Archive for category Students

Working with Parents to Support High Ability Learners

middle-school

A version of this was posted originally posted on Ramblings of a Gifted Teacher

This week our school system is having their Annual Spring Parent Teacher Conferences. I feel this Spring Conference is just as important as our Fall Conferences are, but the parent turn out is noticeably lower than in the Fall. I was reminded over the weekend that Parent Teacher Conferences shouldn’t be the only time in which both parties work together to help improve the education of their children, particularly in middle school.

Middle School can be a tough transition for many students. In the elementary classes students are given their foundations, and middle school build on that foundation. In the middle school, students learn some independence and choice. Students can choose from sports, clubs, and after school activities that interest them.

When it comes to high ability learners, we have to be keenly aware that they are in the right classroom level that matches their ability. I found a joint statement that NAGC and NMSA (National Middle School Association) wrote in order to challenge schools, parents, and councilors to make sure they are meeting the needs of these learners.

To ensure that high ability learners are getting their needs met we have to look at creative ways to met them. Here are a couple examples of accommodations:

  • Long Distance Learning: If a high ability learner needs to take high school / college classes in middle school this is a great way to solve that.
  • On-Line Classes: If you high school or district offers online classes for high school credit. High ability learners would benefit from this.
  • Subject / Grade Acceleration: Moving a high ability learner a whole grade or just in a subject.
  • Independent Studies: Allowing a high ability learner to learn a subject on their on at their own pace is a great way to met the need to challenge students. (MOOCs are great for this since they are usually sponsored by a college.)
  • Participating in School and/or community based clubs: Science Olympiad, Quiz Bowl, Chess Clubs, Spelling and Geography Bees, Astronomy Clubs,and such: Allowing high ability learners to take part in programs listed above is a great way to met the needs of high ability learners.

All of the accommodations  listed above that would be effective and successful will only happen when parents, teachers, administrators, and councilors work together to make high ability learners challenged during school and after school. In middle school specifically, several of the accommodations listed above would work much easier the more parents and teachers talk and discuss the needs of their children.

What accommodations do we do as a school district you would like to see more of, or is there an accommodation we haven’t thought of?

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Importance of Self Advocacy

Originally posted on Ramblings of a Gifted Teacher

I teach middle school children. I love their spunk, jokes, personality, and stage of life. Middle school children have a lot of insecurities. They have to deal with their hormones changing and figuring out life as a middle schooler. I believe the more I am with middle school children the more I understand them.

One aspect of middle school children is the fact they complain. Sometimes the complaint is valid, and sometimes it is just to voice an opinion. When it comes to them knowing they need to have a chance at being challenged more because they are either bored, or feel they can do the next level of work middle schoolers can be hesitant. They don’t want to be seen as “that kid.” So we need to teach them it is alright to want to be challenged, and want to help come up with a solution.

I feel it is important to to teach gifted children to ask and question the right people at the right time and place about their education. It should start with a conversation with their parents. They need to talk to their parents about why they feel they should be accelerated or able to do independent studies to be more challenged. The parent should help to gather some information with the child. They should compile a list of issues they have. Try to stick with aspects that can proven with test scores, home work scores, or project scores. Helping the child know themselves is a great place to start.

After that conversation the gifted child should talk to the school councilor. Talking with the school councilor they can ask for a career placement survey to see what their personality matches. It would be a good thing for students to also know their learning style. The school councilor can help with as well. A great resource that can be used is a document from Richard Felder and Barbra Solomon on learning styles and strategies. During this meeting the student could ask for their cumulative record. Most schools have it in electronic form. It should have all the state test scores, and gifted screening scores in it along with grades cards. This data would be good to use and to know for the student and councilor to determine the best route for change. If the councilor is unwilling to share it, then a parent needs to step in and ask for it.

For self advocacy to be taken seriously the student should have good character. The student should take their education, and their work they turn in seriously. If they are just complaining they are bored just to complain self advocacy could be difficult. They may have to be more intervention with the gifted intervention specialist helping the student.

For self advocacy to be effective the student must have support from parents, teachers, and the school councilor. Once everyone has bought into the fact that the student is ready to be tested, or a committee formed for acceleration of whole grade or subject.

Many times when a student says their bored it can be a complaint. Many times it a cry for help. As a teacher you need to investigate it. Is the student bored because they don’t like the content, or is it because they already know the content. As educators we can down play when a student is crying for help. We don’t always know the answers. We have to genuinely listen to our students.

What do you do to teach gifted children it is alright to self advocate?

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Selection of Gifted Children for Gifted Services

Part 3 of 3 of the Gifted Nomination, Gifted Screening, and Selection for Gifted Services

As was mentioned in the previous post, students who scores a 129 or higher (Superior Cognitive Abilities) are automatically placed in gifted services. If a student falls into the Creative Thinking Abilities category then we have to further test.

In our district we use two different checklists that the State of Ohio allows us to use. The first is the GATES (Gifted And Talented Evaluation scale. The GATES is a checklist done by the classroom teacher(s). The score for this must be 83 or higher to be placed in a gifted program. We also use the SRBCSS (Scale for Rating and Behavior Checklists of Superior Students) to help screen students. The SRBCSS checklist is also done by the classroom teacher(s) and to qualify for gifted services a student must score 51 or higher.

The gifted department will test 100% of the students in 2nd and 5th grade, but the additional screening will only happen generally to about 25% of the students. This additional screening is always based on their CogAT test scores.

Once the gifted department gets all the scores parents are notified if their child has qualified or not for gifted services. There is also a letter that goes out to indicate there needs to be more testing. Then final list of students who qualify for gifted services a letter goes out to parents and teachers to let them know their child/student has qualified for gifted services.

If you have a question about the whole process of how a student gets into a gifted program please let one of the gifted intervention specialist know. They can answer all your questions.

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Allen County Student Chess League

Are you interested in Chess? If so this is for you.

The league will meet on the third Saturdays of each month, with the exception of this month to begin:  October 22nd.  We will be meeting at the Lima Public Library in Meeting Room 2.  We are excited to be able to offer this enrichment experience for the children of Allen County and beyond.

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2016-2017 Bus Schedule

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Science Series highlights Nobel prize winning efforts of Lima native William Fowler

Ohio State Lima, Lima City Schools and City of Lima work together to promote power of education
Lima is the hometown of one of the world’s most famous astrophysicists. William A. Fowler won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 for his efforts to show how all the natural elements in the Periodic Table are forged under extreme conditions across the course of a star’s lifetime.
Stardust: The William Fowler Science Series, is planned to honor Fowler’s achievements. Stardust is a collaboration between the City of Lima, the Lima City Schools and The Ohio State University at Lima.
“It is a wonderful fact that Dr. Fowler grew up in Lima, was educated in the Lima City Schools and at the Ohio State University,” said Lima Mayor David Berger. ”And working together — OSU, the Lima City Schools and the City — we have decided to showcase that fact in order to emphasize the incredible, literally mind-blowing, opportunities created by education.”
Fowler grew up in Lima and attended Horace Mann Grade School and Lima Central High School. He went on to graduate from The Ohio State University before moving to the California Institute of Technology to continue his groundbreaking work in the new field of astrophysics. His theory of the formation of the chemical elements in the universe forms the basis of our knowledge in this field, according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in the original announcement of Fowler’s Nobel Prize.
Students in the Lima City Schools have been working on concepts and projects based on Fowler’s work throughout the fall term. Their projects will be on display for the culminating public event at 7 p.m., Thur., Nov. 19, 2015, in the Martha W. Farmer Theatre for Performing Arts at The Ohio State University at Lima. Physicist and podcaster Paul Sutter will discuss how we know what we know about Fowler’s work.
“Fowler’s work is important because it puts us in the proper context of the universe. It shows how life on Earth is a part of a larger story, a grand story encompassing the entire cosmos,” Sutter said. “And it shows how we’re connected: we don’t usually think of the distant stars as having anything to do with us, but his work showed that us and those stars were born from the same things.”
Sutter is the man behind the podcast “Ask a Spaceman” and an honest-to-goodness astrophysicist who is currently a National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) Postdoctoral Fellow in Theoretical Physics at the INAF Astronomical Observatory of Trieste and a visiting scholar at the Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle Physics at The Ohio State University. The INFN is the Italian organization devoted to the study of the fundamental constituents of matter, and carries out experimental and theoretical research in the fields of subnuclear, nuclear, and astroparticle physics.
During his podcasts, Sutter likes to answer questions that bring us all closer to having complete knowledge of time and space, like What would happen if you fell into a black hole? How big is the universe? Just what the heck is a quasar, anyway?
Sutter will be working with the students prior to his visit to campus. Students at Lima Senior will interview Sutter to incorporate his experiences into career exploration projects they are developing looking at astrophysics and other sciences. Students from the South Science and Technology Magnet will interpret the scientific principles they are studying through artwork. 12-15 pieces will be on display in Reed Hall on Nov. 19.
Sutter will record two podcasts while in Lima, one at the public event and a second for a presentation to the Lima City school students at noon, Thur., Nov. 19, 2015. Students from the physics, physical science and biology classes at Lima Senior and eighth graders from the Science and Technology Magnet, West and Liberty will spend the day on campus learning how they, too, can begin to pursue careers in science, technology and the arts in Lima.

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Editors’ Note: The tentative schedule for the day follows. A follow-up release with more information about the day will come out closer to the event.
10:00-11:15 a.m. Lima City middle school students tour Ohio State
11:30 a.m.-noon Lunch
11:45 a.m. Media time with Paul Sutter
noon-1 p.m. Paul Sutter presentation and podcast #1
1:15-2:30 p.m. Lima City high school students tour Ohio State
6:30 p.m. Doors open in the Martha W. Farmer Theatre for the Performing Arts
7 p.m. Paul Sutter presentation and podcast #2. Free and open to the public.

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The New 2015-16 Bus Schedule

Here is the 2015-16 bus schedule for all Enrichment Students.

ENRICHMENT SCHEDULE2015 2016   Google Sheets

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Northwest Ohio Coordinators for Gifted 2015 Scholarship Application

This post is for gifted students who want to earn a $100 scholarship from the Northwest Ohio Consortium of Coordinators for Gifted. They award 5 students who demonstrate a strong passion (interest) in a specific area and can demonstrate how this award will support their passion.

Please read through this NWO Gifted Coordinators application to see if this is something you would be interested in doing. If you have any questions please contact Kathleen Pollock at 419-824-8576. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 20th. You will be notified in writing if you recieved the grant during the week of March 16th.

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Some Reflections from the School Year

Mrs. Rigali and her 3rd and 4th grade classes dissected a squid this past November. Her students studied an Ocean theme this year, with the culminating project as the dissection of the squid. They were fortunate to have the Lima News come and check out their class. Check out the news cast here.

Mrs. Markely also did a similar ocean themed unit with her 5th and 6th grade classes. Her classes studied sea creatures and compared their organs and body systems to humans. They dissected dog sharks.  Here are a few pictures from that day back in November.

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Both of these activities were done with a grant from the Lima Area Retired Teachers Association.

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Our Gifted Students Highlighted in the New LCS Commericals

Have you seen the new commercials for the Lima City Schools? If you haven’t, well they are awesome.

Lima City Schools  Seasons of Love   Jeremiah Dew   YouTube

You may not know that several of the students in those videos are students who currently or in the past, participated in our Gifted Program. Jeremiah Dew, a current Enrichment student, Cassie Bicknell and Rashad Butler, past Enrichment students all had a prominent roles in the commercials that are airing on television and radio.

 

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