Category Archives: #gtbloghop

Finishing Strong and Excited About it

It seems to me the last third of the school year can go so slow. Students are feelings the effects of Spring Break, and looking forward to summer vacation. Teachers are stressed to make sure the curriculum gets covered before the state exams.


There are a few things I do to get out of the funk, and finish the school year strong.

1.  Short Fun Activities: I like to add some short activities every so often just to break up the monotony of the classroom. Sometimes I will do a short little game where students have to move around. Sometimes I do a trivia games where students have to complete tasks to answer the questions. Generally these last about 10-15 minutes.

2.   Genius Hour: This year I am adding in Genius Hour. This is giving the students a little bit of time to work on something they are interested in. This is a great concept.

3. Change Scenery: When the weather is nice take your class out side, or teach your class down in the library. Sometimes just changing where you teach can help with rejuvenating your class. Now, I don’t do this too often. I do it when I know that my students will appreciate it.

4. Guest Speakers: Guest Speakers are awesome. When it presents itself, bring in a guest speaker. Having a someone from the community come in and speak to your students about a topic you are covering. The expereience can be great. Especially, when they are the role-playing a famous person, like a president or a Civil War solider

5. Mystery Skype/Google Hangout: Sometimes surprising your students with a Mystery Skype or Google Hangout can be so much fun. You need to make sure you practice how to conduct one of these before you surprise your students. But, having  students get the chance to talk about the same topics with another class or expert can be an awesome experience.

6. Music: I have a colleague who uses music in their class. They create songs with some of the topics they are studying. Here is a YouTube channel that incorporates music and history.  Doing some parodies of songs with your content created and performed by your students can be so much fun.

These are just a few things that I have done and do to help rejuvenate my students and myself for the end of the year. What do you do? What has worked? What hasn’t worked?


Being a Blowhorn

My students tell me I talk to much. That’s fine. I love to teach. I love connecting with students, and getting to know them. I do this, because I want to know them. I have several of them on my Instagram and Twitter. Several of them follow our Classroom Facebook page. I believe that knowing students in and out of the classroom is important. I learn a lot about them from their Instagram, and what they talk about on twitter. The other aspect of that is they get to know me in and out of the classroom.

Many ask why I focus on making meaningful connections with my students. The answer to that is easy. Its easier to stand up and be a voice, a blow horn, or an advocate when you are invested in someone. If you are invested, then those you stand up for are more than numbers or blank faces they are close people. They are connected to you. You feel obligated to do your best for them. That’s how I feel about my students. They are my children.

Being an advocate is like being a blow horn. You are trying to get noticed, to give instruction, or give warnings. I call my self a blow horn. When you are a blow horn, you are rallying to troops around. In my case, I am trying to make sure that my students are getting what they need in their regular classes, and parents are getting information that will beefit their children. I am making sure parents and students  have someone they can talk to when they want to have some experiences like summer camps, internships, or starting a parent group. They can count on me to help them as much as I can.

Being an advocate isn’t always easy. You have to be tactful, calculating, and sometimes cunning. Sometimes I hear my students complaining about a situation in a class they are in, and they are bored, under-challenged, or not engaged. I will try to meet that teacher, and suggest things to do with my students. It has to be done it tactfully. No teacher wants to be told they aren’t meeting the needs of their students. So informing others that their gifted students need to be pushed and stretched has to be done in a way that helps the teacher and students.

What I love about being an advocate is the fact that I get to share my passion, knowledge, and experience about and for gifted children. I try to be an open door for my colleagues to come in and talk about what I can do to help them, or to collaborate with them. I can I share my point of view. I don’t always get to meet with other teachers because of my teaching schedule, but when I do they will hear my views.

Advocacy takes several shapes. They don’t always have to be direct connection between students and teacher. Sometimes it with the public. Advocating is like a form of persuasion. You have to influence someone to get what you need. Sometimes advocacy is writing letters to the editor of your paper, or testifying in a state committee hearing, or going on a local morning show to plead your case.

Advocacy is also helping. Forming parent groups though SENG, or at your local school is one way that parents and schools can work together for the betterment of gifted students. Letting parents know what the gifted program is like, and why it exists is important. It also a good way for parents to find out what their school is offering gifted students like early college classes in high school, to post secondary education options from the local high school. It’s always good to have parents, teachers, and administrators making the suggestions for rules about acceleration of students for whole grade or subject.

Finally, advocacy is being informed. Letting parents, teachers, and administrators about some of the resources on the internet, classes or seminars / webinars, or blogs,books and magazines is an important aspect of advocacy. Parents and GISs need to stay aware of what is going on in the area of Gifted Education so they can share it with others and with administrators.  Joining a gifted association like Ohio Association for Gifted Children, or your state Gifted Association is a great place to start. You could also join the National Association for Gifted Children as well to see what is going on nationally in Gifted Education. Joining a tweetchat on twitter or a gifted related Facebook page, or following several bloggers who write about gifted issues is a great place to start collecting resources to be an informed advocate.

How are you being an advocate for your gifted children? What have you done that has worked? What have you done that didn’t work? PLease share your experiences in the comment section below, or better yet, join the #gtbloghop and post your blog on Twitter using the #gtbloghop hashtag.


A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships

There is an old  saying “a rising tide lifts all ships.” I heard that saying a long time ago, but it didn’t really hit me until this month. As many of you know, or may not know, I am trying to get Gifted Blog Hop off the ground (#gtbloghop). I love to blog, when I get the chance, and when I feel I have something to say that I think is worthwhile for someone to read. My passion is to be the best Gifted Intervention Specialist (GIS) that I can be. Part of that passion is being an advocate for my gifted students, and for making awareness of the issues of Gifted Education in the ears of those who either have gifted children, teach gifted students, or have a desire to teach gifted children.

The point of #gtbloghop is to lift the awareness of not only gifted issues, but also to lift up those who are in the trenches of Gifted Education. You may be just like me, in the fact that as an educator you want the best for your students. You want those around you to have an understanding of what your passion is. That’s the point of #gtbloghop. To bring together the posts about Gifted Education from those in and around Gifted Education. Each sharing their points of view on the issues and trends of Gifted Education.

If you want to be part of the tide that raises everyone up, then I am encouraging you to take part in #gtblohop. Gifted blog hopping is going to make a big difference. It can help spread information on those issues and aspects of Gifted Education that may not be so well-known outside the Gifted Education circles.

Click to know more about #gtbloghop.