Gifted Island Challenge for Reward 1: Personalise your tent

The first challenge which led to a reward on Survivor – Gifted Island also acted as an ice breaker getting to know you exercise and also a creative way of marking the starting point of the experience in a KWL manner.

K = KNOW – What I already know about the topic

W= WANT – What I what to learn about the topic

L= LEARNED – What I have learned about the topic that I did not know before – This is be done at the end of the exercise

We were all told to decorate our tents with a Coat of Arms.

This helped us to locate our own tent and showed some of our interests and aspirations which could provide conversation starters and assist in locating like minded people.

The exercise is found in an article by Dr James Webb ‘Dabrowski’s Theory and Existential Depression in Gifted Children and Adults’ which can be found online in the Davidson Institute for Talent Development collection of articles at

The instructions for personalising the Coat of Arms were:

  • First, title your shield by putting your name on the top.
  • In each section of your shield, put the following:
    • Choose one word that describes you, and draw a picture that represents that word in one panel of the shield.
    • Draw a symbol to represent the social or political cause that you have done the most for in your lifetime.
    • List two things that you have been struggling to become better at, and write them in one panel of the shield.
    • Draw a picture or note a major fantasy of what you yearn to do or would do if you had no restrictions.
    • Select three words that you would like people to use to describe you, and write or symbolize them in one panel of the shield.
    • Draw something to represent what caused the greatest change in your way of living.
    • Draw or symbolize the most important person in your life.

Now consider how central this coat of arms is in your daily life. Do you use your coat of arms only to protect you, or does it also represent something that you aspire to?

This is how my decorated tent appeared.

The other exercise was also from the same source and was called Johari’s Window
to help us understand what we know about ourselves and how we relate to others.

Luft and Ingham (1955), recognizing that all of us have “blind spots” when it comes to how we see ourselves, developed a simple matrix which they called Johari’s Window as a tool to help people understand themselves, their blind spots, and their relationships with others. To use Johari’s window, a person is given a list of 55 adjectives and instructed to select five or six that describe his or her own personality. Peers of that person are then given the same list, and they each choose five or six adjectives that describe the subject. These adjectives are then put in the appropriate “window” below. The person discovers which of the adjectives match what others have listed, as well as which adjectives they listed that others did not. The results can be extremely helpful in gaining self-understanding, including how one is seen by others.

I remember enjoying doing these exercises with Anne Jackson when she held a camp for families of gifted children at Wombat Corner in Emerald several years ago.

Eeyore, Puddleglum and Black Dog


“I love Eeyore,” said Sprite, cuddling her new soft toy, the pessimistic donkey from A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories. Fortunately he looks more like the original E. H. Sheppard illustrations than the Disney version. “He just needs lots of hugs and he will be fine – like Donkey in Shrek”

“Puddleglum in the Narnia story just annoys me because he chooses to see the worst possible outcome every time even when it is not at all logical”

“But Black Dog really frightens me sometimes.”

The hairs on the back of my neck stood up.
The automatic association I made (especially after the mention of Eeyore and Puddleglum was the black dog of depression
And the next automatic association was James Webb’s iconic article Existential depression in gifted individuals

Hoping that my associations were not correct and trying to sound matter of fact I asked “When have you seen Black Dog?”