Wise sayings are remembered and repeated because they are... well, wise. One of those is: "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!" This past year I lost my secondary kids when our high school was closed. No bitterness, no anger... simply sadness. We knew it was coming. Unfortunately, farm families are finding their way of life disrupted as small schools are closed --for us, it wasn't low test scores (ours were good), it simply is the current direction education is headed --big is better. I'm not going to argue the small school verses big school argument. The truth is there are opportunities big schools can offer that small schools can't, but there are also opportunities that small schools can offer that big schools can't (a fully, active secondary gifted program for one). Enough of that. It is what it is. I am both a dreamer and a realist.
I was fortunate to keep my elementary G.T. job and talked to my progressive administrator about extending the program in a direction not seen anywhere (to my knowledge). We began "Creativity College" --not an extra pull-out program, but a real part of the curriculum which focuses on teaching creative thinking skills and enabling both students and teachers to see the carry-over of those skills within the regular classroom and across disciplines. The program reaches each and every student in our school in grades K-6. Each class comes twice a week, along with the classroom teacher, and experiences activities that take students in a direction uncommon in the regular classroom. We began the year by giving all students and the teachers a creativity test (pre-test) and plan to do the same at the end of the year to see if there is growth.
Another purpose of the program is to involve all students (not just G.T. students) in experiences in drama and public speaking --a chance to work on a whole group project with a presentation for parents. In recent years, so many kids not in G.T. would stop me in the hall and say, "Miss Hesse, I wish I could be in a play." Our first venture in this area was our Creativity College Christmas Program which was a huge success.
The kids at Weiner Elementary are loving their lemonade, and I admit --I am too.