Just ‘cause your kid’s gifted, don’t mean he ain’t lacking major skills!!!
After spending a frustrating hour toiling away on a research project for Saturday Morning Language school with my boys, I realised that both of them have no idea how to search for information online, nor how to take jot notes from written text and photos.
I am stunned!
Simon and Alex each and collectively have an immense body of knowledge spanning the usual suspects like Superheroes, dinosaurs and animals as well as more atypical topics, like death, Art, germs…
This is in contrast to the vast majority of my students, who have quite limited schema about some things one would think they knew a little more about, like where Mississauga is in relation to the country they came from (no, it's not in the USA, kids!!!), or that 11:30 p.m. is not a normal bed time for an 8-year-old, or that a bag of candy, some chips and a nutella sandwhich on white bread does not constitute a balanced lunch.
But, slow and struggling as they may be in some areas, my Grade 3s can all search for things online, and know how to click on a website to find information. And many of them can take key words from a non-fiction text, and turn those words into informational sentences about the text in their ”personal voice”. (Some of their “research” even accurately summarizes the original content of their sources!)
Alex and Simon, on the other hand, whose scores on a recent psych-ed assessment were both well above the 99th percentile, allegedly, have mastered finding Youtube videos about Wii games they enjoy playing, but were unable to Google information about Austria and Switzerland. Finding even basic information, like the name of the capital cities of these two countries they are supposed to complete a research project on, eluded them!!!
Frustrating as this experience was for me (and for them!), it gave me hope: By teaching the students in my classroom how to find information they don’t have, and how to interact with that information in order to make meaning of it, I am opening doors for them which even some “smart” kids won’t be able to access, if their school and/or home experience does not equip them with the tools to open said doors of knowledge and information.
Never in a million years did I think I would find myself sitting next to a computer, doing a “gradual release of responsibility” reading lessons on Internet research with my own two kids!!!