Skip to main content

Slice of Life: Action Research

On Tuesdays I try to join Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life because it gives my week focus and helps me connect my life to education.

I glance around the room making sure to record who is at the table: curriculum coordinator, GT coordinator, principal, teacher, teacher, Me. Got it. The meeting agenda for the Gifted and Talented Advisory Council is underway. I won't say I dread these meetings, but i don't set the bar high for them. We move from agenda item to agenda item:
  • Students who've recently been tested
  • Paperwork needing to be filed
  • What we've been doing with students in the classroom
The topic of how we have students who teachers think should be identified as gifted, but because of circumstances like poverty, lack of advocacy, and cultural differences, will probably never be identified. The tests aren't finding them. Their schoolwork, while interesting, isn't mind-blowing when compared to the students who have more experiences under their belts.

There is a collective silence while we all take this in. It feels like something pretty big has been put on the table.

Our curriculum coordinator says, "how many are we talking about?" We go around the circle sharing about the children who've stolen our hearts because of their ability to write or analyze or communicate purpose despite terrible circumstances at home. It seems everyone has a story of one or two kids.

There is another moment of silence pregnant with that "what should we do?" weight hanging in the air. If you aren't a teacher, you may need to reach for your parent hat. There is a feeling of desperation that sometimes happens in eduaction where we realize we must do something.

"I think we should find some money to do action research about this," says the only one at the table who can truly make that happen the fastest.

"We'll do it!" my colleague and friend Ruth and I say in unison smiling at each other. So here I am using a template I have from my teaching preschool days where action research is always King. I'm still drafting a proposal, but I plan to share my understanding of the situation along the way.


What is the makeup of the kids who show giftedness, but don't make the cut because they live in poverty or their culture is very different, or they have no one to advocate for them? Can these factors be altered to change their circumstances and lift them up?


  1. Interesting question! I'm looking forward to hearing more about your findings.

  2. I hope the answer to your question is yes. Good luck with your research. I hope you find something that will help these gifted kids. It's teachers like you that students remember!

  3. I have also been thinking about doing some more informal action research in my classroom around the power of anchor charts. I'm glad to hear others are turning these questions around in their brains, too.

  4. This is such an important issue. I can think of several in my classroom right now that fit this description, yet we have not ever thought in this way. Thank you for moving on this.

  5. Sounds like you ended up leaping over that low bar ambitiously! Reading your post made me think of experiences I had earlier this semester in a human-centered design class online. Particularly, the importance of communicating with key stakeholders -- like the students you have in mind and, whenever possible, their families. Best to you as your dig deeper.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

5 Ways to Help Gifted Kids Find Their Gifts

When I work with gifted kids, I'm amazed by their lack of understanding about what interests them. They know how to surf the net exhaustively for Youtube videos that make them laugh, but not what skills and practices further their interests.

Developing interests and passions is critical to these students. Many people out there tell me that this is not just for gifted kids, that their average developing child needs to know how to do this too. While of course I agree that this is true, I also think that typical academic, fine arts, and sports programs are available in most communities are enough to engage and motivate most kids. Not true of gifted children who become jaded, disinterested, and shut down quickly when a program doesn't meet their needs.
Most people think of gifted students as being prodigies who know exactly where their gifts lie. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, I often question if some children who are identified as gifted will ever find thei…

Moo by Sharon Creech

I moved to Maine in 1982. I was a thirteen year old freshman in high school fresh out of a childhood in New York City. It sounds more exotic than it really was. The Maine I moved into wasn't so rustic. The town, Cape Elizabeth, is quite upwardly mobile––think Boston suburb. I remember distinctly the day my friends told me we were headed to the Fryeburg Fair. I had been to a few Maine county fairs over the summers I spent Downeast on the coast of Maine, so I knew what to expect. The 4H clubs mesmerized me. These kids who took such control of large livestock were amazing. They knew what they were doing. They were all pig whisperers and lamb crooners. These animals I knew nothing about in the real world were kept clean, safe and show-worthy by kids who looked to be no more than nine or ten years old. At sixteen or so, I felt too old to learn how but man did I want to join that club.
Wordsmith Sharon Creech has come out with the new middle grade novel, Moo. It is kind of a verse nove…

Writing Short, Day 1

I've taken a new position. I'm now an editor and writer at a company called We Are Teachers. I do some article writing for them, but I also write very short pieces designed for emails or giveaways. I didn't think I'd like this kind of work, but I do! It brings me back to the importance of knowing how to write short. I've talked about this before, but here's the book I'm referencing:
And thank you, Roy Peter Clark, for soothing my guilt about writing specifically for the Tweet. In “How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times,” this amazing writer praises Twitter’s 140-character limit as a tool for “intelligent cutting.”
So, as a way to get better at my new craft, I'm re-reading his book and actually doing the activities at the end of each chapter. The first: Practice writing plain sentences that contain a grace note, one interesting word that stands out. ___________________________________________
As did Proteus, I move forward into change. I figure, I …