May 9, 2014

Ideas for Gifted: A handful for the handful

Filed under: creativity,gifted,iste14,Teaching and Learning — Candace Hackett Shively @ 8:31 am

Consider this post part of the “think out loud” planning phase of our ISTE presentation. Melissa Henning and I are presenting at ISTE Atlanta next month on Nourishing gifted through technology in any classroom. We have collected scores of our “favorite” resources to share with teachers, but time will limit us to sharing a number roughly proportionate to the number of gifted among the general population (< 2%). Well, maybe we’ll do a little better than that.

One of the things I learned from teaching gifted kiddos is that given choices, they’ll take forever to decide.  They LOVE choice, but they can generate more criteria to weigh their decision than the President of the U.S. in deciding whether to ask Congress for a declaration of war. But maybe this… and what about that… and this could happen, etc. Choice can sometimes mean paralysis for a gifted kid. They do need to learn HOW to select the best tool for the task, but the best we can do is offer them both limited choices and limited time to decide. So one strategy I will suggest in my part of the presentation is to offer a handful to the handful…then let them decide hands-on during the time at hand.hand

Here is an example for teachers of elementary gifted kiddos. Since most web tools (and U.S. law) say kids must be 13 to set up memberships without parent permission, the path of least resistance is either no-membership-required or teacher-controlled accounts. No membership is the quickest. So you want the kiddos to work on a gifted level challenge about plants on their own while you are reteaching the basics to students who are struggling or having most of the class do a reinforcement activity. Here is a sample handful for your handful of munchkin (gr 1-5) gifted ones. Note that with very young ones (K-2) or those with no technology experience, you might want to limit the choices to the topics and just TWO options from the “show what you know” group.

1. Choose a project topic: (You have five minutes to think or search online and decide. You MAY suggest another topic of your own choice.)

  • A year in the life of a specific plant
  • Life without bees (is this going to happen soon?)
  • The weird and the wild (strange plants and how they live)
  • People who work with plants
  • Incredible edibles:  the plants we eat and how they make us grow

2. Choose a way that you will SHOW WHAT YOU KNOW after you research and learn: You must decide before  you come to class tomorrow.

  • A sticky note board with images, links, and your own written information, tips, questions, and more. Your board could be an activity for people to do or an organized online “display.” Use a tool called Lino.
  • One to three online drawings or whiteboards with words included. Use Draw It Live, but be SURE you copy the urls for your boards or mark them in Favorites so we can find them again!
  • A blog post using Loose Leaves (written as if the author were you or someone/something else). Note that this tool is for WORDS only!
  • A talking exhibit with recorded sound downloaded from Online Voice Recorder to go with an actual display of drawings or models you make.
  • An image (up to 3 images) with speech bubbles and more . Use a tool called PhraseIt and images you find with help using Compfight.

3. Make a  Strike To-do list of the steps for your project, mark it in Favorites, and have it approved before you start. You may play with any of the tools listed (or suggest your own alternative), but you must commit to your tool/project choice in the To-do list.

That should give the handful a headful of possibilities AND a plan to dig in. Having a clock or timer around to remind them of real world time couldn’t hurt, either. Unfortunately, gifted or creative people do not deal well with being creative in 40 minute increments!

Wondering how to evaluate what they do ? We will talk about rubrics in our presentation, too. For now, I am still collecting and curating FAVORITE ideas and tools. Stay tuned.

Oh, and about the post title… yes, I know that gifted kids can also BE a handful. But isn’t that the joy of teaching them?

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