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Primary inquiry


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Primary inquiry

  1. 1. Primary Education Professor Judi Denison Thinking outside the toybox Christine Hanna How can we incorporate a more play based learning style outside the kindergarten classroom?
  2. 2. To Learn and Grow Venosdale, Krissy. (2013). To Learn and Grow. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from Gifted learners are not test scores. They are not perfect. They are not easier to teach. They are kids. With different learning needs. Who will give up if they are not challenged. Who rarely get a place in educational laws. Who sometimes give up and drop out of school. Who are waiting for change. Who now sit hoping, wishing, to learn. To grow. To think. To climb out of the box. To change the world. To get something different. Not because they are privileged, elite, or want “better.” But because they want the one thing that every kid, in every school, in the world deserves. To learn and grow. By: Krissy Venosdale
  3. 3. Background Readings Laura Ritacca & Uzoma Onuoha
  4. 4. Knobel, R., & Shaughnessey, M. (2002). Reflecting on a Conversation With Joe Renzulli: About Giftedness and Gifted Education. Gifted Education International, 16, 118-126. Retrieved July 12, 2014 from Reading #1 (1 of 3) Reflecting on a Conversation with Joe Renzulli: About Giftedness and Gifted Education Laura Ritacca Authors Ron Knobel and Michael Shaughnessy asked Professor Joe Renzulli, a lead researcher in the field of gifted identification and assessment, a series of questions and recorded their reflective conversation with him. Renzulli defines giftedness as the sum of each part in his three-ring conception of giftedness: above average ability, task commitment, and creativity. The following are Renzulli’s thoughts on the state of gifted education based on his research and expertise. Issues surrounding current education for gifted students: • lack of: - governmental commitments like financial support; - high quality teacher training and leadership training programs; - strong leadership at state and provincial education ministry levels; - strong research foundation to base identification and programming practices; and - trained practitioners to deliver good product in schools and classrooms. • “differentiation” in the classroom whereby gifted students are given more work and assignments that take on traditional models of learning and doesn’t promote higher thinking.
  5. 5. Reading #1 (2 of 3) Reflecting on a Conversation with Joe Renzulli: About Giftedness and Gifted Education Laura Ritacca What is needed to improve gifted education (at a national level and in the classroom): • internship component for educators with successful teachers of gifted students; • getting better information about programs to the public and policy makers; • specialized personnel and differentiated learning models based on research; • people who are involved full-time in gifted education (ideally Renzulli would like to see a full-time gifted education specialist in every school); • finding better ways to include underrepresented groups in special programs (female students, students form racial and ethnic minorities, and students who learn differently); • quality mentoring programs whereby young people work side-by-side in their area of interest with specialists in that field who want to work with young children/youth; and • teachers need to guard against prescriptive education (test-prep and strict curriculum guidelines) and find a balance between knowledge acquisition and creative productivity.
  6. 6. Reading #1 (3 of 3) Reflecting on a Conversation with Joe Renzulli: About Giftedness and Gifted Education Two quotes that summarize the social obligation educators of gifted students have: 1. “We need to be able to learn more about why young people with great test scores, wonderful grade point averages, and the best advantages don’t go out and do the kinds of things that result in contributions to social improvement. And we need to learn how young people can balance the pursuit of material and intellectual capital with a concern for contributions to social capital – the kinds of things we do to improve society in general rather than focusing on material gain ego enhancement, rampant consumerism, and devastation of the Earth’s resources. To me, this would be the most noble goal and contribution of gifted education” (Renzulli, 2002). 2. “I view all our work in this field as a war against the forces of mediocrity, conformity, and the societal institutions that knowingly or unknowingly contribute to the suppression of creativity, social justice, and the liberation of the human mind and spirit. I view myself as a soldier in this war, and there are still many battles to be fought before we achieve the equity that gifted youngsters need and deserve” (Renzulli, 2002). _________________________________________________________________________________________________ _ Other researchers mentioned in the article and what they are working on: Bob Sternberg: his theory of intelligence and how it applies to young people from diverse backgrounds Carolyn Callahan: the impact of various programmatic approaches to improve performance in diverse gifted populations Sally Reis: what does or does not contribute to the success of minority students in reading and how can we help them become more successful readers Laura Ritacca
  7. 7. Reading #2 (1 of 3) Gifted Students Need an Education, Too Winebrenner, S. (2000). Gifted Students Need an Education, Too. How to Differentiate Instruction, 58 (1), 52-56. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from GiftedStudentsEducation.pdf Laura Ritacca Susan Winebrenner argues that the needs of gifted students are often overlooked or neglected. Since gifted students tend to achieve high scores on assessments, there is the false assumption that they are learning. There is also the misconception that a gifted student is one who is highly productive, always completes their work on time, consistently achieve high grades, and will be successful without much help. These assumptions are a source of frustration for gifted students, their parents, and teachers alike. Susan defines the needs and characteristics of gifted students as follows: • Ability to learn new material in less time; • Tend to remember what they have learned; • Perceive ideas and concepts at more abstract and complex levels than peers; and •Become passionately interested in specific topics and have difficulty moving on to other learning tasks until they are satisfied with their level of expertise.
  8. 8. Laura Ritacca Reading #2 (2 of 3) Gifted Students Need an Education, Too Ways teachers can provide differentiation for gifted students: One way teachers can provide differentiation for gifted students is to compact the curriculum. Students can be pre-assessed for a learning activity (one that would normally be given at the end of the unit). Those who demonstrate previous mastery are then given meaningful extensions and can develop alternative projects and activities during the course of the unit. Winebrenner suggests teachers design alternative learning experiences providing differentiation in terms of: • Content (should go beyond grade-level and be connected to students’ interest); • Learning processes (as they should provide depth and complexity); • Products (will reflect and demonstrate the students’ learning at advanced levels); • Learning environment (student may pursue interests outside the class, work independently, or collaborate with other students); and •Assessment Process.
  9. 9. Laura Ritacca Reading #2 (3 of 3) Gifted Students Need an Education, Too Ones sense of confidence comes from being successful at a perceived difficult task. When gifted students are not given demanding learning experiences, they may lose confidence in their ability to perform on challenging tasks when the opportunity arises. Winebrenner believes that for gifted students, consistent and daily opportunity for challenging learning experiences is their equal right to an appropriate education.
  10. 10. Uzoma Onuoha Reading #3 ( 1 of 2) Teaching the Gifted Bauer, G. (2012). Teaching the Gifted. Professionally Speaking. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from According to Mary Slade “The only thing that gifted students have in common is a superior ability to grasp concepts and make connections” (Bauer, 2012). A class full of gifted students are as different as any group of students put together. The lack of funds in the educational system raises the question of whether or not there is a need for gifted programming. According to Mary Slade if these students are not given the proper guidance and resources to succeed the chances of engaging them to their full potential is unlikely. In a recent survey conducted by the Peel DSB, only 56 per cent of gifted elementary school children felt that special programming matched their academic needs. Parents echoed their children’s sentiments, with 57 per cent agreeing that programming met their kids’ needs.
  11. 11. Uzoma Onuoha Reading #3 ( 2 of 2) Teaching the Gifted A list of proven approaches to best teach gifted students include:* - Acceleration - Withdrawal programs and congregated classes - Compacting - The Delivery - Ability Grouping - Troubleshooting - Enrichment - The Social Network * If you have any questions about any one of these approaches, please do not hesitate to ask us in the discussion board. Thanks - Uzoma and Barbara.
  12. 12. Uzoma Onuoha Reading #4 Gifted, Creative, and Talented Mastropieri, M., & Scruggs, T. (2010). Gifted, Creative, and Talented. The Inclusive Classroom: Strategies for Effective Instruction, 102-105. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from Children and youth with superior abilities ranging from intellectual to leadership qualities need to be given the opportunity to succeed. Services that strengthen the success of this group of youth/children often include services/activities not typically provided in schools. The umbrella of gifted can be further divided into a) intellectually gifted b) creative and talented c) hidden gifted, creative and talented. Many reports indicate that 3% to 5% of the population is gifted and talented (Hallahan & Kauffman, 2003). Some of the approaches for scouting gifted/talented youth/children include nominations, standardized test scores, and talent pools. Also, methods for setting a curriculum/class for gifted/talented youth include acceleration and enrichment provided through regular classes, special classes, as well as mentoring programs. Finally, curriculum should be revised to better suit the individual needs of the student(s) with the help of guidance counsellors and family. Often times these students are even able to provide assistance to peers which is a win-win.
  13. 13. Questions/Activity Andrew Laidlaw
  14. 14. Andrew Laidlaw Reading #1 Reflecting on a Conversation with Joe Renzulli: About Giftedness and Gifted Education Questions: 1. If the current model of education for exceptional students tends to lean towards “not leaving any learner behind,” how do we keep those that are so far ahead within the focus of our lessons as well? 2. Joe Renzulli refers to his model of giftedness as a three-ring conception that includes above average ability, task commitment, and creativity. Do you believe there to be only 3 rings, or could there be more factors worth considering? If so, what would they be? 3. If an “expert” such as Joe Renzulli is clearly not an advocate for differentiated instruction as it pertains to the gifted student (as seen in his response to question 6), how does that leave you feeling when considering differentiation and the exceptional student with challenges?
  15. 15. Andrew Laidlaw Reading #2 Gifted Students Need an Education, Too Questions: “Most teachers in my workshops are surprised when I tell them that gifted students often resist doing their assigned work because it is designed for age-appropriate learners and usually cannot provide the challenge and sense of accomplishment that would keep gifted learners motivated to work” (Winebrenner, 2000, p. 55). 1. Knowing this, think about a class you have taught recently, and a student that appeared to be struggling, or perhaps just lazy. Is it possible that student was exhibiting signs of boredom because they were not being challenged? Reflect. 2. Susan Winebrenner suggests “Cluster Grouping” as an option for an administrator to consider as a means of supporting learning for the gifted student. As a teacher, how do you feel if your colleague receives the gifted cluster of highly motivated and well behaved students, and you receive the exceptional cluster of students whose needs are diverse and motivation low, including potential for behaviour issues? Are you capable of rationalizing that this is for the best in the long run, particularly for the student?
  16. 16. Andrew Laidlaw Reading #3 Teaching the Gifted Question: 1. The article suggests that puberty can present itself as potentially more awkward for a gifted student than a mainstream student. What strategies might you use to make your gifted student feel more comfortable within their peer group?
  17. 17. Andrew Laidlaw Reading #4 Gifted, Creative, and Talented Question: “Although gifted, creative, and talented individuals are not included in IDEA, these students have unique needs that require special attention and accommodations for them to succeed in school” (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2010, p. 1). 1. If our definition of the student that requires an education to meet their specific special “talent” is now to exist (at least in the USA), why is it that a high aptitude for gross motor functions not also be considered a gift/talent worthy of individual programming. That is to say, do our strongest athletes not also present a talent that is equally worthy of specialized programming, even perhaps at the elementary level?
  18. 18. Mnemonics Activity (1 of 2) Andrew Laidlaw Mnemonics are a great way of teaching all, but particularly older junior and senior student’s strategies for remembering facts, or formulas they are required to know to succeed in future assessments. The following website addressed well the issue of putting together a well presented lesson plan for a senior grade when using mnemonics. Study%20Skills%20-%20Lesson%20Plan%20Mnemonics%20Elementary%20Lesson%20Plan.pdf
  19. 19. Mnemonics Activity (2 of 2) Many of the strategies suggested for inclusion of the gifted students include compacting, extending or enriching the activity, and providing greater opportunity to be creative. As a result, to extend this activity and provide them with more opportunities, not just to be creative but also leaders in the classroom, the suggestion would be that we include the following: 1. An opportunity to work either as a small group, or individually (choice of student); 2. Develop a class set of mnemonics for each subject area for the upcoming units of study (math, science, language, social studies, etc.); 3. Challenge the gifted students to create mnemonics that will cater to different types of learners, as opposed to just themselves thereby causing them to think about all learning, e.g. Words, songs, phrases, rapping; and then 4. Have the student’s publish their collection of mnemonics as a book, or better still, as an on-line resource available to the class, and other students in the same grade at that school. Andrew Laidlaw
  20. 20. External Resources Diana Menalo
  21. 21. Diana Menalo A classroom with five students identified as gifted does not mean these five students all learn in the same way and at the same pace. Mastropieri (2010) and Bauer (2012) talk about the different approaches (teaching or assessment) that are needed when educating students identified as gifted. Winebrenner (2000) discusses how students identified as gifted need differentiated instruction just as students with any other exceptionality. A great resource found that has activities for students, parents, and educators is Educators for the Gifted Organization (EdGO). EdGO provides direct and indirect services that support gifted and high achieving students. EdGO's website provides resources for both parents and educators which includes lesson and activity plans. The website also has a forum which can range from exchanging lessons and activities to networking. The reason this resource is so valuable is because it contains many resources and is also a way to connect with other parents and educators of gifted children. Not every lesson plan or strategy will work for every student. Creating a network of professionals and resources is a great way to exchange ideas and get new ideas for the different gifted learners in the classroom. Resource #1 - EdGO
  22. 22. This short 15 minute documentary focuses on the "negative perceptions" of gifted learners. In the first couple of minutes of the documentary, learners and professionals all seem to struggle with a way to define a gifted learner. This goes with Bauer's (2012) statement that there is no typical gifted student. Each and every gifted learner is different and the term gifted is not a synonym for brilliant and is not defined by a high IQ score. This documentary also discusses the issue of funding for gifted programs and how it should not be cut. Winebrenner (2000) proposes that administrators should provide training for staff in the area of gifted education. This type of programming, whether it is through workshops or courses, should be made available for educators and also parents. Resource #2 - The 'G' Word: Documentary Short Diana Menalo
  23. 23. Diana Menalo All of the articles identify teaching and assessing gifted students as an important area that can be complex and needs more information. Mastropieri (2010) states that identifying and assessing gifted learners can be complicated even though there are many approaches to doing so. Knobel and Shaughnessey (2002) share that special services should not be cut and there should be a range of services for students identified as gifted. Bauer (2012) shares that the teaching approach for gifted students varies on their interests and needs, but flexibility is key. The Special Education Gateway by the OTF is a great resource for educators of students with any exceptionalities. The brilliant part of this website is that an educator does not just need to search under the exceptionality of giftedness, but can search the specific need that a gifted student in their class might have. For example, a gifted student may have needs with time management. The OTF website provides instructional, environmental, and assessment strategies for gifted students with a time management need. This website is a great resource for educators looking for accommodations for assessment strategies, a complicated area for gifted learners as identified by Mastropieri (2010). Resource #3 - Ontario Teacher's Federation Special Education Gateway
  24. 24. Application and Contextualization Jean Raymond
  25. 25. Jean Raymond Giftedness in the Classroom (1 of 2) According to the Special Education Guide for Educators, students who are identified as Exceptional: Intellectual-Gifted require differentiated learning experiences of a depth and breadth beyond those normally provided in the regular school program to satisfy potential (2001, p. 18). Similar to any other exceptionality or learner, there is not a “one size fits all” IEP for gifted students. It is important to differentiate for gifted students with thoughtful accommodations and modifications that challenge their unique potential and allow them to grow as learners. This year I was fortunate to gain experience working with two identified gifted students in my classroom. I learned that students can be identified through various means, namely the Gifted Reading Scale, CCAT testing or through a psychoeducational assessment. Each student presented himself in a different way. One student was characterized (and perhaps dismissed) as a behavioural student. Another was incorrectly categorized as a “low student.” As I got to know each child as the year progressed, I networked with my Special Education Resource Teacher and school administration to learn more about how to accommodate and modify for my gifted students.
  26. 26. Jean Raymond Giftedness in the Classroom (2 of 2) With one particular student, I learned that often, gifted students present as behavioural or difficult as their programming is not unique to his or her needs. This is often due to frustration around not being able to make deep connections to the learning environment. Work presents itself as too easy and not challenging. Some students aren’t able to connect to their peers. Through consultation with my team and his family, I learned how to advocate for this child and present Inquiry-based learning opportunities to enrich his learning experience. Being in a French Immersion program, his family felt strongly about him remaining in his current learning environment despite there being other placements for him in the Board. My other identified gifted student was dismissed by his previous teachers as not being “truly” gifted. I looked closely at his IEP and assessed how he was learning and processing material in both French and English. After consulting with my school-based team we inferred that this student possibly had a learning disability. As teachers, we were not in the position to diagnose, but we could refer based on our evidence and assessments to a psychoeducational consultant and get further advice. After a few school-based meetings, my student was referred to an IPRC where it was determined that he was twice exceptionalities - he was Exceptional-Intellectual: Gifted and Learning Disabled. This experience resonates with me and will impact my future classroom practice as I had two students with the same exceptionality and two very different experiences as learners. Their IEPs, save for 1-2 items, are very different. My approach to their learning as a result is very different.
  27. 27. Facilitator for the Discussions Barbara Murzydlo
  28. 28. Sources (1 of 3) Giftedness Exceptionality. (n.d.). Retrieved July 12, 2014, from Bauer, G. (2012). Teaching the Gifted. Professionally Speaking. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from Kamphaus, R., Reynolds, C., & Vannest, K. (2009). Classroom Intervention Resource. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from Behavior/Study%20Skills%20- %20Lesson%20Plan%20Mnemonics%20Elementary%20Lesson%20Plan.pdf Hallahan, D., Kauffman, J., McIntyre, L., & Mykota, D. (2003). Exceptional Learners. Toronto: Pearson Canada.
  29. 29. Sources (2 of 3) Mastropieri, M., & Scruggs, T. (2010). Gifted, Creative, and Talented. The Inclusive Classroom: Strategies for Effective Instruction, 102-105. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from Ministry of Education. (2001). Special Education: A Guide for Educators. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from Knobel, R., & Shaughnessey, M. (2002). Reflecting on a Conversation With Joe Renzulli: About Giftedness and Gifted Education. Gifted Education International, 16, 118-126. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from
  30. 30. Sources (3 of 3) Winebrenner, S. (2000). Gifted Students Need an Education, Too. How to Differentiate Instruction, 58 (1), 52-56. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from GiftedStudentsEducation.pdf Welcome to the Educators for the Gifted Organization (EdGO). (n.d.). Retrieved July 12, 2014, from Venosdale, Krissy. (2013). To Learn and Grow. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from The "G" Word: Documentary Short. (2010). Retrieved July 12, 2014, from THANK YOU! :)