I would use the checklist on page 84. This checklist offers observations of a home that sets the foundation for optimal conditions for a child to be nurtured. I am thinking of using this checklist and adapting it and adding it to my flipchart for Open House. I often get asked questions by my parents asking for advice on how to best support their gifted child at home. This checklist is concise and lists great suggestions. On page 90, Tip Sheet 4 would be useful with my students. Learning to relax is useful to everyone, especially some of my more high-strung students who are worriers or panic when taking tests.
To PKassir June 27Adding the checklist to a flipchart for Open House is a brilliant idea. I think the checklists/tip sheets/worksheets will be useful resources for all of us in the future. They are short, sweet, and to the point which makes them easy to share with parents and colleagues. You're right...learning to relax is useful to everyone at one time or another (parents, educators, and students alike).
In response to PKassir:I also have parents asking how they can work with their kids at home. This book is full of those ideas! Also, learning to relax is so important even for the adults in our schools. If we can teach our kids these skills now, this may help them grow into healthier and happier high schoolers and adults.
PKassir, great idea! I think this would work in many of my classes, not just GT ones. I hand out a student inventory at the start of the year and I also ask my parents to write me a "recommendation" letter for their child (I teach all seniors)--this would be a valuable addition to that. I know many parents would profit from the information in this book!
PKassir- definitely a great idea to add the checklist to take home materials or parent meetings. CWinegar- I LOVE the "recommendation letter" idea. Do you mind me asking what your return rate is? I teach juniors and seniors and would like to try this.
I would use the checklist, chapter 6, page 80. I think it's appropriate to look at my classroom and do my own little inventory as a means of a quick check. Sometimes we lose sight of what we are doing and we don't always update our rooms, our techniques. I find this checklist a great way to check on things. Another technique I would use is in chapter 7, page 101 "Behavior Reflection". I think too often because of time restraints, we confront, then discipline, then move on. We don't give children time to debrief and look at what happened. This is something I will use this coming year.
Ms. E, Thank you for your post! I also think that checklist on page 80 is a good way to "take the temperature" in the classroom. Sometimes I think my children are on board and know what is going on, and then am very surprised when I find out they don't have a clue! This would be a great way to make sure that I am communicating clearly.
I agree totally. We get so familiar with what we do, that change is difficult, especially if you are teaching multiple preps. I like to hear what the kids have to say as well, so I give them a survey at the end, it might be good to give them that at the beginning.
I would use the classroom inventory on page 80. I think the inventory holds everyone accountable for their actions. It gets teachers thinking about how they set up and deliver their behavior management system. It really makes you think about whether your expectations are really clear to the students and if the expectations and consequences are consistent. This would be a great tool to use when planning, or updating, the behavior management system for your classroom for the upcoming school year.
In response to KMuske's June 27th posting, I would agree that consistency is important as to the behavior management system you have established. Clarity of these expectations should be done early on in the beginning of the school year. The classroom inventory is a good check, but every class has its own special ambience and management procedures may vary.
In reply to K Muske on June 27, I really like the idea of the classroom inventory. I think it encourages participation and "buy in" from both the teacher(s) and the students. I think the collaboration is so important for creating a positive classroom environment that provides clear and consistent expectations.
I really like the list on page 90 that suggests ways to chill. Our little perfectionists are ones that really need to know how to relax and give themselves a break from the constant pressure they put upon themselves. The behavior and reflection tips on page100 is good and we do have to use follow through. It’s important to sit down with the disciplined child and have them explain the why’s and how’s of what happened and won’t happen again. Time to reflect with the child can be rewarding for both teacher and student. Communication is important for reflection, evaluation, and enriches the teacher-student relationship.
Stacey L is replying to T Healey- I like your blog on how to get the perfectionist to chill. I agree that they need to have a break from constant pressure they put upon themselves wheather warrented or not. This may help with the commuication and help with the student/teacher relationship.
In response to T Healy's post on June 27th: I agree with you..My g/t students feel like they have to be perfect and they won't choose or write an answer until they have reassurance from me that they have the correct answer. The list on page 90 about how to relax would be a great benefit to many of my students. I think i am going to use this and have my g/t students keep this list in the front of the science binder so they can see it everytime they open their science section as a visual reminder about how to relax!
In response to T Healy's post on June 27: I had a g/t student this year who often fell into the trap of being Paralyzed by Perfectionism. He was a strong writer, but only wanted to write if inspired or thought the essay would be profound. He did not finish his Writing EOC which is one of the fifteen tests required for graduation, so he failed it. The fact that the new STAAR/End-of-Course exams are timed can really challenge our g/t students when they are required to write three separate one-page essays, plus revise and edit texts.
@ Denise Healy 6/28My gifted nephew has been paralyzed this semester with the mundane college classes that are required for graduation. He reads the book and gets it, but class attendance and meaningless practice are killing him. I have found he is most likely to fall into the trap of perfectionism-throughout the classes-when he has to do repetitive boring work. I am working with him on a schedule for next semester that balances his classes. I like the classroom activity for buy in. I will of course have to modify it to fit college life.
I would really like to use the Classroom Inventory on page 80. I think this a good tool to get my classroom set up and make sure that I am meeting the needs for my gifted students. It is a way for me to check my teaching stratagies. I believe this will help keep everyone accountable and sets into place a checks and balance. Consistant boundries are very important for everyone in the classroom to feel successful.
I agree with Stacey L. Using the checklist in August to help set up my room will not only help all my students but will also help me to be accountable for my students emotional well being. I think spending more time going over classroom expectations and consequences at the beginning of school will help everyone to see what is expected in my classroom. I also feel getting the students involved with classroom rules will lend more ownership for them.
In response to Stacey L:This checklist will kick off our year on the right foot. And like Laura Boyd said, "spending more time going over classroom expectations and consequences at the beginning of school will help everyone to see what is expected in my classroom." This can also save time with classroom management problems later in the year.
P. 73 Taking every interaction, even the difficult ones, as a teachable moment.I usually want to take the positive experiences as teachable moments and reflect on those more. The harder experiences I usually just want to get through and move on once the discussion is over. I think that sometimes reflecting on the hard discussions I have with these children can help me in the future to be able to figure out other children who may have the same kinds of tendencies.
I agree with Amy. Every interaction can be a teachable moment. By reflecting on the difficult interactions, I will be better able to handle situations in the future.
AmyL, I agree! I find that the GT students who seem to push my buttons by asking as many questions as they can (some of which seem to have no purpose other than to "test" me or put me on the spot) are usually doing it because they truly want to know the answers to difficult questions and ideas. When I've taken the time to stop and create a teachable moment, more often than not, it leads us into a deeper conversation and I get the sense that we've all gained each other's respect a bit more. (And alas, there are times when I realize they have brilliantly forced me to meander down the path of a long, drawn-out tangent that has done nothing but killed time--kudos to them, I guess! :) )
I would like to use Tip sheet1 on ebook page 103 in my classroom which gives suggestions for short classroom meetings. I have so little time in the school day, but I think that carving out time for classroom meetings would be helpful for students and their social development. This could be a great way to problem solve with the entire class.
What a great idea that PKassir, June 27 had in adding the checklist to a flip chart for Open House. It would be a great way to start the year with giving parents some tips that bridge the classroom and home.
"No matter what the child says or does, do not engage," p. 90. This is similar to one of the Love and Logic strategies. I love the relaxation techniques that can help a teacher during this time. Also, remembering that it is ok to step away for a quiet moment. After we have both had some quiet time, we are more likely to have a productive debriefing.
To travelingbug June 27We have many of the same thoughts, I'm noticing! I thought the exact same thing when I read pg 90. My school is heavy into Love & Logic, so "do not engage" really makes sense to me. Also, the notion of having a time out myself is brilliant to me. I actually tried it earlier today with my 3 year old.
In response to travelingbug June 27Great point about the teacher/parent learning relaxation techniques so that one can remain calm, focused, disengaged, and in control of an outburst situation. When armed with the tools we need to stay disengaged and then ready to help the gifted student decompress, debrief using the Mirror Technique, and reflect using Behavioral Reflection we can feel confident about what each new day brings.
Page 94. During the Crisis. With everything I have learned and will apply, Gifted children can still have an emotional explosion. As teachers we need to realize that the outburst is not about us but about how the student is handling the stress. As adults we need to disengage from the crisis at hand. As an adult I have to know that I cannot get pulled into the students outburst. All students know how to push a teachers button. As adults we have to understand this and have a action plan if this happens. I like when they said, "Parents need to know their escalation cycle." By understanding these we can help to diffuse our reactions which will help the student to also calm down. Being able to not engage the student helps them to gain control of the situation without feeling they have to prove themselves.
In response to Laura Boyd on June 27, I agree that we, as adults, have to watch that we do not get pulled into a student’s “outburst.” I also agree that we have to look for the signs that the student’s emotions are escalating and have put the student’s plan of action into place. Building relationships with our students will also help us “see” the signs that a student is beginning to not be able to control their emotions. I really like that the student is able to get involved with setting up the plan. This will give them ownership and help them gain control of the situation.
I agree with Laura Boyd June 27th, about staying emotionally detached from the crisis when possible. I thought Fonseca's idea of "Make sure everyone is safe" on page 95 a little disconcerting. Surely she isn't suggesting we remain detached to the point of allowing someone to get hurt. I'm not sure what she means by "additional supports" but I'm sure I would use them (Perhaps even emotionally!) if someone were being harmed by the explosion. I found her suggestions to the teacher (Page 97-98) more usable in the real world.
I would use Tip Sheet 1: Holding a Classroom Meeting on page 73. In my opinion, it is a natural part of creating a nurturing classroom environment. Every student in my classroom should feel safe, even students who struggle emotionally. Holding classroom meetings encourages positive student/teacher interaction and facilitates the development of social skills. My experience with classroom meetings has been more like community circles. We would easily get off topic and, although it built community, it wasn’t organized. I like how tip sheet gives guidelines on how classroom meetings can be conducted in order to be effective.
I would use Worksheet 3 from page 76: Household Inventory for ChildrenThis Inventory asks kids clear questions about expectations, consequences, appropriate boundaries, stable reactions from parents, opportunities for contributions to the household. This list is a great conversation starter in the home with kids and their parents. Parents are our biggest allies, so we need to work together to establish rules and boundaries for their kids at home and at school.
The most relevant thing to me were the tips to communication between parents on pages 82-83. I work very hard at keeping the lines of communication open with parents, these tips will really help me out.
I will use the classroom inventory on page 80. This got me thinking about how i set up the discipline in my room. A lot of times I feel like I am just reviewing the rules and expectations that my g/t students have heard in other classrooms and i think i sound like a broken record so I sometimes feel like I tend to just "jump over" the rules and consequences. By using page 80, i feel like all students would know what is expected in my science classroom...I also think it would help me to not sound like a broken record repeating what they have already heard most of the day in every other classroom..I am looking forward to trying this..
Well said Helen Roberts! This is exactly what happens and now that you mention it, I guess this is how I feel and THEY must feel too. It is the same thing every year. I also liked the section where she talked about respect, responsibilty and courtesy as the guiding themes for setting up clear expectations.
I plan to use Worksheet 9: How do you know? on page 109. Next year I will be co-teaching, and I think this activity will be useful for helping any student who struggles with self confidence and self concept.On a side note, I am having trouble understanding the author's comments regarding "who you are is not what you do" (top of p. 104 & top of p. 50). The author are explained that Meredith's peer rejection was a result of her behavior not her (the person). I don't disagree with the idea, but I do not have a comfortable understanding of it. I think about the Dr. Seuss quote that states "Be who you are and say what you feel because those that mind don't matter and those that matter don't mind." Advice? Thoughts?
@ SAcevedo 6/28Dr. Seuss makes a wonderful point but how an individual says something is the real challenge. Meredith's peer did not dislike her but I don't think her tone matched her intention of help. Today's society is much more collaborative then the days of Seuss. His was an era of competition and thus stating your mine often elevated your status. Meredith was facing a peer group that wishes to share and collaborate. Perspective is everything. Also, I think it is not collaboration or competition...it is knowing which one is appropriate when.
I like the idea of a classroom meeting (p. 73) giving students input into the daily classroom behavioral expectations and other topics of concern. The use of a “suggestion box” might facilitate the development of topics for the meetings, especially for the introverted student reluctant to speak out in a group setting. Giving students a voice gives them the impetus to own and be more likely to buy into the classroom guidelines and behavioral expectations. I also like the idea of having students fill out a classroom inventory (p. 79) because it gives the teacher and students another venue for communication. If a teacher, especially a newer teacher, feels that a professional opinion is needed, the Classroom Inventory (p. 80) is perfect when seeking guidance from a colleague.
I already gave one idea I would use in question 2. The tip sheet for developing an emotional vocabulary. Page 87. Another is the Worksheet 7 and Tip sheet 5. These seem like a great way to review what happened from the child's perspective after an explosion has occurred.
I like the idea of having a classroom meeting. In the past I have tried this, but have never been able to be consisitent with it. It seems as the year gets more intense, we have less time. I can see how having this forum would be very helpful as students can feel like they are making a difference. I like the checklist she gives on page 143 (e-reader page number) that helps guide the meeting. I also like worksheet 4 - Classroom Inventory. I want to use this to reflect througout the year.
In response to Bozab,Our campus used to be very strong with TRIBES, and the community groups helped to build teamwork in the classroom. The last couple of years we've been very "busy" and haven't taken the time to have those class meetings, but I think that in some ways, that does help the stress level. Not all children felt like talking in the big group, but enough talked that the others knew that they weren't alone with their feelings towards some issues and situations. It is easy to push those kinds of activities to the side, isn't it--it's not tested!
I like Tip 2: Overcoming Communication Difficulties Between Teachers and Parents (page 60 - ebook)Remember that both parties have the best interests of the student at heart. Begin the meeting with a goal, treat each other with respect, and listen carefully to each other.
Well, my first thought is to remember to follow these ideas throughout the year. 1. P.73 Community Circle Meeting: Everyday. The kids love it and it always pays back handsomely. 2. P.80 Classroom Inventory: Asking them to talk and/or journal would help to be sure everyone is on the same page. Explicit teaching and reflecting is wonderful. 3. P.101 Behavior Reflection*** As a teacher, I know I think I will get to debrief and often times it does not happen. This would help with my commitment to the conversation. I know if the child does this thinking, they certainly will want to share it with me.
I think the relaxation techniques are something I would want to teach all my children (page 90). I don't know about the "breathing of colors" with second graders, though! I might replace it with this:Deep Breathing: This activity helps children relax by slowing their breathing rate, decreasing the heart rate and normalizing blood pressure. Teach your child to take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds and then release it. On inhaling, the abdomen should expand and not the chest. Deep breathing is the process of slow inhalation followed by slow and complete exhalation. It should be done in a comfortable position, sitting or lying down. Practicing deep breathing regularly has lasting effects on overall health.(found here: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/top-ten-relaxation-techniques-for-children.html)Everyone benefits from learning ways to deal with stress, and it is something they are going to have to deal with all their lives. I like the idea of introducing them to different styles, since one thing isn't going to work for all kiddos. This past year my guys liked my relaxing piano CD and one that had compositions by John Williams (Star Wars...'nough said...that brought pleasant feelings to many!)
The ideas on pages 68-69 regarding the importance of having predictable reactions, especially to "hot-button" issues spoke to me. I have had many students who have tested me in various ways--and with most of them, we are both aware of just what it was they could say or do that would get me upset or flustered. Being aware of this with the more emotionally intense students and anticipating how I would react would help me take that step back/time out that would be necessary to help alleviate frustration as well as an escalation of the situation.
I too liked the Tip Sheet on p.90 since I feel like it not only would help the students but also me. I was actually telling someone that there are places in this book where it reminds me of me. There are rare occasions that both the students and I both happen to reach that emotional intensity level so this would be an easy way to create a "safe" place where students can be successful.