Macbeth: The Monster Interview
Prufrock Press recently released Advanced Placement Classroom: Macbeth, the last installment in its four-part Advanced Placement Classroom series. Like the series' previous installments, including volumes devoted to Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Hamlet, this teaching resource focuses on developing advanced reading comprehension and analytical skills while providing students with a greater historical context for understanding the story and its tempestuous cast of characters.
Co-author, Daniel Lipowitz has taken this a step further, hosting none other than Macbeth, who, fresh from the battlefield, joins him in this episode of his podcast series Lip On-Line. In this "Monster Interview," Lipowitz transcends time acquiring affectations of Elizabethan linguistics to create an interview persona appropriate for his Shakespearean subject. Set immediately after the murder of MacDonwald, the interview primarily focuses on Macbeth's (and to a lesser extent Lady Macbeth's) literary reputation, to which the Scottish rogue supplies a unique perspective. Not unlike the exercises in AP Classroom: Macbeth, Lipowitz's podcast offers an interactive and introspective method of examining the play. And it's fun.
Listen to the Podcast
Click here to listen to the podcast
(approximate length: 14 minutes)
Notes That Apply to the Gifted from The Last Lecture
When I read a book that has special meaning for me, I often write down quotes that I feel are important. Such was true with The Last Lecture
by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow. Pausch was a very successful professor of Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University
. When he wrote the book, he knew he would die in a matter of months. He wanted to leave something for his young children that would show them who he was and teach the things that he would not be there to teach them as they grew up. The book is filled with wonderful stories of the author’s childhood and sprinkled with bits of wisdom that he gleaned over the years. While Pausch was an accomplished computer scientist, the things he says about parenting and education are very applicable to the gifted community. Some of my favorite quotes are…
We didn’t buy much. But we thought about everything. That’s because my dad had this infectious inquisitiveness about current events, history, our lives. In fact, growing up, I thought there were two types of families:
1. Those who need a dictionary to get through dinner.
2. Those who don’t.
We were No. 1… “If you have a question,” my folks would say, “then find the answer.”
The instinct in our house was never to sit around like slobs and wonder. We knew a better way: Open the encyclopedia. Open the dictionary. Open your mind. (p. 22)
All my life, she (his mother) saw it as part of her mission to keep my cockiness in check. I’m grateful for that now. Even these days, if someone asks her what I was like as a kid, she describes me as “alert, but not terribly precocious.” We now live in an age when parents praise every child as a genius. And here’s my mother, figuring “alert” ought to suffice as a compliment. (p. 23)
Coach Graham worked in a no-coddling zone. Self-esteem? He knew there was really only one way to teach kids how to develop it: You give them something they can’t do, they work hard until they find they can do it, and you just keep repeating the process. (p. 37)
Getting people to welcome feedback was the hardest thing I ever had to do as an educator…It saddens me that so many parents and educators have given up on this. When they talk of building self-esteem, they often resort to empty flattery rather than character-building honesty. I’ve heard so many people talk of a downward spiral in our educational system, and I think one key factor is that there is too much stroking and too little real feedback. (p. 113)
There are no better role models than people like Jackie Robinson and Sandy Blatt. The message in their stories is this: Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier. (p. 139)
This is an excellent book to read with older kids, perhaps starting at upper elementary school through high school. Take a look at The Last Lecture Web site
, click on Online Extras and then The Last Lecture Educator’s Guide for some excellent discussion questions and writing ideas.
Science Friday for Gifted Kids
Every Friday I look forward to listening to Ira Flatow’s program, Science Friday, on NPR. Each week, the program focuses on interesting science topics in the news and provides an educated, balanced discussion of the issues at hand. Panels of expert guests join Flatow, himself a veteran science journalist, to discuss these topics and to answer listener questions during the call-in portion of the program.
Science Friday Kids’ Connection is an educational resource based on Flatow’s Program. A database created in partnership with McREL (the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning in Denver, Colorado), Kids’ Connection incorporates a variety of programs, available via podcast or streaming, that satisfy benchmarks selected from national science standards for grades 6-8. The database utilizes these standards along with Science Friday program content to optimize search results, enabling students, parents, and teachers to locate programs that best address specific subjects. For example, if you choose the topic “Characteristics of the Earth System,” three benchmarks pop up. The resource page for Benchmark 1—Knows that the Earth is comprised of layers including a core, mantle, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere—links to Science Friday’s program on “Preparing for Natural Disaster.” In addition, these benchmarks are supplemented by numerous (notice that I underlined “numerous”) linked curriculum activities.
Kids’ Connection is an excellent resource for teachers, parents who want to learn with their children, homeschoolers, and other kids who wish to explore topics in-depth. Teachers can use this resource to extend or differentiate their curriculum, providing an engaging alternative for students who have already mastered the fundamentals. These students, along with children exploring the site from home, will be able to participate in the further study of a subject of interest while being introduced to new topics.
Parents—if you have a child who loves science and is not challenged in school science classes, I encourage you to spend some time with your son or daughter and this resource during the summer. If it works for you, suggest it as an alternative for independent study in the fall. This is a Web site well worth exploring.
Summer Reading and Media Lists for Gifted Students
It’s that time of year again. Summer is upon us and I know many of you are looking for good books for your kids to read as well as notable recordings, videos, and software. Here are some links that will offer guidance.
Lists book and media awards, including the Newbery, Caldecott, Sibert, Wilder, Carnegie, Batchelder, Belpré, Geisel, and Odyssey awards and the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Includes Children’s Notable Lists, identifying the best of the best in children's books, recordings, videos, and computer software.
Includes book awards lists in various categories along with a number of lists dedicated to audiobook and film recommendations for accelerated young adults.
A teacher of gifted students lists books that, over the years, “were requested the most often, provoked the most interesting discussions, and were remembered and mentioned years after they were read.”
Information about goal-oriented summer reading programs from Scholastic and Barnes and Noble.
Summer Apprenticeship Program for Gifted Students
The Institute for Educational Advancement (IEA) offers three- and four-week summer apprenticeship programs for gifted high school students. Each year, the program places high school freshmen, sophmores and juniors in challenging, hands-on learning experiences provided by an esteemed group of participating mentors in various professions. This year's participants are located at several sites in Southern California and include the Los Angeles Superior Court, Art Center College of Design, and the Japanese American National Museum.
The programs run from July 12 through August 8. During this time, apprentices spend weekdays working with their mentors on pre-arranged projects. At the end of the program, they will present their work to fellow participants and other interested parties. Apprentices live on the Occidental College campus and IEA staff transport the students to and from apprentice locations. In addition, IEA will provide enriching evening and weekend activities, as well as other general opportunites for apprentices to socialize with their intellectual peers. Past program participants rave about their experiences and many have gone on to attend prestigious universities.
The original application deadline for this program has past, but there are still some spaces available. Call 626-403-8900 if you are interested in applying. IEA will continue to accept applications until all spots are full.
Specific information on the program, including apprenticeship sites and participating mentors can be found here. Financial aid is available.
This truly sounds like a wonderful opportunity. I urge you to explore this program.
Do the Goals and Aspirations of Gifted Young Adults Differ by Gender?
As the nation embarks on high school graduation season, the New York Times blog, "The Choice," ponders several important issues raised in a study that sought to compare male and female high school valedictorians. Published last summer in Prufrock Press' journal, the Journal of Advanced Academics, the study reveals significant disparities for parents and educators to consider as we examine gender issues among gifted students.
The blog's author, Jacques Steinberg, writes:
The goal of the study, by an economics professor at Meredith College in North Carolina, was to examine the college choices, intended majors and career aspirations of high-achieving boys and girls, and see if there were any differences. Specifically, the study examined 150 valedictorians from high schools from the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, and surrounding counties.
Its main conclusion? That when stacked up against the boys, the female valedictorians tended to choose less selective colleges and plan careers in lower-paying occupations. While the girls were more likely to major in the humanities and social sciences, the boys were more likely to plan to major in math, computer science and engineering.
The results of this study seem to indicate that out-dated thinking about the education and career choices are still alive and well, even among our brightest young men and women. While this study was somewhat limited in scope, it raises important questions about how we parent and educate bright and talented females. Certainly, an excellent education can be received at less selective colleges, and majoring in the humanities and social sciences may be more about one's passions and interests than low expectations. However, these choices should be based on explicit decisions about what is best for a talented student, rather than social expectations imposed on young women by schools, parents, and the media.
Read the full text of the blog post, "Do the Ambitions of High School Valedictorians Differ by Gender?".