Flocks and Shoes


Image Jo Freitag

The Gifted Homeschoolers Forum January 2016 blog hop has the theme ‘Educating gifted children: The many ways we approach their learning’

In about two weeks Victorian students will begin the 2016 school year.
Choosing a school is always a big decision; but it is even more complex when choosing an education method for gifted children.
Considerations include:
*type of education- public school, private school, religion based school, alternative philosophies, Montessori style, Reggio Emilia, homeschooling
*ease of travel to school
*what specific provisions are made for gifted students? Is early entry / acceleration an option? What enrichment opportunities do they offer? Are the provisions offered full time or a once a week extra?

A list from the Davidson Institute of suggested questions to ask prospective schools can be found at http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10403.aspx

Information about acceleration can be found at Acceleration Institute http://www.accelerationinstitute.org/

For the folk at Sprite’s Site the search for an ideal education can be expressed as Flocks and Shoes


Image Jo Freitag

The Tweet Family

The Tweet family worked through these questions with the help of the Psych-Owl-Ogist in 2012
They eventually decided to continue their NEST Ed (Nest Education System of Training) program despite the challenges associated with that choice


Image Jo Freitag

We have been on a quest with the help of Dr Ed Needs the (fictional) Education Consultant to find the ideal education for 2E Twice exceptional student Sprite within the school system, supplemented by extra activities and holiday programs.
We also found Paula, the Physicist to be a mentor for her.

We are using De Bono’s 6 Action shoes as the tool for planning and we road test them on Gagne’s DMGT (Differentiation Model of Giftedness and Talent) road from innate giftedness to fully developed talent.
This has been our experience with the various types of education represented by the shoes
Orange gumboots https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/orange-gumboots/

Pink slippers https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/pink-slippers/

Grey sneakers https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/grey-sneakers/

Blue formal shoes https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/blue-formal-shoes/

Purple riding boots https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/purple-riding-boots/

Brown brogues https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/brown-brogues/

More shoes https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/more-shoes/

One size shoe cover system https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/de-bonos-6-action-shoes-9-one-size-shoe-cover-system/

Plaster cast https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/casting-sprites-education-in-a-new-form-part-1/

It is also sometimes necessary to employ the strategies of S.C.A.M.P.E.R. in order to modify teaching methods for Sprite.

Every year we hope that the provisions which have been recommended and adopted in the previous year will continue but in the past we have often found that situations change and the measures had to be re-evaluated.

So until this year’s provisions for Sprite are settled she is wearing one orange gumboot representing stop gap measures to cater for her giftedness and a walker boot representing stop gap measures to cater for her difficulties.

This is a post for the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum January 2016 blog hop
Educating gifted children: The many ways we approach their learning
To read more posts please visit http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/blog-hops/educating-gifted-children-the-many-ways-we-approach-their-learning/ 


Image Tara Hernandez

New Shoes


I am happy to be able to relate that after our last meeting Sprite’s teacher has been enthusiastic about acting on Dr Ed Needs’ recommendations and has set up an Individual Education Plan for Sprite.

Using the Feetspeak and De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes method of planning the programs, it will include opportunities for her to be accelerated in some subjects (do the most sensible thing brown brogues), to undertake research projects in her areas of passionate interest (grey sneakers) to have time with a mentor (purple riding boots) and to participate in some formal gifted withdrawal programs (blue formal shoes) at the same time as she receives the support she needs for her areas of weakness (the plaster cast and other aids) and the social/emotional and pastoral care issues will be addressed (pink slippers)

This will mean using Combinations. The result of wearing shoes of varying type with a different style on each foot would lead to action plans which are a blend of both.

So now Sprite will be wearing combinations of De Bono’s 6 Action shoes. For example she can wear a  Blue Formal shoe or a Grey Sneaker on her right foot and a Pink Slipper or a plaster cast on her left foot.

“I realized during the PD session that Sprite is like a lame cheetah” the teacher said.
“And I could see that she should not be denied the opportunities to receive a challenging and engaging education.”

She is also employing the strategies of S.C.A.M.P.E.R. in order to modify her teaching methods for Sprite.


One of the programs in which Sprite is participating is a Philosophy group called Sage Thyme. She is very excited about it as she has always thought deeply and loves to discuss and debate. And she loves her glittery new Smartfit blue formal shoe.

The only concern is that these provisions are being made so late in the year.
Will they continue next year?

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!”

Best Australian Blogs 2013 No 12: Stories



“I knew where to take people to show them Sprite’s Site social media activity” said Sprite “But how do I show them where to find the storytelling to illustrate the writing on the blog?”

“If you had been more attentive to your Latin studies” said Intellectual Dabrowski “you would be able to read the sign and see that the stories are all around you in all the blog posts!”

There are several series of posts which tell stories about Sprite and the other characters. Some have already been gathered into Youblisher booklets or told on Storyjumper, Little Bird Tales or other online story writing programs. Others can be read by reading all the posts in a particular tag.


Perchance to dream http://www.youblisher.com/p/36792-Perchance-to-dream/

If only If only http://www.storyjumper.com/book/index/5746162/jofrei

You can read about the character of Sprite at About Sprite
I took the opportunity to find out whether my readers understood Sprite in the way I hoped I was depicting her at

Most of the storylines on the blog are about Sprite and are used to help provide information about 2E Twice Exceptional students who are both gifted and have some learning difficulty or learning style difference and to give links to helpful resources.

Sprite’s giftedness is apparent in her thirst for knowledge and love of research and experiments  and in the deep, sometimes existential type questions she asks.

Storylines on the blog often deal with trying to find ideal provisions for Sprite’s education and advocating for her

A main theme is using De Bono’s Six Action Shoes as a planning tool to find programs that will be suitable for gifted students who also have a learning difficulty or different learning style.
Sprite is always depicted as having an injured left ankle and needing to wear different shoes on each foot to illustrate the concept that she needs different educational provisions for both her giftedness and her disability.

The De Bono’s Six Action Shoes posts can be found here
Orange gumboots https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/orange-gumboots/
Pink slippers https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/pink-slippers/
Grey sneakers https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/grey-sneakers/
Blue formal shoes https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/blue-formal-shoes/
Purple riding boots https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/purple-riding-boots/
Brown brogues https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/brown-brogues/
More shoes https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/more-shoes/
Plaster cast https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/casting-sprites-education-in-a-new-form-part-1/


The Survivor –Gifted Island series has not been made into a booklet yet but here are the links to the posts in the correct order.

Sprite has both a heightened sense of justice and a vivid imagination.
She loves to set up her soft toys with placards and hold protest marches
Feetspeak Unfair to Sprite march
Please remember campaign
Cruel is not cool – support for anti-bullying campaign
March for the tree octopus

“And that is only some of the stories about Sprite” said Intellectual Dabrowski.
“There are also plenty of stories about the other characters.”

Vote for Sprite’s Site (and as many other great Australian blogs as you like) by clicking on the Vote for Me button in the sidebar of the blog. But you can only vote once: so be sure to make the vote count. Sprite’s Site is on Page 4 O-S.
If you have entered Sprite’s Site by following a link to a specific post you will need to click on the Sprite’s Site header to see the sidebar.

Fine Focus Webinar Part 2

Jo Hart has posted on her E-verything! Blog http://johart1.edublogs.org/2012/11/15/edublogs-webinar-overviews-pt-2-de-bono-action-shoes-for-2e-students-a-serendipity-shared-tools/  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 https://sas.elluminate.com/site/external/jwsdetect/nativeplayback.jnlp?sid=vclass&psid=2012-10-25.1520.D.4C3548A84E624FA254CD6511B7CA09.vcr

I began with a brief recap of the first session – see Jo Hart’s post at http://johart1.edublogs.org/2012/10/23/webinar-overviews-edublogs-serendipity-de-bono-action-shoes-for-2e-students/

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 http://www.giftedresources.org/  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 https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/orange-gumboots/
Pink slippers https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/pink-slippers/
Grey sneakers https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/grey-sneakers/
Blue formal shoes https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/blue-formal-shoes/
Purple riding boots https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/purple-riding-boots/
Brown brogues https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/brown-brogues/
and also
More shoes https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/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.

More shoes

Having chosen some of the programs for Sprite’s education by using the De Bono’s 6 Action shoes methods for planning, we found some further shoe plans which were not included in the De Bono set.
Some of them were measures we had already tried.

Of course there is Bare Feet which represents not having a program at all.

And then there are the Sparkle Toes sparkly sandals which either represents a fun but not particularly demanding holiday program

Or a full time provision which is billed in the glossy brochures as a wonderful Extension Program and is often very expensive to attend but in reality turns out not to have much substance

There is the Can Do adjustable Velcro shoe which represents a flexible program and the  Can Do Boot which is similar with added support included. Sprite had really, really wanted the De Bono blue formal shoes and had not been able to fit into them. She felt she could probably manage the program represented by the De Bono formal blue shoes if she wore one blue formal shoe and a CanDo support boot on the other foot.

Then there are Jesters and Cheetah Feet

These all represent novel approaches to gifted programs such as programs based on humour or environmental issues. Seeing these shoes prompted Imaginational Dabrowski to speculate on possible programs and what type of shoes could be used to represent them. You may need to click on the picture to see an enlargement of his thoughts.

Brown Brogues

“There should be K.I.S.S. Shoes programs!” said Imaginational Dabrowski in a dreamy tone of voice. “You know – Keep It Simple and Sensible – just do what needs to be done to help students find their own niche and succeed.”

“The Brown Brogues in the De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes fill that role” replied Columbus Cheetah.

The Brown Brogues are sensible, comfortable and flexible for practicality and pragmatism. Actions planned using the Brown Brogues would be based on doing what is the most sensible and practical thing.

The programs for gifted students formed by Brown Brogue action planning would be choosing the most suitable option for the individual student which could be participation in full time programs or could be subject acceleration, extension, participation in withdrawal or holiday programs etc.
The key would be tailoring the course to the individual student’s needs and doing ‘whatever it takes’ to create an Individual Education Plan

Individualized programs which could include acceleration, extension, differentiation or whatever it takes appear to work very well and may lead to formal qualifications.
Or they may be the introduction to the specific niche for the gifted student.
And for the twice exceptional student it would mean providing whatever additional support was necessary to address the problems at the same time as providing appropriate challenge.

“I really like these Brown Brogue Action Plans!” said Intellectual Dabrowski. “It means doing the most sensible thing. So that means choosing from the Smorgasbord of Options for Gifted Education (I’m sorry – I do not have the reference details to give proper accreditation for that – it was a handout Jo received at a conference). It means pretesting and knowing the appropriate level to start and identifying any gaps and problems and taking measures to fix them.
It means working at the appropriate level, pace and depth in every subject even if all the subjects are at different levels. It means not being afraid to let students work at a level six years ahead if that is their ability level and finding ways to make that happen by dual enrolment in school and university or working with a Purple Riding Boots mentor.

“And,” continued Intellectual “the Brown Brogues are such a sensible choice of footware for travelling the Gagne DMGT  Road from Natural Abilities (Gifts) through to Competencies (Talents)”

“It could lead to formal qualifications or it could lead to the student finding their own particular niche in some very unusual or specialized area of expertise.
And the world is your oyster if you find your role and your place in the puzzle!” added Imaginational.

“One thing I noticed,” chimed in Emotional Dabrowski is that Sprite has a number of styles of the brown brogues to choose from – some look quite firm (almost as firm as the Blue Formal Shoes) and some are soft suede like material and look as comfortable as the Pink Slippers.  Some of them are made from the same materials as the Investigative Grey Sneakers and coloured brown which shows how sensible the Grey Sneakers are too. One pair had a camouflage print – ideal for blending in naturally without a fuss; even though what she would be doing is the sensible thing for her and might be quite different from what the others are doing.
And I noticed her Can Do Velcro strap adjustable sandals sitting beside the Brown Brogues and thought that they are very much the same. They are not covered in shoes like the Brown Brogues but they are flexible and adjustable and Spite is able to wear them quite comfortably. It is always good to know that something you have been doing has been on the right track!

Purple Riding Boots

“What Sprite needs is a mentor” declared Columbus Cheetah “She needs a mentor who shares her passion for science especially astronomy and it would be even better if you could find her a mentor who has overcome the same difficulties that Sprite is experiencing!”
“You should look into some of the Purple Riding Boots Programs.”

Sprite had proved, when given the opportunity in the Grey Sneakers Investigation Programs, that she had the ability to comprehend material several years beyond her age grade level; but because of her learning differences and difficulties had not been able to fit into the Blue Formal Shoes programs which included most of the formal programs for gifted students.
The work she had completed in the Orange Gumboot Emergency Plans program had demonstrated that she had leadership potential.
She had felt comforted and supported in the Pink Slipper Compassionate Care Programs but her intellect had not been challenged by them.

The De Bono 6 Action Shoes Purple Riding Boots lead to action plans emphasising leadership, command and authority.

The De Bono 6 Action Shoes Purple Riding Boots lead to action plans emphasising leadership, command and authority
The programs formed by purple riding boot action planning would be Leadership skills programs, Mentoring, Biographical studies.
They could also be creativity and artistically based programs.

Programs for gifted education which focus on Leadership skills programs, Mentoring and Biographical studies can prove very effective in helping the student to determine their path and find a role model.

The program can be undermined if the mentor proves unsuitable but if successful these programs can be a powerful influence in the development from giftedness to talent and great assistance in travelling the Gagne DMGT Road from Natural Abilities (Gifts) through to Competencies (Talents).

“I love the idea of a mentor for Sprite!” said Imaginational Dabrowski “She could go and listen to her 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 not feel embarrassed about wearing one pink slipper. And she could come and visit and we could all look at the stars together”

“And” said Imaginational “If Sprite takes part in some Purple Riding Boot Leadership programs she might even become a role model herself!”

Blue Formal Shoes

Have you ever gone shopping for shoes and found that the style that you really, really liked was not available in your size?

That was what happened to Sprite when it came to the De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes Blue Formal shoes.

The Blue Formal shoes are rigid and solid and represent adherence to guidelines, formal routines, drills and procedures.
The gifted programs designed by using the Blue Formal Shoe Action Planning method would be full time dedicated gifted programs, withdrawal programs or select entry residential programs for gifted students.
They would be fast paced, accelerated, above grade level courses for highly motivated, high achieving students.
They would have stringent selection eligibility criteria and selection would usually be by scholarship examination or nomination by the teacher.
There would be no flexibility in regards to moving into and out of the course.

Sprite had demonstrated her exceptional giftedness by performing so well in the Grey Sneakers Investigations programs that it had been suggested that she could apply for Blue Formal Shoe programs.

This is how it was supposed to work

Intellectual Dabrowski and P’est pour Parfait, the perfectionist poodle thought that the Blue Formal Shoe programs represented the ideal solution for gifted education and were exerting pressure on Sprite to attempt to fit in. They considered that the Blue Formal Shoes would be the most suitable shoes for travelling Gagne DMGT Road from Natural Abilities (Gifts) through to Competencies (Talents).

Imaginational Dabrowski could foresee problems with the rigid structure which did not seem to allow for outside the box thinking and Sensual Dabrowski did not think the blue formal shoes would be a comfortable fit for Sprite.

Emotional Dabrowski was upset because she could see how much Sprite wanted the Blue Formal Shoes. She was concerned about how the Twice Exceptional Sprite would feel if she found that because of her learning difficulties she was not able to keep up with the fast pace and large amount of written work expected in the Blue Shoes programs.