What A Gifted/Advanced Curriculum Classroom Should Look Like: From A Parent's Perspective

An Opportunity Presents Itself 

This week I have had the opportunity through: Quiz Bowl, our GT field trip and a GT event at the STEM center, to talk with parents about the education of their student, in the GT program, here in Katy. While most conversations were led by the parents, asking me many questions. Others, were more of an interview, by me, of them. I am curious as to what parents feel is the ideal learning environment, for their child. Do they trust the advanced curriculum (GT), of our district, or do they desire a more challenging and demanding program?

What I discovered by having open, honest conversations: is both interesting and compelling. What I ascertained, both from parents of my own students, as much as from parents, of those who I do not teach, is that there are two types of GT or advanced classrooms, in the junior high/middle school realm of education: those that add more work and call it challenging and those that empower students to design the framework of their…

The Precipice of Profundity: Precision Not Included

Tis' The Season

A common theme this time of year: frustration and exhaustion. The celebratory nature of the holidays, in our personal lives, is familial and festive. Yet, in our professional arena, as educators, it often takes its toll: final exams, distracted students and grading. We are in a hustle to finish the semester's curriculum and hold on to our students' attention spans. Everyone it seems, has one foot out the door. We stand at a precipice, between celebration and constriction. How do we keep our footing, as we glance across the landscape, past the bluff, on which we precariously reside?

We have to find the clarity in the routine and often menial tasks we are racing through, before the winter respite begins. This can be a challenge, as our minds our inundated with what seems like impossible expectations. Holding it all together is exhausting, in and of itself. But, keeping our mindful composure, joyful presence and cheerful facade, can be down right overwhelming.…

Just Another Day: Only if We Want it to Be

There are always two paths, from whence we choose. Left or right. Forward or backwards. Up or down. With each opportunity we are given options, even if we no not see the alternatives. The alarm beeps....we hit snooze. It beeps again... we hit the snooze button again. Do we wake up, put our feet firmly on the ground, eager and ready for the day, or do we grumble, kick the covers off and with a heavy heart, stumble into the shower? A choice. Albeit, one of attitude.
In the moment we enter the day, join the hustle and bustle of life, are we willing participants or reluctant spectators?
Every day is exactly the same. No voice, just routine. No expression, just indifference. A lethargy, entombing spirit and felicity. Voices distant and muffled, direct and suppress. Leaving a feeling of melancholy, that can't seem to be shaken off. It follows us around like a heavy fog. Nothing seems interesting or intriguing, but, we are compliant. Discussing, implementing, fulfilling the requirements…

A School's Culture: Through the Eyes of Them

This story is a little non-fiction and a lot fiction. It integrates what I have discovered from talking to my students, what happened to me growing up with moving so frequently, and what I imagine someone would be going through after Harvey. I never had to rebuild after a hurricane, but fires and earthquakes shaped my landscape. Either way, changing schools is hard any way you look at it. School culture impacts these fragile students as soon as they enter the building. As a teacher, I constantly am reminded, with every new face that enters my classroom, that they may put on a brave face, but inside they are vulnerable and scared. I am determined to make connections with every student as soon as I meet them. I want them to feel that what they hear about our school is true, we are a safe, positive place to learn.

Observation and Imagination 
The alarm clock chimes....6:00 am. Just enough time for them to grab a quick shower and bite to eat, before they head out to the bus stop. It feels s…

Vantage Point, Unique

The moment seems to slow time itself, I am watching from a vantage point, unique. My beloved object, gravity against it, falls to the floor. Impact.

The sound like no other, shatters the silence, shutting my eyes, jarring my body with a deep, intense shiver. In this moment, I feel cold, distant, frozen. The sharpness of reality, erasing a part of me, long entangled with the heirloom's presence.

A keepsake once embodying a memory: now shards, splinters, shavings of the past, strewn across the tile floor. The dust of its demise still swirling above.

The instant, pause, respite between what just happened and realization seems to be at a stand still. I remain motionless, staring at the fragments. Not sure if I will cry or just stare. I cry.

I am an adult and I am crying at a loss. A forfeiture of attachment. The floor is cold on my legs as I sit beside the pile. The aggregation becomes something new. Each segment taking on a life of its own. Whispering comfort.

The tears slow and stop…

Nostalgia: How 1980's Music Rejuvenated My Spirit: Part Two

What makes 80's music timeless, to me at least: optimism, honesty, diversity and of course that synthesizer, bringing it all together. Of course they embody heartbreak, overcoming adversity, and the opulence of the decade, but rather than being a message of 'me, me, me and selfies', they were more focused on our individual drive to find our place in the world, in a world where we were equal, not better than. With every note we felt united, a part of something bigger, even when we didn't know, that that is what we wanted.

The music, a cacophony of imagination, inspiration and idealism gave every adolescent of the time, a voice. We were focused on how we were alike, not on how we were different. Even the movies made us feel like an ensemble of explorers, each a road map to understanding ourselves. There were big haired, make-up coated singers screaming "We Are the Champions," and the first ever all girl band shouting, "We Got the Beat." Even Don Henle…

Nostalgia: How 1980's Music Rejuvenated My Spirit: Part One

"Hills and valleys" my grandmother used to say to me, on those days where the bullying became too much to bear. The surface of our landscape is never level, nor is it smooth. There will be days when the sun is obscured amidst a thickness, like no other. You know it is there, a glimmer of its pervasiveness seeps in and out, almost on schedule. But, it quickly dissipates as soon as it appears. Voices of wisdom and strength echo in, like whispers of yesterday. Memory meeting immediate. Depending on our personal climate, each day can be clear and sunny, cloudy with a chance of rain, or any atmospheric condition in between. "Optimism", my grandmother used to say, "is a weather pattern, humid with our tears, but also a cool, breezy day, if we allow ourselves to feel it."
I have discovered recently, however, that even with the best intentions, that a cool breeze can become a full-blown hurricane in a moment’s notice. The only way to keep the surge at bay, is to p…