Category Archives: Executive Functioning

Teaching Life Skills to Gifted Children at School and at Home

Life skills are those skills which enable us to deal effectively with the challenges faced every day and are needed to succeed in life. They involve the ability to be flexible when problem solving, display imitative, interact positively with others, be productive, and to be a leader. Qualities associated with successful life skills include self-awareness, empathy, effective communication, strong interpersonal skills, critical thinking, and self-control.

Why is it important to teach GT students life skills? The stakes are so high. Many GT students represent our future leaders and life skills are essential for great leaders. Success in life is not dependent alone on how intelligent a person is or becomes. Personal satisfaction with accomplishments plays an overall role in happiness; both personally and socially.

How is society inhibiting the acquisition of necessary life skills? Students have fewer face-to-face interactions with peers and instructors reducing their ability to acquire and hone life skills they need to meet the challenges of life. More often, students interact via social media, video conferencing, and text messages rather than in real life situations.

Twice-exceptional children who deal with executive function deficits can benefit from skills-based education from the earliest years as soon as it’s diagnosed. Many of them struggle with social interactions that impeded their academic success. Skills-based education can close this gap. Learning life-skills can help twice-exceptional children handle stressful situations, feel more confident, and learn how to cope with challenges in a more positive way.

What are best practices for educators to embed life skills education in their curriculum? Time management skills education can begin in early elementary by reviewing daily schedules, using a student planner, and discussing with students ways to complete unfinished assignments in a timely manner. Creating opportunities for collaboration on assignments and providing students with leadership strategies that pre-empt one student from doing all the work can be invaluable for gifted students. Occasionally, teachers can switch-up or change the schedule so that students need to learn the importance of being flexible … a much sought after skill by employers. Suggest coping strategies for students to meet the challenge. Teachers can provide opportunities for students to engage in conversations with classmates and then in active and reflexive listening in the classroom. They can promote student choice and voice to allow them control over their learning which provides a gateway to self-motivation; a skill that will benefit them throughout their lives.

How can parents help their gifted children gain the necessary life skills to be successful? Parents must first ensure they possess the life skills necessary for living a successful and rewarding life; even if they must seek out training. They can help their gifted children by modeling necessary life skills in their everyday life. Parents cannot assume that life skills will be taught at school or by associating with successful peers. By observing their child’s behavior, they can determine which skills their child needs. 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 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/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:

The 7 Essential Life Skills

Life Skills and Soft Skills Make You Smart Life

What are Life Skills?

5 Important Types of Life Skills All Adults Need

Life Skills vs. Soft Skills vs. Career Skills vs. Employability Skills — What Are the Differences?

3 Important Life Skills Nobody Ever Taught You

Life Skills for Gifted Students

Someone Taught Steve Jobs How to Use a Hammer

Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential (book)

Smart but Scattered Kids (website)

Helping Kids Who Are “Late, Lost, and Unprepared”

That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week

11 Life Skills You Should Teach Your Kids

The Practical Life Skills Kids Should Learn at Every Age

Social Life Skills – Characteristics of the Gifted Child (YouTube 4:23)

Teaching Strategies for Important Life Skills

Cybraryman’s Soft Skills Page

Cybraryman’s Financial Education Page

Image courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Tech Addiction – Regulating Screen Time

Tech addiction or digital addiction actually covers three broad areas involving social media addiction, video game addiction, and Internet addiction. According to Shaw & Black at the University of Iowa, tech or digital addiction is distinguished by impairment or distress resulting from “urges or behaviors regarding computer use and Internet access.” Children addicted to tech often express feeling profound loneliness, lack social skills, display executive functioning disorder, and have trouble regulating their emotions.

Should GT students excelling in tech have their screen time limited at all? Students who excel at tech may actually be even more at risk of addiction than other students. It becomes a matter of balance; balancing necessary time using tech and avoiding addiction. GT students may be tech savvy at younger ages than their age-peers. Screen time can intrude on much need social interactions and ultimately affect social growth.

How does unlimited screen time affect twice-exceptional and are there potential benefits to screen time? It depends on the nature of their twice-exceptionality. Some twice-exceptional kids are highly susceptible to types of tech that are repetitive in nature. They may not understand why adults are limiting access. Tech affords opportunities for GT and #2ekids to express their creativity and to explore their passions. It gives them access to more challenging content and coursework.

Moderating access to tech almost has to have different approaches at school and at home. So much of differentiation for gifted students involves technology; both in the classroom and for homework assignments. At home use of tech may deal with different forms of tech use; such as, social media and video gaming. As such, it may require criteria that differ significantly from using tech for school work and interaction with peers.

The upside to tech addiction involves consideration of quality time online versus quantity of time. Availability of tech can be motivating. Limiting access to tech can also motivate students to use their time more wisely. Teachers can structure tech time to involve time offline supporting activities initiated online. Students can interact online to discuss assignments, but do the majority of work offline.

In recent years, gifted education in many school districts has come to rely heavily on tech as both a way to differentiate instruction as well as give students time to interact with intellectual peers at off campus locations. Parents need to be diligent in monitoring and regulating screen time. They should give forethought to their discussions about boundaries regarding the use of tech. GT kids will be well prepared with counter arguments. 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 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/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.

Resources:

Giftedness and Technology

Gifted and Addicted: Perils of the Cyber World

Technology and the Unseen World of Gifted Students

MRIs Show Screen Time Linked to Lower Brain Development in Preschoolers

Associations between Screen-Based Media Use and Brain White Matter Integrity in Preschool-Aged Children

Media and Young Minds

Create Your Family Media Plan (American Academy of Pediatrics)

Change in the Brain’s White Matter: The role of the brain’s white matter in active learning and memory may be underestimated

What to Do If Your Kid becomes Addicted to Tech

Screen Time and the Gifted Student: Balance and Quality Are Key

What Educators Need to Know about Technology Addiction

Dealing with Digital Distraction in the Classroom

Technology Addiction

Are Gifted Children More Prone to Digital Addictions?

Screen Time = Scream Time

Autism and Screen Time: Special Brains, Special Risks

Balancing Technology and School: Is Technology Addiction a Problem?

Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents

Effects of Technology on Gifted Children

Cybraryman’s Screen Time Page

Is Too Much Screen Time Bad?

Photo courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

The Role of Executive Function in Gifted Children

 

Executive function is in charge of making sure things get done from the planning stages of the job to the final deadline. (A. Morin) “EF involves self-regulating attention, mood, and behavior, in order to get complex tasks done well. We can think of EF as being like the little CEO in the frontal lobe.” (Davidson Gifted)

A child struggling with EF deficits may have difficulty starting or completing tasks, switching tasks, or following directions. Children struggling with EF deficits may be unorganized (including workspaces and backpacks), display an inability to manage their time or keep track of assignments, or become easily frustrated by routine changes.

It’s not “uncommon for high-ability learners to struggle with executive functions.” Asynchronous development, twice-exceptionality, or even lack of early challenge can be related to EF deficits. “Some gifted kids may have very fast processing speed, leading their brains to rapidly move from one topic to another, and leaving basic skills in their dust.” Gifted children whose processing speed shows a great lag behind their other cognitive processes may struggle to show task initiation skills that look like lack of motivation. (Kaleel and Kircher-Morris)

What are some of the consequences when EF deficits exist in a gifted child? These are smart kids who struggle with behavior regulation and exercising cognitive flexibility. Although identified as GT, they may have trouble beginning tasks, maintaining attention, completing assignments, and unable to assess the feedback on their own behavior. Frustration levels can go through the roof. As the GT child progresses through school, academic requirements increase at the same time as social interactions take on greater significance. EF difficulties may not resolve themselves until they reach their mid-twenties.

Strategies for developing EF skills can be employed in the classroom. Teachers can choose specific skills such as organization and work with the student to understand the nature of the executive function deficit. Students who display EF deficits need a patient teacher willing to work with them over time and provide positive encouragement to build skills incrementally. Oftentimes, small, simple steps have the most success.

Parents can make a difference when it comes to EF skills deficits in their children. Parents can engage in sincere and purposeful praise, encourage effort, and being sensitive to needs expressed by their child. Parents need to provide rules that are applied consistently, opportunities for enrichment, and encourage independence when helping their children develop EF skills over time. (Willingham)

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:

Procrastination and Gifted Students

The Highly Distracted Gifted Child

Executive Functioning in Gifted Students (pdf) https://bit.ly/2YUzfRh

Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential (Amazon)

The Smart but Scattered Guide to Success: How to Use Your Brain’s Executive Skills to Keep Up, Stay Calm, and Get Organized at Work and at Home (Amazon)

Tips for Parents: Executive Functioning at Home and School

Gifted Learners and Executive Functioning

How to Engage Strong Executive Skills in Gifted Learners

Executive Function Skills and Gifted Students

Improving Executive Function Skills in Gifted Kids (YouTube 1:05:28)

The Best Books for Teaching About Executive Functions Skills

Closing the Door and Other Executive Difficulties

Executive Skills and How They Translate to Professional Strengths

Executive Function Disorder: What It Is & How to Overcome It

Why is the Milk in the Back of the Supermarket? thinkLaw’s New Asset-Based Critical Thinking Class for Parents

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

%d bloggers like this: