Fish phones and cyber safety

“When the whales started calling and you all went off on your #gtstoogies pirate cruise my fish got sad and home sick and they want to phone Mrs Jo Hart’s fish” Sprite told me.
“So I have set up a phone for them. Can you tell them my mobile number on the chat now, please?”

“No!” I said “That is a dangerous thing to do”.

‘But I put the phone in a plastic bag so it won’t get wet” said Sprite.

“I mean you should not give your address or phone number out in a chat room” I said. “I’m surprised you don’t remember that from your Social Media studies

We have been discussing cyber safety and digital citizenship for students on Serendipity and Fine Focus sessions recently

Some of the links to programs designed to teach students about Digital Citizenship and Cyber Safety that were shared are

Quest Atlantis  practice in an online virtual world where students learn about cyber safety issues and being respectful to each other Developed by Uni of Indiana, free for schools and sponsored by the Bill & Melissa Gates foundation
Information about teacher pd for Quest Atlantis can be found at

A website from the UK – CEOPS Think you know

Safer Internet Greek site

Safer Internet English language site Insafe Play and learn Being online

Digital citizenship

Jo Hart shared some of the cartoons she created in Toondoo to illustrate her messages to her distance education students about online safety including this one.

A Cruise on the good ship Asynchronicity

The regular #gtchat sessions will not be held this week but the #gtstoogies will be holding a Happy Hour during the timeslot of the second session (7.00pm EST Friday or 11.00 am Saturday for Victorian and NSW Australians)

We will use the Happy Hour to discuss plans for a virtual cruise on the good ship Asynchronicity. When we first talked about this in a bit of fun during #gtchat we were thinking how good it would be to sail away as a group of people with a common interest in the health, welfare and education of gifted students to a beautiful location such as the Caribbean. Somehow Pirates of the Caribbean was mentioned and the exercise took on a pirate theme.

But when you get a group of imaginative, creative, gifted people together there are bound to be many interpretations of what would constitute the ideal cruise, what its destination should be and what places to visit en route. Even the design of the ship could be debated.

The name of the ship is Asynchronicity to honour the gifts and delights as well as the challenges that Asynchronous Development brings to gifted people especially children.

As an example of asynchrony the picture of the galleon on the wall beside the map of the Caribbean is a copy of a picture drawn by our youngest son when he was six which was published in Vision, the journal of the VAGTC.

As it is to be a virtual cruise we can travel to literal, fictional, mythical or allegorical places. The journey is only limited by the thoughts and imaginations of the travellers.

The table in the #gtstoogies lobby still displays the poster for the film Pirates of the Caribbean and the Shelfari bookshelf has a display of books about sea journeys and pirates.

A Wallwisher page has been set at  where people can add their thoughts about what our ship should look like and where the cruise should go.

Drawing on literature and mythology we could adventure with Jason and the Argonauts or travel to the glassy sea at the end of the world with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Allegorical maps could show us a journey along Gagne’s DMGT road from innate giftedness to fully developed talent or take us on the Feetspeak Quest to attempt to find an ideal education.

Imagination could add wings, a hot air balloon, a time MELD or even a rocket propulsion system to our ship.

The whales and the stars are calling to us – where will the journey take us?

Casting Sprite’s Education in a New Form? Part 2

I have a sense of déjà vu now that I am deciding whether to homeschool Sprite.
I have been rereading my own information about homeschooling at  
viewing and reminiscing over my Home Education PowerPoint presentations and working through the presentation on things to be considered when starting to homeschool and again I have been filling out a PMI chart.

I do not have to revisit the most commonly debated issues such as socialisation so my PMI chart looks like this

I found some helpful articles by Susan Wight who is the editor of the excellent Home Education Network magazine, Otherways

Home Educating Gifted Children by Susan Wight

The beat of a different drum by Susan Wight

But what if my child is dyslexic?

And I reread the presentation Home educating gifted children that Susan and I gave to the National Home Education conference in June 2007

So will I be homeschooling Sprite? Well, I am still thinking about it.

Pirate Party

Several of the #gtstoogies have celebrated birthdays during this week so we have decided to hold a Pirate theme party after #gtchat.
The Twitter Birds and Dabrowski dogs are already enjoying the festivities. The Dabrowski dogs are playing Paaass the Paaarrcel -except Psycho Motor who is apple bobbing.
P’est Pour Parfait, the perfectionistic poodle, is watching the game; not willing to join in because he has just been to the Paws for Poise Parlour for a lavendar lather special treatment and does not want to risk getting even a single hair out of place.
Watching him, I am reminded again of his similarity to Leaping Attack  Black Dog when the latter attended Sprite’s P Party. Perfectionism is indeed a two edged sword.
Dr Linda Silverman believes that perfectionism needs to be appreciated as a two-edged sword that has the potential for propelling an individual toward unparalleled greatness or plummeting one into despair. The secret to harnessing its energy is to appreciate its positive force, learn how to set priorities and to avoid imposing one’s own high standards on others.

Instead of pin the tail we will be playing the  rum barrel navigation game. There are two variations of the game. In one version one participant stands blindfolded on top of the upright barrel and has to draw  a path on a map on the wall guided by shouted instructions from the rest of the team. In the other version one participant stands on the barrel which is on its side and attempts to mavouveur the barrel through a set course.
For supper there is a pirate ship Birthday cake and rum balls.

On the other table you can see a poster for the film, Pirates of the Caribbean, which is playing in the Deborah Mersino theatre as preparation and research material for the #gtchat and #gtstoogies Pirate Cruise.  More news about this soon!

This week on #gtchat…

Exciting news is posted on the bulletin board in the lobby. This week Dr Susan Assouline, Associate Director of The Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Iowa will be will be a Guest Expert on the early session of #gtchat The topic of discussion will be STEM.
Click on the board so that you can see an enlargement and read it more easily.
Also on the bulletin board you can see a flyer for the Webinar series conducted by Belin Blank
There is also a sticker from Talk like a Pirate Day which will be held in September.

On the table you can see a poster for the film, Pirates of the Caribbean, which is playing in the Deborah Mersino theatre as preparation and research material for the #gtchat and #gtstoogies Pirate Cruise.  More news about this soon!

Casting Sprite’s Education in a New Form? Part 1

The comment from Lisa Conrad really got me thinking! Should I homeschool Sprite?

Up until now we have been on a Quest to find the ideal education for Sprite within the school system, supplemented by extra activities and holiday programs.
Sprite is the poster child for Feetspeak: 2E shoes which is a method of planning education programs which are suitable for students who are both gifted and have a learning disability or difference in learning style.
Edward De Bono’s 6 Action shoes  are used as the tool for planning and they are road tested on Gagne’s DMGT (Differentiation Model of Giftedness and Talent) road from innate giftedness to fully developed talent.
First I decide what type of gifted programs would be produced using each of De Bono’s shoes as the planning tool and then I look at whether the programs would be suitable for 2e students. See

I have made a few additions to De Bono’s 6 Action shoes. There are bare feet which represents not having a program at all, the sparkly sandals and painted toenails which represent the appearance (in the glossy brochure) of having a program which in reality has no substance and the adjustable Velcro shoe which represents a flexible program.

And then there is the plaster cast which represents an ideal combination of the attributes of the 6 DeBono Action shoes but can only be used if eligibility and funding criteria are met.

Each of the action types represented by the Six Action Shoes can be seen to be incorporated in the function of the cast.
So Sprite’s cast has been signed by the 6 Action Shoes
Blue formal shoes – Rigid support
Grey sneakers – Investigate
Brown brogues – Be sensible (This is written on the top of the foot so it can be read by Sprite looking down at it)
Orange gumboots – Run!
Pink slippers –Care and comfort
Purple riding boots –This foot reserved for a Purple Riding Boot (looking forward to a future time when Sprite will be realizing her potential and in a position to be an inspiration and mentor to others like her)

Sprite has been subjected to testing in numerous ways by psychologists, therapists and education consultants and found to be both exceptionally gifted and to have specific learning difficulties.

Various programs and assistive technology measures have been tried with varying degrees of success. You can see these represented by the different types of footwear she wears and you can see by her body language how her comfort and optimism levels vary!

It is one thing to find out which are the best shoes for the DMGT Road but quite another to find ones that will be a good fit.

We have tried so many provisions already.

I need to consider whether I will be able to find suitable provisions for Sprite if I do decide to homeschool her.