Friday, February 17, 2017

Power Bucketing for GAT

A reader shared  this article  recently.  The researchers explore the impact of giving students a preview of course content and motivation in the form of a really bad score on the pre-test.

I have 2 reactions.  My first reaction is that it's a very innovative study.  We need more of this.  I give it a 7 out of 10.

My second reaction is that I invented something that is a 87 out of 10 and have been using it very successfully.  It's called Power Bucketing.  When readers comment that their child is only getting x on a standardized test, or doing poorly in school, I would like to explicitly lay out my formula, but the comment usually comes with the plea that the child needs to get to 98% by the end of the year to qualify for the gifted and talented program so I have to send them down a different path just for that goal. I really want to introduce them to Power Bucketing, especially for math and reading, instead of more short term strategies.  From now on, when I provide the short term strategy, I'm also going to point them to this article.

The basic premise of power bucketing is very similar to the article above.  I think the article adds one very important grit related aspect (failure) that I take for granted because it's core skill #3 on my list of GAT skills.  Here are the steps for any subject except for reading and language.  Reading and language are a bit harder to Power Bucket because you have to gather a really great reading list and you won't get it in 5 minutes on Amazon.  But you can certainly do this for history, geography, math, and science.
  1. Stop work on this year's content.  Resign yourself that the payoff is going to happen next year.
  2. Get math books for the next year or the year after.  In the case of having to get from x to 99 by year end, you can't ignore grades or content for this year's math, so you're stuck with both.
  3. Struggle through the advanced content according to my list of GAT parenting skills described in past articles.  In short, it's going to be a lousy performance and you will be OK with that.

The premise of Power Bucketing is that when the child actually sees the advanced content in school in the next year or two, they will magically go from average to profoundly gifted on day 1.

There are numerous reasons for Power Bucketing and they are all important.

  1. Going through this process teaches the core skills and grit. As the article sited above points out, the child learns just how challenging the material is, and is prepared to try harder the second time.
  2. To understand the concepts at a deeper level takes years.  You could name any elementary concept, like a 2nd or 3rd grade concept in math or science, and I could demonstrate all of the advanced mature understanding hiding in this concept.  School, on the other hand, gives the child about a week and a few worksheets on each concept and moves on.  There's no way for a child to gain a GAT type deep understanding in a week.
  3. Most importantly, the child develops partially filled buckets for each concept and vocabulary word ahead of time, and when she sees the material in class, she already has buckets to organize all of the content as it is presented.  The buckets get filled.  This is a huge advantage over the child who doesn't have the buckets first.  This is the main payoff.
  4. With her preliminary familiarity of the topics, the child looks like a genius.  Like a little smarty pants Hermione in potions class with her hand raised on the first day.
  5. Everyone will treat the Power Bucket child like the smartest kid in class, and the child will think he is the smartest kid in class and behave accordingly.  This rubs off on the other subjects, which is why we usually only have to do Power Bucketing in one subject, and then every few years or so.

We've done this repeatedly in math and science, and twice in reading.   Because of Power Bucketing, I'm considering reframing my mission from "helping you get from average to gifted and talented" to "helping you get from average to gifted and talented then to profoundly gifted", but only if you use Power Bucketing.

Test Prep Math is Super Power Bucketing on Steroids.  I finished the first draft of Chapter 4d - Leveraging Test Prep Math (on the top right) and if you read it you'll see why.  It has a surprise ending.

I consider Pre-K Phonics a blatant form of Power Bucketing, it's more like Super Power Bucketing. At the urging of colleagues, I'm putting together videos to explain all of this so that readers don't have to sift through dozens of articles.  The problem is that creating a video is harder than writing.  I'm working on it, but in the latest version, half of my head is cut off and my tiny video partner keeps over acting.

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