Monthly Archives: January 2015

Challenging Gifted Students

Challenging Gifted Students copy

Challenging gifted students is often overlooked by educators already overwhelmed with a wide range of ability levels in today’s inclusive classrooms. Teachers cite the pressures of dealing with a culture of testing, lack of preparation time, and reduction in support staff as constraints on their time to adequately work with students who are admittedly working well beyond the expected standards.

This week’s #gtchat on Twitter sought to raise awareness of the real consequences of not challenging this population and to consider the many ways gifted students could be challenged in the regular classroom, the self-contained gifted classroom and outside of school as well.

Why should teachers be concerned about students who are working beyond established grade-level requirements? Many mistakenly believe that gifted students can make it on their own and that time spent with them takes away precious time from students who ‘really’ need help. This mindset unfortunately results in promoting classroom disruption by students bored with unchallenging material; creating students who fail to learn persistence, develop low self-esteem, and loose the love of learning. In essence, it subverts the nature of education.

Just as harmful as lack of challenge; so, too, are methods that have been used by teachers who are not certified or have not received professional development in gifted education. Using gifted students as teaching assistants, piling on additional work which lacks depth and complexity when regular assignments are completed early, assuming they excel at everything and thus failing to adequately cover new material should all be avoided.

What strategies do work in an inclusive classroom? If inclusion is the only option, flexible ability grouping is essential. Consideration should be given to students’ passion as well as ability. Pre-assessment, tiered lessons geared to the student’s ability level recognizing complexity and novelty, independent study based on student interests, curriculum compacting, and valuing student voice can work when teachers and administrators acknowledge the needs of gifted students.

The idea of a self-contained, multi-aged gifted classroom was preferred by participants in our chat. These classrooms were more likely to have a teacher trained in gifted education and more leeway could be given to creative approaches to teaching. They also provided the opportunity for students to work with intellectual peers and to progress based on mastery rather than simply by grade-level. A full transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

By Not Challenging Gifted Kids, What Do We Risk Losing?

Challenging Mathematically Gifted Students in Elementary CGI Classrooms (pdf)

Purdue Education Researchers Look for Ways to Challenge Gifted Students

What it Means to Teach Gifted Learners Well

Challenging Gifted Students in the Regular Classroom

Are We Failing Gifted Students?

The ABCs of Challenging Gifted & Talented Kids

Challenging the Gifted

Challenging Gifted Students in Every Classroom (pdf)

How to Challenge Gifted Students

Meeting the Needs of the Academically Gifted (pdf)

Challenging the Gifted from Duke TIP

Four Ways to Reduce Behavior Problems from Byrdseed Gifted

Challenging Gifted Learners: Teaching the Way Gifted Stds Think (Math)

How Do I Enrich Investigations to Sufficiently Challenge Gifted Students?

Teaching Strategies to Aid Your Gifted Students

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Is STEM a Viable Alternative to a Gifted Program?

STEM Alternative

STEM has become an alternative in some U.S. school districts for gifted programming. In order to understand the reasoning behind this decision, our chat first focused on whether or not school districts should be required to offer a gifted program at all. Most people agreed that it was necessary, but also reasoned that the program must be funded and properly administered by knowledgeable faculty and staff.

Strong opinions were voiced concerning the need to provide all students what they need to meet their potential at any level. The concept of mastery-based education was introduced as an alternative for education which in part could eliminate the need for special academic programming. However, it was pointed out that STEM programs do little to address the social and emotional needs of gifted students.

Scientist

‘Is STEM a Viable Alternative to a Gifted Program?’ Many present felt it was not an alternative but should be a component part. Some had good experiences when STEM programs were combined with Ability Grouping. The addition of ‘A’ (arts) was welcomed by all.

The discussion then turned to finding some positive attributes of STEM programming if it is the only option available. Here are some of the responses- It was noted that a well done STEM program can increase a student’s appreciation for mathematics; offer a challenging curriculum which gifted students need; and provide increased interaction with professionals through mentoring & job shadowing.  Enhancing STEM programs by integrating communication, verbalization and writing skills as well as incorporating passion-based and project-based learning would improve these programs for gifted students. A more collegiate atmosphere in STEM courses could stimulate creative thought. A full transcript may be found on our Storify Page.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Gifted Education: Full STEAM Ahead NJAGC Annual Conference 2015

Gifted Children and STEM 

STEM: Meeting a Critical Demand for Excellence

Statewide Public High Schools for Advanced Students

National Consortium of Secondary #STEM Schools

STEM – Its Importance and Promise for Gifted Students (pdf)

Cultivating Talent: Gifted Children and STEM

STEM Resources for Educating Gifted Students (pdf)

STEM and Gifted Education: Questions and Answers for Parents (pdf)

STEM ming the Tide: Colorado Response to National Crisis in STEM Education (pdf)

STEM is Gifted Education

Partner with STEM to Enhance Opportunities for Gifted Children

STEM to STEAM Education for Gifted Students (Amazon)

Relationship Between #STEM Education & #Gifted Education – Part 1

Relationship Between #STEM Education & #Gifted Education – Part 2

Putting Art in #STEM

Energizing Your Gifted Students’ Creative Thinking & Imagination (Amazon)

Why did ‘nerd’ become a dirty word?

K – 12 Summer Programs from The Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented

Google Science Fair 2015

Is Your Gifted Student Being Supported in Public School?

Cybraryman’s STEM/STEAM Page

STEM vs. STEAM: Why The “A” Makes All The Difference

Partners Create STEM Hubs in Ogden Schools

The Value of STEM Education Infographic

 

STEM Graphic: Courtesy Lisa Conrad

Photo: Courtesy of Pixabay.

How Has Neuroscience Changed the Way We View Giftedness?

Neuroscience giftedness

It was evident even before this discussion began that the topic of neuroscience and giftedness could not be covered in a single hour chat. However, it proved to be interesting to at least scratch the surface.

The role of IQ testing in the identification process used by many schools to determine entrance into gifted programs was seen as just a small part of what should be a comprehensive assessment. The nature of IQ test results enhances the need for appropriate challenge in the classroom at the earliest years.

Researchers believe a more nuanced approach to giftedness must go beyond reliance on domain-specific abilities. Mary Cay Ricci, an educational consultant from Maryland, reminded us that it is “important to remember that cognitive assessment only measures developed ability.” However, Margo Flower, an elementary teacher from British Columbia, also pointed out, “IQ testing provides a mindful approach to our interventions [and] without it, potential may not be recognized; [but] squashed, squandered.” According to Corin Goodwin, “IQ testing is problematic because [it’s] so badly misused and results misunderstood.”

When the question concerning how environment influences the development of giftedness was raised, it was quickly noted by many that giftedness and ability were not the same thing;  many participants voiced the belief that giftedness was based on neurology. Also, to simply assert that giftedness is not fixed at birth or any other developmental stage, does not imply that all children are gifted. Environment was seen as an important aspect of nurturing a gifted child across their lifespan beginning in early childhood.

Learning styles were also discussed and comments may be found in the transcript. Educators who felt pressured to try to accommodate many different learning styles, but found it nearly impossible in a diverse ability classroom. What was found effective in supporting learning was presenting information in multiple sensory modes. Also, Corin Goodwin related a concern, “Often, learning styles are confused with mild learning disabilities. For example, I’m not an auditory learner because I’m hearing impaired. [Then] learning disabilities are overlooked.”

Neuroscience has refined our approach to ADHD in individuals with high IQs. ADHD in gifted children should not be written off as boredom. When executive function issues exist, we must deal with them. Neuroscientists reject an ADHD diagnosis based solely on observable behaviors and believe there is a need for further research to track brain functions. Misdiagnosis of ADHD in highly gifted children can be mitigated when the clinical focus is on impairment rather than overexcitability.

Finally, the issue of what educators and policymakers can learn from neuroscience about giftedness was discussed. There is a glaring disconnect between the two fields due in large part to lack of access to scientific research and misinterpretation of the research when it is available. Widespread dissemination of neuromyths at the undergraduate level in education programs exacerbates the problem.

What has been learned and recently understood is that:

  • More intelligent children exhibit earlier acceleration & prolonged time for rapid learning in early adolescence (Shaw 2006, Nature);
  • Motivation and inspiration can propel a person to achieve at higher levels than predicted by standardized tests;
  • Neuroscience of creativity – right/left brain distinction is not the full picture of how creativity is implemented in the brain (Kaufman); and
  • Creatively gifted children and polymaths need to be given freedom to learn their own way – they think differently (Andreasen).

To see more on what was said at this chat, a full transcript may be found on our Storify Page.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined (Kaufman)

Neuroscience and Education: Myths and Messages

Secrets of the Creative Brain (Andreasen)

Grounding Creative Giftedness in the Body

Finding Creative Potential on Intelligence Tests

Intelligence is Differentially Related to Neural Effort in Task-positive/Task-negative Brain Network

The Real Neuroscience of Creativity

Does Early Academic Prowess Predict Later Success?

Models of Working Memory Mechanisms of Active Maintenance & Executive Control

New Directions in Intelligence Research: Avoiding the Mistakes of the Past

Brain Research for Teachers & Other Curious Souls, 2013 update (Sheard)

Intelligent Testing (Kaufman 2009)

Brain-Based Learning, Myth versus Reality: Testing Learning Styles and Dual Coding

4 Common Dyslexia Myths Debunked Using Neuroscience

The Myths of Learning Styles

Howard Gardner: ‘Multiple intelligences’ Are Not ‘Learning Styles’

Cybraryman’s The Brain and Brain Games Page

Learning Styles: Concepts and Evidence

Neuromyths in education: Prevalence and Predictors of Misconceptions Among Teachers

Deconstructing the Myth of Learning Styles

Think Your Child is a Visual or Auditory Learner? Think Again. From Duke TIP

Procrastination and the Gifted Child

Procrastination copy

Procrastination is a widespread concern in the gifted community which affects young children, adolescents, and adults. It can affect school work, career development, and family life. Although procrastination does occur in the general populace, gifted individuals often experience it to a greater degree as a manifestation of their giftedness and in part because of higher expectations.

During our chat, participants expressed many reasons for procrastinating: they worked better under pressure, preferred to delay tasks that did not interest them, task initiation was stressful, multipotentiality made decision-making difficult, and everything had to be just right. However, author Christine Fonseca pointed out that there is also a positive aspect, “Procrastination can create an adrenal rush that makes ideas flow. There is a wonderful thing about being in the flow; what looks like procrastination is simply finding that.”

Janine Mac, a teacher in Canada, explained that “My gifted and talented students don’t need as much time as others. Starting and finishing early means more work [for them].” 

With regard to gifted children, chronic distractibility develops because too often they don’t need to pay attention in class. They are required to do things they already know how to do and have little interest in completing repetitive tasks. Gifted children with executive functioning issues may lack the skills to prioritize and complete assignments despite motivation. Impostor Syndrome may cause gifted students to delay completion of projects due to anxiety from feelings of inadequacy. Avoidance behavior in gifted children can signal deeper issues that should be recognized and addressed before a small problem becomes a major issue.

Jeremy Bond, writer and parent, stated “They’re not gifted in everything, so they procrastinate with the difficult things because they prefer the comfort of doing well.”

The consequences of procrastination can have pronounced effects on a gifted child. Inattention/distractibility leading to procrastination does not stop at the end of the school day & leads to conflict at home. Gifted children who have ADD can compensate in elementary school, but struggle when they reach the secondary level. An inability to get things finished can lead to mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression. Ultimately, procrastination can become a threat to career development & achievement.

Jeffrey Farley, a middle school teacher expressed this concern, “Biggest consequence of procrastinating I have seen is when perfectionism takes hold and time is too short to reach the vision.”

What can parents and teachers do to help their child or student with procrastination? Don’t assume a child is lazy because they procrastinate. They may be overwhelmed, overconfident, unchallenged. (Byrd) Try to stay positive when your child procrastinates on school assignments and do not lose your temper. Changes to the environment such as limiting distractions can aid in promoting task completion. Forget the “let’s get super organized” trap that requires a child to have to focus more on organizing rather than completing tasks. Be open to asking for help from other parents or appropriate school personnel – you’ll find you’re not alone. A full transcript can be found on our Storify page.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Ten Reasons Why Your Gifted Child Procrastinates from Gifted Challenges

A Side Effect of Giftedness: Procrastination

The Gifted Kids Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook (Amazon)

Perfectionism: What’s Bad About Being Too Good? (Amazon)

The Highly Distracted Gifted Child: You Can Help

A Guide to Time Management

Does Your Gifted Child Have ADD (ADHD)?

Handbook of Giftedness in Children (Google Books) Pfeiffer

The Real Causes of Procrastination via ByrdseedGifted

Not Now, Maybe Later: Helping Children Overcome Procrastination from Great Potential Press

Perfectionism, Procrastination & Perspicacity from PaulaProber

Grandparents’ Guide to Gifted Children (Google Books) from Great Potential Press

The Everything Parent’s Guide to Raising a Gifted Child (Google Books)

Taming the Procrastination Beast from Paula Prober

Highly Gifted Children with Attention Deficit Disorder by Lovecky (1991) from Davidson Gifted

The Procrastinator’s Guide to the Galaxy and Other Important Spots in the Universe

Giftedness and Procrastination Livebinder from Leslie Graves

How to Overcome Perfectionism & Procrastination

Procrastination—A Cry for Help

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