Changing the way you see us

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

New Zealand’s Gifted Awareness Week 2015 takes place on 15-21 June 2015

Once again Mary St George is organizing a blog tour 8-21 June to mark the occasion

The Origami Secretary Bird had seen the memo I had written about the blog tour and had summoned all of the Sprite’s Site folk to gather opinions.

“I understand that ‘Changing the way you see us’ will be the theme of the week “the Origami Secretary bird told them.

Psycho Motor Dabrowski stopped bouncing for long enough to ask “Who is you and who is us?”

“I surmise” intoned Intellectual Dabrowski “that Us refers to gifted and twice exceptional students and You refers to teachers, parents, politicians and the general public.”

“I would like to proffer this piece of wisdom” Intellectual continued “To paraphrase Robert Burns
O, wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
Or so much better, if by spells
Others see us as we see oursels”

“That is all very well if you have good self-esteem and are contented with the way you see yourself” said little Thinks He’s An Alien Black Dog. “But it is bad enough if I see myself as an alien without everybody in general seeing me as an alien too.”

“He does make a good point” said Columbus Cheetah “It is probably more helpful to show what gifted and twice exceptional students are really like and to dispel the myths which most people have about them. This has been a major focus of my work and you can find my Myth Busting Efforts on Gifted Resources website at

“We usually go down to the beach and wave to New Zealand during their Gifted Awareness Week” said the Memory Elephant, showing the pictorial memories of all the previous years.

“Are we going to do that again this year and, if so, how could it be related to the theme?”

“Oh yes, yes, Frisbees and kites with messages on them” barked Psycho Motor.

“Or messages in bottles It makes people feel all warm and fuzzy to get a message in a bottle” said Emotional Dabrowski.

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

“I think having gifted and 2E students telling their own story or having their story told is a really powerful way of changing the way people see them” said Sprite. “That is why I don’t mind you writing about me on the blog – though sometimes I wish would not show my faults and embarrassing moments!”

I certainly enjoy telling the story of the 2E Twice exceptional Sprite  and I found, when I was considering whether she was a suitable candidate for being made into a Persona Doll, that over the years I have drawn quite a detailed description of her.

I also consider it effective to tell the stories and investigate the needs of many different types of gifted student using Persona Dolls.

The three webinars I have presented about them should contribute somewhat to changing the way people see and understand gifted and twice exceptional students.

Information about these webinars and links to the recordings of the sessions can be found at

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Websites such as Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page and Gifted Homeschoolers Form  provide information about gifted and 2E students and links to resources and also conduct monthly blog tours on specific aspects of giftedness

Social media
Facebook groups such as Mary’s Gifted Contacts
Twitter chats such as #gtchat
webinars, Vlogs, podcasts Livebinders, Slideshares
can all be very helpful in raising awareness about gifted and 2E students.

I was really delighted to receive this comment on Facebook after Gail Poulin, a dynamic teacher from the U.S., had attended a presentation I gave using Blackboard Collaborate for Jo Hart’s Fine Focus webinar series


So here we are again for the fifth time going down to the beach to wave across the water to New Zealand and wish them all the very best for a wonderful and productive Gifted Awareness Week while the Persona Dolls watch on the laptop.
Emotional Dabrowski is sending a warm fuzzy message in a bottle. The Memory Elephant is sending greetings on a helium balloon. Tweetil is attempting to catapult his lucky acorn across ‘the ditch’.
Wishing you success with changing the way people see the gifted!

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

To read about Sprite’s Site’s participation in previous NZ Gifted Awareness Week blog tours see the posts at

This is a post for the New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week blog tour. To read the other posts on the tour go to


And to Sprite I leave…

A belated addition to my Month of Maybe To Do List updating my will.


I realised that the most recent version of my will was written over twenty years ago when our children were all young. It mostly related to ensuring that the children would have guardians and would be given the best possible physical and spiritual nurture and educational opportunities. Our assets, (apart from our library of theology books which was bequeathed to Bible College of Victoria), were to be sold to provide for the children.
At that stage Gifted Resources did not exist.
I had not created any intellectual property
And I did not have an online presence.

The story is quite different now.
The children are all adults.
Most of our assets do not have much monetary value but could have sentimental value and I am confident that the children will be able to work out their distribution with the help of some specific directions in my new will.

I have several tubs of church school programs which I have written which I intend to make into online courses if time and energy permit. I am hoping I can give the physical versions of the programs with the books to the Bible College.

But what does concern me is what will become of Gifted Resources and Sprite’s Site, the resources relating to giftedness that I have gathered and the programs that I have created. I do have a couple of people in mind that may be prepared to take on some of the parts of Gifted Resources work. Who do I give the computer which houses the files? Or should I make up collections of files to be given to various people and bequeath them a disk or USB drive?

At the moment I am looking into how to manage the online aspects.
For example how long do blogs remain on the net? How can I will my website to ensure it will continue to be updated and remain useful? How can I authorise some accounts to be closed?
An article in The Economist discusses this and there were a few clues such in an article in The Telegraph relating to Google Inactive Accounts Manager
I will write a blog post about it and maybe share the information via Jo Hart’s Fine Focus webinars  when I have found out more.


SO For a starter
To Sprite I leave…


One bedroom with study area

One lobby area with window, tables, sofa, chocolate fountain, 21C water cooler, pizza oven, refrigerated cabinet, coffee machine, whiteboard and message board

Assorted chairs and desks, laptop computer, guitar, photo albums, charts, maps and mind maps

Garden with arch, outdoor furnishings, spotlight, telescope and Twitter Bird Bowers

One crossroads with signpost

Full set of shoes from De Bono’s Six Action Shoes collection plus assorted extra footwear


I confer on her responsibility for the care of

100+ Twitter Birds

50+ Taste Tester dogs

7 Black Dogs

5 Dabrowski Dogs


Unspecified numbers of Mice, Lobsters, Red Herrings, Meerkats, Monkeys and Soft Toys

One of each Giraffe, Kiwi, Echidna, Ibis

Caramel Cat

Pugnacious Loyola

Origami Secretary Bird

Columbus Cheetah

Memory Elephant

And an Octopus Topiarii in a Topiary Tessellation Bird Leaf Tree


Well, that was easy!

But to whom do I leave Sprite?

Best Australian Blogs 2013 No 7: Interaction with webinars and online courses



I enjoy participating in online courses and webinars and often blog about the experience on Sprite’s Site.


On Friday mornings I try to attend the Edublogs Fine Focus and Serendipity webinars run by Jo Hart in a Blackboard Collaborate room. Often we discuss IT tools which can be used in education and then experiment with using the tools.
I have presented some Fine Focus sessions.
My Sprite’s Site posts about these webinars can be read at  and posts about my participation in Jo Hart’s webinars can be read on her E-verything blog at  


Global Education Conference
The free, online Global Education Conference runs around the clock for five days.
The conference presentations are given in Blackboard Collaborate webinar rooms
I have blogged about my participation in these conferences and a collection of the posts can be seen here


Reform Symposium
This was another free global online education conference which I attended and from which I learned a great deal and gathered a large supply of resources
Blog posts about my participation in these conferences can be found at

Online Courses
There are many opportunities to study online and Sprite’s Site blog posts about some of these can be found at


Digital Badges

And Moodle Sandbox


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.

Best Australian Blogs 2013 No 4: Interaction with other blogs and blog tours



Sprite is keen to demonstrate the interaction that Sprite’s Site has with other blogs by participating in blog tours, leaving and receiving comments and mentions and inclusion in blogrolls.

Last August I received an email telling me that I needed to either close my other blog, Gifted Resources blog  or update it to the newer format. I had neglected that blog as all my blogging energy has been poured into Sprite’s Site for the last few years.

My tech guru, Jamie Tarling, put in a lot of work to update the blog and transfer old posts into it. It was exciting to see the possible formats and themes on offer for the updated version. The picture in the blog header changes randomly from a selection of Gifted Resources pictures at each page refresh.

It meant that I was now ‘two-blog lady’ and had to divide my time between the two blogs. You can read about the reactions of the Sprite’s Site characters here

Here is a round up of the posts on Spite’s Site and Gifted Resources blog during 2012

Sprite’s Site participated in blog tours, blog hops, blogathons etc including


Calling all Bloggers: Sir Ken Robinson blogathon


What Seth Godin Doesn’t Understand about Gifted People  – Answers to a blog post by Seth Godin organised by the Facebook group Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Bloggers Group
What Seth Godin Doesn’t Understand about Gifted People: Goes the other way? I think not!

What Seth Godin Doesn’t Understand about Gifted People: Goes the other way? I think not! 2


NZ Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tours

New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week

In 2012 I answered the call for posts and filled in TBA (To Be Advised) as the proposed topic for the post. I will be careful not to make that mistake again; as having said I would write about TBA I felt obligated to do so and ended up writing a series with a total of 7 posts for the blog tour.


Gifted Awareness Week Namibia
The post Namibia, cheetahs and gifted students  was written at the invitation of Roya Klingner from the Global Center for Gifted Education as a part of Gifted Education Awareness Week in Namibia.

2E Dansk

Hilde Buys from Denmark picked up my post Reading to dogs and commented on it on her 2E Dansk blog
in a post titled ‘Læsning til hunden med Sprite og 2e-footsteps’  at
I wrote about Sprite’s visit to Denmark  at


A set of posters about Creativity was created for
International Week of Giftedness 2012/International Year of Giftedness and Creativity 2013 blogtour at

Inclusion in Blogrolls and mentions in posts on blogs and commenting on blog posts.

Sprite’s Site enjoys excellent relations with many blogs and provides commentary and links to posts on them and is quoted and linked to in their posts.
Some of the main blogs which Sprite connects with are:


Jo Hart’s E-verything blog

Lisa Conrad’s Gifted Parenting Support

Global #gtchat powered by TAGT blog


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 title on the blue Sprite’s Site header to see the sidebar.

Digital Badges 4

These are the badges I received as a result of the recent Digital Badges course with Peter Rawsthorne
overview at and forums at

The Participant Badge
Participant introduced themselves to the group via the discussion forum and actively contributes to 7 of the 12 primary discussion threads, also participates in one of the two lunch-and-learn sessions.

The Contributor Badge
Contributor does everything the participant does with the addition of contributing;
1. by designing badge images
2. creating a badge system design for another curriculum
3. blogs about their participation in this seminar series
4. other creative endeavours regarding digital badges

“Are you going to display them in the sidebar of the blog?” asked Sprite.

“Maybe, if I can work out how to embed them” I said. “But more likely I will leave them here in this post about Digital Badges.”

“We need a display case” said Sprite “We have the badges for Nomination for the Sydney Writers’ Centre Best Australian Blogs in the blog sidebar to remind us of the posts about our campaigns in 2011 and 2012.”

Best Australian Blogs 2012

Best Australian Blogs 2011

“And I think we have other badges that are included with posts but are not in the sidebar. The Memory Elephant would know!”

The Memory Elephant searched through the archives of the blog and found several badges with posts which were part of a blog tour or reflections on global conferences. Tweetil brought his newly earned Little Drummer Boy Badge and Tweetelle brought her Peacock Preening Badge to show us.

Here are the badges the Memory Elephant found

Fine Focus webinars

Calling all Bloggers: Sir Ken Robinson blogathon

New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week

International Week of Giftedness 2012/International Year of Giftedness and Creativity 2013 blogtour at

Global Education Conference

Reform Symposium

The Sketchbook Challenge

Digital Badges 3

“I see you are writing a blog post about Digital Badges for your homework assignment” said the Origami Secretary Bird, popping up like the Help File Paper Clip. “Would you like assistance from me?”
Just to see what would happen I answered “Tell me what I am required to do’’

“To answer Part 1: You are required to earn digital badges from at least two sources and write a blog post which critically evaluates the experience” replied the Origami Secretary Bird.

As part of the two week Digital Badges course with Peter Rawsthorne
overview at and forums at
I completed activities to earn badges on Khan Academy  and Open Badges

The badges earned at Khan Academy were all Meteorite badges which are common badges, easy to earn when just getting started. They were gained in the Drawing section in the subject area of Computer Science. Their titles were Mad Scientist, CS Scholar and Tinkerer. The CS Scholar was gained simply by watching the tutorial video and the Tinkerer by altering some code as directed. Gaining the badge was announced by the appearance of a pop-up message and the badges were delivered to my Achievements page without me having to do it. I enjoyed using Khan Academy and will probably return for more learning opportunities as time permits.

Earning the first badge Badges 101 at Mozilla Open Badges was easy – only a matter of answering True or False to three questions – but I had difficulty in transferring the badge to the Mozilla backpack. After trying numerous times and receiving error messages I tried using Firefox rather than Internet Explorer and was successful.
I then gained the Open Badges Hackasaurus badge also. I nearly did not attempt this badge, as when I moused over the link on the word ‘address’ in ‘change your address here’ it appeared to lead to a site which could have caused problems. However after rereading the instructions I just added the words to the address bar and it worked for me. During this challenge there were pop up box rewards for each task incorporated in gaining the badge.

The next part of the course entailed designing, creating and issuing badges.

I decided to create a set of badges for my 10 week Church School program Bird Watching with Biblical Binoculars
The program was conducted face to face but using Internet programs. We had hoped to connect with a group from Queensland; however the aftermath of the floods prevented that from happening.
This program was discussed during one of Jo Hart’s Edublogs Fine Focus webinars at  
I created a set of 10 attendance badges using  – one for each week. At this stage I have not made the attendance badges available for others to nominate themselves for – as it related to IRL attendance. However this did lead me to think that maybe the program could be extended to online without the face to face contact and, if that happened, it would be easy enough to edit the badge accordingly.
I also created a set of Biblical Binoculars Badges which were to certify that the recipient had completed the Bible reference chart activity at the given Blog URL. I left this section open for others to nominate for this badge but at the moment I would not be able to verify that they had actually done the task.
I need to learn a way of stating in the criteria that they must e-mail the answers to me in order to receive the badge.

To design my badges I used clip art pictures available in PowerPoint of a sparrow and a pair of binoculars and adapted them using Paint and then saved them as png files. The sparrow which I used on the attendance badges was the image which represented the Bird watching with Biblical Binoculars program and the image of the binoculars which was included on the Bible reference badges was part of the Biblical binoculars chart.

Some of the traditional badge systems, such as the martial arts belt levels, have a single low level entry badge and badges are awarded sequentially as the skill level of the candidate increases until the ultimate level is reached.
Other traditional badge systems such as the scouting organisations’ badges have multiple starting levels and the badges can be gained in the order desired by the candidate. However some of the badges are at a higher level than others and can only be attained if particular lower level badges have already been gained.

In a similar way some of the digital badge systems are arranged in a linear progression manner with a single low level of entry and sequential task badges leading to a final badge and other systems are more like the scouting model and badges can be attained in many different areas without a rigid predetermined order.

At present the Bird watching with Biblical binoculars badges reward attendance and completion of specific tasks. I would like to design an overall badge for completion of the program but have not yet determined what the criteria for the badge would be.

I notice that the Tweet family have also started to earn some badges Tweetelle has gained the Mona Tweeter badge   for painting and Tweetil has gained the Smelly Science badge.

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