Being well aware of care

As I sit to write a post for New Zealand’s Gifted Awareness Week 2020 Blog Tour I am very conscious of the difference of the situation from previous years.

Until 2016 I was living in seaside Rosebud, Victoria and it was very easy for the folk from Sprite’s Site to go down to the beach and send light hearted greetings and good wishes across the ditch. https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/gifted-awareness-week-new-zealand/
The Origami Secretary Bird and Intellectual Dabrowski made sure that I also included some useful information or links.

This year I am living in the beautiful village of Poatina, Tasmania on the edge of the Great Lakes country and framed by the majestic heritage listed Great Western Tiers. https://www.poatinacommunity.com.au/
There are many wonderful walking tracks around the village and the surrounding areas https://www.poatinacommunity.com.au/trailes-bushwalks

The Poatina Tree Art Gallery can be visited virtually at https://www.poatinacommunity.com.au/poatina-tree-art-gallery

So some of the folk from Sprite’s Site have gathered on the grassed area near my cabin to send their greetings and to contribute their insights and varying expertise

The mood this year during the corona virus pandemic is more sombre.
So it is very appropriate that the theme for New Zealand’s Gifted Awareness Week 2020 is Wellbeing: Why it is important to care for the wellbeing of gifted people – young and old.

When I started considering how to provide the care needed for wellbeing I thought of what the needs are and how to meet them.

Intellectual Dabrowski appeared with the diagram of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

“Here you are!” he said. “These are the needs that must be met to ensure a person’s well-being. You will notice that, most importantly, the foundations at the very base are the physical needs of food, water, warmth and rest. After that come the needs for security and safety. Then come the needs for belonging and being loved and loving. And then the esteem needs of prestige and feeling of accomplishment. At the apex of the triangle is self-actualisation, fulfilling one’s potential and being creative.”

“That is true” said Columbus Cheetah. “But when we are thinking about care for the well-being of gifted people there are a few extra things to consider.”

“If you remember the Columbus Group 1991 definition of giftedness specifies that the gifted require modifications in parenting, teaching and counselling in order for them to develop optimally”

“And why is that?” continued Columbus Cheetah. “It is because of the asynchronous development and the heightened intensity and sensitivities of the gifted.”

So what modifications are needed to provide for the wellbeing of the gifted?

The gifted are a diverse group coming from every racial, ethnic, religious, and socio-economic group. https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2017/07/03/acknowledging-diversity-gifted-is-not-a-homogenous-group/

And there are gifted people in every age group https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/do-you-grow-out-of-giftedness/
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2015/04/24/back-from-the-hop/

The gifted need to be understood and the myths about giftedness https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/myths-about-giftedness/  to be dispelled.

They need appropriate education at the right level, depth, breadth and pace and to have time with true intellectual peers rather than being limited by being tied to the expectations for their age peers.

Gifted and 2E Twice Exceptional students need educational options https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/fine-focus-webinar/
that will be best suited to ensuring their progress from their innate giftedness to fully developed talent

They need examples of excellence and teachers, mentors and counsellors to support their physical, intellectual and spiritual growth.

And they need Advocacy https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/advocacy-just-ask-sprite-and-co/

It does matter that the gifted should be given the modifications of care necessary for them to develop optimally!
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/giftedness-why-does-it-matter/

So it is great to know that New Zealand is joining with Australia and Jamaica to highlight Wellbeing: A no limits approach to the care of the wellbeing of gifted people of all ages.

All at Sprite’s Site send their greetings, message flags in the trees, and wishes for a successful Gifted Awareness Week

This is a post for the New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week 2020 blog tour.

Traditions old and new

Do you remember that last week Wistful Black Dog and Imaginational Dabrowski were visiting the Tweet family?
Wistful Black Dog was looking back at the past and either missing the happy times or wishing that things could have been better in the bad times.
And Imaginational Dabrowski was looking forward to the future and imagining how perfect things could be especially if it could be on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Well since then Retweet has been thinking about traditions. Some of the activities the Tweet family usually participate in have not be possible this year.
For example Twitter Birds used to go A- May-Ing Camelot style every May.
They would dress up in medieval English costumes and go on picnics, gather flowers and dance around the Maypole. And flower sellers and McSeeds fast food vendors would peddle their wares from their barrows.
This year the May-Ing celebrations could not be held.

But the Tweet family have been doing new things some of which they have enjoyed so much that they would like to keep doing them after the restrictions are eased.

For instance they will probably still have Wrensday. It will be a happy memory of this time and become a new family tradition.

Retweet was very happy to see The Memory Elephant under their tree with a collection of pictures of the May-Ing festivities which they could enjoy.

Here are some of the pictures The Memory Elephant brought.

Looking forward, looking back

Image Jo Freitag

It has been a few weeks since we last heard from the Tweet family about how they were coping with social distancing.

Did anyone find out how the mobs of emus, herds of cranes, flocks of starlings, pigeons and swifts, packs of grouse, cotes of doves and colonies and rookeries of penguins were managing social distancing?

Pippin Tweet and Great Aunt Hashtag are still staying with the Tweet family.
The Tweet family have settled into a New Normal pattern of life with Tweet making a minimum number of ventures away from the nest to collect food and they have been quite enjoying the experience of being more relaxed and having fewer commitments.

Retweet thought it would be good for Great Aunt Hashtag to help her with their Nest Ed and tell the tweetlets about what life was life when she was young. Hoping she would focus on happy memories Retweet said “Tell us about the ’good ole days’ and what you did.”

“When you used to hang out with Archaeopteryx!” chirped Tweetil.

“I can assure you Archaeopteryx had been extinct for a very long time before I hatched” said Great Aunt Hashtag in a very huffy tone of voice.

In MY day!” she said “There were no shortages of desiccated Christmas beetles and tweetlets only tweeted when they were twoken to.
Tweetlets sat in the nest and ate their food and learned their Nesty Rhymes. None of these fancy contraptions in MY day. I don’t understand this WEB thing. If Arachnid had put up a web in MY nest I would have swept it away immediately.”

 

Retweet sighed. She looked out from the nest and thought about how for some the past has happy memories and others have sad memories of the past.
She thought about the time of physical distancing they were experiencing at the moment and wondered what life would be like when the restrictions were lifted.
There had been things she had enjoyed and things that she could see they had returned to a simpler, more economical and more environmentally sustainable way of living. She wondered whether some of those things would be retained and whether there would be changes and improvements in education methods.

Somehow Retweet was not surprised to see two of Sprite’s dog friends sitting at the base of their tree,
Wistful Black Dog as ever was looking back at the past and either missing the good times or wishing that things could have been different.
And little Imaginational Dabrowski was hopefully looking forward to the future and imagining what an ideal world could be – on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Social Distancing

How are you all going this week? Did anyone have a day which they called a different name and did an activity that they chose?
Have you had to miss out on doing any things you like to do?

The Tweet Family were looking forward to attending a concert called Exultation of Larks which had to be cancelled. Fortunately since Arachnid had installed the web for the family they were able to listen to some of the Exultation of Larks songs online.

Apparently many other collectives of birds had not been able to gather either.

The Parliament of Owls continued sitting observing strict wingspan lengths between them.

But there was no Convocation of Eagles.

There was no Congregation of Plovers.

The Geese Flocked in a noisy Gaggle and were quickly told to disband and go home.

Nobody was sure whether the Conspiracy of Ravens happened. They were not supposed to meet but there were theories that they did.

 

I am not sure what is happening for other groups of birds.

Herds of Cranes

Flocks of Starlings, Pigeons and Swifts

Packs of Grouse

Cotes of Doves

Colonies and Rookeries of Penguins

Mobs of Emus

Maybe you could find out and let me know next week what they are doing.

“Does God have to do social distancing too?” asked Tweetelle.

Retweet was able to reassure her tweetlets.

“God is not distant! He is as close as ever, as close as breath! He is with us always. And He has promised us he will never leave us or forsake us.

 

Wrensday

Image Jo Freitag

Put your hand up if you think things feel a bit strange and different at the moment!

Tweet and Retweet are feeling a bit disrupted and unsettled at the moment too.
For one thing the Great Migrations have been cancelled or maybe deferred till later this year. Most Twitter birds work for Twitter so they are working from home if possible. And because so many people want to use Twitter to stay connected the Tweet is busier than ever.

Retweet is also busier than ever. She has two extra occupants of the nest at the moment. One is little Pippin Tweet, Retweet’s nephew, who came for a holiday and then could not go home because his parents were feeling a bit seedy and did not know whether it was anything serious. So just to be safe Pippin stayed on with the Tweets.

And Great Aunt Hashtag came for a visit and then was not able to return to her home because at her advanced age she was considered a flight risk.

So Retweet is trying to keep everyone happy and maintain harmony in the nest at the same time as juggling different dietary requirements. And it seemed that Pippin was used to eating a lot more sugary foods than she liked her tweetlets to have.

Great Aunt Hashtag has been complaining because her Beetle Confectionery Cooking class has been cancelled. Also, because everyone was hoarding, supplies were so limited that she was not able to get any desiccated Christmas beetles.

Image Jo Freitag

This is a photo of Great Aunt Hashtag at her Beetle Confectionery Cooking class last year.
You can see that they would not be able to manage social distancing and that if they were cooking together they would be in danger of passing germs to each other. So it was a good thing that the class was cancelled but Great Aunt Hashtag was still disgruntled and grumbling.

Retweet has been trying to cheer up Great Aunt Hashtag and keep Tweetil, Tweetelle and Pippin occupied; so that they would not annoy her. But she has been missing the regular times she used to catch up with other families doing Nest Ed. This is how she has been talking to the family in the tree next door lately.

Image Jo Freitag

Then she had the bright idea to send messages by displaying flags in her tree

Image Jo Freitag

Retweet has been trying to ensure that their Nest Ed studies continued as usual. But at the same time as she was teaching her tweetlets about aerodynamics and meteorology she had to teach Pippin the very basic Flight 101 lesson Flap, Flap, Flap.

And everything felt so different!

On Wednesday Tweetelle said “I do not want to learn about avian anatomy today! It just does NOT feel like Wednesday!”

And Retweet knew exactly how she felt.

“What day do you think it is?” she asked.

“Wrens day!” Tweetelle answered “I want to paint wrens today.”

“What sort of day do you think it is, Tweetil?” she asked.

“Kite day!” said Tweetil. “I want to fly my kite”

She was very glad that doing Nest Ed allowed her to be flexible. She could see that she would be able to include avian anatomy teaching with Tweetelle’s wren painting and aerodynamics with Tweetil’s kite flying.

And then Pippin piped up “I want Lollipop day!”

 

Some things to ponder and some possible activities.

 

1. Are there any big words in the story you did not understand that you could investigate?

 

2. Great Aunt Hashtag is a glass half empty kind of old bird. She is fretting about what she does not have. How could you help her to notice all the things she does have and be grateful?

 

3. Would you like to rename one day this week and do an activity which you enjoy?
You could tell us about it next week!

 

 

 

A Most Peculiar Puzzle Piece

If I were a puzzle piece and you were looking for the puzzle where my piece would fit you would probably have a hard time finding it.

Peculiar

Adjective

  1. Different to what is normal or expected; strange.

“He gave her some very peculiar looks”

strange, unusual, odd, funny, curious, bizarre, weird, uncanny, queer, unexpected,
unfamiliar, abnormal, atypical, anomalous, untypical, different, out of the ordinary, out of the way
  1. Particular; special.

“Any attempt to explicate the theme is bound to run into peculiar difficulties”

distinctive, characteristic, distinct, different, individual, individualistic, distinguishing,
typical, special, specific, representative, unique, idiosyncratic, personal, private,
essential, natural

distinctive, characteristic, distinct, different, individual, individualistic, distinguishing,
typical, special, specific, representative, unique, idiosyncratic, personal, private,
essential, natural

But I do seem to have found a place where my peculiar piece of the puzzle will fit!
I am moving to Poatina Village in Tasmania
https://poatina.fusion.org.au/
Poatina is 40 minutes’ drive from Launceston on the edge of the Great Lakes country and nestled by the majestic heritage listed Western Tiers.
When the Poatina Power Station was built in the late 1950’s, Poatina Village was constructed nearby to house the workforce. Hydro Tasmania sold the entire Village to Fusion Australia in 1995.

I spent two months in Poatina earlier this year as an Artist in Residence. Poatina has a strong emphasis on all forms of the arts and is home to the Alethea Mountain Retreat Arts Centre and Glass Studio.
It is home to Faith and the Arts Summer School
http://www.poatinaarts.org.au/index.php/events/faith-and-the-arts

So my storytelling writing and drawing fitted in.

Also at Poatina is Capstone College http://www.capstone.tas.edu.au/  which redefines education for students who have become disengaged from traditional schooling.
The curriculum includes a mixture of literary and numerical study, together with practical, hands-on life skills in areas like Sustainable Farming, Commercial Enterprise, Artistic Expression, the Natural Environment, Community and Historical importance. Some of these students are gifted or 2E twice exceptional.
And there are several homeschooling families in the village and the surrounding area.
So all the experience and resources I have gathered or created over the years for my family and Gifted Resources and the Church school programs I have written will be useful to the community.

Poatina is interested in stewardship, permaculture, sustainability and waste reduction and at present are working on a Permaculture Appreciative Enquiry which will be leading to and contributing to a Permaculture Design Certificate.
Poatina encourages all the residents to be life-long learners and there are so many opportunities to study and learn and discover within the village or via the universities or online.
So all the people in the village are regarded as unique and treasured assets.

The scenery is beautiful and the sunrise, sunset and rainbow draped skies are beautiful. There are many animal and bird visitors. Wallabies, paddymelons and wombats come right up to the houses at dusk.
So I will be busy happily recording memories with my camera.

And also, most importantly, I will enjoy participating in the life, activities and devotional times of the community.

1 Peter 2:9 King James Version (KJV)
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light

 

 

Myth busting with Columbus Cheetah

When Psycho Motor Dabrowski learned that the theme for this year’s New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week was to be Myth Busting he became even more super-over-excited than usual.

“Cool! I love myth busting!” he yelped. “Lots of bouncing and barking and blowing stuff up and then lots of high fives all round!”

“I think it would be wise to leave myth busting about giftedness to me” said Columbus Cheetah. “It is what I do! And I use Cheetah Logic rather than explosions to make my case.”

Columbus Cheetah has been working on busting myths about gifted and twice exceptional students for many years now.

He has tackled the myth that there are NO gifted students
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-1/
and the myth that ALL students are gifted
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-2/
and the myth that it is possible to create giftedness by training and attitude
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-7/

He has battled myths such as
All gifted students will do well in school
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-3/

Gifted students are polite, well behaved and have neat handwriting
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-4/

Special education provisions for gifted students are elitist
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-9/

And
Gifted students have pushy parents
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-10/

And he has fought valiantly against

All students level out by Year 3
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-5/

Acceleration is harmful for gifted students
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-6/

It is not possible to be gifted and have a disability

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-8/

Sometimes Columbus Cheetah becomes disheartened when he sees that the myths he has been battling against for such a long time continue to be believed and hinder gifted and twice exceptional students from receiving the educational opportunities and the social emotional support they need.
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/the-g-word/

So Columbus Cheetah is delighted that the theme of New Zealand’s Gifted Awareness Week 2019 is Mythbusting!
https://nzgaw.jimdo.com/
All the folk at Sprite’s Site and Personas, Profiles and Portraits blog send their best wishes to New Zealand for a great week and much success with busting the myths surrounding giftedness.

Sprite’s Site characters visit Poatina

The characters from Sprite’s Site have visited Poatina with me recently while I was an Artist in Residence there to share their stories and contribute to understanding of gifted and twice exceptional people.

Sprite has been talking about Dr Linda Silverman’s  Characteristics of 2E Twice Exceptional students and demonstrating her De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes

Columbus Cheetah has been dispelling myths about gifted and twice exceptional people

The Dabrowski Dogs have been demonstrating over-excitabilities and sensitivities

 

P’est Pour Parfait, the Black Perfectionist Poodle and the White Perfectionist Poodle have been talking about the positive and negative aspects of perfectionism

 

 

And, of course the Tweet Family have been sharing their experiences of teaching their Twitter Bird tweetlets using NEST Ed – Nest Education System of Training

The Memory Elephant has been taking lots of photos and recording lots of memories for us all.
I have created a new blog about my Poatina adventures, G’day from Poatina,  at https://gdayfrompoatina.wordpress.com/ 

The punch line

Image by Lisa Conrad

This week I will be the guest and we will be discussing Humor and the Gifted on GT Chat.

By a strange coincidence Sprite is doing a study unit at school about how humor can be used to comment on political and social conditions and maybe act as a force for change. She is learning about Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, Charlie Chaplin films, Robin Williams and political cartoonists.

https://animatingdemocracy.org/sites/default/files/Humor%20Trend%20Paper.pdf

As an introduction to the topic they each had to pretend they were a stand-up comedian and tell a joke or do something to make the class laugh.”

Sprite told me “Most of the kids got up and told a riddle. Some just pulled a silly face or fell over and everyone laughed at them. If they were just being silly or taking too long without being funny the teacher would say they had to get to the punch line. Of course some of the boys took her literally when she said that and punched each other.”

“When it was my turn Intellectual Dabrowski and Imaginational Dabrowski helped me tell a story about a cat who got shut up in a box and lots of things happened to him while he was in there. I could just picture it! It was so funny! I could hardly tell the joke because I was laughing so much but the class didn’t seem to find it funny. So the teacher said ‘Get to the punch line, Sprite’.

And I said “How is your cat, Mr Schrödinger?”

And the kids all said “Huh?” and the teacher said “Good try, Sprite”.

I was not really surprised. Gifted people often have a very different, quirky or intellectual sense of humor. Sometimes it is appreciated and they become beloved comedians, actors and authors. But sometimes they are just misunderstood and regarded as strange.
I am looking forward to the GT Chat session.

Braced for Paradox

I found the Dabrowski Dogs preparing excitedly for the dog competitions at the Spring Agricultural Shows.

Psycho Motor Dabrowski was practising for all the agility events – scaling the high wall, taking a long jump into a swimming pool, running figure of eights through bending poles and crawling through tunnels. He was having so much fun that after he completed each exercise he bounced several times, barked loudly and chased his tail. And he knew the audience would love to see him do that.

Sensual Dabrowski was hoping to be able to compete in the trials for retriever dogs. With his highly developed sense of smell he is excellent at finding and retrieving objects.

Intellectual Dabrowski was preparing for the sheep dog trials by herding twitter birds into an empty sprite can. He was carefully triangulating and calculating the fastest route and deciding exactly when he should give a bark or hold them with the working dog stare. It was Intellectual’s opinion that the dog was the one who instigated all the moves and that the handler was just there for the sake of appearance and to collect the trophy for him.

Imaginational Dabrowski had seen people parachuting into the main arena during the agricultural shows and was happily daydreaming about how much fun it would be to swoop in as Delta Dog https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/08/04/delta-dog/  on his hang glider.

Emotional Dabrowski, the Drama Queen, was getting ready for the conformation classes. She had been to the Paws for Poise mobile dog grooming salon https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/paws-for-poise-parlour-1/  several times and was now parading in front of the mirror, posing in the show stance and showing off her beautifully groomed coat, well-trimmed claws and sparkling white teeth. She was also experimenting with different facial expressions; trying to gauge which would be most appealing to the judges.

Then I noticed that Sprite had the collars of P’est Pour Parfait, the black Perfectionist Poodle and The White Perfectionist Poodle attached to a single lead and she was trying to control them as they endeavoured to head in opposite directions.

“What are you doing?” I asked

“They want to go in the class for A Pair of Dogs” she said.

“That class is called the Brace Class” I said. “The dogs are supposed to look as identical as possible – the same height and colour etc. – and they are supposed to move smoothly in step with each other on the single lead.”

“Oh!” said Sprite. “Maybe I didn’t understand what they wanted. I thought they said they wanted to go in the class for a Pair of Dogs but maybe they said they wanted to go in a class for a Paradox. That would make more sense because Paula told me Perfectionism is a paradox – it can be both good and bad”

We talked about the paradox of perfectionism in the post Black poodle, white poodle https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/white-poodle-black-poodle/