School Meetings on Schoology

Good morning everyone! 

I hope you are all doing well, the kids aren’t driving you crazy and you are ready for a four day weekend! I know I am!!  🙂  

I have set up groups in Schoology for all of my schools. When your child opens up the program, he/she should see a GROUP (not a course) called “Enrichment with Mrs. Wells”.  Under “Updates” is where they will see any messages from me and under “Resources” is where I am posting activities for them to do.

These are strictly OPTIONAL activities.  I know they are getting work from their regular teachers and I in no way want to burden them, but if they run out of things to do, or just become bored, have then check out these activities.

I am setting up meetings with each school so we can touch base with each other.  The meeting for Mason is today at 10:00 am; the one for Julington Creek is at 1:00 pm today; and the one for Webster is at 2:00 pm today.  Please tell your child about these meetings!

Have a good day and a blessed Easter!

Tonya

 

 

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Creative Resources for Home

Creativity Resources for Home:

Lego Creativity 30 Day Challenge

  • LEGO 30 DAY CHALLENGE:  I’ve attached a calendar of awesome Lego creativity starter prompts.  Here are a few possibilities of how you can incorporate this daily building/creativity calendar with other learning experiences:

→ Have a LEGO Challenge race:  Who can complete their challenge the quickest?  Using the most LEGOS?  Using the least?  Using only one color?  The possibilities are endless!

→ Help your child take a picture of each day’s creation. Send them to me in our Gifted Resource group page! (On Schoology) Or you can email them to me at: [email protected] or text them to me at (904) 669 – 4774.  Let the children compare their pictures and make comments!

→ After the challenge each day, encourage your child to WRITE a few sentences (or paragraphs, depending on ability) about their creation.

Have fun!

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Coronavirus Chaos & the Gifted Brain

This blog was written by another Gifted Itinerant teacher and I loved what she has written, so I wanted you to read it, too.  😊

“………. what I am writing today is important because there are some of you out there with gifted children who are freaking out. Yep, freaking- I used the F word and I mean every bit of it.  When a morning run is interrupted by no less than 2 panicked phone calls and 3 texts by an 11-year-old who is receiving news about the latest coronavirus update- you know that things are getting real.  The problem is- we can’t keep them in the dark about this one.  Our kids are highly aware of the seriousness of this pandemic.  Stores are low on necessities, favorite parks are closed, sports are cancelled, you can only take out from restaurants, no movie theaters, no beach parking, and most importantly- SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED!

For some kids, this is big- but not Earth shattering. They are looking at it like a long vacation with a few hiccups and less toilet paper.  This may be the case with your gifted child.  They could be that wonderful balance of laid back and brilliant without a care in the world (I have one of those too).  If this is the case with your child- this blog post is not for you, but I would love for you to keep reading to understand the behavior of other gifted kids.

For parents of gifted kids who are freaking out, I don’t have a 100% cure- but I can help you better understand their feelings and behavior.  In the world of giftedness, there are multiple lists of common characteristics that many gifted children share which include being good problem solvers, creative and/or critical thinkers, natural leaders, etc.  In addition to the different characteristics that are typically seen in academic settings, there are also affective characteristics that are seen in social/emotional settings and situations.

Here are some of these characteristics and how they might be affected by the coronavirus pandemic:

  1. Idealism and Sense of Justice– Your child might be frustrated with the politics of the coronavirus and have concerns about how our country and/or other countries in the world are handling medical services, quarantines, social distancing, or job loss.
  2. Unusual Emotional Depth and Intensity– Your child may recognize the emotional effects of the virus and see the potential for negative chain reactions. They may show deep empathy for those affected by the virus as though they are suffering right there with them.
  3. High Expectations of Self and Others & Advanced Levels of Moral Judgement– I put these together because the behaviors of each go hand in hand. Your child might be taking the CDC and coronavirus precautions very seriously.  This could include obsessively washing their hands and refusing to go within 6 feet of anyone. They could get very upset when others are not following the same guidelines and might be outwardly intolerant to those not abiding the “rules” (think- kids who cough excessively and act like they can’t breathe when they see someone smoking).  They could be very upset over the greediness of people buying all the toilet paper or other necessities. It is important that we remind our kids that we need to just assume that everyone is doing their best, but not everyone’s best looks the same.
  4. Strong Need for Consistency Between Abstract Values and Human Behavior– You child might be upset or confused as to why people are acting the way that they are. The typical social norms and dynamics are completely different right now with changes in social behavior like no handshakes or hugging, it can be upsetting to not have the usual form of connectiveness.

If your gifted child has been exhibiting any of these behaviors, the best thing we can do is to listen.  Don’t shut them up or tell them not to worry.  Hear their concerns, let them know they are heard, and help guide them to ways they can process what is happening.  One strategy is to have them document their day to day coronavirus experience in some way- drawing a daily picture, a journal, a video diary, writing a story, creating a timeline, etc.  It is important to let them know that this is history and their documentation will be a part of that.

In the cases of our extreme worriers, starting a daily gratitude practice is a great place to start.  Giving thanks for the coronavirus blessings in disguise could be a good way to see this situation from a different perspective.  You can also use a strategy that is called “possibility vs. probability” where you hear out all the “what if” worries and decide together if they are possible and then if they are probable.  This helps your child see that you are taking their worries seriously and analyzing them together.

I hope that this blog post either makes you grateful you have a laid back child, helps you feel less alone with having a worrying child, and/or provided you with some helpful strategies to deal with this difficult and unusual time in your child’s life.  As always, if you ever need to talk about your specific child’s needs, please reach out- I am here as your gifted consultant and your child’s advocate.”

 

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Enrichment with Mrs. Wells During Virtual School

Hi Everyone!  I hope this post finds you doing well and managing through these crazy and unusual times that we are in.  🙂

I just wanted to update you on what is going on with Gifted enrichment and your students. Things are changing rapidly and we are working hard to ensure that the quality education that you are used to receiving continues.  

Saying that, I have made a folder on Schoology for each school that I serve that your child can access each time he/she opens up and logs into Schoology.  I will be adding fun activities for them to do (strictly optional as I know they have lots to do from their regular ed teacher), updates, and articles you might be interested in reading. These activities will just allow them to explore beyond what they have been assigned by their teacher.  

My goal is to continue to stay in contact with you so that I can make sure we are meeting his / her unique needs.  I will also be having conferences which will be open for them to join (with your permission.)  

I hope you have a nice afternoon and look for more posts from me soon.  🙂

Tonya

 

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Gifted Minute

A Gifted Minute February 2020

Hi everyone!  This is the latest Gifted Minute I thought you might like.  🙂 It has some good information in it.  If you have free time tonight, this quarter’s GPAC (Gifted Parent’s Action Committee) is tonight at Fruit Cove Middle School at 6:30 PM.  Everyone is invited and welcome to attend!

The next meeting is in April at Murray Middle School.

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Gifted Brochure

Gifted Brochure

The link above is the latest Gifted brochure that we have updated.  It gives the progression information for elementary to middle school and middle school to high school.  Since we are starting to set dates for our 5th graders to look at middle school services, I thought parents might like this information.  🙂

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35 Parenting Podcasts

My colleague shared this post with me and I thought you might be interesting in listening to some of these podcasts.  Let me know what you think or if you have a favorite one!

Top 35 Parenting Podcasts

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Right Brain or Left Brain?

Are you right brain dominant or left brain dominant?  What??? That’s what the students said when I asked them that question!  We talked a lot about our brain and how it functions, so I thought I’d give you an idea of what we discussed.

As you know, the brain is an amazing and intricate organ.  It is your command center – it tells us how to think, feel and what to do.  Our brain is divided into two halves (called regions or hemispheres) and each half controls certain functions. Each half processes information differently, but also work together.

The theory is that because the brain hemispheres function differently, people are either left – brained or right – brained, meaning that one side is more dominant than the other.  Some people have a “balanced brain”, where one side is not more dominant than the other.

The person who is considered left – brain dominant is someone who is more verbal, logical, orderly – they like to make lists, like structured activities, they think in order (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.), and like routine.  That;s me!

The person who is considered right – brain dominant is someone who is more visual and intuitive – they tend to be more creative and have a less organized way of thinking, they are more likely to remember a face than a name, they tend to recall information by picturing an image and has a strong visual memory.

The good news is – the human brain doesn’t actually favor one side over the other.  The networks aren’t generally stronger on one side than the other.  That’s good news!  Because we need both sides of our brain to function – the two sides work together and complement each other.  We don’t use one side of our brain at a time – we use both.

We did a “right – brain / left – brain” test in class.  Ask your child how they did – you might be surprised!  I emphasized to each class that there is NO right way or wrong way, just their way.  We will be doing more fun “brain” activities in the next few weeks, so ask your child to tell you about them.

So, are you left – brain dominant or right – brain dominant??  Ask your child – I bet he/she could tell you!

For more resources, you can look at the following websites:

www.funbrain.com

brainfitnessforkids.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gifted, Grace and Gratitude by Erin Arnold

This blog was written by Erin Arnold, one of the Gifted Itinerant / Consultative teachers for St. Johns County.  She is allowing us to share it because we loved it!

“There have been a few situations this year that have pulled on my heartstrings and beckoned me to write this post on (in my opinion) the most important aspect of teaching- looking for the good in EVERY child. I know most of you are not teachers, but as parents, you do engage with children that are both yours and not yours daily. Whether teaching, coaching, or carpooling, it is crucial that we take the time to look for the good in the kids we spend time with. Some kids don’t even notice if you like them or not, your approval means nothing. However, highly observant, sensitive, and/or gifted kids will 100% be able to tell if you don’t like them. In fact, they will be able to tell how their teacher feels about them and every child in their class.

Spoiler alert: The gifted child is not immune to being disliked by adults or teachers. Not everyone sees the good in gifted characteristics because sometimes they are, frankly, annoying. There are what we call “concomitant characteristics”, the good and the bad of each gifted characteristic. For example, some gifted children are persistent and can concentrate, so they can focus on a task at length and learn in depth. On the flip side, have you ever tried to get a kid like this to hurry up and change activities? You might be looking at a full-fledged meltdown. One of my own children is an over participator in class like I was as a child (and let’s face it, as an adult too). We both want to answer every question and comment on every personal connection, which can be seen as inquisitive in one light, but disruptive in another. My other child has an amazing sense of humor but can be a class clown if it is not channeled in the right way. It is my hope and prayer that their teachers each year look for the good in my children, because both are the type that will notice when they don’t. This will, inevitably, impact their learning and self-esteem.

As a teacher, it has always been my rule to look for the good in every child in my class. A long time ago, I had a student that challenged this rule daily. He was very bright, but he did not always (or ever) use his knowledge for good. This was the student that knew exactly what buttons to push with every kid in the room and could literally bring my most patient, do-gooders to their last nerve in seconds. He never did anything bad per say, but if chewing noises bothered you- he would chew next to your ear. If pencil tapping was your kryptonite- he was tapping away. If you didn’t like the smell of dirty socks- his shoes would magically fall off right under your nose. Everyday was a new day, but at the end of everyday I was glad to see him go. I was constantly looking for the good, but I am not going to lie, it was hard. Then, one day, there it was. Our classroom was an outdoor portable on cinderblocks, not a slab, so whenever kids were moving- the room was shaking. On the way out to recess on the Friday before a holiday break, there was a surge of excitement and energy and my students were a herd of elephants stampeding to the door, shaking the room like an earthquake. My favorite mug, one in the shape of an owl, a gift from an intern that I adored, vibrated across my desk and shattered on the floor. It was not any single person’s fault, just a natural consequence of the chaotic exit. I sent the class on a short guilt trip explaining that their choices led to the destruction of my mug, but quickly shooed them out to burn off their energy.  Then, this student, this mastermind of annoyances, stayed inside from recess and without my knowing, picked the broken pieces of my mug from the garbage and scotch taped it back together. He presented me with the mug saying, “You can’t drink your coffee out of it, it’s just tape so it will leak. But you can use it for pencils or something and it will still bring you happy memories.” There it was, the good in this child I was looking for, empathy and attention to detail. He knew the mug was special to me just like he knew what bothered everyone around him. He paid close attention to the smallest details. Once I found the good, I could pull it out in academic situations that required this type of hyper focus, looking for patterns in the details in Math, Social Studies, Science, etc. It also turned out that while he knew what got under everyone’s skin, he also noticed when things were amiss with his peers and was quick to point them out to me. He always knew who was missing, sad, hungry, or lying. This student ended up being one of my greatest gifts that year.

Your children and mine are wonderful future adults that are going to change the world with the things that annoy us the most right now. There is darkness and light in every attribute, it is our job to guide their gifts to the light. It is also our job to advocate for our children and help others see the all the good they have to offer.”

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Parent Meetings Information

Parent Meetings Information

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