Blog Archives

Supporting Academic Rigor in the Classroom

Academic rigor defines the lesson as something more than just the curriculum or its content. An academically rigorous lesson challenges students with depth and complexity. It explores and constructs new knowledge. It motivates students to think outside the box; to push the boundaries of their thinking. Academic rigor begins with a teacher who has high expectations for their students and creates an array of engaging activities.

Why does it matter whether students are engaged in rigorous learning? Engaging the brain in rigorous learning is simply a matter of neuroplasticity. When students are challenged, their brains are building new neural connections. By demanding higher-level thinking, we increase the potential for more creative problem-solving, better executive function, deeper reflection, and intellectual growth. Failure to provide academic rigor for GT students can severely limit potential individual growth. These students can easily become bored with school and in worse case scenarios, lose motivation and drop out altogether.

There are a myriad of reasons why school districts may not offer more rigorous courses beginning with the lack of teachers certified to teach the classes. Unfortunately, in some areas there is a mindset among school boards and parents that more rigorous classes are not necessary. There is also a misperception that if coursework is too rigorous, it will affect students’ test scores. For a school with a majority of its students working well-below grade level, will more rigor result in more failure and increase retention rates?

Can refining differentiation, AP classes, or dual-enrollment provide the necessary degree of rigor needed by GT students? Simply labeling options as rigorous does not ensure that they are in fact rigorous. An AP class which teaches to the test may offer little rigor for GT students. Dual-enrollment classes through local community colleges may not provide rigor beyond an advanced high school course. Classes in which teachers must differentiate instruction and curriculum for a wide array of ability levels may not be adequately differentiated for high-ability students.

Strategies to cultivate a climate with academic rigor include requesting students to explain their problem-solving thought processes; pre-test to determine student knowledge; eliminate repetition; Socratic seminars; and expect advance vocabulary. Rigorous classroom should be student-centered; use authentic assessments; connect learning to real-life context; emphasize critical thinking; provide for student choice and learning opportunities based on ideas; and cultivate curiosity. Teachers can increase rigor by teaching cognitive and metacognitive skills; organize their curriculum to look at big ideas and concepts; and provide exposure to events outside the classroom.

How do teachers get students to a place where they are engaged, but not overstretched? There needs to be a point of equilibrium when it comes to rigor in the classroom. Pushing a student too far beyond their capabilities for an extended period of time may cause the student to lose motivation. Students should be exposed to tough problems – those not easily solved – on a regular basis but with teach directed strategies which keep students engaged and willing to persist in finding solutions.

A transcript of this chat can be found at our Wakelet page.

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/11AM AEDT/1AM 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.

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:

Searching for Rigor – Identifying Practices of Effective High Schools (pdf) | The National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools

School Leadership Strategies for Classroom Rigor (pdf) | Eye on Education

Academic Rigor: You’re Doing It Wrong and Here’s Why | The Edvocate

Teaching for Rigor: A Call for a Critical Instructional Shift (pdf) | Learning Sciences Marzano Center

Rigor and Assessment in the Classroom (pdf) | Instructional Leader Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association

Teachers’ Perspectives and Development of Academic Rigor: An Action Research Study (pdf) | Dissertation University of Bridgeport

Understanding and Reporting on Academic Rigor (pdf) | The Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media Columbia University

Teachable Moments and Academic Rigor: A Mini-Unit | Edutopia

The Relationship Between Project-Based Learning and Rigor in STEM-Focused High Schools (pdf) | The Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning

Gifted Children Often Don’t get the Challenge They Need | Vanderbilt Peabody College

What is Academic Rigor and What Do We Do with It? |

Rigor for Gifted Learners: Modifying Curriculum With Intellectual Integrity (book – Kilgore)

Gifted Guild’s Guide to Depth and Complexity: Finding Your Way Through the Framework (book)

Slow Down and Ask the Right Questions: Building Depth and Complexity into Pre-AP and AP Classrooms | TAGT OnDemand

Promoting Rigor Through Higher Level Questioning: Practical Strategies for Developing Students’ Critical Thinking (book)

How to Increase the Rigor in Online Assignments for Gifted Learners | Broward Schools

Academic Rigor in the Middle School

Keep Remote Learning Robust and Rigorous

Rigor, Relevance and Relationships

Explaining Academic Rigor — and Why You Want It for Your Child

Cybraryman’s Rigor Page

Gifted Children Need Rigorous Assignments…Not More Work

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Managing Behavioral Issues in Gifted Youth

How society views the nonconforming behavior of many gifted children has often been detrimental to the well-being and self-perception as a gifted child. It perpetuates the myth that these children are misfits and need to be fixed or reigned in somehow. It can’t be underscored enough that responsible adults in a GT child’s sphere of influence must advocate on their behalf. Societal pressures can have long-lasting, negative effects on their behavior. By failing to understand the underpinnings of a gifted child’s behavior, society places undue expectations and negative consequences for those deemed too different, too sensitive, too perfectionistic.

A misdiagnosis of a gifted child can lead to profoundly inappropriate responses to behaviors they are displaying. Although there are children who are twice-exceptional, many gifted behaviors may be misdiagnosed as a comorbid disorder; but aren’t. Misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate educational placements, unnecessary medical interventions, and reactionary parenting due to misunderstood behaviors. It is extremely important that parents and educators rely on the services of professionals experienced in dealing with gifted individuals when seeking help in diagnosing behaviors of gifted children.

Asynchronous development is manifested in gifted children by high intellectual ability, but maturity levels closer to age-peers. Adults who don’t understand the distinction often misread behaviors and respond with punitive consequences. It can be an overlooked indication of giftedness. An angry or defiant child may just be feeling misunderstood. A bored child may be seen as not paying attention. A bossy child may be trying to express advanced knowledge. It’s important for parents to constantly remind themselves that gifted kids are still kids who need guidance and nurturing. When confronted with real-life fears and trauma, they need emotional support just like any other kid.

What unique behavioral challenges do twice-exceptional children face? Our twice-exceptional population is one of the least recognized in education today. Little attention is paid to this group of students in teacher prep programs or professional development. This can lead to inappropriate placement as well as interventions. Twice-exceptional students – #2ekids – are far too often recommended for special education services when gifted classes would benefit them so much more. Their behaviors can be exacerbated by failing to recognize their intellectual abilities. They do exhibit challenging behaviors, but it’s the responsibility of adults to find appropriate ways to manage these behaviors. Accommodating their strengths before remediating weaknesses is an important first step.

What strategies can be used in the classroom to promote positive behaviors in GT students? The late Barbara Clark (Growing Up Gifted) suggested GT kids be placed with intellectual peers and teachers who enjoyed teaching them; be exposed to a challenging, deep and complex curriculum; and given guidance to understand the nature of giftedness. Managing classroom behaviors of gifted students begins with acknowledging they will become bored and need differentiated and challenging curricular activities. If they challenge your authority, don’t take it personally; be understanding. Providing ample opportunities for student choice and voice in the classroom can reduce misbehavior and increase engagement.

What preventative strategies can parents use to reduce negative behaviors at home? Building a relationship based on honesty, respect for their opinions, and spending quality time together is way to reduce negative behaviors at home. Offer choices, rather than demands. Provide intellectually stimulating activities. Parents should teach their gifted child strategies for controlling their emotions, such as, mindfulness. It’s also important to teach respect for others’ perspectives which will benefit them throughout their lives.

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/10AM AEST/1AM 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.

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@gtchatmod

Resources:

How to Discipline your Gifted Child | Dr. Gail Post

Tips for Parents: Managing Frustration and Difficult Feelings in Gifted Children | Davidson Gifted

Classroom Management for Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Students Using Functional Behavior Assessment: A Step-by-Step Professional Learning Program for Teachers (book)

Behaviour, Emotions, Social Development: Gifted and Talented Children

Emotional and Behavioral Characteristics of Gifted Children and Their Families

Psychological Misdiagnosis of Gifted and Talented Children

Implementing Successful Behavioral Interventions with Gifted Students

Giftedness & ADHD: A Strengths-Based Perspective and Approach https://bit.ly/3ExhyMi

Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children (Webb) | SENG

Gifted Children and Behavioral Problems

Gifted Students Need a Personalized Approach to Education

7 Ways to Help Your Strong-Willed Gifted Child Thrive

Unlocking the Potential of Gifted Kids with ADHD | ADDitude Magazine

How to Recognize a Gifted Child’s Behavior Problems

Four Ways To Reduce Behavior Problems | Byrdseed

Giftedness in Young Children: What Do Parents and Teachers Know? (pdf)

Lessons From Psychotherapy That Inform Counseling Gifted Students: What We Know and Future Opportunities (pdf) | Florida State University

Tall Tales: When your Gifted Child Lies to You | Dr. Gail Post

Disciplining Smart Kids

How to Not Argue With Your Gifted Child

Mislabeled Behavior and Giftedness

Life with a Challenging Child: What to do When your Gifted but Difficult Child is Driving you Crazy | SENG

Today’s Disruptors can be Tomorrow’s Innovators | thinkLawUS

Disciplining Gifted Children

Discipline and the Gifted Child

Image courtesy of Pixabay   Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Gifted Education Specialists and Coordinators’ Role in Remote and Hybrid Learning

Many, if not most, school districts will rely on some type of remote (during COVID outbreaks) or hybrid learning in the coming school year. Gifted education needs to be integrated into any programs offered to GT students. Gifted education specialists and coordinators will be key to advocating for and implementing any program offered during the ongoing pandemic. Less than a generation ago, it would have been unconceivable and mostly unwanted to provide gifted education either remotely or in a hybrid situation. The past 18 months have changed many attitudes to the possibilities it may offer.

Disruption in all areas of education has entered its third year, and early resolutions for identifying GT students for services may no longer apply. Simply delaying the process cannot be the answer. The need for professional development in the area of gifted education has taken on new urgency. Traditional sources for identifying GT students have been put on hold, and concerns about teacher bias have been raised. Gifted education specialists and coordinators can consider identification based on rolling admissions rather than as the result of collection of data at one point in time. Assessments should occur as time becomes available throughout the school year.

Online learning existed long before the pandemic to provide enrichment & accelerated opportunities as well as to meet the needs of rural gifted students. Research-based procedures can be applied to today’s hybrid and remote learning situations. Remote and hybrid learning provide an opportunity for faculty and staff to expand collaboration, reimagine co-teaching, and to extend professional learning to include gifted education. In schools with limited gifted education faculty, involvement with students may need to include coordinators who previously only interacted with staff. Specialists can support classroom teachers to develop differentiated instruction.

What can gifted education specialists do to create authentic independent learning experiences for GT students during remote learning? Authentic learning experiences begin with removing barriers that prevent GT students from realizing their goals. Internet access, culturally responsive teaching, and promoting student voice and choice are important factors. Specialists and coordinators can work closely with classroom teachers to provide opportunities for students to connect with faculty, experts in their areas of interest, and intellectual peers. Online tools can be utilized to provide authentic audiences, capture student voice, and facilitate peer interactions both locally and globally.

Providing online professional learning has become paramount in the era of COVID19. Most PD and educational conferences moved quickly to online platforms. In many ways, it increased the availability of high-quality PD to a wider audience. Gifted education coordinators now have an opportunity to share instructional strategies, guidance on the SEL needs of gifted students, and to increase staff capacity of who are knowledgeable about gifted education in a virtual environment. GT coordinators can facilitate growth through such means as a “systematic, job-embedded book study process that includes the elements of study, select, implement, analyze, & adjust (Fugate & Bower 2019)”.

How can gifted education specialists and coordinators support families during remote learning? Gifted education specialists and coordinators can communicate with families to help them balance the demands uniquely associated with the pandemic – working from home or even job loss, home-schooling, and trauma. They may need to facilitate extraordinary opportunities for GT learners such as flipped learning for students who have added family responsibilities (i.e., caring for younger siblings) during the normal school day.

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/10AM AEST/1AM 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.

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@gtchatmod

Resources:

Resources for Educators and Parents during COVID-19 | NAGC

Teaching Online: Best Practices, Technology & Tools | NAGC

AIG Remote Learning Resources | North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

NC’s Guidance on Adapting AIG Programming to Remote Learning (pdf)

NCAGT Support for Families of Gifted Students (pdf)

Coping With the Stress of COVID-19: Tips for Families with Gifted Children (YouTube 9:13) | The Amend Group

Virtual Instruction for Gifted Students | NAGC

Profoundly Gifted Students’ Perceptions of Virtual Classrooms | Gifted Child Quarterly

Impact of Internet Connection on Gifted Students’ Perceptions of Course Quality at an Online High School (pdf) | Dissertation Boise State University (2020)

The Perceived Appeal, Challenge, and Learning Choice for Gifted and Talented Students in Advanced Placement Mathematics Courses | Dissertation Pepperdine University (2019)

Analysis of User Satisfaction with Online Education Platforms in China during the COVID-19 Pandemic | Healthcare 2020

Reopening Schools after the COVID-19 Lockdown | Journal of Global Health

Learning at Home Resources: Ideas for Teachers and Parents | Lisa Van Gemert

I Hadn’t Thought About It Like That: Finding the Silver Linings in Today’s Situation | TAGT

Gifted Enrichment Online Resources | Kentucky Association for Gifted Education

6 Steps to Prepare for Blended Virtual Learning | Lisa Van Gemert

How to Make Distance Learning Engaging | Lisa Van Gemert

Learning at Home Resources: Ideas for Teachers and Parents | Lisa Van Gemert

Adjusting Identification Services for the 2020-2021 School Year in the Time of COVID | NAGC

Nothing Can Stop Me | Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted

COVID-19 Resources for Parents | Programs for Talented Youth Vanderbilt University

Just in Time – 20 Terrific Free Content Resources | Briand Housand

AP Classroom User Guide for Administrators and Coordinators

Professional Learning | College Board AP Central

Thoughts on Parenting Differently Wired Kids through a Pandemic (Audio 14:22) | Tilt Parenting

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Perspectives on Giftedness

For decades, educators, academics, professionals in the field, parents and even those identified as gifted have tried to define the term ‘gifted’ with few reaching consensus. Today’s chat will explore different perspectives about giftedness. The terms educationally and psychologically gifted are terms used by some to distinguish between individuals with different needs in school. Other terms frequently used include high achievers or profoundly gifted. 2Es or twice exceptional students are labeled ‘gifted’, but also experience learning challenges. It’s important to consider a student’s strengths and address those before deficits.

What does it mean to be ‘more’ regarding gifted children and why does it matter? When the idea of ‘more’ is introduced in discussing gifted children, concerns about behavior are generally the issue. The source or reason for intense behaviors is debatable in academic circles, but rarely for parents. It is important to recognize and address out of the ordinary behaviors of a child who is identified as gifted to ensure their well-being as well as their ability to achieve academically and gain important social skills to be successful in life. In recent years, the importance of SEL or social-emotional learning has gained recognition among educators and parents. For GT kids, the assumption was that they would be fine on their own. This is no longer the case.

What challenges do twice-exceptional students face at school and in life? Initially, recognition of the existence of twice-exceptional students is paramount to providing appropriate educational opportunities. Failure to do so can result in students receiving only remedial services. Twice-exceptional students are often misunderstood both in school and by society at large. Challenging behaviors or academic deficits can result in students being misplaced in special education rather than placement in gifted programs. Inappropriate placement in school can lead to life-long consequences for twice-exceptional students whose most urgent needs are never met. It can have disastrous effects on life and career outcomes.

Pathologizing a gifted child’s behavior – labeling normal behavior as abnormal – is like trying to fix a problem which does not exist. Interventions, inappropriate treatments and even drug therapy can do more harm than good. For parents, in particular, it is extremely important to engage with professionals who have qualified experience working with gifted children. Pathologizing gifted behaviors may result in misdiagnosis which can lead to unmet needs or even more serious problems for their child.

Parents may wonder if they should tell their child they have been identified as gifted. However, its important to explain giftedness before they learn about it from unqualified sources or form their own opinions based on misinformation. Gifted children need to understand that they are more than a label assigned to them in order to receive services at school. That understanding involves realizing they are not better than, but rather better at. Understanding the nature of giftedness will help a gifted child to realize it’s okay to make mistakes or even fail at times; it’s not an excuse for poor behavior; and they may view the world around them differently than their age peers.

What does giftedness look like in adulthood? Gifted adults may or may not recognize their own giftedness based on their individual life experiences. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to only view eminent or high achieving adults as ever being gifted. Psychologists’ offices are filled with gifted adults experiencing anxiety, intense emotions, perfectionism, an acute sense of loneliness due to an inability to connect with others, existential depression, and so much ‘more’.

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/10AM AEST/1AM 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.

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 Columbus Group Conference | Gifted Parenting Support

Gifted Myths: An Easy-to-Read Guide to Myths on the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional (book)

Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling

If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice Exceptional

Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth

Behavioral Profiles of Clinically Referred Children with Intellectual Giftedness | BioMed Research International

Homeschooling Gifted Students: Considerations for Research and Practice (pdf) | IGI Global

Dwelling on the Right Side of the Curve: An Exploration of the Psychological Wellbeing of Parents of Gifted Children (pdf)

New Brain Mapping Technique Highlights Relationship Between Connectivity and IQ | Neuroscience News

“Choosing our Histories” by Kevin Gover, Baccalaureate Address 2016 | Brown University

The Boy Who Played with Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting, and How to Make a Star (book)

Bright Adults: Uniqueness and Belonging across the Lifespan (book)

Comparison of Cognitive, Psychosocial, and Adaptive Behavior Profiles among Gifted Children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder

Gifted … You Know What That Means, Right?

When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers: How to Meet Their Social and Emotional Needs (book)

Serving Highly & Profoundly Gifted Learners (pdf)

Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth | Vanderbilt University

Behavioral Profiles of Clinically Referred Children with Intellectual Giftedness | Biomed Research International

Images courtesy of GHF Learners, Celi Trepanier, Dr. Gail Post, Stacie Brown McCullough, and Paula Prober.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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