Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Pre-K Test Prep List

While I'm waiting for the Secret of Grit Part 2, I'm gearing up for the random selection of future academic stars.

I created a brochure for the Chicago Project. A draft of the brochure is here.  The goals are presented much differently than the way I normally organize the path to cheating your way into a gifted and talented program.  The target audience is going to have no idea what I'm talking about, so I rearranged things into more normal terms.

6 months ago, I was prepared to set up a crowd funding request to pay for all of this, but since then, enough people discovered my awesome books that both the pilot and Phase 2 are going to be paid for. Thanks to all of the readers took the leap with Test Prep Math, Shape Size Color Count, and Pre-K Phonics Conceptual Vocabulary and Thinking.  Your investment will pay off in a much bigger way than you expected.

Here's what I have in mind for my materials list for test prep for the Chicago Project.
  • Pre-K Phonics Conceptual Vocabulary and Thinking
  • Shape Size Color Count
  • Building Thinking Skills Grades 2 and 3
  • A Mercer practice test to practice for the real thing
  • A big poster board, sticky notes and a sharpie
  • A small poster board for the schedule
  • Supplemental materials as needed
Our target might be the OLSAT and not the COGAT.  This isn't going to change the approach, because OLSAT preparation is a stepping stone to the COGAT. The material actually over covers it, which is why we're going to skip right to Grades 2 and 3 of Building Thinking Skills as a follow up. Yes, I'm talking about 4 year old children; maybe the secret of GAT is just to let kids work on more challenging material.  Regardless, the COGAT is a more demanding than the OLSAT and it doesn't hurt to overshoot.

I'm chose to prepare 4 year olds for a test to get into Kindergarten.  It's so much easier than preparing for the 1st grade test because first grade material is well known, and the Pre-K material listed above is not because the primary marketer is currently busy on another project.

I'm uncertain about supplemental materials.   In a slightly above average household that values education, this would be known as 'stuff you are doing anyway'.  There was a great study done by U of C researchers comparing households in the north suburbs with households on the South Side of Chicago that I've sited in my blog (and will find later when I have time) that shows a great disparity in number of books on the shelf, number of vocabulary words used in everyday conversation, and number of positive, encouraging comments versus negative comments.   Friends of mine at a social organization in my neighborhood did a study of getting read for school habits and found families that served soda and Cheetos for breakfast.  Let me point out that my African American friends from Northwestern University that live in my neighborhood are in the study of 'how can I raise my kids like they do', but the Cheeto eating families are what I'm hoping to find for the Chicago Project.

I'm even more uncertain what it's going to take to get a parent in the game, from zero minutes a day to maybe 2 or 3 hours.   It roughly breaks down to 15 to 20 minutes of actual test prep, an hour of Read To, and the rest includes staying organized, going to the library, and talking.  Then there are all the other factors stacked up against this endeavor, like moving, depression, social pressures, and coming to grips with the fact that some white guy just showed up out of the blue with a crazy plan. 

I've been in this situation before, but I always focused on the children.  In each case, there was tremendous progress, but only one parent subsequently continued the work.  She was African American, and her child was the first child I ever coached.  It was exactly 20 years ago.  Now, it's payback time.


  1. I know that I have been quiet on the message boards lately -- I started college classes again and I am swamped with PTO meetings. I wanted to touch base with a question. My 5.5year old daughter was recently given the WPPSI-IV. My question is about the block design section. It is my understanding that girls are late to develop mental roation. Does the test account for this gender bias or is it possible that in another year she would score significantly higher? I ask, because she did very well (99th percentile) EVERY category (except her 95% in blocks) with an overall score of 134 and I am beginning to wonder if she may need even more accommodations than a traditional gifted program would provide. Thanks for you advice. It is so helpful to have you as a resource!

    1. I'm not sure I replied to this. I thought I sent an email. This is a good question. IQ tests (I lump the WPPSI in this category) are designed for a normal distribution and gender equity. Both of these have never been proven, but questions are calibrated for this effect. Obviously, this is not correct because everyone knows girls are smarter than boys on average. Maybe this is why Block Design is included. The cognitive skill set behind block design plays no roll in gifted education as far as I can tell until middle school, but by that time everything becomes so reliant on verbal skills that it doesn't matter. Besides, less than 80% wouldn't be notifiable anyway. In fact, with the right attitude, a child with 85% across the board would do just fine in a GAT program.

    2. Thanks for the response! Now the problem becomes figuring out exactly what type of program she needs. Obviously a gifted child is gifted all day - not just at 12:00 on Tuesdays, so the traditional pull-out program doesn't seem sufficient. However, I don't know how you provide advanced material at a quicker pace within the same regular classroom through differentiated instruction either. So what does a parent do when they can't afford a fancy private gifted school (I don't even think we have one locally) and it doesn't appear the public schools will meet their needs? That's a whole lot of un-schooling I'm going to be responsible for at home. I wish I were as smart as my kid, maybe then I'd know what to do with her lol.

    3. Well, as a matter of fact, there is a plan. I don't have time to write about it now, but there is a plan. It's not as bad as you think. Can you tell me what school district this is? I would like to know when the next opportunities occur. Then I'm going to have more to say on this topic.

    4. That's fantastic to hear! We're in Central Bucks SD in Pennsylvania (Simon Butler Elementary). You can always email me too if you'd rather (I use the same user name as above @aol) Thanks a million!

  2. Your heart is in the right place, but you use a patronizing tone when talking about the families you hope to coach in the Chicago Project. As a person of color that frequents your blog, I'd love for you to be more sensitive to the folks you intend to help. Assuming they've never seen a book or had a decent converation is rude at best. Your tone also minimizes their humanity. You may have said these comments in jest, but even that suggests a lack of respect that is troubling.

    1. Thank you for your comments. It's good to hear from you again. It's not fair of me to make off handed comments and not go into detail so let me just edit those right now because even if I explain it here the comments aren't visible.

    2. OK, take a look at my edits and let me know if that is better. I'm amused that I'm often accused of being a racist in the course of my work. I realize that you didn't but it happens, usually by my peers. It's because I'm like Vince Lombardi or General Patton in my approach. In my heart, I really wish I could be a wrestling coach. I'm great working with kids of all kinds, but when I write, I'm disgusted with the psychology industry and educational material because of this horrible concept of genetic inheritance of intelligence, and I'm disgusted with the leadership in Chicago. I'm also not a big fan of 'culture', which seems like a lot of excuse making. Thanks again for your comments.