Belonging – A place of sanctuary

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Sprite’s Site is a place of sanctuary for many:

  • Lobsters holding their Lobsterfest without fear of the Wicked Lemon Wedges
  • Pumpkins hiding from the Halloween carvers
  • Outfora Duck escaping the humiliation of cricket matches
  • Twitter Birds setting up bowers where they can gather to discuss topics of their own choosing
  • The Topiary Tessellation Bird Leaf Tree Octopus (Octopus Topiarii) because at least there are some at Sprite’s Site with sufficient imagination to acknowledge him
  • Thinks He’s Alien Black Dog because he can find others there (like Sprite  and Retweet)  who also feel at times as if they are an alien who has been abandoned on this planet or have sufficient imagination (like Imaginational Dabrowski) to guess how he might be feeling.

Everyone needs a place of sanctuary – a place where they feel as if they belong and are understood. It is a basic need.

Gifted people are no exception. They have the same need to ‘find their tribe’, find their peers, find their place of sanctuary. But it can be harder for them to do it.

Exceptionally and profoundly gifted students are unlikely to find another student like themselves in their own classroom unless it is a selected entry gifted class.

It is one of the most compelling reasons for acceleration https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-6/

http://www.accelerationinstitute.org/

It is a powerful reason for grouping gifted students together.

It is the reason Dr Karen Rogers says “Gifted and talented students should spend the majority of their school day with others of similar abilities and interests”
She has written articles about the grouping of gifted students which can be read at

http://nrcgt.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/953/2015/04/rbdm9102.pdf http://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database/entry/A10173

And Prof Miraca Gross emphasises the social emotional importance of finding a true friend who can be a sure shelter and share at a deep level and that the likeliness of this happening is greater if the student has been accelerated http://www.sengifted.org/archives/articles/play-partner-or-sure-shelter-what-gifted-children-look-for-in-friendship

Belonging is the theme for the 2016 New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tour.

Every year folk from Sprite’s Site go down to the beach to wave ‘across the ditch’ to New Zealand and wish them well for Gifted Awareness Week.
To read about Sprite’s Site involvement in previous blog tours see https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/gifted-awareness-week-new-zealand/

To read all the posts on this year’s tour go to http://nzcge.co.nz/blogtour

nzblogtour16logo

Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 6

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

colombusmb06a

This is a myth which particularly concerns Columbus Cheetah.
It is used to argue against accelerating gifted students on the grounds that either
a) it will be detrimental to the flow of the student’s learning or
b) it will have negative social effects on the student

Columbus Cheetah is very eager to advocate for gifted students to be able to learn at a suitable LEVEL and PACE and to have the opportunity to spend time with their TRUE PEERS who may not be the same age as themselves.

Acceleration is an educational intervention that moves students through an educational program at a faster than usual rate or younger than typical age.
Acceleration means matching the level, complexity and pace of the curriculum with the readiness and motivation of the student.

colombusmb06b

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

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.
You can listen to the TED talk at http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html

For gifted students to find that eyebrow crinkle level or state of flow they may need to be given acceleration.

This could take the form of early entry, year or stage level advancement, subject level advancement, dual enrolment, curriculum compacting or telescoping, correspondence courses or extra-curricular programs or mentoring.

colombusmb06b2

Regarding pace Columbus Cheetah says this myth can be busted using similar methods of observation of the cheetah’s running gait, physics and common sense as were used for busting Myth 5.

The cheetah is the world’s fastest land mammal. It can accelerate from zero to 40 mph in three strides and to full speed of 70 mph in three seconds. As the cheetah runs, only one foot at a time touches the ground. There are two points, in its 20 to 25 foot (7-8 metres) stride when no feet touch the ground, as they are fully extended and then totally doubled up. Nearing full speed, the cheetah is running at about 3 strides per second

Slow motion of cheetah running from National Geographic
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com.au/animals/mammals/cheetah/

Note those two points when the cheetah has no feet touching the ground.
Not only do gifted students learn at a faster pace they also often make great leaps in understanding by seeing the implications of the facts or by associating knowledge from several fields

colombusmb06c2

One of the main concerns about acceleration is that the student could
have social problems because of being with a group of older students.

Dr Karen Rogers says “Gifted and talented students should spend the majority of
their school day with others of similar abilities and interests”

And Prof Miraca Gross emphasises the importance of finding a true friend who
can be a sure shelter and share at a deep level and that the likeliness of this
happening is greater if the student has been accelerated http://www.sengifted.org/archives/articles/play-partner-or-sure-shelter-what-gifted-children-look-for-in-friendship

colombusmb06c

If there is doubt about whether a student is a suitable candidate for acceleration working through the Iowa Acceleration Scales will give a helpful conservative indicator score.

Iowa Acceleration Scale Manual: A Guide for Whole –Grade Acceleration K-8
The Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development
Susan Assouline Ph.D., Nicholas Colangelo Ph.D., Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik Ph.D., Jonathan Lipscomb B.A., Leslie Forstadt B.A
Published by Great Potential Press
http://www.accelerationinstitute.org/Resources/IAS.aspx

You can read more about acceleration at
http://www.templeton.org/pdfs/funding_areas/10112_Final_Rpt_Bibliography.pdf

Hoagies Gifted Education Page http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/acceleration.htm

Policy and implementation strategies for the education of gifted and talented students
http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/policies/gats/assets/pdf/polsuppacc.pdf