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Melody Paschall’s TAGT experience

November 17, 2010

I enjoyed the GT conference so much!  Thanks for the opportunity to attend.  The all day workshop on Wednesday with Dr. Robin Jackson (who was the keynote the next morning as well) was great.  I loved what she had to say about supporting our students while providing rigours instruction.  Sometimes,  I hear from parents and teachers  that have students who are very bright but are  struggling in the classroom because they need more support to meet the challenge.  We have many wonderful teachers and want them to never compromise expectations, but at the same time, we need them to scaffold learning so that students are able to achieve the goals we have for them.  The following definition Dr. Jackson presented summarizes our mission perfectly.

 ” Challenging and rigorous instruction may lead to disengagement if it is not matched with an appropriate balance of support.  To work, rigorous instruction must take place in a supportive context where learning goals are clear and achievable. ”

She continued the discussion by pointing out that students who do not understand and are not given instruction because they are “smart” and “should understand the first time information is presented” often develop a fixed mind-set.   The term, fixed mind-set, comes from a great book that she referred to often during her presentation.  The title of the book is Mind Set by Carol S Dweck.

At our lunch table we were able to discuss things we were learning, and I had the opportunity to share this book with our table.  I am purchasing a copy for the teachers and parents so we can continue our discussion.  See you should have been at my table! 🙂

The rest the sessions I attended overall were great as well.  I tried to attend some legal things, which were informative,  but I will spare the dry details.

Some of the instructional sessions that were informative included a session on interdisciplinary units.  The presenters had a great rubric that I intend to share with the two elementary campuses focusing on project based learning.  It fits very well with that concept in developing lessons that are project/problem based.

I also attended a great session on dual language with a panel of teachers/administrators from various districts who are striving to make sure all students are represented that are gifted.

Lastly, I attended a session led by gifted students.  I think we should think about having some of our students present next year.  I would love to work with a group to present the great things we are doing here from a students’ perspective. 

As you can see, I enjoyed my time at the conference.  I walked away with some fantastic ideas and made some great connections with other districts. 

Thanks again for this amazing opportunity!

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