Taking Our Students Above & Beyond

May 30, 2017

Taking Our Students Above & Beyond

One of the ways in which we enhanced our Personal Learning Plans (PLP) in Elementary last school year was by changing the old “Enrichment Goal” to a “Thinking Like a Disciplinarian” project.  Thinking Like a Disciplinarian (TLAD) is an approach that was designed to meet the needs of Gifted students.  We use it for all of our Elementary students.

The process starts by student + teacher + family (home-school partnership) identifying a child’s passion.  The teacher then helps the student brainstorm professions, or “disciplines”, related to that passion.  The partnership then chooses one of these disciplines to focus on for the TLAD project.  During the course of the school year, the student researches that profession:

  • Job description
  • Vocabulary of the discipline
  • Tools of the discipline
  • Educational requirements
  • Contributions to the society/world
  • Related and inter-dependent disciplines
  • Noted practitioners of the discipline
  • Interview of a person in that profession

The culminating results, then, are

  • an informational writing piece (different lengths depending on grade level)
  • an oral presentation to the class (preferably using technology)

The student is then encouraged to focus on a different discipline or passion in subsequent years.

The open-ended nature of this task, the novelty of it, and the element of student-choice aligned to his/her passion, all make this an excellent process for enriching and challenging our young students, especially our gifted ones.  The academic and work skills that they are building in this process are many, such as:

  • research skills
  • interviewing skills
  • writing skills
  • technology presentation skills
  • oral presentation & speaking skills

I have seen many excellent examples of our students’ TLAD presentations these past two years and I have chosen one to share with you here.  I encourage you to click on the link below to see one of our 2nd grader’s (Danica) TLAD product that she created this year.  I’m sure you’ll agree with me that there is great evidence in it of her research work, her interviewing skills, and especially her presentation talent.  We’re proud of you, Danica, and look forward to seeing what you produce next year!

Here is the link to view Danica's Visual Merchandiser video:


- Mr. John Heffron, Lower School Principal

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