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When Gifted Students Own Their Learning

gtchat 01042018 Own Learning

Student ownership of learning is when a student becomes invested in his own learning; the realization that learning is of personal value to oneself. A student’s active involvement in their own education resulting from a desire to learn connotes student ownership of learning. At the beginning of the new year, #gtchat began the discussion of what it looks like for gifted students to own their learning.

Gifted students may or may not be motivated to take ownership of their own learning contrary to popular belief. If their strengths are not academic, they may have little interest in school. Motivation to take ownership of their learning may require educators to allow #stuvoice and choice; Socratic instruction; self-reflection; less dependence on planned lessons; less testing, more requests for feedback.

One of the best examples of students owning their learning can be found in Project-based Learning – learning proposed, directed and executed by the student. A personalized approach to PBL is especially appealing to gifted students. Another example of student owned learning is the creation of digital portfolios which can showcase their work. Portfolios may take the form of blogs, videos, or displaying art/music projects. Students can take ownership of their learning by building presentation skills either something as simple as PP to participating in a performance-based environment such as a recital.

How does technology impact student ownership of learning? Technology must enhance authentic learning; not just replication of learning. Gifted students may find building a computer or robot much more valuable than simply sitting and staring at a computer screen. It can play a vital role in the ownership of learning when used as a problem-solving tool rather than ‘the’ answer. Objectives and goals need to be personalized via technology. It enhances how students collect and share information. Technology can provide a sense of community with like-minded, intellectual peers who can work together; an oft-missed opportunity for gifted students in the past.

Virtually all work does not become valuable until it is presented/showcased. Students need to learn how to best present their ideas and projects in a meaningful way. This is a precursor for professional success in life as an adult. By learning presentation skills, it takes their learning to another level – kicks it up a notch! It also hopefully provides an authentic audience for their work. This in turn amplifies their motivation factor.

Changes need to be made to curriculum and instruction to ensure students have the skills to succeed. Instruction needs to evolve into facilitation. Meaningful learning and ownership of that learning will be enhanced by teacher led deep-level, thought provoking questioning and then thoughtful listening to provide feedback. Students should be provided with an environment that encourages imagination, student choice, freedom and time to explore interests, and finally a way to showcase their learning. A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

As we enter the 7th year of #gtchat, we would like to acknowledge those people behind the scene who make it all possible!

Thank you to the TAGT staff ~

Budget TAGT Staff

And to our Advisory Board ~

Own Learning Advisory Board

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 2 PM 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 Storify. 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.

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:


Can Students Learn Entirely on their Own?

New Experiments in Self-Teaching (TEDTalks 17:25)

School in the Cloud

The 5 Core Components of K-12 Entrepreneurship Education

World Peace Game Foundation

The Digital Transformation of Learning: Social, Informal, Self-Service, and Enjoyable

What Is Self-Directed Education?

10 Ways to Motivate Students to Take Responsibility for Their Learning

50 Ways to Empower Students in a Connected World

Getting Students to Take Responsibility for Learning

Creating Pupils Who take Responsibility for their Own Learning

5 Ways to Increase Student Ownership in Your Classroom

When Students Drive Learning, They Can Do So Much More

Cybraryman’s Student-Centered Classrooms Page

Self-Directed Learning: Documentation and Life Stories (GHF Press)

What Makes an ‘Extreme Learner’?

Cybraryman’s Presentation Tools Page

Cybraryman’s Games in Education Page

Genius Hour: Passion Projects that Ignite Innovation and Student Inquiry (Amazon)

Meet the #SinglePointRubric

New Tech Network’s Revised Oral Communication and Collaboration Rubrics

Ginger Lewman’s LifePractice PBL

Genius Hour/20% Time Livebinder

Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences (Amazon)

Stop Telling your Kids that School Will Prepare them for Life

Photo courtesy of Pixabay   CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

“Gifted Unschooling” with Guest, Amy Harrington

gtchat April 17 Amy Harrington


Amy Harrington, Esq. is a SENG board member and SENG Model Parent Group facilitator, homeschooling advocate, and an eclectic unschooler of two profoundly gifted children. She is an attorney, writer, and blogger (Gifted Unschooling) who is passionate about the future of self-directed education. She is the Founder and Managing Director of Atypical Minds, which provides coaching and guidance to gifted families in their quest for alternative education and school accommodations.

Most people are familiar with homeschooling, but the idea of ‘unschooling’ remains a mystery to most. As Amy explained, “Unschooling is a philosophy that entrusts children to find their own passions. It is child-led, passion-led, and interest-led learning. Unschooling generally rejects a traditional schooling mindset and the tools that go along with it – curriculum. The child is in the driver’s seat of their own education. Children are autonomous learners SUPPORTED by parents.”

The discussion then turned to ‘deschooling”. According to Amy, “deschooling is letting go of a traditional schooling mindset and learning to trust the process of getting to unschooling philosophy. It let’s everyone relax, detox and figure out what they are interested in learning. We shed our old mindset and embrace freedom.”

What is the role of a mentor in unschooling? Mona Chicks explained, “Mentors play a huge role, as they help the child learn about the real stuff in their chosen field.  They provide outside input, too.” Amy told us that “Not everyone has mentors while unschooling but my kid has enjoyed working with many professors and entrepreneurs.”

When it was suggested that a compromise or blended learning scenario could be used to ensure comparable results such as regular education and outside-of-school enrichment, most unschoolers disagreed. They believed that for profoundly gifted students and prodigies, school was actually detrimental. Many referred to a ‘healing’ process that their children went through after withdrawing from a traditional school environment.

A transcript of this chat may be found on our Storify Page.


Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST 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 new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About 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:


A Daily Guide to Radically Unschooling Outliers

6 Ways Unschooling Can Inform Practice for Innovative Educators

Free to Learn: Why Unleashing Instinct to Play Will Make Children Happier, More Self-Reliant (Amazon)

How Do Unschoolers Cope with College & 21 Questions on Learning without School & Living Joyfully

We Don’t Need No Education

Unshackled & Unschooled: Free-Range Learning Movement Grows

How to Opt Out of School: Guide for Teens for Self-Directed Education

Freedom of Unschooling: Raising Liberated Black Children Without Restrictions of School

Raising a Profoundly Gifted Child

How do Unschoolers Turn Out?

Unschooling: What is It & How One Family Does It

Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting Off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, & Reconnecting (Amazon)

“Unschooled” Kids Do Just Fine in College

Unschooling Allowing Students A New Approach At Education (Video 2:55)

Deschooling: Shift Your Mind

Why I Choose to Unschool My Gifted Children

Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More Than Your Peers Ever Will (Amazon)

John Holt Growing Without Schooling FAQs

Unleashing Genius: Self-Directed Learning

EXPERT: 85% Of College Students Are Wasting Their Time And Money

Rethinking Education: Self-Directed Learning Fits the Digital Age

Blake Boles Website

TED Talk with Ken Robinson: How Schools Kill Creativity

TED Talk with Sugata Mitra: The Child-Driven Education

Maximalist Manifesto: Creating a Prepared Environment

Locating Age-Appropriate Books for High Ability Learners

M3352M-1009Young Reader*

Locating age-appropriate books for high ability learners can prove difficult  for several reasons. Asynchronous development may mean that a very young child could comprehend reading material well beyond what may be considered appropriate for their age. As Lisa Van Gemert of American Mensa pointed out, interest levels and sensitivities also play important roles when finding appropriate yet challenging books for these children. Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources commented that material deemed appropriate for a child’s chronological age might be considered too simplistic and unsatisfying to the child. Leslie Graves, President of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, noted that the depth of thought embedded in the content and the pace of information offered would also make many leveled offerings inappropriate as well.

Young reader black and whiteChild Reading**

Reading patterns found in gifted readers can be different than those of typical readers. These kids often start reading earlier than their age peers and demonstrate deeper comprehension of what they read. Kate B.  stated they may be self taught, read faster and be voracious readers.  Justin Schwamm, Latin teacher at Tres Columnae, related that many gifted learners read and enjoy multiple books at once; which can drive others crazy. Moderator, Lisa Conrad, added that it’s still important to respect the developmental process and allow a child to enjoy reading at various levels. Parents should resist the urge to ‘push’ a child to read simply because they excel in other academic areas.

Parent readingParent Reading to Child*

Reading to children was still considered an important role of both the parent and teacher even after children were reading well on their own. Jerry Blumengarten, well known content curator Cybraryman and former teacher, remembered family reading time as enjoyable and an important time to be set aside even after children were reading. When he taught Language Arts, his 9th grade students loved when he read dramatically to them. Jayne Frances reminded us that reading aloud is important for pronunciation of words and sharing more precise or alternate definitions than those gleaned from context. Many also related the importance of emotional bonding that occurs when adults read to children whether it was a parent or teacher.

The popular school reading program ‘Accelerated Reader’ did not fare well in the opinions of many at this chat. This program seemed out-of-sync with high ability learners. Justin Schwamm told us that he was not a fan because extrinsic rewards for an intrinsically-valuable task are problematic at best.

Questions for this chat are here  and a full transcript of this chat can be found at Storify. Links from the chat and additional links are below.  Thank you to all chat participants who shared links with us.

gtchat thumbnail logoGlobal #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT 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 Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered byTAGT 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:


Search Book Titles by Conceptual/Vocabulary Difficulty Age from Armadillo Soft

67 Books Every Geek Should Read to Their Kids Before Age 10

Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers (Amazon)

Guiding the Gifted Reader (1990)

Reading Lists for Your Gifted Child from Hoagies Gifted

Best-Loved Books: A Unique Reading List for Gifted Students Grades 6-12 (pdf)

Book List for Very Young Precocious Readers (link on bottom right of page)

Book List for Pre-teen Gifted Readers from Suki Wessling

The Challenge of “Challenged Books” Gifted Child Today Magazine Spring, 2002

GT-World Reading Lists

Books for Young Readers from the MN Council for the Gifted & Talented

Appropriate Content for Gifted Readers from Duke TIP

13 Age-Appropriate Books for Young Gifted Readers

Gifted 101: Choosing Books for Your Young Gifted Reader

3 Reasons I Loathe Accelerated Reader from Lisa Van Gemert, The Gifted Guru

Dear Google, You Should Have Talked to Me First from Jen Marten

Reading Lists from Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources

Appropriate Expectations for the Gifted Child from SENG

Slow Down and Look at the Pictures

Early Literacy Page from Cybraryman

Mensa Foundation Excellence in Reading

What Should I Read Next 

Reading List for Key Stage 1 Gifted Readers (pdf) from Potential Plus UK

Reading and Literacy Skills Page from Cybraryman

Books Page from Cybraryman

Newbery Medal Winners 1922 – Present 

Caldecott Medal and Honor Books 1938 – Present

Mrs. Ripp Reads

Additional Links:

Orientation (The School for Gifted Potentials Book 1) by Allis Wade

Revelations (The School for Gifted Potentials Book 2) by Allis Wade

Gifted Readers and Young Adult Literature: A Perfect Match from Duke TIP

Book Lists from Davidson Institute for Talent Development

The Gifted Reader’s Bill of Rights (pdf) by Bertie Kingore

Mind the Gap: Engaging Gifted Readers 

Resources for the Middle School Gifted Reader 

Books for Gifted Readers (Middle School)

Reading Projects for Gifted and Talented Students

Just Because They Can Doesn’t Mean They Should: Choosing Age-Appropriate Books for Literature Circles

*Photos: Courtesy of morgueFile

** Photo: Courtesy of Pixabay

Twice-Exceptional Smart Kids with Learning Differences

TAGT 2013 gtchat 4

LIVE from Houston, Texas! Global #gtchat was excited to be at this year’s TAGT Annual Conference where we debuted the new brochure from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum on Twice-Exceptional Learners. It was a perfect match with sentiments shared in the Conference Keynote by Dr. Temple Grandin. A full transcript may be found here.

It’s always an exhilarating experience to participate in a Twitter chat with a live audience and this was no exception. Many thanks goes out to those who came to help the folks who were new to chat. Check out the pictures below!

TAGT 2013 gtchat

Jeffrey Farley, Mary Lovell and Tracy Fisher

TAGT 2013 gtchat 2

Carolyn Coil

TAGT 2013 gtchat 5A

Krissy Venosdale, Angie French, Lisa Conrad and Stacia Taylor

Special thanks to Corin Goodwin and her staff from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum for going the extra mile to make this a very special and informative chat. Global #gtchat appreciates the collaborative relationship that has developed between our two organizations. Support of gifted children and their unique needs is definitely a community effort.

TAGT 2013 gtchat 6

Promotional Materials Courtesy of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum


Twice Exceptional Smart Kids with Learning Differences” brochure from @GiftedHF (pdf)

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (website) from @GiftedHF

GHF Press from @GiftedHF

Beating the Odds: An Interview with Temple Grandin” (pdf) TEMPO Magazine

Brief Summary ~ Dr. Temple Grandin Keynote TAGT 2013

The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed” (book – bn) Dr. Temple Grandin

Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (website)

TAGT Annual Conference 2014 in Fort Worth

Legacy Book Award Winners 2013 from the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented

Gifted & Twice Exceptional Kids: An Interview with Corin Goodwin & Mika Gustavson’ 

Asynchronous Scholars’ Fund (website)

ASD & Giftedness: Twice Exceptionality on the Autistic Spectrum

Life Among the ‘Yakkity Yaks‘” An Interview with Temple Grandin

Gifted Children with Learning Challenges (Twice Exceptional)

Raising My Twice-Exceptional Children… Not What I Signed Up For!

Developing Social Thinking in the Twice-exceptional (2e) Learner through Improvisational Play

Giftedness Should Not Be Confused with Mental Disorder

Stuck, Stubborn and Always Right? Changing Patterns of Rigid Thinking

The Paradox of Giftedness:  When Potential Doesn’t Necessarily Predict Performance

Executive Functioning at Home and School” by @ayermish via @DavidsonGifted

What happens when students don’t have good executive functioning skills?

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