This is another example of an assignment completed for the Curriculum Concepts in Gifted Education class, based on “This I Believe,” an organization that builds on essays published by National Public Radio, and the thoughts captured during a radio show in the 1950s hosted by Edward R. Morrow. From their Website: Each day, Americans gathered by their radios to hear compelling essays from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and Harry Truman as well as corporate leaders, cab drivers, scientists, and secretaries—anyone able to distill into a few minutes the guiding principles by which they lived. These essayists’ words brought comfort and inspiration to a country worried about the Cold War, McCarthyism, and racial division.
In reviving This I Believe, executive producer Dan Gediman said, “The goal is not to persuade Americans to agree on the same beliefs. Rather, the hope is to encourage people to begin the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own.”
I believe all students deserve to feel like they are cared for and respected while they are learning to their highest potential. Students deserve to come to school each day knowing the people in the school believe they are capable of succeeding in academics and in life, in general. I believe educators should show up to work every day with a fire ignited inside them for their plan to help make the world a better place by educating the future within their classrooms. Growing up, my dad was my principal from K-6th grade. For this reason, I don’t think anything will ever feel more significant to me as an educator than striving to make students feel like school is a second home to them where they are cared for and appreciated.
Education is the foundation for future success, and it is
important for educators to provide the best curriculum for the students who
enter their buildings. Parents and guardians trust educators to provide what it
best for their children, and we need to do that by being flexible and attentive
to the needs of the individual students in our classrooms.
Although the needs of the gifted are tremendous, my hope is to continue to push students within the classroom so that all individuals believe they are gifted and capable of reaching goals they never imagined possible. The passion for education and learning is something educators and high-ability students should be proud of sharing with others around them. It is important to take this passion and energy and turn it into motivation for challenging tasks to create resilient, life-long learners. I definitely want all students to continue to feel like they are capable learners, but I also want to challenge my high-ability students. I want them to reach the point where parts of school are challenging to them now because they shouldn’t have to wait until later in their academic careers to face academic challenges. They need to be prepared for success beyond high school by facing challenges head on with the support of teachers. School shouldn’t be wasted time. It should be challenging and spark new ideas every single day. A child should never end a day of school feeling like they didn’t learn anything.
It can sometimes be hard or feel overwhelming for
teachers to meet the needs of everyone in their classrooms, but it is important
for teachers to lean on each other for support and build a foundation of
educators who strive to empower. There will always be controversial topics
about what is the right or wrong thing to do or teach students who are talented
and gifted, but teachers need to trust in the abilities of their students and
always support them as they grow and develop into world changers.
My role as a teacher of all students, including those
labeled gifted and those not, will be to spread my passion and desire to be a
lifelong learner onto others in the hopes that my excitement lights a spark
within them to go and change the world someday.
Neil Gaiman, listed as one of the top ten living post-modern
writers, is quoted as saying, “I hope that in this year to come, you make
mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying
new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing
your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly,
you’re doing something.”
Professional learning is one of the things that educators are always doing, independently, with their professional learning communities, and with the Belin-Blank Center! We invite you to join us through the gifted-teachers listserv (belinblank.org/listserv), through our Facebook account (facebook.com/belinblank), through our blog (belinblank.wordpress.com), and through our professional development opportunities coming up (belinblank.org/educators/courses). The varied classes we plan throughout the year provide you with tools to better support the needs of gifted and talented learners.
To participate in our classes,
you must register with Distance
and Online Education as a non-degree seeking student; for the State of Iowa
Endorsement in Talented and Gifted Education, you may register as either a
graduate or undergraduate student, regardless of your professional status; if
you won’t benefit in other ways from the graduate credit, you can save tuition
dollars. Once you have your HawkID and
password, you can follow the directions to register for the courses that
interest you the most; follow belinblank.org/educators/reg. All of our classes fulfill strands required
Here is a list of what’s coming
up; all of these are online and asynchronous. Some Spring classes have not been
added to the schedule yet (courses with no instructor listed are facilitated by
Dr. Laurie Croft):
Topics: Competitions for Elementary and Secondary Gifted Students (EDTL:4096:0WKB – 1 semester hour), final fall class, November 12 – December 4. (Dr. Jenelle Miller)
Current Readings & Research in Gifted Education (EDTL:4085:0WKA – 1 semester hour), winter session class shaped to your needs, December 30, 2019 – January 17, 2020.
Program Models in Gifted Education (EDTL:4199:0EXA – 3 semester hours), first spring class offered in an accelerated format from January 21 – March 14.
Identification of Students for Gifted Programs (PSQF:4121:0EXW – 3 semester hours), offered in an accelerated format from January 28 – March 27. (Dr. Susan Assouline)
Administration and Policy in Gifted Education (EPLS:4110:0EXW – 2 semester hours), offered from February 4 – May 1. (Dr. Randy Lange)
Curriculum Concepts in Gifted Education (EDTL:4022:0WKA – 3 semester hours), offered in an accelerated format from March 23 – May 15.
Math Programming for High Ability Students (EDTL:4067:0EXW – 1 semester hour), February 26 – March 24. (Dr. Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik)
Gender Issues and Giftedness (RCE:4123:0WKA – 1 semester hour), March 23 – April 11. (Dr. Jolene Teske)
Differentiated Instruction for the Gifted (EDTL:4025:0WKA – 1 semester hour), April 13 – May 1. (Debra “Debbie” Judge)
The one-semester-hour classes included in the list above are offered in the three-week workshop format. These classes have no additional technology fees and focus on one topic over three weeks.
The practicum experience required for the Talented and
Gifted Endorsement is available every semester.
The Belin-Blank Center is offering a new book study this fall for one semester hour, available online from September 10 – 30 and taught by Dr. Kimberley Chandler. Effective Curriculum for Underserved Gifted Students, reviewing the book by the same name, helps educators better understand essential elements of curriculum design and delivery for gifted students. Importantly, at a time when gifted programs are attempting to identify traditionally underserved students, the class will explain the need for a differentiated curriculum for typically underrepresented students, including children of poverty and those who are from culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Students will develop confidence in using practical, evidence-based strategies with high-ability learners.
Dr. Chandler noted that “This book study will help to bridge research and practice through examining effective strategies gleaned from various studies conducted with underserved populations.”
Looking for a creative and fun way to kick off the year? If so, consider adding the National Invention Convention curriculum to your lesson plans. This is free, open-access curriculum that supports the type of critical thinking necessary to participate in programs like Invent Iowa. The framework of the curriculum is developed around the 7 steps of the Invention Process: Identifying, Understanding, Ideating, Designing, Building, Testing, and Communicating.
The curriculum was designed by the STEMIE Coalition. STEMIE is an education framework that elevates youth invention and entrepreneurship education to a core part of K-12 education. It contains lesson plans, rubrics, assessments, and other resources. Students have the opportunity to think creatively while using the invention process to design and test their work. It is a great way to help students better understand ways of solving real-world problems that they encounter on a daily basis.
Find the National Invention Convention curriculum here.
Michelangelo is credited with saying, “the greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”
Fall 2019 is the right time to expand our toolkits to learn
new ways to support the needs of gifted and talented learners. Of course, teachers earning their
endorsements in gifted education have registered as distance learners and
enrolled for credits this fall (courses with no instructor listed are
facilitated by Dr. Laurie
of Giftedness (PSQF:4120:0EXW), offered over Fall semester. (Dr.
to Educating Gifted Students (RCE/EDTL:4137:0EXW and 0EXU) has two sections
for the first time. Offered in an
accelerated format over the first eight weeks of the semester, the class has
more students than ever before. (Drs. Laurie
Croft and Kim
of Talent Development (EDTL:4067:0EXW), offered in the second eight weeks
of the semester.
Beginning at the ITAG Conference, October 14-15,
Des Moines, two semester hours of credit can be completed by teachers new to
gifted education (RCE:5237:0EXW Seminar in Gifted Education – TAG:
You’re It). This section helps guide
participants through basics that they will need to consider throughout their
first years in gifted education.
Several one-semester-hour classes, offered in the workshop format, are available this fall. These classes have no additional technology fees and focus over three weeks on one topic:
EDTL:4096:0WKA Topics: Effective Curriculum for Underserved Gifted Students tackles one of the field’s greatest challenges through a study of the book by the same name (September 10 – 30, 2019). (Dr. Chandler)
One or two semester hours can be earned by attending the ITAG Conference, October 14-15, Des Moines (PSQF:5194:0WKA Continuing Education Individual Study: Leadership in Gifted Education ITAG 2019), and completing projects of benefit to the gifted program.
Another semester hour (PSQF:5194:0WKC Continuing Education Individual Study: Identifying and Serving Young Gifted Children) begins at the ITAG Pre-Conference facilitated by Dr. Sally Beisser, Distinguished Professor of Education at Drake University, and continues online with Dr. Croft.
One more semester-hour this fall, EDTL:4096:0WKB Topics: Competitions for Elementary and Secondary Gifted and Talented Students, helps teachers understand the advantages and disadvantages of involving gifted learners in competitions. (Dr. Jenelle Miller)
The practicum experience required for the Talented and
Gifted Endorsement is available every semester.
Aim high as this new year begins. Develop your understanding of the nature and
needs of high-ability learners, as well as ways to begin to meet those needs.
This is a second example of an assignment completed for the Curriculum Concepts in Gifted Education class, based on “This I Believe,” an organization that builds on essays published by National Public Radio, and the thoughts captured during a radio show in the 1950s hosted by Edward R. Morrow. From their Website: Each day, Americans gathered by their radios to hear compelling essays from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and Harry Truman as well as corporate leaders, cab drivers, scientists, and secretaries—anyone able to distill into a few minutes the guiding principles by which they lived. These essayists’ words brought comfort and inspiration to a country worried about the Cold War, McCarthyism, and racial division.
In reviving This I Believe, executive producer Dan
Gediman said, “The goal is not to persuade Americans to agree on the same
beliefs. Rather, the hope is to encourage people to begin the much more
difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own.”
To read the first post in this series, click here.
I believe in believing in your students. I believe as educators we have many roles and responsibilities, we have at school for students of such diverse backgrounds and home life. The role I believe that connects us to our students, not only in teaching and instructing, is building relationships with our students.
All my life I always knew what I wanted to be a teacher. My mom would encourage me and say I would make a good teacher as I gave my younger brothers instructions and always made them be my students when I played school. I think it was a nice way of saying I was a “bossy” sister. Neither of my parents graduated high school, so they believed in me and supported my dream. When I was in high school, just to be sure that education was the route I would take after high school, I took a couple of business classes and I was in a co-op class for Business Professionals of America. I did the books and accounting for a local salon. I remember one of my teachers asked what I wanted to be, which a teacher had never asked me before in school. I responded proudly that I wanted to be a teacher. She smiled and responded that I would make a good secretary and walked away. I was crushed because as a teenager and student, you want your teachers to believe in you. I was an average student and had to work hard for my grades. I was a bit crushed and wondered if college and my dream of being a teacher would be attainable. Because I had a strong support system at home and I believed in myself…I became a teacher.
This is why I believe in believing in students.
Believing in their abilities, believing in their contributions, believing in their dreams, believing that we can get them one step closer and guiding them there.
I believe in knowing our students’ abilities whether it is a disability to our talented and gifted. What I don’t believe is that the talented and gifted are getting what they need in a pull out program once or twice a week in just the subjects of math and reading but also incorporating the arts. We are motivators, encouragers, and believers in our students from the toughest of students to the most talented and gifted. I believe our responsibility is a great one, but a rewarding one knowing we did our best in providing an education and built a relationship. I choose to believe in believing in students by knowing their abilities, learning styles, and interest so that I can challenge their strengths as well as work on what they need to progress in while building a relationship and providing a culturally responsive classroom.