Teach a Gifted Kid Posts

I’m preparing to go on a vacation to see my daughter who has been studying in France for her junior year in college. Wow, what an experience for her! She’s written about the food, people, culture mishaps and the interesting sites. It is almost positive that she feels a real connection to Paris because she really doesn’t want to come back to Texas. And really, in the long run she may end up living and working there in her future. But first, she has to finish her degree at Tulane. I picture her like a baby bird peering over the safe edge of the nest, eager to jump out and try her wings. She just needs a little more time and knowledge and she’s on her own.

My son, however, is at a decision point in his life right now. He’s out looking for employment in far away places like California and New York and Austin. His progress has been more like the contented puppy lingering next to familiar places and people. It’s his time! We’re excited for him and for all the possibilities out there that are open for him.
Raising dependent young children to independent young adults. How did we get from one point to another? I wish we could bottle up whatever we did and sell it to anyone who has concerns about getting their children from point A to point B. I wish we could bottle up this, refine it and require it for all those struggling parents and struggling children. But then again, maybe the struggle is the most important part.

While Adam and Amber struggle with life changing decisions in their future, I get to watch. I’ve made some life changing decisions in my past and they worked out ok. I’m sure their decisions will too.

Random 'Munchings" Writing Entries

I have just watched the Legacy of Rosina Lhevinne on the Documentary Channel. http://www.thelegacyofrosinalhevinne.com/ If you ever have the chance to see this documentary, it is particulary good. The program is fantastic for teachers of the gifted. She taught some of the most gifted and talented individuals during her time at the Julliard School of Music. I’d like to tease you a few quotes from the program to entice you. I’ve italicized a response to each quote and how it might relate to teaching the gifted child.

“She can do so much for a student and get so much out of a student through inspiration.” Van Cliburn Inspiring a gifted student to do more is not easy. I have found that inspiration comes only after a solid, trusting relationship has been established. The student must respect your knowledge on the subject(s) that interested him or her. A teacher may want to become versed in technology for this reason. I won over a particulary difficult gifted student because I could teach him things about technology that he could use.


“She had an uncanny ability to suit the way she was teaching to what she thought the student would absorb and react to the best.” John Williams This is differentiation in its purest form. Thinking continuously about the needs, levels and abilities of each student was ongoing as I planned curriculum. I asked questions like, “How can I provide challenge for this child and/or for fundamental knowledge in another child within the same lesson? How can I keep this student interested and that student challenged but not so challenged that they grow disinterested or discouraged.”


“She was not a dictator, she was just so severe in the demand that the person really do the ‘completest’ (sic) development that was possible and in that demand, she was very specific.” James Levine Setting high expectations, moving the student to higher and higher levels, encouraging them to wrestle through difficulties….students need to fail at times because that is when their learning becomes personal and valuable. Many gifted students are very hard on themselves when they fail. They know they are smart, they have been told they are smart. It’s important that teachers of the gifted to assure the student that failing is as important as succeeding. In fact, more learning occurs after failing because alternatives and options surface. Masterful teachers know just when to ‘stage’ failure to elicit the most learning for their students.


“She used so many forms of psychology….sometimes it would stimulate you to make it work.” Van Cliburn Every teacher does this on a daily basis. Here Van Cliburn was relating an instance where Rosina told him that a piece was too difficult for him. He set out to prove her wrong. Motivating a gifted child requires he/she has numerous ways to encourage and motivate the gifted learner that are intrinsic in value. Extrinsic motivations will have limited usefulness and value as the gifted student moves through the grades.


“If you convince me your way is right I accept it, and I leave it alone, it is only when I think you don’t know what you want that I move in.” Rosina Lhevinne The gifted child just may have a new of different way to solve problems and are eager to share their insight to anyone standing nearby. Teachers of the average learner might misunderstand the motivation for the gifted child, who just can’t reign their excitement, as trying to take over the class or undermine the teacher’s ability or authority.

” ….beautiful balance between inputing into the student what you are and what the student can absorb …..” James Levine I’m reminded of this frequently. As teachers, we should remember that not everyone in the classroom will like our unit on lighthouses which we feel so passionate about or fall in love with the novel under study for the next six weeks. We have to strike the balance between who we are as teachers and who our students are.

Gifted Education


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Originally uploaded by afrench2.

The biggest landscaping project Dave or I have ever done is finally finished. You can see the walkway and three of the planters from this view. There is one more planter just out of the picture. The stones were laid mostly by me, the sand between the stones was done by me. All the heavy stuff and lots of loads of sand and dirt were brought over by Dave.

The plants are all Native Texas plants because I figure they need the best start I can give them. I don’t necessarily have a green thumb. I just hope that all these plants like their new home. I chose white and pink blooming flowers with one deep red bottle brush just in front of the trees.

Big project! It feels good to have designed it and completed it with my husband. We make a great team! I hope your sping projects have gone as well. If not, I give you what’s left of my energy and enthusiasm. You can do it!

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Do you have a quote for educating the gifted child, teaching the gifted child or parenting the gifted child. Please feel free to send your suggestions to teachagiftedkid@gmail.com.

  • “Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.” (Arthur Schopenhauer)
  • “Every child deserves an equal opportunity to struggle.” (Mary Landrum)
  • “Expecting all children the same age to learn from the same materials is like expecting all children the same age to wear the same size clothing.” (Madeline Hunter)
  • “One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar!” (Helen Keller)
  • “You can never hold a person down without staying down with him.” (Booker T. Washington)
  • “Give me rigor or give me mortis!” (Michael Clay Thompson)
  • “Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master.” (Leonardo da Vinci)
  • “There is nothing so unequal as the equal treatment of unequals.” (Justice Felix Frankfurter)
  • “The pupil who is never required to do what he cannot do, never does what he can do.” (John Stuart Mill)

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I was spurred by an entry at David Schenck’s weblog (http://geniusblog.davidshenk.com/) entitled “The Myelin in All of Us” so I wanted to share my comment to it here.

His entry brings to mind a ‘random munching’ I dwelt on for a few months. “What if I wanted to play the piano like Horowitz, lead an army like Patton, or cook like Julia Child? Would I have been able to, if I were trained to do so from a very early age? Is it too late now for me to become an expert in a field like astrophysics (I’m 46). With intensive training and practice, how far would I progress to be a tennis star? Can an expert tell ‘right off the bat’ that I wouldn’t do well in ballet (even if my general build indicates that I would be?)

In the eons to come after all this research, I envision that every field of endeavor’s criteria so well documented that no time is wasted on training that doesn’t fit the individual’s natural tendencies. Another direction might be capturing all knowledge and information in a tiny chip and installing it in an individual’s mind. Schools might only be used for teaching morals and good social behavior. Then I could be that expert in whatever field I choose for today, and then, tomorrow I could choose something else. But would I still be limited physically and mentally?”

It’s food for thought.  Where will all this research take us?

Gifted Education Random 'Munchings"

http://www.edweek.org/chat/transcript_03_19_2007.html

I’m linking to an online chat sponsored by eduweek.org. The topic: gifted and the moderators just recently published an interesting book on the topic. Parents and educators can both glean some useful information from the chat. The main points are: gifted learners truly learn differently than others. This fact needs needs to be part of the gifted child’s academic plan, gifted educators need to inform/educate all educators about these learning needs, and parents should to educate themselves on their child’s academic needs. We should all keep in mind that when a child is tested and labeled ‘gifted’ it does not mean they are gifted in all areas. They may actually encounter additional difficulties socially and emotionally derived from their ‘giftedness’.

There are lots of wonderful sites within the chat that one can go for more information.

Gifted Education


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Originally uploaded by afrench2.

It is so nice outside right now. If you haven’t been outside to enjoy the nice weather, shame on you. It won’t wait for you. If you live in the south, you only have a few days to be outside. It’s now or never!

We’ve picked an outside project to try to complete before the weather turns hot. This our front circle. Those stones…we moved them all. I moved the little ones, Dave moved the bigger ones. That dirt and sand, we moved it too. We still have several loads of dirt to bring over, several loads of flagstone and some planting to do. It’s expected to rain Wednesday and Thursday this week, just like it rained last week Friday and Saturday. Those prints you see in the walkway is the neighbor’s dog. He’s huge and he’s only a puppy. We’re hoping that the fencing (we are adding a 24 inch high wire fencing to the railings) will keep him out and our dogs in. That is the other spring project.

So, get outside! If you need something to do, head over to Texas. We got plenty!

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Looks like nearly all zillion school districts in Houston go on spring break the same time.  Dave says the office is really quiet this week, workmate’s and their families are off skiing somewhere, probably.  I was thinking about how important a break is to teachers.  Some people think that a teacher’s yearly schedule is ideal; working shorter days, getting three months off.  That’s not really true.  Teachers need that break from the intensive day to day demands and schedule in their classroom.

To show for my spring break, my husband and I have nearly completed the landscaping in our front circle.  It has large square rust and gray colored stones outlining a curvy walkway that leads in and out of the circle.  It will soon be filled with flagstone that is reddish in color peppered with white leftover limestone from the house.  We’ve made a large garden bed and filled it with native Texas plants and so far, they are still alive.  And I’m hoping that the small white concrete bench will lend the area an informal invite to walk the path and come sit for a while.  The whole project has been quite enjoyable.  Lugging large stones and next to a zillion loads of dirt and sand into the space, planning the design and spending the money hasn’t been a drain on my mental and physical system, it’s been a boost.

The other thing we have to show for this spring break is a fence.  Now, we aren’t doing the work ourselves but we sure are paying for some quality work out there.  The 3 rail white vinyl fence (just like you see in the country magazines)  is being installed by a master.  You can tell.  He wastes no movements, works methodically, checks his work frequently and talks little.  In an essay I wrote for an undergraduate course, I called this type of person a ‘maestro’.  Someone who is a master of his/her chosen field.  My goal is to someday be a maestro in the field of education ….. but it is hard to give up days working at my own pace, creating something visibly pleasing.

Taking breaks are part of the process of becoming a maestro.  It gives one time to regroup, rethink and reflect on their live’s goals.  Spring break is a necessary thing if we, as a society, want to increase the quality of teachers working with its students.  Problem is, most teachers are working even harder during their break catching up on unfinished projects, housework, appointments or working with their own children.   What teachers truly need is a break from all their responsibilities.  A trip somewhere, time to sleep in, time to read a book for leisure (instead of planning lessons for the next week or month), time to work towards something they enjoy.  We all need it, whatever field we are in!

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I just came across this story about the status of our young children and their weight. Many states have tried various ways to tackle this important issue. Arkansas tried weighing every child at school, then sending a postcard home to their parents as to their child’s status. Virginia had some kind of thing going on. Schools have been working towards taking soda and other unhealthy snacks out of their vending machines. Recess was always on the ‘chopping block’ at the sake of attaining higher test scores. It is an important issue!

Turns out that the schools are doing the right thing, either by way of normal moving about from class to class, health classes or PE. It appears that it is the parent’s choice (before and after school and during the summer). Hmmmm, we needed a study to tell us that. Of course. Schools establish routines and procedures that best suit their population. Teachers implement expectations and rules in their classroom so they are able to manage and teach the children in their care. What assistance do parents get to meet the demands of their children? Virtually none. Perhaps some will seek information on how to manage their children, but mostly, they ‘fly by the seat of their pants.’ Schools should be sources of information and encouragement to parents, sharing their knowledge. Parents should be right there soaking it up. Our children deserve it.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/health/4591267.html

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[rsslist:http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=&q=gifted+education&ie=UTF-8&as_drrb=q&as_qdr=w&as_mind=14&as_minm=7&as_maxd=21&as_maxm=7&output=rss&ned=:ePkh8BM9E0KzgxVohwELPluMBJgLmhfKznhWr8x4vNKsfpEuAEnxDbU]

Gifted Education Uncategorized

This is a short video recorded a long time ago and edited with a techno beat. Isn’t it just plain cool how people can add the new with the old. I’ve spent some time with my son the past few days and when I do, I always learn something new. He showed me how to embed a utube video on my weblog and helped me pick out a good tutorial on writing XHTML and CSS. My ultimate goal is to do most of this kind of thing all by myself. I won’t be half as good as him (we and the State of LA helped train him). Enjoy!

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Now that I have lived and researched the educational goals of two different states, I can easily say that this man did make a big difference in education in Louisiana.  The accolades mentioned in the article have nothing to do with gifted but his impact on education was felt by everyone in the state: the teachers, the administration, the students and parents.  I hope the next superintendent is able to carry on in the same direction.

http://www.leesvilledailyleader.com/articles/2007/02/19/news/news3.txt 

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I just got my first issue of “Tempo” put out by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (Winter 2007). I looked over the contributing authors, the executive board members. I read through the president’s goals for the coming year. It was interest to note that the TAGT organization has the goal of obtaining 6,000 members during the coming year and I further noted that there are 336,000 identified gifted students in the state of Texas. I don’t know the exact numbers for Louisiana but it is significantly less. I never made it to a Louisiana Gifted Conference so that I could compare its membership number with Texas. Several classmates and my gifted professor had attended the conference in Louisiana and talked highly of it.

Read More Teaching Requirements differ

Gifted Education

I found an article in a Malaysian Online News Site “Sun2Surf” with the following quote in it. Martin Luther King is the man behind the quote. We all know about him, the author of the article was providing his background for the readers in Malaysia. The author’s point is that providing a great education is not enough, a society must also provide character education to the brightest of its population. I thought it was a very valid point.

“King reminds the intelligentsia that “intelligence is not enough”. He maintains that the goal of true education is to produce persons with intelligence and character. It is character that differentiates good leaders from bad ones. According to King, “the most gifted criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morality.””

Gifted Education Random 'Munchings"

I was just cruising around the edweek.org’s website, checking out the blogs when I came across a fellow’s blog titled “Two standard deviations from the left”. I went to it, thinking that it was a blog for a special education teacher. It’s not, its for a high school math teacher. But I still like the concept: maybe I can do something clever with my weblog title that reflects the status of the gifted child’s location on the common bell curve. Have to think about that.

It’s been a while since I reported on my job hunting status. I completed substituted ‘training’ for three different school districts in my area, gotten on the list to sub at a private Baptist school, actually subbed at a school for the gifted, researched tutoring from my home, researched augmenting homeschooling parents through a loose organization that meets at two churches in the area, researched working for summer camp programs and even did some research on working for curriculum based companies to write and test new curriculum. It was pretty hard to get very far on that idea.

I’ve reached a temporary conclusion. I will work for only one of the school districts because they use an online sub finding program. The other two districts assume that you like to be called daily and told what job they want you to have. First, I travel from my home and my apartment so reaching me by cell phone is the best, however, their systems don’t call out of state numbers. Yes, I could forward calls and I’m set up to do so, I just have to remember to punch a few numbers before I leave each place. I’d rather check online to see what is available and choose the job in the quiet of my home.

Second, Texas is a big state. They have to approach education from that perspective. They go for the ‘masses’ and anything that does not fit in the main stream isn’t really funded. To be a teacher of the gifted in this state does not mean teaching a class of gifted students. It means seeing a gifted student about 45 minutes a week, seeing a whole bunch of gifted students for about 45 minutes a week. That’s why working at the small school for the gifted as their permanent substitute and working for the one school district that seems to respect a person’s other ‘life’ has my top vote so far. Maybe even for the next two years, until several personal things fall into place.

Maybe this is a good time to advocate for the gifted child in higher places such as the government. I received an email the other day from the Davidson Institute asking for gifted teachers to share their experiences with No Child Left Behind. I hope the reporter finds some hard evidence of the effects of this act on the gifted child. It might be difficult to dig through the hearsay, but I hope that gifted teachers across the nation respond. I may have to see if he/she thinks I have anything interesting to contribute to hisher research…..

Dear Ed Guild members,Yesterday, a national newspaper education columnist contacted the Davidson Institute seeking information (both positive and negative) regarding the impact No Child Left Behind has had on one or more of the following: gifted students; gifted programming (cut or increased); or funding of gifted programs in schools, school districts or states.
If you have specific examples you would like to share with this reporter, please send an email to me at jdudley@ditd.org with the following information:

Your Name,
Title, Email, daytime phone number, where you live, plus name of school or school district and a Summary of NCLB impact

If you could send me this information by
tomorrow (Wednesday, Jan. 31)

at noon pacific it would be most appreciated as this reporter is working under a tight deadline.

Thank you!

Gifted Education Random 'Munchings"

According to this recent article, more teachers are blogging, some anonymously and some not. Even a couple of school districts are starting to lay down policies about blog use.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/4506358.html

Teachers are usually one of the last groups to adopt something new, but when they do……

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I should be learning all I can about technology and teaching while I’m on my one year personal sabbatical but I’m not. Well, I am but not as much as I have the time to. I’ve done a little rearranging on my weblog, as you can see. So when I was working, I had the desire to learn more about technology – but no time. When I’m not working, I have the time but no desire. Anyone else feel the same way? Also a factor is how much there is out there that a teacher can explore and use. It is a bit overwhelming. It would be nice to have someone walk you through it.

Getting someone to walk you through it…..The problem arises when a district forms a workshop because they must address the ‘techy’ teachers and the ‘non-techy’ teachers. Have you ever noticed the ones that are the loudest during a workshop? It’s the ones who are non-techy. The rest of us just sit around twiddling our thumbs while we wait for a thorough explanation on how to access one’s email. Only the real serious ‘techy’ teachers have enough motivation to learn on their own. Unfortunately, or fortunately, they have the responsibility to turn around and teach it to other teachers. Who has the time to do both when you are responsible for grading papers, filing forms and calling parents? If teachers were to be given time to explore this ‘tool’ would they use it wisely? What is ‘wise’ use of technology in teaching? Is blogging a ‘wise’ use of a teacher’s time?

I’m sure questions like these and others are being addressed and will be addressed in the coming years. (An example already is how some districts have already made a ruling about when a teacher can blog and on what machine they can blog.)
Back to my own situation, I may have to tap into my son’s vast knowledge of how to write code to get my website to look the way I want. He also points me to new technologies and interesting articles. I’m lucky. He’s a good teacher: patient but busy. Here is my official THANKS for his help!

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It was great to learn more about my ‘writing’ buddy, Nancy on her weblog. I always knew she had far and wide experiences. When you read some of her writings you get a sense of it.

Tagged. The word brings to mind the constant games of tag we played in our front circular yard in Holly, Colorado with my two brothers and best friend, Melveta. Freeze tag was my favorite because you had to stop exactly in the position you were tagged in and you had to wait for someone to unfreeze you. Somebody always did because the more kids running around during the game, the more fun it was. Being tagged in the cyber world is similar. “You” has been chosen as the Man of the Year. It’s a funny choice, but at the same time a good choice. Anyone can post anything from radical plans to deep dark adolescent secrets that never made it past the bedroom door in years past. We’ve been ‘unfrozen’ and the ‘game is afoot’ which brings me to addressing being tagged. Here are a few interesting things about me: Read More I’ve been tagged …..

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My husband just coined a new term: “urban camp”. That’s what he is calling our apartment. Let me explain. For us, our main place for our belongings is our country dwelling. It’s where we have our roots. Our city dwelling is smaller and sparser. It’s like our urban camp. We have some kitchen tools to cook with, we have some of our clothes there, just enough to dress properly for our day jobs, a few pieces of reading materials, minimal channels on the tv, and a very nice bed. Even the dogs have their second set of dog bowls. Our city dwelling (urban camp) is where we go to exist during the week, the country dwelling is where we go to relax and live. We also have come up with a name for our country dwelling: Chateau-ed-teau (we are still working on just the right spelling of it). If you can’t figure out what this in reference to you might have never smacked your big toe on something in the middle of the night as often as my husband has…..

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The National Council on Teacher Quality has a brochure that outlines what makes an effective teacher.  What I like about this publication is that it looks at the research before it makes a general claim about what makes an effective teacher.  I was also interested in their finding that teacher literacy was the most effective indicator of student acheivement.  So, keep reading and writing and keep those kids reading and writing.  It may feel like you are not making any gains in the education of your children but research shows that you are!  And it doesn’t hurt to brush up on those ‘soft’ issues that make a great teacher such as  the ones outlined on page 12 of the brochure.

http://www.nctq.org/nctq/images/nctq_io.pdf

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