Saturday, March 9, 2013

What do you emphasize?

    WOW!! I needed that.
    Imagine...the peace and solitude of my own thoughts, my music, my timing to stop, and simple quiet.  It was pure heaven for me.  This introvert needed the car time.  I needed the time to reflect, refresh and just be still.  That is what the 2 1/2 hours to Omaha and back again afforded me.  If you are an extrovert like my husband and most of my closest friends, this may not be your heaven.  But for those of us who gain energy from our thoughts and time of reflection, this is!
   I was on my way to the Nebraska Association of Gifted Conference (NAGC).  Luckily, I have a supportive principal and administration that allowed me to head down the road to deeper understanding.  The draw for me this year was the over arching theme of going beyond the academics and into the social emotional aspects of the gifted learner.   I have a passion for the gifted.  I especially find myself desiring to assist parents understand why and what of their gifted students.
   There is too much to cover in one post.  A sprinkling of ideas, information and great resources will be passed along through the next several posts.  Today, I want to share a simple thought or rather question, "What do you emphasize?"
    The gifted student whether they are in your classroom or your house are more than the product they produce.  They are more than their academic achievements.  However, we get caught up in those achievements as parents and teachers.  Our society rewards the grade, the outcomes.  I pose this question to start a conversation about rewarding the process.  Gifted students tend towards perfectionistic behaviors.  Perfectionism is anxiety driven.  I had the great pleasure to listen on several occasions during the conference to Lori Comallie‐Caplan from SENG.  SENG stands for Social Emotional Needs of Gifted.  It is a national organization, which offers support to children and their parents.  Look them up!  I have only spent a few minutes on their website and facebook but the amount of information available is fantastic.
    During one session  Lori Comallie‐Caplan asked the question, which I pose to you (the whole two that read this), what do you emphasize academic achievement or the process? Really, what down deep do we emphasize. I watch society and I see us emphasizing either academics or athletics, but not the process.  If I am honest, it is the product.  I love rubrics because it spreads the grade out over the content.  However, why am I not putting more of the process, the how and why of the product, into the rubrics.  Not only will this give me insight but it will increase the likelihood that I am asking the deeper questions as probing for what they are doing.
    Great concept, but how do I write observable statements to use as evaluation? Any suggestions, comments, or further discussion on this topic?