Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pacing Matters

Here is a quick snapshot of our 4th grade table, including the venerable typewriter, The Phantom Tollbooth, some thesauruses (not to be confused with Rarrosaur, which entered through a group story), and the amazing Melissa Sweet illustrated The Right Word (Roget and his Thesaurus) by Jen Bryant, a Caldecott Honor book. Also, a rolodex for collecting hard words and a jar for collecting newly invented ones.....

Today's agenda stalled at the mental calisthenics (ask your child!) stage, when we wrote group "pass around stories." That is the beauty of this work. We can (mostly) take the time needed. We'll turn to the thesaurus soon!

This pacing opportunity afforded to us reminds me of a great article, What It Means to Teach Gifted Learners Well, by renowned GT pedagogue, Carol Ann Tomlinson. The entire article is good (and short) but here's the quote that sticks out to me today, delivered courtesy of Ian Byrd, and Byrdseed. (Note: He'll be at the MEGAT, Maine Educators of the Gifted and Talented New England Conference next week. There may still be room! It's not just for teachers. Follow the link for more information.)

Dr. Tomlinson on how accelerated content isn’t really “fast” to a gifted kid, it’s comfortable:
Often, highly able students learn more quickly than others their age. As a result, they typically need a more rapid instructional pace than do many of their peers. Educators sometimes call that “acceleration,” which makes the pace sound risky. For many gifted learners, however, it’s the comfortable pace-like walking “quickly” suits someone with very long legs. It’s only “fast” for someone with shorter legs.
But here’s the best part, the opposite is also true! Gifted kids can also benefit from a slower pace:
On the other hand, it’s often the case that advanced learners need a slower pace of instruction than many other students their age, so they can achieve a depth or breadth of understanding needed to satisfy a big appetite for knowing.

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