Quarter 2 Gifted Update

Where has the year gone? I can't believe that we are already through the first 2 quarters of the school year! I have enjoyed watching and working with the students. One of the highlights for me this quarter was having the 5th graders try the website Padlet for the first time. On Padlet, I pose a question, and the students have an online discussion about that question (kind of like blogging). They loved it! I am looking forward to trying it with the other grades. You can check out what we did here: http://padlet.com/mjackowski/5thgrade

Quarter 2 Curriculum

Math
In Third grade, the students continued working on our Molli Stone unit, which focuses on place value.

Fourth graders have been working with fractions. First, they focused on adding and subtracting fractions, and they are currently working on multiplying fractions by whole numbers.

Fifth graders worked on a variety of topics, including: rational numbers, the coordinate plane, algebraic expressions, and equations and inequalities.

Reading
Fourth graders focused on the concept of change this quarter. They read a variety of texts on the topic. For example, they read a piece from Anne Frank's Diary and discussed the challenges she faced during that time. They read The Republic by Plato and had a Socratic discussion on the concept of history. They also read articles on the weather and discussed how weather patterns change.

Fifth graders started the quarter by completing the novel Everything on a Waffle. They also focused on the concept of change this quarter. Their readings focused on cyclic patterns of change. For example, they read a current event article on the earthquake that hit Chile and discussed the author's purpose.

Gifted Education In Maryland

The following comes from the Maryland State Department of Education:
"Top 10 Things Parents Need to Know about Gifted and Talented Education in Maryland"

1. "Gifted and Talented" is defined in Maryland law.
A gifted and talented student is identified as "having outstanding talent and performing, or showing the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with other students" (Maryland Annotated Code 8-201).

2. There are different types of gifts and talents.
Some gifted students have a general intellectual ability to think and analyze. Others may have specific academic ability in mathematics or science. Still others are creative thinkers who produce unique ideas and products or are highly skilled in the visual and performing arts. There are potentially gifted leaders who exhibit early in life the abilities to influence and organize others.

3. Gifted and Talented students think and learn differently.
These students learn rapidly in areas of interest, have excellent memories, and make unique connections among facts and ideas. They are curious and ask the "big," hard-to-answer questions. They can concentrate for long periods to explore an area of interest. They like to solve problems and may be sensitive beyond their years to moral and ethical issues.

4. Gifts and Talents are identified using multiple methods.
Ability and achievement test scores are typically used, but teacher and parent observations of students' learning behaviors are also important. Examples of student work may provide evidence of advanced capabilities.

5. Programs and services are available.
Maryland public schools offer a variety of acceleration and enrichment opportunities that include: advanced reading or math groups, gifted and talented curriculum units, pull-out enrichment classes, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and more.

6. Some gifted students also have learning difficulties.
Some students are "twice exceptional," which means they are very advanced in one area, such as mathematics, but struggle with organization, writing, or reading. These students may need special education and gifted education services.

7. Extracurricular activities are important.
Students learn teamwork and creative problem solving in Destination ImagiNation (DI) teams, typically sponsored by parents after school. Other opportunities include chess club, MESA, and math team.

8. Special training in gifted education is available.
MSDE and the Maryland Educators for Gifted Students (MEGS) sponsor the annual Maryland State Conference on Gifted and Talented Education in October. For more information, check out www.megsonline.net.

9. Parent support is vital.
Educate yourself and help to educate others about the special needs of gifted and talented students. Become active in your local school's PTO. The Maryland Coalition for Gifted and Talented Education (MCGATE) has some great resources for parents of gifted and talented students. Check out their website at www.mcgate.org/parents.

10. You can get more information.
There is great resources out there, such as the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) website at www.nagc.org or the Hoagies' Gifted Education Page at www.hoagiesgifted.org.