Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day Two...

Of my Gifted and Talented training...

Today we talked about planning lessons that gave kids complexity and depth...which I enjoyed. I think it is important that kids think this way.

Some things you can talk about with your kids. If you are discussing something, think about talking about the effects of that event over a span of time. Get them thinking about cause and effect. Another thing is to talk about the ethics of the situation. Does it benefit? Are their downsides? Along that line is perspective. Do all see it from the same angle?

Let me be concrete. We used the oil spill in the Gulf. Talking about it from these angles gives a lot more complex thought than simply the facts.

Look at patterns, trends. Look for the Big Ideas...for example, with the oil...see how other oil spills have occurred and how they were handled...big idea - Is this the best way for an energy source? Are there alternates? What will the ramifications be there?

Here's how I would apply that to books, even the most simple. Let's take Gerald and Piggie for example...

Cause and effect of characters' actions...patterns...character attributes and how that affects others...is their behavior acceptable? why or why not? what trends do you see in his books? How can we use that to predict? What is the overall idea or theme of the book and how does that connect to us? What can we learn?

All these things cause deeper understandings...not just retelling the story.

So, two days down, two to go...

Oh, but before I go...a great story. One of the students, one of the two males in the class, finally opened up today. He had been very quiet and reserved the first day, but today we were doing an activity which asked us to find commonalities in an article we read about cheetahs. I can explain that but...here's the short version. He started sharing how he related to the reading because he had been "shut down" in the classroom his whole life because he was Spanish speaking and his teachers had become impatient with how quickly he was responding in English. He talked passionately about how he had begun to feel dumb and decided just to "get by" -- which left a lot of gaps in his learning. He did say that his father, a scientist in Costa Rica, was extremely important in that he would spend time with him, simply talking about deeper level ideas and concepts. He closed his story by saying that it was thanks to a professor in college that he began to open up.

I pried (of course!). "Is that why you are becoming a teacher?" He replied yes, to which all heads in the room nodded and "ahh" was heard.

I kept going (of course!). "What did he do that made the difference?" I asked.

"He saw past my struggles and heard what I had to say. He told me I had great ideas and he wanted to help me. His positivity and reaching out made the difference."

Enough said.

So, as I always say, reading is an avenue to get to the hearts and minds of kids...it was the article on cheetahs that opened him up. I don't think we would ever have known so much about him had it not been for that story.

Have I made a point?????

No comments:

Post a Comment