Chloe went to the large urban grade school, and her parents were very engaged in her “education.” In fourth grade when Chloe’s homework was too easy, her parents sent notes to the teacher. When she came home from school to report that the work was stupid, the parents set up a parent-teacher conference. Finally, in fifth grade they sent her to a school for gifted and talented kids that focused exclusively on making sure that each student was challenged academically.
Chloe’s social skills (never her strong point) became weaker and weaker, Continue reading →
Marty Dutcher, a colleague whose first career was early childhood education, told me about a guy named Tom he used to hang out with in his twenties. Tom especially liked to listen to Marty play the guitar.
On one day when Marty asked him to sing along, he said “I can’t. I’m tone deaf.”
“Who told you that,” asked Marty,
“My first grade teacher,” his friend replied.
“She was wrong. She shouldn’t have said that,” said Marty.
“No, really, I am.”
“No, really you are not. If you were tone deaf, you wouldn’t enjoy my music,” said Marty, who then proved to him that he wasn’t. Continue reading →
Thirty-four years ago Brian and several of his first grade classmates were “put on the bleachers” after gym class for what Ms. Tough, the P.E. teacher, felt was some ‘inappropriate’ behavior. Then, it seems, she forgot they were there. Recess came and went, and still they sat and waited as they were told. But after 20 minutes or so, Brian decided this had gone on long enough, went to the bathroom, and slipped out the back door of the gym unnoticed. Continue reading →
Parents and teachers would do well to observe Yom Kippur all year round
A two-year-old boy entered a Montessori classroom clinging to his mother. While she talked to the teacher, he hung on her leg looking anxiously around the room. He cried when she left and glued himself to the window. One teacher remained seated eight feet away, calmly watching, waiting, engaging with a student who showed her an apple, then helping another unscrew a cap.
Last week’s post began an important conversation about gifted education. Let it continue. Project Bright Idea is showing that gifted education works for all children. The moral of the story is: “Treat students as if they are gifted and they will show up as gifted.” Take a look at the video and see what you think. Continue reading →
One day second grader Miranda said: “I was in the garden looking at the tomatoes with Patrice and Josh, and we saw a wasp tackling a fly. Then it tore the fly’s head off and flew away with the body. An ant found the head and started eating it and the fly’s eyes separated from its head.”
The teacher asked, “What did you think about when you were watching this happen?”
She replied, “I thought, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I wouldn’t want to be that fly.”
Later that same afternoon Sasha and Kate joined in the insect hunt and Kate said, “The garden seems to be so calm when you first look at it but when you look closer it’s very alive.”
On another day first graders found the front half of a dead snake and immediately started generating hypotheses as to what happened: Continue reading →