Following the exceptional training delivered under the GATE project in Israel, here is what Gary Rowlands, one of the participants from Bulgaria, shared as activity implemented in Sofia:
“I decided to move things forward in three areas;- Steampowered Kids – Alphabet Private School- Steampowered Team1a. In Steampowered Kids I actually instigated the Robinson Crusoe style sessions with a group of six youngsters of 5th class age. All of these children are talented or gifted and display the traits that we covered in our training. I have been working with them all for almost three years and am well aware of their individual abilities, gifts and challenges that they deal with and offer to family, schools and others.This went on for five two hour sessions on Saturdays. All that we did differently was that the practical elements were more of a focus than the theoretical. This is because the kids were originally with us for robotics courses and I sort of bolted this in. Prior to doing so I talked with the kids and explained where I had been and elements of the course that we had covered. I explained and answered questions about the strategy and the hoped outcomes. It was a great success if we measure success in engagement and willingness to participate. It also helped greatly for the kids to understand even more that I had been fortunate enough to go on a course especially for kids like them.
2a. Alphabet school is a private school where we run an after school STEAM class for one hour two days a week. These are for year 4 / 5 AND 5 / 6 .The same thing was done here except we started looking at lessons and practices that we can fit into approximately 45 minutes. Again we discussed the course and asked what they thought in general. We did the exercises with drawing shapes in a set of squares that when divided would have exactly half the area of the square and how many were possible. We looked at physics in dance and used center of gravity, levers and balance.Further to this the students wrote a short text on what they thought the differences were between talented and gifted students and did they think that they were, would it change their perception of themselves and how they would go on to learn. This we then explored over the following weeks and implemented lessons with the structure of main tasks / challenges and with them extended tasks for those who were more able to move onto while other groups remained working on the core tasks. A number of these extended tasks were discussion oriented as well as art oriented, things like stop motion animation, story writing and drawing.
3a. The final element to the above were Wednesday evening group sessions for the gifted children to come and work with their parents. These were agreed with the parents prior to asking and looking for agreement from the kids. During the meeting with the parents we discussed many things about the relationships the parents had with their children and many of the challenges. These centered, in our groups at least with identifying and formulating appropriate styles of communication and questions. The ability of the parents to really understand the child’s potential and not closing them down. There were literally huge moves forward in the communication between the children and the parents. Many of these came about when the children were working in two groups and the parents in another. After this, both presented their work with opportunities for me to ask questions and then the groups of each other. I led the first question asking session in order to explain and demonstrate the answers that can be forthcoming is the questions are structured.”
The GATE Erasmus+ project team hopes that Gary’s experience would be inspiring for other teachers and educators working with gifted children.