Monthly Archives: September 2015

Helping Gifted Children Cope with Life Changes

gtchat 09252015 Life Changes 2 Graphic

 

Coping with life changes such as moving to a new home, death of a loved one, divorce, a new school or a new sibling can be difficult for any child. This week on gtchat, we explored the unique challenges faced by gifted children which might make these changes harder or possibly easier for them. A transcript of the chat is available at Storify.

There are differentiating characteristics of gifted children that may affect their ability to cope with life changes. They can experience unusual emotional depth and intensity which may require philosophical discussions when confronting issues such as death or divorce. At an early age, gifted kids are often idealists and have a profound sense of social justice and moral judgment and this can come into play when experiencing a new environment such as a new home or school. Lisa Van Gemert of American Mensa and incoming board member for SENG told us, “Introversion can make them less likely to have a supportive peer group among their chronological-age peers. Perception and reasoning skills make it harder to keep “adult” issues from them.”

At the same time, inherent qualities that gifted kids may possess can contribute to their resilience. Many gifted children can make abstract connections and draw sophisticated conclusions. Their unique perspective on the world around them can also add to their resilience making the ability to face changes easier. Lisa Van Gemert said, “Advanced reading skills mean they often have more literary experience with issues and situations than peers.” Gina Boyd, self-contained high ability teacher in Indiana added, “My students are willing to seek advice from trusted adults and crave adult interaction.That could be helpful.” Jo Freitag, coordinator of Gifted Resources and blogger in Australia said, “Gifted children can often use logic, deduction and forecasting to anticipate changed situations which can lead to resilience.”

When considering the emotional intensity of gifted children, some will have to confront self-imposed sources of stress. They often set excessively high standards for themselves resulting in high levels of stress when facing major life changes. Also, gifted children’s high expectations of others can lead to stress when these expectations are not met. This will affect how they approach new friends and teachers. Perfectionism, impostor syndrome and asynchronous development were cited as potential sources of self-imposed stress.

We then turned our attention to how parents can support their child’s social learning; learning how to cope with social situations. Parents can work with their children by role-playing social situations and how to handle them. They should always be aware that they are a role model for their child; using this for teachable social moments. Jen Merrill of Laughing at Chaos and author expressed it as, “Parents have to get out there with supports and debriefings. You can’t learn social skills in a vacuum.”

What are some signs that kids aren’t dealing well with the change at hand? Sudden changes in behavior – what’s different from the ‘norm’ for a particular child is something for which to watch. If a child becomes withdrawn or highly emotional, begin a dialog to determine what’s wrong. For teachers, Jerry Blumengarten (Cybraryman), said, “It’s important to watch the student’s body language and their micro expressions.” Debra Lemieux suggested, “Journaling about what causes their social anxiety may help some children.”

Finally, we discussed strategies to use to teach well-being to young people. Well-being can be found in expressions of gratitude & appreciation; a simple act of giving thanks. Young gifted children can be encouraged to discover and build on personal strengths. They may need to be taught how to nurture relationships with others and build friendships. Jeremy Bond, writer and parent from Connecticut, summed it up well, “Perhaps teach that feelings are reactions to temporary situations. Teaching well-being provides perspective on setbacks.”

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST 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 Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About 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:

Smart Parents & Back to School Preparations: Supporting Kids’ Social Learning 

From Worrier to Warrior: A Guide to Conquering Your Fears (Amazon)

Make Your Worrier a Warrior: A Guide to Conquering Your Child’s Fears (Amazon)

Growing Up Gifted: Developing the Potential of Children at School & at Home (Amazon)

Living With Intensity: Sensitivity, Excitability & Emotional Development of Gifted Children (Amazon)

Stress & Anxiety: Helping Gifted Kids Cope (PPT pdf)

Helping Gifted Students with Stress Management

Tips for Parents: Anxiety, Sensitivities & Social Struggles among Profoundly Gifted Kids

Chill Out! Helping Gifted Youth Deal with Stress

Resilience and Coping: Implications for Gifted Children and Youth at Risk

Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being (Amazon)

Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents & Teachers (Amazon)

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings (Amazon: Preorder)

The Fears & Anxieties of Gifted Learners (pdf)

Social-Emotional Guidance & Counseling (pdf)

Joy and Loss: The Emotional Lives of Gifted Children

8 Things the World Must Understand About Gifted Children

Life Events as Stressors with Gifted Adolescents (pdf)

Gifted and Creative Services Australia

Hoagies’ Blog Hop: Anxiety

Coping 101: Building Persistence and Resilience in Gifted Children

Sprite’s Site: White Poodle, Black Poodle

Asynchrony and the Right To Learn, Part 1

Hoagies’ Blog Hop: Gifted Relationships

Nicky Johnston – Author, Illustrator, Educator, Speaker

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Image via morgueFile

 

Advertisements

How Stereotypes Affect Gifted Children

gtchat 09182015 Stereotypes

 

Most parents of gifted children have a story to tell ‘about the time they mentioned one of their child’s achievements’ in a group of parents and it’s usually not a happy one. It doesn’t take long for these parents to stop sharing anything about their kids. They’ll be the first to tell you that stereotypes do indeed affect gifted children. This week at #gtchat, we decided to dive deeper into the topic of stereotypes.

In a poignant response to the blog post, “I hate hearing about your gifted child”, Catharine Alvarez PhD, explains why envy can play a role in stereotyping gifted children. Envy is a powerful emotion that is often directed toward outliers – those who possess traits not shared by everyone else.

Those who envy the parent of the gifted child tend to immediately attribute their negative feelings (actually generated by the envy) to some social transgression on the part of the envied parent. In this case, the charge is “bragging”. This makes sense, because any discussion of the gifted child’s abilities makes their envy salient, and they naturally want to avoid that emotional discomfort. Parents are not only defending their own self-concepts as good parents and intelligent people, but even more vitally, they are defending their own good opinion of their offspring. ~ Alvarez

As the gifted child gets older and their abilities become more obvious to others, the more negative responses they may encounter; often reacting by hiding their abilities to avoid unpleasant situations. Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis pointed out, “Envy involves what cannot be easily obtained by all people. Stereotypes imply GT have unearned benefits.”

Another point raised by teacher and blogger, Celi Trépanier, concerned how the perception of gifted programs in schools can also affect stereotypes about gifted children and the issue of fairness. How these programs are implemented can perpetuate negative stereotyping. Entrance into a gifted program is seen as a ‘prize’ for good grades and behavior. Equality replaces equity in the minds of many. This raises the need for better and more extensive identification of gifted children.

Stereotyping is far too often an issue with teachers and how they respond to children identified as gifted. Research found here (pdf), here (pdf) and here (pdf) shows that preconceived and often incorrect information can influence a teacher’s approach to gifted children. Andrea of GiftedandTalented.com reminded us, “Often times teachers provide recommendations for GT programs, it’s important that stereotypes don’t bias the selection.”This implies an urgent need for introduction of gifted education courses at the undergraduate level.

The number one stereotype mentioned during the chat was: gifted equals achievement.  This stereotype can be exacerbated by asynchronous development when teachers believe that a child’s emotional level should equal their intellectual level. Stereotypes extend to race, gender, ethnicity, physical appearance, and disabilities coupled with giftedness; to name a few.

Do stereotypes affect intellectual identity and performance? Many times gifted kids moderate their behavior and performance to conform to social standards. As Carla Walk in Texas told us, “Beware: The gifted underachiever can surface when stereotypes turn into peer pressure.” Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis said, “YES! The GT child can doubt GT status when work becomes challenging or under-perform if [it appears that it’s] uncool to be smart. A twice-exceptional child may sadly never believe they are gifted. ” Adolescent gifted girls, in particular, choose to ‘dumb down’ in order to fit into social circles. Nikki Linn commented, “The gifted perfectionist can face depression,  anxiety, etc. when adults think gifted equal highest achievers.” Dr. Jennifer Marten added, “Stereotypes affect all students but when you combine with impostor syndrome, perfectionist tendencies, and over-excitabilities; it’s exacerbated.”

“There is evidence to show that the gifted are influenced by their peers’, parents’ and teachers’ feelings about their abilities. If they are seen as mental freaks, unhealthy personalities, or eccentric simply because they are brainy or creative, many of them will avoid the stigma through conformity. Some would rather underachieve and be popular than achieve honor status and receive ostracism.” ~ Tannenbaum

Stereotypes can also have an effect on the availability of services for gifted children in schools as well. They can influence the perception of administrators regarding existing or proposed gifted programs. Twice-exceptional students fare the worst when schools can’t see past what they feel is a disability; ignore abilities. Cindy Kruse, educational consultant in Pennsylvania, suggested that administrators “need to practice “WIN” in education..everyone gets “What I Need”. A transcript of the chat can be found at Storify.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST 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 Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About 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:

Envy & Giftedness: Are We Underestimating the Effects of Envy?

Nerds & Geeks: Society’s Evolving Stereotypes of Our Students with Gifts &Talents (pdf)

I hate hearing about your gifted child

Teachers’ Perceptions of the Socio-emotional Development of Intellectually Gifted Primary Aged Students (pdf p. 11)

AUS: Teachers’ Attitudes towards the Gifted: Importance of PD & School Culture (pdf)

Student and Teacher Attitudes toward Giftedness in 2 Laboratory School Environments (pdf)

What Predicts Teachers’ Attitudes Toward the Gifted? (pdf)

Teachers’ Negative Affect toward Academically Gifted Students (pdf)

A Threat in the Air How Stereotypes Shape Intellectual Identity and Performance (pdf)

The Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Kids (PPT) (pdf)

Coping with the Stigma of Giftedness (pdf)

Social Adjustment and Peer Pressures for Gifted Children

When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers (Free Spirit Publishing)

Harrison Bergeron (pdf) by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Gifted Resources Film Discussion Series from Jo Freitag

GHF Blog Hop: Gifted in Reel Life

Gifted Children: About that Stereotype

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

How to Advocate for Acceleration at Your School

Acceleration How To Graphic

This week, #gtchat continued our series on acceleration and the new report A Nation Empowered with guest Dr. Ann Shoplik, administrator of The Acceleration Institute and co-editor of the report. Our topic of discussion was How to Advocate for Acceleration at Your School addressing both the needs of parents and teachers.

Ann Shoplik

Dr. Ann Shoplik

We first asked, “What factors should be considered when contemplating acceleration?” Dr. Shoplik suggested, “Academic achievement, ability, and aptitude; school and academic factors such as attendance, motivation, and attitude toward learning. Also, developmental factors such as physical size, small & large motor coordination as well as interpersonal skills, relationships with peers and teachers, outside-of-school activities. How important are athletics to student/family?” In addition, “Student and parent attitude toward acceleration; the school system’s attitude and support; plus planning for the future: what’s available?”

How do you begin to advocate for acceleration for a particular child? Any advocacy effort needs to begin with a good plan and fact-finding about available options. Lisa Van Gemert, Youth and Education Ambassador for Mensa, told us, “I like to start the conversation with teachers in this way, “We’re noticing this. What are you noticing?” Dr. Shoplik’s advice was to “begin at the source. Talk to teacher, gifted coordinator, and principal. Ask for help devising a challenging curriculum and program. Enlist the principal’s help. However, [remember that] many haven’t had opportunity to study acceleration in college.”

Carol Bainbridge, gifted expert at About.com, then asked, “What do you do when those beginning moves don’t work? I’ve had many parents ask that question.” Dr. Shoplik recommended, “Take a “We’re on the same team” approach. Focus on what’s best for child: Proper placement and challenge. Use available tools: Iowa Acceleration Scale, A Nation Empowered. Share research.”

Advocating as a parent often requires a different approach than that of a teacher considering accelerating their students. “Share research with other parents, start a parent group for gifted. Many voices saying the same thing is helpful! Support local teachers and gifted coordinators who are advocating for your child. Work with your state gifted organization.Making policy changes is a long slow process. Focus on your child and what is best for then,” said Dr. Shoplik. Also, it important to “know the lingo”. Educators respond better if you talk their language! Karen Ryan, gifted specialist, added, “Follow up with the plan and talk with your child to be sure their needs are being met; they are making progress towards their goals.”

Dr. Shoplik recommended, “Take a “We’re on the same team” approach. Focus on what’s best for child: Proper placement and challenge.

When advocating for policy change within a school district as a teacher, Dr. Shoplik explained, “Learn the facts. Study the research. Understand the available resources. Use local schools as examples as you advocate in your school. Combine forces, share information with other local districts. Connect with your state gifted organization. Know your state’s acceleration policy and work to improve it, if needed. Find an advocate in the system. Are nearby districts accelerating? School boards like to keep up with neighbors!” A full transcript can be found at Storify.

Nation Empowered Cover

For our friends following this chat:10% discount on A Nation Empowered Enter: Coupon Empower1516. Limited time!

 

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST 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 Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About 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:

Advocacy – Working with Your Child’s School

Snappy Comebacks for Grade Accelerated Children

Parenting Tips on Educational Advocacy

Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds (Amazon)

Academic Advocacy for Gifted Children

Successful Advocacy for Gifted Students (pdf)

Advocating for Exceptionally Gifted Young People: A Guide Book (pdf)

How to Advocate for a Bright Kid in a State with No Gifted Funding

Iowa Acceleration Scale Manual 3rd Edition (Amazon)

Acceleration Institute: Question & Answer

Advocating for Your Gifted Child within the Public School System

Gifted by State

The Advantages of Acceleration

Acceleration for Students in 8th Grade and Younger

Acceleration Institute: Annotated Bibliography

Guidelines for Developing an Academic Acceleration Policy

Advocating for Gifted Programs in Your Local Schools

Radical Acceleration of Highly Gifted Children (pdf)

Acceleration Institute

Acceleration Institute: States’ Acceleration Policies

Cybraryman’s Gifted Advocacy Page

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 6

Hoagies Gifted: Academic Acceleration

What About Early Entrance to Kindergarten?

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad and PixabayCC0 Public Domain

Photos courtesy of Dr. Ann Shoplik.

Point/Counterpoint: Challenges to Gifted Programs

gtchat 09042015 Point Counterpoint

This week’s #gtchat used a different format to accommodate our topic of how to answer challenges to gifted programs within a school district. The points to be considered were:

Point #1: Gifted students will do fine on their own; they don’t need any extra help.

Counterpoint: “Students should be given reins of learning but should have a teacher to help facilitate their studies.” ~ Jerry Blumengarten, Cybraryman

Counterpoint: “Not all students learn the same way and that includes GT students. They have their own set of needs that need to be addressed.” ~ Andrea, GiftedandTalented.com

Counterpoint: “Gifted learners are still learners. Everyone needs guidance and support.” ~ Brooke Horn, Texas teacher

Counterpoint: “Working at the class level so far beneath their possible level all the time is not ‘doing fine’.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources

Counterpoint: “High achievers may do well on their own, but not all gifted students are high achievers.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “Gallagher argued gifted students require competent educational services for their special needs to be met (Gallagher, 2004).” ~ Chelsey Mintz, graduate student through USC at Oxford

Counterpoint: “Many GT Students need additional support and encouragement. ‘One size fits all’ never works!” ~ Andi McNair, Texas GT  educator

Point #2: Gifted students serve as role models and need to stay in the regular classroom.

Counterpoint: “Expecting a child to be a role model for age-peers usually is an invitation for bullying. No child needs that.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “No. That is unfair to gt kids. If they want to help classmates, fine, but *expecting* them to be role models? No.” ~ Carol Bainbridge, Gifted Children Expert at About.com

Counterpoint: “Some gifted students fill that role naturally. Others will not. Students should not be expected to be anything other than their best selves.” ~ Andi McNair, Texas GT educator

Counterpoint: “Gifted students can be role models, but they’re in school to get an education like all kids. Teaching is adults’ responsibility.” ~ Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Counterpoint: “All students have strengths and can serve as role models in different capabilities. Gifted don’t need to be singled for this role.” ~ Katie McClarty, Pearson Research and Innovation Network

Point #3: Gifted students need to learn how to socialize with all kinds of people.

Counterpoint: “Good to be able to socialize with all but main need is to be able to socialize and have deeper relationships with true peers.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources

Counterpoint: “‘All kinds of people’ can’t mean a lot of time without like peers. Otherwise, claiming they need socializing is just an excuse.” Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Counterpoint: “We should address students social & emotional needs as they present themselves. Address issues today to avoid future challenges.” ~ Katie McClartyPearson Research and Innovation Network

Counterpoint: “I think we are really bad at interpreting what students want or need as social interaction. Some kids actually enjoy their own company.” ~ Justin Vaughan, teacher in Australia

Point #4: There isn’t enough money to go around. Gifted programs are too expensive.

Counterpoint: “Many gifted programs are low cost or no cost at all; consider online options or ability grouping.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “Not all programs are expensive. We think any student should have access to an engaging learning environment despite costs.Many programs offer scholarships and financial aid (we do!)” ~ Andrea, GiftedandTalented.com

Counterpoint: “Expensive GT programs will never replace a quality GT teacher. I’d go with the awesome Teacher every time.” Aaron Peña,  Texas principal

Point #5: Differentiated instruction is sufficient for gifted students.

Counterpoint: “Teachers today are overwhelmed by expectations that they can adequately meet a myriad of ability levels.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “Teachers that plan for voice and choice, menus, passion projects, etc; don’t need to do the differentiating – It happens naturally.” ~ Brooke Horn, Texas teacher

Counterpoint: “Differentiation only works for gifted if done to the necessary level, breadth, depth and pace. Can be a big ask for teachers.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources

Counterpoint: “I do believe differentiation is one of the most important teacher skills. I don’t want to dismiss it. But nothing works alone.” ~ Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Point #6: Gifted programs are elitist.

Counterpoint: “I don’t think they’re elitist, but think they may be too narrow in scope to catch different kinds of giftedness.” ~ Dr. Toby Brown, technology teacher in OK

Counterpoint: “If all students were given access to learning based on interests, abilities & choices, elitism wouldn’t be an issue.” ~ BrendanCatalyst Learning

Counterpoint: “Elitism implies “better.” Gifted students aren’t. They have different needs. I don’t think they’re more or less important needs.” ~ Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Counterpoint: “It is seen as elitist mainly because gt services aren’t provided in most schools in poor areas – where they’re needed most.” ~ Carol Bainbridge, Gifted Children Expert at About.com

Counterpoint: “Gifted programs depend on a fair and equitable identification process. It’s a well-known fact that this issue needs to improve. Flawed identification practices and funding formulas which favor wealthier school districts are contributing factors.” ~ Moderator

A full transcript may be found at Storify.

Thank you to our presenting partner GiftedandTalented.com @giftedandtalentededu for supporting #gtchat and this week’s Giveaway! Texas teacher, Brooke Horn, was the winner of a 3 month subscription to: K-7 Independent Study Math & Language Arts Combo Course.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST 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 Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About 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:

The Obstacles Deterring Gifted Education

The Unkindest Cut: Seven Stupid Arguments against Programs for the Gifted

Assessing the Arguments against Gifted Education (AUS)

Planning and Implementing Programs for the Gifted (Amazon)

Hey America, Let’s Not Leave Our Gifted Kids Behind

America Hates Its Gifted Kids

Are gifted children getting lost in the shuffle?

Achievement & Success We’ve Got This All Wrong

Casting Stones at Cacti Our Intolerance of Gifted People

The Workplace Mobbing of Highly Gifted Adults: An Unremarked Barbarism (pdf)

Gifted Adults in the Workplace: Nerds or Heroes or Misfits

At Work: Are You Too Smart for the Job?

The Wrong Argument for Gifted Education

Top Ten Myths in Gifted Education (YouTube 8:10)

Cybraryman’s Student Centered Page

Sprite’s Site: Gifted Underachievers

The Culture of Bullying 

Easy Ways to Provide New Learning Opportunities

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Mythbuster – Myth 9

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

%d bloggers like this: