#cyberPD …first follow up

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This summer’s #cyberPD group book study of Digital Reading left me with some amazing ideas, thoughts, challenges, and a new PLN. Students started last week, but as a gifted intervention specialist, I have not yet had the pleasure of working face to face with my kids yet. Still I engaged my students with a digital beginning of the year survey via Google forms.

This survey was inspired (and mostly borrowed from) the book.  My goal in this was to gain some background info about my student’s thinking, make families a bit more aware of digital reading possibilities, and use the responses to plan my instruction. So far I have been tickled by what 8-9 year olds think!

One of my questions: “What do you think is challenging about online reading? (Or would be challenging?)” had the following responses: (copied and pasted so that the “charm” is not lost in translation…)

  • “Nothing, i am use to reading online”
  • “I do not find it challenging.”
  • “big words.”
  • “I like reading on the kindle.”
  • “I think it is harder to keep focus.”
  • “Instead of turning pages you have to move the mouse to the side”
  • “Too many clicks to get to the right page”
  • “I have never thout about that. I think it would be hard to across to the right page in a large online book.”
  • “I think online reading is tough because the words are so tiny.”
  • “The pages are long.”

From these responses, I can already tell that simple navigation techniques are not yet understood (not that I would expect them to be for young learners!) After reading these, I am going back and re-reading the part in the book where being intentional about digital reading strategies is important.


Here are 10 picture books my classroom cannot live without! Picture books are PERFECT for gifted learners because asynchronous development often means that a child is capable of reading significantly above grade level texts, but texts on their “reading level” may not be appropriate for their age (in terms of content and topics). Picture books offer endless deep and critical thinking opportunities and for that reason, they are a MUST for my gifted reading classroom!

Thanks to Cathy at Read and Refine and Mandy at Enjoy and Embrace Learning for hosting this annual event!

(See #pb10for10 for the actual slide deck to access hyperlinked resources)


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Enrichment for Gifted Learners in a General Education Classroom

After spending 14 years in a general education classroom, I became a Gifted Intervention Specialist. I thought I understood “gifted” and what was best… after being immersed into a room with gifted 3rd and 4th graders all day for the past few years, I’ve come to discover that what I thought I knew before was hardly enough! Our gifted population is as diverse as the other end of the spectrum. One “label” does not fit all…  But who likes labels anyway?!

So now that I’m not in a general education classroom, I really understand the dilemma from the gifted point of view. We as educators spend so much time supporting and developing struggling students (because those all important test scores push it) and it is pretty much impossible to get to the opposite end.  Thankfully good solid teaching practice is what is best. What isn’t is assuming that gifted learners will “figure it out” or “already know how to do” something. Teachers still need to be intentional when meeting the needs of their gifted students.

With that in mind, I’ve climbed on my soapbox about dispelling myths and serving gifted students before, this time I’m focusing on little things that can be done to enrich gifted learners.  But first, a clarification between enrichment and acceleration:

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If acceleration is the goal, then investigate advancing a grade level or subject area. A 4th grade teacher is charged with teaching a 4th grade curriculum. While that teacher can supplement and expose students to 5th or 6th grade concepts, it is not their “expertise” area, nor their job. Teachers can enrich grade level curriculum in many ways.  Here is a presentation on some technology tips, tricks, and tools that can be used: Enrichment for Gifted Learners in a General Education Classroom.