Blog Archives

Extending Student Voice to Gifted Students

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Accepting input from students concerning their education has become an important part of moving education forward today. Student voice isn’t necessarily spontaneous, and may need to be nurtured in students. It can be nurtured by creating positive student-teacher relationships. Student voice ‘doesn’t need adults to agree with it, incite it, define it, or appreciate it’. (Soundout.org) Student voice acknowledges and values what students are saying. It can empower students to become engaged in their learning and life.

“Student voice is empowering students to take charge of their education. It is powerful self-reflection. It motivates learning.” ~ CW Gifted Teacher

The role played by ‘respect’ when implementing student voice can’t be underestimated. When teachers listen to students, they show that what the student says is important; it shows respect. Respect is, however, a two-way street and student voice encourages all parties to listen and to value each other.

“Students need to know that what they have to say doesn’t need to be moderated or edited. Acknowledge their voice and respect by letting it go out into the wild without moderating or criticizing.” ~ Kimberley Moran, Education Writer and GT Teacher

In what way can student voice be promoted and improved in the classroom and schools? It can be promoted by taking time to welcome feedback through surveys and  by allowing students a say in classroom routines which can encourage them to provide their voice in class. Schools can improve the richness of student voice by actively responding to student concerns and suggestions.

Each student is unique and their ability, once identified, can play a significant role in how they express themselves. Higher-order thinking and deeper understanding of their environment can enhance a gifted student’s voice.

Yet, the question remains; how much voice should gifted students have in their educational options? Gifted students often have more options to consider and their voice plays an implicit and necessary role. It may not be about how much, but rather enough voice that they understand their investment in the process.

Student voice is a valuable concept in education today and must be acknowledged by teachers and administrators. It can reap rewards both in the classroom and for the student’s personal development. 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 Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 14.00 NZST/12.00 AEST/1.00 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 & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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:

Sound Out

Activating Student Voice Empowers Learning (pdf)

Student-Centered Learning with a Learning Platform (pdf)

School Voice Report 2016 (pdf)

Successful Education Requires a Stronger Student Voice

Three Ways Student Voice Can Elevate Motivation and Engagement

Motivation, Engagement & Student Voice (pdf)

Motivation, Engagement & Student Voice Toolkit (pdf)

A Model for Student Voice

How to Use Student Voice to Improve Engagement

Student Engagement and Vision

Student Gets ‘Seat at the Table’ on School’s Decision-Making Council 

Do You Know Me? The Voice of a Disgruntled Student in a Boring Class

Student Voice: Inspiring and Empowering Students to Take Charge of their Education 

Cybraryman’s Student Voice Page

Cybraryman’s What Students Want Page

Photo courtesy of Pixabay   CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

New Year, New Resolve

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The first chat of 2017 saw many familiar faces from across the U.S. and the globe! It was exciting to see many participants who had not been able to join us in recent months and their presence is always appreciated. All participants shared ways in which they would resolve to serve and advocate for gifted children in the new year. You may review a transcript of the chat at Storify and take a moment to check out the links from the chat below.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 14.00 NZST/12.00 AEST/1.00 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 & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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:

New Year’s Resolutions for Parents of Gifted Kids via @Giftedkidsguide

New Year’s Activities for Gifted Kids and Their Families

4 Year Old Explains the Problem with New Year Resolutions (YouTube 1:55)

I Will Treasure You: Resolutions for My Gifted Child

2016 Year in Review and Predictions for 2017

Gifted Advocacy: A Call to Action

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep

Your New Year’s Resolution: Make a Plan!

7 Smart New Year’s Resolutions for Students

Now That’s a Good Question! How to Promote Cognitive Rigor Through Classroom Questioning

Sprite’s Site: The Dabrowski Dogs Make New Year Resolutions

Plymouth Gifted: Words to Ponder

World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC) 22nd Biennial World Conference in Sydney, Australia

Gifted Family Travel

Educators: The Lessons We Learned in 2016

The G Word: A New Documentary about Giftedness

Photo courtesy of PixabayCC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Parents and Teachers: Finding Common Ground

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This week, we were joined at #gtchat by 3 educators of gifted children; Angie French, Heather Cachat, and Jeff Shoemaker. Angie is a GT Specialist for K-4 in Houston, Texas. Heather is a Gifted Intervention Specialist for 5/6 in Ohio and a SENG Model Parent Group Facilitator. Jeff is a Gifted Intervention Specialist for grades 5-8 in Lima, Ohio and OAGC Teacher Division Chair Elect. Heather and Jeff are Co-Moderators of #ohiogtchat on Sundays.

It’s no secret that parent-teacher relationships can often be strained; but even more so with parents of gifted children. As students begin to return to school, we took a look at ways to improve the relationship in a non-confrontational setting exploring ways to help all parties to work together for their children and students.

It was pointed out by the moderator that most teachers do not have a strong knowledge-base on which to draw about needs of gifted children. However, parents often don’t realize the restrictions and responsibilities placed on teachers today by their school administrations. This lack of knowledge can lead to misunderstandings. In addition, Jeff commented about the reluctance of teachers to acknowledge that parents usually know their child best. Friction can also be the result of competing goals and different perspectives of what is best for the child.

There are strategies which teachers can use to increase positive engagement with parents. Teachers need to renew their communication toolboxes each new school year; not rely on antiquated tools. They can seek out professional development regarding gifted education not provided at the undergraduate level. Heather suggested that teachers, “Validate their concerns. Parents need to know that teachers sincerely take them seriously.” Corin Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, said, “Listening. Putting aside assumptions. Not dismissing parents – especially moms – like they’re all crazies or helicopter parents.Work on problem solving *together* as allies instead of antagonists.”

Parents can also work to forge a productive relationship with their child’s teacher. Heather told us, “Acknowledge the work teachers are doing with your child. Don’t talk yourself out of reaching out to your child’s teacher.” Jeremy Bond, a parent in CT, said, “Establish from the outset how you want to communicate and what you hope to learn about their classroom.” It can be beneficial to provide teachers with an information portfolio of the child’s behaviors (academic/social/emotional) outside of school.

The parent-teacher relationship can affect student achievement. Kids, especially gifted kids, are highly cognizant of parent-teacher relationships. Adults need to be aware of emotional repercussions that may result due to their actions and work to prevent any negative reactions. Mutual respect by all parties can enhance and propel student achievement.

Can technology bridge the parent-teacher communication gap? New technologies can only help when everyone understands how to use the tools available. Not every new piece of technology is right in every situation. Be aware of cultural concerns and the availability of whatever tech is chosen. (See ‘suggestions’ in the links below.)

Clearly, good parent-teacher relationships will have a positive effect on a child’s educational experience. All parties must be committed to continually improving this relationship. When a parent or teacher does not believe this is occurring, they should take steps to seek assistance. This may include working with school administrators, counselors, or outside advocates. The most important thing is to keep the best interests of the student in the forefront of all discussions. 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 Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 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 & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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:

Parent-Teacher Conference Worksheet (download)

What Can Be Done To Improve Parent-Teacher Communication?

New Teachers: Working With Parents

Gifted 101 for Teachers New to Gifted Students

Parent Workshop: Productive Partnerships with your Child’s Teacher (YouTube 31:00)

Parent Workshop: Productive Partnerships with your Child’s Teacher (Handout – pdf)

Why Don’t Teachers and Parents See Eye to Eye about Gifted Children?

5 Strategies for Building Effective Parent-Teacher Partnerships … From a Parent’s Perspective

Six Tips for Communicating with Your Gifted Child’s Teacher

Back to School Blues: Why Gifted Teens Dread Returning to School

How Parents & Teachers Can Work Together For Powerful Learning OutcomesHow Parents & Teachers Can Work Together For Powerful Learning Outcomes

5 Keys to Forging Strong Parent Engagement

Districts Work to Bolster Parent Involvement

Harvard Family Research Proj: Parent–Teacher Conf Tip Sheets for Principals, Teachers & Parents (pdf)

How to Turn Parents into Partners

It’s Time to Revamp Parent-Teacher Conference: Include the Child! (pdf)

Talking Points: Talking with Teachers about Your Gifted Child (pdf)

Choosing a Parent-Teacher Communication App

Gifted Son Being Punished by Teacher

Influence of Student–Teacher and Parent–Teacher Relationships on Lower Achieving Readers’ Engagement and Achievement in the Primary Grades

Periscope: 5 Tips for Working with Parents with Lisa Dabbs

Cybraryman’s Parents and Teachers Page

Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn’t Fit Your Atypical Child (Perspectives in Gifted Homeschooling) (Amazon)

Overcoming the Barriers to Effective Teacher-Parent Partnership (audio 11:07)

Overcoming the Biggest Barriers to Effective Parent Teacher Relationships

9 Tips for Successful Parent-Teacher Communication in the Digital Age

Communication Apps (availability; not recommendations):

Remind App

ClassDojo

Periscope

Canvas

Bloomz

Class Messenger

Picture courtesy of Pixabay.   CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Strategies for Teaching Critical Thinking

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“Critical thinking is not to be devoured in a single sitting nor yet at two or three workshops. It is a powerful concept to be savored and reflected upon. It is an idea to live and grow with. It focuses upon that part of our minds that enables us to think things through, to learn from experience, to acquire and retain knowledge.” ~ Paul Hurd, State of Critical Thinking Today

Research indicates that having a standard definition of critical thinking can enhance its teaching. (Choy/Cheah 2009) According to Hurd (2004), “Critical thinking is the art of thinking about thinking with a view to improving it. Critical thinkers seek to improve thinking, in three interrelated phases. They analyze thinking. They assess thinking. And they up-grade thinking (as a result).”

“Critical thinking is the ability to conceptualise, analyse, synthesize, evaluate information and challenge assumptions.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources 

In light of the importance of teaching critical thinking, we turned out attention to discussing whether or not teachers are being prepared at the undergraduate level or subsequently during professional development opportunities to do so. Most were in agreement that not only are teachers not prepared, but their time is preoccupied with test prep. Also, they lack incentive to promote thinking which doesn’t support support standardized testing and is difficult to assess. Only one teacher at this chat reported working in a district that actively supports and expects the teaching of critical thinking.

What strategies work best for teaching critical thinking? Educators need to act as facilitators of discussions that may not result in ‘right’ answers. One strategy involves writing essays based on prompts that adhere to Bloom’s Taxonomy of  Higher Order Thinking. (Smith/Szymanski 2013). Another is to have students create a wiki about subject they’re studying or analyze existing wikis; enhance tech skills. (Snodgrass 2011) Other strategies offered included teaching students questioning techniques, problem-based learning, identify the ‘big’ ideas, and stepping back to listening to student-voice. For more ideas, see links below.

Assessing critical thinking skills can be difficult, but it can be done. Assessment of critical thinking instruction can include course evaluation; analyze students’ understanding of critical thinking Teachers can assess whether students can reason between conflicting viewpoints. Educators should continually provide valuable feedback to students before considering assessment. One school mentioned during chat experimented with newspaper blackout poems, and analyzed each article for bias to practice critical thinking here.

“Critical thinkers know how to ask the RIGHT questions.” ~ Stacy Hughes, a Texas teacher

What are some intellectual traits of a critical thinker? Critical thinkers have ability to realize personal limitations; recognize personal bias; willing to work through complexities. They are willing to change when faced with evidence contrary to their own beliefs.

“Whether enrolled in preschool, elementary, middle, or high school, the integration of critical thinking skills into the daily content and lessons is essential for achieving …(Tomlinson, 2003). This infusion, along with also taking into account student interest, readiness, and learning styles, provides the foundation and walls for raising the ceiling of students’ scholastic growth and intellectual stimulation.” ~ McCollister and Sayler in Lift the Ceiling

The benefits of learning how to think critically can extend throughout a student’s life. During their school years, in-depth focus on enhancing critical thinking increases rigor & standardized test scores (Van- Tassel Baska, et al. 2009). By tracking patterns in information – seeing info as a process; students develop skills of recognition and prediction. Students who can think deeply, make relevant connections and reasoned decisions; value and respect ideas of others. They can think independently; consider multiple perspectives; go beyond surface learning. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

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Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 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 & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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:

Teaching Gifted Kids to Explain Their Thinking 

When Kids Have Structure for Thinking, Better Learning Emerges

Preparing Leaders for Deeper Learning

Assessing Deeper Learning: A Survey of Performance Assessment and Mastery-Tracking Tools (pdf)

6 Entry Points for Deeper Learning

10 Great Critical Thinking Activities That Engage Your Students

Tech That Spurs Critical Thinking l

Applied Disciplines: A Critical Thinking Model for Engineering

The State of Critical Thinking Today: The Need for a Substantive Concept of Critical Thinking (pdf)

Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life (Amazon)

The Question Game: A Playful Way To Teach Critical Thinking

6 Rules to Break for Better, Deeper-Learning Outcomes

How Do We Raise Critical Thinkers? (Infographic)

The Importance of Teaching Critical Thinking

Lift the Ceiling: Increase Rigor with Critical Thinking Skills (pdf)

Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools (pdf)

Intellectual Growth, School, and Thriving of the Gifted (pdf) in TEMPO Page 9

Infusing Teaching of Critical & Creative Thinking into Content Instruction for Elem Grades (Amazon)

Teaching Critical Thinking in Age of Digital Credulity 

Critical Thinking Pathways

What It Means To Think Critically

Using a Question Building Chart to Provoke Student Thought

Sprite’s Site: Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking Testing and Assessment

Cybraryman’s Critical Thinking Page

Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners (Amazon)

Defining Critical Thinking

Orientation Lecture Series: Learning to Learn Developing Critical Thinking Skills (pdf)

How to Foster Critical and Creative Thinking

Photo courtesy of Pixabay. CC0 Public Domain  Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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