Blog Archives

Individualized Education: Pipedream or Possibility?

Many educators question why a GT student should have an individualized education. When students are optimally challenged – engaging in deep dives that involve appropriate levels of advancement – they learn best. Personal learning impacts a student’s sense of self-esteem, self-awareness, and creates a feeling of competency which in turns benefits society-at-large; both socially and intellectually.

What should be included in an individualized education for a GT student (GIEP)? Fortunately, there are many examples available online that have relied on extensive research-based evidence. GIEPs should reflect the student’s strengths, needs, attainable goals; and include appropriate supports. As with IEPs, a team comprised of all stakeholders should be involved. Support provisions for GT learners are insufficient when they are simply a facsimile of the established strategies, schedules, and structures in place for the neurotypical student. Truly addressing the needs of this population necessitates a rethinking of the 5 Ps: pace, progression, personalization, programming, and purpose. (Churchville)

When considering individualized plans for twice-exceptional students, a good approach is to consider strengths before weaknesses. State plans generally consider combining GIEPs with 504 plans. These student plans need to coordinate teachers and school staff involved with both gifted and special education.

How can parents ensure continuity of services when switching school districts? Document, document, document. It can’t be stressed enough that a paper trail can solve many issues when switching between schools or out of school. Parents usually bear the burden of knowing available services of both the old and new LEAs. They must know the law (state) and their child’s rights. It is sometimes advisable to seek the advice or services of an advocate to navigate through the transition process.

Individualized education plans may not solve all issues encountered by GT students during their school years. When social-emotional challenges persist, it may be time for a change. When students fail to show continued growth during their academic career, looking beyond traditional education options such as blended learning, homeschooling, or even unschooling may be necessary.

The best eTools for individualized learning should promote communication and collaboration. GT students should be encouraged to bring team members on board rather than do all the work themselves. eTools should widen a student’s authentic audience, connect them with intellectual peers and allow for the creation of meaningful products. An individualized education should not be about spending countless hours in front of a screen. It should inherently be based on the student’s interests explorable through flexible learning experiences.

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:

CO: Advanced Learning Program ALP Guidance Worksheet (pdf)

CO: The Systemic Process for Implementing Standards-aligned ALPs (YouTube 41:55)

CO: Painting the Big Picture – Standards-aligned ALPs CAGT Presentation (YouTube 36:27)

CO: Writing Standards-aligned Advanced Learning Plans (ALPs) (pdf)

Gifted Individualized Education Plan Explanation (GIEP)

Gifted Individualized Education Plan Sample (Google DOC)

Simple Annotated Gifted Individualized Education Plan (pdf)

Extended Annotated Gifted Individualized Education Plan (pdf)

When Gifted Kids Move: Tips for Parents and Districts

AZ: Building Bridges with Your School and District (ppt)

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

Cybraryman’s Personalized Learning and Student Agency Page

Sound Advice on Personalized Learning from Six Regional Incubators

Emerging Technologies Supporting Personalized Learning

Using Technology to Personalize Learning

How to Create a Gifted Individualized Education Plan

Gifted Program Development

Pre-K-Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards (pdf)

Collaboration in Personalized Learning

Personalized Learning Guide: A Comprehensive Guide for Educators, Administrators, and Parents

Using Technology to Personalize Learning in K–12 Schools (pdf)

Time for a Refresh: Meet the New Google Classroom

Individualized Academic Pathways in U.S. and International Schools: Rethinking Pace, Progression, Personalization, Programming and Purpose WCGTC 2019 Presentation

Google: Manage Teaching and Learning with Classroom

Microsoft Education

Carnegie Learning MATHia for Students

DreamBox Learning

Khan Academy

TinkerCad

Google Classroom

Scratch

Webquests

Canva

CoreAtlas

Google Arts and Culture

Code.org

Photo courtesy of Pixabay   Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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Leveling the Playing Field: Parent-Teacher Communication

Parents of gifted children can be intense when it comes to their child. These parents have great expectations of the schools and teachers who educate them. Teachers are too often expected to be all things to all children. This can be difficult when they receive so little exposure to gifted education in their undergraduate coursework and PD opportunities.

Gifted education begins at the local level. Parents should know and understand school policies and state guidelines before meeting their child’s teacher. They should be prepared to share insights concerning their child’s documented abilities, perceived needs and specific interests.

How can IEP/504 plans guide the parent-teacher relationship involving GT/2E students? G/IEPs and 504 plans can provide a framework for a productive parent-teacher conference and the basis for an individualized and meaningful education going forward. A well thought out plan can enhance the parent-teacher relationship and ensure the student’s needs are being met when followed. 504 plans can also provide a legal basis for ensuring that the needs of twice-exceptional students are being met. Templates for GIEP and 504 plans are available online if your school/state doesn’t currently use them.

What strategies can teachers use to increase positive engagement with parents? Teachers can take the time to seek professional development concerning gifted education and endorsements when working in a full-time gifted classroom. Positive engagement begins with good communication efforts. It’s important to take the time to get to know the student and appreciate their unique situation.

Parents of elementary students are generally seen as the most intense. Parents and teachers can see this as a learning experience; how to best meet the needs of the child. Although the ability to self-advocate is highly regarded in the gifted community, parents need to continue to nurture positive relationships with their child’s teachers even at the secondary level.

Keeping an open line of communication is the best defense against a contentious relationship. This can involve electronic communications (email, apps) as well as a simple written note or phone call. Without positive communication, it is the student who will suffer. It takes time and determination to build an effective relationship between parents and teachers.

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:

2019 – 2nd Annual Survey of US Primary School Teachers & Parents The State of Parent Engagement Because When Parents are Partners, Kids Do Better, Parents are Happier, & Teachers’ Job Is Easier

Report: Teachers Have Difficulty Engaging Families

Questions to Ask at Parent Teacher Conferences

Tips for Your Gifted Kid’s Parent-Teacher Conference

Talking With Your Gifted Child’s Teacher

15 Tips for Leading Productive Parent-Teacher Conferences

Communicating Effectively with Your Gifted Child’s School

Improving GT Parent-Teacher Communications

Effect of Students’ Behavioral Characteristics on Teachers’ Referral Decisions in Gifted Education (pdf)

Parents and Teachers: Finding Common Ground

The Teacher-Parent Connection: Tips for Working with the Parents of a Gifted Student

Six tips for communicating with your gifted child’s teacher

8 Sentence Starters to Use When Talking to Teachers

Tips for Parents: Forging Partnerships with Teachers, and Why They Often Don’t Work!

A Gifted Ed teacher’s Secrets to Success

Gifted Parenting Support: Teachers Partnering with Parents

Working with Parents to Improve High Ability Students’ Education

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

The Survival Guide for Teachers of Gifted Kids (Amazon)

Parents of the Gifted Guide to Teachers/Teacher’s Guide to Parents of the Gifted (RFWP)

How to make parent-teacher conferences worthwhile and productive

The Positive Potential of Parent-Teacher Conferences

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah Mythbuster

How to Talk to Your Child’s Teacher (or Coach, or Mentor) without Setting the School on Fire (Advice for Parents of Gifted Kids)

NAGC: Classroom Advocacy (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes 9: One Size Shoe Cover System

Photo courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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

 

Empathy and the GT Child

 

Empathy is an expression of emotional well-being which speaks to the social-emotional needs of gifted children. The definition of empathy has evolved over centuries from ‘feeling another’s emotions’ to being viewed as a ‘complex construct’. In “The Caring Child”, Christine shares 4 distinct processes – emotional sharing, emotional mimicry, mental imagining of another’s emotions and differentiating self and others.

Who is iGen and how do they differ from previous generations? The ‘iGen’ is the generation after Millennials – kids who began graduating from high school in 2013. They are the first ones to grow up with Smartphones. They are more vulnerable; isolated and lacking in social skills; and vastly unprepared for the responsibilities of adulthood. The iGen is super connected but unable to engage in ‘irl’ (in real life) experiences. It is the premise for a real-life dystopian future.

For gifted children, the very early years provide an opportunity to nurture empathy by teaching mindfulness and developing an ‘emotional vocabulary’. Young gifted children can be encouraged to become self-aware with an understanding of how they ‘fit’ in the world through stories and play experiences with others. They should have opportunities to express kindness in social settings as reflected in the actions of adults around them.

Empathy is a social skill that is developed through human interaction. When young gifted children experience positive relationships based on their ability to express empathy, their ability to face adversity, trauma, and pain (aka resilience) is enhanced.

The educational needs of iGen have radically changed the way schools look at how to teach this generation. Past pedagogical approaches do not suffice today. Teachers (educators, parents, adults) must be flexible, responsive to student voice, and be willing to embed SEL (social-emotional learning) into the curriculum. Education for the iGen needs to be individualized and involve the measured use of technology that empowers learning.

What are some strategies parents can use to build social-emotional learning skills? In ‘The Caring Child’, Christine delineates social-emotional learning skills as cognitive, social/relational, emotional, character and mindsets. Building social-emotional learning skills involve simple strategies sometimes overlooked by parents of gifted children as being ‘too simple’. Cognitive skills can be built through the use of puzzles, language-based games, or word searches. Bibliotherapy and cinematherapy help develop emotional skills. Role playing/improv improve social skills. 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:

The Caring Child: Raising Empathetic and Emotionally Intelligent Children (Prufrock)

Teaching Empathy and Embracing Intensity

15 Ways to Help Kids Develop Empathy

The Neuroscience of Empathy, Compassion, and Self-Compassion (Amazon)

iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy & Completely Unprepared for Adulthood & What That Means for the Rest of Us (Amazon)

The Social Neuroscience of Empathy (pdf)

Empathy and Compassion

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings (Prufrock)

I’m Not Just Gifted: Social-Emotional Curriculum for Guiding Gifted Children (Prufrock)

The Neural Pathways, Development and Functions of Empathy (pdf)

Developing Compassionate Empathy in Gifted Children

“I feel your pain”: Empathy and the Gifted Child (.docx)

Teaching Empathy: Strategies for Building Emotional Intelligence in Today’s Students (Prufrock October 2019)

Try Something New With Your Kids: Focus on the 3 C’s

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 36: Empathy with Intensity – Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children

Cybraryman’s SEL Pages and More

Cybraryman’s Empathy Page

Disclaimer: Some resources include affiliate links.

Image courtesy of Dreamstime (Free photo 85156667 ©creativecommonsstockphotos (CC0))

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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