Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Gifted Classes--Efforts to Keep Smart Kids From Being Too Educated

Rory from Parentalcation has just moved to Anchorage Alaska (gotta love those military duty rotations) and has decided to not have his 4th grade son tested for the gifted program in Anchorage Schools. His reasoning:
It wasn't all that hard a decision. His experience last year in South Carolina was a waste of time. He colored more posters in his gifted class than he did in art class.

It seems like the supervisor of Anchorage's gifted program ran across my post, and is concerned (last comment), to quote her:
Last week there was a Gifted Parent Forum in Anchorage and its too bad you did not attend. There was much discussion about Gifted Education and the challenges educators face when trying to meet the educational needs of gifted children.
I am more concerned about the challenges that gifted children have, than the challenges of their teachers.

Except for the Individualized Acceleration (IA) Program at Rogers Park Elementary, Anchorage's IGNITE gifted program consists of "enrichment opportunities that incorporates universal themes with classroom learning in alignment with the district's standards and goals".

It seems to me that the biggest challenge that gifted teachers have is finding enough time wasting "enrichment" activities to spend time doing to prevent the kids from getting to far ahead.
My oldest started kindergarten this year. While we have always encouraged our girls to read and explore things, I didn't think the Peanut was that far advanced for a nearly six year old (she was born in December and thus in kindergarten at almost age six). Was I mistaken.

Her teacher regularly notes to us that Elena finishes her work not only quickly, but quite accurately. The biggest problem her teacher has is keeping Elena from getting into trouble with all her free time.

While we have not had to address teh "gifted" problem, yet, I am worried that Rory's experience will become mine. Both my wife and I were "gifted" as children (not to brag or anything). But while we did cover things in greated depth in my gifted classes, we didn't really do anything "advanced." Peanut is bright, energetic and engaged, but I worry that she won't be for long. I want her education to mean something and while we can provide enrichment activities on our own, I worry that it won't be enough.

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