Eighth Grade AIG Update

December 2015

8th Grade ESG - Enrichment Study Groups

ESG students have been engaging in some thought-provoking discussions as we enter into the unit about Psychology. Our "essential question" for this enrichment unit is, "Why do we do what we do?" It's interesting to explore and discover the history of what humans have learned about their thinking, learning and behavior, and this is an especially relevant topic for our gifted students as they sometimes think and feel differently than their peers.

We started off with a quick overview of psychology using the awesome YouTube "Crash Course" by John Green.

Next we spent an entire class learning about the fascinating Behaviorists (Pavlov, Skinner, and Watson) who believed that human behaviors are only a reaction to environment based on reinforcement (positive and negative) and punishment. It was quite entertaining to see the realization that our students have been "conditioned" to get quiet when we count down from five or turn the lights off. Students really enjoyed this conversation because it helped them understand where human behaviors, both conditioned and unconditioned, might come from.

Our psychology unit will continue on for the next six weeks. We'll study psychotherapy, specifically humanist theories, as well as moral development and Dabrowski's theories of overexcitabilities. We really wanted to pick significant theories that can relate to and support the unique affective aspects of giftedness.

Eighth AIG Comprehensive Study Groups

In eighth grade CSG students have been exploring colleges and universities. Each student was asked to select a community college, an in state public college, an out-of-state public college, a private college, and an Ivy League school for their research, which focused primarily on how much a four year education costs. Students also have been developing understandings of terms such as credit hours, room, board, fees, full-time, and tuition.

Interest Study Groups

Students who qualify for ISG or "Interest Study Groups" have the opportunity to apply to take online courses in content areas of interest or strength, and, in most cases, acquire high school credit. Students access the courses through the North Carolina Virtual Public School and spend time each school day working in their online classes in lieu of one of their exploratories. Currently there are eighth grade students enrolled in Introduction to Visual Arts, Journalism, English I, and French I.

Monthly Meetings and Check-ins

Mrs. Nichols strives to meet with all students who have this AIG service. Students receive a pass in the morning or at lunch, and they are asked to meet Mrs. Nichols in her room for a quick check-in and discussion about school and how it's going.

This year each student with this service has been invited to meet twice with Mrs. Nichols. First students spent time reflecting on and discussing the relationship between effort, motivation, interest and achievement. Our second meeting was focused on academic and affective goal setting with some discussion about how these goals can be achieved.