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From Tweens to Teens – Making the Transition

gtchat 11022017 Tweens

Asynchronous development plays a role in age-peer relations for gifted tweens and teens. Middle school is often a time for making new friends and testing boundaries. Maturity levels greatly affect age-peer relations. Gifted high school students may approach relationships in an adult manner before they’re ready.

Family dynamics also plays a major role in the transition from tween to teen. Parents need to recognize peer influence and provide opportunities for gifted kids to socialize outside of school. Understand that gifted tweens and teens are under more stress to achieve and to compete during the middle school and high school years.

Should gifted services be ‘subject to change’ once students leave elementary school? Giftedness does not begin in 2nd grade & end in 6th; it continues across the lifespan. Gifted services are even more important as gifted students enter middle and high school. They need MORE support; not less.

What should gifted education look like in middle school and high school? Cooperative learning stressed in general education can have inherent limitations for gifted students and exacerbate anxiety for them. Flexible grouping based on ability should be considered as students enter secondary education; pair students with intellectual peers.

Schools have a responsibility to provide guidance to gifted students facing social-emotional issues during the middle to high school transition. The general school population may have very different social-emotional needs at these ages; all should be served. Failure to meet social-emotional needs of middle and high school gifted students in transition can lead to major societal issues later on.

Adults can inspire gifted tweens and teens to develop their gifts and talents. Parents and professionals can serve as role models for gifted tweens and teens. Adults can participate as mentors and career counselors for gifted students as they explore passions and ways to utilize talents. A transcript 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 1 PM NZST/11 AM AEST/Midnight 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 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:


Educating Gifted Students in Middle School, 2nd Ed: A Practical Guide (Amazon)

Keepin’ It Real as a 2e Parent

Back Off, Mom & Dad! Fostering Independence in Middle Schoolers

Disorganized Student: Organizing Tips for Middle Schoolers

Parenting Middle Schoolers: 6 Things that Worked for Me

Status of High School Gifted Programs 2013 (pdf)

Gifted (the Movie) Discussion Guide (pdf)

The Handbook of Secondary Gifted Education 2005 (Amazon)

The Efficacy of AP Programs for Gifted Students

How to Raise a Smarter Child, According to Parents of Gifted Kids

Mentoring Gifted Children: It Takes a Village

7 Tips for Parenting Tweens and Teens

Show and Tell – Preparing Gifted Tweens and Teens for the Future

Sprite’s Site: Do you grow out of giftedness?

Cybraryman’s Asynchronous Development Page

Sprite’s Site: Talkfest

Teen Learning Lab

Cybraryman’s Social and Emotional Learning Page

Empathy: Healing the Awkward Heart

Cybraryman’s The Brain and Brain Games Page

What to Say When Other People Interfere with Your Parenting

Photo courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

The Middle School Years ~ Tweens to Teens

In this chat, we discussed both school and home strategies for dealing with gifted middle school kids. We learned that Ireland and Australia utilize a primary/secondary model and the U.S. uses both a Jr. High model and Middle School model. The Middle School model was originally intended to address the social-emotional needs of early adolescents through heterogeneous groups. It was noted that this does not aid gifted students in middle school. Homeschoolers present at that chat cited this as a major reason for homeschooling.

The moderator noted that middle schools need to understand the limitations inherent in cooperative learning for gifted students. School districts need to support teachers by providing them professional development in differentiation and individual strategies. They need to be open to flexible grouping based on ability. Enriching all students in a regular classroom is not equal to providing gifted students with an appropriate education.

Turning to what parents can do in the home, it was suggested that parents need to recognize peer influence and provide opportunities for gifted kids to get together outside of school. Middle school is often a time for making new friends and testing boundaries. Firm, but flexible is a good strategy. We need to understand that gifted tweens are under more stress to achieve and to compete during the middle school years.


Meeting the Needs of High Ability Learners in the Middle Grades

Academic Diversity in the Middle School (1995)

Educating Gifted Students in Middle School (2005)  (Amazon)

Inspiring Middle School Minds (2009) (Amazon)

Young, Gifted and Neglected

Gifted Learners and the Middle School: Problem or Promise?

Responding to the Needs of Middle Level Gifted Learners (pdf)

“Gifted Students Are Seldom Given What They Need” from Dr. Deborah Ruf.

Embracing Introversion: Ways to Stimulate Reserved Students in the Classroom

Cluster Grouping

Living the Life Fantastic (Blog)

Differentiated Instruction (from Cybraryman)


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