I cannot believe this semester is finally over. It has honestly been a tough semester for me with all of the work, but I am proud that I was able to accomplish everything that I did. One of my classes, EDDI 515, was a class that I really enjoyed. One of the awesome activities that we were able to do over the course of the class was to plan an activities night for students in the 4th and 5th grade at Windermere Boulevard School in Amherst.
The night that we were planning for all started back when we first visited the school earlier in the semester. Our professor, Dr. Julie Henry, wanted us to see what a gifted program was like, and the teacher Lindsay, was actually an alumni of the program. She was great! She showed us many different things that her students have done as well as some of the things she was planning on doing with them. It was actually really nice to see some of the things that can be found in a gifted classroom. It wasn’t necessarily hands on, but it was first hand experience that I am sure eased a lot of minds in the room that night. Everyone, including myself, were learning about gifted children throughout the semester in this class and EDDI 520, but none of us never really had the experience of working with gifted students. We didn’t really know what a gifted classroom should look like or what type of work a gifted teacher has to do. It was really nice being able to see these different things so we do not enter an environment like that blindly.
After that day, the teacher at WBS came back to Canisius help us out with the case study that was a course requirement. Without getting too much into detail, each of us had to watch a student for a few days and then create a plan for that gifted student. Lindsay was giving us the option to come back to WBS and observe a child from her class. While she was there, we started talking about doing a night at her school that would give her gifted students, as well as other students in the school, a “Mind Crushers” night. This night would have us all creating high level games for students to come in and try.
From then on out, we spent some time each class thinking about this idea. What would it be called? What would we do? What grade levels would we include? How long would it be? We decided to call it “Mind Crushers” and include students in 4th and 5th grade for an hour. The graduate students would create puzzles or different activities that would push children to think more creatively and critically. Most of us paired up and we began to create the activity we would bring with us that night. Our professor even got her husband and his science methods class involved from Buff State. This was great because it gave the children more options to choose from!
That night, I was not sure what to expect. I was not sure if a lot of parents would bring their children or if the children would have fun with what we provided. In that hour, we had a line of students that were waiting to try our activity. We also notice lines at every other station around us. It was full! Many parents decided to bring their children! I was so happy to see so many families there. And on top of just bringing their children, they were super involved with what was happening. Many of the parents decided to sit with their children at each station and actually participate with them. Often times during nights like this, we see children that are participating in the activity while the parents gather in a corner and talk to one another. That was definitely the opposite situation here. Personally, I loved seeing the parents and children working together!
Overall, I think it had been a successful night, as did my fellow classmates and teacher. I think the children and parents enjoyed themselves as did we. I hope this is something that my professor continues to do. What an enjoyable way to end the semester!