Monthly Archives: July 2022

The Integrated Acceleration System

Our guest this week at #gtchat was Dr. Ann Shoplik, Administer of the Acceleration Institute at the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted at the University of Iowa. She founded and directed the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary and Secondary Students (C-MITES) at Carnegie Mellon University for 22 years. Dr. Shoplik is the co-author of Developing Math Talent: A Comprehensive Guide to Math Education for Gifted Students in Elementary and Middle School (2nd ed.), Developing Academic Acceleration Policies: Whole Grade, Early Entrance, and Single Subject; A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students; the Iowa Acceleration Scale; and, the Integrated Acceleration System.

The new Integrated Acceleration System is the latest decision-making tool from Belin-Blank which guides users through the acceleration process. Although developed by the same folks as the Iowa Acceleration Scale, it is different. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two products is that the Integrated Acceleration System is totally online and interactive, whereas the Iowa Acceleration Scale is basically a pencil and paper tool. Another difference is that the Integrated Acceleration System gives the user a detailed report to aid the educational team in producing a transition plan based on team input.

Why is acceleration one of the best options in gifted education? It is still perplexing that misperceptions about acceleration simply do not match the research. Educators’ beliefs and practices persist which are contrary to what researchers know to be true – that well planned and guided acceleration works. Too many teachers and admins receive misinformation concerning acceleration, lack access to current research and professional development, or unfortunately carry personal prejudice against the practice. Acceleration is one of the most cost effective types of gifted educational options, is easily adaptable to individual needs, can benefit GT students by reducing classroom boredom and  higher education costs, and reduces the time parents spend in unfruitful advocacy. It prioritizes student access to appropriate academic content and sets them up for success. Acceleration addresses inequities found in traditional gifted interventions and reduces the financial strain on school districts.

It’s important that acceleration decisions are a team effort. Failure to build a team based on the needs of the student and available resources will ultimately result in an unsuccessful acceleration attempt. The stakeholders should include the parents; the GT teacher and or coordinator; the student’s current classroom teacher; above grade in-take teachers; and if appropriate (depending on age), the student. The Integrated Acceleration System assists teams in finding the right fit for students based on the data gathered regarding student interests, ability, and special needs for twice-exceptional students.

Using achievement, aptitude, and ability tests together can enhance the acceleration process by providing invaluable information about the student and insights into what works best for that student. By utilizing these tests, stakeholders can assess a student’s current level of achievement, whether or not they are ready to be accelerated, and if the potential for future success exists should they do decide on acceleration in any form. Acceleration decisions based on information from these tests help to prescribe an ‘end game’ scenario, increase student ‘buy-in’ to the type of acceleration chosen, and reduce the potential for disengagement or even underachievement.

Beyond testing, consideration should be given to psychosocial factors and the level of support expected from the school and the family. It’s extremely important that the student be on-board with the decision to accelerate and should be included in conversations to that end. Concerns should be addressed before any final decision is made. Equally important is to have a plan in place should acceleration not be successful, or circumstances change which would impede progress. All stakeholders should be prepared to offer their support throughout the entire process.

How can parents initiate a review of their child’s potential for acceleration? Parents are their child’s best advocate. They need to be well-informed about what acceleration is and how it can benefit their child. Knowing what resources are available and asking appropriate questions is essential. Parents may need to introduce research resources early in the conversation with their child’s school and teachers. Persistence and a willingness to seek outside advocates when necessary, can lead to successful acceleration.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

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 Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

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

Resources:

Acceleration Works! Information for Educators (pdf)

Acceleration Institute

A Nation Deceived

A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students

Academic Acceleration: When is it the right choice for your child? | Dr. Gail Post

What Parents of Gifted Kids Should Know about Grade-Skipping | CTY Johns Hopkins

Acceleration (pdf) | NAGC

Skipping a Grade in Elementary School is Just Fine for Kids, New Study Finds

Academic Acceleration in Gifted Youth and Fruitless Concerns Regarding Psychological Well-Being: A 35-year Longitudinal Study (pdf)

Guidelines for Developing an Academic Acceleration Policy (pdf) | NAGC

Parents’ Experiences with their Children’s Grade-Based Acceleration: Struggles, Successes, and Subsequent Needs | Australasian Journal of Gifted Education

The Integrated Acceleration System: Answering Your Questions About Grade-Skipping | Belin-Blank

Making Decisions About Grade-Skipping: The Integrated Acceleration System | Belin-Blank

How Do We Prepare a Student for Academic Acceleration? | Belin-Blank

Transition Planning for Grade-Skipping | Belin-Blank

Preparing for an Acceleration Meeting: What’s an Educator to Do? | Belin-Blank

Subject Acceleration: What Are the Issues? | Belin-Blank

Who Makes the Decision about Academic Acceleration? | Belin-Blank

Using Achievement, Aptitude, and Ability Tests for Acceleration Decisions | Belin-Blank

Academic Acceleration has No Negative Long-term Effects on the Psychological Well-being of Gifted Youth (2020) | Vanderbilt University

Grade Acceleration Benefits Learners and Schools. So Why Is It so Rare?

Developing Academic Acceleration Policies

Academic Acceleration | Hoagies Gifted

The Gifted Kids are All Right

Developing Academic Acceleration Policies: Whole Grade, Early Entrance & Single Subject | Acceleration Institute at the Belin-Blank Center

Photo courtesy of Dr. Ann Shoplik. Image courtesy of Belin-Blank.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Successful Online Learning with Gifted Students

This week we welcomed Dr. Vicki Phelps to chat about teaching GT students online. Dr. Phelps is an Assistant Professor at Milligan University where she teaches undergraduate and graduate level coursework focused on teaching methods, instructional strategies, and literacy education. With over 20 years of experience in gifted education, Dr. Phelps is passionate about equitable practice and keenly focused on meeting the unique learning needs of gifted and high potential students. She applies her specialization in gifted motivation by focusing on deep levels of student engagement through innovative, research-based instructional strategies and personalized learning. Dr. Phelps regularly presents at state, national, and international gifted conferences and enjoys leading professional development addressing differentiation and collaborative practice for school districts and special groups (via Amazon.com).

The advent of universal online learning for all students during the early days of the Pandemic has fundamentally changed how it’s perceived, but also how it can be improved. For GT students, motivation and passion are key. For many GT and advanced learners, differentiation and faster pace may be all that is needed. However, for others, there is a need for opportunities to delve deeper into the content by experiencing greater depth and complexity. GT students are motivated when they are passionate not only by what they are learning, but by how they learn through critical thinking and creative problem-solving. It becomes incumbent on educators to seek out best practices in gifted pedagogy.

Educators can motivate students learning online by presenting them with consistent challenge and accelerated pace when warranted. GT students need the opportunity to work independently, but also with intellectual peers to improve social skills in groups settings. When successfully implemented in online environments, they can re-ignite motivation and a passion for learning. When teachers and parents support each other during online learning, students benefit from this partnership which can be a motivating factor in better learning.

Educators play a pivotal role in successful online learning. Teachers should have a robust understanding of how giftedness affects GT students’ academic performance, achievement, and their mental health. Successful engagement in online learning is predicated on student behaviors involving attendance, participation, and presence as well as how enjoyable and interesting they find the content presented (Ronksley-Pavia & Neumann, 2020). Communication is a key factor in the success of online learning. Progress monitoring, facilitation of building relationships with other students, and one-on-one communication are all important (Luna, 2022). Teachers can provide flexibility in online learning taking into consideration when and where learning takes place, student choice and voice, openness to self-directed learning, and personalization of content and instruction.

The past few years have been an intensive experiment on what works best in online learning due to the Pandemic. For far too many, it was like showing up at the School Science Fair having done your whole project the night before. What distinguishes great learning models online is how well they integrate tech; the availability of tech; and the competency of educators’ use of tech to facilitate learning. Online learning is a great place to provide enrichment, the blending of online with in-person instruction, and distance learning when appropriate.

An enrichment model is well-suited to online learning as it provides access to an expansive reservoir of information and resources. It can be used alone or in the classroom to supplement traditional learning or even during RTI sessions. Distance learning as an alternative to in-person instruction can be a great online learning model when students cannot be in class due to geographic location (of the student or place of learning) or physical limitations.

How can tech integration help GT & advanced learners to shine? Tech integration when done right can enhance, enrich, and differentiate learning for GT and advanced learners. It can showcase ability not always revealed in a traditional classroom setting. When GT and advanced students engage in online learning, they should have an opportunity to shine. It does little good to upload lessons normally taught in the classroom which aren’t enhanced through technology to improve learning. Educators need to constantly review their use of tech in online settings and insure that what they are doing for their GT students is providing opportunities to enhance critical thinking skills and ways to think more deeply about the content. Online learning needs to be engaging and make use of innovative approaches to tech which promotes higher order thinking and is purposeful in the lives of students.

Underachievement for GT and advanced learners in an online environment can be a real concern. This often happens when learning needs are not being met; followed by disengagement and ultimately, underachievement. Educators should look at a student’s behavioral, affective, social, and cognitive engagement which encompasses participation, attitude towards learning, involvement with peers & teachers, and self-regulation. Designing successful online learning experiences for GT and advanced learners which minimizes underachievement should consider the work of Betts & Neihart’s six gifted learner profiles and their guiding principles for each one.

Some key criteria which support GT students online include advanced content, depth & complexity, autonomous learning, active involvement, and creativity. A successful online learning experience will provide real-world connections for individual students, provide ample opportunities for feedback, and consider a student’s psychosocial skills (time management, reflection, collaboration). It allows GT students to learn at their own pace, have individual attention, prepare for college, gain time management skills, and become more independent.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

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 Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

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

Resources:

Teaching Gifted Students Online: 5 Strategies to Enhance Remote Learning

Successful Online Learning with Gifted Students Designing Online and Blended Lessons for Gifted and Advanced Learners in Grades 5–8

Virtual Instruction for Gifted Students | UCONN Neag School of Education

Differentiating Technology for Gifted Learners | NAGC

The Benefits of Online Learning for Gifted Students | The Davidson Academy

Profoundly Gifted Students’ Perceptions of Virtual Classrooms | Gifted Child Quarterly

Helping Gifted Students Learn Online During COVID 19 (pdf)

Do Gifted and Accelerated Learners Flourish in an Online High School?

Impact of Internet Connection on Gifted Students’ Perceptions of Course Quality at an Online High School (pdf) | Boise State University (dissertation)  

The Perceived Appeal, Challenge, and Learning Choice for Gifted and Talented Students in Advanced Placement Mathematics Courses (pdf) | Pepperdine University (dissertation)

Distance Learning for Gifted Kids During the Quarantine

E-Learning Opens Doors for Gifted Students | Education Week

Gifted and Talented – Remote Learning Resources | NJ Department of Education

Distance Learning Programs | Hoagies Gifted

How Gifted Students Benefit From Online Learning

UK: Why Online School is Perfect for Gifted Students

Remote Learning through a Mobile Application in Gifted Education | Gifted Education International

5 Ways Gifted Students Can Benefit From Online High School

Teaching Gifted Learners During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Cybraryman’s Evaluating Information Page

Photo courtesy of Dr. Vicki Phelps.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Gifted Homeschooling Resources

The decision to homeschool a gifted child can be a difficult one with many factors to be considered such as finances, schedules, parents’ career decisions, ability to provide appropriate challenge, as well as social emotional issues. The ‘when to homeschool’ decision is often made when parents feel they have no other recourse; when the relationship with their child’s school breaks down; or when their child is no longer thriving in the school environment. The timing of when to homeschool can be a fluid one. Some families decide to homeschool in the early years, but transition to more traditional schools when their child’s enters the secondary level. Others choose the reverse.

There are many websites dedicated to homeschooling; but fewer that specialize in gifted homeschooling. The best known today is GHF Learners. Due to the expansion and acceptance of online instruction, many traditional gifted schools offer resources for homeschoolers such as the Davidson schools. Most national and state gifted organizations offer information and resources to families choosing to homeschool.

Are there books parents can use related to homeschooling gifted kids? GHF Press has books available which deal primarily with homeschooling gifted children. Publishers such as Royal Fireworks Press have long offered books dedicated to gifted homeschoolers. Other publishers which offer books for the gifted community also have books available for homeschoolers such as Free Spirit Publishing and Gifted Unlimited Press (formerly Great Potential Press).

Many resources for twice-exceptional students also address homeschooling as this is often a choice considered by parents of 2E students; especially those not even recognized by their local school. GHF Learners has a long history of providing resources for families with twice-exceptional children. Other resources which should be considered are sites which address special education concerns as they can assist with services necessary for learning challenges such as Wrightslaw and Understood.Org.

There are many online classes suitable for gifted students. Choices include classes from private gifted schools with online options, classes offered by universities, and classes specific to gifted students. Parents should take into consideration how much time they want their children to spend online when deciding on classes. They may want to explore co-op options which provide in person learning and socialization. Other sources of online classes may be found through local gifted parent advocacy groups or at local universities, museums, science centers, and libraries who often offer online classes for homeschoolers.

Many families simply do not have the time or resources available to do full-time homeschooling on their own and my opt for online schools or academies. Online schools with offerings for gifted students may be a good option for parents who work from home or have flexible work schedules, but do not have the expertise to teach their children in all subject areas.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

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 Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

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

Resources:

GHF Learners

Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling (book) | GHF Press

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

Forging Paths: Beyond Traditional Schooling | GHF Press

Cybraryman’s Homeschooling Page

A2Z Homeschooling: Gifted Homeschool Resources

Homeschooling Your Gifted Child: Language Arts for the Middle School Years (book)

Gifted Girls: Activities Guide for 365 Days of the Year: Fun Things to Do for Kids and Grown-Ups That’ll Develop Creativity, Social Skills and Self-Confidence! (book)

Discovering Dyscalculia: One family’s Journey with a Math Disability (book) | GHF Press

Laughing at Chaos (blog)

When Your Child Learns Differently (book)

Literacy Strategies for Gifted and Accelerated Readers: A Guide for Elementary and Secondary School Educators (book)

Why I Homeschool my Profoundly Gifted Child

Qualia: The School for Deeper Learning

Online G3: Smart Classes for Smart Kids

Moving Beyond the Page

Athena’s Advanced Academy

Jamie Heston Homeschool Consulting

Gifted Home Education: Back to School/Not Back to School Mini-Conference

GHF Journey: Suddenly Homeschooling

Rural Life for Gifted Homeschoolers | GHF Learners

Gifted Homeschooling and Socializing | Davidson Gifted

Accidental Genius (book)

Exploring Homeschooling for Your Gifted Learner (book) | NAGC

Institute Promotes New Model of Gifted Education

Mr. Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse

Suddenly Homeschooling Ten Years On

AUS: Home Education WA

Polaris: A Guiding Star of 403 Skills for Homeschooled Children (book)

Quarks and Quirks Homeschooling Two Twice-Exceptional Boys: On The Other Side

Homeschooling Twice-Exceptional Students

How to Start Homeschooling Your Gifted Child (pdf)

Before You Decide to Homeschool Your Gifted Child

Should You Homeschool Your Gifted Child? | Duke TIP

Effectiveness and Implications of Homeschooling for Gifted Students

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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