Invaluable information will be dispensed at the Bright and
Quirky Summit! From the lens of a teacher, I hope that you are open to
strategies presented at the Summit on how to work with your child’s teachers and administrators. My aim is to show you the positive results of
collaboration between parents and staff.
I believe that parents are the best source of information
about their children and that is particularly important when it comes to bright
and quirky or 2e children. In my former
District, gifted resource teachers viewed parents as our partners in
instruction and that helped us understand unique student learning, create opportunities
for deep engagement, and give students a sense of control over learning opportunities.
A few quick examples:
with a processing question: Alec
always got the correct answer in algebra, but the way he wrote out his work
never made sense; Alec became irritated when asked to explain how he
arrived at his answer. So I brought in
Alec’s dad who figured out that Alec was writing out solutions to algebraic
problems vertically. I thought Alec, a transfer student, had
been too shy to report his unique method.
His father thought Alec might have been testing me. Either way, nothing else interfered with Alec's mastery of algebra.
- 2. Deepening engagement: Jacob’s parents told me
that he had an interest in international affairs. When it came time to begin the second grade
unit on Presidents, I convinced the second grade team to extend learning to the
international realm: Jacob studied
Nelson Mandela while the rest of the second grade studied U.S. Presidents. Jacob’s report was so excellent that it landed on television (McNeil-Lehrer).
Giving the student control and recognition:
Sam, a student with ADHD, shined as a
resident expert. In class, Sam whizzed through reading material and loved going
to the library to learn more about topics related to our unit. During the last five minutes of every class, Sam
presented as an expert. Making students resident experts was one of
the most valuable tools in my arsenal. Similarly,
a mother of a student on the spectrum, Mike, taught me how to set up a Lego robotics
program, and that was the beginning of our decision to run special programs at
lunch, like Lego Robotics, Creative Writing, and Music Composition. Mike ran the Robotics team and was very respected by his peers. The Social-Emotional benefits arising from
these opportunities were enormous.
As these examples indicate, parent involvement can foster
positive interaction between parents and teachers. I am certain the Summit will give you more details on developing student strengths, and it will also cover other critical issues, notably how protect a student from
being marginalized because of learning deficits. Enjoy the Summit, and in the spirit of
learning, I leave you with one of the best articles on 2e I’ve ever read (below):
* Winebrenner, S.
(2003). Teaching strategies for teaching twice exceptional students,
Intervention and School Clinic, 38 (3), pp. 131-137.