Book Recommendations for Summer Reading: Finding 'Good Fit' Books for Gifted Teens

Each reader is different, and not every reader is ready for the content they are able to read. That is the challenge of finding "good fit" books for advanced readers. These lists are just here to help you (and them) find some new books to read.

At each level, these are not all designed to be “challenge” books. Some are just strong middle-grade/YA fiction that students might enjoy reading or that a particular student may not have read yet. Students are—of course--welcome to seek a challenge on one of the older lists as well or to read a great book they’ve missed from an earlier recommended grade. Parents should advise re: content.

Also, the CCBC, an amazing children’s library resource out of the University of Wisconsin, has a
Web site full of lists. You can access their many recommendations here:

I have made three lists:
Books for rising 6th and 7th graders,
Books for rising 7th and 8th graders
Books for ri…

Success Is the Tip of the Iceberg

This sketchnote from Sylvia Duckworth illustrates a lesson that a lot of gifted middle school students are in the process of learning. For some, it is THE most important lesson they will learn in middle school. 
Some thoughts about success: At times, students who are new to Seabury Middle School express shock or surprise when they are not initially successful. Success is not always easy.It can be easy at times. It can also take a lot of work. One type of success is not "worth" more than the other type.The end goal might look different to different people at different times.Being in a moment of failure, does not mean that a learner is at the end of their journey. It means they're on the path of learning. Students learn through a process of action, reflection and feedback, and then re-attempting that action. Their writing, thinking, reading, and discussion skills all improve in this way.
Students who struggles a lot the first time they complete a particular type of assignm…

Astronomy is a Great Distance Learning Subject

Seabury has an inquiry based science program. Inquiry is an investigative approach to teaching and learning. Students at Seabury get to explore solutions and develop explanations to phenomena they observe or learn about. This is much the same as what scientists do in the real world. They ask observe a phenomena, ask questions, and investigate. As they obtain new information their ideas and understanding change. Inquiry often begins with a counter intuitive or unexpected event. 
Astronomers investigate the universe using mathematics and electromagnetic radiation such as light, microwaves, and x-rays. Seabury students were presented with three interesting ways light interacts with with objects on earth to create images. One was its reflection on a spoon. The concave bowl of the spoon reflects a different image that the convex back of the spoon. Why? Students were asked to come up with their own question about the phenomena, this lead to ideas about why things appear smaller or larger a…

Asking Questions: The First Step toward Learning

Inquiry begins with wonder.

The middle school students are embarking on an exploration of world religions, and the first step that we took on our journey was one geared toward orienting themselves.

Students completed a short survey asking about their religious practices and beliefs as well as their initial thoughts on religion: "I know..." and "I think..."

Once they had shared their bearings, they could then discuss potential paths. Students wrote questions about what they want to know about religion based on what they already know and have experienced. When pasted into a word cloud, their questions look like this:

The next step will be some inspirations: virtual tours of famous religious sites from around the world, religious music, food associated with religious rituals, and religious art.

Students will then have a chance to ask questions again: Now that they know more, what questions are still resonating? What new questions have emerged?

From there, they can bra…

Seabury Middle School - Digital Parent Night part 2

How to Upload a Math Assignment Using the Google Classroom app and Smartphone or Tablet with Camera Some students are still struggling to post math assignments correctly. This is the easiest way to do it.

Ways We Can Communicate The following video is just a reminder of all the ways you and your student can communicate with us about assignments, worries, concerns, and to get help.

Seabury Middle School: A Digital Parent Night - Post 1

We thought it might be helpful to share some information about what digital school looks like and some tips that might be useful to parents when navigating the at home aspects of digital schooling.

Thank you!
First and foremost, thank you for everything you are doing to help digital schooling run smoothly. We are so appreciative of your communication, your time, and your patience. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We are so fortunate to be in this together.

How to Help Your Child(ren) Make Daily Schedules/Manage Their Time

1) See if they can do it on their own--this is a great learning experience, and we are here as a safety net. They might have some missed assignments and meetings, but better to learn how to mange their time now than later. They will be okay. We are being really flexible during this transition.

2) They have made the transition pretty seamless and are mostly managing their time well in terms of assignment completion.

3) Google Classroom connects to Google Calendar, and t…

Dystopian Literature

In a recent conversation with a middle schooler about the role of the teacher in a project based learning school, the student said, "So, you are the back seat driver to my education."

The more I think about it, the more I feel like he hit the nail on the head.

As we have worked to make school remote, that conversation has been in the back of my mind. How are we, as teachers, coaching the students to continue being in the driver's seat. What opportunities are we giving them to discover themselves as learners. Where do we need to push and where do we need to let go a little?

Teachers should consider themselves life long learners, and this national switch to digital schooling exemplifies the strength of the teaching community: teachers who love technology have embraced the switch and gone out of their way to provide resources and assistance to novices. Novices have put their toe in the water and slowly waded in. The national teacher community is modeling project based learn…