Social emotional discussion groups are weekly pull out groups with a focus on social and emotional topics through the lens of GT. Students will be given a list of possible topics and grade levels will be choosing topics based on interest and need - this ensures that each discussion group is tailored to each group's individual interests and needs. Topics may include the following: multiple intelligences; stress management; friendships; resiliency, and more!
Week of September 4th - Third, fourth and fifth grade SE groups all met this week. Each group chose a group name (we needed to liven them up!) and we talked about the purpose and structure of the group. Third grade read a list and description of possible topic ideas and marked which ones they were curious in learning more about throughout the course of the school year. Fourth grade agreed on a passion/curiosity project and started with idea generation and format preferences. Fifth grade will be researching a middle school of their choice to learn more about what's to come with the ultimate goal of sharing these projects with each other as well as parents.
Week of September 10th - Third and fourth graders are starting out with some background building and discussion around giftedness. What does this mean and how are different people gifted? We watched a video with a little boy (about 3 or 4) talking about his giftedness from his perspective. This generated a great discussion in both grade levels involving connections to themselves and each other and how giftedness can present itself in different ways. The link to the video is below -
Fifth grade decided to collaborate on a school newspaper! More information to come!
Week of September 17th - Third and fourth graders continued the "what is giftedness?" discussion with another video...this time, on musical prodigies. The kiddos were able to see and hear kids their own ages playing a variety of instruments and then our discussions revolved around the "what else"...what do these kiddos need besides natural talent and ability? What behaviors and personality traits would these kiddos need in order to be as amazing and successful as they are at such young ages? Some of their ideas include tenacity, attention to detail, willingness to practice etc. Fantastic!
Fifth grade continued their newspaper work...so much fun! Some of their thinking today included an email to Mr. Atonna, newspaper layout, a comic strip with dumplings...what more could you ask for?
Week of September 24th -Fourth and fifth graders focused on their projects this week...fourth grader started their curiosity/passion projects and fifth grade continued with their newspaper work.
Third grade continued with their "what is giftedness?" focus with a video on logical/mathematical giftedness...conversation started with the girl in the video and morphed into whether any of the kiddos had experienced correcting an adult (or having the opportunity to and choosing not to, especially a teacher) in the past. We talked about how important advocacy is to learning and they mentioned respect and adults. Even though I am only one person, I shared that I LOVE it when kiddos prove me wrong - show me what you know! It always comes down to approach and tone...great stuff!
Week of October 1st - Third and fifth grade groups were cancelled due to illness and GT-related testing in the building. Fourth grade continued with their projects.....from causes of the Civil War to unicorns to coding! Love it!
Weeks of October 7th and 15th - 4th and 5th grade groups were cancelled due to testing and 3rd grade's focus was around giftedness and understandings as well as perception of self and others. For example, what does being gifted mean to them? How would you describe it? What would your mom say? A teacher "who gets it" or a best friend?
Week of October 29th - 4th and 5th grade groups met, connected around Halloween and then worked on their projects/newspaper. No 3rd grade group due to Halloween Parade.
Week of November 5th - 3rd grade shifted discussion focus on relationship and friendship...we pulled various questions out of a bowl and shared our ideas and perspectives with one another. Some of the questions included...What are some things you DO NOT have in common with your friends? What's your definition of a friend? Name 4 feelings you have when you think about your mom. What do you value in your best friend? Shake hands with the person to your left and tell them your middle name. We had lots of fun connections with each other and opportunity for some healthy risk taking with our answers.
4th and 5th grade focused on check in discussions before continuing with their projects - 4th grade shared how things are going with them (school, social etc) and 5th grade shared a collective struggle with the balance of school, outside activities, homework etc and shared how they organize themselves (this floored me...the fact they already have strong, concise systems for getting things accomplished is such a huge life skill!). I really appreciated their willingness to share their perspectives with each other and talk through the why's and how's those systems came about.
Week of November 12th - 3rd grade continued their focus around relationship and friendship with some conversation around qualities of a good friend. I used the kids book "The Gifted Kids Survival Guide" by Judy Galbreith as a way to launch the discussion, connecting the book with their own ideas and experiences. If you are interested in learning more about this book, see this link - https://www.amazon.com/Gifted-Kids-Survival-Guide-Under/dp/1575423227
4th grade started off with a check in...how are things going? What would they like to share with the group? Then, in honor of Tuesday's World Kindness Day, we talked about what the word kindness actually means and then how they connect to that word. Their perspectives were so insightful and thoughtful - and they all were quite supportive of each other as well.
They spent the rest of their time working on their independent projects.
5th grade started off similarly to 4th grade...then, the group was able to watch a video of one of our kiddos presenting information at the last PTA meeting! We used this experience as a way to be both supportive of this kiddo as well as to identify the social emotional traits he was exhibiting throughout the experience (interpersonal skills and strength, communication style and healthy risk taking, among others). The group then spent the remainder of their time working on their school newspaper. This will wrap up and go to their "editor" next week before it's shared with the UPark community!
4th and 5th grade social emotional groups are done for the calendar year due to scheduling and in-class activities. 3rd grade is completing their focus on friendship and relationships with a visual representation of themselves...what do they offer in friendship to others? Pictures to come...Also, we connected and talked about what's going on in our lives and shared some nerves (spelling bee) and happiness (new baby brother) among other things.
Week of December 10th - Third grade finished up their personal representations...
Week of January 7th - Our third graders started a focus on stress this week. Students talked and shared how they view stress as well as types of stressors in their school, friendships and home lives. Fifth grade started a collaboration focus with a fun digital form of a breakout box! No fourth grade group this week.
Week of January 14th - Third grade continued with their focus on stress with some time to identify and share what they do (positive or negative) to deal with stressful moments, feelings and situations. This time was used for the kiddos to connect and share with one another, relating with stressors.
Fourth and fifth grades are starting up a unit on collaboration - teamwork and communication - with breakout puzzle boxes! Fourth grade dipped their toe in this week with a digital "box" and fifth grade tried an actual puzzle box! Great communication, strategy, sharing of jobs etc....so much fun! Check them out in action below!