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

Gifted relationships

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Retweet the Twitter Bird was back from the Hoagiesgifted’ July blog hop feeling very encouraged and bubbling over with ideas for future projects for her tweetlets.

She had been encouraged by Paula Prober’s post   If I’m so smart, why am I so lonely? at Your rainforest mind that there were other like minds to be found

And she had found tips about where to find like minds at Cait’s My little poppies post Finding and forging gifted relationships

She heard about the effort required maintain relationships at Adventures of Hahn Academy’s post Relationships require work /

And she had seen the value of relationships in Celi’s Crushing tall poppies post
Gifted relationships The silver lining in the gifted storm

She had found these helpful tips about building healthy friendships at Up Parenting Creek
7 Tips to help your kids build healthy friendships
Build Negotiation Skills
Foster Empathy
Teach How to Say, “I’m Sorry” (and Mean It!)
Role Play Through Tricky Situations
Encourage Hobbies (Find a Tribe)
Make Your Home Welcoming
Model Healthy Friendships

She had decided that she would incorporate these tips into their NEST Ed and also would investigate the Virtues program mentioned in GiftEd connections post
Gifted and Struggling with Relationships? The Virtues are a Good Place to Start

But it was the post from Braver than you believe which really made Retweet think!
Five relationships every gifted kid needs
http://www.braverthanyoubelieve.com/2015/07/01/leaving-on-a-jet-plain-um-plane-2/

She agreed that it is important to have people in our lives who have the relationship of role model, mentor, peer, apprentice and sergeant.

Her tweetlets had found true peers of all ages at the Bower Holiday Programs and the Psych-Owl-Ogist had arranged a mentor for them. She was not sure whether they had anyone filling the other roles.

socialize02

She asked Sprite whether she had people who fitted those descriptions.

“My mentor Paula the Physicist is also my role model” Sprite told her “She has overcome the same problems I have and has earned tertiary degrees. And she loves astronomy like I do so we always have plenty to discuss”

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

“The role of Sergeant is being filled by Intellectual Dabrowski and P’est Pour Parfait, the Perfectionist Poodle. I don’t need anyone else telling me what to do and how to do it!”

“I guess I do have an Apprentice” Sprite continued. “There is a little kid in a lower class who follows me round and copies what I do. Like when I got my new pinafore she wore a pinafore just like it two days later.
I do not know what her name is. I call her Pincher because she always wants to have a go on my crutches and if I sit down to eat lunch she will try to borrow them. Sometimes I let her use them and one time I took a photo of her. Then I noticed she has a bandage on her ankle so maybe she is like me and I should try to help her like Paula helps me.”

“There was a post on the hop about gifted/special needs relationships” Retweet said.
The Fissure – The Power of Special Connections: Gifted/Special Needs Friendships

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

“What about peers? Do you have any special friends?” asked Retweet
“Can I count Paula and Columbus Cheetah and the Memory Elephant and the Dabrowski Dogs?” asked Sprite.

This is a follow up post to the Hoagiesgifted’ July blog hop http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_gifted_relationships.htm 

10430857_10205935258433150_7392407120722756515_n

Friends and relations

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Great Aunt Hashtag was visiting the Tweet family again.

Retweet was trying to make the visit a positive experience by declaring that as part of their NEST Ed activities for the week they would be researching their family tree as Great Aunt Hashtag was very knowledgeable about Tweet’s family history.
“I am glad to see you are doing that.” said Great Aunt Hashtag.
“In MY day we knew how to respect our ancestors and relatives!”

Retweet already knew that there were several illustrious ancestors who were Leaders of the Great Migrations in Tweet’s family tree. She attributed the giftedness of her tweetlets to the genes they had inherited from Tweet’s family. However she acknowledged that there were many brilliant musicians, poets and visionaries on her side of the family tree.
And of course she had discussed the nature versus nurture issue with the Psych-Owl-Ogist on several occasions. He had shown her a diagram of Professor Francoys Gagne’s DMGT model and pointed to the Environmental Catalysts section to demonstrate how the influence of the nest environment played its part in the development of the Tweetlets innate giftedness into fully developed talent.
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/the-psych-owl-ogist-2/

Tweet had also told Retweet about an old uncle who was a brilliant thinker and was said to be rather peculiar. Retweet was really keen to know more about him.

“Oh he was a bad egg, a bad egg!” said Great Aunt Hashtag “He was the black sheep of the family!”

Tweetelle tugged at Retweet’s wingtip “You told us sheep and dogs do not come out of eggs” she whispered
“The black sheep of the family is just a saying. We will talk about it later.” Retweet whispered back.

“It is a good thing you can choose your friends because you cannot choose your relations” Retweet said.
She was trying to smooth the conversation but she was also remembering some of the awkward moments when Great Aunt Hashtag had caused upset to the tweetlets during her visits.
Relationships can become quite strained when the characteristics of giftedness are not understood.
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/when-extended-family-dont-get-giftedness/

“Talking about friends – do you still keep in touch with Trending and her family?” asked Great Aunt Hashtag.
“No. Trending and I have grown apart over the years and her tweetlets did not have any interests in common with my tweetlets.” Retweet replied.

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/socialization/

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/socialization-2/

Retweet had found that her tweetlets preferred the company of older tweetlets or adult Twitter birds. Finding same age friends had proved quite a challenge. She was glad that the tweetlets had found some like minded peers of all ages at the Bower Holiday Program.

“Is the Peculiar Bad Egg Bird my Uncle?” asked Tweetil.

“Let’s work it out” said Great Aunt Hashtag “If I am your great aunt and he was my third cousin once removed what relationship is he to you?

“I thought ‘In a Relationship’ was a polite way of saying the naughty word” said Tweetelle. “The baby sitter said she was In a Relationship and….”

Retweet went very pink in the face. “I think we may have to revisit the Birds and the Bees talk later” she said.

This is a post for Hoagiesgifted’ July Blog Hop: Gifted Relationships
To read more posts on the hop please visit
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_gifted_relationships.htm 

10430857_10205935258433150_7392407120722756515_n

 

Donkeys live a long time 4: Gifted Friendships

animalfarmchars02

Sprite was obviously disturbed that she did not know where she fitted into the world of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/donkeys-live-a-long-time-3/

In fact Sprite often has a problem with working out exactly how she fits in.
So I tried another approach.
“Who would your friends be on Animal Farm?” I asked her.

“Well, not the sheep, that’s for sure!” she said “The sheep are like the kids in my class. I guess I would be friends with Boxer and Clover, the horses. I like the chickens too – maybe I could join in protests with them. I would admire Old Major but I probably wouldn’t ever meet him and I would try to make friends with Benjamin the Donkey.

Sprite has always found making and keeping friends quite a challenge!

This is partly because she is an introvert
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/gifted-island-challenge-2-getting-to-know-myself-with-a-little-help-from-my-friends-the-results-are-in/

It is also because she is not very good at reading facial expressions

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/wink-wink/

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/dandelion-wishes/

It is mainly because there are so few people in the whole population, let alone in her immediate circle of acquaintances, who are at the same IQ level as Sprite.  Also her interests, which she likes to discuss at length, are not generally popular with her age peers.

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2009/07/01/talkfest/

So Sprite’s friends are usually older students, adults, animals and the characters that inhabit her rich imaginary world and the pages of books.

In fact some of her best friends are books!
http://www.greatpotentialpress.com/some-of-my-best-friends-are-books-3rd-edition

 

The Tweet family has also experienced difficulty with attempting to find same age friends for their gifted tweetlets.
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/socialization/

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/socialization-2/

Professor Miraca Gross of GERRIC has written a wonderful article about the importance of a true friend which can be read in the SENG archives at
http://www.sengifted.org/archives/articles/play-partner-or-sure-shelter-what-gifted-children-look-for-in-friendship

And Maureen Neihart has written about finding true peers at
https://tip.duke.edu/node/914

The Hoagies Gifted Education Blog Hop for August has the theme of Gifted Friendships
Links to all the posts in the blog hop can be found at
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_gifted_friendships.htm

hoagieshoplogoaugust

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

The Psych Owl Ogist 2

Tweet and Retweet arranged for a baby sitter to care for the Tweetlets and went to visit the Psych Owl ogist to discuss the results of the Tweetlets’ testing https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/the-psych-owl-ogist-1/

The Psych Owl ogist said that he had chosen to use the Ravens test because it was suitable for young Tweetlets and a good test of visual spatial ability which is very important for Twitter birds. He said that the Tweetlets had scored very highly indeed and added that, to give a complete picture and a more accurate score, a full battery of other tests could be done in future if required.

He showed Tweet and Retweet a diagram of the Bell Curve of IQ scores in the population and showed them how the higher the IQ was the smaller the percentage of the population it represented.
He cautioned that this could make it difficult for Tweetil and Tweetelle to fit in when they started FLOCK Ed as they may not find others who would understand them. He said it was very likely that they would choose older Tweetlets and adult Twitter birds for their friends.
“It is very important for them to find true peers who can be true friends and share thoughts and experiences with them at the depth they will seek” he said.
“I want you to read Prof Miraca Gross’ article ‘From the saddest sound to the D Major chord to see just how important this is!”
He also warned that they could be very disappointed with the introductory years of FLOCK Ed as they would be covering topics which they already understood.
“In most introductory classes they are still learning the nesty rhymes,” he told them.

“In fact,” the Psych owl ogist continued “it may not be wise to send them to the local flock.  You need to select a flock which will allow them to go far!
Tweetil has the intelligence, strength of character, spatial awareness, ability and vigour to be a future Leader of the Great Migrations!”

“See, I said he got it from you, Tweet!” said Retweet and added, for the benefit of the Psych Owl ogist, “There were several Leaders of the Great Migrations in Tweet’s family tree. Tweetelle is more like my family – they were mostly musicians, poets and dreamers.”

“Both Tweetlets are very gifted” said the Psych Owl ogist “but they are expressing it in different ways. It is very common for siblings to shine in different domains. Often, even when one Tweetlet is identified as gifted, the parents do not realise that the second Tweetlet is also gifted because they seem to be so different.”

“And poets, musicians and dreamers are just as important to the Twitter Bird species as the Leaders of the Great Migrations. We need the poets and musicians to record the history and the dreamers and visionaries to show what could be. Future migrations will traverse landscapes which are quite different from those seen now. It is your duty and challenge to do all that you are able to provide a warm, nurturing nest environment for the Tweetlets with exposure to the teachers and experiences that will encourage and enable their abilities.”

At this point the Psych Owl ogist produced a diagram of Professor Francoys Gagne’s DMGT model and pointed to the Environmental Catalysts section to demonstrate how the influence of the nest environment played its part in the development of the Tweetlets innate giftedness into fully developed talent.

“So it is all about a duty to develop the Tweetlets’ talents then?” asked Retweet. “That seems like a huge burden on us and also on the Tweetlets themselves!”

The Psych Owl ogist drew himself up to his full height and fluffed out his feathers.
“Good heavens, no!” he said “Talent development is very important but it is only one part of the story.
Giftedness is not only about what the IQ score is and what achievements are made.
It is about WHO the Tweetlets are!”

The Psych Owl ogist produced a series of giftedness definition flashcards.


“Here is some more reading for you.”

The moral sensitivity of gifted children and the evolution of society by Linda Kreger Silverman
http://www.sengifted.org/archives/articles/the-moral-sensitivity-of-gifted-children-and-the-evolution-of-society

“Even if Tweetil never gets to be a Leader of the Great Migrations he will still be a gifted Twitter Bird and even if Tweetelle spends her whole life nest making and raising Tweetlets she will not cease to be a gifted Twitter Bird!”

Dandelion wishes answered!

 

 

 

 

Wish 1 Sprite: I wish that Dr Laurie Marker won’t be too sad without Chewbaaka and that the Chewbaaka Memorial fund will bring in lots of money for cheetah conservation.

The day after I posted Sprite’s dandelion wish I received this note from the Cheetah Conservation Fund.
http://www.cheetah.org/?nd=chewbaakamemorial_thanks
And today there was another note bringing news of the cheetah cubs who are being trained to follow in the tracks of Chewbaaka and become the future ambassadors for the species
http://app.streamsend.com/private/FoPQ/DV3/5u9aLpo/browse/14678003

 

 

 

 

Wish 2 Sprite: I wish that someone would help me to clean up my room and get organized!

Sprite has been visiting Angela Esnouf’s Creating Order from Chaos website at http://www.creatingorder.com.au/  and Angela has promised she will write a letter to Sprite giving her some basic tips for getting organised.

 

 

 

 

Wishes 3 Sprite: I wish that Ginger Pony had a friend because it is really lonely if you don’t have a friend
and 4 Sprite: I wish that I could work out why Bea doesn’t like me. I wish someone could help me work it out!

Both these wishes were answered by a invitation in the Comments Section from Sue Weatherill of Horse Instincts http://www.facebook.com/pages/Helpn-Oz-Horse-Programs-for-the-Community/165217303502821

 

Hi Sprite,
You and Ginger pony and all your friends can
come and join Buddy and his team at Horse Instincts
during the school holidays if you like?

Buddy, Maestro and the herd help train people of all ages
in the subtle cues of body language and communication.
They are great at it. It is fun and easy to learn.
It can really help reduce your stress levels when making
friends and being around lots of people or new ones.
We hope you can come and visit.

Sue Weatherill