Figuring out how to motivate a teenager who seems uninterested in grades or other performance rewards can feel like navigating a Kafka novel, trying to appease a teething toddler, or vying for a cat’s affection. While I am a dog owner, I am also the mother of a tween-age boy and have taught a number of “reluctant learners,” and I understand what a mystery teenage motivation can be.
One tool that I’ve found particularly helpful recently is a blog created by the Office of Gifted Education in partnership with the Parent Institute Committee. The blog not only provides excellent information designed to help parents understand, influence and motivate bright and gifted children, but it also allows parents to submit a survey and receive targeted feedback based on their children’s motivational trends. Visit that resource here.
For those who prefer face-to-face learning and assistance, plan to attend an interactive workshop to discuss motivation and share strategies to maintain and improve motivation in students, including those who are underachieving. Presented by the Office of Gifted Education and Curriculum Development, the session is set for Wednesday, May 1, 6:30 – 8 p.m. at Virginia Beach Middle School, located at 600 25th Street.
Bring your own laptop, iPad or wireless device as you will be introduced to the online tool mentioned above.
Teachers of bright and gifted students and school counselors are also invited to this workshop. For more information, contact the Office of Gifted Education and Curriculum Development at 263-1405. To register for the motivational workshop, call 263-1949 or e-mail email@example.com.
This Saturday marks the return of Earth Action Day, a service learning collaboration between OLHS and HRSD. The OLHS Think Tank students have been busy creating enrichment content for this Saturday’s event. Students who attend the event will be eligible for a prize drawing, receive a goodie bag and a certificate verifying their service learning experience, participate in service learning activities like water quality data collection and wetlands grass planting, and take a tour of the Atlantic Plant that is our neighbor.
The event begins at 7:45 and ends at12:35. Students must have a signed permission slip to attend (including emergency contact). Parents are invited! For more information, or a copy of the permission slip, please contact Allison.Graves@vbschools.com.
Building the OLHS Math and Science Academy Blogosphere
Building a community of autonomous learners engaged in independent research and study is no small undertaking. Our first step is committing to the mission and vision of autonomous learning in our curricula. Our second step is building the student comfort and capacity with independent study through enrichment opportunities and through the use of Web 2.0 tools such as blogs. Our third step requires building a network of professionals who can help guide our students when they explore topics that extend beyond their current coursework.
Our current freshmen are serving as the beta group as we begin building the OLHS blogosphere. We are seeing through this initial group that many of our students are engaged in sophisticated research into aeronautical engineering, physics, neuroscience, or chemistry, and may need a practicing professional to help challenge and refine their research and thinking; others are skimming the surface of topics of interest, but may need guidance in researching beyond Wikipedia. Both groups could benefit from the real world perspectives of practicing professionals. If you are interested in joining our blogosphere as a blog reader, a commitment that requires little time but could yield great impact, please contact Mrs. Graves at Allison.Graves@vbschools.com.
Please provide your area of expertise in your initial contact.
For more information, you can access the research below:
Grant, B. (2010). You aren’t blogging yet?!? The Scientist, 24(10), 83-85. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/758601713?accountid=3785
Samuel, K. W. C., Alvin, C. M. K., & Warning, P. (2012). Blogging for information management, learning, and social support during internship. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 15(2), 168-n/a. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1287026607?accountid=3785
Sawmiller, A. (2010). Classroom blogging: What is the role in science learning? The Clearing House, 83(2), 44-48. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/596735464?accountid=3785
This past Saturday the Virginia Beach Association of Teachers of English (VBATE) held their annual symposium. The event, held at First Colonial High School, focused on literacy in the 21st century. From the list of presenters and topics, it was clear that gifted education is providing the “rising tide [that can] lift all ships” in the area of literacy and critical thinking. Mrs. Peterson, the GRT at Princess Anne Middle School, and gifted cluster teacher Ms. Solheim presented a session titled “Strategies to Capture Student Thinking.”
The work being done in gifted education at OLHS was showcased in two separate sessions. One session featured work done with the AP Literature Teachers on a strategy called Isearch. In that session, Ann Wilson Gregory and Shannon Kelly, shared their students’ success with the strategy. For more information on Isearches, consult the Evernote I created for those teachers to use when implementing the strategy here. In the second session, I showcased the work from the English 10 Honors cluster class during the “Who Are We?” unit. Mrs. Scheible and I were proud to share the balanced assessment and literacy skill focus of our unit plan. You can view the presentation Prezi below.
Session participants left excited to try appropriately modified versions of these gifted best practices in their own classrooms.
When a person loves an activity, topic, or goal, the time spent with that endeavor seems to fly. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his work devoted to ”optimal experience,” terms this state of mind as “flow.” Some of our academy freshman seem to have found those topics that put them into a state of flow. Whether they are creating Wikipedia-esque entries on topics of interest, sharing research with collaborative research partners, or planning their science night investigations, many students are using their blogs to strategically archive their research and thoughts to access for later independent research and potentially their senior research inspiration.
One blogger posted an entry that I found fascinating and wonderfully appropriate for today. It is devoted to the neuroscience behind love–she happened upon the information while working on her science night investigation. Check her post out here.
Hope J. , like the other gifted and talented students at OLHS, would benefit from access to field professionals who could guide research and inspire investigation. If you would like to serve as a member of the OLHS field professional network, please email Mrs. Graves at firstname.lastname@example.org or you could leave a comment below (gasp, I think I might be transitioning to a REAL blog).
Field professionals could serve as blog network commenters, as mentors for short job shadowing experiences, or as independent research advisers.
In planning for work with the gifted cluster English 10 students, I happend upon the most marvelous Ted Talk that is too good not to share. In it Novelist Chimamanda Adichie “tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.”
She reminded me of the importance of critical thinking and the work being done in both the World Literature course of English 10 Honors and the work being done with our 9th grade World History 1 students. For more information about the critical thinking tools being used in those classes, visit the Virtual Learning Walk page.
Ocean Lakes Math and Science Academy Evening Lecture Series Presents:
Veterinary Medicine – It’s not just Puppies and Kittens
with Dr. Geoff Campbell
from 6:30pm to 8pm.
Please come join us! Parents and community are welcome. This event is open to ALL.
Many educators have grappled with the appropriateness of using Facebook as a communication tool. For many educational groups, Facebook is a fantastic tool to keep parents and alumni abreast of important events and issues. The Ocean Lakes Math and Science Academy uses its Facebook page to post important events, scholarship and contest opportunities, and research that may be of interest to subscribers.
The Virginia Association for the Gifted posts great resources to its Facebook page for educators and parents to use–some content is even appropriate for student use.
There, I’ve admitted it. This blog is not really a blog. A blog encourages an exchange of ideas. What I publish is more of a digital news page. I’ve toyed with the idea of moving to become a “real blog.” The city, however, is ahead of me in that shift. As some of you may have read in the Gifted and Talented Bulletin published by the Office of Gifted Education (read it here), there are two new parent resources to help connect educators and parents of gifted learners–one is a real blog (check it out here) and the other is a webpage devoted to motivating gifted learners that has a blogging feature (check it out here).
Tedster and professor at NYU, Clay Shirky has spoken quite a bit on the notion of cognitive surplus, specifically how we can use technological tools to aggregate our research and creative endeavors. Participating in a blog like those supported by the Office of Gifted Education helps parents and educators pool their experiences and research together for the communal good.
A great tool to keep up with those blogs, and the other media you like to read when on the internet, is Google Reader. The platform does require a Google account. Essentially, users create their own electronic “newspaper” that helps them stay current with all of their subscriptions without filling up their email in-boxes. Genius…I know!!
I just showed the academy freshmen how to set up their own Google Reader pages. If you are the parent of an academy freshman, ask them how! For those who don’t have access to an academy freshman, I hope this visual tutorial helps.
In 2007, the Hampton Roads Sanitation Department hosted an Earth Action day here at Ocean Lakes High School. The day featured programs like water quality testing, a tour of the water treatment plant, and building bat and bird boxes. In 2008, the plant underwent a major construction project and couldn’t host the program, that is until this year. This year’s Earth Action day, on April 20th, promises to be better than ever—in part due to a fantastic opportunity for this year’s Think Tank students—two of which are enrolled in the Math and Science Academy.
Gifted Think Tank students have been invited to partner with HRSD to create some exciting multimedia content to add to the day’s events. The program coordinator, Sarah Crawford, visited OLHS on January 7th to talk with the eleven students enrolled in the spring Think Tank group. She introduced two special projects that will require students to research and produce content for the event with the direct assistance of field biologists, engineers, and botanists. In the months leading up to the event, Think Tank students will complete several field trips to the plant adjacent to our building, will work collaboratively with field professionals to create Earth Action Day media, and will stage an event marketing campaign that considers multiple perspectives.