Sunday, March 03, 2013


This perfectly imperfect life has been busy lately.  It's been awhile since I've posted.  But life is full and I'm continuing to learn and grow.

I love learning, and I love the fact that the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.  I talked about this with my class early in the year.  I teach third through fifth grade gifted and talented students.  It's a fun job, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  The way these kids make connections to the big ideas that we're learning always amazes me.  I think in 3rd grade I was in Mrs. Assim's class, and fighting over teams in kickball.  I do remember reading "Little House on the Prairie" as a class, and when the tv show came on, we wrote the producers and told them that their Mr. Edwards looked more like Pa in the book than the Pa they chose.  But that is the extent of my 3rd grade remembrances.

There's a book called "Zoom."  It's a wordless book, and it's great for gifted kids, because just when you think the book is almost finished, the illustrator zooms out some more and adds to the big picture.  I won't give it away completely, but I love showing it to new classes because there are always audible "Aaaah's."  This year, though, I took the book and related it to learning.  I pointed out that many times we learn and think we've arrived in our knowledge and understanding, then a "Zoom" will happen, and we'll realize we really didn't know as much as we thought!

As a funny little test, I asked the 5th, then the 4th, then the 3rd graders to relate their learning to the Zoom book.  I merely asked them, "If this book represents all of the learning you will do in your life, what page would you be on now?"  5th graders were the most conservative, but that's probably because developmentally they would get that kind of question better.  But they still saw themselves as about a fourth of the way through.  4th graders saw themselves a little more than that, I I had one 3rd grader tell me he knew everything he needs to know.

I let them talk about it a few minutes and debate, and then I stepped in and said, "What if I told you I think I'm not even halfway through this book?"  The conversation quickly shifted, (except for the boy who still thought he was through the entire book) and a paradigm shift took place.

It's the thing I love about teaching gifted students.  They get stuff like this.  They enjoy  thinking in terms of "what if" and in seeing possibilities.  We have some real future leaders in this group.  I'm glad I get to say I knew them when!