Category Archives: Advocacy

New Year, New Resolve

gtchat-01102017-new-year-new-resolve

 

 

The first chat of 2017 saw many familiar faces from across the U.S. and the globe! It was exciting to see many participants who had not been able to join us in recent months and their presence is always appreciated. All participants shared ways in which they would resolve to serve and advocate for gifted children in the new year. You may review a transcript of the chat at Storify and take a moment to check out the links from the chat below.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 14.00 NZST/12.00 AEST/1.00 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 & 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:

New Year’s Resolutions for Parents of Gifted Kids via @Giftedkidsguide

New Year’s Activities for Gifted Kids and Their Families

4 Year Old Explains the Problem with New Year Resolutions (YouTube 1:55)

I Will Treasure You: Resolutions for My Gifted Child

2016 Year in Review and Predictions for 2017

Gifted Advocacy: A Call to Action

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep

Your New Year’s Resolution: Make a Plan!

7 Smart New Year’s Resolutions for Students

Now That’s a Good Question! How to Promote Cognitive Rigor Through Classroom Questioning

Sprite’s Site: The Dabrowski Dogs Make New Year Resolutions

Plymouth Gifted: Words to Ponder

World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC) 22nd Biennial World Conference in Sydney, Australia

Gifted Family Travel

Educators: The Lessons We Learned in 2016

The G Word: A New Documentary about Giftedness

Photo courtesy of PixabayCC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

What is Twice Exceptional?

gtchat 07192016 Twice Exceptional

 

Twice-exceptional (2E) children are students identified as gifted, but with subtle or pronounced learning disabilities. It is a determination that can lead to frustration and lack of self-confidence. Although often defined as a disability first in most school districts, it is important to consider strengths over deficits when accommodating twice-exceptional students. Their full potential cannot be realized if their potential is never acknowledged. It is incumbent on educators to recognize that the very nature of twice-exceptionality allows for one condition to mask the other and prevent appropriate intervention. How many students are languishing in special education programs while their intellect and talents are ignored?

2E kids can show strength in many areas and yet have difficulty with organizational skills or task completion. Often, there are stark discrepancies between verbal and written work; but extraordinary task commitment when presented with something which interests them. This useful list of characteristics (pdf) provided by Jo Freitag  of Gifted Resources in Australia is long. However, as Tracy Fisher points out that when identifying 2E, “You expect to see ANYTHING and nothing. It’s not as simple as to provide a list of characteristics … GT kids can mask issues.” An interesting point made by Ruth Lyons, Adjunct Professor and Gifted and Talented Coordinator from Maine, is that “2E students test well on aptitude tests but may not perform well on achievement; this discrepancy speaks to unique abilities.”

Educators and administrators of gifted programs need to be educated about twice-exceptionality. As with most aspects of gifted education, this area of study is rarely covered in undergraduate education programs. Parents can present details of work and play habits in and out of school; documenting strengths as well as deficits. They can also share information, articles, and websites that deal with 2E kids with their child’s teacher. Check out the links below!

At this point in our chat, the discussion begged the question ~ Why do most professionals in the field of education prioritize deficits before strengths? Our participants said it best:

“Because we focus on raising the bar instead of raising the tide … ” Ruth Lyons

“Simply many are not trained to look at assets.” Meridian Learning

“Deficits are easier to see and federally mandated with an IEP. We still have this mentality that we can “fix” kids.” Alexandra Clough

It’s easy to see deficits first and federal mandates prioritize assistance in these areas through funding. Education policy is focused on bringing up the bottom; as with gifted, little attention is paid to excellence.

It is important to address exceptionalities together when developing an education plan. Opposing exceptionalities depend on accommodation and challenge to achieve the best possible outcomes. Failure to address both abilities and disabilities simultaneously can lead to frustration and even mental health issues.

Twice-exceptional children face social-emotional challenges. Many can understand social cues and context, but lack skills to engage in relationships with age-peers. Facing emotional setbacks, learning how to be resilient, and believing in their own abilities are all challenges for them. As Cassandra Figueroa, an educator in San Antonio, TX told us, ” With 2E you have complementary and contrary behaviors between the two exceptionalities, so it can be tricky to navigate.”

How can twice-exceptional students best be supported? 2E kids need to feel understood, be provided a caring environment, and encouraged to develop in areas of strength. A strong home-school support system rooted in understanding the basic needs of 2E students will strengthen their resolve. Educators should facilitate each student’s self-awareness and understanding of their own strengths with the introduction of role models and the assistance of mentors. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 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 & 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:

Connecticut Association for the Gifted – Twice Exceptional

Council for Exceptional Children

Gifted But Learning Disabled: A Puzzling Paradox (PDF 1990)

NAGC White Paper: Twice Exceptionality (PDF)

Resources for Gifted Children with Special Needs

The Twice Exceptional Dilemma (PDF)

Top 10 Pieces of Advice for Parents of Uniquely Gifted Children

Twice-Exceptional Students Gifted Students with Disabilities Level 1: An Introductory Resource Book (PDF)

Uniquely Gifted: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of the Twice-Exceptional Student (Amazon)

Wrights Law

Parenting Twice-Exceptional Children through Frustration to Success (pdf)

Improving Outcomes for 2E Children (pdf)

What It Means to Be 2E

The Exceptionality of Being Twice-Exceptional (pdf)

Twice Exceptional (2e) Child (YouTube 14:58)

Focus on Twice Exceptionality from TAGT Gifted Plus Division (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: 2E is

Sprite’s Site: What Make’s Them 2E

gtchat Freitag What Makes Them 2E

Picture Courtesy of Jo Freitag

Sprite’s Site: Pleading the Pink Slipper

Sprite’s Site: Purple Riding Boots

Sprite’s Site: New Shoes

Sprite’s Site: Flocks and Shoes

gtchat Freitag Flocks and Shoes

Picture Courtesy of Jo Freitag

Sprite’s Site: White Poodle, Black Poodle

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

#gtchat Blog: Mentoring Gifted Learners

To Be Gifted and Learning Disabled: Strategies for Helping Bright Students with LD, ADHD and More (Amazon)

Girl Battling Dyslexia Named National Self-Advocate in Special Education

Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

Hoagies Gifted: Twice-Exceptional = Exceptional Squared!

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum – Resources: Twice-Exceptional (2e)

School for Twice Exceptional Students to Open in CT

Cybraryman’s Twice Exceptional Children Page

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

How to Use Twitter to Advocate for Gifted Education

gtchat 03222016 Advocate with Twitter

 

This week, #gtchat celebrated 4 years of support from the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented. Pictured below is the staff of TAGT and our Advisory Board. I am so thankful for the support they give me each and every week. #gtchat simply would not be possible without it. They are always a phone call or email away.

 

gtchat Thanks TAGT Staff

Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented Staff

 

gtchat Advisory Board 2016

Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT Advisory Board

 

During the TAGT 2015 in December, the question came up in one of my sessions, “How can we use Twitter to advocate for gifted education?” This led to the topic for this week’s #gtchat. Although I am admittedly biased, I believe Twitter is the best form of social media to use for advocacy. It is concise; to the point; and without the ‘drama’ of other platforms. As pointed out by #gtchat Advisor, Lisa Van Gemert, “Twitter is less susceptible to the echo chamber that you get in Facebook.” Twitter encourages and facilitates creation of communities with shared interests, desires, end goals. (Putnam) Twitter chats with a recognizable and unique hashtag promote a continuing conversation over time. Using appropriate hashtags wisely allows advocates to reach beyond the ‘choir’; outside the box.

“Twitter is less susceptible to the echo chamber that you get in Facebook.”

~ Lisa Van Gemert, the Gifted Guru

Advocacy via Twitter can be accomplished by retweeting, hashtagging and liking tweets. One can use Twitter to identify gifted education advocates or organizations and build relationships by ‘following’; using DMs; and adding to lists.  The strategic success of advocacy via Twitter requires a fluid and an evolving approach to using social media. Over time, other forms of social media may be used to supplement the reach of Twitter by tapping audience preferences.

“Twitter brings a much wider conversation; other social media can become silos.” ~ Dr. Brian Housand

How can gifted organizations use Twitter to advocate for gifted education/children & benefit their members? As the quote below reminds us, on Twitter organizations can simultaneously provide information, foster involvement and promote advocacy. (Lovejoy and Saxton) must commit to a

gtchat Organizations Information

long-term presence on social media; specifically Twitter and eschew ‘quick result’ strategies. Twitter provides conduit to reaching existing supporters and potential audiences; i.e., educators needing gifted classroom strategies. The ‘community’ paradigm can extend to fostering interaction between organizations for the greater good. Twitter can be used to forge an authentic voice; replicate print and web communications; and as a conversational tool. Organizations can also use Twitter to share information on upcoming conferences, webinars, and chats; always using hashtags to widen reach.

gtchat Tweet Smart

Parents, too, can use Twitter to advocate for gifted children and their education. Parents meeting on Twitter can facilitate in real life meetings for kids and their peers. By Participating in Twitter chats related to gifted education and gifted students, they are able to affirm positive messages about these kids. In several states, parents along with advocates have combined forces to use Twitter to effectively appeal to politicians considering gifted education legislation. Tracy Fisher, #gtchat Advisor, told us, “Part of advocating is LEARNING! They can lurk, ask experts for info, etc.”

“It is easy to share with several groups of people by using multiple hashtags.” ~ Tyler Clark, Executive Assistant of the World Council for Gifted & Talented Children

Twitter is often used at gifted conferences as a backchannel for attendees as well as presenters. It is used to initially promote and raise awareness about upcoming conferences. Then, Conference attendees can use conference-specific hashtags to tweet from sessions. Presenters use Twitter to connect with their audience and get immediate feedback during sessions. It’s even a great way to plan Tweet-ups at the conferences!

“Commentary tweets and special twitter sessions from conferences can give people a vicarious feeling of attending.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources & Sprite’s Site

 

“A conference can encourage social media participation before and during the conference; including all!” Carolyn K., Hoagies Gifted

Finally, we discussed how to  use Twitter to connect with peers and colleagues to advocate for gifted issues. Gifted advocates can connect with leaders in the field in real-time to tweet issues important to all. It can be used to acknowledge accomplishments within the gifted community; announce new books; and link to relevant blog posts. Users can encourage followers to connect by tagging them in tweets and graphics. It’s an excellent way to build communities of like-minded advocates. A transcript of the chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  Noon  NZST/110.00 AEST/1.00 UK (Subject to change due to Daylight Savings Time). 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:

Cybraryman’s Educational Websites Page

Sprite’s Site: The Twitter Stream

gtchat Sprites Site Twitter Stream

Cybraryman’s Educational Sites: Edcamps, Teach Meets and Conferences

Sprite’s Site: Global GT Chat on Twitter

gtchat Sprites Site GT Chat on Twitter

Tweeting Social Change: How Social Media are Changing Nonprofit Advocacy

How Organizations Use Social Media: Engaging the Public

Tweet, Tweet! Using Live Twitter Chats in Social Work Education

8 Tips for Effectively Using Social Media for Social Change

Cases on Strategic Social Media Utilization in the Nonprofit Sector (Amazon)

Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change (Amazon)

Users of the World, Unite! The Challenges & Opportunities of Social Media (pdf 2010)

Social Media Best Practices for Nonprofit Organizations (pdf)

Information, Community & Action: How Nonprofit Organizations Use Social Media (Prezi)

Dialogic Connections (Shaw) (pdf)

Chirping for Charity: How U.S. Nonprofits are Using Twitter to Foster Dialogic Communication (pdf)

 

Photos courtesy of morgueFile , Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain , Jo Freitag

Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Bridging the Excellence Gap with Guest, Dr. Jonathan Plucker

gtchat 03152016 Excellence Gap

 

This week, we welcomed Dr. Jonathan Plucker to #gtchat to discuss the Excellence Gap and what could be done to impede its growth. Although the focus of the chat was on the U.S., it was noted that recent data shows that this phenomenon is unfortunately occurring in other countries as well.

The Excellence Gap refers to differences in advanced achievement between groups of students; usually focusing on gaps in underperforming groups based on race, ethnicity and socio-economic status. Individuals in all demographic groups have the potential to achieve at advanced levels, but identification is key. Competency must be addressed at every level of achievement; not just the minimum level.

According to Dr. Plucker, “Many different factors have caused the existence and persistence of large excellence gaps including poverty, discrimination, poor access to quality education, psycho-social barriers, among others.”  Excellence gaps can occur due to inadequate funding and resources in schools serving low income and disadvantaged minority communities; inadequate training for teachers working with underperforming subgroups of students; and because of attitudes about high achievement potential of low-income and minority students.

Dr. Plucker pointed out, “It is important to close the Achievement Gap for two reasons: to improve the lives of gifted poor and minority students and to provide our economy and culture with the talent it needs.” According to the NAGC, “Reducing and eliminating excellence gaps is an issue of equity, social justice, economic advancement, and national security. Increasing the number of students realizing their full potential puts the nation back on the path to global leadership. A 5 percent reduction in the 4th gr math excellence gap would increase performance at advanced levels by 80,000 students.”

How do we address and overcome the challenges presented by excellence gaps? Dr. Plucker told us, “Scott Peters and I just finished book on this. Our “Big 6” strategies include: 1) realistic opportunities, 2) universal testing and local norms, 3) ability grouping, 4) better educator preparation and support, 5) improved K-12 accountability systems with adaptive testing, and 6) psycho-social interventions with college students.”

“Relentlessly respect the gifted student’s right to learn something new every day!”   ~ Jeanne Bernish

We then turned out attention to what effect the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) might have on closing the Excellence Gap. “We’re not sure yet, as the regulations have yet to be developed; but it COULD mean more adaptive testing and better data reporting. ESSA throws it back to the states, but we need to keep the pressure on at the state level. It cracks the door, but we have to open it,” said Dr. Plucker.

Where do we go from here? What steps should be taken to ensure the momentum continues to close the Excellence Gap? “Keep Excellence Gap data in front of policymakers. Get needs of advanced students into teacher and administrator prep. Get excellence into your state accountability system,” Dr. Plucker told us. Advocates must be vigilant that local LEAs adhere to new rules in ESSA and continue to raise awareness of inequities in educational opportunities for all students.  Jeanne Bernish, Founder of Heather Hill Media, made the excellent point that we should “relentlessly respect the gifted student’s right to learn something new every day!”

“Data are depressing, but we should be energized. We firmly grasp the problem and policymakers are coming around. Full speed ahead!”                                                              ~ Dr. Jonathan Plucker

A transcript a may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  2 PM (13.00) NZDT/Noon (11.00) AEDT/Midnight UK (Subject to change due to Daylight Savings Time). to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found atStorify. 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:

NAGC Position Statement: Addressing Excellence Gaps in K-12 Education (pdf)

Progress Lags in High School, Especially for Advanced Achievers

‘Excellence Gap’ Robs Talented Students of Their Potential

Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities: Report Card of State Support for Academically Talented Low-Income Students (pdf)

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and CLASS Coalition Host 2nd “Closing the Excellence Gap” Summit http://goo.gl/KKYBTm

Top 10 Moments of 2016 “Closing the Excellence Gap” Summit

Finding Teachers Who Can Stimulate High Achievers (pdf)

Center for Evaluation & Education Policy – Excellence Gap 2012

Connecticut Association for the Gifted – Excellence Gap

UK:  Why Isn’t Pupil Premium Closing Excellence Gaps?

Why Minorities Can’t Be Left Out of Gifted and Talented Programs

How Family Background Influences Student Achievement

Advocating for High-Achievers

Excellence Gaps: Role of Translational Research Implementing Large Scale Educational Change (Video)

Dr. @JonathanPlucker ‘s Website

“Talent on the Sidelines: The Widening Gap in Excellence”

“Talent on the Sidelines: Excellence Gaps & America’s Persistent Talent Underclass”  (pdf)

Interview with Jonathan Plucker on Talent on the Sidelines (podcast)

Tackling Inequality in Gifted-and-Talented Programs

Questions and Answers about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) (pdf)

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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