Designing and Implementing a Successful Book Study

The following Book Study Guide is provided by Nancy Starke, a mathematics educator in Chittenango schools. Nancy implemented a highly successful book study using the book Twice-Exceptional Gifted Children, by Beverly A. Trail, Ed. D.

Audience: K-8 teachers, teaching assistants, and aides 

Knowing that we as adults do not always respond to “spoon feeding” of information, I designed this book study around four points: 

(1) we would meet together only two times, once at the beginning and once at the end of the book study 

(2) during our first two-hour meeting, participants would take the time to watch an entire film (1 hour) together 

(3) participants would have only one deadline for the readings/responses, allowing them the freedom to work at their own pace 

(4) during our final two-hour meeting, their work would become part of our school’s work towards meeting the needs of the twice-exceptional student. 

The agenda for our first meeting included a short presentation on the myths of giftedness followed by watching a video on gifted children. This video was about one hour long and although it took up half of our meeting, it really set the stage for our work ahead and got us all on the same page.

Participants were truly engaged in the stories from gifted children, often comparing them to some of our students from the past/present with the underlying thought of “Wow, how did we miss this?”

Participants were given four weeks, one over a short vacation, to read each chapter of the book and respond using the “two stars and a wish” format: share two star points from the chapter and then a “wish” for our students/school.

To record their responses, I set up a Google Group with each chapter being one topic. This would allow all participants to read each other’s responses within each chapter and was very easy for everyone. 

At our final meeting, in small groups, participants were given all of the responses for one chapter to go through and share out the most important stars along with wishes they felt would provide support for our students. Groups then presented, in chapter order, to the whole group.

This was extremely powerful! Having all professionals become well-informed and then suggest strategies for our students, they became “part of the solution”!

All of the final “wishes” were then organized and sent as recommendations to our administrators as well as our school psychologists as possible strategies for twice-exceptional and gifted students. 

Using the book study format allowed more people to take part in this professional development than would have been able to had it involved more meetings after school. Including the teaching assistants and aides really allowed all of us who work with these students to work together to help develop strategies for our students.

Resources:

Twice-Exceptional Gifted Children by Beverly A. Trail, Ed. D. Prufrock Press, ISBN 1593634897