Monthly Archives: February 2018

Using Constraints to Boost Creativity

gtchat 02222018 Constraint

Constraints come in many forms including time, money, and the availability of appropriate resources. Less obvious constraints can include the accessibility to comprehension of suitable outcomes, talent and the intellect necessary for task completion.

No matter the project, a change in your perspective will enhance creativity. Daily routines though comforting, don’t provide stimulation or novel thinking. Changing things up can give you that creative spark you seek. Changes in when you wake up, the route you take to work, work location, how you approach colleagues; increasing novel experiences can increase creativity simply by rethinking your restrictions, limitations, interactions,  or your comfort zone.

Constraints exist in virtually all real-life problems that need solving. Overcoming constraints requires creative solutions. Without time constraints, there would be little incentive to find a solution that would be worthwhile to benefactors. Our brains are constantly in efficient mode, constraints force us to think. They can inspire us to use our minds to be more resourceful; responding to challenge. This is a major reason we want our children to face challenge early on in school.

How can we inspire students to persist through constraints, complete tasks & be more creative? Teachers should consider the scope and breadth of assigned projects and even tasks. It’s important to consider time constraints will reach across all areas of your students’ lives. By cutting down the number of choices, projects are more manageable.  Most students will be able to respond better to smaller projects with tighter schedules rather than semester long projects. Even with increased workloads, creativity can increase in these situations. Students who encounter constraints tend to think more deeply about options. They were also more motivated. They explore less familiar paths, to diverge in previously unknown directions (Haught-Tromp.)

How do we overcome the Goldilocks effect; to find the right balance to spur creativity?  The severity of limited resources leads one to contemplate where to draw the line. Creativity can be squashed if the limitations are simply too great. Finding balance to spur and optimize creativity requires us to prioritize necessary resources, innovate and be thoughtful of how we approach each project.

There are some examples of famous projects that took advantage of constraints. Monty Python & the Holy Grail – a low-budget movie where the actors decided to pound two coconuts together to imitate the sounds of horses was incredibly creative while adding hilarity to the film. A famous use of constraints was Hemingway’s response to a proposal to write a memoir in 6 words: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Tragic, thought-provoking, and genius. Check out the transcript of this chat at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2 PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK  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 and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa 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:

Why Imposing Restrictions Can Actually Boost Creativity

Moderate Constraints Actually Boost Creativity. Here’s Why

Theory of Constraints 3 Bottle Demo to improve Flow (YouTube 6:01)

The Power of Doing More With Less Using Constraints to Enhance Creative Problem Solving

Boosting Creativity through Constraints

How Constraints Force Your Brain to Be More Creative

The Love Affair between Creativity and Constraint (TEDx 11:32)

The Power of Constraints (TEDx 11:47)

Creativity from Constraints: The Psychology of Breakthrough (Amazon)

Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined (Amazon)

Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind (Amazon)

Constraints: The Mother of Creativity

Creative Constraint: Why Tighter Boundaries Propel Greater Results

The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity (Amazon)

How to Use Constraints of Time Money and People for Better Innovations

David Kwong: Finding Creativity within Constraints

Creativity: How Constraints Drive Genius

Image courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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Boost: 12 Effective Ways to Lift Up Twice-Exceptional Children

gtchat 02152018 Boost GHF

The term ‘twice-exceptional children’ covers a group of gifted children with high intellectual ability, but also with learning differences; differences which may confound both teachers and parents at first. They often require a more aggressive educational plan to provide supports beyond strictly academic interventions. This week #gtchat welcomed Kelly Hirt, author of Boost: 12 Effective Ways to Lift Up Twice-Exceptional Children from GHF Press.

“While both groups (gifted and twice-exceptional) have high IQs, 2e learners possess unevenly dispersed strengths. Their giftedness can mask their disabilities or the opposite when their disabilities prevent them from reaching their potential. ~ Kelly Hirt

Kelly Hirt is a public school teacher with a MA in Curriculum Development, homeschooling parent, blogger, and writer of both fiction and nonfiction works. She has taught elementary school for twenty-five years in Washington State. During that time she served as a student teacher mentor, district level trainer and an active member during leadership teams and curriculum adoption reviews.

‘Intensities’ and ‘asynchronous development’ are both possible attributions of gifted and twice-exceptional but not necessarily. In fact, intensities as described by Dabrowski were not intended to be attributable to ‘gifted’ only. Dabrowski’s categorized intensities involved heightened sensitivities in areas such as intellect, emotions, imagination; among others. Asynchronous development, first described by the Columbus Group, involved being ‘many ages at once’.

“2e children are often impacted by more than one OE (overexcitabilities). Often the higher IQ, there is a greater asynchronous development and a greater impact from their intensities.” ~ Kelly Hirt

Within the general education community, there is little awareness about what exactly twice-exceptionality is and how to intervene on behalf of these children. Advocacy most often falls to parents. As with gifted education, little to no coursework is required of education majors at the undergraduate level. Because both conditions may mask each other, it is important to understand twice-exceptionality at a very deep level. It’s important to advocate for twice-exceptional children because too few responsible adults do. And let’s not forget we are talking about exceptional kids who can profoundly benefit from caring and appropriate accommodations.

“2e children are complex and many educators still do not understand them. When 2e kids are unseen and underserved, behaviors, frustration, and self-esteem issues can often follow.” ~ Kelly Hirt

What steps can parents take once they learn their child is identified as twice-exceptional? Take time to experience relief; to acknowledge that you do, in fact, know your child best. Understand that you have faced challenges as a parent that other parents may not comprehend. Once identified, educate yourself about twice-exceptionality. Find other parents or organizations which can support you and your child.

What is ‘Boost’ and how can educators implement it in schools and homeschooling? As Kelly’s title tells us, Boost presents 12 ways to effectively lift up twice-exceptional children with dignity and compassion. Boost encompasses strategies respectful of the twice-exceptional child and recognizes the need to have multiple approaches/tools in the parents’ and teachers’ toolboxes.

Educators should have access to professional development which provides information about twice-exceptionality and strategies to engage these students both academically and emotionally. Educators and parent-educators would benefit from learning about best practices in both special education and gifted education. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

We also encourage you to Check out TAGT’s Gifted Plus Equity Conference in June which includes 2E sessions.

Boost TAGT Gifted Plus Conference

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2 PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK  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 and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa 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:

Boost: 12 Effective Ways to Lift Up Our Twice-Exceptional Children (Amazon)

Boost: 12 Effective Ways to Lift Up Our Twice-Exceptional Children (Gifted Homeschoolers Forum)

My Twice Baked Potato (Blog)

My Twice Baked Potato: About Kelly

Writing Your Own Script: A Parent’s Role in the Gifted Child’s Social Development (GHF Press) (Amazon)

Bright Not Broken: Gifted Kids, ADHD, and Autism (Amazon)

Different Minds: Gifted Children with AD/HD, Asperger Syndrome, and Other Learning Deficits (Amazon)

Living With Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and the Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults (Amazon)

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

Smart Kids with Learning Difficulties: Overcoming Obstacles and Realizing Potential (Amazon)

Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling  (GHF Press) (Amazon) https://goo.gl/uIfTyI

GHF: Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

2e Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

Are gifted children getting lost in the shuffle?

The Twice-Exceptional Dilemma (pdf)

GHF: Resources: Twice-Exceptional (2e)

Cybraryman’s Twice-Exceptional Page

GHF: Twice Exceptional (2e) Issues

GHF Bloghop: Gifted 2E Kids: What Makes Them Twice-Exceptional

Sprite’s Site: 2E Is

GHF: Living with Gifted Children

Sprite’s Site: What Makes Them 2E?

Hoagies’ Bloghop : 2e Kids

GHF Online

If This is a Gift, Can I Send It Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice Exceptional

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Ability Grouping and Self-Esteem of Gifted Students

gtchat 02082018 Ability

Ability grouping is often a topic of discussion in the gifted community, but this week at #gtchat we expanded the discussion to include whether ability grouping can affect a gifted student’s self-esteem. Ability grouping can be a boost to a gifted student’s self-esteem by reducing exposure to bullying, name calling, and feeling like they are loners. It aids in placing highly-abled students together where cooperative and collaborative work result in mutual respect in pride in results. A shared workload with peers improves  a student’s belief in their contribution.

We group athletes and musicians without charges of elitism; why not high-ability students? It is sometimes beyond belief that society is so accepting of the benefits of ability grouping in sports and the arts; yet expresses such anathema towards academic grouping. We can be born to be anything except intellectually gifted. In the court of public opinion, the gifted community must take the high road – look for ways to improve identification, define what being gifted is and isn’t; then, focus on self-care for our kids.

Grouping can take many different forms and look very different in elementary school than it does at the secondary level. Grouping strategies should be tested and adapted to specific situations when necessary. It may be strictly tracking (secondary) in some instances when student choice dictates a specific career path. Grouping can consist of cluster grouping in inclusive classrooms and flexible grouping when called for. Small group rotations in the elementary classroom can allow teachers to differentiate the curriculum and spend time with groups who need the most intervention while allowing others more independence.

Teachers should be flexible in their approach to grouping; willing to change and tweak what might not be working. They should consider that needs of all students to see what works best. Effective grouping can ensure success across the intellectual spectrum; presenting challenge at the appropriate level. Teaching how to work in a group should be the first step when introducing grouping. Assessment of a student’s work should reflect each individual’s contribution; traditional grading methods may not work.

Can ability grouping be used to promote equity in high-ability tracks? States with a larger percentage of 8th grade students tracked in math had a larger percentage of high-scoring AP students four years later. Heightened AP performance held across racial subgroups—white, black & Hispanic. Equity has a better chance to occur when the ‘human’ factor is reduced within the identification process; reliance on universal screening is better.

It’s important that grouping not be used to replace gifted programming. It should be considered simply another tool in the classroom teacher’s toolbox; a different strategy to be used to meet students’ needs. Grouping should be considered in addition to other strategies as part of the student’s total educational plan. Students have different strengths and often challenges which need to be met with a variety of options. A transcript of the chat can be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2 PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK  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 and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa 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:

How “Tracking” Can Actually Help Disadvantaged Students

Education for Upward Mobility – Tracking in Middle School: A Surprising Ally in the Pursuit of Equity? (pdf)

Gifted Students Are Unnecessarily Sacrificed (2017)

Ability Grouping Is Not Just Tracking Anymore (pdf 2003)

UK: What are the effects of ability grouping on GCSE attainment? (pdf 2005)

AUS: Effects of Socioeconomic Status, Class Size and Ability Grouping on Science Achievement (2013)

Ability Grouping Effects on Academic Achievement and Self-Esteem: Who Performs in the Long Run as Expected (pdf)

Effects of Ability Grouping on Math Achievement of Third Grade Students (pdf)

Raising Standards: Is Ability Grouping the Answer?

Ability Grouping Presentation Notes (pdf 2012)

NZ: Raising the Bar with Flexible Grouping (2017)

Ability Grouping (Slide Player)

Tracking and Ability Grouping (SlideShare)

Flexible Groupings

Grouping without Fear: Effective Use of Groups in Classrooms (SlideShare)

Grouping Gifted Children

Ability Grouping – Has its Time Returned?

Effective Grouping of Gifted Students 

2016 Brown Center Report on American Education Part 2: Tracking and Advanced Placement

The Resurgence of Ability Grouping and Persistence of Tracking

Should Schools Rethink Reluctance to Track Students by Ability?

In Search of Reality: Unraveling Myths about Tracking, Ability Grouping & the Gifted (pdf)

Grouping the Gifted: Myths and Realities (pdf)

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

Sprite’s Site: Belonging – A Place of Sanctuary

Sprite’s Site: Brown Brogues

Clipart courtesy of Clipart Library

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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