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Gifted Conference 2014: Depth and Complexity

Gifted Conference 2014: 
Depth and Complexity

     So in June, I had to opportunity to attend the Gifted Conference at USC.  I'm sure you're all familiar with the icons.

        I wanted to learn more about how to use these in my classroom.  I do not teach the gifted cluster but I believe all kids have talents and it's up to us to give them the tools they need to access them.
       In the beginning, I was worried it would be another program, just another thing to try to add to my day (which is already too short).  But I've come to the understanding that it's more of a way to frame my lessons.  It's a way to help my students go deep with the material, which is what I'm always striving for. My friend, who had subbed for me, once stated that my kids are earning PHD's in my class.  Good!  I want them to feel smart and challenged.
     So let's talk about the icons:
The icons associated with depth are:
  • Language of the discipline
  • Big idea
  • Essential details
  • Rules
  • Patterns
  • Trends
  • Unanswered questions
  • Ethics
The icons associated with complexity are:
  • Change over time
  • Multiple points of view
  • Across the disciplines
       Sandra Kaplan said in her keynote that the purpose of depth and complexity is to provide key words that provide entrance to inquiry.
Some examples from my Alice in Wonderland close reading unit:
Language of the Discipline:
  • In what ways do the language games at Tea show the inconsistencies of Wonderland?
  • What do they mean by "Saying what you mean is not the same, they tell her, as meaning what you say."
Big Ideas:
  • The Cheshire Cat explains to Alice that madness is the chief resident of Wonderland.  Do you agree?  Why or Why Not?
  • How does the White Rabbit behave to those above him in
    society? How does he behave towards those below him?
Multiple Point of View and Change over time
  • How does Alice's view of Wonderland change over time?  Support your thinking with text evidence.

     So to wrap up, use the ideas of depth and complexity to help your students go deeper with their thinking.

The White Rabbit and I LRThe White Rabbit and I at Disneyland!


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