Characteristics of Gifted Children

How many of you wondered about that student in your class?  Is he/she gifted?  How would you know?  When I was teaching grade 4, I found this list of characteristics helpful in deciding if I should nominate my students to be considered for the gifted program.  I printed this sheet out and inserted it in each student portfolio I had created and would observe to see if some of these characteristics were present.  Please note that this is not an all encompassing list and that not all of these characteristics need to be present.  I hope it helps you as it has helped me. Just click on the link below!

Characteristics of Gifted Children

The Daily 5, a complete Language Arts Program

The Daily 5 is a series of literacy tasks that a group of students complete daily while the teacher meets with small groups or confers with individuals. This book not only explains the philosophy behind the structure, but also shows us how to carefully and systematically train students to participate in each of the five components.  Explicit modeling, practice, reflecting and refining takes place during the launching phase, preparing the foundation for a year of meaningful content and instruction tailored to meet the unique needs of each child. “The Daily 5 is more than a management system or a curriculum framework – it is a structure that will help students develop the daily habits of reading, writing and working with peers that will lead to a lifetime of independent literacy.” (http://www.the2sisters.com/the_daily_5.html)

As the title expresses, it is a combination of five different tasks throughout the two-hour literacy block. Each essential task is a foundational element in literacy for the K-5 grade levels. This program allows for a change to the atmosphere in the classroom and the role for us teachers. It is a change from trying to manage students, from rushing around the room, from putting out fires, to creating routines and procedures that creates independent literacy behaviours to the point of becoming habits. Read to Self is the best way to become a better reader by practicing every day. Children are allowed to choose books that interest them at their appropriate reading level. During the implementation and training stages, children are taught how to select books at their correct reading level. Read to Someone allows for more time to practice reading strategies. This essential task helps students work on fluency, expression, to check for understanding, to hear their own voice, and to share with their partner. Work on Writing works the same way as reading, the only way students can be better writers is to write each day. Listen to Reading is a task that allows students to listen to examples of good literature and fluent reading. This task allows students to expand their vocabulary and become better readers. The last of the essential tasks is Spelling Word Work.This task allows for consistent practice in spelling which aids in fluent writing and the ability to quickly write thoughts down on paper. These tasks are to be done daily and students are given a half-hour within each task. They rotate between the tasks, but what the most important factor of this system is the choice that students have. Eventually, when all is implemented, students will have the ability to select which task they wish to start with and which one he/she goes to next (as long as all five tasks are done within the day). In order for this system to work smoothly there are six core foundations to make it successful. Trusting students is the first. This is not a blind trust but a method to build behaviors gradually through lessons and guided practice. Providing choice is the second core foundation. Choice is extremely motivating and allows the student to be in charge of his or her own learning. Third is a nurturing community. This foundation will create a sense of community thus providing members (the students) with ownership to hold others accountable for behaviors of effort, learning order and kindness. Next is the core foundation of creating a sense of urgency. This foundation will empower kids by allowing them the opportunity to understand why we teach a certain idea or concept. A purpose along with a choice will give the student the motivation to keep persevering and keep on task. The next very important core foundation is the building of stamina. This correlates to the constructivist theory. For the program to be successful, children must commence slowly, a minute at a time thus providing them with a teacher who will lay the foundation for success, support them, cheer them on, and help them succeed. Should this not be done, students will become frustrated and failure is imminent. Last but not least is that the teacher must stay out of the way. This is extremely important because the teacher must display trust and must allow students the opportunity to make their own decisions and monitor him or herself.

I feel that the concept of the Daily 5 is greatly beneficial as students are really capable and if we work with them, we can truly empower them to be active participants in their learning process. The task is a great one, and there is a lot of preparatory work. The Daily 5 does allow for more control overall, and it does dissuade behavioural issues within a classroom. The program fosters a comfortable environment where desks are the furthest requirements. A couch and lounge chairs are more appropriate. This is a complete detachment from the current state of classrooms. It is a fresh approach which requires a 2 hour block of literacy. The five essential tasks are an excellent foundation to literacy. I must stress that this is a complete change in mindset but a successful one. Some school boards have begun to adopt the Daily 5, providing teachers the support and the resources to implement the program. Should you choose to take on this system there are many websites that support your implementation. I hope you find the Daily 5 useful and the following websites to help you start.

http://www.the2sisters.com/

http://www.thedailycafe.com/

http://k-5literacyconnections.weebly.com/daily-5.html

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Keeping Parents in the Know!

Keeping Parents in the Know! Parent Communication Form! Freebie! www.teachingrocks.ca

 

How many times have you sent a graded test or assignment home in order to communicate with parents regarding the achievement of their son or daughter?  More often than not, that vital piece of information was never shown, and more than likely lost forever!  I find this very frustrating.  I haven’t been able to communicate with parents and at the same time have lost essential documentation for my student files and portfolios.  Instead, I use my notification form (attached below) to communicate with parents/guardians  of their child’s achievement.  Should this form be lost or never returned, you need not worry as you have the evidence on hand.  Enjoy and use as you please!

GIZMO (Not from Gremlins)

The first time I recall someone uttering the word “GIZMO” it was in reference to the cute little animal in the movie Gremlins.  But in most recent experiences teacher and student conversations about GIZMOs refers to technology based simulations found at www.explorelearning.com (a fantanstic resource for teachers).  These simulations can range from early learning to the high school level and primarily for mathematics and science related curriculum.  For the past 2 years, I have been incorporating GIZMOs within my instructional approach.  These simulations can be done independently, in groups and as a whole class.  Research has shown that utilizing technology based simulations can deepen understanding and improve student learning.  I find that my students are involved and active in their learning. They enjoy using them!   I truly enjoy using them, I hope you do too.

Giftedness: Do you have a student or a child who is or you think is gifted?

Two websites I refer to consistently in my endeavour to help our gifted students.

The Association of Bright Children in Ontario

 www.abcontario.ca

Yes it actually exists! Information and resources for teachers and parents who have or think they have a gifted child.  A truly comprehensive advocacy site where parents and teachers can learn about Ontario processes, curriculum, school boards and programs.  It also provides many links, such as camps, activities and enrichment programs. The website is for Ontario but it has many chapters across Canada.

Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted 

www.sengifted.org

A website that aids to inform gifted individuals, parents of the gifted, and their teachers about the unique social and emotional needs of gifted persons.  There are opportunities to become leaders in the community and school to develop this understanding within others.

Think Aloud Strategy

A lesson put together for the Primary Division

(Questioning, Predicting, Connecting, Inferring)

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Book: Puddleman

by Ted Staunton, Illustrated by Brenda Clark

Cover

I’m looking at the cover of this book and I wonder what it will be about? Maybe Puddleman is the child’s last name. Or maybe, the story is about playing in a sandbox. (Strategy: Prediction) When I look at the picture I think about the park that is close to my home and where all the children play. (Strategy: Connection) I wonder if this story takes place in a park. (Strategy: Prediction)

On the first 2 pages, the main character (Michael) is depicted in a yard of some sort with other children(including his younger brother) around him and he jumps into the sandbox which is wet and muddy.

A sandbox, I remember playing in those when I was young. (Connection) There was one in the park and I played with all of my friends. I wonder if Michael will get as dirty? (Question) Will he land in the sandbox or outside the sandbox? (Question) Everyone has surprised looks on their faces, where is his mom? (Question) I wonder if his brother will jump in with him. (Prediction)

Page 5&6 Michael got so deep into the sandbox, which is muddy, that he buried himself in it. The children cannot see him any longer, when something in the sandbox starts moving. The neighbor girls run, the neighbor lady faints and the little brother starts to cry.

Why are they so scared? (Question) What happened to Michael? (Question)

Maybe they can’t find Michael. (Inference) What does this Puddleman look like? (Question) Is he really that scary? (Question) Fainted? What does it mean to faint? Well the picture shows the neighbor on the ground, maybe it’s when you fall. (Visualize, Infer)

Pg 11 & 12 Puddleman (Michael) gets hungry but when he goes to his mom, he is told that Peanut Butter sandwiches are for boys and girls. Puddleman looks like a muddy monster and they do not eat anything but mud pies. Michael’s mom shuts the door and tells Puddleman to tell Michael that his sandwich is ready.

What does this Puddleman look like? (Question) Well from the pictures, there is a lot of mud on him. (Visualize, Connection) Who do I think Puddleman is? (Question) Why isn’t Michael’s mom looking for Michael? (Question) Its lunchtime, I think Michael will be very hungry. (Infer) I wonder where he has been, and what he will think of Puddleman. (Connection) I wonder if he will be scared like the others. (Prediction)

After reading the story and doing the Think Aloud with my students. I will make the following comments:

The Puddleman got caught in the rain, and after I looked at the picture Puddleman started losing his mud, and it sort of looks like a boy underneath. From looking at the clothes in the picture, I recall that those were Michael’s clothes.(Evaluation) I think that the Puddleman got his peanut butter sandwich. I think he really was Michael with a lot of mud on him. (Evaluation)

 

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