Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Secret to Success: Talent or Work Ethics?

I complimented a gifted young 7th grader the other day on his work ethics forgetting that he was only 12 and may not know what the term “work ethics” really mean.
I asked him if he did, and his response was, “Yeah, it means not playing around in the computer and actually getting stuff done.”
Yup. That pretty much sums it up for 7th graders and the working class citizens. In a room full of gifted learners, though, “getting stuff done” may not quite be that simple. I’ve encountered enough learners in my teaching experience to make an observation that many gifted learners already know they’re gifted, but they don’t quite know what to do with their “giftedness.” Then there are others who think that the label itself will give them a free pass to a successful future because they surpassed benchmark goals, they have been praised for exceeding expectations, and they often do get stuff done quickly and accurately.
This is where the behavior issues arise. In order to instill work ethics in these young adults, they must first need to be aware that these are tangible values that actually matter even if “it’s not for a grade.”
The message is not so much to have students “work hard to be successful,” but instead instill a set of values in them that is crucial in the development of self-sustaining communities.
In guiding learners through their independent research projects, reminding them to keep reading, writing, and taking notes is not enough. Everyday, I hold small group conferences with them to answer essential questions to make their learning more useful and progressive. Real-time learning is in the academic conversations they have among each other, and in the questions they pose to challenge each other. These conversations show them that no, they don’t know everything yet because they couldn’t possibly anticipate all kinds of questions that may be brought up, but yes, be prepared to live in a world where problem-solving must be done in real time.
Today we explored this question:

Which characteristic leads to more success: talent (giftedness) or work ethics? Explain.
·         “Definitely work ethics because you could have a lot of talent but be so lazy that people don’t even realize you’re talented.”
·         “I think work ethics leads to more success because singers can have talent, but they wouldn’t be successful if they didn’t work hard.”
·         “Talent is a more important characteristic because you can learn work ethics, but if you don’t have the talent, you can’t learn it.”
·         “Work ethics are more important because without it, talent won’t make much of a difference.”
·         “You’ll do better than people who rely on talent alone if you have work ethics.”
·         “Talent is a better characteristic that will most likely lead to success because even if you don’t have good work ethics, you can still do the same project at the very last minute and make it look good.”
·         “Both are equally important because without talent what’s the point? You won’t be good at it. If you don’t have work ethics, then you don’t give proper image as a worker.”
·         “Talent and work ethics combined both add to the level of success a person has. The more work ethics and the more talent a person has, the more successful he can be. If you don’t have talent in a chosen field, and you’re not inspired to work hard to learn, then it’s not for you. You won’t get there.”

Surprisingly, the majority of my gifted learners agree that “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” but they still have so much to learn about work. It’s not just about the outcome nor the reward, but the process and the collaboration. How can we improve our learning communities within the young adult population?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

High School Seniors Give Advice to 8th Graders Class of 2018

  1. Get involved and stay involved all four years! High school isn’t fun when you’re watching from the sidelines.
  2. Make sure you join as many clubs and organizations because it’s easier to make friends and find your interests. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
  3. If you plan on going to college, all four years of high school count! Never give up on your grades no matter how difficult it may seem.
  4. Don’t screw up. When I was a freshman, I didn’t care about high school. I skipped, played around, and didn’t really care. About the time when I was a junior, I started to realize the importance of taking your education seriously. And MAKE SURE to take honors classes!
  5. Don’t skip and keep your grades up.
  6. Do your work. Don’t slack off.
  7. Don’t procrastinate. You will regret it if it becomes a habit.
  8. You’re not cool.
  9. Dear Incoming Freshmen: In high school, get involved in your extracurricular activities. You will make lots of friends and memories.
  10. DO NOT SLACK OFF! Try your best from the start, or you will regret it.
  11. Don’t skip!! You’ll regret it.
  12. Don’t skip and get good grades!
  13. If you make friends with upper classmen, be prepared to see them move on when they graduate and leave you behind while you still have one more year until you leave, too.

What Young Adults Actually Want to Learn from the "Real" Adults

If you had the opportunity to tell adults the skills you want to learn from them that would positively affect the future, what would they be?

  1. How to pay bills and mortgage and do taxes
  2. How to overcome hard times in life
  3. How to drive and fix cars
  4. How to write a resume
  5. How to get a good job
  6. How to raise a family
  7. How to act at work
  8. Keeping calm and being patient
  9. How to handle the world
  10. How to make money, get money, and spend money
  11. How to be mature and have manners so I can respect myself and others
  12. How to learn from mistakes
  13. How to cook and organize
  14. How to stay awake all day
  15. How to handle social awkwardness
  16. How to expand my vocabulary to speak in a professional manner
  17. Advance level “work with what you have and make it work” skills
  18. How to learn foreign languages
  19. How to be fearless
  20. How to avoid procrastination
  21. How to avoid fighting with my twin brother
  22. How to compromise with people
  23. How to eat properly
  24. How to memorize things
  25. How to have common sense
  26. How to make money without working
  27. How to deal with idiots in the world
  28. How to enjoy life to the fullest
  29. How to build a jet pack
  30. How to get really tall
  31. How to write a song
  32. How to ignore people and be serious
  33. How to do work without complaining
  34. Fitness skills
  35. Trustworthiness
  36. How to have manners
  37. How to accept others
  38. Unconditional love
  39. How to be mature
  40. How to complete work on time so that I don’t get fired

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Introduction to The Trial of Socrates for English I/Humanities

Step 1:Read these links and get background information on his life, trial, and death. Take notes from each website link to show evidence of your online research as Exit Ticket. Notes should include the web site names. 

Step 2: Go to Mrs. Pulido's Virtual Socratic Seminar, read some of the excerpts of the blog post about protest, and answer the original EQ with a much more educated opinion and response.
You may also engage in civilized and polite discussions among your peers. Be sure to write only your first names (no nicknames). Respond to at least three students' comments. 
Step 3: In groups of 3 not more than 4, select one of the following problems, get together and come up with a solution. Here are your directions:
In a group, discuss the problem and arrive at a solution. Choose someone to listen and record the group’s thinking processes and star which thinking processes were most useful. The teacher will give time to report the group’s solution and will also give the recorder time to relate the group’s thinking processes. These problems are not trick problems, but all have a rational solution. So when the group has a/the answer, send the recorder to check with the teacher.

Problem 1: Elsie was planning to go away for about a month. She wrapped her good jewelry in a blanked and put it in her self- cleaning oven. Why?

Problem 2: “this is a CD player,” said the electronics store salesman to an old woman. “It gives excellent sound because the signal is recorded digitally. Each individual tone is especially encoded so you won’t hear any background noise. The music sounds the same as when it was recorded every time it’s played”
            “Is that so!” she exclaimed.
            “Yes, it’s relatively new,” he continued. “Until a few years ago, all recordings were analog. They picked up background noise and sounded worse the more they were played. “
            “Nonsense!” she retorted. “If digital recordings are what you say they are, I’ve been using them since I was a little girl.”

Explain how her statement is true.

Problem 3: A shipping clerk needed to send a piece of heavy machinery to a customer and preferred using a trucking firm that was both cheap and dependable. Unfortunately, the trucking company had a 75-pound limit per package. The machinery, packed for shipment, weighted 77 pounds and could not be easily disassembled for two separate packages. How did the clerk solve the problem?

Problem 4:  The back door of the house had a simple lock, and the burglar had no difficulty opening it. Doing so, however, he tripped an alarm. The burglar quickly jumped clear of the house and ran as fast as he could making a successful escape. At first the homeowners were pleased that their alarm system had apparently averted a theft, but when they investigated it was quickly noticed that small valuables were missing from each of several rooms in the house. Explain.

Problem 5: Two people entered the woods for a walk. Later, two people left the woods. No one else had been in the woods when the two entered, and no one entered the woods while the two were walking. Nevertheless, one of the two people who left the woods was soon on the telephone talking about a third person in the woods. Explain.

Problem 6:  “I’ve discovered a universal solvent,” says a scientist.
            “What do you mean?” you ask.
            “Just what I said. Everything it touches dissolves and becomes part of it,” replies the scientist.
            “Nonsense! If it does what you say, what would you possibly keep it in?” you retort.
What does he keep it in?

Problem 7: Louis and Lucy were in their basement working on the household wiring. “We need a 20 ft extension cord,” said Louis. He unwound twenty feet of 2-conductor 16-gauge wire from a spool and cut off the right length. He stripped the insulation from both ends. After handing one end to Lucy he took a plug and fastened it to his end. Lucy worked on the other end. “Ready?” Louis asked.
            “Yes,” answered Lucy.
            “Let’s plug it in and test it,” said Louis, putting the plug into an outlet that was connected to a wall switch. As soon as Louis flipped the wall switch, a circuit breaker tripped. What was wrong?

Problem 8: Bill and Jill were getting hungry. Deciding to eat, they got out a container of several eggs.
“Which of these eggs is hard-boiled?” asked Bill. “I don’t see X’s marked on any of them.”
            “I didn’t bother doing that,” replied Jill. “After all, if an egg spins easily, it is hard-boiled. If it wobbles a little, then it’s raw.”
            “That’s true, but that doesn’t’ help us now!” Bill said, exasperated. Why?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

15 Things My Students Would Rather Do Than Write an Essay

If you could have it your way, how would you show what you learned?
  1. “I would say what I learned in a video.”
  2. “I would draw it.”
  3.  "I would write a poem about it, but I wouldn't necessarily perform it in front of everyone."
  4. “Stop-mation – animation with legos.”
  5. “I would debate an issue about it.”
  6. “I would write a cool play with some other guys in class talking about what we learned along with some slapstick comedy.”
  7. “I guess I wouldn’t do anything different from what I do in school. I’d just write the essays assigned to me and do the book reports because everything else is too much work.”
  8. “I would do a cool project, like make a movie.”
  9. “I’d want to be in the  movie as an actress because I could show how I understand the situation.”
  10. “The way I would show what I learned would probably be in the simplest way: talk about it.”
  11. “If I had it my way, I would bring a guitar and sing the blues about it.”
  12. “I would dance to the blues if she brings her guitar.”
  13. “I’d sing the blues with them.”
  14. “I’d show it through photography.”
  15. "I would do nothing. I hate school. It's like a prison. But with friends."