Rhonda Williams is the Gifted Specialist at Discovery Middle School in Madison where she has created a class that really grows her students minds and encourages them to think in a new way.
“They are just exquisite students with extreme exceptionalities on various levels,” explains Rhonda Williams, the Valley’s Top Teacher. “It is a pleasure to try to find ways to challenge them beyond cognitive thinking skills. Kind of out-of-the-box, off the page kind of application.”
She likes to make them stop and think differently to see there is not always a right or wrong answer. She wants them to always ask the question, why?
“It’s not here you got this right, you got this wrong, let me show you how to do it,” says Mrs. Williams. “It is more of have you thought about it this way?”
Mrs. Wiliams has her kids make board games, create digital portfolios, and do independent studies. The kids get to have input on what they study and even get to decide their own due dates.
“It’s not just like she tells us what to do and we do it, you know?” says Anousha Raman, a 6th Grade Student in Gifted Program. “We get to decide together and it’s really fun. You know, it is challenging and it is good because then we can learn more things and stuff.”
“You think, oh, we are giving our own due date, we can do stuff ourselves, this should be easy,” shares Laine Biker, a 6th Grade Student in Gifted Program. “But then you go in and it becomes more difficult, so you work harder and then you learn more.”
Although the assignments push kids to think a little harder, Mrs. Wiliiams kids say they never feel overworked or overwhelmed. They know that Mrs. Williams is there to help them grow and feel more confident.
“She makes you feel good, so you never feel like you are out of place,” says Laine Biker. “She always makes you feel like you are smart enough to be in this class and that you can do it.”
And that is exactly the goal that Mrs. Williams has: to make sure her kids know that they can accomplish whatever they put their minds to.
“I want them to understand that they can be anything they want to be. They can live out whatever dream that they have,” Mrs. Williams explains. “Whatever their background is, whatever is going on around them, that they have choices in their life to find the path that is best for them and to be the best at it that they can. They can open that door that is closed in their lives.”
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