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How Schools Can Support GT Parents

The best ways to communicate with parents are those that are regular in nature ~ text/email updates, newsletters, or personal invitations to school activities or events. Sometimes, spending a little extra time at regularly scheduled school meetings (parent-teacher conferences, welcome back to school night, etc.) may be all that is needed.

What information do parents of GT students need most from schools? Parents of GT students should be made aware of all the options available for their child; the entire range of academic programs K-12. Options including social-emotional interventions, enrichment opportunities through the school and out of school, and possible accommodations for twice-exceptional students. Parents should be given an opportunity to review all assessments/test scores relating to their child and be able to participate in planning sessions for IEPs or ALPs (when available). They should be given information on ways they can support their child at home.

Schools can engage and involve parents in their gifted learner’s education by inviting them to volunteer to organize or chaperone field trips, become a coach for academic competitions, or participate in classroom activities. They can provide information sessions for parents about gifted issues, gifted education, and resources available to them from state and national organizations. They can also list information on their websites for parents about online resources, local support or advocacy groups, and upcoming conferences.

Teachers can assist parents of newly identified GT students by sharing information on the criteria used to identify their child as gifted. They may periodically ask parents if they believe their child’s needs are being met and what more they’d like to see as part of their child’s education plan. Also, teachers can encourage parents to form or participate in a parent advocacy group. Oftentimes, parents can advocate for gifted programs in ways school personnel cannot.

What should teachers know about gifted education to best support parents? The best way to support parents is to become educated about gifted education and then share that information and resources with parents. Teachers may need to seek out PD at both the local level or online and consider attending gifted conferences to learn about the latest developments/research in gifted education.

How can tensions between parents and school personnel be minimized? Open channels of communication can go a long way in easing tensions between home and school. This can prevent unnecessary surprises for all involved. Teachers can reassure parents that they have their child’s best interest at heart; becoming a trusted ally can promote positive relationships between schools and parents.

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 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:

How Do You Teach Parents to Advocate for their Child?

10 Steps to a Better Parent-School Partnership: Pre-action, not Re-action

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

14 Things Gifted Students Want Teachers to Know

The Survival Guide for Teachers of Gifted Kids: How to Plan, Manage, and Evaluate Programs for Gifted Youth K-12 (book preview with Teacher Survey template) (pdf )

The Survival Guide for Teachers of Gifted Kids: How to Plan, Manage, and Evaluate Programs for Gifted Youth K–12 (book)

Teacher’s Survival Guide: Gifted Education (book)

Tips for Teaching Gifted Students

TEMPO Issue 1 2016: Advocating for Gifted Learners (pdf)

15 Ways to Help Gifted Kids Thrive in School (pdf)

The Care and Feeding of Gifted Parent Groups: A Guide for Gifted Coordinators, Teachers, and Parent Advocates (pdf)

Trying to Make School Better for Gifted Kids

Disclaimer: Some resources in our resources have affiliate links.

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Culturally Responsive and Relevant Curriculum

Culturally relevant curriculum respects individual student culture and attempts to increase awareness in relating that culture to course content. Teachers using culturally relevant teaching display competence at teaching in a multicultural classroom. This pedagogy is thought to improve academic achievement for all students. Historically, “culturally relevant pedagogy urges collective action grounded in cultural understanding. (Ladson-Billings 1992)”

Why is culturally responsive teaching important in gifted education? It is linked to a wide range of positive outcomes including improved attendance, academic persistence, and much more interest in school in general. In gifted education, it addresses ‘stereotype threat’ – a fear that one is conforming to a stereotype (their culture) – which in turn can lead to lower academic achievement. Motivation is another concern for GT students which can be mitigated in part by providing a curriculum that is perceived as culturally relevant, useful and of interest. Many of the principles of culturally relevant pedagogy directly affect GT students including identity development, equity and excellence, and managing student emotions.

What is the goal of a culturally responsive curriculum? A culturally responsive curriculum replaces deficit-oriented teaching – seeing language, culture or identity as a barrier to learning – with asset-based approaches. The goal for culturally sensitive teachers is to respond to the needs of diverse populations in their classroom with student-oriented instruction. A culturally responsive curriculum might involve choosing non-English translations of material used in the classroom or adaptive technology for twice-exceptional students.

There are many ways to incorporate culturally responsive teaching strategies; first, be invested in learning about your students and their culture through open and honest communication with them. To be truly culturally responsive, teachers need to be immersed in the culture of their students – visit where they live, learn their language (lingo), and remove negative stereotypes from the classroom culture. Teaching strategies considered culturally responsive could include bringing guest speakers into the classroom who are representative of the culture, use real-world problem solving techniques, and use technology effectively.

How can a culturally responsive and relevant curriculum improve classroom management? A culturally responsive classroom acts as a safe haven for students who learn in a far less judgmental atmosphere. This can have a profound effect on classroom management where students want to display appropriate behavior. A culturally responsive classroom is inherently a more interesting place to learn. It empowers students to own their learning and the desire to improve their behavior as opposed to a setting where they feel a disconnect to the curriculum.

Culturally responsive curriculum will remain relevant; especially as gifted education becomes more culturally responsive itself regarding the identification process. Students exposed to a culturally responsive curriculum will be better prepared to thrive in an increasing diverse world and global economy. 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:

Introducing the Culturally Responsive Curriculum Scorecard: A Tool to Evaluate Curriculum

Striving for a Culturally Responsive Curriculum

Culturally Responsive Teaching A 50-State Survey of Teaching Standards (pdf)

Three Research-based Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies

Turn the Page: Looking Beyond the Textbook for Culturally-Responsive Curriculum

What have districts learned when embracing culturally responsive curricula?

5 Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies

Keeping Students at the Center with Culturally Relevant Performance Assessments

Critical Thinking Skills and Academic Achievement (pdf)

Engaging Curriculum

From Discipline to Culturally Responsive Engagement: 45 Classroom Management Strategies (book)

Teaching to Encourage Motivation (pdf)

Culturally Responsive Classroom Management & Motivation Handbook – Chapter 8: Qualities of Culturally Sensitive Teachers

The Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning (website)

Being Culturally Responsive

Culturally Responsive Teaching – Excerpts from The Knowledge Loom: Educators Sharing and Learning Together (pdf)

Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies

The Two-by-Ten Classroom Management Method

Why a Culturally Responsive Curriculum Works

Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice (Multicultural Education Series) 2nd Edition (book 2000)

Graphic courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Building Empathy Through Critical Thinking

gtchat 03082018 thinkLaw

This week, Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT welcomed Colin Seale and Sarah Pfeiler of the team from thinkLaw to chat about “Building Empathy Through Critical Thinking” on Twitter. thinkLaw helps teachers teach critical thinking  through legal cases. To learn how your gifted students can benefit from thinkLaw’s standards-aligned program that helps educators teach critical thinking  to all students, click this link to schedule a brief call.

Colin Seale

Colin E. Seale, Founder & CEO

 

Sarah Pfeiler

Sarah Pfeiler, Curriculum & Training Manager 

 

GT students often experience a significant lack of empathy from their teachers at very young ages. It can cause a lifetime of discouragement when they feel misunderstood and marginalized by adults. When teachers fail to understand what the label ‘gifted’ entails – more than academics; it can create an atmosphere in which GT students no longer feel they should be expected to show emotions that aren’t extended to them.

 

Empathy pic thinkLaw

 

Students need to understand what empathy is and ways to express it. By opening a dialog on what it is and isn’t, students gain a greater appreciation of its importance in their own lives. Introducing the idea that empathy can improve both the student’s life and the lives of those around them becomes challenging when you realize that they’re only in school a fraction of their day. Home environment matters, too.

“We often see little empathy for gifted students because too many think “they are going to be just fine.” 4 students in my 2nd grade g/t class didn’t graduate from HS. They are not going to be “just fine.” And even if they were, is “just fine,” really good enough?” ~ Colin E. Seale

Emotional empathy can be extremely difficult to foster in classrooms where teachers are overworked, underpaid and expected to be defender, counselor and psychologist all while trying to teach. It can be integrated across the curriculum with careful and thoughtful planning and included by subtle reminders to students to think before they speak to or act toward others.

“Using mentor texts is a great way to teach empathy because it’s not personal.  You might select a story about a kid who is struggling socially but has a lot going on at home that people don’t know about. It’s harder for students to start with trying to understand what’s really going on behind the scenes with someone who is targeting or being mean to them.” ~ Sarah Pfeiler

Intellectual empathy must be modeled by teachers and administrators every single day. It isn’t enough to touch upon occasionally. It should be an integral part of lesson planning throughout the school year. It requires teachers to thoughtfully listen and respond to students in a respectful manner. GT students don’t tolerate ‘lip service’ when they are giving careful consideration to the questions they’re asked.

“Building Empathy vs. Academic Rigor is a false choice! When your instruction involves analysis of multiple perspectives, root cause analysis, collaboration, and design thinking, you necessarily enhance our students’ ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.” ~ Colin E. Seale

Intellectual empathy is drowned out by emphasis on test prep, lack of support staff, tight budgets and time constraints which redirect discourse to rote learning and preconceived notions of what is meant be ‘education’. It is not valued any longer by society; it’s not included in the standards. Base knowledge trumps comprehension in most general education classrooms where GT students spend a majority of their time.

We all can play a role in teaching empathy in an effort to build critical thinking. It’s important to realize the impact it has on the lives of students. A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

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 2 PM NZST/Noon 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 Storify. 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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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

Links:

thinkLaw website

The thinkLaw Team

Help Me Understand: 4 Ways to Use Critical Thinking to Develop Empathy

The Critical Thinking Gap: How thinkLaw is Fighting the Equity Issue of Access to Deeper Learning

The State of Critical Thinking Part 1: What is Critical Thinking?

The State of Critical Thinking Part 2: Persevering When Thinking Gets Hard

Webinar: It’s Time for a Critical Thinking Revolution!

Empathy plus Critical Thinking equals Compassionate Action

What are the Importance and Benefits of “Critical Thinking Skills”?

How to Be Empathetic

How Dialogue Teaches Critical Thinking and Empathy

How Cross-Cultural Dialogue Builds Critical Thinking and Empathy

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

How Empathy Affects Learning, And How to Cultivate It In Your Students

Teaching Empathy through Design Thinking

Template Independent POV Project (Google Doc)

Bad Luck? An Exercise in Critical Thinking for St. Patrick’s Day (TPT)

Story Telling with Persona Dolls (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Empathy Page

Gifted Unit Plan (Google Doc)

40 Kindness Activities and Empathy Worksheets for Students and Adults

Five Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching (TEDx 14:41)

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Children

The Care & Feeding of Advanced Readers Resources (Google Drive)

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Creating a Culture of Kindness for Gifted Kids

gtchat 01182018 Kindness

Kindness is treating others as you would like to be treated; making someone else want to associate with you because they feel better about themselves when they are around you. It is taking into consideration everything you say and do as to bring out the best in others; always asking yourself how will your actions affect other people’s feelings.

It is important to promote kindness in the lives of gifted kids. Gifted children do not always experience kindness in their lives; it can be a forgotten soft-skill deemed unimportant in their striving for academic success. They too often experience bullying or thoughtless comments about the expectations of the gifted label. They may ignore this at first, but eventually respond in negative or unkind ways.

What strategies can teachers use to encourage students to demonstrate kindness? Being kind – modeling kindness in the classroom – considering it before speaking or taking action in any situation is a good way to encourage students to be kind to fellow classmates. Creating opportunities for students to be kind to others is an important strategy all teachers can use in their classrooms.

We can prevent negative behaviors such as peer cruelty in schools and classrooms.  Classroom teachers can create a culture within their classrooms which is responsive to student voice; having students be responsible for setting personal goals and plans to follow through to meet those goals. Teaching empathy and using character-based discipline will go a long way to creating an atmosphere in which peer cruelty is not acceptable.

There are some characteristics of gifted kids which affect their ability to display kindness in all situations. They are no different than other kids in that they each have unique personalities; some may embrace expressing kindness in their interactions with age mates/peers and others may not. Gifted children who are twice-exceptional can sometimes struggle with understanding what kindness is or how to express it. It is important to recognize this and take steps to teach/model kindness in their daily lives.

What role can parents play in creating a culture of kindness? Parents are a child’s first and foremost role model. Gifted children can be difficult to parent. Patience and kindness should be exhibited from the very beginning. Just like teachers, parents can create opportunities for gifted kids to express kindness to others at home starting with family members and even family pets. By extension, encourage them to show kindness to their friends as well. A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

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 2 PM NZST/Noon 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 Storify. 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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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

Links:

Cybraryman’s Character Education Random Acts of Kindness Page

Cybraryman’s Gratitude Page

Cybraryman’s Empathy Page

4 Ways to Nurture Kindness

Preventing Peer Cruelty and Promoting Kindness (pdf)

An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students (Amazon)

Coping Skills for Anxious Times

UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World (Amazon)

100 Fun Ways to Help Kids Practice Kindness

Helping Strangers Tied to Higher Self-Esteem in Teens

Empathy: How Families Lead with Gratitude and Kindness

Teaching Guides for Good Character

Empathy’s Importance in the Curriculum (pdf – pg. 13)

How a Bad Mood Affects Empathy in Your Brain

Cybraryman’s Kindness Page

How to Raise a Sweet Son in an Era of Angry Men

How this Mom Turned her Late Husband’s Birthday into her Favorite Day of the Year

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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