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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.

Mindfulness

 

Mindfulness can mean different things to different people. It means being aware of the here and now; knowing and accepting your own abilities; and being able to respond to stress in a calm and reasoned manner. It is a willingness to be open, to consider the possibilities, and to engage in curiosity without judging (Kabat-Zinn, 2003). Two components of mindfulness are the ability to regulate your attention and to be open, accepting, and curious (Bishop et al., 2004).

How can GT students use mindfulness to cope with stress and anxiety? Mindfulness is the basis for many ancient practices … meditation, prayer … known to reduce stress and anxiety. In the classroom, it can help GT students become more self-aware, attentive, increase a sense of well-being; all things that can aid in reducing stress and anxiety.

Mindfulness can benefit teachers in developing caring and responsive classrooms. The same benefits gained by students can also be beneficial for teachers by alleviating daily stress. Mindfulness helps teachers be more attuned to the needs of students which can result in a more caring and responsive classroom.

What are some strategies for introducing mindfulness in the classroom? An emphasis on social-emotional learning (SEL) is one way to introduce mindfulness into the classroom environment. Classroom sessions dedicated to identifying stressors and ways to counter them can be a way to introduce mindfulness as well. Teachers can incorporate principles of mindfulness by cultivating inter-connectedness within the classroom, introducing movement and breathing techniques, and an appreciation for gratitude on all levels.

Teachers and parents can work together by sharing strategies to be implemented both at school and at home. This collaboration in itself will benefit GT kids. Parents of GT kids, as with all parenting strategies, must remain vigilant and be willing to consider developing sustainable ways to promote mindfulness at home.

Where can one find resources about mindfulness practices? There is an extraordinary number of resources both in print and online regarding mindfulness practices. We have included numerous resources here in this blog post. 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:

Cybraryman’s Mindfulness Page

The Calm Schools Initiative (free app)

ClassDojo – Mindfulness

Listening, Thinking, Being Toward an Ethics of Attunement (Book)

Compassionate Critical Thinking: How Mindfulness, Creativity, Empathy and Socratic Questioning Can Transform Teaching (book)

5 Tips for Successfully Implementing a Mindfulness Program at Your School

Teachers: Use Mindfulness to Help Students’ Academics

Creating a Mindful Classroom Environment

Getting Started with Mindfulness

Using Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practices with Gifted Populations (pdf)

On the Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Children (book – aff link)

Mind Matters Podcast: Episode 13 – Regulating Emotions Through Mindfulness

The Gifted Kids Workbook: Mindfulness Skills to Help Children Reduce Stress, Balance Emotions, and Build Confidence

Mindfulness on the Path of Gifted Development

Gifted Education Communicator: Implementing Mindfulness in the Classroom (Sisk)

ASCD: Mindfulness Resources

Gifted Mindfulness (website)

Planting the Seeds of Mindfulness: Creating the Conditions to Help Gifted Kids (book)

The Role of Mindful Parenting in Individual and Social Decision-Making in Children

What Gifted Kids Want Their Parents to Know

Mindfulness in the Classroom: Mindful Principles for Social and Emotional Learning (book: aff link)

Metacognition, Mindfulness, and Spiritual Well-being in Gifted High School Students (pdf)

MYmind: a Concurrent Group-Based Mindfulness Intervention for Youth with Autism and Their Parents

25 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Children and Teens (+Tips!)

Growing Up Mindful: Essential Practices to Help Children, Teens, and Families Find Balance, Calm, and Resilience (book)

Ohio Dept. of Education: Social and Emotional Learning Standards

APA: Mindfulness Resources

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.

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