Category Archives: Creative Thinking

Nurturing Brilliance at School and at Home

Brilliance (to me) is being exceptional at whatever you do. It can pertain to a specific talent or intelligence; highly-abled. It is that ‘spark’ you see in a child when they ‘get it’, but others may not. When we fail to nurture young brilliance, there’s the chance that the spark may dim over time or even fail to ignite at all. Nurturing brilliance can affect the direction a life takes; toward success or mediocrity. It’s important to ignite a child’s passion which is a great motivator. Failing to nurture brilliance unfortunately can lead to problematic behavior which can be a hindrance to success at best or debilitating at worst.

Nurturing brilliance is the essence of good teaching. Students should be encouraged to engage in intellectual risk-taking and to consider learning from mistakes rather than succumbing to failure. It’s important that one never assume a gifted student will ‘make it on their own’. They are in need of as much support and guidance as all students.

Parents and teachers can share strategies through home-school communication which encourage students to try their best and not be deterred by failure. They can identify a student’s strengths and weaknesses and then look for ways to use both to achieve academic goals. Parents and teachers can partner to develop a plan to provide early access to more challenging work and availability of extra support through intellectual peer networks and mentors.

Parents can support their child’s emotional and academic needs while taking into consideration their stress levels by encouraging participation in activities in which they delight; i.e., having fun together! It’s important for parents of gifted children to be reasonable with their expectations of their child’s abilities, not overschedule activities, and not view academic success as a competition with other parents.

Parents can nurture their gifted child at home by building thinking skills through the encouragement of observation, description, sequencing, classification, how things are alike and different, and analogy. Nurturing giftedness at home should encourage metacognition, flexible thinking, persistence, managing impulsivity, and finding ways to spark imagination. Parents should encourage their child to try things at which they aren’t necessarily good, avoid comparing them to siblings and age-peers, and provide the tools needed for success such as mentors and access to academic resources.

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/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 Wakelet. 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.

 Lisa Conrad 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:

Nurturing Brilliance: Discovering and Developing Your Child’s Gifts (book)

Nurturing Brilliance: Discovering and Developing Gifts of Every Child (webinar)

8 Ways to Support Your Gifted Child

How to Nurture Your Gifted Child

The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives (book)

Want Your Child to Be a High Achiever? This 47-Year Study Reveals 7 Things You Can Do

The Joys and Challenges of Raising a Gifted Child

For gifted kids, better to be hands-on or -off?

Off the Charts: The Hidden Lives and Lessons of American Child Prodigies (book)

School Counselors and Gifted Kids: Respecting Both Cognitive and Affective

Counseling for Gifted Students: Implication for a Differentiated Approach

Shame and the Gifted: The Squandering of Potential

How do You Raise a Genius? Researchers Say They’ve Found the Secret to Successful Parenting

Gifted Children: Nurturing Genius

Nurturing Genius

Training Teachers to Nurture Gifted Students

Identification and Nurturing the Gifted from an International Perspective

APA: Opening New Vistas for Talented Kids – Psychologists are Working to Nurture Gifted and Talented Children

Nurturing Giftedness Among Highly Gifted Youth (pdf)

Nurturing Social Emotional Development of Gifted Children (Webb)

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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Characteristics of Gifted Children

 

Characteristics need to go beyond simple checklists to determine the extent of a child’s giftedness. Observation is often the first step in deciding whether or not to begin the identification process. It’s important to know what you are looking for and why. Checklists aside, characteristics may include mastery of a particular discipline that begins much younger than in age-peers, more easily, and much faster. Gifted children may display ‘near obsessive’ interests which go well beyond those of age-mates. They may be drawn to others with similar approaches/interests.

Understanding what to look for when identifying a gifted child has implications for both teachers and parents. Teachers need to know how to modify learning environment and curriculum based on unique characteristics of their students. Parents need to understand characteristics of gifted children to inform parenting decisions that go beyond consideration of academic performance and also considers the importance of their child’s all around environment. They should understand that gifted children need to be nurtured with attention paid to their child’s gifted characteristics.

Incorrect diagnosis is often the result of professionals lacking information and experience about what it means to be gifted. It’s important for professionals to have foundational knowledge of gifted characteristics and parents should question anyone dealing with their child beforehand to determine if they are qualified to assess the child. Different abilities may mask each other making a diagnosis or determination more difficult; especially when identifying gifted children with learning differences.

How do Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities relate to characteristics of gifted children? Dąbrowski’s work did not originate in the area of giftedness, but has been subsequently recognized and applied to the study of gifted individuals. Although not originally posited for gifted individuals only, Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities were adopted by gifted advocates and academics as a way to explain many of the behaviors they saw in the gifted. Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities included Psychomotor, Sensual, Intellectual, Imaginational, and Emotional. Creative and gifted individuals appear to express OEs to a greater degree through increased intensity, awareness and sensitivity.

As a field, gifted education is often criticized for its lack of diversity in gifted programs; especially in public schools. What characteristics of GT children should we look for in underrepresented populations? Intelligence tests are notoriously biased both in fairness to diverse populations and the scope of which they test; in areas, such as, math or verbal reasoning. Skills and characteristics that can be overlooked in diverse populations (ethnicity, low SES) include a child’s ability to make intellectual connections far beyond age-peers or possessing a voracious curiosity.

Defining what it means to be gifted has evolved over the past few decades. Has this been reflected in what we look for as being gifted in the 21st century? Do preferred educational outcomes influence what is thought to be gifted characteristics? What one looks for influences the questions asked; take into consideration how assessments have changed to look beyond how quickly content/knowledge is acquired or remembered. In-demand skills such as the ability to think critically, creativity, collaboration, learning from failure, problem solve … these require rethinking how we see who is gifted. High achievers do not always meet the definition of gifted individuals. Today we look for a child who is able to assess their own strengths and weakness, determine their own learning goals, create learning objectives, and communicate what they know in novel ways.

A transcript of this 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/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 Wakelet. 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.

 Lisa Conrad 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:

What is Gifted and Talented?

Closing the Gifted Gap: Recognizing Characteristics of Giftedness in Underrepresented Populations (Vimeo 45:44)

Gifted Children: What to Look For? Why You Should Know? (YouTube 16:11)

Cognitive Characteristics of the Gifted – Reconceptualized in the Context of Inquiry Learning and Teaching

What is “Gifted” or “High Ability?”

Characteristics of High Ability Learners

Characteristics of Gifted Students: Age and Gender. Findings from Three Decades

The Curse of Genius

Giftedness 101 (Silverman)

Common Traits and Characteristics of Gifted Children

Common Characteristics of Gifted Individuals

50 Common Characteristics of Gifted Children (Slideshare)

Characteristics and Signs of Giftedness

Recognizing Gifted Students: A Practical Guide for Teachers (pdf)

New Zealand: Characteristics of the gifted – Ngā pūmanawa kia manawa tītī

Characteristics of Giftedness

How to Spot a Gifted Student

Giftedness and the Gifted: What’s It All About?

Kazimierz Dąbrowski Interview 5 – University of Alberta (YouTube 1:00)

Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 30: Beneath the Surface of Giftedness

A New Window for Looking at Gifted Children (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Gifted Identification Page

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 21: Opening Doors To Diversity In Gifted Education

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

 

Reassessing the Need for Soft Skills for Gifted Students

 

Soft skills – aka non-cognitive skills or social-emotional learning skills – can be categorized in many ways. In school, we consider communication skills, problem solving skills, critical thinking and concise writing. They also involve resilience, resourcefulness, integrity, ambition … habits that improve learning. Soft skills revolve around the realization that mastery is an ongoing process and not based on hard and fast rules. Soft skills can be applied in any circumstance one chooses to use them.

Considering that soft skills need to be taught even though hard to measure; skills such as self-regulation, flexibility when faced with new situations and motivation to get things done can all help students succeed. Career success must embody the adoption of soft skills such as dependability, adaptability, working on a team while maintaining positive relationships with others. Other invaluable skills include stress management, facilitation and leadership.  Advanced soft skills are necessary for career advancement; skills often needed earlier in life for GT students and include networking skills, negotiating skills, savvy self-promotion, and the skill of persuasion.

Academic expectations for GT students are extremely high throughout the school day … expected to be leaders, independent learners, team leaders, great communicators … all of which can lead to burnout. GT students and their teachers are mainly focused on academics and achievement; easily measurable expectations. Soft skills may be overlooked, but necessary for these students just as they are for all students. Many GT students struggle with interpersonal relationships, dealing with failure and perfectionism, working in class with age-peers. They need to be taught perseverance, flexibility, regulating emotions.

How do soft skills help our 2e kids to be successful? The very nature of twice-exceptional students – having needs to be met, but often misdiagnosed or mis-judged … calls for nurturing of soft skills in their everyday life. When 2e kids are given the tools to succeed; they can live a more fulfilled life without the stresses associated with social and emotional setbacks.

Soft skills need to be taught and well-prepared teachers are essential for this task. The most simple soft skills – reading social cues, socializing with age-peers, respecting others – are the foundation of a successful life. They can aid in self-confidence and emotional regulation.

Best practice for teaching soft skills begins in the realization that these skills aid in learning. Teachers who model excellent soft skills such as self-regulation, patience, and empathy will be the most successful. In teaching social skills, best practices values students’ voice and attitude towards education, school attendance, and behaviors. Student outcomes are dependent on more than test scores and achievements. Soft skills can be integrated into the curriculum through project and problem based learning, 20% time, and genius hour which encourage time-management, self-control and self-reflection on the educational process.

Parents of gifted students can reinforce soft skills outside the classroom by modeling these skills in their everyday life. Character building based programs can have wide ranging positive influence on their children. They can seek to build a positive relationship with their child’s teacher and school personnel. They can model the use of patience and perseverance in difficult relationships; seeking additional support when necessary. Parents who place value on soft skills are uniquely positioned to teach them at home as well and to focus on the benefits of future outcomes for success in their child’s life.

A transcript of this 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 2PM 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 Wakelet. 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.

 Lisa Conrad 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:

Study: Teaching Noncognitive Skills can Spur Better Long-term Student Outcomes

Understanding a Teacher’s Long-Term Impact

What Do Test Scores Miss? The Importance of Teacher Effects on Non-Test Score Outcomes (pdf)

Teaching for High Potential: A Focus on the Soft Skills (pdf)

No Mind Left Behind: Understanding and Fostering Executive Control–The Eight Essential Brain Skills Every Child Needs to Thrive (book bn)

Empathy at Work for High-Potential Young Leaders

Why You Need to Focus on Soft Skills

Four-Dimensional Education: The Competencies Learners Need to Succeed (book)

Four-Dimensional Education – The Competencies Learners Need to Succeed (YouTube 1:18)

Helping Gifted Culturally Diverse Students Cope with Socio-Emotional Concerns

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education (book bn)

Gifted Children’s Bill of Rights

Beyond the Test: How Teaching Soft Skills Helps Students Succeed

The Turn-Around, Upside-Down Alphabet Book (book)

Hannah’s Collections (book bn)

The Most Magnificent Thing (book bn)

Should Schools Teach ‘Soft Skills?’ Many Say ‘Yes’

The Soft Skills College Students Need to Succeed Now and in the Future

Soft Skills List – 28 Skills to Working Smart

What It’s Really Like to Transition into Self-Management

Why Being Smart is Not Enough — The Social Skills and Structures of Tackling Complexity

Six Ways to Teach Social and Emotional Skills All Day

Mind Matters Podcast: True Grit – Fostering Tenacity and Resilience (Audio)

Cybraryman’s Soft Skills Page

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Authentic Learning to Create 21st Century Learners

gtchat 11012018 Authentic

Authentic learning begins when a student engages because they can see relevance in what they are experiencing in the classroom and beyond. It is participating in meaningful, real-world learning that is in response to active student voice in the process of deciding what they need as an individual to succeed.

Our guest this week was Todd Stanley. Todd is the author (Prufrock Press) of many teacher-education books including Project-Based Learning for Gifted Students: A Handbook for the 21st Century Classroom, When Smart Kids Underachieve in the Classroom: Practical Solutions for Teachers, and his latest, Authentic Learning: Real World Experiences that Build 21st Century Skills. He served as a classroom teacher for 18 years and is currently the gifted services coordinator for Pickerington Local Schools (Ohio) where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

giftED 18 logo

Todd Stanley will also be a speaker at this year’s TAGT Wednesday Institutes prior to their annual conference, giftED18 in Fort Worth, TX, on November 28, 2018. He will present two sessions: Authentic Learning to Create 21st-Century Learners and Project-Based Learning (PBL): A How-To Workshop . Todd will also present three sessions on Thursday, November 29th: Let’s Talk: Project-Based Learning in STEM, The Myths of Gifted Children, and Tired of SMART Goals? Create DUMB Goals to Build 21st-Century Learners. You can register for the giftED18 here.

Authentic learning breaks through the decades of monotonous rote-learning to prepare students to become innovators, critical thinkers and leaders. It benefits all of society by providing future problem solvers who have learned the skills to think, assess, and imagine solutions unknown to us today.

What teaching strategies enable authentic learning? It does not lend itself to the old-time adage – ‘sage on the stage’. Authentic learning should be facilitated; not taught. Authentic learning strategies go by many names today … problem-based, cased-based, portfolio driven, etc. The goal should be to use the strategy most responsive to the student’s individual needs.

Authentic learning promotes critical thinking by pushing beyond content and striving to understand why things are the way they are and how they work. It encourages critical thinking by engaging a student’s curiosity because the learning is relevant to them. It gives them a reason to want to learn. It makes a difference in their lives.

Which 21st century skills have been missed by elevating ‘data and measurable goals’? A good friend of #gtchat once said, “Every time a data-driven decision is made, a fairy dies.” Many may disagree, but the point is that children are more than the data collected about them … and they know it! We should learn from them. Folks in the business community were first to realize that our test-obsessed, only by the numbers education system was missing things like creativity, working together for a common purpose, and being able to adapt to new situations.

Capstones are a good choice to show growth with gifted/high ability students. They are a reflection of growth not captured by standardized testing and an excellent choice for both gifted and high ability students. Capstones provide a vehicle to showcase the cumulative experience of students near the end of their educational experience. They are generally long-term in production and investigative in nature which result in a final product, presentation, or performance. 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 1 PM NZDT/11 AM AEDT/Midnight 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 Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, check out 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

Resources:

Authentic Learning: Real-World Experiences That Build 21st-Century Skills (Prufrock)

Todd Stanley – The Gifted Guy (website)

Todd Stanley’s Books

Todd Stanley’s Blog https://goo.gl/MH1ecq

Higher Level Thinking with Gifted Students with Todd Stanley (YouTube 36:12)

Authentic Learning for the 21st Century: An Overview (pdf 2007)

9 Ways To Make Student Work Authentic

Creating Authentic Learning Experiences in the Literacy Classroom

AUS: “Authentic” Learning Experiences: What Does this Mean and Where is the Literacy Learning? (pdf 2009)

Why Authenticity Matters: 5 Ways Authenticity Impacts Student Learning

AUS: Authentic Learning

10 Ways Authentic Learning Is Disrupting Education

The Futures of Learning 3: What Kind of Pedagogies for the 21st Century (pdf 2015)

21st Century Learning: Research, Innovation and Policy (pdf)

CAN: Technologies that Aid Learning Partnerships on Real-World, Authentic Tasks (pdf 2015)

Deepening and Transferring Twenty-first Century Learning through a Lower Secondary Integrated Science Module (pdf)

Allowing Authentic Discovery in the Middle School Classroom

How to Develop an Authentic Enrichment Cluster

Authentic Learning: A Practical Introduction and Guide for Implementation

The Global Achievement Gap: Why Our Kids Don’t Have the Skills They Need for College, Careers, and Citizenship–and What We Can Do About It (bn)

Image courtesy of Flickr  CC BY 2.0

Photo courtesy of Todd Stanley.   Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

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