Bachelor of Bouncing, Doctor of Daydreaming

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Columbus Cheetah and the Dabrowski Dogs were discussing the new school year and how they could help Sprite to succeed.

Columbus Cheetah had the Feetspeak Quest map  and Prof Francoys Gagne’s DMGT model diagram  spread out and was trying to plot a path for Sprite from innate giftedness to fully developed talent.
“We can provide her with support and make opportunities available” Columbus was saying “But there are still speed humps and difficulties to overcome.
Being 2E does complicate matters.
It is quite a challenge to prevent her from being an underachiever.
She finds it hard to demonstrate her giftedness and many of her areas of strength are not ones that are recognized and rewarded in the school system.
She does not receive any credit from the school for the astronomy evenings with her mentor.
And the school is not impressed with her very original way of thinking such as:
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/thats-what-its-all-about/
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/critical-thinking/
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/timelines/

It is a myth that all gifted students will be successful in school.” Columbus concluded.

“If Sprite is going to succeed academically I should be the only one to accompany her to school” stated Intellectual Dabrowski.

There were growls and howls of disagreement from all the other Dabrowski Dogs.

“I am the only one who has a remote chance of getting her through the system and ending up with some sort of official academic qualification” Intellectual continued.
“What will you others help her achieve?
Bachelor of Bouncing with Psycho Motor Dabrowski
Honorary degree in Histrionics with Emotional Dabrowski
Certificate of Completion in Corporeal Comforts with Sensual Dabrowski
Or Doctorate in Daydreaming with Imaginational Dabrowski”

“What I am trying to say” said Columbus Cheetah “is that, as well as advocating for provisions for Sprite at school, it will be necessary for her to be given plenty of opportunities and experiences outside the school setting and that time with her mentor, Paula the Physicist will be very valuable.”

This is a post for Hoagies’ Gifted February 2016 blog hop:
Other Achievement: when your child doesn’t achieve where you hope. 
To find out what advice other bloggers have come on the hop with us starting at www.HoagiesGifted.org/blog_hop_other_achievement.htm

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Discovering the depth and breadth of giftedness

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

The sign announcing the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum October blog hop: Discovering the depth and breadth of giftedness appeared at Sprite’s Site at much the same time as the Lobsters arrived for their Annual Lobby Lobsterfest with the Lolly Lobbing competition and dancing of the Lobster Quadrille.

The suggestions for the topics which could be discussed read

This hop is about exploring the breadth and depth of giftedness – in general, in your kids, or in whatever you want to explore. Perhaps it’s also an opportunity to discuss what the public doesn’t understand – how giftedness looks like a lot of things because it IS a lot of things, not just a kid sitting in the front row of the classroom getting easy As. Perhaps less simplification of giftedness would help others to understand nuances and complexity – why we keep going on about it, and why a one size fits all GATE program doesn’t work for all gifted kids (nor even identify them all).

“Depth and breadth suggests the necessity to measure” declared the Lobsters.
The Forensic Lobsters had brought all the tools necessary to gauge the possible presence of the Wicked Lemon Wedges
They produced rulers to measure the extent of the giftedness and a protractor to measure the degree of the giftedness.
With the help of One Twitter Bird on a ladder they measured Sprite while she was standing. Even though Sprite was not standing up straight the ruler was not long enough to give an accurate measure.

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Image Jo Freitag

So then they measured her in a seated position and checked the number of degrees of the angle of elevation of her leg and added the total (in degrees) to the height total (in centimetres) to compensate for Sprite being a 2E student and came up with an IQ of …….

“What on earth dooo yooou think yooou are doooing?” hooted the Psych-Owl- Ogist.

“To identify giftedness and derive an accurate score for IQ it is necessary for a qualified psychologist or education consultant (preferably with an interest and expertise in giftedness) to administer appropriate testing. The tests must have a sufficiently high ceiling level to be accurate at the upper level; otherwise you will only be able to say that the IQ is above a certain level. I have heard it likened to measuring all the members of the Harlem Globe Trotters basketball team with a six foot ruler and then saying they are all more than six feet tall.
And there are also other ways of identifying giftedness by observation and check lists.

But, as I told Retweet Gifted is not a homogenous group!
There are varying levels of giftedness and varying domains of expertise combined with varying character profiles and personality types.
I discuss some of the aspects of giftedness here https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/the-psych-owl-ogist-2/

And I talk about social/emotional issues here https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/the-psych-owl-ogist-4/

Fortunately Gifted Homeschoolers Forum has an excellent collection of articles about these topics at http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/resources/parent-and-professional-resources/articles/
Defining giftedness at http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/resources/parent-and-professional-resources/articles/defining-giftedness/
Tests and testing http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/resources/parent-and-professional-resources/articles/testing-2/

“The other problem” chimed in Columbus Cheetah “is that very often people have mistaken ideas about what giftedness is and is not. There are so many myths surrounding giftedness. I always aim to counter the myths in my role as Myth Buster
http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/columbuscheetah.htm
And I also advocate for employing acceleration when appropriate and using the Iowa acceleration scales
https://www.accelerationinstitute.org/Resources/IAS.aspx

One of the common misconceptions is that all children are gifted
Gifted Homeschoolers Forum has a page of Rapid Responses to this issue at http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/resources/parent-and-professional-resources/articles/are-all-children-gifted/

Thank goodness Gifted Homeschoolers Forum gives links to information about giftedness and its measurement so that we do not have to do not have to rely on Lobsters with rulers and protractors.

This is a post for Gifted Homeschoolers Forum October blog hop.
To find all the posts please go to

http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/blog-hops/discovering-the-depth-and-breadth-of-giftedness/

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Advocacy – Just ask Sprite and co

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Sprite had just completed a session with Dr Ed Needs, the Education Consultant, regarding her education requirements as a 2E twice exceptional student and now had recommendations for challenging her giftedness and extra support provisions for her areas of difference and difficulty. Dr Needs had stated that he would be available to advocate for Sprite by discussing the measures with the school if necessary.

“He said that I would need to learn how to advocate for myself too” Sprite said “What did he mean by that?”

“Well” I said “It means that you need to learn how to talk about what you need  in a respectful manner . For instance if you want to make mind maps and sketches when you are told to take notes you could tell the teacher that is what you are doing so that she will know you are paying attention and not just doodling.”

We have talked about Advocacy for Sprite before

Advocacy https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/advocacy/

Advocacy 2 https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/advocacy-2/

The meeting https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/the-meeting/

But advocacy is not confined to talking to schools.

It can also be raising awareness of issues and tackling myths about giftedness.

Columbus Cheetah advocates for the gifted by myth busting
http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/columbuscheetah.htm

Advocacy can also be explaining giftedness and the associated asynchrony and intensities to family and friends.
Retweet has encountered the need for this when dealing with Great Aunt Hashtag and her friends but has not always been brave enough to speak up.

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/when-extended-family-dont-get-giftedness/

Whenever you speak up to increase awareness or explain issues you are acting as an advocate.

This post is part of the Hoagies Gifted October Blog Hop: Gifted advocacy
Links to all the posts in the blog hop can be found at
www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_gifted_advocacy.htm
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Giftedness: Why Does It Matter?

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The sign announcing the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum September blog hop on the topic ‘Giftedness- why does it matter?’ had been posted and the characters at Sprite’s Site were busy discussing it.

“Giftedness matters because, to quote the Columbus Group definition, the gifted need modifications in parenting, teaching and counselling in order to develop optimally” said the Psych-Owl-Ogist.

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“It was certainly very helpful for us to have the tweetlets assessed by the Psych-Owl-Ogist and to learn about giftedness” Retweet said “Before we did that everyone said that they were just being naughty or neurotic and blamed our parenting. But when we found out it helped us to be more understanding and also to make decisions about how they should be educated”

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/best-australian-blogs-2013-no-14-stories-3-twitter-bird-tales/

“It also matters because there are so many myths and so much misinformation about giftedness” said Columbus Cheetah.
http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/columbuscheetah.htm
“We have people saying everyone is gifted or nobody is gifted. We have people saying you can create giftedness by practice and attitude. We have people saying it does not matter whether you identify giftedness if you differentiate. We have people saying you should give all students exactly the same programs and people saying gifted do not need any different treatment.”
“But we know from the Columbus group definition that the gifted need modifications in parenting, teaching and counselling in order to develop optimally”

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“It is especially important in the case of 2E students like Sprite” said Columbus Cheetah. “If their giftedness is not recognized only their learning difficulties and differences get noticed and they are put into remedial groups and not given appropriate challenges. Or else the difficulties mask the giftedness and the giftedness enables the student to hide the difficulties and the student appears average and receives no modifications at all.”

“That is why initial assessment with a psychologist who specialises in gifted and 2E issues and ongoing evaluation and treatment with an education consultant can be so helpful. 2E students need to be allowed to work at their level of ability while receiving support for their difficulties. Sometimes special services or funding is available for the students whose needs qualify them to receive them”
That is why Sprite went back to see Dr Ed Needs recently for progressive achievement testing and planning the next stages of her education.
We are planning Sprite’s education programs http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/feetspeakforweb01.htm  using De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes as the planning tool and checking the effectiveness of the programs using Gagne’s DMGT model. We need to make both suitable provisions for both her giftedness and support measures for her difficulties.

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We talked about the topic of Identification of gifted students recently on Twitter #gtchat.
The transcript can be found here   https://storify.com/gtchatmod/gtchat-gifted-identification

A review of the chat and additional information links will be found on the #gtchat blog at http://globalgtchatpoweredbytagt.wordpress.com/

This is a post for the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum September Blog Hop.
Please join us on the hop and read and comment on the posts.
To find all the posts in the hop please follow the links at http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/blog-hops/giftedness-why-matters/  

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Gifted – How?

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Psycho Motor Dabrowski had interrupted our discussion about Animal Farm to remind me that I should write a blog post on the topic ‘Gifted – How?’ for the Hoagiesgifted September blog hop.

“Some people say that everyone is gifted in some way. Do you think that is true?” Sprite asked me.

“Some people tend to confuse the term gifted (which means an IQ above a certain level and the related heightened intensity) with being unique or special.” I said

Yes, everyone is unique and special, precious and of equal worth. Everyone has areas of strength and ability and attributes which some people would call gifts or talents.

But NO, everyone is NOT gifted in the sense of the word as we use it here on the blog!

I could see that Columbus Cheetah was eager to share his myth busting efforts with us and he pointed to a collection of his cheetah logic at http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/columbuscheetah.htm

“But what about when people say something like Psycho Motor is gifted at bouncing?” asked Sprite.

“I would say that Psycho Motor has a talent for bouncing but that is not what makes him gifted” I said

The terms gifts and talents are used in different ways according to the definition being quoted.

Prof Francoys Gagne’s DMGT model speaks of Giftedness as innate abilities in a number  of different Domains which can be transformed into fully developed Talent if circumstances are favourable.

The Psych Owl Ogist talks about being gifted in different ways at https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/the-psych-owl-ogist-6/

You can read more about Definitions of Giftedness on Hoagies Gifted Education pages at http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/ 

This post is part of the Hoagiesgifted September Blog hop. Gifted, How?
The different faces of giftedness. The creative gifted, the math gifted, the chess kid, the 2e child, the introvert, etc. All gifted kids (and adults) don’t all look alike!  What does the face of giftedness look like to you?
Links to all the posts in the blog hop can be found at  www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_gifted_how.htm

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Staying motivated throughout the homeschool year

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Sprite and her friends are joining in the first Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop for 2014 which deals with the challenge of staying motivated throughout the homeschool year.

The Tweet family of Twitter Birds who live at Sprite’s Site are teaching their tweetlets at home using the NEST Ed method.
Retweet says that she has experienced difficulty with maintaining motivation for the whole year but that she has found a number of strategies that were helpful.

Intellectual Dabrowski had encouraged her to watch

RSA Animate Daniel Pink The surprising truth about what motivates us
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

It discussed Intrinsic /extrinsic rewards and interest and engagement as sources of motivation
Retweet had tried using the reward of digital badges as motivation
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/digital-badges-2/

Get in the Flow
The Psych-Owl-Ogist advised Retweet to “Get in the Flow”
He told her that in order for students to be engaged in their learning it is important to pitch the teaching at what Dr Katherine Hoekman would call ‘the eyebrow wrinkle level’ of challenge – possible to attain with effort – but neither impossibly difficult nor far too easy.
http://www.positivedisintegration.com/Hoekman1999.pdf

He also referred her to the TED talk about Flow at http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html
Professor Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, notes that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow when they are completely absorbed in the activity at hand and nothing else seems to matter. For the state of flow to occur the challenge of the task and the ability of the performer need to be matched. The task should be neither too easy nor much too difficult.

Columbus Cheetah agreed it was important for Retweet to start at the right level and work at a suitable pace in order to keep the tweetlets engaged in their studies and added that they should also be given opportunities to spend time with true peers.

flow

PBL – Project/Problem/Passion Based Learning

Retweet had seen how disastrous it could be when the tweetlets were not interested in their studies https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/the-psych-owl-ogist-5/

Intellectual Dabrowski had suggested the use of PBL – Project/Problem/Passion Based Learning and Retweet had incorporated project work in the areas that the tweetlets were passionately interested in to their studies.
Retweet had included some theme studies such as the study of luck https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/lucky-i-had-my-lucky-_________-with-me/  and arranged for the tweetlets to build kites. She had encouraged Tweetelle in her love of painting and suffered cracked ear wax as Tweetil mastered the drums.
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/pa-rum-pa-pa-pum/

She had incorporated some Online courses such as the ones offered by Gifted Homeschoolers Forum  http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/ghf-online/
Khan Academy etc. and various universities and programs and tutorials such as Scratch http://scratch.mit.edu/

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Vocational guidance

Giving the tweetlets some insight into future careers by taking them to Work Experience Week at the Twitter Stream for Vocational Ed studies had also provided a sense of purpose for the tweetlets. It broadened their awareness of careers that are available and what subjects should be studied in order to prepare for them.
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/the-twitter-stream/

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Participation in Global Projects
After I participated in the Global Education Conference I brought back to Sprite’s Site information about making connections with others by joining in global projects such as World Museum World Friends Project, Peace One Day, Dream flags, My Hero and Flat Stanley. Retweet was quick to see that collaborating with others around the world and sharing their work with a real audience would be great motivation for her tweetlets.
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/gathered-from-the-global-education-conference-2012/

Find mentors or tutors

Imaginational Dabrowski had suggested to me the benefits of finding a mentor for Sprite https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/purple-riding-boots/

“I love the idea of a mentor for Sprite!” Imaginational said “She could go and listen to her mentor giving lectures and show her the things she has been working on and the mentor could suggest books for her to read and send her encouragement notes. And if the mentor has overcome difficulties too she could help Sprite overcome her difficulties and not feel embarrassed about wearing one pink slipper. And she could come and visit and we could all look at the stars together”
We found Paula the Physicist who shares Sprite’s love of astronomy and she has been a great source of encouragement and motivation for Sprite.

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A recent gtchat discussed the value of mentoring for gifted learners http://globalgtchatpoweredbytagt.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/mentoring-gifted-learners/

Retweet agreed that finding mentors was a great way to encourage motivation and engagement. The Psych-Owl-Ogist had advised her to engage mentors and tutors or take courses with specialists in specific subjects and had suggested that she could share the teaching of
Migration and Navigation with Arctic Tern
Business Studies with the Secretary Bird
Collecting and curating with Bower Bird
Humour with Kookaburra
Carolling with Magpie
Theatre with Lyrebird
Elocution with Parrot

Retweet said that her tweetlets loved the sessions they spent with their mentors and tutors.

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This is a post in the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum February 2014 Blog Hop: Staying motivated throughout the homeschool year

To read all the posts from the blogs participating in this blog hop please see http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/?p=3285

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Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 10

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?’
http://www.stephanietolan.com/is_it_a_cheetah.htm

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Columbus Cheetah says at first glance this myth, like Myth 4, is a generalization and can be answered in a similar way.
Some parents are pushy and some are not and likewise some parents of gifted students are pushy and some are not.

But this myth is also part of several other myths.

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Sometimes it is used in conjunction with Myth 7

It is often assumed that if the child is gifted it is because the parents had flash carded them to within an inch of their life while they were still in the cradle.
But Columbus Cheetah has already busted that particular myth in https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-7/

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Sometimes parents of gifted are considered pushy because they make other people feel uncomfortable because they are intense, sensitive and passionate.

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Columbus Cheetah says these are common attributes of gifted people.

Cheetah logic says:
The apple does not fall far from the tree
Cheetah cubs are the offspring of cheetahs
It is very likely that gifted students have gifted parents
And if being intense, sensitive and passionate are common attributes of gifted people it is quite likely that parents of gifted could be intense, sensitive and passionate.
But it is not only gifted people or parents of gifted people that can be intense, sensitive and passionate.
And being intense, sensitive and passionate does not necessarily equate with being pushy.

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Sometimes parents of gifted are considered pushy because they are
perceived to be demanding when they seek to have their children’s needs met.

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As we saw in Myth 1 the cheetah population is very low in numbers because of the combination of a very limited gene pool, environmental issues and failure to compete with other carnivorous species.
The limited gene pool means that because of inbreeding the rate of genetic birth  defects and infant mortality is high.
Very few cheetahs are born in captivity.
Columbus Cheetah says that in the wild mama cheetahs are usually good mothers. They do all that they can to keep their offspring safe and provide for their needs and teach them the skills they will need to survive.
They recognise and try to meet the particular needs of cheetahs which may not be the same as the needs of other species.

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Most humans are good parents. They do all that they can to keep their offspring safe and provide for their needs and arrange for them to receive an education that will prepare them well for life. Every child has the right to an education which meets their needs.

Like the cheetah, the gifted are a minority group in the population. Very often the physical and social environments favoured by the general population are not ideal for the gifted and their educational needs are not the same.
As we saw in Myth 9 special education for gifted students is not about giving extra – it is about giving suitable provisions for all students and therefore gifted students
receiving the educational provisions such as acceleration or extension that
they need.

In fact as the Columbus Group 1991 definition of giftedness says

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So when the parents of gifted students ask for a suitable education for their children they are asking for them to be recognized as gifted and for provisions which will meet their needs which may not be the same as the needs of other students.
They are asking for their children to be given the opportunity to work in the flow, in the eyebrow crinkle zone, to learn at the level, pace and depth which suits their abilities and to have the experience of spending time with true peers rather than age peers.

If other parents are not considered pushy when asking for their children’s needs to be met, why should the parents of gifted be considered pushy when they ask for their children’s needs to be met?

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