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    justinwilliams, Jessica D, Xtydell, lll, A WA parent
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    Originally Posted by ajinlove
    Last year in first grade, the school came up with an individual plan for math. He was given a math packet to do in class on his own and met with the math specialist once every week or every other week to check on his progress. It did not work out as well as intended. He wasn't really interested in doing the packet. I suspect that he did not like the idea that he was the only one doing the packet and he was not at the point where he would learn new math topics on his own without any instructions from the teacher.
    Offering children the opportunity for self-taught (autodidatcic), socially isolated learning is truly heinous, IMO. Shame on schools for doing this. This practice pairs advanced work with social isolation and encourages advanced kids to self-select to level out. In an article found on the Davidson Database, called Gifted children: Youth mental health update, there is a section subtitled Giftedness and Self-esteem, which highlights findings of a study by Miraca Gross:
    In her study of exceptionally gifted children, Gross has reported that the self-esteem of exceptionally gifted students tends to be significantly lower than the self-esteem of average students, especially when the school is unwilling or unable to allow them access to other children who share their levels of intellectual, oral and psychosocial development. Thus the gifted child is placed in the forced dilemma of choosing to minimize intellectual interests and passions for the sake of sustaining peer relations or of pursuing intellectual interests at the cost of becoming socially isolated in the classroom. As Gross poignantly added "The gifted must be one of the few remaining groups in our society who are compelled, by the constraints of the educative and social system within which they operate, to choose which of two basic psychological needs should be fulfilled."
    There are also several means of assigning grades which may make children appear to have leveled out.

    Quote
    They think the new math extension program they are setting up this school year for advanced 2nd grade math learners will challenge him.
    What do they base their belief upon? This may be worth some gentle probing... as groundwork and prep for future advocacy.

    Unfortunately, it sounds to me like yet another district which plans to keep gifted or advanced learners stagnated so they can close the achievement gap or excellence gap, and is thinly masking this as so-called 'opportunities' for gifted/advanced learners.

    On one hand I wonder whether presenting the article "What a Child Does Not Learn" to the district may be helpful in convincing them your child needs a challenge worthy of his potential.

    On the other hand, no matter how much good I find in any particular article, there often seems to be a catch... a phrase or idea which the school or district may focus on to turn the momentum in a different direction. In this case, I see
    Originally Posted by article
    If during the first five or six years of school, a child earns good grades and high praise without having to make much effort, what are all the things he doesn’t learn that most children learn by third grade?
    Unfortunately, if the school or district chooses not to focus on the larger point of a student's experience in the face of a challenge (or lack thereof), but chooses to focus on grades and/or praise... it may simply choose to withhold high grades and/or praise and erroneously believe that it has created a rich opportunity for learning the 10 skills listed in the article... without having provided a challenge worthy of the child's potential.

    Quote
    I am not sure how advanced the other kids will be in this extension class and I haven't heard what the format it will be (pullout? in-class differentiation?), since this is a new program for the school (gifted programs start at 3rd grade).
    You may wish to begin gathering a list of your questions. Ultimately you'll want to know the 5Ws of any gifted offering.

    Are there other possible learning environments or schools which you might be able to evaluate as potentially being a better "fit" for your child?

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    Originally Posted by indigo
    Offering children the opportunity for self-taught (autodidatcic), socially isolated learning is truly heinous, IMO.

    Grouping advanced students together for instruction is better, but letting them work independently may be better than forcing them to study the grade-level material they have already mastered.

    One of the elementary school teachers of our eldest sons let him work on math contest problems independently. That was better than nothing.

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    I understand your point, Bostonian, and under the circumstances which you describe I totally agree that what was offered to your child was better than nothing. smile

    That said, working independently for a math competition gives the child a sense of belonging and identity: While the peer group does not exist in the child's classroom, it exists as a broader distribution and is comprised of contest entrants.

    Allowing work on math at a competitive level may also be distinct from requiring a child to be routinely self-taught in mathematical concepts.

    Therefore independent work for a math competition may be quite different than the socially isolating and autodidactic demands of a packet... even though the socially isolating, autodidactic packet may be euphemistically termed "independent work".

    In general, gifted kids and advanced learners need and may benefit from "differentiated instruction", not "differentiated task demands", which may be seen as punitive.

    As tedious as it may be, I encourage parents to look beyond buzzwords and learn the 5Ws of any gifted program or offering, in order to understand what their child will experience (and proactively assess it's potential positive or detrimental effects). This might help ensure that your child is receiving the opportunities needed to develop the 10 skills mentioned in the article.

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    Besides the after-school programs we have signed up for DS7, there is no gifted school nearby and we cannot do homeschooling right now. I was told by other parents that the gifted program that starts in 3rd grade is very good. But before that, I want my kid to be challenged academically. He's already showing signs that he thinks everything should be easy. He doesn't like anything that requires hard work or more effort (practicing piano, for example).

    He's not as mathsy as many of the PG kids, but he does learn fast and has an excellent memory. He will not learn much in math in school with the current setup. I seriously doubt the new extension program is going to be advanced enough for him. The 3rd grade challenged math (a half year accelerated pace) would be a better option. The best option is the 3rd grade advanced math, which is whole grade accelerated. I was told by the district people though, that they've never done it for anyone before, so why would they do this for us! So frustrating!

    I will keep trying but for the meantime, we will have to spend more money and energy on outside of school activities.

    edited to answer a missed question:

    [quote]What do they base their belief upon? [quote]
    I am not sure why they would think the 2nd grade extension program would challenge my son enough. They did not even know what the program is going to be like. But I think they will pick the kids who will score well on the fall MAP test and CogAT. I think I should find out. They should have a better idea now since school has already started...

    Last edited by ajinlove; 08/23/16 08:33 AM.
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    Originally Posted by ajinlove
    The best option is the 3rd grade advanced math, which is whole grade accelerated. I was told by the district people though, that they've never done it for anyone before, so why would they do this for us!
    When advocating for your child, an answer to their question may be:
    - You would choose to do this because it is in the best interests of this child.
    - It is the best way to meet this child's needs for math education.
    - This child has demonstrated readiness and ability.
    - And then you might share the article with them, emphasizing that appropriate placement at a child's zone of proximal development provides more than an opportunity for a child to learn academics... it provides the child with the opportunity to learn important life skills (those skills being the 10 points made in the article).

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    Thank you so much, indigo!

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    You are welcome.

    It may help to know that a school and/or district may be thinking in terms of being a "system" (ie: we've always done it that way), and trying to get you to think in that context.

    You, as the parent and advocate, will be thinking in terms of your child's development (ie: academic/intellectual, social/emotional, physical, etc) and trying to get the school to think in that context.

    Previous experiences with other families may also make a school amenable or resistant to advocacy/acceleration, with the effect of negative experiences being like smacking the oobleck with a spoon, creating an unyielding solid which is less likely to be flexible. (Less likely to provide your child with the appropriate academic placement and educational experiences which would afford opportunity to develop the 10 skills listed in the article.)

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