Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Shoes, and Lights, and Ceiling (?) Wax?

Tetrahedrons are fascinating.  Especially when you create 3D models and then dip them in bubble solution, creating a fourth, interior, dimension.  This fascinates me as a fifty-three year old, so imagine the fascination and excitement if you are a five year old.

Today I worked with the youngest kid on my caseload.  Although he lacks the physical strength to complete the "click" necessary to connect the "Zome" pieces (see picture above), he has the innate ability to visualize and assemble these complicated models and predict how bubble solution will react when applied to the structure.  After finishing the models described in the booklet, we created the renegade structure above - "just because we could make it work."

Teaching the gifted is an amazing thing.  Sometimes the lesson plans are right out the window as we explore something so far beyond what the original expectations were that there was no predicting where we'd go.  

I love when that happens.  Because it means that the learning is relevant to the kids, and enriching their understanding.

Gifted and Talented - A World of its Own.

People assume, when I tell them what I teach, that every day is like Jeopardy! or The Big Bang Theory in my classroom.  While there are certain common elements, the assumptions created based upon television portrayal of gifted kids are not universally accurate.  One of the most frustrating things for me as a teacher of the gifted is having to rationalize to a content teacher WHY some under-performing student could possibly be gifted.

The reality is that not all kids labelled as gifted are gifted in everything.  Oh, and some of them are sooo gifted that common tasks like turning off lights, or remembering to put on matching shoes, are beyond comprehension because their minds are elsewhere, and they are racing to catch up.

My job is to identify and design instruction to enrich the education of these kiddos, and make the time they spend in school relevant.  If, somehow during that enrichment they learn about light switches or shoe-matching, all the better.  But I never really know where their heads (or my lessons) will go.

Today I received an email.  "You're a Winner!" was the subject line.  I half expected Ed McMahon to arrive with a large check.  This was not the case.

I (along with Mr. Ebersole, the AP Biology teacher) was voted "Most Likely to Be on Jeopardy!"
I really have them fooled, I guess.  But tomorrow, at 7:30 am, there will be a picture taken for the yearbook proclaiming this superlative. 

Go ahead, you know you're thinking it.  I'm living in a world of my own as well.