Sunday, June 21, 2015

What's BREWING?

It's tough, particularly in the summer, to try to delineate the specifics of the gifted "program" in my district.  Much like the lesson plan templates offered, and the CMAP portals, gifted isn't as much about PROGRAM as it is about a PLAN.  This probably sounds like a linguistic splitting of hairs, but anyone with an identified gifted child knows that there is something unique and quirky about each one, implying that a PROGRAM could do little more than set up an additional set of hamster wheels in the obstacle course known as education.  

The reason gifted kids need gifted labels is not to access a secret society or program.  They need them so that trained professionals can work collaboratively with a team of other trained people, including the student and his or her parents, to design a PLAN that will meet the unique needs of that student.

That might sound like a textbook answer, but it is true.  There has to be flexibility, not only in the planning, but in the implementing of the plan.

There may be those who are frustrated to see a student set forth on a path to complete a self-designed goal, only to abandon that goal to start something else.  (Also known as, "Oh, look, a Squirrel! Syndrome.)  The question I've been asking myself a lot lately is whether we are allowing enough soak time for kids to reflect and see whether their passion is truly a passion, and whether a bit of guidance might help them find their way down a path to greatness.  After the last two years, I've decided that kids who abandon projects because they were not something desirable after a period of time, should be encouraged to do so.

Yes, my idea for the spine of a gifted "PROGRAM" is to encourage students' individuality and passion pursuit, by encouraging them to think, deeply, about abandoning projects instead of finishing them, if they've lost the passion.  The basis of gifted education should begin -- and end -- with student reflection.

It doesn't fit a model.  It's tough to write the curriculum.  It's very organic, and very confusing to anyone who has never actually reflected upon why something hasn't succeeded.  

Oh, and its permission-giving.

Stay tuned for the formatting, because it's finally starting to percolate to the surface!