Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Big Questions

When should we be asking questions?  Always!

When should we be asking BIG questions?
  • when creating a unit of study
  • during a brainstorming session
  • as a "hook" to engage learners
  • for seminar questions
  • for Think/Pair/Share discussion
  • for journaling and reflection
  • to model so that students learn how to question
  • for Independent  Study Projects
  • for Research
  • for online discussion boards
...and on and on and on...

Ask me about The Teacher's Book of BIG Questions! by Caroline C. Edison and Bob Iseminger. 

 We can work together to infuse BIG questions into everything you do!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Gifted Isn't Good

Ponder this... If your child plays on a school or community basketball team, would all the players wear the same size shoes? ...the same size uniform?

"That's a silly question!" you might say.

However, that is how many view our Gifted and Talented Interventions and Services in Coppell ISD. There is this idea that our children must qualify for the "progam" or they are missing out on some sort of opportunity; that the shoes and the uniform "must fit my child."

The truth is that ALL children are different, even those who need Gifted and Talented services. In one group of gifted learners, we might find some that need math acceleration and some that need opportunities for creativity.  Some GT learners may need to exert their leadership abilities and some may need to work on social and emotional growth.

The truth is that being gifted is not always a good thing.  In the article Gifted Isn't Good by Janet Kragen ,  she states , "So gifted students aren’t good/better/best. They’re needy/needier/neediest. And for those who do need it, gifted education is a necessity—a necessity designed to meet the unique educational needs of an outlier group."

*Janet Kragen is a teacher and on the executive board of the Washington Association of Educators of Talented and Gifted.

*For more great articles, check out

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Does Handwriting Matter?

In this article from The New York Times, Maria Konnikova shares research about handwriting and it's role in brain development.

“When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated,” said Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the Coll├Ęge de France in Paris. 
“And it seems that this circuit is contributing in unique ways we didn’t realize,” he continued. “Learning is made easier.”

This quote  struck a cord with me. In this age of technology we often set aside handwriting because we now have the option of keyboarding or creating digital portfolios. While we must incorporate technology in order to ensure future readiness in our learners, let's not forget about plain old paper and pencil journaling and maybe even some handwriting practice.  After all,  research is showing that handwriting is actually very important for brain development when generating ideas and retaining information.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

They Need You Too!

I’ve been writing about what “smart” actually means in classrooms. And an unintended definition of a “smart kid” is one who never needs help. - Ian Byrd
We often focus on the needs of our struggling learners and this is completely understandable. However, our learners who appear to be self sufficient still need "face time" with their teacher. They need time to celebrate. They need time to share their thinking.  And most importantly, they need to know it is okay to ask for help. We need to help them understand that we don't expect them to "know it all." In fact, if they are always making the perfect score or creating the perfect product, they are just continually showing us what they already know. We want to see the struggle so that we know they are truly learning. A year of education should equal a year of growth! In this article from Ian Byrd, he calls it The Curse of the Kidney Table. Enjoy the read and check out his website

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Why Your Most Challenging Learners Sometimes Need More Challenge

We've all heard of and/or read about Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities. We know that sometimes a gifted learner can feel things much more intensely than his/her peers. But after reading this article from SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) it took my understanding of the social/emotional needs of gifted learners to a new level. This article explains that many GT kids are misdiagnosed and we, as their educators, can take the lead in understanding and meeting their needs.  Will it be easy? No. But is it a necessity? Absolutely!

Join me in taking action for these kids who have beautiful, complicated brains.  Join me in understanding that GT does not always mean "smart and easy"! Join me in my quest to create challenge and rigor for some of our most challenging learners.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Creating a Culture of Curious Learners

"School is often, quite strangely, not a place where students feel comfortable being curious. But you can change that with a determined and consistent effort."
----Ian Byrd,

Wondering how to make the first 30 minutes of your day more purposeful and engaging? Tired of the same morning work day after day?

Check out this article "Tickling Curiosity" from Ian Byrd and sign up for free Weekly Doses of  Curiosities and Puzzlements.  It seems like the perfect way to start the day. Let's create a culture of curiosity. Let's get our learners asking questions.  Let's get them wondering about EVERYTHING!

And as always, let me know how I can help!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

21st Century Introverts

"Solitude matters."  said Susan Cain in her TED Talk, "The Power of Introverts".  In a classroom where we preach "collaborate, collaborate, collaborate,"  what do we do with the introverted learner who just wants to read and think and write? I have come across a learner whose worst nightmare is speaking publicly and coming in a close second is having a one on one conversation. But he is extremely gifted and we have yet to unwrap his gifts. My question is this: How do we make sure he has a place in the 21st century?  Stay tuned...