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FORT WORTH, TX – Trinity Valley School is a K-12 independent and innovative college preparatory school committed to providing their students with a broad liberal education in the arts and sciences.  Luke Jacob, Dean of Learning and Curriculum, is working with teachers in the 2nd, 7th, and 9th grades to develop multi-disciplinary models of The Art of Learning, with an aim to continue to grow each year until the entire school is working with the learning principles.

In each grade, a small team of teachers applies a particular learning principle at the same time, using similar language and lesson structures in their different classrooms.  That way, a given student (and his or her parents) encounters three or four iterations of the learning principle.  Jacob explains, “This allows for both the consistency and flexibility of the curriculum model, and in a way that would help everyone to see just how similarly the processes of learning function across different fields of study”.

A wonderful example of this process is with the second grade team consisting of Leslie Garcia (classroom teacher), Karen Arrington (technology), and Melissa Black (visual arts).  They have developed a unit of study around the principle of Making Smaller Circles.  The students explore the concept within the framework of each discipline and then combine their new-found knowledge to create a class e-book.  For a more detailed description of the second grade unit, please visit Karen Arrington’s blog or watch this video.

You can also see wonderful examples of the teachers’ lessons, unit outlines, assignments and more in the elementary (Leslie Garcia) and middle school (Tina Harper) sections of our Educators and Coaches resource page.


GARLAND, TX- The mission of the Garland Independent School District, which incorporates 72 schools and over 58,000 students, is to create a learning environment that fosters and promotes critical thinkers who are prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally to be active participants in the 21st century.  Gifted and Talented Coordinator Linda Phemister is conducting a book study program with Gifted/Talented representatives from each campus who will, in turn, conduct campus-based book study programs with teachers of gifted/talented students.  Says Linda: “The Art of Learning will inspire teachers to view their instructional practices and students in a new light.…One of the goals of the book study is to provide opportunities for teachers to dialogue about current  practices….as well as help teachers to provide enhanced learning opportunities for their current and future students that will make a difference in their school life—and possibly change the course of their future.”

Six Hour Gifted and Talented Book Study 2010-2011

An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance

The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin

Part I- The Foundation Innocent Moves

Part II- My Second Art

Part III- Bringing It All Together

Independent Study -Due May 24, 2011

As you read the book, The Art of Learning, please take the time to journal throughout the reading process. It is important to keep in mind as you read how this book relates to teachers of Gifted and Talented students, and how it relates to the children who exhibit exceptional traits and characteristics that identify them as Gifted and Talented.

As you journal, think of how you can you make any connections to the text from the student and/or teacher perspective. Take note of what thoughts come to mind, memories from childhood, or a particular student  that comes to the forefront of your thinking. Take a moment to capture your thinking as you read the book.

Also, the Art of Learning is full of rich quotes that provide opportunities as a reader to become more connected to the text. Write down the quotes that resonate for you, and make a note as to why. Did it bring back thinking to you from your childhood? Did the quote make you think of your classroom, or perhaps, make you think of your very own child? What impact does this book have on the teaching of the Gifted and Talented learner?

Encapsulate your thinking by writing a one-half to one page reflection for each one of the three parts: The Foundation, My Second Art, Bringing It All Together. Make sure to include in your summary the implications for teaching and how your thinking has shifted towards the teaching of the Gifted and Talented learner. In your summary focus your response on one of the following statements:

What parallels can we as educators make between gifted and talented students in our classroom and:

  • their approaches to learning
  • keeping achievement in perspective
  • teacher’s role in the learning process
  • perfectionism (handling mistakes)

Campus Book Study – Must be Completed by May 24, 2011

When you meet as a campus please be prepared to bring your thoughts regarding your connections to the texts and quotes, phrases and words that you have determined to be important. Be ready to share your responses with the Book Study group. Each meeting should run no longer than 45 minutes.

Part I The Foundation

Block Party Protocol – A Pre-Reading Text Based Activity (40-45 minutes)

  1. Members of Book Study submit quotes to GT Liaison one week before the meeting.
  2. Facilitator writes quotes on index cards prior to session. You may choose one quote per participant, or repeat some quotes.
  3. Participants randomly select quotes/cards and spend a few minutes reflecting upon their quote’s meaning for them and their work. (3 minutes)
  4. Participants mingle and share quotes in pairs. Participants are encouraged to share with three other participants in 3 minute segments. (10 minutes)
  5. Form triads or quads and share quotes and insights about the text and its implications for our work. (Extension: Speculate on the purpose/origin of the text.) (10-12 minutes)
  6. Whole group sharing of ideas and questions raised by the experience. This can be done popcorn style or as a round, but is usually not a conversation. (10 minutes)
  7. Debrief the process and its implications for use in a classroom setting. (5 minutes)

Part II My Second Art

Four “A”s Text Protocol (40-45 Minutes)

  1. The book study group reads the section II- My Second Art prior to the meeting and independently answer the following four questions:
  • What Assumptions does the author of the text hold?
  • What do you Agree with in the text?
  • What do you want to Argue with in the text?
  • What parts of the text do you want to Aspire to?
  1. In a round, have each person identify one assumption in the text, citing the text with page numbers as evidence.
  2. Either in rounds or facilitate a conversation in which the group talks about the text in light of each remaining “A”s, taking them one at a time-what do people want to argue with, agree with, and aspire to in the text? Try to move seamlessly from one “A” to the next, giving each “A” enough time for full explanation.
  3. End the session with an open discussion framed around a question such as: What does this mean for our work with students?
  4. Debrief the text experience and discuss classroom implications.

Part III  Bringing It All Together

Text Rendering Experience (40-45 Minutes)


To collaboratively construct meaning, clarify, and expand our thinking about the book, The Art of Learning.


  • A facilitator guides the process.
  • A scribe to track the phrases and words that are shared.

Set Up

Before the session mark the sentences, phrases, and words that you think are particularly significant for you as a teacher of Gifted and Talented students in your journal.

Focus on: What parallels can we as educators make between gifted and talented students in our classroom and:

  • their approaches to learning
  • keeping achievement in perspective
  • teacher’s role in the learning process
  • perfectionism (handling mistakes)


  1. First Round: Each person shares a sentence from the document that they think is relevant to their work.
  2. Second Round: Each person shares a phrase that they think is particularly relevant as a teacher. The scribe records each phrase.
  3. Third Round: Each person shares the word that they feel is relevant in their role as a teacher. The scriber records each word.
  4. The group discusses what they heard and what it says about the book.
  5. The group shared the words that emerged and any new insights about the book.
  6. The group debriefs the process.

Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented Conference

AUSTIN, TX. Tracy Weinberg, the Associate Director of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT), read The Art of Learning, embraced the philosophy, and plans on offering the book in workshops at two upcoming conferences: The February 2010 TAGT Parent Conference in Houston, Texas attended by 250 parents of gifted youth; and the March 2010 TAGT Leadership Conference in Austin, TX attended by 250 program coordinators and administrators. Psychologist and SENG President, Dr. Rosina Gallagher, is an avid supporter of the JW Foundation’s mission (see a description of her work with parents under Logandale Middle School) and will be delivering a keynote address at the March conference and leading two break-out sessions on The Art of Learning, one in English and one in Spanish.

Eleet Fitness

HOUSTON, TX. Health and fitness specialist Randy Kaiser has creatively integrated The Art of Learning into his own fitness practice, Eleet Fitness, impacting clients that include teachers, parents, administrators and many other types of professionals. He has also designed a development program for personal trainers rooted in The Art of Learning principles that he is using to educate staff members and colleagues across the nation.

Says Randy: “After reading The Art of Learning last year, my life has changed significantly. Let me explain: For years I have questioned the close-mindedness of our educational society and the inability to harvest the minds of the children that will lead us into the future. Unfortunately, with many friends and colleagues involved in the educational system, my concerns have fallen on deaf ears. The educational system has indeed destroyed any functional system needed for higher learning. Creative and inspirational instructors are forced to follow protocols and there is no room for creative thinking. I was terrified to start a family and bring children into this world and expose them to a system of this sort. Enter Josh Waitzkin and The Art of Learning. A very close friend of mine introduced me to the book and told me it was highly regarded in his circle at the University of Minnesota. Well now I understand why the book was so highly regarded. Not only was the book a fantastic read but it also gave me hope that change can be made in a system that seems to value grades more than critical thinking. I have a better understanding of where I am headed in regards to learning and commonly recognize Josh’s ideas in my past and present experiences.”

Copperas Cove High School

COPPERAS COVE, TX – This high school  will be using the book with soccer team members and junior and senior students—33 altogether. This school is underfunded and primarily serves students whose parents are in the military. Their hope is that The Art of Learning can “unlock their students’ minds” and help them get into college and gain skills for life-long learning.