Are you looking for printed and electronic materials to help you serve gifted students in your classroom? Use this resource compiled by the AGATE board to find the materials you need. Each item on this list has the approval of the AGATE board and can be trusted to meet the needs of gifted students in Montana.
Teachers who attended the AGATE conference in Billings last month shared their ideas as they entered a contest to win the book, Challenges of Educating the Gifted in Rural Areas. Here are a few of their ideas!
Lynette Larson, Round Up, Montana
"We use ALEXS computer Math program to accelerate our students in Math. This program allows students to move at their own pace as they master concepts and skills."
"We do a Pay It Forward Project. I give them $5 they can take it for their project or not. The find a cause, explain the process, so it can be passed on. They are required to write a one page paper and give a speech or presentation. It is their semester test in our class which has a service component."
"I have students create pyramids and prisms using toothpicks and dots. Students record the number of faces, vertices and edges. I encourage students to look for patterns in their data. I tell them about Euler's formula and let them know it uses two of the four operations and one number. I let them try to discover the formula themselves. After four to six students discover it I give them more clues so all students are successful."
If you learned a lot of great ideas at last week's Montana AGATE conference, look for a way to pay it forward.
For three years, Bozeman has been sharing with non-attendees at "A Taste of AGATE" event.
We reserve the private dining room at Johnny Carino's restaurant. The room is free and we can select three pasta dishes (including a vegetarian one) plus 2 salads to be served to attendees.
We invite parents and teachers of gifted kids.
We take reservations via Eventbrite. We have learned the hard way to require payment upfront, even though that means we have to increase the price a bit. If we don't, we end up with no-shows, and we still have to pay for their dinners.
We make sure we have at least 2-3 people who attended AGATE. Each one is asked to share for 10 minutes about key insights they obtained from 2-3 breakout sessions.
It's a real easy event to put on and it gives parents a chance to get to know our GT Coordinators and some teachers, as well as connect with others. We usually ask what topics they would like to have additional presentations on during the year or if there are issues that the parents want to work on.
Mini Grant Winners
Check back each week to see how the winners of the AGATE mini grant used their funds!
Potomac School, Potomac Montana
Watch the video to see how K-8 students at Potomac School benefited from the AGATE mini grant! Watch the Video Now!
Teachers who attended the state AGATE conference in Billings in April 2014 were given the opportunity to win a copy of the book Challenges of Educating the Gifted in Rural Areas. Those who entered the contest were asked to share an approach or an activity they had used successfully with gifted students. Here are some of those ideas!
"We have a student who is a gifted creative writer. Being in a very small rural school, we have limited options for classes/teachers for her, so we enrolled her in the Montana Digital Academy Creative Writing class, then following that connected her with a Creative Writing professor through the University of Montana in a mentoring relationship. Our student submits works to her mentor who offers feedback and they Skype often. She has become proud of her work and is now considering publishing some of her work."
If you're looking ways to nurture talent in the literary arts, NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children) Arts Network is coming to the rescue. Consult their one-pager on the topic. (It reads a lot like Bertie Kingore's chart comparing gifted, creative, vs. high-achieving kids.)
“Valuing the task is the most important factor in middle school students' achievement."
In his presentation about combating underachievement, Del Siegle spoke at our 2013 conference about the importance of having "real projects for real audiences" as a way to motivate gifted kids to put forth their best efforts. In a sense, it's another way of looking at using relevance to drive student-created rigor.
So we thought we'd use this space to pass on some tips on how to do this, from AGATE board members, speakers, mini-grant winners, and YOU! If you have a great idea to add to other teachers' repertoire, email it to us.
When the third-graders enter their classroom in Bozeman, they stop to note the 24 hour minimum and maximum temperature on the thermometer. Once they get to their seats, they add those two data points to their data tables and then color in another day on their graphs.
This is a great way to teach graphing because the kids can relate to and care about the weather. It gets them focused the moment they arrive in the classroom. Plus, by having different children do different types of graphs - bar, line, column, stacked line, etc. - it's easy to discuss which format conveys this type of information best.
One of Del Siegle's ideas at our 2013 conference was to have kids create eBooks which can be sent (via email) to their Grandma and Grandpa. Now you've got a "real audience" that will motivate the kids to do their best work.
eBooks apps & websites come in different styles that work for various ages:
Foreign language teachers: your students can create children's books in their target language. Where can you find an audience? Is there an international school in your area where the young ones have to learn a foreign language?