Identifying GT students in Pre-K: Choose your criteria wisely!

A recent Washington Post article talks about Maryland’s newly adopted guidelines for identifying gifted and talented students as early as age three.  Critics of the guidelines point out that such early identification processes are likely to overlook children of color, those from low SES backgrounds, and non-English speakers, as well as those who are twice-exceptional.  Proponents of the bill point out that  GT children who are not having their needs met at an early age are more likely to become withdrawn or disruptive, both in the classroom and at home.  The new guidelines also require school districts to report on their GT populations and programming to the MD Board of Education.

Obviously it is important to meet the needs of all learners, and to do so at the earliest possible time.  In that light, I celebrate the new legislation, but I hope they are careful with the criteria they use for identification.  In order to do the best for ALL students, such criteria must be based not solely (or even heavily) on ability, but on the thought processes of the children, on interests that might be highly divergent or non-traditional in nature, and on observation of all children to pick up on both the asynchronies and the overexcitabilities which so many GT folks have as part of their psychological make-up.  Criteria need to be sensitive to the exposure (or lack thereof) that students have had to various ideas and opportunities, and need to be applied afresh each year, always drawing in children who have been overlooked, but NEVER pulling a child from programming once identified, since a) children don’t *stop* being gifted, and b) pulling them from such programming can be a crushing blow.  [Ed note: I read a great article backing up that latter point the other week, but can’t find it again now. If anyone has it, I’d LOVE to link to it.  Thank you!]

What do you think?

Posted in Giftedness, psychology | Leave a comment

Actions speak louder than words? Only when you don’t say anything!

My mother is British, and, like many Brits, drinks copious amounts of tea.  When I was a child, growing up near Boston, I used a tea set that she’d had when she was a girl in England during WW2, that I simply adored.  Heavy earthenware, demitasse cups and saucers, in all the creamy pastel colors that I pretty much have never liked anywhere else.  My tea was mostly milk and sugar, but when I drank from those cups, pinky loose, not affected, I felt a connection to my British heritage, to my mother, and to an adult life that I was trying on in very small sweetly caffeinated doses.

Aren't these cute? They have the look of British girlhood to me.**

A couple of years ago, when my girls were getting to be about the age I was when I started having tea parties with that magical set, I went looking for it in my parents’ china closet, but no luck.  I asked my mom where she had stored it, figuring that she had put it somewhere really safe, or specifically for me, like maybe in my bedroom closet or something.  “Oh, I got rid of it years ago,” she responded, as if she was stunned she had held onto it as long as she had.  I was beyond mad; I felt betrayed.  That was my childhood connection to her homeland, to my grandmother, to my visions of myself as an adult, and she didn’t even remember what she had done with it?!?  Donated it?  Given it away?  Binned it outright?  She didn’t understand my shocked fury *at all*.  “They didn’t even match!” she semi-shrieked, not seeing them through my five-year old eyes: to me they were colorful tiny cups of goodness, glossy like petit fours, all yummy and special and unique, making me hers and England’s. Continue reading

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English language gives rise to (The) Chaos

The modern English language allows parents to wax sentimental about their child’s first steps while in the same moment their pediatric orthopedist makes a diagnostic evaluation of little Johnny’s pigeon-toed gait.  English has deep multicultural roots, and the victor has not always shaped the lexicon.  Even into the 18th century (if not later) pretty much anyone who wanted to could make up a word, or a spelling of a known word, and dictionaries still add new words every year. These are powerful things, and have helped to share a language that is rich with imagery, vibrant with sound, and capable of myriad rhymes for pretty much any word other than ‘orange’. Continue reading

Posted in language arts | 1 Comment

Decoding sentences and equations with a first, last, middle strategy

Sometime in the last six months I started referring to mathematical equations as ‘math sentences’, since they convey meaning just like English sentences.  This convenient little explanation lead us down an interesting road this last week, as we compared the structure of sentences in both English and mathematics… Continue reading

Posted in language arts, math | 2 Comments

Snapshot of a Day

Patchwork of Days, by Nancy Lande

The first book I read about homeschooling, about ten years ago, was Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days, by Nancy Lande, which tells the stories of a single day in the life of dozens of homeschooling families. It was THE book that made me think “this is what I want for my family.”  It would be years before I even met my husband and *started* on that family, but I knew that I wanted our life to be flexible, adaptable to the day and the people in that day, and what they all wanted and needed out of it.  I have been a lifelong learner, but this book made me into a self-proclaimed homeschooler.

I found it again recently when purging a bookcase that had been filled two deep, and thought it might be a good exercise to do myself: to document an ordinary day of our homeschooling lives, both for you, my readers, and for me, for posterity and reflection.  I call it a snapshot in the title, but I go into at *least* 12 megapixels of detail here, so grab a cup of tea before you settle in.  Here goes! Continue reading

Posted in arts and craftiness, Asynchronous development, daily round, Disability, Educational Paradigms, Foreign Languages, full disclosure, Homeschooling Life, language arts, life skills, math, parenting, social studies, technology, unschooly goodness | Tagged | Leave a comment

Building independence one waffle at a time

I just read a great post about nine habits all kids should be learning, and it is a pretty nice summary of our priorities as both homeschoolers and parents, but few of these things are as simple as they sound, and they are far more inter-related that that checklist would indicate.

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Posted in life skills | 1 Comment

Where we’re at

I haven’t documented where we are in our various subjects and activities for a while, so here goes – the early 2012 edition of Turkeydoodles Homeschool:

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Posted in Homeschooling Life, language arts, life skills, STEM, Week in Review | Leave a comment

Robots made with balloons and coffee grounds? Yup!

They even throw darts!

(2/15: fixed the link – sorry!)

Posted in freaking cool stuff, technology | 1 Comment

Valentine’s Day with Little Lady Love

Back when Beara was a tiny infant, she got the nickname Little Lady Love.  Today offers a good example of why we still call her that… Continue reading

Posted in abundance, verbatim | 3 Comments

Not letting ideology get in the way of my kids’ educational needs

Seems like 50% of the posts on my statewide homeschooling list are about how much folks want to/should avoid the state home study office as much as possible.  Maybe this comes from my history as a public school teacher, but I just don’t find the requirements of the state to be all that onerous.  Sure, I was surprised to find out that I have only two more weeks to get my girls’ enrollment done, but the paperwork just isn’t that bad, and I don’t anticipate any problems in getting it done by the end of the month. Continue reading

Posted in Being Official, parenting | 1 Comment