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    #245561 - 05/22/19 06:24 PM New elementary GT program best practices?
    sunnyday Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/08/14
    Posts: 56
    After some false starts in the past few years, my small district is finally rebooting their G&T program. I went ahead and nominated my fourth grader (rising fifth) for testing, and after CogAT, portfolio review, and teacher interviews, she's been accepted to the program. However, the Special Services director, a new hire this school year, has invited input into how they devise the program, which will start in the fall.

    Are there any good resources for how to provide on-level learning and enrichment for a very small number of students in a very underfunded school? Are there any good questions I should be asking?

    My DD is probably HG, and does okay in school as long as her teachers know to challenge her as best they can, and as long as we do various things at home. But she's suffering from a lot of the challenges typical of gifted girls, like hiding her talents around her friends or getting REALLY frustrated on the rare occasion that things don't come easily (including sports). These are our biggest challenges and our biggest reasons for trying the G&T program, even though I'm not optimistic it will be capable of addressing these issues.

    Thanks for any advice!

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    #245563 - 05/23/19 06:56 AM Re: New elementary GT program best practices? [Re: sunnyday]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4144
    Here are a few old threads which may help provide ideas and/or stimulate more responses and discussion:
    - Ideal educational setting
    - Differentiation within Gifted Program?
    - What's the Gold standard for gifted Ed?
    - Buzzwords

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    #245570 - 05/23/19 04:46 PM Re: New elementary GT program best practices? [Re: sunnyday]
    sunnyday Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/08/14
    Posts: 56
    Thanks for the links! To be clear, DD says that she only saw 1 or 2 other fourth and fifth graders testing when she did. So I don't think we're looking at a full self-contained classroom of gifted learners by any means. Honestly my expectation is that there *might* be a multi-grade pull-out as often as once a week, but more likely it will just consist of the district G&T teacher providing the classroom teachers with guidance on how to deal with her, or an IEP-style framework that would excuse her from busy work to free her up for on-level work?

    Also realized I didn't mention that my DS is in sixth grade now, and is also at least HG. So we've already been through the fifth grade teaching team. They're all great, and they know my kids need something extra. They just vary in their ability to provide it.

    I was just curious if anyone else is operating in a small public school, within a small district, with not a lot of funding. I know that most parents here have pushed for whole-grade or at least subject-level acceleration. But if pull-outs and differentiated work are part of the plan, what does that look like? Can I ask for online coursework? Project-based learning in lieu of homework? Are there any well-researched resources that indicate what the known best practices are for this scenario?

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    #245596 - 05/29/19 12:14 AM Re: New elementary GT program best practices? [Re: sunnyday]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4144
    Originally Posted By: sunnyday
    I know that most parents here have pushed for whole-grade or at least subject-level acceleration.
    "Pushed" may have a negative connotation. Some might say that parents here have "advocated for..."

    Originally Posted By: sunnyday
    But if pull-outs and differentiated work are part of the plan, what does that look like?
    You might want to re-read the Buzzwords thread.

    A pull-out just means the child leaves the regular classroom. It says nothing about what is occurring, or the aptness or value of what your child is experiencing, during that time span.

    Differentiated work (differentiated task demands) can mean more difficult and time-consuming homework (often regarded as a negative). Unfortunately, it does not necessarily mean teaching appropriately challenging advanced curriculum in the child's zone of proximal development (ZPD), which would be a positive.

    Originally Posted By: sunnyday
    Can I ask for online coursework?
    For online courses, Art of Problem Solving (AoPS) may be of interest for math. Students might also attend a math class with pupils in a higher grade level (which is often more cost effective).

    Originally Posted By: sunnyday
    Project-based learning in lieu of homework?
    Think in terms of: What does the child know? What is the child ready to learn next? What are the child's interests?

    Talk with your child, and be sure you are on the same page before beginning advocacy. It may also be time to work with your child to develop positive skills for self-advocacy.

    Originally Posted By: sunnyday
    Are there any well-researched resources that indicate what the known best practices are for this scenario?
    This current thread may also be of interest: District gifted program design

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    #245609 - 05/31/19 09:45 AM Re: New elementary GT program best practices? [Re: indigo]
    sunnyday Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/08/14
    Posts: 56
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    Originally Posted By: sunnyday
    I know that most parents here have pushed for whole-grade or at least subject-level acceleration.
    "Pushed" may have a negative connotation. Some might say that parents here have "advocated for..."


    "Used their greatest advocacy efforts on?" LOL. I'm just saying that I see acceleration being the most common course of action mentioned in these forums. I'm primarily looking for options OTHER than that.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted By: sunnyday
    But if pull-outs and differentiated work are part of the plan, what does that look like?
    You might want to re-read the Buzzwords thread.

    A pull-out just means the child leaves the regular classroom. It says nothing about what is occurring, or the aptness or value of what your child is experiencing, during that time span.

    Differentiated work (differentiated task demands) can mean more difficult and time-consuming homework (often regarded as a negative). Unfortunately, it does not necessarily mean teaching appropriately challenging advanced curriculum in the child's zone of proximal development (ZPD), which would be a positive.


    Right, but here I am speaking of BEST PRACTICES. Ways to differentiate instruction or put the student in a different environment, in a beneficial manner as opposed to the sneaky wordsmithing of evil, adversarial teachers and administrators. wink

    Quote:
    Originally Posted By: sunnyday
    Can I ask for online coursework?
    For online courses, Art of Problem Solving (AoPS) may be of interest for math. Students might also attend a math class with pupils in a higher grade level (which is often more cost effective).


    Sorry, my question was whether other public elementary school parents have successfully integrated online coursework into their child's day. And yes, I know that single-subject acceleration is something that a lot of people on this forum advocate for. grin And I know what my resources are should I choose to pursue them. (We have the AOPS curriculum for 5th grade and for Prealgebra, and would love to try their online school...IF the school can replace math with it, not pile it on top.)

    Quote:
    Originally Posted By: sunnyday
    Project-based learning in lieu of homework?
    Think in terms of: What does the child know? What is the child ready to learn next? What are the child's interests?


    Yes, exactly. And there are many explorations we could undertake, but her tolerance for "school" is burnt out by the time she does her busywork homework. In the early grades I took it on myself to excuse my children from homework and to use the time better. My children are now too focused on their own grades and performance to be willing to do this, so my hope was that some other parent would report that forgoing homework was a reasonable accommodation they'd asked for and received; or my concern was that some other parent would report that forgoing homework was the most resisted accommodation they'd requested.

    Quote:
    Talk with your child, and be sure you are on the same page before beginning advocacy. It may also be time to work with your child to develop positive skills for self-advocacy.


    Absolutely both my children are a central part of the conversation, from choosing to test to deciding which accommodations to pursue. To be completely honest my DD wants to try whole-grade acceleration. She's requested that we spend the summer brushing up on fifth grade subjects to ensure she won't experience gaps, then wants to enroll in sixth grade in the fall. But I'm not convinced that her motivation is sound (she likes getting attention for being the youngest in the room, and it's a psychological crutch for her not to have to worry about perfection because she has the excuse of being young.) And I'm not convinced she's socially/emotionally ready for the jump to middle school at 10.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted By: sunnyday
    Are there any well-researched resources that indicate what the known best practices are for this scenario?
    This current thread may also be of interest: District gifted program design


    I did just see that thread and will be diving into its links, thanks!!


    Edited by sunnyday (05/31/19 09:47 AM)

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    #245610 - 05/31/19 11:17 AM Re: New elementary GT program best practices? [Re: sunnyday]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3457
    A lot here to respond to...
    I'm just going to comment on a tiny piece of it. With regard to homework and busywork in general, I frequently recommend an accommodation variously worded as "quality over quantity", "items sufficient to demonstrate mastery of skills and concepts", or, more generically, "reduced workload". Typically, this is for students with slow processing speed, or fine motor deficits, but I've also used it with highly advanced students (usually 2e, in my case).

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    #245611 - 05/31/19 01:43 PM Re: New elementary GT program best practices? [Re: aeh]
    sunnyday Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/08/14
    Posts: 56
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    A lot here to respond to...
    I'm just going to comment on a tiny piece of it. With regard to homework and busywork in general, I frequently recommend an accommodation variously worded as "quality over quantity", "items sufficient to demonstrate mastery of skills and concepts", or, more generically, "reduced workload". Typically, this is for students with slow processing speed, or fine motor deficits, but I've also used it with highly advanced students (usually 2e, in my case).


    Sounds good! I expect my daughter, like my son before her, to struggle with reading comprehension worksheets and with the slow pace of in-class math work. I could see formulating this as a request for reduced workload in the form of sheets and short answers, balanced by an increased amount of larger-scale book reports and deeper math problems. Hm.

    I've also thought of proposing this as a Bloom's Taxonomy kind of thing. Skipping over the knowing and understanding and applying levels, in order to dive fully into the analyzing and evaluating and creating levels?

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    #245612 - 05/31/19 05:16 PM Re: New elementary GT program best practices? [Re: sunnyday]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4144
    Originally Posted By: sunnyday
    request for reduced workload in the form of sheets and short answers, balanced by an increased amount of larger-scale book reports and deeper math problems. Hm.
    It appears that you are asking for differentiated task demands?
    Not necessarily appropriately challenging curriculum in your child's ZPD?
    Does this meet your child's needs?
    Is your child in agreement with you advocating for this?

    Originally Posted By: sunnyday
    I've also thought of proposing this as a Bloom's Taxonomy kind of thing. Skipping over the knowing and understanding and applying levels, in order to dive fully into the analyzing and evaluating and creating levels?
    Do you want your child taught at this level?
    Do you want your child to produce at this level?

    Some links for future readers who may be unfamiliar:
    Bloom's taxonomy on Davidson Database
    Bloom's taxonomy on NAGC (also embedded link)


    Originally Posted By: sunnyday
    Right, but here I am speaking of BEST PRACTICES. Ways to differentiate instruction or put the student in a different environment, in a beneficial manner as opposed to the sneaky wordsmithing of evil, adversarial teachers and administrators. wink
    The links provided upthread include common pitfalls to avoid and also the essential research-based best practices for gifted education:
    1- appropriately challenging curriculum & pacing in the student's ZPD
    2- grouping with intellectual peers
    Beyond that, programs and services vary widely; gifted students vary in level-of-gifted (LOG), specific strengths/weaknesses, interests, motivation, etc.

    Originally Posted By: sunnyday
    Sorry, my question was whether other public elementary school parents have successfully integrated online coursework into their child's day. And yes, I know that single-subject acceleration is something that a lot of people on this forum advocate for. grin And I know what my resources are should I choose to pursue them. (We have the AOPS curriculum for 5th grade and for Prealgebra, and would love to try their online school...IF the school can replace math with it, not pile it on top.)
    Your ability to successfully advocate for a particular resource may vary significantly from the results others may achieve, as this is largely controlled by:
    - Your State's laws
    - Your school district policies
    This info and more in advocacy link, upthread.

    Originally Posted By: aeh
    With regard to homework and busywork in general, I frequently recommend an accommodation variously worded as "quality over quantity", "items sufficient to demonstrate mastery of skills and concepts", or, more generically, "reduced workload". Typically, this is for students with slow processing speed, or fine motor deficits, but I've also used it with highly advanced students (usually 2e, in my case).
    sunnyday, please note that aeh indicated use for students who may have a learning disability, learning difference, or deficit. These students may typically have an IEP/504 which requires the school make accomodation to address the disability/difference/deficit.

    Originally Posted By: sunnyday
    Absolutely both my children are a central part of the conversation, from choosing to test to deciding which accommodations to pursue. To be completely honest my DD wants to try whole-grade acceleration. She's requested that we spend the summer brushing up on fifth grade subjects to ensure she won't experience gaps, then wants to enroll in sixth grade in the fall. But I'm not convinced that her motivation is sound (she likes getting attention for being the youngest in the room, and it's a psychological crutch for her not to have to worry about perfection because she has the excuse of being young.) And I'm not convinced she's socially/emotionally ready for the jump to middle school at 10.
    A few potential red flags:
    - child wants full grade acceleration, parent does not?
    - child does not worry about perfection, parent thinks child should?
    - child may need parental coaching on not "playing the age card"?
    It is important to work through these issues as a family. This roundup on pros-and-cons of acceleration may help provide conversation starters.

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    #245645 - 06/05/19 03:47 PM Re: New elementary GT program best practices? [Re: indigo]
    sunnyday Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/08/14
    Posts: 56
    Thanks as always for the resources!

    When it comes to educating my children, my first and foremost concern is preserving their desire to learn. I want them to keep their intrinsic motivation and curiosity. Most other issues, including the actual level of knowledge content they receive, are kind of secondary. Content can always come later. So in that sense, no, I don't necessarily need them to have a challenging curriculum (especially in absence of the human resources to teach that curriculum.) But I do need them to understand that unchallenging curriculum is not an invitation to underperform. I want them to feel responsible for their learning, regardless of curriculum.

    Those red flags sound terrible when you put it that way! grin But yes, she's basically playing the age card. When presented with a task geared to her age-level or grade-level norm, she displays some perfectionism in that she expects such tasks to come easily. But when presented with a task intended for older children, she doesn't put in commensurate effort, she just coasts because she's still "pretty good for her age," you know? I don't want her to have perfectionist anxiety. grin But I do want her to understand that, regardless of whether she's surrounded by age-peers or not, she can and should find a worthwhile challenge.

    For example, she was invited to join the fifth grade FLL robotics team this year, and she was a productive contributing member. But if I ask her if she has any interest in working on some programming skills now to build toward the next season, she points out that she already did about as well as the fifth graders at programming skills.

    But I probably need to flesh out whether I'm right, that she's worried that fifth grade expectations will be high enough she will need to work toward them -- or whether she's actually looking forward to sixth grade work being a challenge? She might be motivated by letter grades, and I guess I could see her thriving with the pace of ELA and History as my DS has experienced it this year. And maybe she just wants the pressure off of being "the best" at things. Hm.

    I'll try to spend some time following links and thinking about where we want to go! Thanks again. smile

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    #245661 - 06/06/19 12:42 PM Re: New elementary GT program best practices? [Re: sunnyday]
    sunnyday Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/08/14
    Posts: 56
    Yesterday evening and this morning my kids and I had some good conversations. DD says that she realized that she will need to be in fifth grade if she wants to be on the fifth grade FLL robotics team, and it sounds like she does want a leadership position in that role, so I think that's terrific for her. And she thinks she'll otherwise be okay in fifth grade as long as she can accelerate in math. She says she hopes that her new "accelerated club" (apparently how she thinks of the gifted testing acceptance) will help give her new options in math, but we are also discussing specific accommodations to request. It's so funny how she is different from my son! Even when he was crying and getting stomachaches from the horribly dull pace of fourth grade math, he flatly refused any accommodation that would single him out, whether that was doing different work in class or being pulled out for individual tutoring. DD on the other hand says, "There are only two fourth graders in the accelerated club, so maybe when they hand out the special math, they will announce, 'This is for ____.'" I asked her, would you LIKE that? She replied, "Of course!" grin On the one hand, I've fought against the typical gifted girl's tendency to hide her gifts, so I'm glad she's proud of her ability. On the other hand, it's so rough raising the big fish in a small pond. I've got a real hangup about it, based on always having been the "smartest" myself -- until I got to a situation where I either wasn't the smartest, or where smarts didn't get me far enough and I needed to also apply hard work, and I floundered. frown So, this will be something that we'll have to keep working on...she needs intellectual peers so badly. Sigh.

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