Jul 26, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    1 Comment

EDCI 540: July 11 Weekly Reflection

My philosophy of giftedness has truly evolved since the beginning of this EDCI540 Character and Education of Gifted Students. Initially, the first phase was a general concept of a gifted philosophy, which included screening and assessment.  Transitioning, my philosophy incorporated a breadth of theories from Gardner, Renzulli and Gagne’, as well as defined areas of giftedness.  Finally, the culmination of the Task Force assignment inspired me to consider the importance of multiple criteria assessments and the depth of ecological validity.

Considering I mixed up 1 Strongly Agree with 5 Strongly Disagree, I admit that I have changed my answers to the Assessment of Knowledge of Gifted Learners. Just after the first question, I realized the mishap and I went back through and fixed them accordingly.  From the experience of having gone through the assessment before, during and after EDCI540, I would gladly say that I am aware of the common misconceptions of giftedness and thus more knowledgeable. Considering, I’m neither a parent of a GT student nor a teacher (yet) and I wasn’t identified as a child, having the opportunity to take a pre-assessment and then reassess my answers was invaluable.

Overall, I realize the basis of a Gifted and Talented (GT) program is rooted within the philosophy, so much so that the philosophy makes a statement about the programs model and goals, as well as the students being served.  More than any other course, I enjoyed the development of my conception of giftedness, because I’ve realized the value of giftedness and the profound impact that society has on such learners.  Every student deserves to be challenged to reach their highest potential and as a pre-service teacher I feel prepared to meet the needs of my future students.


Jul 26, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    2 Comments

EDCI 540: June 27th

In response to Differentiation, I used Toondoo.com to create a cartoon to depict the salient complexities of the instructional method.  The Internet is flooded with satirical comics and education is often the root of those laughs, especially with NCLB in the news.  I believe differentiation will benefit any classroom, especially considering the room will be filled with students who have different abilities levels and learning styles. I understand that students some student learn at an accelerated pace, so I will no doubt practice flexible grouping.

You can visit my ToonDoo at the following site: http://www.toondoo.com/View.toon?param=5166967

Here are a few other funny cartoons:


Jun 20, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    1 Comment

EDCI540: Special Pops..June 13, 2012 Reflection

Recently, my macho male friend, Brett, and I discussed the effect of reverse discrimination on the salaries of gifted women and the implications on young girls.  His answer to the problem was “teach girls how to negotiate.” I find this statement to be blunt and realistic, because girls don’t have to just be “good little girls,” they can be good little girls who know how to argue and rebut.  This conversation encouraged me to explore GT programs for girls, which is when I came across the “No Girl Left Behind” sticker above.  I would like to do more research about the area of giftedness and adolescent girls because it appears that self-esteem is a big factor in their achievement at the college age.

Recently, I was also asked to privately tutor a twice exceptional ADD/GT boy who was identified in kindergarten, skipped to first grade and is currently going into third grade.  His mother asked me to tutor him because he has gaps in certain areas: hand writing (script-cursive), identifying the beginning, middle and end of a story, and basic math concepts. I want to work with him to ensure that he doesn’t fall behind in his third grade class and I have yet to teach many GT children I considered this an opportunity to explore my teaching philosophy with GT students.

Also, I happened to teach this child in a 3 year old pre-school class and noticed that his socio-emotional intelligence was much more mature than the other 3 year olds.  He was a sensitive and empathetic child, but who tended to play alone, had attachment issues to adults and potty trained at later age than his peers. Those were just a few of my recollections, but more recently I’ve noticed that he is a very reflective also appears to have asynchronous development.  Since he skipped a grade he is already going to be physically smaller than the other children in his class, his cognitive ability is impeded by his ADD and his socio-emtional development is heightened.  I’m aware of the potential struggles he may encounter in the classroom, but I his mom is also considering putting him into a private school in orange county. She happens to be a single parent with a Masters in Education, but want to ensure that he is valued and his talents are nurtured.


Jun 20, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    2 Comments

EDCI540: Philosophy of Giftedness June 6, 2012 Reflection

While pondering my philosophy of gifted education I read Who is Currently Identified as Gifted in the United States? by Dr. Scott Koufman.  I was surprised to see that yes, most states do use IQ and standardized achievement tests to identify giftedness, despite the obvious discrepancies with standard deviation.  Gifted identification and assessment also lacked in leadership, creativity, motivation and performance art, but rather focused on cut-off scores for intelligence, achievement levels and ability. After writing my philosophy of gifted education I reviewed Virginia’s policy on GT programs at : http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/state_policy_virginia_10046.aspx .

Philosophy of Gifted Education

My philosophy of gifted education incorporates theories of Gardner, Gagné, and Renzulli. Such foundational ideals and theories go without influence when there is a lack of personal experience, so I look forward to encouraging each Gifted and Talented (GT) student to reach their highest potential.  Teachers, administrators and school districts have a duty to identify students using a multiple criteria model, rather than adhering to one specific criterion.  Instead of making judgments based on IQ scores and achievement data along, students will also be assessed by creativity and motivation, rather than solely on academic ability. Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory provides a rationale for such assessments based upon the need for ecological validity. Furthermore, the identification of giftedness is non-discriminatory and goes beyond gender, ethnic and cultural diversity, economically disadvantaged, limited English proficiency, or individuals with disabilities.

GT students deserve a chance for their gifts and talents to be displayed, nurtured and developed no matter the area of giftedness.  Gagne’s Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent exemplified the breadth of giftedness found within populations of students. I strive to identify GT students based upon superior performance or aptitude relative to above average performance or talents.  A student who possesses superior abilities in aptitude domains will be identified in one or more areas of giftedness including: Intellectual, Creative, Socio-affective, or Sensorimotor. The area of giftedness can then be expressed and viewed in the form of academic, technical, artistic, interpersonal, or athletic talent. GT students will be identified by athletic, artistic or academic ability, but they will also have the opportunity to measure motivation, leadership and commitment.  Similarly, Renzulli’s Three-Ring Conception of Giftedness delineates between general ability and specific ability, and incorporates task commitment and creativity.  To measure giftedness, GT students have to express characteristics of all three factors.

Gifted students are recognized and valued by society as an asset to our community and proponents of human and social advancement.  Schools and classrooms need to provide adequate instruction and differentiated curriculums, so the educational environment will be challenging, engaging and thought provoking.  To do so, teachers should be open to a variety of programs including acceleration, cluster grouping and compacting. Equally important is facilitating opportunities for GT students to practice creativity and problem solving. Rather than label GT students, place then in A confounding box and propel stigmas, stereotypes and myths, allow students to be imaginative and make mistakes.


Jun 14, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    1 Comment

EDCI540: Assessment of Knowledge of Gifted Learners May 30, 2012 Reflection

After re-reviewing the Gifted and Talented Assessment I can hardly believe that I read the scale backwards.  Instead of reading 1 as strongly agree, I read 5 as strongly agree, so please excuse the apparent narrow mindedness. Even after reading the first question I realized what I had done and thought to myself, “I must have been reading this too fast.” So this embarrassing mishap reminds me of Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory and Analytical Alice.  Judging from taking this assessment, even though it’s not a test, I obviously do not identify with analytical giftedness.  I’ll be sure to rectify a few of the obviously 1 (not 5) answers below.

1 (not 5)_ 1. The term gifted can mean different things to different people and often causes confusion and miscommunication.

In actuality I strongly agree that the term gifted can be misconstrued unless you understand education jargon.  I was reminded of a time when I was studying exceptional child and youth, and then explained the terminology to a non-psychology major – they were confused.

_1 (not 5)_ 7. Equal opportunity in education does not mean having the same curriculum and activities for everyone, but rather education adaptations to meet the specific needs of each child.

If everyone has the same curriculum and activities we would be doing our students a disservice and boring them to tears.  Every teacher should promote equity and a person-centered classroom through differentiation and adequate curriculums.  Children have various achievement levels, gaps, disabilities, socio-emotional needs and the list goes on.  It’s a matter of talking to the students, assessing their abilities and identifying the need.

_1 (not 5)__22. Students can be gifted and also need special services such as Special Education or English as a Second Language.

            Children that are twice exceptional may have a harder time being identified by teachers or assessments.  Imagine the difficulty for an ADD child sitting for an hour to take a reasoning test or the frustration of taking an English test when you’re an ESL student.  Teachers need to be mindful of student who are gifted and also have special needs.

Jun 14, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    1 Comment

EDCI 540: First day of class…May 16, 2012 Reflection

Upon reflecting on my knowledge of education and Gifted and Talented students I realized that teaching effectively requires differentiated instruction and the ability to recognize the needs of individual learners.  As a professional my curriculum and instruction plan should be modified to accommodate for gifted and talented students.  Instructors reflect on instruction and understand the abilities of their students will enhance and advance the abilities of each individual learner. Specifically, instructors can work closely to identify students for gifted programs to include more students from all populations, specifically economically disadvantaged students, students with limited English proficiency, or students that have a disability.

I need to take my prior knowledge and apply that to the GT theories of Sternberg, Renzulli, Gagne, Tannenbaum and Taylor.  You’ll notice that I didn’t mention Gardner, because I have utilized his theory of Multiple Intelligence (MI) in language arts and science lessons.  Gardner’s theory was mentioned as “fad like,” since MI appears to be relatable any student.  I would agree that student could relate to the being kinesthetic, linguistic act, but not necessarily be gifted in the areas.  For instance, I like to used technology, music,videos and sometimes have students close their eyes to picture themselves in a scene.  These are just useful methods to accommodate for students who are visual, auditory or spatial learners..

Apr 29, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    Comments Off on Week 15: Reflection on Twenty-First Century School

Week 15: Reflection on Twenty-First Century School


In reviewing the EDCI 506 Foundations of Education Twenty-First Century School presentations, I noticed that most presentations were irrelevant of Virginia Educationtandards.  In preparation for twenty-first century schools, educators should focus on reinventing public schools rather than creating private, independent schools.  Of course, public education should consider informal assessments such as PBL Academy and Dewey High schools portfolio and possibly even year round school.  In addition to the majority decision to integrate technology into the classroom and ensure technology literate instructors.  Much like Marvelous Minds Elementary School and the School of Diversity, R.H.2 M. Middle school’s goal is to promote life long learners.

Considering the staggering high school drop rates U.S. public education should implement core content curriculum to prepare students to graduate from high school with intermediate competency in mathematics, science and literacy.  Not only should every student in the U.S. graduate with a high school diploma, students should also seek post-secondary education, including vocational school, 2 year community college or am4 year academic institution, followed by graduate higher education.  For the United States to be globally competitive, we need to keep the majority in mind and focus on public education.   State education should promote curriculums which produce career minded students and intellectual citizens who are capable of higher order thinking.  Why? The U.S. Department of Education states that the mission of education is to “to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access” (U.S. Department of Education, 2012).  Indeed, the mission statement is comprehensive, promotes student achievement and ensures that all students are receiving an equitable education.  As pre-service educators we have the opportunity to contribute to the mission by exemplifing international examples of successful education systems and revamping U.S. education curriculum and standards.

Twenty-First Century School Notes:

Marvelous Minds Elementary

Integration of technology, instruction “inquiry based learning”, homogenous grouping

Mentor teacher during the first year, continuous learning includes staff meetings and mini developmental sessions.

Funding for teaching and instructional assistants

“Life Long Learning” – commonality!

School of Diversity

Information media and technology skills, support system (accomodate the learning needs of every student)

Redistributed funds – local, state and federal; school uniforms across the state and nation

Assessments rid of summative testing, no grades (do not prepare students for the real world); rather use multiple methods approach.

Learning is fun, creative and flexible – Life Long Learners!

PBL Academcy (charter school)

Technologically proficient educators, highly qualified (atleast a BA/BS) with a masters preferred, attend workshops every two years

Year round school to eliminate summer learning gap, portfolios for assessment to track achievement rather than SOL

Focus on the students (experential learning, project based learning, cooperative learning)

Funding from equitable property taxes

Dewey High School

Education Through Experience

Apple and Dell for computers and tech literacy, Grants: Wellsfargo

Portfolio assessments

Formal and Informal study areas, multimedia tools in each classroom

Classrooms arrangments are constantly changing to focus on the students versus the teacher.

Out of classroom experiences (field trips annually)


U.S. Department of Education, (2012). The federal role in education. Retrieved from website: http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/role.html.

Ornstein, A.C., Levine, D.U. & Gutek, G.L. (2011). Foundations of education. (11 Ed.), Belmont: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (n.d.). Staggering 10 shocking u.s. education statistics. Retrieved from website: http://blog.socrato.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/staggering_education_infographic1.jpg


Apr 15, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    3 Comments

Week 13 Blog Post: Curriculum and Instruction

Within the Twenty-First Century classroom, authentic assessment is a useful method to gage a students understanding of a subject.  Instead of relying on regurgitating information using rote memorization, students are encouraged to demonstrate knowledge and skills.  Performance assessment is another term used to describe authentic assessment, such that students are engaged in higher order thinking while demonstrating knowledge of a subject through conducting research, writing a report, giving presentations, debating a topic to name a few (Understanding authentic classroom-based literacy assessment, 1997).  Rather than rely on written examinations or multiple-choice quizzes, twenty-first century practitioners encourage students to explore and experience the curriculum.  While the traditional classroom experience focuses on subject-centered curriculum and teaching content knowledge, twenty-first century classrooms promote experiential learning, problem solving and hands on activities, which encourage inquiry based learning and critical thinking skills.

John Dewey described thinking in education such that, “Knowledge,” in the sense of information, means the working capital, the indispensable resources, of further inquiry; of finding out, or learning, more things” (Progressive education, 2012). Dewey also argued that education is progressive and promotes social responsibility. As teachers, it is our responsibility to incorporate the advancements of technology enhanced learning into 21st century instructional strategies to emphasize engaged and active environments.  Various thematic units can incorporate technology and promote technological literacy, in addition to implementing authentic assessments.  For instance, language arts units can have students demonstrate their work through an online-journal with a compilation of computer-animated illustrations.  Weekly assignments such as journals can transition into writing your own book and even publishing the story using a Web 2.0 tool.  For example, Tikatok is a free site where a student can create and publish a personalized book that can be viewed online, sent via e-mail or purchased as a hard copy.   A neat feature of the online storybook allows students to create audio recordings to guide readers through the story.  Additionally, a teacher can utilize this tool to engage the classroom in a collaborative writing project, implement the writing process and print a book free of charge.


Tikatok. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.tikatok.com/classroom

Progressive education. (2012). Retrieved from http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Dewey

Understanding authentic classroom-based literacy assessment. (1997). Retrieved from http://eduplace.com/rdg/res/litass/index.html

Apr 8, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    1 Comment

Week 12: Blog Post: The changing purposes of American education

What struck me in Chapter 13 the Changing Purposes of America was the emphasis on relating K-12 reform efforts to Higher Education.  Indeed, I see education as a pipeline to prepare students to become life long learners and engaged citizens.  As a pre-service teacher I am truly witnessing the evolution of education policy and will eventually experience “the shift of the pendulum” (Ornstein, Levine & Gutek, 2011). The beliefs concerning the purpose of education is in the midst of transformation and inevitably catapulting us into embracing the 21st century education.

The Education Trust is an example of a contemporary 21 century reform group that relates K-12 achievement to post-secondary student success.The mission of The Education Trust is to promote ‘high academic achievement for all students at all levels—pre-kindergarten through college. Our goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people—especially those from low-income families or who are black, Latino, or American Indian—to lives on the margins of the American mainstream (“The education trust,” 2009).”

The Education Trust raises awareness for other groups such as the Common Core States Standards Initiatives (CCSS), which advocates for consistent learning goals from state to state. Currently the District of Columbia and forty-five states not including Virginia have “put in place new standards for students, as part of the Common Core State Standards initiative” (Almy & Amann, 2012; ).  Specifically the standards focus on “rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order thinking skills” within the English-language arts and math standards for grades K-12 (“The common core,” 2011).  Keep in mind these are not National Standards and the Government was not involved, but rather, teachers and states were involved in the development.  For instance organizations such as “The National Education Association (NEA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).” (“The common core,” 2011).

      As public school educators our schools goals and objectives are bounded by national legislations and varying state and local government operations, so I realize the benefit of common education goals (Ornstein, Levine & Gutek, 2011).  A common goal for education policy is to improve high school graduation rates and increase the number of students graduating with post-secondary degrees.  I believe that revamping K-12 education to include common standards will help teachers to improve on curriculum and focus instruction to ensure they are preparing students for success in college.

The Common Core Standards:

  • Are aligned with college and work expectations;
  • Are clear, understandable and consistent;
  • Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;
  • Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;
  • Are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and are evidence-based.


Almy, S., & Amann, P. (2012). Harkin bill aims to turn school standards into student learning. Retrieved from http://www.edtrust.org/dc/press-room/news/harkin-bill-aims-to-turn-school-standards-into-student-learning.

Ornstein, A. C., Levine, D. U., & Gutek, G. L. (2011). Foundations of education. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning

The common core standard initiative. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/frequently-asked-questions

The education trust. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.edtrust.org/dc/about