Our sprout classes were busy being geologists this past week. They categorized their unknown rock and tested 8 subcategories of characteristics to determine which type of rock they had. It was an interesting process and much learning to be had.
Shared Writing is hard! In our Sprout activity, the Sprouters went over story elements. Then they each began a story. After 5 minutes, we announced, “SWITCH!” then the person to their left had to pick up where they left off. Each story ended up being well developed and interesting (some said weird, lol). Even though it was hard for some to get started and others to give up their original work, the day turned out fabulous with lots of laughs.
It is crazy to think we are halfway through our summer program! It is going by too quickly. I have enjoyed each and every moment with my camp groups. Each week we have new campers join in a mix of campers that are with us all summer and some that stop by for a day or two. It is great the way this multi age group works. They have been accepting of one another, inclusive, and encouraging!
I am attempting to play catch up on the blog so here is weeks 1-3 of Sprout Summer Camp at Roycemore School!
Week One: Oobleck and Super bouncy balls, Improv, Egg Drop Challenge, Self Care and Germs (DIY: Lip Balm and Hand Sanitizer), Pendulum Art. Through these topics, we discussed Science themes: chemistry and physics, character roles, design thinking, creativity and art.
We couldn’t have had such a fabulous week without our C.I.T’s Maddie, Macy and Robi. And thanks to my fabulous assistants, Ms. Korinne and Mr. Miles!
Week Two: Geode Crystals and Rock Candy, Kites, Illusions, Animal Experiments, and Coding. The focus for these projects ranged from following directions, scientific method, creativity, fine motor skills, patience and perseverance.
Thanks Ms. Korinne and C.I.T Robi for another great week!
Week Three: Magnetic Slime, Sprout’s Got Talent, Special Guest: Superhuman Mike Byster, Boat Challenge and Greek god’s and goddess’. Through these projects we focused application of new information, memory, open mindset, looking for patterns in numbers and words, fine motor skills, design thinking, public speaking, science concepts, and creativity.
This week in Sprout, we tackled big issues: OUR THOUGHTS! Gifted kiddos often think and feel bigger than others. They can be told they are too sensitive, you talk too much, you have too many opinions! How frustrating for our kiddos!
Our groups went round-robin style telling us quickly their random thoughts and feelings, LOL! We were all over the place from video games, flooding, art ideas, traveling, to hunger.
We took all of these thoughts and feelings and put them in our Smash book! Our Sprouters were able to write, draw, cut and paste images, etc into their own books. They could share or keep private.
I’ve never heard our groups so quiet and then burst into laughter or deep conversations. They connected over shared thoughts and feelings. It was an amazing week!
Well, it happened.
The request was made for a day of video games at Sprout… who would’ve thought! So, of course, I had to comply.
We began with a timeline – when, why, and what.
Then we moved into a pros and cons list. The pro side: They are fun! They could be used for learning. They are fun! You can connect with people from all over the world.
Cons side: Too much screentime may be harmful. You waste too much time. You lose track of time. My mom yells at me when I play for too long. (LOL) There’s no human interaction. (This was debated)
Then we talked about how are video games created. You need to think about four main things: Concept, Visuals, Coding, and Distribution.
Finally the choice of the project: You can conceptualize, create a storyboard, and create visuals for a game you’ve invented. This could mean you make a new version of a game you know too.
Take a favorite part of a game you play and create a hands-on game or art project from that game.
So what did the Sprout group learn from an activity like this?
They learned to listen to each other, share information, and debate issues. They learned that it is tough to start from scratch on a new idea that follows a plan and makes sense.
Whenever we partake in activities such as this, that are so incredibly open-ended and the children could take in any direction they want, we see a few of the same outcomes.
- A small group of students knows exactly what they want and rush to start and finish the task.
“I’m done!” Is proudly heard in the quiet room.
When questioned, “tell me about your game.”
The student begins with “It’s called…, You can…, It’s so fun! What can I do now?”
- Redirecting that student to add detail, give more thought, think more about the project can be really tricky and more often than not it will be frustrating for the kid that likes to be done and done first!
2. Another small group of students stares blankly, “I don’t know what to do.”
- Ok, this can be tricky too. You need to walk them through the outline/design process. You need to find out what personally he/she is interested in. You need to offer choices and ideas without giving too much away.
3. Then there are the one or two kiddos that do not follow one thing that was laid out in front of them, even though you offered choices in the outcome. They came up with a completely different outcome than the class project.
- In situations like this, it’s important to evaluate the child, not necessarily the project outcome. Think about why he/she didn’t make ‘a video game.’ Think about if he/she participated during the group ‘lesson.’ Then think about why? Is it because the project didn’t speak to him/her? Is it because he/she didn’t understand the project? Does his/her outcome make any sense in the plan for the day?
Each class period, it is important to look at what the students like but it is just as valuable to look at what the students don’t like and why they might not like it. What challenges does your gifted child face?
Overall, this project turned out to be a very successful project. There was much collaboration, sharing, and creating.
The school year is underway. Supplies bought and sent off. The nerves of meeting your child’s new teacher have melted away. New clothes for the first day and class photos worn out already. The buzz and excitement of the new school year has faded.
And now what?
Each day your child comes home with the same attitude. The conversation is redundant, day after day.
How was school today?
Tell me about what you are reading?
Charlotte’s Web but I read that when I was five.
Tell me about Science.
OH YEAH! We made catapults today! I told the other kids about the trajectory of the projectile is influenced by the push force of the catapult, the angle of the release, the weight of the projectile, air resistance and gravity.… but they were no longer listening and only said that what I was saying was weird and they had no idea what I was talking about.
Emotions such as these are ones encountered daily by our students. They are excited with anticipation of a new school year and deflated pretty quickly if their needs are not being met. Gifted students can become impatient and bored if the classroom isn’t flowing quickly enough. They can get frustrated if the material isn’t challenging them on multiple levels. They crave being understood and finding a group of intellectual peers or a “tribe of their own.” A lack of challenges can cause gifted students to take shortcuts in their work, doing the minimal amount or taking the easy way out. Gifted students, if not challenged from the start of their academics, will not show their true potential and their chance of ever loving school will be lost.
Your child finishes all the work in five minutes. Your child is the one that raises his/her hand with the correct answer before the teacher even finishes posing the problem. He/she is the student that never stops asking why. So, what do you do?
Create a partnership with your child’s teacher
Start by meeting with your child’s teacher. Approach the conference as a partnership. Share your child’s interest, strengths, and areas of challenge. This could even be goals for your child’s social and emotional growth.
Ideas on how to approach differentiated work
It is important that gifted and talented students pass state standards in each grade level so to avoid assuming your child knows everything, ask the teacher to give your child a pre-test for units of study. Some schools approach this by using the end of the unit assessment as not to create more work for the teacher. Just like a spelling test, children are given the test on a Monday and if they pass the test (90% or above) they can be given a choice board of things to do during the unit.
Bring ideas to the table such as supplementing work that your child already knows with things that would expand his/her knowledge in that area.
Ask for ways that technology could be brought in during different units of study. For instance IXL, Kahn Academy, and Beast Academy have online activities and lessons that a student could engage in to learn materials rapidly and then engage in a activity that is meaningful and challenging.
Although I don’t advocate for a gifted child to become the assistant teacher in the classroom for his/her own learning, there are benefits to having children become the “teacher” for a lesson or two on occasion. As an educator, I found that when I was taught to teach others there was a deeper understanding of a topic became real to me instead of a passive way of learning the material. By preparing lessons and having materials/visual aids, a student can gain a deeper insight into a topic and work on presentation skills – oral speaking, making eye contact, and engaging others. Some students would not love this option so it might push them out of their comfort zone to try something new and work on a new skill too.
Find ways to connect your child with other people that think like him/her. By looking at activities outside of school to help engage your child, he/she will be sure to find a community of learners that are passionate and eager to learn more. Check out your local universities and online tools as well for enrichment activities.
By creating the partnership with your child’s teacher and having ways that you can help support your student, you will be off to a great start to the school year.
Monday’s Sprout Class Tessellations! Third time a charm… even though it was still a frustrating/abstract idea for some, we had many terrific outcomes. Feelings of accomplishment and delight flew through our class today!
One child commented, “It’s finally quiet in here!” LOL 🙂 We do have lots of energy in Sprout.
This week, we explored M.C. Escher’s art and math this week. It was a difficult concept to grasp but each child worked so hard on their own frustrations and challenges! I saw a lot of perfectionism this week but lots of perseverance to complete the task too!
We also played a game of CLUE! My favorite!!!