TAGT Reflections From Educators
On December 3rd – 5th, 2014, CGA sponsored 56 educators and administrators to attend the annual Texas Association of the Gifted and Talented Conference held this year in Ft. Worth. Afterwards educators were asked to share some brief details about their experience including the following questions:
1) Provide a brief summary of the sessions that you found particularly helpful in your current role working with gifted students.
2) Describe an experience learned at the conference that you will be able to share with other members of the faculty.
3). Any other details that you would like to share with the CGA about the conference.
Please take a few minutes to review a few of the educator reflections on their experience (we’ll include more of these in the coming months):
Heather Ashby, GTi Specialist Mockingbird Elementary
There were many sessions that I found particularly helpful at TAGT. All classes benefit me as an educator in some way, and others benefit me as a coach to my staff.
The Intensity of Giftedness—This class really helped me to understand asynchrony and how it affects the needs of GT learners. Breedlove talked a lot about Bibliotherapy and Cinematherapy, which I had never heard of, but makes sense. This is using books or movies to help people solve problems— not just about giving a kid a book—there must be reflection and discussion. There was good discussion about what books and movies are out there concerning gifted kids, and whether they portray them in a positive/negative light. On my list now to watch is Big Hero 6, Scorpion, and Ender’s Game. I also plan to read Millicent Min, Girl Genius, The Mysterious Benedict Society, What’s Bad About Being Too Good—will do a book talk with my kids if I like them.
This class also really broke down the 4 main aspects that she believes set gifted kids apart: Asynchronous Development, Degree of Giftedness, Intrinsic Motivation, and Introversion
Key points from this class:
- Intellectual giftedness is not about how hard you work—it is something that a kid is born with…..equipment that not everyone gets. She gave the analogy of being gifted physically for different sports. Ex. Girls who are big-boned and short can practice all their life and still not make it as a ballerina—they weren’t born with the equipment. Gifted kids can often see/hear something once and know it.
- Because of asynchrony, we need to find ways to allow our GT kids to have access to friends outside their age (multi-age classes, summer camps, play dates, book studies, etc.)
- GT kids need alone time to re-charge
Another class that I attended that will help me with Coaching LA teachers was Creativity Through Literature:
This class gave countless examples of lessons to do, grades K-5. I am so excited about this that I will be offering a similar professional development opportunity for elementary LA teachers in March, sharing everything that I learned.
Another class that I really enjoyed was Big Quest 3. This really works well with PBL design and in helping learners find their passion. The three questions are:
- What are you not okay with?
- What do you have? (resources available to you—what you have going for you—how can you contribute)
- What are we going to do about it? The word ‘we’ is key—the class or others who find that they are passionate about the same thing can work together.
TED Talk—Simon Sinek on The Golden Circle— is on my ‘to do’ list over the holidays. This way of mapping your plan of action is good because often times our passion does not lead to purposeful action.
TAGT was very beneficial to me. I am anxious for TAGT to post the presentations on their website so that I can re-visit them. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to go and learn and be re-charged with excitement of new knowledge!
Lisa Timmerman, GTi Specialist Lakeside Elementary
The session I found particularly helpful were the ones focused on Leadership Curriculum. This is a facet of the State Plan for Gifted Education that CISD elementary specialists have not focused curriculum resources on in the past several years. Now that we’re in the 2nd year of the 3 year implementation plan for redesigned GT services, as a result of the 2012-2013 GT program re-evaluation, I think Leadership Curriculum is on the forefront of my “pet projects.” I am currently a Student Council sponsor for #lakesidecoppellstuco, and while this group of student leaders focuses on service learning and school spirit, there will definitely be a place for both in Leadership Curriculum for gifted leaders.
One thing I noticed in my written notes from each session this year, was book suggestions. I’m not sure if this was a new “push’ for presenters, or I’ve not noticed it as a pattern in my multiple other TAGT experiences. My campus has not used the authentic book study model we teach our learners for ourselves with a professional development topic book. I’d like to suggest using these common theme books as a book study for our campus, complete with a moderator, discussion questions, reflections, connections to self, others, and world. supports the educators as learners ideal, as well as provides update hours in a flexible, student-choice format, which is what we create for our classrooms every day.
Rhonda Pickrell, GTi Specialist Pinkerton Elementary
Thank you so much for the opportunity to attend the TAGT conference. My goal was to attend sessions that gave me insight into the needs of the gifted population that I serve.
- I attended several sessions concerning the overexcitabilities in gifted learners as well as what it means to serve the needs of the twice exceptional. This helps me to understand my learners better. I have a renewed desire to help others know how the intensities can impair a gifted learner if the negative aspect of the excitability is the only thing considered. They need to be looked at first as gifted, then as having an excitability or exceptionality. I also attended several sessions concerning the curriculum for gifted learners including Socratic questioning, conceptual teaching through inquiry, and encouraging creativity. Each of these sessions helped with the instructional coaching part of my role as a gifted specialist and IB coordinator.
- I want to share with the Pinkerton staff and other GTi specialists ways to differentiate for the gifted learners that have intensities, through knowledge of each excitability and ideas for helping these learners compensate in the regular classroom. I also will be sharing my new ideas for creating the conceptual central ideas for our IB units and encouraging socratic questioning sessions to be incorporated into each unit.
- I thoroughly enjoyed the key-note speaker on December 5th (Kaufman). It is inspiring to see a gifted learner that persevered through the doubt of the education system, and realize that I can be a catalyst for those learners that struggle with giftedness and twice exceptionality.
Thank you once again for your support of teachers attending the TAGT conference.