Best Australian Blogs 2012

We all had so much fun with the Best Australian Blogs 2011 competition (see the posts with the Best Australian Blogs 2011 tag)  that Sprite was very happy to be nominated for the Best Australian Blogs 2012 competition. This year Sprite’s Site blog is entered in the Parenting section since the Competition Details page advised

Personal and Lifestyle
Blogs about your life, hobbies and personal interests. This is the category for: online journal style blogs; blogs about your life; travel; food and dining; and hobby blogs. If your blog is about any or all of these topics, but you also blog about parenthood and kids, we recommend you enter the parenting category.

While parenting blogs fit in the Personal and Lifestyle category, we believe this booming part of the blogosphere deserves its own category. The parenting blog space is packed with great writing on a range of topics not just limited to parenting and kids, and is by far the most networked and sponsor-targeted part of the blogosphere.

We decided that as we had been highlighting the family life of Tweet and Retweet and their tweetlets, Tweetil and Tweetelle, as well as issues relating to parenting  gifted and twice-exceptional students like Sprite that Sprite’s Site would fit into the Parenting category.

You will notice that further sprucing has been done to the site and that Sprite has organised a new campaign poster for herself.

We will keep you posted about all the activities in her campaign and about how you can Vote for Sprite when the People’s Choice Award voting opens on Friday 13 April.

If you have entered Sprite’s Site by following a link to a specific post you will need to click on the title on the blue Sprite’s Site header  to see the sidebar.

Gifted and Thriving at School

Last week I received a copy of a new book by Derrin Cramer of Thinking Ahead

 Gifted and Thriving at School:
How proactive parents can get the education that fits their child

As the website says

This book is packed with tips and strategies which will build your knowledge and confidence so you can effectively advocate for your child. It will lead you through the process of gathering and organising the information you need, building positive relationships with your child’s school, preparing for and attending meetings plus ways to communicate effectively, leaving you feeling confident that you can guide the process of seeking the education that fits your child’s needs.

I loved this book from the opening line “I have walked in your shoes”.
It is obvious that Derrin has indeed experienced the joys and challenges of parenting her gifted children and advocating for their needs of to be met.
You can read Derrin’s own story and the story of Thinking Ahead at

I appreciated her comments
“Before you go on any further, I have to tell you something. Advocating for your gifted child is an ongoing process. It is not a one-shot fix”
“The best advice I can give is to make the best decision you can at the time with the knowledge you have.”

I also enjoyed the wise comments and advice from parents which appear throughout the book.

Sprite, reading over my shoulder (reminding me of a time when my 5 year old son was reading over my shoulder as I read an academic journal article about whether  or not you should tell a child they are gifted!), loved the fact that all the chapter titles begin with her favourite letter – P.

  • Proactive parents
  • Power of information
  • Paperwork
  • Positive partnerships
  • Prepare
  • Plan
  • Prioritise
  • Persuade
  • Present
  • Persist
  • Parent wisdom
  • Pursue further opportunities

 The Appendix contains a helpful example of an Individual Education Plan form and there is also a section about Questions to Ask Schools.
The book gives a practical and encouraging step by step approach to advocating for the child’s education needs.

It can be purchased from


The Tweetlets meet the Dabrowski Dogs

I suppose it was almost inevitable that the Tweet family would meet the Dabrowski Dogs sooner or later.

“I just saw a cute dog that looked like a lamb floating past in a hot air balloon!” chirped Tweetelle.
“That’s nice, dear” said Retweet mechanically as she continued to peg out the washing.
“Stop bouncing on the rim of the nest, Tweetil! You could break the edge and fall out!”
“But I’m bored and there is a dog bouncing down there and I want to bounce too!”
“And when I see that other black dog scratching it makes me feel itchy and as if the nest twigs are sticking into me.”

A few days later Tweet arrived home from a trip to the library and announced “I have found a tutor for the Tweetlets.
He is a very learned Border Collie by the name of Intellectual Dabrowski. We got talking about the great diorama Tweetelle made and
how upset she was when Great Aunt Hashtag  threw out some of the pebbles; and a lovely Springer Spaniel joined in and said she really understood Tweetelle’s emotional outburst. She will probably come and visit us as well”

In MY day…

You may remember Great Aunt Hashtag, the funny old bird who attended Tweet and Retweet’s wedding. Well, she used her frequent flyer points to pay a visit to Tweet and Retweet to meet the new Tweetlets.

Having emphasised the magnanimous nature of her visit by describing in detail how difficult it was for her to make such a journey these days and complained about the toughness of the worms these days (with thinly veiled suggestion that Retweet’s preparation of the worms left a lot to be desired), she proceeded to offer Retweet advice about nest cleaning.

Great Aunt Hashtag was not impressed when Tweetelle had a meltdown because the feathers and pebbles she had swept out of the nest were not really rubbish but were part of Tweetelle’s diorama.

“In MY day…” said Great Aunt Hashtag “Tweetlets were seen and not heard”
“In MY day Tweetlets tweeted when they were twoken to!”

“In MY day we stayed at home and kept a clean nest – none of this gadding about going to the library!”

In MY day we didn’t have all these new fandangle things and we survived, didn’t we?

And then Tweetil quite innocently put his foot in his beak by asking (genuinely wanting to know) whether ‘in her day’ Great Aunt Hashtag had been friends with Archaeopteryx!

GT Chat is back! 2

GT Chat is back this week and Sprite helped to decorate the #gtstoogies Lobby for the occasion.

Dr Jeff Goldstein’s  Twitter 21C water cooler  has been set up as well as the coffee machine and chocolate fountain.

And there are gifts for GT Chat founder, Deborah Mersino, and the new moderator, Lisa Conrad, and gifts and a rocket  cake for Krissy Venosdale of Venspired Learning who celebrated her birthday during the week.


The return of #GT Chat  is very timely for Tweet and Retweet.
It appears very likely that their tweetlets, Tweetil and Tweetelle, could be gifted.
They sleep very little and are always asking “Why?” They love to have stories read to them and demand more all the time.
Tweet and Retweet spend almost as much time bringing home books from the library as they do bringing home worms.
They love stories by Jonathan Swift and learning about Florence Nightingale and the architecture of Christopher Wren.
(“They are like Kipling’s The Elephant’s Child – they have insatiable curiosity” says the Memory Elephant.)

Tweet and Retweet are being accused of being pushy parents but really they are just doing all they can to keep up with their Tweetlets!

They intend to use NEST ED – Nest Education System of Training at the start as they need to be able to continue the education during migrations  but Retweet is dreaming of a time when they will advance to FLOCK ED – Future Logistics on Conservation of Knowledge.

GT Chat is back!



GT Chat is returning this week!
There is much excitement amongst the Twitter Birds. They are getting ready to share links to websites and books and articles of interest. And they are getting ready to help provide support, encouragement and comfort as folks from around the world discuss topics relating to giftedness and talent.

This  year the founder of #gtchat, Deborah Mersino, has passed the moderator baton to the very capable hands of  Lisa Conrad. GT Chat will be powered by Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and all the details can be found on their page at  

GT Chat will be held on Fridays at 7.00pm EDT. At the moment that means it will be 10.00am Saturdays for participants in Melbourne and Sydney.
You can use World Clock Meeting Planner to determine the time for your area.

Namibia, Cheetahs and Gifted Students

I would like to thank Roya Klingner from the Global Center for Gifted Education for inviting me to blog as a part of Gifted Education Awareness Week in Namibia.
For detailed description of the aims, program of events during the week and the bloggers that are participating see The Global Center for Gifted and Talented Children page at


Namibia – Cheetahs – Gifted Students
What are the connections between these?

Namibia – Cheetahs
Namibia is home to the world’s largest cheetah population and also home to the
Cheetah Conservation Foundation

From the CCF Education Programs page

“In central Namibia, CCF operates a Field Research and Education Centre to conduct formal and informal education programs. The Centre is open to the public daily, as well as on-site public education and student training to Namibians and foreign university students. At a national level, the objective of CCF’s Research and Education Centre is to teach young Namibians the value of sustainable practices in environment and conservation from an early age. The Centre allows students to be exposed to CCF’s integrated research programs on the cheetah’s ecology, habitat and prey base, and the demonstration of CCF’s non-lethal livestock/predator management techniques. Relevant issues are presented regarding factors that affect conservation efforts at the community level. The Fund’s education program and cheetah museum displays are designed around CCF scientific research findings and provide detailed information about the cheetah; its history, physiology, importance within the ecosystem, conflict with humans, and what CCF is doing to ensure the species’ survival for future generations. The CCF Education Team present two-day environmental courses for school groups with overnight accommodation provided at the CCF educational campsites. All participants are exposed to CCF’s research and conservation efforts via presentations, and to the Namibian farmland ecosystem through the museum, nature trail and game drives. Team-building activities are designed to highlight the importance of team efforts in conservation. Role-play and drama are also included in the programmes and include scenarios of livestock and predator management. Since 2000, over 16,000 students have participated in these courses. In addition to school groups, regional youth groups, youth officials, teachers, health officials and farmers, participate in specially designed programs at CCF’s Center. You can visit CCF Namibia’s Education Centre and take a virtual tour of the displays there.”

In order to ensure the continued survival of the cheetah it is necessary change attitudes toward the cheetah, to educate, problem solve and develop partnerships.


Cheetahs – Gifted Students

The logo for Gifted Resources  is a cheetah head in a circle.
Many other organizations (several of them related to giftedness) also use the cheetah as a logo.
(The connection between using the cheetah as a logo and contributing toward cheetah conservation is a possible topic for a future blog post)
Gifted Resources logo was chosen because the cheetah provides a very apt analogy for a gifted person.
The cheetah metaphor for giftedness is based on the brilliant article “Is it a cheetah?” by Stephanie Tolan
Stephanie Tolan’s article emphasizes that, just as cheetahs are designed to chase down fast running prey and need a suitable environment in which to thrive, so gifted students are designed to learn at a greater speed and depth and need to be presented with material at a suitable level of challenge in order to thrive academically.


Gifted Students – Namibia

In order to thrive gifted and talented students need to be given an environment of understanding of their needs and opportunities for learning at the pace and level of their capabilities.Gifted Education Awareness Week aids in building this understanding in Namibia

“This week it’s the start of a new “adventure”, with regards to discovering talents in Namibia” says Silvia van Biljon