This is my second attempt at this subject this week. I sat down and wrote last night, but I just couldn’t get anything substantial. So, while in the shower this morning, I opened my mind to run loose on the topic of growth. The first thought that came to mind was the concept of a “growth chart.” You know, the one young mothers quote after visiting the pediatrician.
“My child is in the 90th percentile for height.”
What if, similar to how I do a marketability report card in the secondary, I did a growth chart in the elementary? Intellectually, gifted and talented perform way beyond their years, but emotionally? Okay… not so much. Gifted don’t lose well, they don’t win well, and they often won’t even try if they think they might fail. It is precisely because of these tendencies that we have three recesses. In the classroom, there is very little cause for emotional outbursts. But on the foursquare court… oh, the fights! Claims of cheating and instances of unwillingness to be out are many. My bright students who are not technically “gifted” just shake their heads and leave the court in disgust. Does the gifted child “get” what’s going on? Nope. He thinks he’s won the argument.
A growth chart would give me some way to document what is occurring. I could show where children typically are emotionally and behaviorally at certain ages as compared to the student being evaluated. If I have a chart showing areas of deficit, I can then discuss how to help gain a target behavior. Areas in which the student is performing in a manner consistent with or exceeding their peers would be cause for praise.
The fact that I even research issues now shows “growth” on my part. I used to know it all! (Or so I often thought!) When I first took on the duties of a principal, I felt threatened at any question of my decisions or policies. Now, I re-read emails with the idea that the parent is just seeking information. It’s amazing how well things go when you don’t read something in to everything! The fact that I am soon to be 51, and I am still learning what seem to be simple concepts tells me that I have to be flexible with the “growth chart.” Not everyone learns at the same rate, just as not everyone grows at the same rate.
I have the start of a good idea here. I will let it incubate for a couple of days and see if I can’t get a great idea going!