Blog Archives

Creating Learning Environments that Invite Play

gtchat 05022017 Play

Play-based learning is how children learn about the world and develop life skills through play and gifted children are no different in their need for play. Children develop cognitive and social skills by playing with other children; both age-mates and intellectual peers. Play helps children mature emotionally and gain the self-confidence to try new experiences. Gifted children may experience asynchronous development and productive play can help ease transitions in many cases.

Play is essential to developing imagination, creativity, dexterity, and physical strength. It is important for healthy brain and neurological development and  allows children to express feelings about their life. Play during early childhood engages a child to interact with their environment. Adults who interact with gifted children know how important play is to their development.

Not all play is created equal; children can play alone, play along-side others without interaction, or play by imitating another playmate. As children begin to play with others, they start to engage and learn cooperation and collaboration. Gifted children should be given the freedom to choose which type of play they are most comfortable with; even when it may be to have alone time.

A rich play environment for children will incorporate choices; what, when and where to play. It will provide opportunities for kids to invent and extend their own play. Rich play environments incorporates varied places to play; inside or outside, local or away. The experiences do not need to be costly choices. Many times a trip to a park or hiking trail will provide an enriching experience for a curious mind.

Teachers can direct play be providing resources for play; such as art materials, legos, or ipads. Elementary teachers often create various ‘stations’ from which children can choose activities; like Daily 5. Teachers can offer students mentoring opportunities when appropriate to the activity.

Can the idea of ‘play’ have relevance at the secondary level? Although it may not be thought of as ‘play’ per se; secondary students need time to follow their passions. They often complain about the strict regimen of high school; they need to experience periods of choice. Adulthood is about choices; high school students need to experience how to make and accept consequences of their choices.

Gifted children thrive when allowed to create their own learning experiences and these often begin as play. Many of our greatest success stories begin through the simple act of playing. The transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

 

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/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 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:

Play Hints at Who We Are

Play and Children’s Learning in the Classroom

The Role of Play in Learning

What is the Teacher’s Role in Supporting Play in Early Childhood Classrooms?

Learning and Developing through Play (pdf)

The Cognitive Benefits of Play: Effects on the Learning Brain

Einstein Never Used Flashcards How Children Learn & Why They Need to Play More/ Memorize Less (Amazon)

Play in Education: The Role and Importance of Creative Learning 

Learning through Play

Balancing Child-Directed and Teacher-Directed Approaches

Why Kids Need to Play J

Different Types of Play

The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development

How to Enhance Intuitive Science Knowledge in Infants and Toddlers (Amazon)

AUS: Play Based Learning (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: Gifted @ Play: Calculate Your Leisure Profile

Jake Labazzi Playing Anthropology (YouTube 4:35)

How to Recognize, Support and Teach Musically Gifted Kids

Joey Alexander – Giant Steps (In-Studio Performance) (YouTube 10:36)

Batik’s Brain Pickings: Why I am Using PBL to Design Professional Development (Knows and Need to Knows List)

LEGO® and the Gifted Visual-Spatial Child

Learning to Play at Nerd Camp

Ditch the Worksheets, Become a Picasso, a Kindergartener, and a Gifted@play! 

Gifted Children Need the Gift of Play

Learning through Play

The Games Our Children Play

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

How Does School Culture Affect Gifted Students?

gtchat 04182017 Culture

A school’s culture – particularly how it views gifted education – can have a profound effect on a gifted student. It is a concern for parents who are looking for an environment where their child will thrive academically as well as socially.

Before choosing a school (if they are fortunate to have a choice), there are a few things parents can do to assess the school’s culture. Of course, they should visit the school to meet with administrators and teachers. They can ask questions about gifted programming K-12 and school policy on identification of gifted students. Parents should try to attend after-school activities, athletic events, and parent group meetings to talk to other parents. Also, don’t forget to visit the school’s website and social media sites.

School culture most often reflects the values and interests of the community in which it is located. Rural, suburban and urban areas may exhibit different cultures while being in the same part of the country. A school’s location may benefit from nearby colleges and universities – opportunities for gifted students.

What affect does teacher’ attitude toward gifted programs have on a school’s culture? Gifted students are often highly perceptive of other’s attitudes – this can affect their self-esteem. An atmosphere where gifted programs aren’t valued can diminish gifted programs.

Conversely, gifted students can have a positive effect on school culture. Gifted students can model excellence in learning; exhibiting the benefits of academic success. They often serve in leadership roles in school groups/clubs/competitive academic challenges.

Socio-economic factors can have a major effect on a school’s culture and how its gifted programs are crafted. The effects of low-ses factors must be recognized and all should strive for equitable identification.

School culture can have a significant impact on a student’s mental health. Parents should be on the lookout if a school’s culture is having a negative impact on their student. Gifted students can slip under the radar; become underachievers;  or even drop out. It is important to be vigilant when considering a school’s culture. A transcript of the chat may be found at Storify.

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/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 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:

Using Student Feedback to Improve School Culture

How A Happy School Can Help Students Succeed

Get the Culture Right: The Most Important New School Factor

What Do Students Say About School Culture

Why Good Schools Are Happy Places

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

Building a School Culture of High Standards

Teacher Perspectives Regarding Gifted Diverse Students (pdf)

AUS: Teachers’ Attitudes towards Gifted: Importance of Professional Development & School Culture (pdf)

CO Dept. of Ed: Gifted Students Implementation Recommendations & Key Messages

Serving Montana’s High Ability/High Potential Students Planning Guide & Strategies (pdf)

Germany: Giving the Gifted a Chance to Flourish

5 Reasons Gifted Students Decide to Leave School

Gifted and talented kids: How do you nurture a curious mind? 

Introverts tend to be better CEOs — and other surprising traits of top-performing executives

Jo Freitag: Personas, Profiles and Portraits The Country Kids

The Search for Shangri-La: Finding the Appropriate Educational Environment for Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Children, A Parent’s Guide by Mike Postma, Executive Director, SENG

Introverts tend to be better CEOs — and other surprising traits of top-performing executives

Gifted and talented kids: How do you nurture a curious mind?

SENG’s 34th Annual Conference

Photo courtesy of Pixabay   CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Extending Student Voice to Gifted Students

gtchat-02142017-student-voice

Accepting input from students concerning their education has become an important part of moving education forward today. Student voice isn’t necessarily spontaneous, and may need to be nurtured in students. It can be nurtured by creating positive student-teacher relationships. Student voice ‘doesn’t need adults to agree with it, incite it, define it, or appreciate it’. (Soundout.org) Student voice acknowledges and values what students are saying. It can empower students to become engaged in their learning and life.

“Student voice is empowering students to take charge of their education. It is powerful self-reflection. It motivates learning.” ~ CW Gifted Teacher

The role played by ‘respect’ when implementing student voice can’t be underestimated. When teachers listen to students, they show that what the student says is important; it shows respect. Respect is, however, a two-way street and student voice encourages all parties to listen and to value each other.

“Students need to know that what they have to say doesn’t need to be moderated or edited. Acknowledge their voice and respect by letting it go out into the wild without moderating or criticizing.” ~ Kimberley Moran, Education Writer and GT Teacher

In what way can student voice be promoted and improved in the classroom and schools? It can be promoted by taking time to welcome feedback through surveys and  by allowing students a say in classroom routines which can encourage them to provide their voice in class. Schools can improve the richness of student voice by actively responding to student concerns and suggestions.

Each student is unique and their ability, once identified, can play a significant role in how they express themselves. Higher-order thinking and deeper understanding of their environment can enhance a gifted student’s voice.

Yet, the question remains; how much voice should gifted students have in their educational options? Gifted students often have more options to consider and their voice plays an implicit and necessary role. It may not be about how much, but rather enough voice that they understand their investment in the process.

Student voice is a valuable concept in education today and must be acknowledged by teachers and administrators. It can reap rewards both in the classroom and for the student’s personal development. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

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:

Sound Out

Activating Student Voice Empowers Learning (pdf)

Student-Centered Learning with a Learning Platform (pdf)

School Voice Report 2016 (pdf)

Successful Education Requires a Stronger Student Voice

Three Ways Student Voice Can Elevate Motivation and Engagement

Motivation, Engagement & Student Voice (pdf)

Motivation, Engagement & Student Voice Toolkit (pdf)

A Model for Student Voice

How to Use Student Voice to Improve Engagement

Student Engagement and Vision

Student Gets ‘Seat at the Table’ on School’s Decision-Making Council 

Do You Know Me? The Voice of a Disgruntled Student in a Boring Class

Student Voice: Inspiring and Empowering Students to Take Charge of their Education 

Cybraryman’s Student Voice Page

Cybraryman’s What Students Want Page

Photo courtesy of Pixabay   CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Parents and Teachers: Finding Common Ground

gtchat 08092016 Parent Teacher

 

This week, we were joined at #gtchat by 3 educators of gifted children; Angie French, Heather Cachat, and Jeff Shoemaker. Angie is a GT Specialist for K-4 in Houston, Texas. Heather is a Gifted Intervention Specialist for 5/6 in Ohio and a SENG Model Parent Group Facilitator. Jeff is a Gifted Intervention Specialist for grades 5-8 in Lima, Ohio and OAGC Teacher Division Chair Elect. Heather and Jeff are Co-Moderators of #ohiogtchat on Sundays.

It’s no secret that parent-teacher relationships can often be strained; but even more so with parents of gifted children. As students begin to return to school, we took a look at ways to improve the relationship in a non-confrontational setting exploring ways to help all parties to work together for their children and students.

It was pointed out by the moderator that most teachers do not have a strong knowledge-base on which to draw about needs of gifted children. However, parents often don’t realize the restrictions and responsibilities placed on teachers today by their school administrations. This lack of knowledge can lead to misunderstandings. In addition, Jeff commented about the reluctance of teachers to acknowledge that parents usually know their child best. Friction can also be the result of competing goals and different perspectives of what is best for the child.

There are strategies which teachers can use to increase positive engagement with parents. Teachers need to renew their communication toolboxes each new school year; not rely on antiquated tools. They can seek out professional development regarding gifted education not provided at the undergraduate level. Heather suggested that teachers, “Validate their concerns. Parents need to know that teachers sincerely take them seriously.” Corin Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, said, “Listening. Putting aside assumptions. Not dismissing parents – especially moms – like they’re all crazies or helicopter parents.Work on problem solving *together* as allies instead of antagonists.”

Parents can also work to forge a productive relationship with their child’s teacher. Heather told us, “Acknowledge the work teachers are doing with your child. Don’t talk yourself out of reaching out to your child’s teacher.” Jeremy Bond, a parent in CT, said, “Establish from the outset how you want to communicate and what you hope to learn about their classroom.” It can be beneficial to provide teachers with an information portfolio of the child’s behaviors (academic/social/emotional) outside of school.

The parent-teacher relationship can affect student achievement. Kids, especially gifted kids, are highly cognizant of parent-teacher relationships. Adults need to be aware of emotional repercussions that may result due to their actions and work to prevent any negative reactions. Mutual respect by all parties can enhance and propel student achievement.

Can technology bridge the parent-teacher communication gap? New technologies can only help when everyone understands how to use the tools available. Not every new piece of technology is right in every situation. Be aware of cultural concerns and the availability of whatever tech is chosen. (See ‘suggestions’ in the links below.)

Clearly, good parent-teacher relationships will have a positive effect on a child’s educational experience. All parties must be committed to continually improving this relationship. When a parent or teacher does not believe this is occurring, they should take steps to seek assistance. This may include working with school administrators, counselors, or outside advocates. The most important thing is to keep the best interests of the student in the forefront of all discussions. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

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:

Parent-Teacher Conference Worksheet (download)

What Can Be Done To Improve Parent-Teacher Communication?

New Teachers: Working With Parents

Gifted 101 for Teachers New to Gifted Students

Parent Workshop: Productive Partnerships with your Child’s Teacher (YouTube 31:00)

Parent Workshop: Productive Partnerships with your Child’s Teacher (Handout – pdf)

Why Don’t Teachers and Parents See Eye to Eye about Gifted Children?

5 Strategies for Building Effective Parent-Teacher Partnerships … From a Parent’s Perspective

Six Tips for Communicating with Your Gifted Child’s Teacher

Back to School Blues: Why Gifted Teens Dread Returning to School

How Parents & Teachers Can Work Together For Powerful Learning OutcomesHow Parents & Teachers Can Work Together For Powerful Learning Outcomes

5 Keys to Forging Strong Parent Engagement

Districts Work to Bolster Parent Involvement

Harvard Family Research Proj: Parent–Teacher Conf Tip Sheets for Principals, Teachers & Parents (pdf)

How to Turn Parents into Partners

It’s Time to Revamp Parent-Teacher Conference: Include the Child! (pdf)

Talking Points: Talking with Teachers about Your Gifted Child (pdf)

Choosing a Parent-Teacher Communication App

Gifted Son Being Punished by Teacher

Influence of Student–Teacher and Parent–Teacher Relationships on Lower Achieving Readers’ Engagement and Achievement in the Primary Grades

Periscope: 5 Tips for Working with Parents with Lisa Dabbs

Cybraryman’s Parents and Teachers Page

Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn’t Fit Your Atypical Child (Perspectives in Gifted Homeschooling) (Amazon)

Overcoming the Barriers to Effective Teacher-Parent Partnership (audio 11:07)

Overcoming the Biggest Barriers to Effective Parent Teacher Relationships

9 Tips for Successful Parent-Teacher Communication in the Digital Age

Communication Apps (availability; not recommendations):

Remind App

ClassDojo

Periscope

Canvas

Bloomz

Class Messenger

Picture courtesy of Pixabay.   CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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