The Signpost 1

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

I have decided to accept Lisa Rivero’s challenge to write 30 blog posts for the month of September. I intend to try to add 10 posts to each of my 3 blogs during the month of September. Sprite’s Site will feature posts about posts!

The signpost is one of the landmarks on Sprite’s Site.

The Sprite’s Site Signpost is the marker at the crossroads in the centre of the Feetspeak: 2E Shoes Quest Map.
The Quest Map is a mind map which provides an overview of the Feetspeak: 2eshoes program

Feetspeak: 2E shoes is about planning programs that will be suitable for gifted students who also have a learning difficulty or different learning style using Edward De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes as the planning tool.

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

In Sprite’s mind the roads are called Shoes Road and DMGT Road.
Shoes Road leads to Edward De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes and DMGT Road leads to Prof Francoys Gagne’s Model of the development from natural ability to fully developed talent.
She calls the other end of DMGT Road Fund Road because that was where she had to go to find out whether she would be eligible for any funding, special considerations or assistance.
The other end of Shoes Rd is what Sprite calls Plan Rd; because it was there that strategies for building an education plan for her could be found. Sprite always wonders whether DMGT Road and Plan Road meet each other somewhere behind the distant hills.
It could be reasonably extrapolated that if the plans made on Plan Road were suitable and were pursued to their conclusion that Plan Road and DMGT Road would indeed meet up.

The crossroads was also the scene of a virtual picnic held by the GTStoogies a group interested in issues relating to gifted and 2E students in 2011


When participating in Best Australian Blogs competition in 2013 Sprite installed a different signpost and gave tours of the blog highlighting her participation in social media, webinars, blog hops and her local real life situation

This is a post for Lisa Rivero’s challenge to write 30 blog posts for the month of September. To read all about her challenge see


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.

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.

“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.

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 



Gifted – How?


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

“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

You can read more about Definitions of Giftedness on Hoagies Gifted Education pages at 

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


Best Australian Blogs 2014 Post 1


Sprite’s Site has been nominated in the Australian Writers’ Centre Best Australian Blogs 2014 Competition
The Origami Secretary Bird brought the news and the button to display on the blog sidebar.
Sprite was sitting in the garden listening as Columbus Cheetah and Intellectual Dabrowski discussed her school progress so far this year and what should be done to help her along Gagne’s DMGT road leading from natural ability to fully developed talent.
Intellectual Dabrowski was adamant that Sprite needed more testing to determine the best course of action for this year and that as the first term is almost over it should be done soon.

Sprite has participated in the Best Australian Blogs competition for the last three years.

In 2011Sprite ran her campaign like a political election campaign

In 2012 Sprite organised events such as a Garden Party for the unveiling of the Voting Button, an exhibition of her shoes, a concert performance by the Twitter Bird Band and a Lobster Lolly Lobbing competition

In 2013 Sprite installed a signpost and gave tours of the blog highlighting her participation in social media, webinars, blog hops and her local real life situation

Sensual Dabrowski scratched his head and expressed the opinion that there would not be enough time to stage special events for the Best Australian Blogs competition.
Not only did Sprite have specialist appointments to attend but she had also committed them to going on the next Gifted Homeschoolers Forum blog hop.

Imaginational Dabrowski suggested a solution.

“This year the 2014 theme can be ‘Along for the Ride’. Sprite can invite her visitors to come along with her as she goes about her regular activities.”

“The Voting Button will arrive soon but before then Sprite needs to create campaign posters, pose for a portrait and spruce up the blog” said the Origami Secretary Bird.

De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes 9: One size shoe cover system


This is a blog entry which I wrote in July 2013 and posted in other places. I am playing catch up and posting it here now.

“It is all about equity and equal access to excellent education. We treat all the students as gifted. A rising tide raises all ships you know” Sprite’s teacher told me. “There have been system wide reforms and changes in the philosophy of education. Every class in every school in the system is now providing gifted education.”

I had gone in to Sprite’s classroom hoping to make an appointment for a follow up meeting with Sprite’s teacher to discuss her progress. I found that all students now had access to a pile of one size fits all paper shoe covers and that these had replaced the De Bono 6 Action shoes gifted education program planning.

“So if every class in every school in the system is offering a gifted education program does that mean that every teacher in every class in every school has been given specialist training in teaching gifted and special needs students?” I asked

“No it means every school receives a bulk order of these one size fits all shoe covers and the teachers are required to attend a one hour long PD session relating to how to apply them in their regular classes” she replied.


Later, at home, Sprite and I discussed the shoe covers with Columbus Cheetah and the Dabrowski Dogs.

“Maybe it means that every student in every class in every school in the system will get an Individual Education Plan. That would be the perfect way to cover it!” said the idealistic Imaginational.

“No, that would be De Bono’s Brown Brogues Do- what- is- most- sensible planning and these covers are blue” said Intellectual.

“I remember that I didn’t like the blue formal shoes programs because they seemed too rigid and did not allow for outside the box thinking” said Imaginational.

“When you think about it, these covers are also an attempt to fit everyone into the same mould” said Intellectual “What type of shoes do you wear under them?”

“We all usually wear Sparkle Toes sandals under the cover shoes” said Sprite.

“They are the shoes that represent the appearance of having a gifted education or special education program when not really having any substantial program in place” said Emotional “They are so pretty and look as if they would be so good and so much fun. It is a real pity they are not really very useful!”

“I don’t think it would be easy to run fast in sandals;’’ said Columbus Cheetah “especially if they do not have a strap around the heel. I don’t know how useful they would be for travelling on Gagne’s DMGT Road from innate giftedness to fully developed talent.”

“The cover on my right foot keeps on tearing because the sandal rubs a hole in it when I try to go faster than the class” said Sprite “And the teacher just sighs and says ‘Get yourself another cover from the pile Sprite- you know what to do’ So now I am getting in trouble each time I tear one and being made to feel that I use more than my fair share of the covers.”

“See!” said Intellectual “They can’t even cover their pretence of having a gifted program!”

“But what about your left foot? How does it feel?” asked Sensual

“I just really hurts!” said Sprite “because I cannot get the pair to the right foot Sparkle Toes sandal on that foot and they won’t even let me try to put a larger one on. We are only allowed one pair of Sparkle Toes sandals each. So I just have to wear the shoe cover by itself on my left foot.”

“It is no wonder so many 2E students drop out!” said Psycho Motor Dabrowski.

Intellectual Dabrowski growled

“These shoe covers appear to be an economic method of countering elitist arguments by giving a show of providing gifted education programs to all students. But treating all students as gifted without making any specific provisions for them is almost as little help as not having any program at all!”

Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 7

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?’


Related to the Nature vs Nurture debate about the origins of giftedness we find the myth that giftedness can be created in any person by training, practice, hard work and attitude.

When linked to the myth “Gifted students have pushy parents” it is worded as


Columbus has already dealt with this myth in a reply to Seth Godin’s assertion that

Actually, it goes the other way
Wouldn’t it be great to be gifted? In fact…
It turns out that choices lead to habits.
Habits become talents.
Talents are labeled gifts.
You’re not born this way, you get this way.


Using Cheetah logic Columbus explains that cheetahs are perfectly designed by nature to run fast. They have the long legs, flexible arched spine and enlarged chest, nostrils and lungs.
While coaching and training members of other species to run fast may improve their performance it will not alter their basic anatomy and physiology.


Prof Francoys Gagne’s DMGT model discusses how various catalysts influence the development of innate giftedness into fully developed talent.
But the talents are being developed from already existing innate giftedness.

Making good choices, developing good habits, practice and persistence are great character attributes for mastering a talent and should be encouraged but they will not create giftedness.


But as we saw in Myth 2 all are NOT gifted and in Myth 3 giftedness is not synonymous with achievement. As Columbus Cheetah says “All cheetahs are animals but very few animals are cheetahs!”

Gifted Under Achievers


Little Bully Black Dog was back chanting “Sprite is a GUA! Sprite is a GUA! GUA, GUA, GUA, GUA!”

“I AM NOT!” said Sprite. “Don’t be mean! What is a GUA anyway?”

The Dabrowski Dogs gathered round to defend Sprite – all except Psycho Motor who was chasing the bouncing Venn diagram which Little Bully Black Dog had been playing with previously.

“It means Gifted Under Achiever” said Intellectual

“It means she is smart enough to do better if she tried harder” said Little Bully Black Dog.

“But I always DO try hard” said Sprite.

“I know you do!” said Emotional “You are a 2E or GLD student (gifted with a learning disability or difference) and that makes it harder for you to achieve your full potential. But Jo is advocating for your needs to be met and we are all here supporting you. We will all try to make sure that you have the best possible opportunities and do not become an Under Achiever”

“And Under Achieving is not always about how hard a student tries” added Intellectual. “There are many reasons for underachievement.”

Intellectual called to Psycho Motor to bring the Venn diagram.

In the whole student population there are some gifted students, some students with learning difficulties and many students who are underachieving for a whole variety of reasons.

Some of the gifted students also have learning difficulties and many of the gifted and many of those with learning difficulties are underachieving. And some are unfortunate enough to be in that centre group who are gifted with learning difficulties and are underachieving.


When we take a closer look at the Underachieving group we see that there are many possible reasons a student can be underachieving.
There are articles about it at


The topic of Gifted Under Achievers was discussed on Twitter #gtchat recently.

“What happens if you fall into that white section in the centre? Where does it lead?” asked Sprite

“Underachievement can prevent students from reaching their destination on Gagne’s DMGT road from innate ability to fully developed talent” said Intellectual

“So,” said Imaginational “teachers, parents, psychologists, education consultants and therapists need to support and advocate for gifted, 2E and LD students in order to build a guard rail to try to prevent them falling into the Underachieving area.


What Seth Godin Doesn’t Understand about Gifted People : Goes the other way? I think not!


When Seth Godin writes something people take notice. He is an entrepreneur, founder of ventures such as Yoyodyne and Squidoo and the author of bestsellers such as Linchpin and Purple cow. He has 184,000+ likes on his Facebook page and 246,500+ followers on Twitter.

So when he wrote this blog post at it caused consternation to many parents, teachers, service providers and advocates in the field of gifted education.

Here is the post in its entirety:

Actually, it goes the other way

Wouldn’t it be great to be gifted? In fact…
It turns out that choices lead to habits.
Habits become talents.
Talents are labeled gifts.
You’re not born this way, you get this way.

It also caused consternation among the characters at Sprite’s Site.

I found Intellectual Dabrowski setting up experiments to test Seth Godin’s assertion.
He had called in the Psych-owl-ogist  to provide background information and Myth Buster Columbus Cheetah to help sort facts from common misunderstandings.

“I have explained various aspects of giftedness” said the Psych-owl-ogist.


And here

I have discussed Prof Francoys Gagne’s DMGT model and how the various catalysts influence the development of innate giftedness into fully developed talent.
But you need to note that the talents are being developed from already existing giftedness.
Note that the arrow in the diagram points only in one direction!


There is much emphasis today on talent development and that is good.
But talent must not be confused with giftedness.
Giftedness as the Columbus Group definition says is ‘asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm’.
Yes, there is evidence of plasticity of the brain and renewing or changing of neural pathways but becoming proficient at something will not by itself create that initial state of asynchronous development and heightened intensity.
Making good choices, developing good habits, practice and persistence are great character attributes for mastering a talent and should be encouraged.

But the problem I have is with the linking of giftedness to achievement and also the assertion that everyone is/can be gifted. Yes, everyone has areas of ability. Yes, everyone has talents which should be developed and encouraged. Yes everyone is of equal worth as a human being!!!

But no, everyone is not naturally academically gifted. As the film The Incredibles points out “If everyone is special – then no-one is” And if nobody is gifted then we do not need to make any special provisions for their education.
And as Columbus Cheetah says “All cheetahs are animals but very few animals are cheetahs!”

“So Columbus Cheetah and I have designed an experiment” said Intellectual Dabrowski “We know cheetahs are perfectly designed to run fast. They have the long legs, flexible arched spine and enlarged chest, nostrils and lungs.
If Seth Godin is correct we can give Caramel Cat and the Tortoise all the attributes of a cheetah through choice, habits and talent development.
Choices lead to habits.
Habits become talents.
Talents are labeled gifts.
Columbus Cheetah has painted cheetah spots on Caramel Cat and the Tortoise and will be conducting a rigorous regime of training (including concentrated flash carding) and practice, practice, practice in an attempt to produce a cheetah performance and thereby cause an alteration in the very anatomy and physiology of Caramel Cat and the Tortoise.”

“And why are the Pair O’Noids  here?” I asked

“Probably because they recognise Seth Godin as someone with much power to influence public opinion and are concerned that he may add to the myths surrounding giftedness that advocates are already trying to counter.
Also the phrase ‘Talents are labeled gifts’ probably reminds them of the Newspeak of Orwell’s 1984 and the changing chants in Animal Farm
They probably wonder whether Seth was testing public reaction and the reactions of various groups or trying to change opinion when he posted” said Intellectual

Seth Godin’s post was discussed on the Twitter Irish gifted  #gtie chat The transcript can be read here

Other blog posts written in reply to Seth’s post can be read here

Pamela Price Red, White & GrewTM

Susanne Thomas Building Wing Span

Sara Wilson Watch Out for Gifted People

Mona Eby Chicks Life with intensity

Peter Lydon Gifted and Talented Ireland

Kate Arms-Roberts

Jen Torbeck Merrill Laughing at Chaos

Jeff Shoemaker Ramblings of a Gifted Teacher

Kim Modolfsky The Maker Mom 

Lisa Rivero writing a post for Psychology Today

This post has been nominated as one of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Rapid Responses to the topic “All children are gifted” To read more responses to this topic see


Fine Focus Webinar Part 2

Jo Hart has posted on her E-verything! Blog  an overview of the second part of my Fine Focus session ‘Which de Bono Action Shoes are best for a 2E student on Gagne’s DMGT Road?’

The session was recorded and can still be accessed using the link

I began with a brief recap of the first session – see Jo Hart’s post at

Topics covered in the recap were

  • Edward de Bono’s Six Action Shoes
  • Gagne’s Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent;
  • the Six Action Shoes in the context of the Feetspeak Quest Map;
  • a reminder of the six shoes and their relationship to the Gagne DMGT model.

The main focus of the second session was a consideration of combinations and variations in the shoes. We explored the possible combinations of two shoe types to produce modified action plans. I also shared some extra shoe types which I have added  that broaden the program possibilities including Sprite’s plaster cast that symbolizes the support that may be available through eligibility for funding!

We looked at the needs of 2E students and the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. methods of varying the program to make provisions for them

Fine Focus webinar

Last Friday I presented the first of two Fine Focus webinars ‘Which de Bono Action Shoes are best for a 2E student on Gagne’s DMGT Road?’
An overview and the recording of the presentation can be seen on Jo Hart’s E-verything blog at

In preparation the Feetspeak 2E shoes page on Gifted Resources website  has been updated to include links to the resources and websites used as references and here on Sprite’s Site blog we have included posts on de Bono’s 6 Action shoes

Orange gumboots
Pink slippers
Grey sneakers
Blue formal shoes
Purple riding boots
Brown brogues
and also
More shoes

I will give the second part of the presentation this week. Details about how to join the session and find the time for your part of the world can also be found in Jo Hart’s blog post.