Sunday, April 17, 2011

Schmardies Speak!

     It seems I'm only Blogging on Sundays.  Have to fix that.
     Last week I gave my students a quick writing prompt - "What is different now that you're in Discovery?"  (Discovery is what we call our gifted classes).  I asked them to think about before and after.  Remember, these students are 7 and 8 years old.
     Here are some quotes from their work - I did fix their spelling:
     "You get to do harder things."
     "Discovery is good because it helps people who learn with one side of their brain use both."  (He was saying that he learns with math and science, but now with everything.)
     "I think that it feels good to be in discovery because we get to do work and don't always get everything right."  Wow, I LOVE that one!
     "Being in Discovery means that I have a lot of background knowledge."  (What a great way to think about knowing lots of stuff!)
     "I think Discovery means a class that has no limitation to learning.  It feels like a friendly learning environment."  (Love this kid!)
     "It feels good to be smart."
     "Discovery makes me feel happy because you're with a bunch of smarty pants."  (Smile - I sometimes call them "Schmardies" and sometimes Smarty Pants.)
     "Discovery is fun, and it feels good to know you're part of it, but it gets hard here and there."  (Yes!  I'm doing my job!)
     "It feels like I can understand the people with me a lot better than I did before because we're all gifted - I finally got a best friend."  (Affective needs taken care of - check!)
     "Ever since I've been in Discovery it seems I've been getting much smarter.  I've been learning new techniques on lots of interesting subjects.  I feel much more comfortable in Discovery than in my old elementary school."
     "Discovery has changed my life."
     "Being in Discovery is a privilege that only certain people have."  (And a privilege to teach!)
     "It definitely feels good to be in Discovery.  When I first started, I was a little worried that all the kids would be smarter than me."
     "I felt scared at first now I'm not.  It means a lot to me."
     Several of the kids talked about how scared or worried they were when they began the year.  Some were worried they wouldn't do well, others were worried they wouldn't make friends.  Some said their friends teased them about it.  The beginning of the year with new Discovery students is always hard for all of us.  We not only have to get to know each other, to become "crew," but we have to overcome all their worries, and the fact that they are no longer the only one in the class who knows all the answers.  In the beginning it's really hard to get them to take turns - they are used to their teacher letting them shout everything out, because they were usually the only one who did.  But then we hit that magic two weeks, three weeks, and six weeks, and everything falls in place.
     My final quote is from a Discovery friend who just turned 7.  "It means a lot to me to be in Discovery.  When I was in first grade, things were way too easy.  I also skipped kindergarten.  I mean I went through a lot just to get here.  Sometimes I visit friends from my old school and they tease me about being in Discovery.  All that affects me a lot.  The beginning was hard, but it gets better as the days pass.  Now there is finally something in my life.  It feels much different than regular school."
     They were upset when I called time up - so hopefully I can get them to write more later.  Their voices are eloquent!

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