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March's Corner 2012

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If You Want Something Done . . . 

There is no such thing as a typical “day in the life” for an educator of gifted and talented students. While structured schedules and prepared lessons can create an illusion of organization, as soon as the bell rings and class begins, it is truly anyone’s guess as to how the class and overall day will proceed. Although this environment makes for exciting discussions, autonomous learning, and individualized evaluations of work, it can be exhausting. How can we squeeze in time for a bit of creative productivity on a personal level? I’m not speaking of hobbies or activities, but rather offerings that can engage the wider audience of fellow faculty, administrators, and community members; designed to improve overall understanding of what the field of gifted and talented is all about.

Many educators recognize the importance of gifted and talented programs, and in turn, what is needed for successful identification and services for students. How do we go beyond quick discussions in the lunchroom, conversations at local community events, or a mention in a meeting agenda? All too often, great ideas and advice fall on deaf or distracted ears. Here are a few ideas for extending the conversation. Even if you are not ready to take the leap, perhaps a colleague or friend can partner with you to carry out this important undertaking. It is only through our voices that the field will be heard and understood.

Plan and Deliver an In–Service Presentation

Organize a presentation that you could give during an in-service at your school. The focus of the presentation could be about any topic, but if teachers at your school are unaware of the characteristics of a gifted child, that would be a great place to start. A survey at the conclusion will help you understand your effectiveness. Visit NAGC’s What is Giftedness? section of the website for some basic terms and information.

Research and Write an Informational Brochure or Background Paper

Take the time to write and disseminate to your school/district a brochure or lengthier background paper that educates others about the importance of gifted education services. NAGC has a wealth of information on its Gifted Education Works webpage.

Compose a Newspaper Editorial or Commentary

Submit an editorial or commentary for publication in your local newspaper. NAGC’s online Advocacy Toolkit and Letters to the Editor webpage will help you along.

Write an Article for an Education Publication

Submit an article for publication in the pages of the many education journals and magazines in print and online. You may be a member of another state or professional organization; articles or commentary in their publications would educate a broader audience.

Start a Parent or Teacher Gifted Idea Group

Initiate a parent or teacher group focused on learning about gifted education. This could be a book club highlighting various gifted and talented texts, a series of small-group discussions on a variety of handouts, or an idea of your choosing. For some ideas on forming a  parent group, check out this e-pub from NAGC and Prufrock Press.

In this era of budget cuts, minimal to no funding, and competing education priorities, we must find the time to expand the number of conversations about how we can meet the needs of high-ability students. Thanks for getting it done.