On Being a Junior Photographer

Old School Camera

Old School Camera

In the early 1970′s  I was selected for our elementary’s “enrichment” program.  I suspect it had something to do with test scores.  There were just a handful of us little ragamuffins excited about choosing our area of interest and designing projects around them.  I wanted to be a photographer and so I was given the camera with no boundaries and taught how to develop film in a bona-fide dark room.

I WAS a junior photographer.  “Learning about ” was only a part of the bigger picture in which I developed an eye for seeing the world through a lens and bringing it to life in a picture.  I was able to do the work of REAL artists.

Lucky me, although I experienced guilt for having this experience while many of my peers “did school”.

The College of William and Mary School of Education’s curriculum for gifted education  is built off of the Integrated Curriculum Model for Gifted Learners.  Essentially,

curriculu.

  • Big ideas within a higher level  depth of knowledge
  • Advanced Content (as desired)
  • Problem-based inquiry using research and reasoning

While gifted education has historically been saved for the  few, these concepts are beneficial for all

“…..curriculum designed for gifted learners using ICM makes a difference in the nature and extent of learning that these students will amass. It also appears to be a powerful motivator for the less able, especially the scaffolding provided by the instructional models. If we design curriculum for our best learners and use it to stimulate a broader group of learners, then we will have succeeded admirably in our efforts to raise the ceiling for the gifted, but also to provide a new set of standards for others to emulate.”   Joyce Van Tassel-Basaka, College of William and Mary”

 All learners

I will not argue about the needs of the children ICM is designed to support.  I believe they are very real.  However, I believe all children will benefit from models like ICM.  Differentiated classrooms support all children at all times.

In a session at the Project Zero Summer Institute 2013, Dr. Ronda Bondie of Fordham University  facilitated a mini-session entitled  All Learners Everyday.  Dr. Bondie addressed how to effectively differentiate instruction for all students.  What is different about Dr. Bondie’s approach?  She includes thinking routines, teaching for understanding, multiple intelligences and formative assessment.  In essence, Dr. Bondie believes ALL students can learn to think deeply and to thrive in an inquiry-based learning environment.  I agree.

 All students should be able to tinker around as   ‘junior versions of’  (artists, photographers, engineers) in an environment of inquiry 

not just those who “do school” well.

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