Doggy Classroom Dynamics


This is what happens when the Dabrowski Dogs and the Black Dogs accompany Sprite to school. The subject is English language and the topic is creative writing.
This is the discussion amongst the dogs and their recommendations to Sprite.

Imaginational Dabrowski: You could write a story titled “I am a Cheetah”

Intellectual Dabrowski: The cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, is a large feline inhabiting some areas of Africa and Iran.
The cheetah can run faster than any other land animal— as fast as 112 to 120 km/h in short bursts covering distances up to 500 m and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in three seconds. It has an anatomy that is perfectly designed for running fast. Look up fact sheets about this on the Cheetah Conservation Foundation website.
The cheetah is listed as vulnerable to extinction, facing various threats such as competition with and predation by other carnivores, a gene pool with very low variability, and persecution by mankind.

P’est Pour Parfait, the Perfectionist Poodle: Excellent choice of subject. Just make sure that you spell those long words correctly and get all the facts 100% accurate.

Imaginational: I mean you should write about what it feels like to BE a cheetah.

Guard on Duty Black Dog: How could she possibly know what it feels like to be a cheetah?

Thinks He’s an Alien Black Dog: If she writes that she IS a cheetah everyone will think she is really weird!  I bet none of the other kids think they are cheetahs. When I say what I think and feel everyone looks at me as if I came from another planet and maybe I did!

Little Bully Black Dog: If she writes that everyone will laugh at her and tease her and call her a CHEATER and say she cheats on tests

Sensual Dabrowski: You could write about all the sights and sounds and smells that a cheetah would experience. I am not feeling very comfortable in the classroom at the moment. There is too much background noise and the neon lights are flickering and I am feeling really itchy. I bet you are too!

Psycho Motor Dabrowski: Cheetahs must have a lot of fun running and running and running. Do you want to go outside and see what it would be like to run?

SAD Seasonally Affected Black Dog: She can’t go outside now because it is raining.

Wistful Black Dog: Even if she could go outside she would not be able to run far and she would just get depressed.
Is that shadow on the wall just a shadow of a cloud or is it Leaping Attack Black Dog?

Emotional Dabrowski: You should write about the cheetah’s emotions. What makes the cheetah happy? What makes the cheetah sad? What makes you happy? Are the things that make you happy the same as the things that make the cheetah happy?

Why are you crying now? Are you happy or sad or just confused?

The illustration for this post is a composite of ink sketches made for INKtober
Every October, artists all over the world take on the InkTober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month.
I have been participating in INKtober and posting at least one picture a day on a very friendly and supportive Facebook group where I have my own album

Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 4

In line with his New Year resolution, that in 2014 he will increase his efforts to bust the myths surrounding giftedness and advocate for acceleration and ability grouping opportunities for gifted students, and in preparation for a webinar and Global GT chat on Twitter for the next two weeks, Columbus Cheetah is updating his myth busting presentations.

Columbus Cheetah’s discussion of the myths surrounding giftedness are based in his own brand of cheetah logic and the wonderful analogy of the cheetah to the gifted person given in Stephanie Tolan’s wonderful article ‘Is it a Cheetah?’


Columbus Cheetah says cheetah logic says it is not possible to make generalisations like this.
Some gifted students are polite and some are rude; some are well behaved and some are not; some have neat handwriting and some do not.

Gifted is not a homogenous group!
There are different levels of giftedness and there are many other differences apart from IQ There are different areas of expertise and interest. And there are differences in character traits and different levels of intensity and sensitivity’

To read more about this see

In fact Columbus Cheetah says this generalisation would be more likely to be true of teacher pleasing high achievers than gifted students.

Gifted students often do not have neat handwriting. This is because they cannot write fast enough to keep pace with their thoughts and because they are more interested in the content of their writing than its appearance.
Letting gifted students use a keyboard for writing essays is very helpful.
If neat handwriting is valued it is better for the student to learn calligraphy as an art form.




Columbus Cheetah says that cheetah logic would say that cheetah cubs tend to resemble grumpy little honey badgers! This is a means of camouflage and also a measure of protection against predators.
Manners and behaviour are reflections of temperament, character traits and upbringing. They can also be pointers to the level of comfort or stress the student is feeling. Extreme frustration, irritation or boredom because of unmet learning needs (unsuitable level, pace and depth) can result in rudeness and bad behaviour in usually polite and well behaved students.
Gifted students are more likely to experience this frustration than students who are happy and achieving well at the level of the class.
Gifted students can often seem like grumpy little honey badgers!


Wednesday December 4: I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

Sprite and friends are dreaming of a white Christmas with every Christmas card they write and listening to the song about it here
Postman Pedro Perez whose parents live in Peru and Beloved Snail and other Mail Snails are busy delivering Christmas mail.
Sprite has made sure that her soft toys Puppy and Pony, Panda and Penguin do not feel neglected by giving them last year’s cards. Pedro is relieved that the dog accompanying Sprite today is the quiet little fawn pug, Pugnacious Loyola, rather than the boisterous Psycho Motor Dabrowski.
Columbus Cheetah has brought a poster for Sprite’s pin board to remind her that today is the International Day of the Cheetah.
You can read more about cheetahs by following this link or scanning the QR code


Creator is to creation as….

I enjoy analogies and ratios.
They were my favourite questions on the multiple choice general intelligence tests.
You know, like

Dog is to Puppy as Cat is to ———-
8:2 as 27: ———–

I also like analogies that help to describe and explain something unknown in terms of something that is known and understood.
Stephanie Tolan’s article “Is it a cheetah?” is a great example which explains and describes a gifted person by analogy to a cheetah.
There is a great collection of analogies for giftedness in the Analogy Anthology at Hoagies website

The parables told by Jesus are similar to analogies – earthly stories with Heavenly meanings we were told at school. Jesus helped the people understand God and Heaven by telling stories about sowing seed and finding lost treasures.

But sometimes analogies are inaccurate or do not give a full explanation.

And an example of this which occurred to me recently was that of my relationship and consequent responsibilities to Sprite.
God is my Creator and I am Sprite’s creator.
However it would not be accurate to say
God the Creator is to Jo as Jo is to Sprite.

The main reason for this is that I do not have any of the Omnis which are attributes of God. God is Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent and I am not!

It was clearly demonstrated that although I am Sprite’s creator I am not able to physically travel to her dimension

When Sprite said “Please promise that you won’t forget about us if you get all involved with using the other blog!”  
And I replied “Of course I won’t forget you!”
it brought to mind my Creator God’s promise that he would always be with us and would never abandon us.

This brought to mind an analogy relating to God which in my opinion has some flaws – that of God as the Watchmaker.
The intricacies of the watch propose that the watch had an intelligent creator in the same way as the intricacies of the natural world speak of an Intelligent Creator.

However this analogy is also used to suggest that God designed the creation, set it on its course and then ignored it and now allows it to run according to the laws of nature which He had installed.
It describes a God who is transcendent but never immanent.
It fails to account for God’s continued presence in and ongoing sustaining and interaction with His creation.

The Psych Owl ogist 3

“It is about WHO the Tweetlets are!” reiterated the Psych Owl ogist “Who…who…who…”

Tweet and Retweet were not sure whether he was still talking to them as he seemed to have gone off into his own reveries.

“What do you mean WHO?” asked Retweet

The Psych Owl ogist shook out his feathers. “Well,” he said “Usually at about this point in the discussion human psychologists and gifted education consultants would refer to an excellent article by Stephanie Tolan Is it a cheetah?

“But I am going to present you with an analogy which is more pertinent to your specific situation.”

Is it an Arctic Tern?

You see a bird and it is wearing a distinctive band and you follow its progress as it completes its migrations and you make a map of the flight paths and see that it travels from its northern breeding grounds along a winding route to the oceans around Antarctica and back, a round trip of about 70,900 km (c. 44,300 miles) each year. This is by far the longest regular migration by any known animal. The Arctic Tern flies as well as glides through the air, performing almost all of its tasks in the air. It nests once every one to three years (depending on its mating cycle); once it has finished nesting it takes to the sky for another long southern migration.

You know it is an Arctic Tern because they are the only bird able to accomplish a migration of this distance.

But what if you see the Arctic Tern when it is sitting on a pylon and it is not wearing a distinguishing band?
Would you still know that it is an Arctic Tern?

You would know if you knew the distinguishing characteristics of an Arctic Tern.

Arctic Terns are medium-sized birds. They have a length of 33–39 cm (13–15 in) and a wingspan of 76–85 cm (26–30 in). They are mainly grey and white plumaged, with a red beak and feet, white forehead, a black nape and crown (streaked white), and white cheeks. The grey mantle is 305 mm, and the scapulae are fringed brown, some tipped white. The upper wing is grey with a white leading edge, and the collar is completely white, as is the rump. The deeply forked tail is whitish, with grey outer webs.

Is it still an Arctic Tern when it is sitting still and not engaged in migration flight?

Of course it is!

Both analogies – the cheetah to the gifted human and the Arctic tern to the gifted Tweetlet – show that giftedness does not have to be demonstrated to be a fact.
Both acknowledge that there are characteristic traits which make it recognisable, without need of demonstrated achievement, which will be obvious to those who know and understand those characteristics
Both analogies discuss that the creature must be fit, supplied with adequate nourishment and suitable environment to be able to produce the phenomenal accomplishments of which the species is capable.

The cheetah analogy is the better one because it also illustrates the scarcity in numbers of the cheetah; which is similar to the rarity of very high IQ in the general human population. It also speaks of the danger of extinction of the cheetah which relates to the section in the Columbus Group definition of giftedness.
‘The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counselling in order for them to develop optimally.”

Fortunately, although the Arctic Tern numbers are dwindling in some areas, the species as a whole is currently considered in the Least Concern category by the IUCN

The cheetah analogy is also superior because it discusses the camouflage of cheetah cubs which describes well how many gifted students hide their abilities in order to blend in with their surroundings and fellow students to avoid ridicule or pressure.

Both analogies recognise that the creature must be adult to perform the incredible feats.

What about an Arctic Tern chick? Like your Tweetlets, it is not ready to fly yet. Is it an Arctic Tern or just a potential Arctic Tern?

Chadwick Cheetah joins the coalition


My good friend Andrea Butchard, who was a source of inspiration for Feetspeak and has always been a great encourager of Gifted Resources, insists that it was purely coincidence that Chadwick Cheetah turned up at our front door at much the same time as she did, with a note asking to be given a home in the style of Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear.

Andrea knew that Chadwick Cheetah would be just the right creature to bring a smile to our faces and let us know that our friends are thinking about us and giving us support at a time when things are difficult. We are one of the thousands of families having difficulties with Centrelink See
And Chadwick will fit in well with my coalition of soft toy cheetahs – L to R Chicquita Cheetah, a gift from our daughter Erica, Chadwick Cheetah, and Columbus Cheetah. mythbuster  star of Gifted Resources website and Sprite’s Site blog, who sits on my desk and accompanies me to conferences and speaking engagements.

Thank you so much Andrea for making sure that Chadwick Cheetah would come and brighten up our day!