Monday, June 30, 2014

Locating Age-Appropriate Books for High Ability Learners

I came across this great chat article about finding age-appropriate books for high ability learners.  

In this article they start off stating the following:
"Locating age-appropriate books for high ability learners can prove difficult  for several reasons. Asynchronous development may mean that a very young child could comprehend reading material well beyond what may be considered appropriate for their age... interest levels and sensitivities also play important roles when finding appropriate yet challenging books for these children. Jo Freitag ...commented that material deemed appropriate for a child’s chronological age might be considered too simplistic and unsatisfying to the child."

At the end of the article there are a few dozen worthwhile links to help parents who are struggling with this issue.

Strategies Workshops - July 14-17, 2014

PHOENIX DESERT SUMMER INSTITUTE
STRATEGIES WORKSHOPS
Phoenix Session July 14 - 17, 2014

INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES WORKSHOPS FOR TEACHERS GRADES 7-10 
The Instructional Strategies sessions are designed for teachers of Grades 7-10 to help them prepare their students for advanced and honors classes. There are many hands-on activities, discussions of best practices and direct applications to the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards.

GIFTED STRATEGIES FOR TEACHERS GRADES K-6
GIFTED STRATEGIES FOR TEACHERS GRADES 6-8
GIFTED STRATEGIES FOR TEACHERS GRADES K-6

These four day workshops are designed for the classroom teacher who has the responsibility to “differentiate instruction” for the gifted learner in their classroom. It would also be appropriate for gifted teachers who want to add new tools to their instructional skill set for working with gifted students. In either case, the participants will learn about the specific and unique needs of gifted students, strategies for working with these students, teaching methods and specific classroom activities with proven effectiveness.

Courses offered for Phoenix Session are: 
English Strategies for teachers Grades 7-10
Mathematic Strategies for teachers Grades 7-10
and Gifted Strategies K-6

For more details, including location and cost, please visit:  www.pdsisummerworkshops.com



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Motivational Paralysis

I came across this great article on "Motivational Paralysis" this morning and it spoke to me.



When I was in school, I can remember being very distracted, and then eventually stressed out, during finals.  I actually pulled off very good grades in high school, received a college scholarship, and later graduated from college but the educational process was a challenge for me.  In college, I joked that I had the cleanest apartment in town because I would obsessively clean it just to avoid whatever scholastic task was at hand.  Then I would completely stress out at the last minute, cram, stay up all night, and somehow manage to pull off decent grades most of the time.  But in hindsight I realize that I lost out on some great learning opportunities due to my procrastination and "motivational paralysis."  I would have loved to have learned more in school rather than just memorize things at the last minute and then regurgitate it all.  I learned that reading eight of Shakespeare's plays in two days isn't the best way to process and retain information even if you do end up technically passing the test.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Gifted Education Book List


Here is a list of helpful books in regards to Gifted Education.  There are over a dozen books on this list which obviously doesn't include all the wonderful books out there regarding giftedness.  (Pricing and vendors are subject to change.)
Parenting Gifted Kids by Jim Delisle (Amazon Prime $12.42)
A humorous, engaging, and encouraging look at raising gifted children.  Offers practical advice to help parents re-examine the ways they perceive and relate to their children.  Some topics include understanding giftedness, working with the school system, dealing with perfectionism, and being an adult role model.
A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children by James T. Webb, Ph.D., et al. (Amazon approx $21)
Raising a gifted child is both a joy and a challenge, yet parents of gifted children have few resources for reliable parenting information. Includes practical guidance in areas such as gifted characteristics, peer relations, sibling issues, motivation & underachievement, discipline issues, intensity & stress, depression & unhappiness, educational planning, finding professional help, etc.
Living with Intensity by Susan Daniels, Ph.D. & Michael M. Piechowski, Ph.D. (Amazon Prime $20.06)
Gifted children and adults are often misunderstood. Their excitement is viewed as excessive, their high energy as hyperactivity, their persistence as nagging, their imagination as not paying attention, their sensitivity as immaturity, etc.   This book provides practical methods for nurturing sensitivity, intensity, and perfectionism.  Also includes info on Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration.
How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish (Amazon Prime $12.23)
Using the unique communication strategies, down-to-earth dialogues, and delightful cartoons, parents and teachers learn how to help children handle the everyday problems and strong emotions that can interfere with learning.   Shows how parents and teachers can join forces to inspire kids to be self-directed, self-disciplined, and responsive to the wonders of learning.
Picture it!  Teaching Visual-Spatial Learners by Betty Maxwell (Amazon Prime $17.96)
Illuminates the abilities of visual-spatial learners and describes the challenges they face in traditional learning environments.  Helpful for teachers, parents and visual-spatial learners themselves.
Describes the intellectual and emotional needs of children of high ability; typical and advance reading patterns for kids in K-12 grades; how to give reading guidance and discuss books with young readers; etc.  Includes a list of more than 300 books for readers of all ages carefully selected to promote intellectual and emotional development.
The Cluster Grouping Handbook by Susan Winebrenner, M.S., and Dina Brulles, Ph.D. (Amazon Prime $25.72)
Presents a roadmap for implementing, sustaining, and evaluating school-wide cluster grouping.  Full of teacher-tested classroom strategies.  Includes info on professional development and gaining parental support. Contains a CD with customizable, reproducible forms plus a PowerPoint presentation designed for teacher in-service training.
Re-Forming Gifted Education: How Parents and Teachers Can Match the Program to the Child by Karen B. Rogers, Ph.D. (Amazon Prime $14.99)
Guides parents through the process of negotiating an educational plan that meets their child’s needs and describes several recommended models for acceleration and enrichment. Includes a “Gifted Education Planner” which uses questionnaires from the book which makes it easy for parents to help determine their child’s strengths, weaker areas, interests and preferred learning styles.
Raising Creative Kids by Susan Daniels, Ph.D. & Daniel B. Peters, Ph.D. (Amazon Prime $19.96)
Written for parents and teachers, this is a guide to fostering creativity and sustaining the creative spirit in children both at home and school.  Describes various theories, personality traits, and programs, process & products that foster creativity.
101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids by Christine Fonseca (Amazon Prime $13.46)
For children ages 8-12 and their parents/teachers.  Topics include bullying, school performance, perfectionism, friendships, and sibling rivalries.  Fun quizzes, tip sheets, and practical Q&A sections from other gifted kids and preteens.  Strategies for dealing with stress management, parents’ and teachers’ expectations, anxiety, cyber-bullying, friendship troubles, etc.
The Survival Guide for Gifted Kids: For Ages 10 & Under  by Judy Galbraith, M.A. (Amazon Prime $10.07)
For children ages 10 and under and their parents/teachers.  Geared toward your gifted and talented readers, but also helps adults understand what it means to be gifted.  This book will help bright, talented children know they are not weird or alone in the world.  Answers questions about what giftedness is (and isn’t), how to cope with teasing, how to deal with perfectionism, and how to make friends.
The Gifted Teen Survival Guide: Smart, Sharp, and Ready for (Almost) Anything (Revised & Updated 4th Edition) by Judy Galbraith, M.A., & Jim Delisle (Amazon Prime $13.67)
For preteens and teens.  Full of surprising facts, survey results, strategies, inspiring teen quotes, and essays, the guide gives readers the tools they need to appreciate their giftedness and make the most of who they are.  Includes info on twice-exceptional, emotional and social intelligence, creativity, teen brain development, managing life online, testing and standards, homeschooling, I.B. programs, college alternatives, STEM careers, cyberbullying, etc.
There are Those by Nathan Levy and Janet Levy, picture book (Amazon Prime $14.74)
Picture book.  Celebrated around the world, this best selling poem artfully depicts an inspirational message.  “Nathan Levy captures the essence of what it feels like to be gifted in a few words.”
Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers by Carol A. Strip, Ph.D. with Gretchen Hirsch (Amazon Prime $16.55)
Educates parents and teachers about important gifted issues such as working together, evaluating classroom programs, forming parent support groups, choosing appropriate curriculum, meeting social and emotional needs, and more.  Book also available in Spanish as Ayudando a Los Niños Dotados a VolarUna Guía Práctica Para Padres y Maestros.
Smart  but Scattered by Peg Dawson, Ed.D., and Richard Guare, Ph.D. (Amazon Prime $14.40)
Sometimes kids who have the brain and heart to succeed lack or lag behind in crucial “executive skills” – the fundamental habits of mind required for getting organized, staying focused, and controlling impulses and emotions.  Learn steps to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses, use activities and techniques proven to boost specific skills, and problem-solve daily routines.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Self-Contained Gifted Classes for 2014-2015 School Year


Applications are now being accepted for the GPS self-contained gifted classes at Towne Meadows Elementary in Gilbert Public Schools. Click HERE to see information on the Gilbert Public Schools website.

Here are some important dates:

Tour:  April 25, 2014 at 1:00-1:45 
Program tours are designed to offer parents and students the opportunity to learn more about the program, visit the school and classrooms, and meet the teachers.  There have already been several tours and the April 25th tour will be the last one offered.         
          *All tours will be held at Towne Meadows Elementary School
          *For further information or to RSVP, please contact Amber MacRobbie at (480) 545-2173
              or amber.macrobbie@gilbertschools.net 
Open House: May 15, 2014 at 6:00-7:00 at Towne Meadows Elementary School

Application: May 8, 2014 is the deadline to apply for the 2014-2015 school year.  If you are interested, an on-line application must be completed in order to be considered for this program. Click here for application  

What is the Self-contained Gifted Program?
The Self-contained Gifted Program provides an all-day differentiated learning experience addressing the individual needs of the highly gifted students. Students will be with other highly gifted peers for all core content areas (math, reading, writing, social studies and science). They will participate in special area instruction and are included in all grade level activities, field trips and lunch. The Self-contained Gifted Program currently has a 4th and 5th grade classroom at Towne Meadows Elementary School.

Qualifications for the Self-contained Gifted Program

Scores (on a state-approved gifted test) of 97+ in two of the three areas: verbal, quantitative, and/or nonverbal area(s), with the third score being 85 or higher or an IQ score of 130+
Highlights of Self-Contained Gifted Program
  • Project-based
  • Problem-based
  • STEM
  • Lego Robotics 
  • Socratic Questioning
  • Social Emotional
  • Cross-curricular
  • Technology based
  • Enrichment and Acceleration
  • Language Arts (instruction is offered using College of William & Mary curriculum from the Center For Gifted Education and Michael Clay Thompson)

Site: Towne Meadows Elementary
          1101 North Recker Road
          Gilbert AZ 85234

          School Website: http://www.gilbertschools.net/Domain/49
          
Teacher Pages:
          5th Grade Self-contained Gifted Teacher, Mr. Brian Cates, Class Webpage:
                  http://www.gilbertschools.net/Domain/4610
          4th Grade Self-contained Gifted Teacher, Mrs. Jennifer Dow, Class Webpage: 
                   http://www.gilbertschools.net/Domain/4608

Grade Levels: Currently, one classroom for 4th grade, one classroom for 5th grade and adding one classroom for 6th grade in 2014-15 school year

Class Size: 28

Transportation: Provided by GPS (may be regional bus stops)


Applications will be considered in the following order:
First consideration will be given to students residing in the Gilbert Public Schools boundaries or who are currently attending a Gilbert Public School.
Following consideration will be given to students who reside outside of the Gilbert Public Schools boundaries or who do not currently attend a Gilbert Public School.
 Applications are available for the 2014-15 school year for grades 4, 5, and 6.
 *Due to the uncertainty of funding, the 4th grade classroom may not be offered for the 2014-15 school year. Services for current 4th and 5th grade students will continue next year.
*Parents of upcoming 4th grade students are urged to complete and submit an application if they would like to be considered should the classroom be funded. Information will be posted on this site as soon as the budget decisions are final. Please continue to check on a regular basis.
If more applications are accepted than seats available, a lottery will occur. The lottery is tentatively scheduled for May 12, 2014. Please view the Self-contained Gifted website for updates.

Out of District Students Only:
Out of district students are welcome to apply for Self-contained Gifted Program if they meet District qualifications, as noted above. In addition to the application, please submit the following information to the Curriculum Department at amber.macrobbie@gilbertschools.net.
Applications will not be accepted until all forms have been submitted.
1. A copy of your child’s most recent intellectual assessment results
      •    Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) or other state of Arizona approved assessment


             or

      •    IQ tests administered by a licensed Psychologist/Psychiatrist
2. A copy of your child’s most recent standardized test scores (i.e. AIMS, SAT 10, DIBELS)
3. A copy of your child’s most recent report card
4. Twice-exceptional students receiving special education or 504 services must attach
     •    Copy of current IEP and most current special education evaluation report
     •    Copy of 504 plan
 
If you have further questions, please email Amber MacRobbie or call 480-545-2173.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Asynchronous Development

By Stephanie Newitt, B.S. Early Childhood/Elementary Ed.

On April 10th, Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted hosted a guest lecture that focused on the asynchronous development of the gifted child.  How does child development play a part in gifted education?  That is what this lecture explored.

To begin with, let us review two components of the Gilbert Public Schools Gifted Mission Statement which was developed in 2012 by educators, administrators and parents in the Gilbert community.  The GPS Gifted Mission Statement, in part, states that GPS seeks to …
·         Address the specific needs of gifted, highly gifted, profoundly gifted and twice-exceptional students …
·         Address the social, emotional, cognitive, academic, physical, and kinesthetic needs of each gifted or twice-exceptional student.

First, what does it mean to be gifted, highly gifted, profoundly gifted, or twice exceptional?  
Doesn’t gifted just mean really smart?  To better understand this, we need to step back and obtain perspective.  Let’s look at the common bell curve, the height of the bell curve representing students with typical intelligence. 



Those on the extreme far left fall far below the norm and qualify for special education services.  

We can see that those on the extreme far right are the same distance from the norm and qualify for gifted education services. 

Within Special Education there is a spectrum:  mild, moderate, and severe/profound.  Those unique individuals who qualify for special education services due to the unique “hard-wiring” of their brain have very specific intellectual and developmental needs.  They therefore, require services to grow and meet their potential.  Not all students in special education receive the exact same types of services.  Services are based on student needs. 

Now let’s look at the gifted spectrum.  That’s right, giftedness also has a spectrum:  gifted, highly gifted, and profoundly gifted.  These unique individuals also have a unique “hard-wiring” of their brain which affects their intellectual and developmental needs.  They too genuinely need appropriate services in order to grow and meet their potential.  Not all students in the gifted spectrum should receive the exact same types of services, as services should again be based on student needs.

A student who is Twice Exceptional (2e) qualifies for BOTH the special education and gifted education services.  This could be a child who has dyslexia but functions above grade level in math.  This could be a student who reads three levels above grade level but who also operates within the autism spectrum.

We have defined the gifted spectrum.  Now, let’s move on to the second point we wish to cover - addressing the needs of the whole gifted child.  Why is this necessary, I mean, aren’t all gifted students well adjusted in school?  To answer this question, let’s look again at our typical student.  A typical 12 year-old student at the height of the bell curve most likely functions at grade level in almost all areas and has hit almost all developmental milestones within appropriate times, give or take some individuality.   Their overall development is in synch with the age of their body, or their chronological age. 

A gifted child, due to their unique hard-wiring, experiences development that is “out of synch,” or asynchronous, to their chronological age.  Their hard-wiring affects the depth and breadth of their emotions, which can be hard to self-regulate; their intellectual processing speed, and their ability to notice and internalize social cues.  Let’s look at both of these students on a bar graph.  They have the same chronological age, but their developmental areas fall in very different places.



Asynchronous development is the defining characteristic of gifted children. 

Dr. Linda Kreger Silerman has stated, "...gifted children develop in an uneven manner, ... they are more complex and intense than their agemates, ... they feel out-of-sync with age peers and 'age appropriate curriculum,' ... the internal and external discrepancies increase with IQ, and ... these differences make them extremely vulnerable.”

As giftedness increases on the spectrum, the child’s development becomes more and more “out-of-sync” with age peers.

Let’s try another visual.  Let’s imagine circles within circles.  Like tree rings, each circle indicates an age.  For a typical student, like a tree, the most outer ring is the student’s chronological age and the age of their overall developmental levels, again, give or take some individuality.  The circle is divided up into pie shaped slices, each slice indicating an area of development.  For the typical student, the circle is filled in nicely. 


Let us look at how such a pie chart may appear for a gifted student.


The gifted student’s pie chart is very different from that of a typical student and their unique needs and deficits require services in order for growth to occur.  Because of their asynchronous development, gifted students can experiences difficulties in school – academic as well as social.  

Gifted education is recognizing where a student is in their areas of development, across all slices of the pie, and providing support for their strengths as well as their weaknesses.  Gifted Education is also understanding the emotional intensities and perfectionistic tendencies that impact the learning and growth of gifted students. 

As parents and educators we need to recognize, understand and provide support for our gifted students in their asynchronous development.  As much as we would like to always be able to treat our 12 year old child like the 17 year old mathematician that she is, we need to remember that ability does not equal maturity.  Providing her with complex math is fair and appropriate; it is also fair and appropriate to treat our mathematician like a 12 year old when we give out responsibilities, express expectations and introduce her to new social situations.

As Gilbert Public Schools looks forward to fulfilling its Gifted Education Vision:

Gilbert Public Schools is a premier provider of services to Pre-K through Grade 12 students identified as gifted or twice-exceptional, using research-based instruction to address the needs of the whole child.

GPS understands that more teacher-training needs to be provided.  To this end, GPS is increasing its professional development offerings in gifted education for its educators.  Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted will also continue to provide opportunities for parents to better understand the giftedness of their children.  Together, as parents and educators, we can provide appropriate support for the gifted students and their families within our community.

In conclusion, we need to remember –
       ASYNCHRONOUS development is TYPICAL  development for a gifted child.
       A gifted child’s intellectual age is often well-above their chronological age, but their judgment is often more closely aligned to their chronological age.
       Intelligence and knowledge ≠ emotional maturity, understanding or wisdom.
       Adults who are unaware of a child’s asynchrony can easily fall into the trap of expecting the child to act her older mental age rather than their younger chronological age.
       The more gifted a child, the more likely he is to have a wide spread of abilities.
       To be aware of our gifted child’s asynchrony. 
       More information on asynchronous development can be found in the book A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children by James Webb, et. al.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Guest Lecture on April 10, 2014 - "Raising Gifted Children, A Pediatrician's Perspective"

Dr. Katherine Krieg, M.D.,

“Raising Gifted Children, 
A Pediatrician’s Perspective”
How does being gifted affect your child’s development?  A pediatrician and mother of gifted children shares her unique observations and gives a medical perspective.

April 10th
6:45-8:00pm
Greenfield Elementary Library
2550 E Elliot Rd., Gilbert, AZ

All attending are invited to come  early at 6:45 to connect with other parents

Lecture starts promptly at 7:00 pm.

Want more resources?
Visit our website www.gilbertgifted.org
or subscribe to our blog at GilbertGifted.blogspot.com

Click HERE to read our follow-up post about this lecture night.