The ESE Parent Advisory Committee, St. Johns County School District-ESE Dept. welcomes
Craig A. Davis, PhD
for a discussion on Leveraging Your Child’s Neuroplasticity for Deep Work
November 5, 2019 – 6:00 pm.-7:30 pm,
Fullerwood Training Center,
10 Hildredth Drive, St. Augustine, FL 32084
If we are to confront today’s immense challenges in public education, we must engage in the deep thinking necessary to solve complex problems with creative solutions. Our day-to-day habits and practices, however, commonly involve shallow thinking (e.g., endlessly scrolling through / posting on social media). Over time, our brains re-map themselves to accommodate this primary mode of intellectual activity, rendering deep thought difficult to achieve. This outcome of neuroplasticity is one of the most critical issues we face in education. If we are to create transformative value for students, we must first leave the shallows.
Because so many are now stuck in the shallows, the ability to engage in deep work has become “the superpower of the twenty-first century” (Cal Newport).
To help parents of students with exceptionalities foster habits of deep thinking for their children in order to strengthen their ability to create, to solve problems, and to thrive when confronting complexity.
Parents of 4th, 6th, and 7th graders especially, I encourage you to check out the Duke TIPS information and take advantage of these opportunities. The test-taking experience, regardless of the outcome, is very valuable.
There is a great tutoring link on our Library page called Brainfuse that I am adding to the resources page. It has live help, test prep and much more!!! Here is the link:
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis invite all Florida students to participate in the 2019 Hispanic Heritage Month art and essay contests with the theme of “Celebrating Public Service: Hispanic Heritage Month 2019.” Students in grades K-3 have a chance to win a cash prize by submitting their original artwork, and students in grades 4-12 can earn a 4-year Florida Prepaid Scholarship through the essay contest.
The deadline for all submissions is 5:00 p.m. Friday, September 13, 2019.
Hello families! I cannot believe that we are halfway through the school year. As we embark on a new year, we are working on leadership and grit through STEM projects. Each week, for the next 4-6 weeks, your child will be given a new STEM task. We will then identify positive leadership traits within the task.
Here’s a STEM project many of your kids have already done: Each group was given 10 index cards, 2 rubber bands, and 4 paper clips – they needed to build a structure that would hold coins for a set time period. After the structure was completed, the team placed up to a dollar’s worth of coins on the structure. The project was then scored – coin value times height of the lowest coin. So a structure holding $1.00 that is 4 inches high is given a score of 400. Depending on the height, a lower coin value could still result in top points – those who took the risk almost always won. We also talked about how strong leaders encourage ideas from EVERYONE in their group.
Some of you may have attended the ESE Parent Meeting last week that focused on Anxiety in Children. It was a great program. I attached the presentation below and in the “Links” page. Take a few minutes to watch it if you feel like your child may be struggling with anxiety. I hope you find it useful!
Great Resource for your child (recommended for ages 8-12): Here’s a great book for your child (and you) to better understand gifted-ness – 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids. I really love this book as a resource and it’s written for your child. Check it out and see if it might be something that your child would like.
Middle School Parents: In the last month, our middle school lunch bunch has focused on what it means to be gifted. We discussed the pros and cons of being gifted and why it is something to be excited about, not viewed as a burden. I will continue to clarify misconceptions and encourage more excitement about our gifted kids’ potential – it’s so much more than “harder work”.
Upcoming GPAC meeting – February 29th at Freedom Crossing Academy – Hope to see you there!
I am more than halfway toward reaching my Donors Choose grant – in fact there is only $102 left! Please consider donating to help buy supplies for STEM activities for all of your gifted kiddos.
Here’s the link: STEAM It Up Donors Choose Grant
As always, if I can do anything to support you and your child, please let me know!
I hope this finds you all doing well. The year is flying by – I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is NEXT week! I really enjoy working with your children. They are creative thinkers and usually LOVE to problem solve difficult tasks and real world questions. They are clever and funny! I truly have the best job. Thank you for sharing your children with me! Over the past month, I have focused on developing perseverance with your children. We have played games and built structures that required patience and perseverance. This can be a difficult task for a high achieving gifted student who has not dealt with many struggles. I have begun the lessons with conversations about what strategies may work with the day’s task in order to prepare the students with tools for perseverance. They have worked in small groups and I have closely monitored the students for signs of frustration. At that point, we brainstormed alternative means to complete the task if the original method was not successful. My hope is see the students become problem solvers and see a frustration as a solvable puzzle. We ask, “what am I doing that seems to be successful?” “What is not successful?” “What can I change when I try the task again?”. We will continue with a focus on perseverance through the remainder of the quarter. If you ever have any questions about what we are doing, gifted resources or have a specific question about your child, please feel free to contact me at [email protected]!
Parent Resources/Book Recommendation:
Living With Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults by Susan Daniels
Thank you to all of the families that have subscribed. I hope that it will help you to better stay in informed with the Gifted News.
For grades 1-5, each child has created a Gratitude Journal. Each week when I meet with your child, we spend the first couple minutes writing or drawing in the Gratitude Journal. This time is meant for reflection on what is going right in each child’s life. Researchers have found that time spent reflecting on gratitude reduces anxiety and stress. It is my hope that an awareness of what’s going well becomes habit. At the end of the reflection time, I ask for everyone to share one single thing that they are grateful for – and I have loved hearing the responses. They have ranged from “my family” (that one comes up a lot), to “Cheetos in my lunch”. My lesson focus for the month is Making Mistakes. We read the book The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes and discussed how scary new things can be if you feel like you need to be perfect. We also discussed the importance of being able to laugh at your own mistakes, like the main character Beatrice does. And equally important, being able to laugh alongside someone else who has made a mistake. We then worked with Scramble Squares. Scramble Squares is a very difficult puzzle that requires making mistakes to solve it. We practiced how to handle mistakes gracefully when we are the one making the mistake and treating others with grace when someone else makes the mistake. This week, we concluded with a look at famous mistakes (ask your child to tell you about the chocolate chip cookie) and then discussed how mistakes are a part of the process for very successful people. We talked about Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Michael Jackson and how they viewed failure and success.
For grades 6-8: I started meeting with middle school students also over the past 2 weeks. I will communicate with them primarily through Schoology and our monthly meetings. We will meet for “Lunch Bunch”, once a month during their lunch. I will bring some kind of treat for everyone and we will do some type of game, puzzle or mini-project. It will be a more informal meeting time. Your child does not need to attend every lunch bunch but it is my expectation that I will see every middle schooler at least once a quarter. If they are not showing up for lunch bunch, I will respectfully reach out to them to meet at another time. I also can work with small groups on different struggles like anxiety or organization (the 2 most common middle school stumbling blocks).
On the right side bar of my web page is a link to the Duke TIPS gifted program. They offer great opportunities for grades 4 -12. I encourage to you peruse it at your convenience.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.