participation in extracurricular activities, breakfast/coffee with a teacher/admin opportunity, and even pre-scheduled after school meetings.

What best practices can parents use to improve their child’s education? Parents need to learn the ‘lingo’ used by educators; they will earn the respect of those who are  responsible for making decisions affecting their child. Best practices for parents advocating for their gifted child include researching state and local education laws and diligent planning concerning their child’s educational needs prior to meeting with school personnel.

Parents and teachers many never see eye-to-eye regarding a child’s education plan, but remaining calm, professional and open-minded will serve everyone’s best interests.  When researching a child’s particular school, always be aware of the ‘chain of command’ and follow it precisely. Know who the teacher reports to, but start with the teacher first. Most schools recognize this chain of comment: teacher >>> administrator >>> principal >>> superintendent >>> school board. To learn more about improving parent-teacher communications, you can check out the resources below and read a copy of the transcript from this chat 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

Resources:

Starting the School Year on a Positive Note: Five Key Suggestions for Parents

Tips for Talking with Your Gifted Child’s Teacher

Communicating Effectively with Your Gifted Child’s School

Dear Teacher, My Gifted Child is in Your Class

How Do I Work with My Child’s School? (pdf)

Tips for Your Gifted Kid’s Parent-Teacher Conference

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Communicate with Teachers about Meeting Your Gifted Child’s Needs

Six Tips for Communicating with Your Gifted Child’s Teacher

50 Tips, Tricks and Ideas for Teaching Gifted Students

What Parents Should Expect for the Gifted Child: How to Make It Happen

Why School’s Not Fair to Gifted Kids

Sprite’s Site: The Meeting

Sprite’s Site: Advocacy

Cybraryman’s Parent Teacher Conferences and Communication Page

Cybraryman’s Parents and Teachers Page

Cybraryman’s Parents and Teachers Event Open House and Orientation Page 

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Taking a Closer Look at Mentorships

gtchat 07262018 Mentorships

 

Mentorships are an important part of gifted education for many gifted and talented students. They differ from internships or apprenticeships as these are vehicles that allow students to learn new skills and to investigate careers. Mentorships are relationships based on shared passions and values that are passed on to the student. It is more than a casual relationship.

Mentorships provide a student with someone who can encourage, inspire, and give insights by sharing time, talents and specific skills. Mentors, when properly matched, serve as role models. They can stimulate intellectual discovery, bring excitement to the learning process, and provide understanding of the student’s passions.

Intellectually and artistically gifted students can benefit when paired with masters in their fields such as artists, musicians, scientists, business professionals and scholars.  Multipotentiates specifically benefit from mentorships by honing in on a vision of their future self that is guided by a mentor with similar lived experiences in their areas of passion.  Well done mentorships provide depth and challenge to educational experiences for gifted students.

As with participation in any academic intervention, the gifted student should be an integral part in deciding if they want to have a mentor and will be a willing participant. Then, needs should be discussed. Special consideration should be given to availability, enthusiasm to mentor, expertise, and personal compatibility with the student when choosing a mentor. Mentorships should be monitored over time to ensure that the student is benefitting from the relationship and progress is being made towards initial expectations.

Resources available to locate mentors can be found in surprisingly simple places … local parent groups and schools or universities, local businesses, institutions supporting the arts, and  professional organizations. Locating mentors for gifted students can tap opportunities available within existing gifted programming such as educators and professionals in magnet schools, AP/IB programs, or governors’ schools.

Mentoring relationships can be differentiated by considering the specific needs of a student, where parties to the mentorship are located, expectations regarding ultimate goals to be achieved by mentoring, and time constraints. Mentorships can be classified as one-on-one relationships that revolve around in-person communication, online mentoring via electronic communication, or group mentoring that involve a mentor and multiple mentees.

If you are interested in learning more about mentorships, check out the resources below. A transcript of this chat can be found 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

Resources:

Mentor Relationships and Gifted Learners (1990)

Mentor Relationships How They Aid Creative Achievement (Torrance – Amazon 1984)

What is Mentoring?

How to Find a Mentor

Mentoring and Your Child: Developing a Successful Relationship (pdf)

Davidson Institute: Mentoring Guidebook (pdf; updated 2018)

Mentor: The National Mentoring Partnership

iMentor

The Mentor Group Inc.

Gifted Children and the Role of Mentors Blog Hop

Developing Mentorship Programs for Gifted Students (Practical Strategies Series in Gifted Education) (Amazon)

Finding Mentorship: Gifted Students Need Guidance, Too

Mentoring Gifted Children: It Takes a Village

Cybraryman’s Tutoring and Mentoring Page

Hoagies Gifted: Mentors for Gifted Students

NAGC: Peer Tutoring and Gifted Learners – Applying a Critical Thinking Lens

Sprite’s Site: Asking for Help – A Guest Expert Panel Q&A Session

Sprite’s Site: Purple Riding Boots

TX: Connecting Classrooms and Experts in New Braunfels and Comal County through our Guest Speaker Portal

Texas STEM Connections

Civil Air Patrol

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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