I've been blogging even less than my normally sporadic posting because I have an easier way of keeping my friends and family up to date on what I'm doing, which is to use twitter to post what I'm doing in 140 characters. Follow me!
I've been thinking about intelligence today and what it means to be smart. I made a site visit to the Rocky Mountain School for the Gifted and Creative and was both amazed by the educational process there, and reminded of my own childhood journey. My kindergarten and first grade teacher, Mrs. Scholemberger, was concerned that I might be what was called in those days "retarded" because I couldn't skip. I remember the humiliating, agonizing experience of being singled out and made to skip lengths down the basketball court in the gym. Maybe I even had to take after-school skipping lessons. I can't remember for certain. I also remember this boy, Mark Something, who peed his pants while sitting in one of those brightly colored injection molded plastic chairs and denying that he'd had an accident when accosted by the teacher, who interrogated him until he cried, while the puddle of pee cooled under his chair. Childhood is wonderful, isn't it? When I got my diploma from Wellesley I really wanted to track down Mrs. Scholemberger and show it to her, maybe doing some skipping while holding it.
Looking back on my skipping lessons, I think Mrs. Scholemberger was probably trying to make sure I was developing normally, whatever that means. I think I was exhibiting the introversion and asynchronous development which are now considered to be hallmarks of gifted children's development. And when I got to 7th grade I took some fun tests with lots of puzzles, and was placed into the Gifted and Talented program in my public school, where I grew bacteria on agar plates and stained them to look at under the microscope and decided that I wanted to be a scientist, and learned Basic programming and did all kinds of logic puzzles, and made literally lifelong friendships with my peers. GT rocked for me.
What I saw at the Rocky Mountain School today felt like a sanctuary for kids like me: rooms full of visual stimulation, classes grouped by ability level and not by age, with different subjects grouped differently, art and music and wellness integral parts of the curriculum, and crazy high achievement from very young kids. I was there for about 3 hours and wanted to stay longer and see what I could learn. Maybe one of these young people will invent an alternative to fossil fuels or anti-gravity boots or the great music of the 21st century. I can't wait to see..