Posted in Captain's Logs COVID-19, Uncategorized

Captain’s Log 3/27/2020

Captain’s Log 3/27/2020

On the virtual ship today the crew tackled their first discussion board. There were minor bumps, but we fared well. I am impressed by how resilient these kids have been and how honest they’ve been about their struggles, questions, and fears. They have adjusted, but I asked today how they FELT for their discussion post. You can tell that some of the students are rolling with the changes, others are full of anxiety. They want to do well. How does this work? When will we go back? Will we go back? What if…? People have talked about all the adjusting teachers, I mean… Captains, have done, but we can’t forget how much the kids have been through. I’m a decent captain, but this crew of mine is strong.

On my actual ship, the crew spent a good deal of the day planning a camp out on the deck (living room floor). Reserves of vegetables and meat in the galley are high, but we were into emergency rations of snacks. I manned a solo expedition to the shores of a local Walmart. I genuinely feared for my life, since a plague is circulating now. I survived the trip, but the number of sick and dead rise daily. The crew are confined to the ship for their own safety.

More tomorrow,

Captain C. Wilson

Posted in Captain's Logs COVID-19, Uncategorized

Captain’s Log 3/26/2020

Captain’s Log 3/26/2020

Today we faced our first challenge on the virtual ship: opening a google doc. I know it sounds simple enough, but imagine you are stranded on a desert island with only an internet connection. After many, many emails and text messages and assignment comments and some screaming into local pillows, all of the crew is alive, and most of the docs were opened and submitted. The virtual ship took on some water, but we pulled through.

On my actual ship (home), the crew completed some learning activities, had recess, enjoyed screen time, and ate an unprecedented number of snacks. They did do some light cleaning. No crew were grounded; they are alive, and we only had a few moments of despair.

More tomorrow,
Captain C. Wilson

Posted in Captain's Logs COVID-19, Uncategorized

Captain’s Log 3/25/2020

Captain’s Log 3/25/2020 Part II

I returned to the ship with my biological crew after lunch. The crew were better behaved today than yesterday, considerably so.

I worked on my new virtual ship and found success on the interwebs. Hopefully these smooth seas prevail in the morrow.

The boys and I took another outing to hunt bears. We found 13 in, on, and around neighboring ships.

The crew is alive and well.

More tomorrow,
Captain C. Wilson

Posted in Captain's Logs COVID-19, Uncategorized

Captain’s Log 3/25/2020, Part I

Captain’s Log 3/25/2020, Part I

Today captains were permitted to return briefly to their abandoned ships to collect necessary items and prepare materials for crew (students) without Internet.

It was an emotional experience for me. I have been doing ok with the changes, but seeing my empty classroom ahem, ship, broke my heart. I genuinely miss my students, and I miss teaching them in person.

Today, we forge a new path on the seas of the Interwebs. To be fair, there were already ocean analogies for the web, so the captain’s log remains fitting. I’m off to my virtual ship.

Empty ship.

More later,
Captain C. Wilson

Posted in Captain's Logs COVID-19, Uncategorized

Captain’s Log 3/24/2020

I’ve been meaning to start a(n honest) Captain’s Log. I haven’t up to this point because I’ve been so busy sharing information that I thought it would get lost in the shuffle. But now, now, I am ready.

Captain’s Log 3/24/2020

I had to check the calendar because I didn’t know the date. Or what day it was. And I’ve written “2012” as the year at least 3 times today.

Today I drove myself to get donut holes (drive-thru) in an act of self-care. Upon my return, I began my virtual work day. The crew (read: the boys) proceeded to repeatedly interrupt said virtual workday approximately 1042x with bouts of crying, tattling, and general efforts to kill each other. The crew was sent outside to play. Moments later, the screaming began. I texted an urgent prayer request for my sanity before retrieving the crew and grounding them from each other in separate parts of the ship (house).

We ate lunch with Bobby as a family, and he offered to take the crew while he worked, so as to preserve my mental health.

After lunch, I worked for 5.5 uninterrupted hours and accomplished my entire (work-related) to-do list without having to yell at or ground anybody. The ship was empty save me, and the seas were calm.

Upon the crew’s return to the ship, we took a brief outing to go on a “bear hunt”. Bears were hunted. The entire crew is still alive.

More tomorrow.

Posted in teaching

Thoughts on Gifted Kids and the Adults They Become

So, a while back, I wrote a post called Kids turn into adults. I elaborated on that thought on my facebook page via a status update and a meme I found yesterday, and it gained some traction. Several of my friends, who are also recovering gifted children, commented on the post. And, not surprisingly, a few parents of today’s gifted children also commented. I promised them I’d gather my thoughts and post them in a coherent way, so here it goes:

What Does It Mean To Be Gifted?

I like to think of us as a horde of divergents, haha. But, the reality is that each gifted person is unique. They think differently. They process ideas without regard to the steps normal people use. They make connections others cannot see.

Possible Problems Gifted Children Face

Here is a handy-dandy chart of the things that make us gifted in contrast to our nuerotypical counterparts, but with every amazing quality comes a possible downside. No one gifted person has all of these qualities, nor does any one person have every single one of these problems, however, we have to acknowledge that too much of a good thing can certainly be a bad thing.

The problem with gifted programs is that often, they spend so much time telling us how “smart” we are or how “rare” we are, and not enough time helping us explore who we are and how to navigate the problems that come with it. A lifetime of social isolation and misunderstanding can certainly lead to a number of other problems. The need to belong can lead to oppressive social anxiety. Seeing systemic problems and injustices creates the feeling of treading water in a world of existential dread. No wonder so many of us experience mental health crises.

Gifted Girls–The Good News

Girls often feel a need to comply with social norms (yay for the patriarchy!!!). Girls are less likely to (at least in their younger years) to have behavior issues.

Gifted Girls–The Bad News

Girls of all kids, gifted or not, get told that their performance is due to their innate abilities. “Wow! Look how smart you are!” “You are just naturally SO athletic!” “Of course it was easy; you are intelligent like your mother!”

These statements have the effect of making young women believe that work is not necessary for their success, that instead, it is simply within their natural ability. That doesn’t seem too harmful at the outset, but in adolescence, many challenges academic, mental, and physical arise. Girls often “break down” when it doesn’t come easily to them because they’ve not been taught how to approach a challenge.

Gifted Boys–The Good News

When boys fail to be successful academically or physically, the world tells them to put in a little more “elbow grease” (aka: effort, try harder!) (yay toxic masculinity!) . Challenges tend not to discourage young men, unless they lack the motivation to take it up.

Gifted Boys–The Bad News

Gifted young men are much less likely to care about maintaining social norms. Acceptable behavior is optional and caring to complete academic milestones can fall by the wayside. Graduating high school? Eh. Who cares? Gifted boys are less likely to be identified because they may not comply in class, can get poor grades, and can seem generally unmotivated.

Double Exceptionality

Exceptionalities are those “exceptions” to normal learning patterns. It is the fancy and more acceptable way to refer what we once called disabilities. Giftedness is an exceptionality. That’s right: giftedness is a type of “disability”.

Double exceptionalities occur when a person has more than one exceptionality. It is extremely common. You can be gifted AND have ADHD. And dyslexic. And be on the autism spectrum. And have alcohol fetal syndrome. and and and and and.

A person may be gifted in the area of math or logical reasoning, and at the same time, have a disability in reading.

This can confuse people; it can confuse the gifted person, and it can obstruct the ability of the person to get help for their disability, or their ability to have their giftedness recognized.

What Can We Do?

We can start by understanding the problems that gifted people face and working to educate gifted people as well as their parents and educators about those problems. We can work to educate gifted people about themselves. We can help them understand who they are and how to navigate the world as that person.


Posted in Book Reviews, English escapades, teaching

Book Review: Crossover

I’ve not kept up with my book posts, so forgive the flood coming your way. This is #Crossover by @kwamealexander

I read the whole thing today and loved it. I was attracted to it for several reasons: I want to present diverse perspectives in my classroom library. I want to include books with literary value that young men will enjoy readying, too. And of course, books in verse have piqued my interest both personally and professionally of late. I love poetry, and I love to help my students love poetry. Most importantly, as I’ve mentioned before, books in verse reduce the burden on struggling readers because they accomplish A LOT with a lower word count. Turning pages faster builds confidence!

As far as the story: I loved it. It’s highs and lows. It’s wins and profound losses. It’s basketball as a metaphor for life.

For teaching: YES. There isn’t a poetry or fiction concept I couldn’t cover with this book. Rhyme scheme. Sound devices graphical elements. Foreshadowing. Figurative language. There’s even a tanka!The list goes on.

It has me wondering if maybe I should have my school order a class set. 👀❤️

#whatimreading #bookstagram #books #bookreview #weneeddiversebooks #read #ELAR #texasteacher

Posted in Book Reviews, English escapades, teaching, Uncategorized

Book Review: I Am Malala

#IamMalala was an amazing read! It is her memoir of living in a Taliban occupied Pakistan, fighting for her right to education, and surviving the Taliban attack on her life. Her bravery, perspective, wisdom, and faith are remarkable.

From a literary perspective, I enjoy her presentation of the politically complex context that is Pakistan. What many of us (Americans) fail to see is the complexity of any situation. We are quick to throw everything we have into one of two very problematic political buckets and go “all-in”. People from other parts of the world often have much more complex understandings of their (often paradoxical) systems. Malala beautifully presents the stark reality that sometimes there are no “good guys” in terms of political entities, or very few at the most. She examines each event from the perspectives of multiple parties to demonstrate the confusion, distrust, and chaos created by corruption and a history of violence. I firmly believe we should ALL be reading books about historical events from the perspectives of other cultures so that we can see how our county’s actions are perceived around the world.

On that note, I think she tells her story in very much the style of her culture. The caveats and trips back and forth in time to explain context can confuse a reader who isn’t familiar with this type of storytelling. I think it helped me immensely to have read books like The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. These works of fiction introduced me to cultural norms and historical context that I drew from as I read.

Give it a read! #withMalala #MalalaFund

#bookstagram #bookreview #read #whatimreading

Posted in English escapades


There’s only one rule in Book Club: YOU CAN’T TALK ABOUT BOOK CLUB.

Just kidding. These were my opening words today in our first meeting, and it got a pretty good laugh.

y’all. book club was **amazing** today. 

We had our first meeting, and it was seriously EVERYTHING. We had 10 people sign up, buy a greatly discounted book, and show up. We had 4 adults sign up, and 6 kiddos. And, once we got in the room with our lunches, it was like there was no age difference or social divisions among us at all.

It was ridiculously refreshing to be in a room with thinking humans who want to learn more and learn from each other and who were willing to share their experiences and knowledge and recommend further reading and watching. It was beautiful. I’ve never felt so encouraged and affirmed before that brief 40 minute encounter.

Here’s what we did today:

  • passed out books
  • gave a brief overview
  • had a read-aloud of the first few pages
  • discussed thoughts thus far
  • started an in-depth discussion of our prior reading, research, and watching related to the Holocaust.

Here’s the plan:

  1. The first Wednesday will be like today: intro the new book.
  2. Wednesdays #2 and 3 (and sometimes 4) will be “reading meetings”, just a quiet space to read this book or another one and eat lunch.
  3. Last Wednesday of the month will be a no-holds-barred discussion. In other words: SPOILER ALERT, we’ll discuss the book including the ending.
  4. The last 10-12 days of every month, I’ll also begin announcing our new book for the next month and taking sign ups for orders. I’ve had several kids already tell me they want in on the next one!
Posted in Book Reviews, English escapades, teaching

Book Review: Every Soul A Star

Today I finished this book. It’s from my classroom library. I picked it up to read it so I could recommend it to my students. It is told from the perspectives of 3 very different narrators. The story follows them as they navigate relationships with family and friends through huge changes in their lives. Their lives beautifully converge during a solar eclipse. In a lot of ways, it is coming of age story. It’s about change. It’s about beauty. It’s about being comfortable in one’s own skin.

My favorite quote comes from a minor character in the book, Stella, an old lady.

“When I was your age, I knew nothing about the world or my place in it. I figured I’d be someone’s wife, then someone’s mother. It never occurred to me to be someone myself.”

#whatimreading #bookrecommendations #bookreview #elar #teacher #read #bookstagram #book