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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:


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





Class Messenger

Picture courtesy of Pixabay.   CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Using Twitter in the Gifted Classroom

This week’s chat centered on the use of Twitter in the classroom and was joined by educators, homeschoolers and parents. Questions included how and if Twitter was currently being used in participants’ schools, ways to enhance curriculum and ways to connect students and teachers. A full transcript may be found here.


Twitter in the Classroom” from @venspired

60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter in the Classroom

Getting Started with Twitter in the Classroom

50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom

22 Effective Ways to Use Twitter In The Classroom (Using Bloom’s Taxonomy)

Twitter in the Classroom: Watch This Teacher Engage Shy Students in Learning History

Twitter in the Classroom (with video from Minneapolis P.S. Roosevelt High)

Turning Tweets into Narrative Tales

Tweet, Tweet, Go the Kindergartners

100 Ways to Use Twitter in Education, By Degree of Difficulty

35 Interesting Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom

The Twitter Spectrum for Educators

“I am twittering and blogging!”

Can Tweeting Help Your Teaching? (NEA)

Infusing Technology into the Classroom

“Inspiration in 140 Characters: Using Twitter as Your PLN”

From @Cybraryman1~ Twitter Page

“Beyond Curating and Sharing – How Cybraryman Teaches on Twitter”

“I Created A Class Twitter Account,  Now What?” 

“Our Class Twitter Norms” from Kristen Wideen

“Using Twitter in School” from Leslie Grave’s Livebinder

“An Educator’s Guide to Twitter” from Steven W. Anderson’s Livebinder

Additional Links (Thanks to Jerry Blumengarten @Cybraryman1):

“Twitter in Schools: A Getting Started Guide”

“Guide to Twitter in the K-8 Classroom”

“How to Use Twitter in the Classroom Without Compromising Your Professional Relationship With Your Students”

“Twitter For Learning: 7 Ideas for Using Hashtags in the Classroom”

“12 Expert Twitter Tips for the Classroom”

“20 Ways High Schools Are Using Twitter in The Classroom”

“60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter in the Classroom”

“5 Reasons I Prefer Twitter over Facebook”

“The Power of Twitter Chats” (You Tube)

Can Gifted Learners Really Be Challenged in the Regular Classroom?

This year’s Back-to-School #gtchat discussed whether or not gifted learners could really be challenged in the regular classroom. Many different opinions were expressed including the belief by many that it was possible, but rarely occurred.  A full transcript may be found here.

Most participants agreed that gifted learners do in fact learn differently; although several teachers pointed out that all children learn differently. This conclusion laid the basis for discussing various instructional strategies; their appropriateness and viability in the classroom over time.

Differentiation seemed to be the most widely used strategy for working with gifted students. A timely blog post by Ginger Lewman, “A Case Against Differentiated Instruction“, posed an alternate view.

Everyone in the chat seemed to agree that two factors … professional development in gifted education for teachers and teachers’ attitude toward gifted students … played a critical role in the delivery of services.


Instructional Strategies for Gifted Students 

High-Achieving Students in the Era of NCLB

Differentiation for Gifted Learners (Fall 2013) from Richard Cash 

Tips for Teachers: Successful Strategies for Teaching Gifted Learners from Davidson Gifted

Instructional Strategies for Gifted Education from the #gtchat Blog

What All Teachers in Regular Classrooms Can do for the Gifted

High Ability and Gifted Students in the Regular Program: Left Behind?

The Plight of the Gifted from Georgia Tech

The Miseducation of Our Gifted Children from Davidson Gifted

Gifted Kids and Elementary School from the Berkeley Parents Network

CCLebrate Learning 2013 – 2014 Parent Handbook (pdf)

Motivating Without Grades from IEA Gifted

Promoting a Positive Achievement Attitude w/Gifted & Talented Students from Davidson Gifted

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