Crushing Minds One Day At A Time

Crushing Minds One Day At A Time

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!



What is the D.I Program Like?

What is the D.I Program Like?

Hello all!

This is my first blog ever and I am so excited that it is with at Canisius for the Differentiated Instruction Program.  I decided to do this blog so hopefully the word gets out about this amazing program.  As a second semester graduate student, I want people to know the amazing things about the program and why it is important to obtain a differentiated instruction degree, no matter what grade level you plan on teaching.

First a little about me: Before coming to Canisius, I attended SUNY Fredonia and got a degree in childhood education with a middle school extension in social studies, giving me the ability to teach grades 1-6 as well as 7-9 respectively.  I just graduated this past May and started at Canisius in the fall.  Right now I am working toward the Differentiated Instruction degree and I am getting an extension in special education as well as early childhood (don’t worry, I will explain all that another time).  The nice thing is, the program is only one year, if you choose to make it that way, so I am going to participate in the required summer camp over and still be able to graduate in May.  As I write in this blog, expect gifs, especially ones that come from two of my favorite TV shows: How I Met Your Mother & New Girl.  Also, if any of my classes show me videos I think will benefit you, I’ll add them here as well!

I hope that as I blog about my time here at Canisius that you will fall in love with the program just as much as I have.  I also hope that as you read this blog, you will become more confident in the program and the future it holds in our education system.  If you ever have any questions that I can help you out with, please email me!


Until next time, check out the video and see What is Differentiated Instruction?  Also, I often see this picture tossed around when talking about D.I.  Let me know what you think of it!equal education

Melissa 🙂

Gifted students… What do they need?

I have been making a lot of progress with school work! There is still a lot more left to do, but I am proud of what I have accomplished so far this semester! It’s been a very busy semester, which is why it has moved along so fast!

I am currently working hard in all of my classes, but especially for my unit plan in my one class. It has been really interesting learning all about the needs of gifted students and for how to use strategies to teach these unique students! Now I am trying to tie all I have learned together and apply it to actual lessons that I can use with gifted students in the future. My unit is going to be on Elements of Fiction so I’m going to teach about theme, character traits, etc. Some of the big gifted education strategies that I am going to incorporate into the unit include technology, SCAMPER, DeBono’s 6 Thinking Hats, and possibly a Squiggle! These are all strategies that I want to try to implement in my lessons because they are so great for gifted students needs. These strategies foster creativity, higher-order thinking, multiple perspectives, and engagement in gifted students learning. These strategies can  be used by teachers to appropriately challenge gifted learners so they are not bored in the classroom. I have not actually created my unit yet, but within the next two weeks I will hopefully do so, as well as work on my other assignments too. Lots of stuff to do in the next few weeks, I hope I stay healthy! (I have a tendency to get sick when I have a lot to do in short time periods!)

I am also working on some ideas for my guided reading lesson for my literacy course which has also been somewhat challenging since I have not done a lesson quite like this in my past experiences. Although,  I will start start working on building ideas within the next 2 weeks, and I will put it together soon!

I will post about my progress on these major assignments soon! 🙂