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Building a Successful Gifted Program

Gifted programs should ensure a continuum of services throughout a GT student’s entire K-12 school career. They should include opportunities for all forms of acceleration, differentiation in the regular classroom, and alternative learning environments. All gifted programs need a social-emotional component to fully meet the needs of gifted students.

Best practices in gifted identification require a multifaceted approach. Reliance on only one measurement, such as IQ tests, will result in many students being missed. Out-of-level testing are essential to avoid inaccurate measurements. Because the best programs are tailored to student needs and not vice versa; universal testing as well as parent and teacher recommendations, should be utilized. Gifted identification should be culturally sensitive, linguistically appropriate, and take into account low-SES environmental factors such as lack of access to technology.

The best gifted programs provide challenge to all GT students include PG, twice-exceptional, and ELL. Curriculum should promote authentic experiential learning experiences and be conducive to exploration of student interests. A gifted curriculum should be more complex, provide in-depth study of key-concepts; and stress higher-level thinking, creativity, and problem solving. It can include enrichment and compacting as needed. Services may include standalone gifted classrooms; full-grade or subject acceleration; full or part day pull-out; independent study; early entrance/early out; dual enrollment in college classes; and counseling services.

Parents should be included in district planning and evaluation of gifted programs. Programs serve students and parents are often good judges of their child’s need. Their involvement can be a conduit for advocacy of gifted programs. As programs develop, parents need to be informed of identification criteria and procedures; and have access to application forms. Utilizing classroom tech, social media, and newsletters are all ways to stay connected. Forming a Parent Support or Advocacy group is a great way to build support for a school’s gifted programs. Parents can be invited to special information sessions at Parent Night events or engaged at regular monthly meetings.

Professional development is essential in a high quality gifted program. Few teachers receive any coursework in gifted education during their undergraduate years. PD should be often and on-going to be effective. Gifted endorsement is highly recommended. Most endorsements are attainable online. Many states require teachers of gifted students to receive continuing education credits in gifted education.

What criteria should be used for evaluating effectiveness of program options & design? Criteria for student products should high-level and exemplary. Student products should be comparable to those of professionals in the field, challenge existing ideas, and produce new ones. Criteria for evaluating a program’s success and effectiveness should rely on standardized, achievement, and performance-based assessments as well as program feedback from all stakeholders – students, teachers and parents. All students, including GT students, should demonstrate academic growth with special care identify areas of strength and weakness in order to modify existing programs to better meet students’ needs.

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 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:

Gifted Program Development

Building an Exemplary Gifted Program

Elements of a Good School Gifted Program

South Carolina – Gifted and Talented Best Practices Guidelines: Identification (pdf)

Gifted Education in America is Finally Moving Past its Legacy of Inequality

Why School Districts Are Rethinking Gifted & Talented Programs

Why Grouping Kids Based on Ability Works

Duke TIP Study Finds Using Local Criteria Identifies More Students as ‘Gifted’

Featured California Schools for Gifted Learners

Top Four Things to Look for in Your Gifted Program

The Best Kind of Schools for Gifted Kids

TAGT: Program Evaluation

Program Evaluation in Gifted Education (Book)

Gifted Education Strategies

Developing Exemplary Gifted Developing Exemplary Gifted Programs: Programs: What does the research say? What does the research say? (pdf)

High-Potential Students Thrive when School Districts Develop Sustainable Gifted Services

Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students 2019 Final (pdf)

UK: What Works in Gifted Education? A Literature Review (pdf)

Is Gifted Education a Bright Idea? Assessing the Impact of Gifted and Talented Programs on Achievement and Behavior (pdf)

What Works in Gifted Education: Documenting the Effects of an Integrated Curricular/Instructional Model for Gifted Students

Gifted Education in China

State of the Nation in Gifted Education 2012 – 2013 (pdf)

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Counseling GT Students through Relationships

Building rapport with gifted students starts with a basic understanding of the term ‘gifted’ without prejudice. Teachers, staff, and admins should consider professional development in the specific area of gifted education. Most gifted students will bristle at any attempt by adults to be disingenuous in their feelings towards them. Building rapport begins with building relationships.

Gifted students are always the benefactors of positive relationships between their teachers and parents; hopefully from the beginning they meet. Too often, negative first impressions are hard to get passed. Positive relationships can make for happy classroom experiences for all involved.

What strategies can teach gifted students in improving their communication and connection with others? Emphasizing that being gifted is about being “better at something, not better than someone” (Delisle) can substantially improve how GT students connect with other students. Teachers can engage gifted students in conversation about gifted characteristics and how asynchronous development affects their relationships with both age-peers and intellectual peers.

Stress management is an often overlooked, but crucial area which GT students need to be counseled in when confronting academic anxiety related to test taking, performance, and competition. GT students face real and perceived pressure from others to achieve and be successful that other students may not experience. This can create higher levels of anxiety. Gifted students can benefit from being taught relaxation techniques such as meditation and positive self-talk; engage in expressive writing; as well as, bibliotherapy and cinematherapy.

When should a gifted student or their family seek counseling outside of school? When stress and anxiety begin to affect a student’s life beyond the classroom, parents may need to seek outside counseling. When warning signs begin to cause concern such as difficulty sleeping, expressing thoughts of despair or even attempts at self-harm; an outside counselor should be considered.

How can teachers balance the need for positive student relationships with the reality and obligations of being an educator? All relationships benefit from boundaries and teacher-student relationships are no different. Most school districts delineate expectations of these relationships. Most educators must work with students who exhibit a wide range of abilities. Providing a positive educational experience for each student is the most primary concern. Relationships should always foster learning. 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 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:

Counseling the Gifted and Talented (book)

Counseling Gifted and Talented Students (Neihart et al., 2002)

Counseling the Gifted

No Child Left Behind: Gifted Children and School Counselors (paywall)

How to Find the Right Counselor for Your Gifted Child

Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Students: What School Counselors Need to Know to Most Effectively Serve This Diverse Student Population

The Whole Gifted Child

The Whole Gifted Child Task Force Report to the Board of Directors (pdf March 2018)

Counseling Gifted and Talented Children: A Guide for Teachers, Counselors, and Parents (Creativity Research) (book)

Happiness Unpacked: Positive Emotions Increase Life Satisfaction by Building Resilience

The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know? (2nd ed.)

Meeting the Guidance and Counseling Needs of Gifted Students in School Settings (pdf)

American School Counselor Association: The Professional School Counselor and Gifted and Talented School Programs (pdf p.25)

Being Gifted in School: An Introduction to Development, Guidance, and Teaching (2nd ed.)

Models of Counseling Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults

Addressing Counseling Needs of Gifted Students

Counseling Gifted Students: School-Based Considerations and Strategies (pdf)

Counselling Practices in Fostering Potentials among Gifted Students

The School Counselor and the Gifted Children Education

Psychological Issues and the Need for Counseling Services among Malaysian Gifted Students

Clinical and Mental Health Issues in Counseling the Gifted Individual (pdf)

Big Fish in Big Ponds: A Multilevel Analysis of Test Anxiety and Achievement in Special Gifted Classes

A Multicultural Competence Model for Counseling Gifted and Talented Children (pdf)

Performance Anxiety in Gifted Students

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (book)

Cybraryman’s Counseling Page

Cybraryman’s Coping Strategies Page

Cybraryman’s Building Relationships with Students and Parents Page

Cybraryman’s Body Language Page

With Hundreds of Students, School Counselors Just Try to ‘Stay Afloat’

Your Guide to Forest Bathing: Experience the Healing Power of Nature (book)

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

Disclaimer: Resources from Prufrock Press include affiliate links.

Photo Courtesy of Heather Vaughn.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Benefits of Bibliotherapy for GT Kids

Bibliotherapy has been around since the early 1800’s and refers to using storytelling to help children cope with challenges they may face. It may either involve reading aloud to children or children reading stories on their own.

Gifted children encounter social as well as emotional challenges which are often ameliorated by reading books – where they can relate to characters like themselves and learn life lessons. Bibliotherapy can be used to address perfectionism, motivation, anxiety; and, in older students, impostor syndrome. It can guide gifted children by helping them navigate difficult life decisions, become more self-aware, develop empathy for others, and learn about moral values.

Bibliotherapy can easily be incorporated in the classroom through ‘story time’ or time designated for individual reading. It should be facilitated and guided by the teacher. Students should feel comfortable enough to share within a welcoming classroom environment. Students learn how to see books as therapeutic. Bibliotherapy at school should incorporate the original basis for this therapy – identify, catharsis, and insight (Shrodes).

What are some benefits of bibliotherapy for GT children of color & low-SES? Multicultural literature engages students who see themselves as characters in the books they read who are facing similar challenges to their own. They see perceived like-interests as a positive. “Mirror books promote … racial pride, self-efficacy, motivation, & coping strategies when faced w/challenges, including negative peer pressures & isolation in predominantly White gifted classes.” (D. ford)

What are some questions parents and teachers can pose after bibliotherapy? First and foremost, parents and teachers can explore with the child who they identified with in the story or book they read. Encourage them to explain why they feel this way about the characters. Questions used in bibliotherapy for gifted children can ask about how the story relates to gifted children and the idea of being ‘gifted’. What text evidence can they find to support its impact on the story? Gifted children should be asked to delineate the book’s message/plot; how characters met and overcame challenges; and do they agree with the author’s conclusions.

Parents can provide their children with a wide variety of books that center on their child’s interests and potential challenges they may face. Frequent trips to the library are a great way to spend quality time with their child. One of the best ways to use bibliotherapy at home is with bedtime stories … a quiet and comforting time between parent and child.

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 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:

Turning Theory into Practice #5 – What can bibliotherapy look like with gifted children?

The Unopened Gifted (slideshow)

Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers (3rd Edition) (book)

I Want to Read About Me: Engaging and Empowering Gifted Black Girls Using Multicultural Literature and Bibliotherapy

Bibliotherapy A Resource to Facilitate Emotional Healing and Growth

A Bibliotherapy Evaluation Tool: Grounding Counselors in the Therapeutic use of Literature (pdf)

Bibliotherapy: Overview and Implications for Counselors (pdf)

Psychological Well-being, Improved Self-confidence, and Social Capacity: Bibliotherapy from a User Perspective

Bibliotherapy: Helping Children Cope with Life’s Challenges

Book Lists for Gifted Learners

Literature and the Gifted in TEMPO (1991)

Top 10 Books for Gifted Children

Comparing the Use of Cinematherapy and Bibliotherapy to Teach Character Education: A Quasi-Experimental Study (pdf 2019)

Incorporating Bibliotherapy Into the Classroom: a Handbook for Educators (pdf)

Bibliotherapy Goldmine: Books on a Variety of Topics

Books for Beginning Bibliotherapy

Kids’ Books – Bibliotherapy (Pinterest)

Bibliotherapy Intervention Exposure and Level of Emotional Awareness among Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (pdf)

The Effectiveness of Creative Bibliotherapy for Internalizing, Externalizing, and Prosocial Behaviors in Children: A Systematic Review

Rick Riordan Presents https://bit.ly/33rr5Sj

NAGC: Bibliotherapy by the Campfire: Meeting the Social and Emotional Needs of Students through Picture Books (Parenting for High Potential June 2019 [membership required])

Photo courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

 

Enrichment Beyond the Classroom

Enrichment is focused on student voice and choice. It is responsive to a student’s individual needs and the availability of services. For GT students, it should increase depth and complexity; include both group and individual options; and advance higher-level thinking. Enrichment is not busy work; more worksheets; extra homework; or games and puzzles unrelated to student interests. It is not unstructured free time; assignments given without instruction or support; or an end in itself disassociated from academic goals.

Enrichment often offers GT students the opportunity to socialize with others. It is important to build social skills while pursuing academic interests with like-minded peers. It is a way to keep GT students engaged in areas of their strengths. For it to succeed, enrichment should be focused and purposeful. It affords GT students ways to boost self-esteem and confidence in their abilities in areas they choose.

Enrichment, whether during the school year or in the summertime, should always take into consideration student choice. It is as simple as asking them how they want to spend their summer. Summer enrichment programs require a commitment on the part of parents as well as their child – both in time and money. Parents need to decide if they can allocate both before making a decision.

Many schools participate in academic competitions, chess clubs, book clubs, and theater productions. STEM activities such as science fairs and robotics competitions can also be incorporated into extracurricular activities.

State gifted organizations often provide a treasure trove of online and local resources to help parents locate enrichment opportunities. Local universities, libraries, and museums can also provide nearby programs to meet the interests of GT students.

Although enrichment may be incorporated into the general curriculum, teachers can also preview and assess opportunities that match student interests outside of chess. Opportunities can include mentoring with scholars and experts online or in the local community, internships at local businesses or universities, and independent studies. 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 1PM NZDT/11 AM 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:

A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Enrichment Programs on Gifted Students (pdf)

Types of Enrichment Activities for Gifted Children

Developing Talents Among High-Potential Students From Low Income Families in an Out-of-School Enrichment Program (pdf)

What is Enrichment?

Six Strategies for Challenging Gifted Learners

Enrichment (pdf)

Acceleration or Enrichment?

Making the Most of Summer School: A Meta-Analytic and Narrative Review

The Learning Season: The Untapped Power of Summer to Advance Student Achievement (pdf)

Searching for Evidence-Based Practice: A Review of the Research on Educational Interventions for Intellectually Gifted Children in the Early Childhood Years

Evaluating Interventions for Young Gifted Children Using Single-Subject Methodology: A Preliminary Study

Psycho-Pedagogical and Educational Aspects of Gifted Students, Starting from the Preschool Age; How Can Their Needs Be Best Met? (pdf)

Why Getting 100% on Everything is Setting Gifted Students Up to Fail

Enrichment vs Extension in the Regular Classroom

Image courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

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