Author Archives: gtchatmod

Purposeful Empowerment in Goal Setting

Our guests this week were Dr. Vicki Phelps and Karah Lewis. Vicki 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. strategies and personalized learning. Karah Lewis is the Lead Consulting Teacher for Gifted Education and the county-wide Gifted Consultant for high school students in Sumner County, TN.

Strength-based goal setting in gifted education is an approach which leads to purposeful empowerment in goal setting (PEGS) and is based, in part, on Gagné’s DMGT Talent Development Model (2021). Self-regulation, self-reflection, and self-advocacy are strategies seen in Gagné’s work and essential in strength-based goal setting. These factors empower GT students to develop effective long-term goals with lifelong implications. Creating purposeful goals which empower GT students begins with acknowledging each student as an individual with needs specific to them and then forming a strategy to meet those needs, deflect underachievement, and promote success.

Goal setting is very much a development process facilitated by the teacher and implemented by the student based on creating measurable goals which can show growth throughout the learning process. Goals should be personalized and have a connection to the real-world. Effective goal setting for GT learners should take into consideration motivation, respect, psychosocial skills, social-emotional awareness, and a strength-based pedagogy. The stages of goal development as referenced in PEGS are know thyself (awareness), express thyself (articulation), and apply thyself (application within the learning process) (Phelps & Lewis 2022).

Student agency has long been known to empower students in their learning. It fundamentally changes the role of the teacher from content provider to facilitator; a highly sought after quality in GT educators. Active participation in goal setting promotes flexible thinking and teaches GT students to recognize obstructions as a sign to change course find an alternate route to achieve their goals (Boazman, NAGC). A key part of student ownership of their learning is utilizing higher-order thinking skills. Students begin by looking at what affects their learning, identifying most impactful factors, and then creating their own goals.

Social-emotional self-awareness and self-regulation help students identify their own needs and are critical to a student’s well-being as well as impactful regarding effective goal-setting. Self-awareness begins with purposeful student reflection on the goal setting process, desired outcomes, what to do in the face of adversity, exploring problem areas, and consideration of what’s next. Self-regulation involves setting challenging goals, taking responsibility for one’s own learning, being engaged, expending effort to meet established goals, and asking for help when necessary (Cash, 2016).

Intrapersonal awareness (know thyself), interpersonal skills (express thyself), and application to learning (apply thyself) are the basic building blocks of PEGS. They help students build confidence, be accountable, and become successful. Intrapersonal awareness impacts motivation, resilience, and insightful self-talk; and connects to student agency. Interpersonal skills involve communication and listening skills, conflict resolution, and adapting to new situations. Application to learning is focused on how goals will be attained and assessed. It involves learning activities and progress made (Phelps & Lewis, 2022).

How does metacognitive & personalized goal-setting processes lead to purposeful empowerment? Metacognition – thinking about one’s own thinking – focuses on personal choices, attention to necessary tasks related to goals, self-satisfaction, and confidence (Schunk & Zimmerman, 2008). Personalized goal-setting empowers motivation, persistence, and performance. It is fostered by positive thinking, challenging goals, internal dialogue, and team-related activities which can help students ultimately achieve their goals (Boazman, NAGC).

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:

Strength-Based Goal Setting in Gifted Education: Addressing Social Emotional Awareness, Self-Advocacy, and Underachievement in Gifted Education (Pre-order)

Start with Student Strengths to Promote Learning

Effective Goal Setting for GIEPs

You Gotta Have Hope | NAGC

Personal Goal Setting and Self-Regulation for Gifted Children  

Can Personal Goal Setting Tap the Potential of the Gifted Underachiever? | Roeper Review

Goal Setting: Enhancing Academic Attitudes and Achievement in High School Gifted Underachievers (Dissertation)

SMART Goals for Gifted Students

Self-Regulation in the Classroom Helping Students Learn How to Learn (book)

Inspiring Student Empowerment (book)

Help Students Set Goals | The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented

Goal Setting with Bright and Gifted Students

Growth Goal Setting in High School: A Large-Scale Study of Perceived Instructional Support, Personal Background Attributes, and Engagement Outcomes | Journal of Educational Psychology

AUS: Growth Goal Setting – What Works Best in Practice

Beyond SMART? A New Framework for Goal Setting (Open Access)

S.M.A.R.T Goals | Broward County Schools

Advanced Learning Plans and SMART Goals | Colorado Department of Education (pdf)

SMART Goals in Education (YouTube 8:52)

42 Goal Setting Activities for Students & Kids

Developing Self-Awareness and Self-Management through the Goal Setting Process

NZ: 7 Goal Setting Strategies for High Expectations Teaching

Cybraryman’s Goals Page

Images courtesy of Dr. Vicki Phelps, Karah Lewis, and Routledge

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Strategies for Supporting 2E Students

Our guest this week at #gtchat was Emily Kircher-Morris, LPC. Emily has dual Masters degrees in Counseling and Education and began her career as a teacher. In 2011, she opened a private practice, Unlimited Potential Counseling and Education Center and in 2012, Emily founded the Gifted Support Network, an organization which provides resources and support to parents and educators of gifted and high-ability children of St. Louis. She has written two books, Teaching Twice-Exceptional Learners in Today’s Classroom and Raising Twice-Exceptional Children: A Handbook for Parents of Neurodivergent Gifted Kids. Emily is host of The Neurodiversity Podcast and recently founded the Neurodiversity University which features a variety of courses, helpful videos, and learning materials, designed to help teachers and administrators better serve and advocate for neurodivergent people.

What are best practices for identifying 2E students with neurodevelopment diagnoses? Best practices begin with understanding key terms (e.g., neurodiversity) and concepts (e.g., relevant service models) as well as recognizing current barriers to identification in the classroom. Barriers to identification may include systemic stereotyping of the existence of twice-exceptionality, discrepancies on ability tests (the tendency for masking abilities), limited assessment tools, or uncertainty surrounding appropriate services. Additional considerations surrounding identification include identifying 3E students (2E + cultural/linguistic diversity), state laws regarding gifted and special education, and applicable school district policies.

To determine the best service model, a comprehensive evaluation by a professional familiar with gifted development and twice-exceptionality as well as access to appropriate assessment tools is essential. They should be linked to specific diagnoses to best serve student needs and consider both benefits and potential obstacles to learning. Service models suited for 2E students include cluster grouping (based on above-level testing/pre-testing), dual credit or AP/IB courses, or RTI with consultative services. Additional models include co-teaching within a classroom, available resource rooms, or self-contained classrooms.

Educators working with 2E students need to possess a firm understanding of the difference between IEPs and 504 plans. An IEP is based on an educational diagnosis whereas a 504 plan is based on a physical or mental health medical diagnosis. IEP services can be received in the classroom, through in-class support, or in a resource room. 504 services are generally received within the general education classroom. Students who qualify for 504 plans may legally receive special education services such a OT or in-class support, but will not have the benefit of progress monitoring.

How can we help 2E students build executive functioning? Supporting students who struggle with executive functioning deficits can be one of the most frustrating aspects of parenting twice-exceptional kids. Misinformation about EF can have devastating effects on a child’s self-esteem lasting into adulthood. When recognized and properly diagnosed, EF can be dealt with compassionately and effectively by building rapport with the student through authenticity, transparency, and appropriate educational supports. Supporting EF in twice-exceptional students is a process where the student learns to evaluate their situation, self-monitor, and ultimately self-regulate.

How do we support 2E students diagnosed with anxiety disorders? Anxiety disorders in gifted students can include Generalized Anxiety, Social Anxiety, OCD, trauma, and/or depression. When left untreated, anxiety disorders can lead to devastating consequences such as existential depression, self-injury, or thoughts of suicide. Supportive adults need to learn the characteristic signs of anxiety, its triggers, and strategies on how to cope with it.

Neurodiversity spans the educational spectrum represented in general education, special education, and gifted education classrooms. It’s imperative all educators recognize twice-exceptionality when present and accommodate these learners. Understanding there is no one-size-fits-all solution, an individualized and research-based approach is the best way to meet both academic and social-emotional needs.

A transcript of the chat may 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@gtchatmod

Resources:

Help Twice-Exceptional (2e) Learners Flourish

Teaching Twice-Exceptional Learners in Today’s Classroom (pdf Preview) | Free Spirit Books

PLC/Book Study Guide for Teaching Twice-Exceptional Learners in Today’s Classroom (pdf) | Free Spirit Books

Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization (book)

Checklist for Recognizing Twice Exceptional Children (pdf) | Gifted Development Center

A Guidebook for Twice Exceptional Students Supporting the Achievement of Gifted Students with Special Needs (pdf) | Montgomery County Public Schools

Twice Exceptional: Supporting and Educating Bright and Creative Students with Learning Difficulties (book)

The Difference between IEPs and 504 Plans | Understood.Org

Coaching Students to Overcome Executive Function Struggles

Emily Kircher-Morris: 2e Students, Neurodiversity, NYC Gifted & Talented Program (podcast 1:02:23) | STM Podcast

The Neurodiversity Podcast: A Special Interview With Emily Kircher-Morris (podcast 19:35)

The Neurodiversity Podcast: Letting Your Geek Flag Fly – Guidelines for Strengths-Based Supports (podcast 29:17)

The Neurodiversity Podcast: Our Bright and Complex, Twice-Exceptional Kids with Dr. Dan Peters (podcast 33:00)

The Neurodiversity Podcast: ADHD by any other name? Try “Attention Divergent Hyperactive Giftedness” with C. Matthew Fugate (podcast 33:27)

How To Help A “2E” Child Thrive In School

2E Kids: What’s the Best School?

Gifted & LD: Misdiagnosed and Misunderstood

Unique Challenges of 2e Students

1 in 5 Students is Neurodiverse. How can Districts Better Support Them?

SLD Eligibility – Policy and Practice Recommendations

The Neurodiversity Podcast: Accurate Assessment for Twice-Exceptional Kids

The Neurodiversity Podcast: Being a SPED Advocate for Twice-Exceptional Kids

Images courtesy of Emily Kircher-Morris.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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.

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