Posted by: Liana | August 22, 2008

Who/What is Smart?

The following are two examples of a first grade assignment. The task is for students to draw a dog, a cat, a duck, and a frog, put together those that go together and expalin why. This first example is a typical or perhaps a better than typical example of what we would expect from a “smart” student, spelling, categorizing, and all:

The frog, the cat, and the dog go together because they have four legs.

The frog, the cat, and the dog go together because they have four legs.

But check out this next paper, done by one of the “less proficient” students in the class:

They bathe like each other.

They bathe like each other.

This student had to be called over by the teacher to actually read what he wrote (still using inventive spelling) and then explain what he meant which is: Dogs and cats bathe like each other because they both use their tongues to clean themselves!

Hmmm…curious to know what you’re thinking.



  1. Looks like two smart kids to me. BTW, my iPod touch took care of my inventive spelling before I pressed submit.

  2. I would have to say that both children are smart. The second child seems to have an interesting perspective! I’d also have to add that I don’t think spelling, and coloring are the definition of smart.

  3. First child is regular ed smart. That’s the kind of smarts the teachers like. Second child is definitely GT smart. Teachers don’t always get these kids and then when they ask the child to explain their rationale, they don’t always know what to do with the information because it doesn’t fall into their assessment rubric. The teacher then needs to go back to the purpose of the lesson. Did the child understand the point of the lesson even if they didn’t do the task in the way that most kids who “get it” did the task?

    As a secondary teacher, I have to say, be gentle with learner #2. These are our innovators, our poets, our visionaries. Tread lightly, the spark is sometimes delicate, and once it’s squashed, it is very difficult to relight.

  4. […] to approach school learning with the same enthusiasm that he does his own pursuits. So when I read Who/What is Smart? on a blog that I follow, I saw my son and his struggles reflected in that post. It was a call to […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: