SBISD GT Book Study
Ah-ha! I had forgotten about the marshmallow test!(pg. 181) I liked it. With all of the technology and quick response...I think we are training our students to not wait, to not have patience, to get through to the end as quickly as possible. What gratification do we not delay? Our society, in general, rewards how fast we can get or accomplish something.When reading the Marshmallow experiment, it reminded me of how many times we talk about long term projects and how the "easy way" is often the most difficult way in the long run. "Those who as four year olds had grabbed the single marshmallow.... During their later education years they'd had trouble delaying immediate impulses to achieve long-range goals and were easily distracted by more pleasureable activities, even when they knew they needed to study for a test or write a report. This delay of gratification and working through a problem is difficult for them to understand when what we appear to value most is how fast we can get something...whether it is information, the newest technology, the newest item on the market...
When I first began reading Chapter 6 (pages 137-138) I remebered learning about Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development. I think it is important to realize that while these kids may be more developed cognitively than their peers, they may not be at the same stage devleopment physically as cognitively. Not only are these students out of synch with their classmates, they may also be out of synch with their bodies' physical development. I don't know that I agree with the findings by Gross that "gifted students may feel so isolated that they become depressed or self medicate with alcohol or drugs" (p. 140). I am sitting with my nephew right now and he said, "I guarantee that none of us do that." While he has a great deal of support at home, I do not think that the "isolation" of being gifted in a regular classroom drives kids to drink or do drugs. I believe there are many more factors in the decision making process.
In respone to "Dock on the Bay's" post, delaying gratification has always been difficult in my lifetime. As I was typing this, my nephw said, "What on earth is wrong with instant gratification?"It is easier to get a quick fix and get what you want, than waiting. I believe it is better to work for something, it will have more value to you. But, I am an adult, not a middle school student.
Some of my "aha moments" came in Ch. 7. On page 165 'Guided choice' really resonated in me. The idea of choice always seems like a great idea but I don't venture there much but after readng this section, I really began to think "how can I do this in my class more effectively"? The statement on pg. 165 "The accompanying feelings of control raise their sense of resiliency and their beliefs in their abilities as future leaders capable of overcoming the challenges they may face throughout their educations and professional lives." really hit me. The idea that choice for the GT student will help extend and solidify their learning really makes sense. And I would like to think it would help other non-gifted students. Choice allows students to take an ownership in their learning as well as for them to see if they are progressing and achieving their goals. When I have given my own students choices, I can see how many of them feel a real value in their choice. I am not sure it is for everyone as I have found many of my students will make a bad choice every time. I have to ask myself, is the choice the point or is the process and product the point?" As a teacher, I feel that sometimes I need to step in when students cannot make good choices for themselves. However, their example of choice on pages 167-168, was really neat but we know that not every student will react this way. They do address the fact that problems can arise when choice takes precedence over learning objectives...." (page 170). I just need to work on the choices, have clear objectives, and well try it more often!
To Dock on the Bay, I agree with you about delayed gratification, and how difficult it is for today's students. I think I would have many choose the one marshmallow out of impulse and the fact that students today get everything fast. Why should they wait? They can text someone or call someone to bring them a whole bag of marshmallows. And I don't mean to sound sarcastic but so much can be done in a few seconds or minutes these days and students don't have to wait. Students do need to be taught how to hold information longer and how stay with something for the long haul as the end result will be worth the wait. This in turn may help them stick with school, projects, relationships, or a job! Now how do we do this......??!!!! Still working in this but many of the things in Ch. 7 that are suggested may not only help the gifted students but some of the others in classroom!
As I was reading Chapter 6, I couldn't help but think about the greater picture. As I read the section on Ability Grouping (pgs. 142-145) I couldn't help but wonder how we identify those students as having a particular gift.Additionally, I couldn't help but wonder what should be done if a student doesn't have a peer with those similar gifts, nor complimentary gifts. Perhaps I'm expecting the author to provide more than discussion and analysis. I keep expecting a theory or a plan, a system of implimentation rather that mere observation. The author, Willis, seems determined to convince the reader that her research presents important findings. I'm inclined to agree. But she doesn't go so far as to suggest what should be done with those findings, because, by her own admission, the educational programs differ so greatly from state to state and district to district.
In Chapter 6 on page 143 under Gifted Student Groupings, it talks about - "small, like-ability learning groups usually increase the comfort and enjoyment of students because learning is combined with pleasurable social interaction experiences." This makes much sense in that there can be a match for interests, experiences and focus. We have often said that some of our students are not motivated or their work does not represent their ability. I see that our IIW can support this but it is only one week a year. Hopefully, as more of us read material like this and share our thinking and ideas that we feel strongly about we can collaboratively find ways to structure settings and opportunities like this. We often speak of developing the "whole" child but plan and structure things in the "boxes" we've used for years. It would be a powerful scene and message to be able to set up and watch our learners working through new ways of thinking, communicating, sharing, building multiple solutions, etc.
on pg. 141 the author says that "different interventions are needed for different levels of giftedness". This makes me feel even more neglectful of meeting my giftned students needs. I know I struggle with this and this adds a new layer.I agree with Ms. Oxspring about how hard it is to effectively offer good choices to our students. I think the mixed ability grouping we have at WAIS complicates the matter.
On page 144, the author discusses mixed ability grouping. I have to admit that I used to use this in my classroom quite a bit over the years. I now realize that carefully planned group work with like-ability students is better for students, so they don't feel too different from the other students.
I found the section on page 149-150 regarding isolation to be impactful. "Explaining that everyone learns differently and building a climate of appreciation for differences sets the tone for mutual respect and increased class participation for all students", I work daily in my classroom to to create a safe opportunity and community for all students, not simply the GT students, to learn and communicate their thoughts.
I completely agree with "dock of the bay"...instant gratification is highly prevelant in today's society resulting in generations that do not understand waiting for anything...:(In addition, ignoring instant impulses for immediate gratification is and will continue to grow as a problem opening up a whole new area to address in years to come.
As I was reading Chapter 6, I keep remembering the schools I attended when I was younger. We were homogenously group by ability and while it challenges everyone in class to perform well academically, I didnt get a chance to know other students belonging to other classes.But I completely agree with " dock of the bay " about instant gratification. With information easily accessible 24/7, students have learned to google facts instead of learning it. I really didnt have an aha moment for this chapter. It would have a great for students to have other weeks similar to IIW as C.Wegs have mentioned.
Mr. C, you and I agree on the 24/7 accessibility. I said earlier that I believe that students today may take the one marshmallow immediately and then text a friend to bring them a whole bag!! And on a serious notes the instant gratification does make long term retention difficult for us as teachers. And I do not have a solution for this yet!
The aha moment for me was reading pages 142-145, where the author supports "Ability Grouping". I also feel that Ability Grouping is more effective than differentiation for all students' learning. When we group students according to their ability they get instruction at their level 100% of the time where as when we try to differentiate we are only able to do that only 25 to 50% of the time.It was also interesting to read some of the benefits of the mixed ability groupings mentioned in the last two paragraphs on page 144.
My ah- ha moment came as I was reading chapter 6 and was reminded of the importance of ability grouping within the general ed classroom. (p. 142) Although I place my students in ability groups in my classroom, it is important to continue to differentiate lessons and student groups.
I also agree with Shivani regarding the importance of ability grouping. It is necessary for teachings to continue to group students according to their unique abilities so that all students are challenged.
I agree with Tracy regarding--instant gratification. With all the technology available the instant gratification will continue to grow as a problem opening up a whole new area to address in years to come.
I also found the section on ability grouping (p. 144) interesting. As Amy mentioned I used mixed ability groups in my classroom. It would have been better for the GT students to be in groups that would have allowed them to stretch their learning. As the author reminds us it is sometimes import for these GT students to learn to communicate with students that are in the lower ability groups as well and this is a positive to using mixed ability groups.
I agree with Elizabeth's comment that the author makes a broad statement in saying that GT will medicate themselves with drugs and alcohol when they feel isolated from their peers. Of course this is possible, but I agree with Elizabeth that their are many other factors that lead a student to using alcohol or drugs.
I would like to try to have my students do more individualized goal setting and monitoring, as described on p. 183. I think this could be easily incorporated into our routines and perhaps also encourage our students to be more self determining. Periodically, it would be important for them to come back and assess where they are with a certain goal.
In response to Mrs. Oxpring, I also am wondering about how to build the "delayed gratification" in our kids. From the research about how it affects performance, it seems extremely important. I am just not quite sure how to develop that more in our students...as you said, especially in today's world.
It was good to read about learning logs and graphic organizers on pages 173-175. In history, charts and other graphic organizers help students organize information to accomplish a variety of tasks and students can add to their charts as new learning occurs. I went to a workshop once where the presenter said you can organize anything into a chart. At another part of the book it talked about how some students like to see the big picture first and where the learning is going before getting into details. Providing a mind map helps with that.
Sorry... The above is from Val Harelson
Valerie commenting on Shivani... I have mixed feelings about whether to put students in ability groups or mixed groups. The theory behind mixed groups sounds good, but if the students' abilities are too divergent, then it makes it more difficult to meet every student's needs. It seems society has a variety of goals that should be accomplished in school; not all goals are academic.
The discussion of Guided Choice in chapter 7 stuck with me. The need for students to feel in control is a powerful tool. The guidance teachers can provide shapes whether or not that control is productive or not. Students do not know, in many cases, just what to do when their choices are their own.
Let's make sure that we do not confuse ability grouping with differentiating. Differentiating is when we offer choice so that students can achieve in a mode that suits them. ability grouping is just that. When you ask a small group of students to have conversation or investigate an idea. Just because they are looking at the same issue does not mean that they will approach it in the same manner.
My moment came throughout chapter when the author continued to refer to the GT student as maladjusted and isolated. The a few instances that I see a middle school student ostracized for their intelligence. If we are talking about the student with an extremely high IQ then we know those students would prefer to hang out with the adults. It is a special relationship that you have to build with these students.