The G word

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“Why is Columbus Cheetah sitting on the chair in the Naughty Corner?” I asked Sprite.  “Black Dog  put him there” she replied. “He said Columbus was using naughty words and needed to sit in the corner and think about it. But I don’t know what he said that was naughty. He didn’t say the F word, or the S word, or the B word!”

“What did he say?” I asked.

“Columbus was talking to Intellectual Dabrowski  about my education plan for next term.” Sprite said. “Columbus said that even though I have some learning difficulties I am gifted and should be given acceleration opportunities.

Then Leaping Attack Black Dog suddenly pounced on him and dragged him off to the Naughty Chair and now Guard on Duty Black Dog is sitting there and not letting him move out of the corner!”

I knew that Sprite often used stories about Columbus Cheetah and the overexcitable Dabrowski Dogs and the depression causing Black Dogs to express her concerns.
So I was anxious to find out more about the background to this particular story.

“Tell me what happened” I said.
“Columbus and the Dabrowski Dogs were talking about my education plan for next term (except Psycho Motor who was outside chasing butterflies and Sensual who was having a Lavender Lathers grooming parlour session).
Intellectual was discussing the definitions of giftedness and the levels of giftedness on different scales and whether ‘Gifted’ was really the best word to use and he and Columbus were talking about the Hoagies May Blog Hop about “Using the G word” and all the posts which can be read at http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_the_g_word.htm

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“I tuned out after a while and talked to Imaginational who was suggesting all sorts of great sounding programs and provisions.
Imaginational was saying it would be great if I could have either a De Bono Brown Brogues – Do the Most Sensible Thing program
Brown brogues https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/brown-brogues/
or a De Bono Grey Sneakers – PBL Investigations program
Grey sneakers https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/grey-sneakers/
with contact with a mentor for astronomy
Purple riding boots https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/purple-riding-boots/
and help and support in the areas I need it.
Plaster cast https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/casting-sprites-education-in-a-new-form-part-1/
He said it even said in the Iowa Acceleration Scales manual that students should not be denied acceleration only on account of learning difficulties.” http://www.accelerationinstitute.org/resources/ias.aspx

“Intellectual snorted and said that would happen when the porcine aeronauts arrived and that my school was locked into their paper shoe covers system because they were saying all their students were gifted.”
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/de-bonos-6-action-shoes-9-one-size-shoe-cover-system/

Then the Pair O Noids arrived and said that it was not politically correct to say one student was gifted unless you said everyone was gifted.”

“So Columbus Cheetah got really upset and said that obviously people were not taking any notice of his myth busting efforts; http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/columbuscheetah.htm
and that it was just not true that everybody was gifted; in the same way as it was not true that nobody was gifted!
Hadn’t anybody been listening when he presented ample evidence that although every student was precious and every student had areas of relative strength, every student was not academically gifted?
Hadn’t they been listening when he said that all students need excellent education but gifted students need an education which suits their needs?”

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“Emotional Dabrowski started howling in sympathy and then Black Dog arrived!”

“Why do you think Black Dog attacked Columbus rather than you?” I asked.

“Well,” said Sprite. “I think it was because Imaginational and I were happy discussing possible programs that would be really great.
But I can only have a limited amount of influence into whether the good things can be made to happen. I need people to advocate for me as well.”

“ And when Intellectual was being cynical and the Pair O’Noids were being paranoid  it made Columbus wonder whether his myth busting was ever going to be completely successful.
And then Emotional started howling in sympathy and then the Black Dogs turned up.”

“Your have shown me a few things I can do to overcome the Black dogs.
(Read all about the Black dogs in the Youblisher booklet Sprite and Black Dog http://www.youblisher.com/p/10553-Sprite-and-Black-Dog/ )
And anyway I was feeling happy because Imaginational said that I could hope for good programs.”

“But it must be very disheartening to keep advocating for gifted and 2E students and giving the same message for years on end and still finding that attitudes are not changing! “
“In a way I suppose the Black Dogs were also trying to get at me by attacking Columbus; because if he gets too disheartened he might stop advocating and then I certainly wouldn’t get good provisions and I would get depressed too!”

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

Finding the Right Flock 2

Great Aunt Hashtag had gone home and the Psych Owl Ogist ordered take-away food so that hunger would not distract them and settled in for further discussion about how to find the right flock for the gifted Tweetlets. He ordered Fried Mice for himself, Wormburgers for the Tweets and Tweetil and a seed heart for Tweetelle.

“First of all I have to say” said the Psych Owl Ogist “YMMV!”

“Why what?” asked Tweet.

“YMMV, my good man – Your Mileage May Vary”

“You will hear lots of advice and suggestions. Listen to all of it and weight it up carefully and come to your own conclusions. Because a particular flock was suitable for some does not necessarily mean it will suit others.”

“But don’t be too quick to reject suggestions either because often variations can be found or potential barriers removed.”

“For example you rejected Fine Feathers without further consideration because of the cost. It could be possible to get a full or partial scholarship and work some overtime to cover the fees if you felt strongly that it would be the best flock for the Tweetlets.”

“And Retweet rejected all Local Flocks on the basis of the one she saw.
But Local Flocks vary a great deal and some can be excellent for gifted Tweetlets.
You need to visit many of them and ask them the questions. Also join a support group for parents of gifted Tweetlets and find out which flocks the members recommend. Some flocks are happy to accept early entry of gifted Tweetlets.”

“Some Flocks will have programs for groups of gifted Tweetlets or occasionally join with other flocks for special activities and excursions.
Some will offer Vertical Timetabling, Differentiation, Withdrawal classes or Dual enrolment.
Make sure that the Tweetlets with be given suitable teaching in their regular classes every day. They are not only gifted between 2.00-3.00 pm on Tuesday!”

“Check whether they are open to accelerating the Tweetlets to a higher class either full time or for some subjects and if they would use the Iowa Acceleration Scales”

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

New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week 2012 – TBA Post 4 Part 2

I am very happy to be participating in the New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week blog tour again this year.
For news of the events to be held during New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week 2012 see http://www.giftednz.org.nz/awareness.html
and for links to all the posts for the blog tour see http://ultranet.giftededucation.org.nz/WebSpace/696/

This is Part 2 of my post on the topic TBA

While Echidna and Kiwi were inspecting Sally-Anne McCormack’s book Stomp out the ANTs Columbus Cheetah took the opportunity to present me with information in the form of Books (B) and Articles (A) about the giftedness related topic closest to his heart – Acceleration (A)

Columbus Cheetah’s choice Books
Radical Acceleration of Highly Gifted Children: An annotated bibliography of international research on highly gifted children who graduate from high school three or more years early by Miraca U.M. Gross PhD and Helen E. van Vliet MBBS M.Teach. Supported by a 2001 grant from the John Templeton Foundation
Published by Gifted Education Research, Resource and Information Centre, The University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia.

Twitter Bird link find of the complete book as a PDF file http://www.templeton.org/pdfs/funding_areas/10112_Final_Rpt_Bibliography.pdf

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

Columbus Cheetah’s favourite articles about Acceleration included several by Lynne Mackenzie-Sykes which he found in the files of articles and the collections of conference handouts in the Gifted Resources library.

Acceleration: an expanded vision c. 1996 Lynne Mackenzie-Sykes

Acceleration: Real-life perspectives Presented to The 12th World Conference of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children – Connecting the Gifted Community Worldwide Seattle, Washington July 29- August 2, 1997

Acceleration: Real-life perspectives Presented to Maroondah Gifted Children’s Parents’ Assoc on Tuesday 10 October 2000

The Twitter Birds found this one online
http://www.world-gifted.org/sites/default/files/wg-21(1).pdf

I also found a photo of Jennifer Grant reading those articles when she was considering the education of the eldest of her children. Jennifer now speaks to parents and teachers about ‘The Advocacy Journey’ which covers the provisions used for meeting the needs of her exceptionally gifted children ranging from early entry, through enrichment, enhancement and extension to acceleration, radical acceleration, dual enrolment, gifted programs and holiday programs, outside school activities and groups such as choirs and scout groups.

The Twitter Birds found great collections of articles about acceleration at

Les Links Livebinders http://www.livebinders.com/play/play_or_edit?id=218888
Hoagies Gifted Education Page http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/acceleration.htm

Having presented his selection of resources, Columbus Cheetah was eager to move on.
“Can we go down to the beach and wave now?” he asked
I will admit the idea was very tempting; but Intellectual Dabrowski was giving me the working dog stare and reminding me of the text which I had read only a few hours before
It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfil it. Ecclesiastes 5:5 (NIV)
“Not yet” I said “I still have to write about Twice Exceptional Gifted Students. That will be the theme of the next post.”