K-12, Teaching Tools

How Can I Help?

My big binge this summer was the series, “New Amsterdam.” Set in a fictional public hospital in New York City, the medical director, Dr. Max Goodwin, is exactly the kind of person I would like to work for: empathetic, hands-on, innovative, smart, and determined. There were so many parallels to public education that I saw in this show– the awful parts and the great parts. The character of Max Goodwin completely inspired me, but also sadly reinforces the stereotype that you can only be great in your job by sacrificing a healthy personal life.

While I do believe that it’s impossible to keep your work and personal life perfectly balanced, I think that we can keep the scales from tipping completely over in one direction or the other. And the first thing we need to do as a society is to stop expecting someone in any profession, especially service ones like nursing and teaching, to be responsible for everything. Dr. Goodwin, though he certainly didn’t practice what he preached when it came to his own life, felt the same. And that is why he becomes known throughout the series for his simple response to anyone who approached him:

So, I’d like to ask you today the same question. I’ve had this website for 12 years, where I’ve shared resources that I think are great for engaging learners. I have my Gifts for the Gifted, my Wakelet collections, and Genius Hour materials (see under Resources in the top menu), in addition to the Downloads for Teachers. Most of these are free. I also have courses, both face-to-face and online (not free, but definitely not super-expensive).

What can I provide on this site to you that would be helpful? I do donate a lot of time to this website/blog/newsletter, but I would like to be better about making the time I am giving more worthwhile. I know your biggest priority is probably more physical presence “in the trenches” with you. But since I can’t be there with each and every one of you, what can I do from here? Please comment below.

10 thoughts on “How Can I Help?”

  1. I watched it this summer as well. I also saw parallels to education, and I felt like you know we have these idealist who have these ideas on how to change things and they can never change it because of the establishment.

  2. I would love some advice on implementing a badging system with my gifted resource classes using Flippity. I’ve also incorporated CritterCoin, which is a phenomenal site for sorting students into houses where they can earn coins for themselves and for their group’s house. Think Harry Potter. However, one neat thing is that they can also spend their coins without it being deducted from the house points. I’m currently working on incorporating the badging system, the house system, and their portfolios onto a Program Challenge Google Site where they all have subpages dedicated to their individual badges with accompanying portfolios. I’m crazy, right? The Critter Coin House System was easy to embed onto the website. My biggest struggle at the moment is trying to come up with a choice board for each badge. There are 15 of them! Some are a bit more self-explanatory such as Student of the Month; however, some of them, such as Creative Problem-Solver or #TechnoGenius, are a bit harder to break down into actionable steps, tasks, or choice boards. How did you do it? I teach 3rd – 5th grade, so figuring out the different expectations required at each grade level to reach the badge is turning out to be a Herculean task. Any advice or ideas? I could share the website I’m building right now with you, but it has my students’ names on it.
    Thank you!!!

      1. Yes, it is! Thank you! I’ve been using ChatGPT for some things, but this seemed like something I couldn’t put into a prompt in just the right way to get the results that I needed. Your prompt really showed me the extent of information I can frontload with AI to reach my desired outcome. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. Hi Terri,
    I’ve been following you for years after Donna Lasher recommended you. You two are tops in my book! I love what you wrote and that question. I find asking that questions of students too when they are in distress is helpful too.
    How can you help me? My GT pull-out classes are quite large this year–some up to 20 students in a class. I see them 4 times a week for 45 minutes each time. I don’t feel very effective in meeting individual needs with this size group and small time period. I’m wondering about stations or some other structure to better meet needs. If you’ve done stations, how could that look? Or, what else would you do if you were in my boat?
    Thank you,
    Tiffany O’Connell

  4. Hi Tiffany!

    Thanks so much for sticking around to read the blog for so long! Donna Lasher is awesome, isn’t she?

    I’ve definitely worked with GT groups that size (and bigger), though I would generally have them for most of a school day once a week rather than 4 times a week for 45 min. each time. Some ideas that come to mind are:
    Each class has whole group check-in/check-out periods of about 10 min. each, and then students go to 1 of 4 stations each time you meet (with one of those stations being with you), so that they’ll all have had small group time with you by the end of the week.
    Do whole group lessons on the first and last day of each week to keep everyone on the same page, and do shorter rotations (so they go through 2 each day) on the two middle days.
    The rotations could be: creative thinking (practice S.C.A.M.P.E.R. for example), critical thinking (reading short passages and doing Socratic Dialogue), logic/problem-solving, and metacognition (learning about thinking).
    Is that helpful at all?

    1. Yes, Terri, it was helpful! I’d like to ask a few more follow-up questions. Is this the best place on this thread or do you have another email address for me to write to instead? By the way, I’m on episode 4 of New Amsterdam now. What a great show! Thanks, Tiffany

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