I was talking to a few teachers this week, and the conversation of classroom climate and management came up. So from that conversation I came up with ten take-a-ways that gifted teachers should consider.
- Teachers set the climate of the classroom. Teachers set up the goals, expectations, and we challenge the students to meet and exceed those challenges.
- Form relationships with your students. Make time in your daily routine to have a short class meeting. In that meeting allow students to talk, share, and express themselves with you and others.
- Know your students. When pairing students together know who is an extrovert and an introvert. Do some learning inventories and pair students that way.
- Let students take ownership of projects. Give your students some leeway to put their personality stamp on projects that you do in your classroom.
- Listen to your students. Many students have passions they want to explore. Give time in your weekly schedule to allow students to explore these topics. Give them the opportunity and materials they need to effectively explore their passions.
- Create a classroom library. This goes along with number 5, but as you are listening to your students see what interests them in their reading. Get those books for your classroom library. If students like books along the lines of Harry Potter then try to get those books for your classroom. If you see that some students are interested in paleontology then get books on dinosaurs and such. The better stacked your library is the more opportunities you give your students to explore new and exciting topics.
- Climate of creativity. Allow your students to be creative. Do projects that multiple answers. Incorporate into your classroom passion projects or project based learning projects. By doing these you are giving your students some real world learning.
- Incorporate technology and social media. Just about every student has some experience with technology.Use that as often as it is appropriate. Along with that use social media (age appropriate as well) in your lessons. Allow students to use Twitter or Facebook to post thoughts, videos, and links to assignments.
- Co-Teach with regular education teachers. Sometimes it is good to go into the regular classroom to see how your students perform. Work with as many regular education teachers to help deepen the content for your students and for regular education students.
- Differentiate your curriculum. Even though all of your students are gifted, you still need to differentiate your instruction.
Did I miss anything that you feel I should add to this list? If you let me know in the comment section below.
Creativity is an important element for the Gifted Classroom.
I enjoy is giving students a task or project, and letting them go on to do what they want with it. I feel that it is important to let students be creative.
I feel that gifted students need to have the freedom to use their own ideas, designs, and interests in the projects that I give them. I do a lot of Project Based Learning projects. I like the real world aspect of this type of learning. So, in the spirit of real world learning, I don’t necessarily have a one correct answer. I do use a rubric to grade their work, but I don’t expect every student or groups of students to have the same answer to a project.
It has taken me a while to get students to trust me that there is no one correct answer to a project. I don’t guide them to what I think they should do in a project. Instead, I ask a lot of questions. I guide them by questions, or by challenging their thinking.
Here are a few other ways I have built creativity in my classroom.
- Be a facilitator: I try to guide my students when needed. I ask a lot of questions, and only give suggestions when they ask. I get out of the way.
- Know when to step in: I try not to rush to help a student too quickly. I let them struggle a bit. I feel that through the struggle they will gain more than knowlegde. They will gain perserverance.
- Value students thinking processes: every student thinks differently. I often times will have my students take the Right Brain Left Brain test to see how they think. Each student has a mode of thinking they prefer to use. I try to embrace that. It a student thinks better on their feet walking around I try to commodate. If a student thinks better listening to music (with head phones on), or they are verbal thinkers, then I try to embrace it without compromising other students thinking processes. When students pair up for a project, sometimes they want to work with their friends. Sometimes they work with students who think like them.
- Be clear / Be upfront: I give my students clear guidelines of what I expect from them. I give them a rubric that everything outlined for them except the answer. I am upfront with them that there is not a singular right answer, but multiple. They need to find the one that works the best meeting the criteria I give them.
- Know your students: Try to sit down with each group or individual students and have them walk through their project. Get to know how they learn, think, and what their interests are. When students know you are invested in them, they will begin to trust you. When they begin to trust you also begin to trust. Trust can go along way.
I know there are probably many other ways you may be fostering creativity in your classroom. I would love to hear about them in the comments section below.
This week I am working on taking out some stumps of shrubs I took out last week. I have to clear them out so my wife can have her herb garden there. Its hard work. I have to dig deep to get those roots.
While I was digging yesterday on the first stump of three that I have to remove I began to think about curriculum. Since I am in a pullout program I have to make my own curriculum. The units and lessons that I create must be hard and must have depth and complexity. I know my gifted students. Most of them want something that is challenging and is worthwhile. They don’t just want more work or work that is redundant that has no meaning. They want to learn something that is real and can be used in the real world. Which is something that I have been working on adding to my units. I want them to have the opportunity to contact experts in the community to get information for thier projects. I am adding in more real world problems and issues in the units I am rewriting or creating new. Finally I am adding in choice of projects and the projects they have the choice of have multiple solutions and multiple pathways to get to a solution. Just like in the real world.
For the past few weeks I have been pouring over the Common Core standards using some of the suggestions of resources and trying to find my resources to help augment my lessons. I think the Common Core standards are a start but I don’t think they are the end all be all.
If you create your own curriculum, what are you doing to add depth and complexity to your lessons and units?