Author Archives: giftedtexangirl

Gifted

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This month the movie Gifted was released. I’ve been waiting for this one for a few months, ever since I saw the trailer.  It’s a sweet story that highlights the issues that families with gifted children often face.

Mary is a seven year old genius who lives with her uncle. Mary’s mom, also a mathematical genius, committed suicide when Mary was an infant, leaving her in her brother’s care.  All is good until Mary begins public school, which from the start, is a mismatch. Soon a struggle ensues between the uncle and his estranged mother which highlights the issue of what is the best learning environment for gifted learners.

She’s seven, so shouldn’t she be in a first grade class with other kids her age? That’s what her uncle wants for her. To have friends and to play and have fun. But it’s obvious she won’t be challenged here. After all, she can do differential equations; first grade math just won’t cut it.  At one point, someone says something to the effect of just wanting Mary to have a normal life.  The question is, what constitutes a normal life?  Normal by whose standards?  According to the Columbus Group (1991) giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm.  This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity.  The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.  So when we talk about giving Mary, or any other gifted child a normal life, we have to think about the asynchrony of that child and how we can best meet both cognitive and affective needs.

What does the best learning environment look like for a gifted child?  How can we meet their cognitive and affective needs?

I’ve got my thoughts, but I’d like to hear from you.

Here are a couple of reviews on Gifted I thought you might enjoy:

Challenges from Within

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Each person will summarize the last 2 components (Social & Emotional Issues and Profiles of the Gifted) of today’s training in three sentences or less. Each person will need to share their summary with the rest of the group. It’s okay to refine your summary after getting input from others. Now that everyone at the table has shared, synthesize everyone’s thinking to come up with one 3-sentence summary. Add a fourth sentence, “This is important because . . .” Blog Splash the group summary in the comment section of this post.

The 8 Great Gripes

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This Quick Write is all about the 8 great gripes.  You can write about one particular gripe, or a combination of gripes.  You may have a personal connection, whether it’s with yourself, a family member, or a student.  Remember, the goal of a Quick Write is not to worry about spelling and grammar (although it should be readable).  Rather the goal is to write your initial honest reactions to the prompt.  When the timer goes off, you will have one minute to wrap up your thoughts.

Now that you’ve watched the four movies (Great Gripes Movie #1Great Gripes Movie #2Great Gripes Movie #3Great Gripes Movie #4) that highlight the 8 greatest gripes of gifted kids, it’s time to reflect on those challenges and respond.  Here are the 8 great gripes:

  1. No one explains what being gifted is all about – it’s kept a big secret
  2. School is too easy and too boring.
  3. Parents, teachers, and friends expect us to be perfect all the time.
  4. Friends who really understand us are few and far between.
  5. Kids often tease us about being smart.
  6. We feel overwhelmed by the number of things we can do in life.
  7. We feel different and alienated.
  8. We worry about world problems and feel helpless to do anything about them.

Wonder

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Wonder

Use this prompt as the beginning of your response after watching the Wonder book trailer on YouTube.  Click here to view the trailer again.  Respond by posting a comment.  Share this post and its comments through Twitter, Facebook, Google +, email, or LinkedIn.

After watching the Wonder trailer . . .

Don’t forget to take the poll – After watching the 3 book trailers, rank the books in the order you would like to read them.

Creating Selective Consumers

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For the past few weeks I’ve been reading a lot about underachieving gifted kids, including the subset known as selective consumers.  In Jim Delisle’s book, When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers, he introduces that term.  Previously referred to as non-producers, he suggests selective consumer.  I do like that much better.  The reality is that usually these selective consumers are producing, although they’re not always producing what we need them to produce.  And they are truly being selective about what they process.  Typically, these students are producing all sorts of wonderful things . . .they just don’t align with curricular expectations.  What worries me about selective consumers is that there is a very thin line between that and a true underachiever.  I really feel that if a student continually chooses to zone out, moving in and out of assignments, projects and discussions, then gaps will begin to form.  Often, a gifted learner can not pay attention, but still do the work because it’s knowledge he already has.  But if that happens continually, then eventually he’ll be missing out on too much and not be able to perform as he once could have.  Now it’s not necessarily that he doesn’t want to participate, he can’t and the frustration grows.  It’s such a vicious cycle.  And what makes it even more of a challenge is that there are standards (a lot of them) that must be taught and there’s not really a lot of give on that.  But this is also where a teacher’s creativity comes into play.  How can we make the standards relevant to students based on their interests.  Challenging?  Yes!  Doable?  Absolutely!  And worth it in the end!  Read about how Jim Delisle did this when he first began his teaching career in this interview, Dumbing Down America.

To me, this is why differentiation is so important.  Knowing how to preassess, compact, group, and give choice is important for all kids.  But it’s absolutely critical for gifted learners.  It acknowledges what they already know, offers them choice,and allows them to explore topics and issues that are relevant to them.  But that is for another day.

Anastasia Krupnik

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There are a handful of books that I’ve kept from my childhood.  Storylines that resonated with me, characters I connected with.  These books now line a shelf in my guest room and hold a special place in my heart.  But out of all those books, one is at the top of the list, Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry.   If you don’t know Anastasia, allow me to introduce her.  She is a bright, quirky ten-year old girl, the only daughter oldest child of a painter and a Harvard poetry professor.  She has a pet fish, Frank, and is about to become a big sister, something she is none too happy about realizes might be a wonderful thing.  And she is a master list maker.  In fact, she has a green spiral notebook she keeps all of her lists in; a list of words, beginnings of poems, and important events.  On page fourteen, she keeps a list of things she loves and things she hates; the items are always being updated.  It is through Anastasia’s musings that we learn about the trials of being ten.  Whether she’s mourning the disappearance of her wart or grappling with her grandmother’s dementia, you can see Anastasia’s life as a ten-year old over the course of a year in fifth grade.  Do you remember when you were ten?  How things would change from day-to-day?  How you might struggle to understand what was going on in your world?  Lois Lowry does such a great an impressive job of creating a real character, someone who really does exist, to some degree, in all of us, no matter what our age.  While the experiences of Anastasia are real and sometimes serious, Lowry uses humor to connect the reader and this young, freckle-faced girl.  It is the combination of humor and reality that has allowed me to enjoy Anastasia both as a ten-year old and a forty-something year old.

Not everyone is a list maker, but we all experience the things that Anastasia experiences– love, birth, and death.  Even though this book was first published over thirty years ago, Lowry really has created a timeless story that can still be enjoyed by kids readers of all ages, even in 2013.  Lowry went on to write an Anastasia series, chronicling the challenges of growing up.  As I grew up, I moved away from Anastasia and into different genres and authors.  After rereading Anastasia Krupnik, I think it’s time to spend some more time with her.

 

 

Why Differentiation?

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Now that we’ve learned a bit about differentiation and some of the strategies that work really well for gifted learners, here’s your chance to process your thinking.  What are some points you’re still thinking about?  What action do you want to take right away?  What big ideas have you captured this morning?  Need help getting started?  Use some of the sentence stems to help get your started.  You can also use this blog to ask additional questions you may still have about differentiation.

  • ___ is significant due to . . .
  • It’s important to note . . .  since . . .
  • ___ is especially relevant due to . . .
  • ___ is the same as/is different from . . .
  • Although ___ still/yet . . .

 

 

The 8 Great Gripes of Gifted Kids

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This Quick Write is all about the 8 great gripes.  You can write about one particular gripe, or a combination of gripes.  You may have a personal connection, whether it’s with yourself, a family member, or a student.  Remember, the goal of a Quick Write is not to worry about spelling and grammar (although it should be readable).  Rather the goal is to write your initial honest reactions to the prompt.  When the timer goes off, you will have one minute to wrap up your thoughts.

Now that you’ve watched the four movies (Great Gripes Movie #1Great Gripes Movie #2Great Gripes Movie #3Great Gripes Movie #4) that highlight the 8 greatest gripes of gifted kids, it’s time to reflect on those challenges and respond.  Here are the 8 great gripes:

  1.  No one explains what being gifted is all about – it’s kept a big secret
  2. School is too easy and too boring.
  3. Parents, teachers, and friends expect us to be perfect all the time.
  4. Friends who really understand us are few and far between.
  5. Kids often tease us about being smart.
  6. We feel overwhelmed by the number of things we can do in life.
  7. We feel different and alienated.
  8. We worry about world problems and feel helpless to do anything about them.

Challenges from Within

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Each person will summarize the last 2 components (Social & Emotional Issues and Profiles of the Gifted) of today’s training in three sentences or less. Each person will need to share their summary with the rest of the group. It’s okay to refine your summary after getting input from others. Now that everyone at the table has shared, synthesize everyone’s thinking to come up with one 3-sentence summary. Add a fourth sentence, “This is important because . . .” Blog Splash the group summary in the comment section of this post.