“Giftedness is not what you do or how hard you work. It is who you are. You think differently. You experience life intensely. You care about injustice. You seek meaning. You appreciate and strive for the exquisite. You are painfully sensitive. You are extremely complex. You cherish integrity. Your truth-telling has gotten you in trouble. Should 98% of the population find you odd, seek the company of those who love you just the way you are. You are not broken. You do not need to be fixed. You are utterly fascinating. Trust yourself!”

Linda Silverman~Gifted Development Center Denver

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Breaking the creativity block...First Nations Menu for Gifted Students

Well, I think I may have broken my slump.  I have been so overwhelmed lately with everything in my life that I feel like all creative juices have flown down the drain.  I have not made anything new and interesting in ages, and I haven't even wanted to write a blog post.  

In Ontario, the social studies curriculum has changed, but there are few if any resources available to implement the new expectations.  In our school, we have chosen to begin FULL implementation of the new expectations once we receive more direction from our board and additional resources become available.  As a grade team, after looking at the changes in the document, we also decided that students in the current grade 6 classes should still have an opportunity to study First Nations People and European Explorers (this topic has been moved to grade 5 in the new curriculum) as we agreed that students will need to have the skills and knowledge of this topic in order to be successful as they go forward in grade 7 and 8 history.

I have blogged before about Laurie Westphal and her choice menus for instruction.  I briefly using a TIC, TAC, TOE choice board with my class as they have just finished one for Patterning and Algebra in mathematics.   The one I created in the past available in my TpT store free here.  I decided that I really wanted to do something different so I have used Laurie's 2, 5, 8 menu structure to create a First Nations Choice Menu.  I think I will use her Explorers choice board from Differentating Instruction with Menus: Social Studies (Grades 6-8) in the new year to round out the unit.  

I really like how the choice menu turned out. It will be used as a culminating task for my classroom after we have engaged in some lessons and research which will include direct lessons, watching appropriate videos with note taking (I teach students to use the Cornell notetaking structure) and reading books about the subject matter.  When creating the menu, I tried to incorporate some of the expectations from the new curriculum document:
  • Maps and Globes: Analysing flow and thematic maps (A2.3) 
  • Constructing thematic maps on paper and digitally (A2 .3) 
  • A. 1. assess contributions to Canadian identity made by various groups and by various features of Canadian communities and regions 
  • A1.2 evaluate some of the contributions that various ethnic and/or religious groups have made to Canadian identity, 
  • A2.2 gather and organize information from a variety of primary and secondary sources using various technologies  
  • A3.3 identify various types of communities that have contributed to the development of Canada

When we have finished our investigations on First Nations we will look at European Explorers and then hopefully have time to do some comparison of the two groups.  One of the new curriculum expectations is :
  • A2.1 formulate questions to guide investigations into different perspectives on the historical and/or contemporary experience of two or more distinct communities in Canada.

I am hoping the students and I can work together to create something to address this expectation so that they will have had the experience of gaining the knowledge from the old expectations and the skills from the new document.

First Nations Choice Menu from teachingisagift.blogspot.ca
I am happy to share this menu with you.
Click on the image above to download a copy for
your own classroom and personal use.
Freebie Fridays

Sunday, 3 November 2013

How Did It Get to be NOVEMBER???

It is November right?  How did THAT happen?Honestly, I think I will take a few weeks off of blogging to deal with LIFE...and whammo! Months go by!  I survived beginning of the year, district review, writing fall progress reports, and the infamous annual Halloween game arcade!  
I keep looking over my shoulder to see what is creeping up on me next!

Right now I am sitting in my favourite chair, looking at a beautiful sky as the sun finally comes up (oh yeah, I forgot to set the clocks back!) I guess my "better half" did it for me, because the only clock which is wrong is on my phone...I guess I better power if off and on again!  Oh, well now I see it's actually only 7:10 a.m., I have some extra time.  I am LISTENING to the dish washer. In order to save on my electricity bill, I only run it during the "off peak hours" because it seems to run for such a long time!  Does your dishwasher seem to run for HOURS?

Can't say I am LOVING much right now, but I did realize on Friday that I was really happy that I didn't have any marking or report cards to bring home this weekend.  Who doesn't LOVE that? Under the present circumstances in my life, I have to keep reminding myself that there are things which I love.  Of course, I always LOVE J and Maddie, they are my whole reason for existing...

I am sure I am not alone in WANTING to have a real vacation.  I have not been able to travel for any great length of time for almost 10 years due to being the caretaker for my mother and brother. Now that Mom has passed, I feel the need to get away, to relax, to unwind.  I used to love travelling to Mexico or the Caribbean and finding some great resort where I could lie on the beach, have something cold to drink and read novels all day. Maybe once the estate is settled, I will be able to book a holiday for my family and we can all finally breathe a sigh of relief. 

I know I have shared a lot about my personal situation on my blog.  Sometimes I think I shouldn't have, but on the other hand, it is part of who I am, just as this blog is.  I find myself NEEDING time to process everything that has happened and is still happening to my family.  I have decided to hold off on selling my mom's house until I feel more secure in my decision making.  That decision has actually made me feel more calm.  After making that difficult decision, I found out that my brother has been given less than a year to live.  He moved to a special group home after Mom died. He was only there for a few weeks, when he was transferred to hospital. His cancer is no longer in remission.  I feel like a wound has been opened again!  Cancer took Mom in July, and now it will take my brother too. I know he has had a long battle, but I guess I am not mentally prepared to hear that he too is in the final stages of this horrid disease.  I am trying to face the challenges of life head on, but I feel like burying my head under the covers!  

After reading all that, I am sure a YUMMY PIN seems like an oxymoron, but truly there are things in life to keep smiling about.  I have great friends, an awesome man, a fantastic daughter and the love of cooking.  Recently I discovered that I LOVE salted caramel...ANYTHING!  It started with a salted caramel mocha at Starbucks and has blossomed from there.  Have a look at this fantastic recipe I pinned not too long ago...

You can find it on my Pinterest recipe board here. I have not had the time to make them yet, but they seem to be calling to me!

Leave me a comment, letting me know what you favourite food/recipe pin is right now.  I have been on the lookout for awesome crock pot soup ideas!

As always, thanks for taking the time to read and to respond.  I hope all of you are finding time to take care of yourselves and your families.  I am ever so thankful for mine.