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Turning Gifted Education Research into Practice

gtchat 08122015 WCGTC Odense


This week, #gtchat was live via Twitter at the 21st World Conference of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children in Odense, Denmark. In order to accommodate multiple time zones, the chat was held mid-week rather than on Friday. Thanks to Tyler Clark for his assistance.

Our topic was the conference theme “Turning Gifted Education Research into Practice”. Bridging the gap and stereotypes that exist between researchers and practitioners is an important component of this discussion. Andrea from suggested, “Encourage researchers to practice and practitioners to research. Collaborating at GT Education Conferences is a good place to start.”  Tracy Weinberg, Associate Director at TAGT, said, “That is an eternal question. Research from A Nation Deceived & A Nation Empowered shows the gap remains, if a bit improved.” Also, researchers should ensure that the quality and utility of their work is applicable in the classroom.

What responsibility should researchers bear in assuring their research reaches teachers? “Researchers must make their work practical and understandable; administrators must take the role of instructional leader seriously,” continued Tracy Weinberg. Improvements to the ‘paywall’ system need to be looked at and implemented for the benefit of all parties.

How can research be effectively used in the classroom? Educators need to look at current research and be willing to implement in timely manner when applicable. It’s helpful also for teachers to know the needs of their students and use research-based pedagogy throughout their careers. Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources in Australia added, “Educators can incorporate the recommendations from the research into their teaching when appropriate.”  Hilde of Twice Exceptional Dk in Denmark said, “Targeting the right types of classrooms and following up on implemented projects” is another way of using research in the classroom.

Next we discussed what guidelines should be used in determining ‘best practices’ in gifted education. Major gifted organizations such as the NAGC in the U.S. have guidelines available. Guidelines should consider under-served and diverse populations in all cultures; including twice-exceptional kids. Gifted education should be viewed as a continuum of services to address the overall needs of gifted students.

What benefits can accrue for gifted & talented students when research is put into practice? Students as benefactors would include latest research on social-emotional, twice-exceptional and delivery options. Research can highlight both strategies that work and those that do not to support curriculum and program changes.

Finally, we took a look at what areas of gifted education and talent development need further research. It was noted that the definition of the nature of giftedness continues to confound progress on advocacy for gifted education. Also, cooperative research on a global basis could reduce ‘reinvention of the wheel’ syndrome. It was agreed that further research on benefits of ‘challenge’ for gifted students and consequences of not challenging them is needed. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.




Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P 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 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:


World Council for Gifted & Talented Children (website)

21st World Conference of the World Council for Gifted & Talented Children 2015 (website)

Critical Issues & Practices in Gifted Education, 2E: What the Research Says 2nd Ed (Amazon)

Best Practices in Gifted Education: An Evidence-Based Guide (Amazon)

Gifted Education Practices (NAGC)

Handbook of Intelligence: Evolutionary Theory, Historical Perspective & Current Concepts (Amazon)

Research Sheds Light on Identification, Ability Grouping, Acceleration, Curriculum Design in Gifted Education

AERA Research on Giftedness, Creativity & Talent Development

Giftedness and Gifted Education: The Need for a Paradigm Change

State of Research on Giftedness & Gifted Education: A Survey of Empirical Studies (pdf)


Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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

Is Differentiated Instruction a Hollow Promise?


Volumes have been written about differentiating instruction for all learners in the inclusive classroom. It sounds wonderful in theory, but how practical is it to expect one teacher to differentiate a lesson to accommodate up to 6 different grade levels in one classroom? With emphasis placed on bringing up the lowest achievers to proficiency and teachers’ evaluations on the line, who stands most to loose from this approach?

This week’s #gtchat explored the practicality of differentiation. It was not surprising the strong showing of teachers at this chat. Few thought it was a bad idea, but even fewer had seen differentiation actually occur in their schools. There was consensus on a few points – differentiation requires ongoing professional development and ability grouping to work for high ability learners. Otherwise, it is a mere excuse to save the school district money by forgoing its obligations to provide all students with the opportunity to experience annual growth. A full transcript of the chat may be found here.


Is Differentiated Instruction a Hollow Promise?

On Differentiation

Gifted Issues: Davidson Database “Is Differentiated Instruction a Hollow Promise?”

What Research Says About Differentiated Learning

All Together Now Educating High and Low Achievers in the Same Classroom

The Icarus Syndrome: Why Do Some High Flyers Soar While Others Fall?” (pdf)

How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms (Google Books Preview) Carol Ann Tomlinson

The Rationale for Differentiated Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms via @ASCD

Investigating the Impact of Differentiated Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms (pdf)

Palo Alto USD Suspends All Gifted Programing

Educating Gifted Students in Reg Classroom: Efficacy, Attitudes, & Differentiation

of Instruction (pdf)

Gifted Challenges: Eliminate gifted education (?)

The Differentiator from @ByrdseedGifted

Using Bulletin Boards to Differentiate the Classroom Environment 

Cybraryman’s Differentiated Instruction Page

A Case Against Differentiated Instruction” by Ginger Lewman

Integrating Differentiated Instruction & Understanding by Design (Chapter 1) from ASCD

Gifted and Talented Differentiated Instruction Livebinder from Leslie Graves

Differentiation Livebinder from Leslie Graves

Clip art courtesy of Discovery Education.

Becoming a Lifelong Advocate

We started this chat by asking the question, “Who should advocate for gifted children?” and the list seemed limitless. Among those mentioned included parents, grandparents, educators, higher-ed faculty, superintendents, politicians, and policy-makers to name a few. As Corin Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, pointed out, “The thing is, advocating for a population isn’t just an education issue. It’s a humanity issue. Part of being civilized.” And Toby Brown added, “Like most things, we should model advocacy for all those who need support.” Experienced advocates already have a network which includes decision makers at the local, state level & beyond.

Global #gtchat then explored why people should advocate for gifted students beyond their/our own children’s school years? Many great responses were given. “Experienced advocates already have a network which includes decision makers at the local, state level & beyond.” “Lifelong advocates provide continuity in local gifted groups and state organizations.” A full transcript may be found here.

Special thanks for the many links added during chat by @Les Links (Leslie Graves), @cybraryman1 (Jerry Blumengarten) and @GiftedHF (Corin Goodwin).


Story of “Coppell Gifted Association”

Why We Should Advocate for Gifted and Talented Students

Gifted Advocacy from Hoagies Gifted Education Page

Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds (book)

How To Become an Educational Advocate from Hoagies Gifted Education Page

Using Public Relations Strategies to Advocate for Gifted Programming in Your School

Lifelong Advocacy: If Not You, Then Who?

Academic Advocacy for Gifted Children: A Complete Parent’s Guide (book)

International Gifted Advocacy Organisations and Best Practice from Giftedkidsie

Gifted and Talented Advocacy Sites from Cybraryman

“Gifted Advocacy: What Not to Do”

Professionals’ Guild to Gifted and 2e Children

Advocacy and 21st Century Globalness

Self-Advocacy for Gifted Teens

Educational Advocacy for Gifted Students from Davidson Gifted

Profoundly and Exceptionally Gifted Youth: Advocacy

Needed: Parent Advocacy from Duke TIP

Parent Advocates: Creating Opportunities for Gifted Students from Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University 

Education Policy Primer for Homeschooling Families

How to Advocate for an Appropriate Education for Your Gifted Child

Livebinder from Leslie Graves on “Gifted Advocacy”

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