Writing my way through the school year!

Have you ever heard the saying, “He/She treats me like a stepchild?”  Of course, when it is used, it is not  meant to be a compliment.  It meant that the stepchild was ignored, while all the biological children were fawned over by the parents.

I started thinking about this after I read an article in the Holiday 2011 Instructor magazine entitled,  “Challenge Your Top Students”. Soon after reading the article I had a conversation with my sis-in-law who runs a home daycare.  She complained that the students she taught before they went to kindergarten were not being challenged.  They were given the same work as the other students, who are not close to their level of instruction.

This is how I see the gifted child, like the stepchild in that saying.  I realize gifted is seen as just another label by some, but I think it is a label with merit.  You can call them what you want, but you know who I mean.  That child(or children) who stand out from all the rest academically. The ones who exhibit higher order level thinking every day, in almost, or all, subjects. They shine brighter than the other stars in your room.

I fear that our gifted children are being eclipsed. Thanks to standardized testing, and/or the incessant demands placed on us,these students are often ignored.  Worst of all, they are not being challenged, their talents are dulled. They are no longer given the opportunity to stretch, because they have received high scores on standardized tests.

We have 3 levels of reading, Red, Blue, Green. We are told to meet in small groups with Red, who also get pulled for interventions, and the Blue group, who just need a nudge to meet on state testing, every day. The Green group, once or twice a week. Which group do you think represents the gifted students?

I have found a way around this, and I make sure that I challenge all of my students.  There are schools that offer gifted programs to meet the needs of these students.  However, I am sure, there are a number of  classrooms where gifted students needs are completely ignored.

At a meeting I attended, a third grade teacher stated that she was not teaching cursive because it was not on the state test! I wonder what happens to those students who had no problem passing the state test?  Are they getting the same content as all the other students?  Are they being forced to sit through the  inane testing material that we are supposed to drill into our students?  What happens to that bright child who is subjected to that type of classroom environment?

In an era where so many children are dropping out of high school, we need to make sure that we don’t lose the ones least likely to drop out. Put yourself in that child’s position, where day after day, you are given  worksheet after worksheet.  Or your main assignment is to help the students that don’t get it.  How boring!

Fortunately, I have access to  technology that allows  me the ability to create lessons and/or projects that give my gifted kids a chance to be who they are, smarter than average. And as difficult as it is to differentiate instruction, along with all the other requirements we have to fulfill, we owe it to our gifted students to provide lessons and/or projects that engage and challenge!

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Comments on: "“Are Our Gifted Children Being Left Behind?”" (16)

  1. I totally agree with your point. I wish you had talked more about how you address the challenge, however. Can you elaborate more on the technology you mention in the last paragraph? How long has this tool been available to you? Is this something provided and/or promoted by your school system or did you have to seek this out on your own?

    • I included a link to an article called, “Smart and Bored”, where the author has excellent suggestions on how you can engage gifted students.When I talk about technology, I am talking about the tech resources I use in my classroom on an every day basis. ( Edmodo, Voki, Collaborative Classroom, blogs, global projects, etc…)I use it with the entire class, and pump up the curriculum for my gifted kids.

      • Thanks. I did not notice the link on first reading. It looks like it has some of the info in which I am interested. It’s good to know there are public school teachers not only *thinking* about the issues of more advanced students but actually *doing something* to meet their needs. Thank you for your efforts.

      • I read the article and meant to link it, and forgot. I added it after I read your comment, hope it helps. Thanks for the reminder.
        And, you are welcome.:)

  2. […] “Are Our Gifted Children Being Left Behind?” « Diary of a Public … I fear that our gifted children are being eclipsed. Thanks to standardized testing, and/or the incessant demands placed on us,these students are often ignored. Worst of all, they are not being challenged, their talents are dulled. Source: oldschoolteach.wordpress.com […]

  3. In my opinion and from experience I feel that gifted children and special needs are given all the attention. It is the average child that appears to be left behind. These are children that always seems to be paid less attention to because they are survivors and many times accepting of what coms their way…

    • Textbooks are written with the average student in mind. State standards are created with the average student in mind. You can be sure that the average student is definitely not left behind in the era of NCLB.

  4. Grace Wade said:

    Yes. Gifted children are being forgotten and made to bare the pressure in the public school classrooms where, in reality, they are embarrassingly minimal in number. I have taught GATE for years and it has been a job of a magician trying to juggle the pressure of bringing to proficiency far-below, and below basic students through the advent of RTI,(IDEA Act, 2007) while the population of gifted students are thought to have what it takes to make the same or better academic achievements. Bad Assumption! Gifted students are assumed to have what it takes to maintain their proficiency. with minimal direct instruction. Not true! These kids need just as much intervention as students with special needs, especially as they approach more conceptual learning. Meanwhile, my gifted students are drifting farther and farther from the curve, because, let’s face it, there is just not enough time to split in good quality time for these students, most of whom are really overachievers and non-motivated. The approach was a set-up for failure! My last year’s scores reflected the results of focusing on 3 strategic groups for the numbers game. Environment, bullying, social and economic problems all are issues that also cannot be ignored. My gifted children made little change and some of them spiraled miserable to approaching proficiency. I was bluntly asked, “What happened?” Without all the resources available to prepare and continue supporting gifted and talented students, as well as giving them access to working together in larger numbers, we have truly forgotten these amazing children.

  5. I can definitely see how that could happen… everyone is so frantic to make sure that the kids who are struggling get caught up, so it could be tempting to look at kids who are not struggling academically and say, “Well, they’re fine.” But they’re still students and they should be challenged to keep learning! As one little boy I worked with today explained to me, if you keep on doing “easy” things your brain will shrink, and so you have to try to do harder things to keep your brain stretching! 😀

  6. Absolutely! The kids that are going to hold our country together and find a cure forcancer are being neglected while all the pressure Is put on us to move the kids who haven’t been taught by their parents the importance of getting an education!

  7. I agree, our very bright children are not getting the attention and challenges they need. We have a school system now that spends most of it’s time on children with special needs, are behind when they start school, some children can’t speak english,some children come from homes that do NOT instill education, this is what our teachers spend most of their time on.

    I sent my children to public schools, If I could afford it, I would send my grandchildren to private school. We rank 37th in world in education, look at inner cities, graduation rates are 50%, a disgrace.

    Let’s get back to basics in school, teachers teaching, period. Let’s get government out of our schools, considering they can’t manage to balance a budget, how do we think they can educate our children.

  8. You seem to be one of these special teachers who genuinely care about our children. Our first son was detected as gifted by his preschool teacher and has been fortunate to have dedicated, well-informed teachers — they have been responsible for him getting academic excellent awards and developing positive attitude regarding discipine, respect, tolerance and modesty. He’s 16yo and enjoys Warwick Uni getting excellent results and enjoying socilaising with students from different cultural backgrounds.

    It takes only one teacher to show indifference for a gifted pupil to dislike school. Our second son heard this comment from his Grade 5 teacher “Your son is alright academically but is immature… all he wants to talk about is games and toys.” (I’m glad he did as this shows he’s a child). He always said he didn’t like school. He’s now in high
    school having been accelerated, and every day he can’t wait to go to school because he likes his teachers.

  9. A Gifted child commonly comes with a double identification: gifted and learning disabled. I also feel the lowest of the low kids are getting left behind. To survive many teach to the majority or the middle. The truth doesn’t always make you feel good, but with overcrowding and focus on test scores……this will be the trend until a major change is made.

  10. […] At a meeting I attended, a third grade teacher stated that she was not teaching cursive because it was not on the state test! I wonder what happens to those students who had no problem passing the state test? Are they getting the same content as all the other students? Are they being forced to sit through the inane testing material that we are supposed to drill into our students? What happens to that bright child who is subjected to that type of classroom environment? “Are Our Gifted Children Being Left Behind?” « Diary of a Public School Teacher! […]

  11. My youngest son is highly gifted but also has spelling difficulties. When he nearly failed his third grade spelling review but his teacher caught him reading the Iliad in the fourth grade, she knew that he had to be properly tested. After being tested, his IQ was computed to be around 165. His math skills in the third grade were equivalent to that of an average ninth grader. Standarized testing did not help much, it was really the teacher’s discretion that made the difference.

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