I have worked with special education students in my school in North Carolina. I really enjoyed them. The sense of accomplishment and feeling of pride they demonstrate when they complete a task is overwhelming, for me. I left that period each and every day feeling good and energized. I think that if I can get them motivated and "into" a passion project that they can use to solve a "wicked hard" problem, they will a) feel great about what they have accomplished, b) learn something and enjoy doing it, which will, c) encourage them to work just a little bit harder in their other classes.
My GATE students are those students who don't necessarily work harder than the other students, but they have a different way of thinking about the world. With their unique perspective on life, a 20Time project is perfect. It will allow them to use their natural curiosity and feeling of empowerment (let's face it, when a middle schooler is labeled as "gifted" they feel pretty darn good about themselves... most of the time) to go the extra mile and create knowledge for themselves.
I will have to answer some questions with my principal first:
1. Since I am a new teacher at the school, am I allowed this much "free reign"?
2. Will the parent community trust me, again, they don't know me yet.
3. Do I have the ability to let the project blow up in my face and completely fail within my new school community?
4. Can I start right away, or does my principal want me to wait for a while?
5. What if my resource teacher doesn't want to go along with the project during the special education classes?
I think that once I have these questions answered, I will have a better sense of the task at hand.
Brookhouser, K. (2015). The 20time project: How educators can launch Google's formula for future-ready innovation. San Bernardino, Calif.: 20time.org.