A number of my Facebook friends from my elementary and junior high school days have been posting this article about the highly gifted programs we attended. The 1985 article is from the L.A. Times. I must say, it’s an interesting read. I had classes under each teacher mentioned. I remember, in detail, the advertising unit, as well as other areas of study in elementary school.
There was Dig, in which the class was divided up into two teams. Each team would develop a civilization, complete with an alphabet. We would create artifacts of the civilization, including a mural and a Rosetta Stone. We would then bury the artifact in pits out in the school’s garden for the other team to dig up and interpret.
There was a unit in which we learned about feudal manors from medieval times by studying in detail the fictional manor of St.Pierre. There was Sea Education Afloat, in which we learned about marine biology. We tooke three boat trips, one to study bottom-dwellers (benthos), one to study swimmers (nekton) and one to study drifters (plankton). The plankton trip turned into a nekton trip when we joined a flotilla of boats chasing a pod of California Gray Whales, one of which breached eleven times in succession.
There were camping trips, field trips to see the opera and to try out the new TRS 80’s in the junior high computer lab. It was a wonderful education, engaging and enriching. Looking back, I think we got a lot of experiences that other kids didn’t.
Isn’t that tragic? If everyone had access to exciting enrichment curicula, wouldn’t more kids get more excited about learning? I think the magnet schools provided my classmates and me with a safe place where we could be ourselves. I think that was a great value of the program, but what would happen if those enrichment programs were available to all the kids, not just the “best and the brightest” as we were called. ?