Donkeys live a long time 6

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“Can we PLEASE get back to talking about Orwell’s Animal Farm now?” Sprite demanded. “I’m still worried about it.”

“I can’t see why she should be worried about it” stated Intellectual Dabrowski. “I made her read several study guides about the book. She understands the plot and the characters and the historical allegories.
If she is worried about it, I blame Imaginational!
He must have told her to imagine what it would be like to live in the story.”

The Memory Elephant had produced the mind map showing our blog posts about the discussions of the book and Wistful Black Dog was sitting nearby ready to comment about the failings of the past. The Pair O’Noids were tutting over the newspaper which had upset Sprite. Boxer and Clover and the chickens seemed to have moved in as residents of Sprite’s Site. And Psycho Motor Dabrowski was bouncing up and down barking distractingly that I must remember to write posts for upcoming Blog Hops.

“So, what is worrying you about Animal Farm?” I asked.

“Well,” said Sprite “I was wondering whether the individual citizens of a country are guilty of all the bad things that the leaders of their country do. As far as I can see the people vote for the person they want to represent them. So they are all responsible for putting people into a leadership position.

But children are not permitted to vote – so are children responsible for what leaders do?

And also, people choose who they want to vote for by comparing the promises the candidates make. But then, I read in the paper that politicians don’t always keep the promises they make. So people who voted for them are not getting the type of leaders they wanted. So are they still responsible for the bad things these leaders do?

And, if you don’t like what the leaders do, what can you do about it?”

“Knock, knock!” interrupted Psycho Motor
“Who’s there?” I asked dutifully
“It’s Interrupting Dog – just ignore him!” said Intellectual.
“Interrupting Dog Who?” asked Sprite.
“Oh, for Heaven’s sake, ignore him, Sprite!” growled Intellectual. “You have to stop distracting her, Psycho Motor!”
“Actually I am Interrupting Dog calling attention to the fact that Jo needs to write her post about ‘Gifted – How?’ for the Hoagies September Blog hop by tomorrow.

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“Thank you, Psycho Motor! Sorry everyone I have to go now” I said, thinking to myself that at least I was gaining a bit of thinking time to consider issues relating to politics and personal responsibility.

Donkeys live a long time 5: Intermission

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I returned to Sprite’s Site after a short time away in which I had been busy with updating the pages on my personal website
Creating Challenge http://www.giftedresources.org/jo/creatingchallenge.htm

52 Illustrations Challenge http://www.giftedresources.org/jo/52illustrations.htm

My Sky 365 Challenge http://www.giftedresources.org/jo/mysky.htm

I found that Sprite and company had been busy also. They were temporarily distracted from their concerns about George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
They were preparing for World Art Drop Day on 2 September 2014.
http://mrjakeparker.com/art-drop-day
I told them that I am planning to participate in World Art Drop Day too and was considering where to leave a picture for someone to find and how I could give a clue about the location via Facebook or Twitter.

They were also creating art which featured dots for International Dot Day on 15 September 2014 http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/
Sprite reminded me that she had enjoyed Dot Day in the past https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/international-dot-day-15-september-2010/  and that Intellectual Dabrowski had insisted that she should put the date on the calendar the Memory Elephant gave her so that she would not miss the event. https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/keeping-calendars/
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But, if I thought that Sprite had forgotten about the Animal Farm discussions, I was wrong!
“We haven’t finished talking about Animal Farm yet!” she said.

“No and we have not re- evaluated your learning plan either” I said “Last time we talked about it was at The Meeting https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/the-meeting/

“But I have already been tested and have an education plan” said Sprite “Why do I need any more?”

“Well” I said. “Situations change. It is just the same as being remeasured when you are fitted for new shoes. It is like going to the doctor regularly for a check up if you have high blood pressure and have been given a prescription – you need to check that the medication is still working and nothing has changed.”

“Do you have high blood pressure?” asked Sprite. “Does that mean you are going to die?”

“I’m fine” I said “I am not planning on dying any time soon but everybody will die sometime”
“Will I die when you die?” Sprite asked.

I have had conversations about death and life after death with many people.
I have talked about death with a two year old when her grandpa died and we found an empty spider skin. I have talked about heaven with a three year old and infinity with a five year old.

But I had never contemplated having a discussion about the likelihood or otherwise of a fictional character living after the author’s death with said fictional character.
“I don’t know!” I said.

Donkeys live a long time 4: Gifted Friendships

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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

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Donkeys live a long time 3

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I had freed Sprite from her self imposed time in the depressing Naughty Corner and now we were discussing George Orwell’s Animal Farm while we drank hot chocolate and munched biscuits.
“I was thinking about who I would be and what I would do if I were in the story” Sprite said.

“And I worked out who most of the blog characters would be.

Imaginational Dabrowski would be Old Major because Old Major was the one who dreamed of the ideal place Animal Farm could be.

Intellectual Dabrowski would be Snowball but I don’t know who would be Napoleon.

And I don’t know who Farmer Jones is either for that matter!
Isn’t it interesting that I don’t know exactly who the main ‘baddies’ are!

The Black Dogs would be the bullying security force dogs.
And the Pair O Noids would probably be security force dogs too because they tell you that, if you do certain things, bad things will happen to you or your family.

The Twitter Birds are the chickens – they would be quick to rally and stage a protest like the chickens did.

I think Boxer, the faithful workhorse, would be Tortoise – he thinks that everything will work out fine in the end if he just works hard enough. I really admire Tortoise for that!

Emotional Dabrowski would be Clover the caring mare.

I think Molly the vain uppity mare who moved away from the farm could be P’est Pour Parfait, the Perfectionist Poodle.

I don’t think we have any ones that correspond to the sheep here on the blog. They all think for themselves. I can’t imagine any of them just bleating slogans they were told to say!

I don’t know who Psycho Motor Dabrowski and Sensual Dabrowski would be. And I don’t know about the Mice or Lobsters either.

Of course Caramel Cat is the Cat. Caramel usually just sleeps in a patch of sunlight.

“And I suppose Eeyore/Benjamin is the Donkey?” I asked.

“Yes” said Sprite “But the Memory Elephant and Columbus Cheetah are also like the Donkey because they have seen and remember how things used to be and have seen changes and even seen things going in and out of fashion and then coming back into fashion again.
But Memory Elephant just remembers and comments like Donkey before Boxer’s death; whereas Columbus keeps on advocating actively and is more like Donkey after Boxer’s death.
I read that George Orwell thought of himself as the Donkey and people used to call him Donkey George”

“Wow! You have really thought deeply about this!” I said “And so who are you in the world of Animal Farm?”

“That is the problem!” said Sprite “I don’t know and it scares me!”

Donkeys live a long time 2

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Intellectual Dabrowski had suggested that Sprite should read George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Although she is quite a bit younger than I was when we studied the book at school, it probably would have been suitable for her to read as a story or even to read as an historical allegory. We could have had some great discussions about the book from either of those angles.

However her exceptionally gifted mind and the promptings of the overexcitable Dabrowski dogs lead Sprite to combine the story with the articles she was reading in the newspapers and make some completely unexpected connections and internalise the issues and messages of the book.

I found that instead of talking about a simple story or an allegory we were discussing communism, socialism, democracy, personal and corporate responsibility, ethics and morals, politicians’ electoral promises, refugees, the environment and a number of other issues.

In fact the discussion became so complex and had so many aspects to it that I needed to make a quick mindmap and I will write a series of posts about it.

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But one of the first issues that became apparent was that of Asynchronous Development.

Gifted children are often capable of reading and understanding and making further inferences from material that they are not mature enough to cope with emotionally.

We discussed this recently in a Twitter #GTChat session about locating age appropriate books for high ability learners
http://globalgtchatpoweredbytagt.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/locating-age-appropriate-books-for-high-ability-learners/

And the Hoagies Gifted Education Page July 2014 blog hop focused on Summer reading
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_summer_reading.htm

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Hoagies have a section dedicated to reading at
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/reading_lists.htm

And I also found ERIC Guiding the gifted reader on the Hoagies site
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/eric/e481.html

Asynchronous development is at the heart of the Columbus Group definition of giftedness and impacts every aspect of the life of a gifted child.
http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/isad/columbus-group 

Articles about it can be found at

SENG Asynchronous development
http://www.sengifted.org/archives/articles/asynchronous-developmen

Lisa Rivero Many ages at once
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/creative-synthesis/201201/many-ages-once

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“Just tell me before we go on any further – why are you sitting in the Naughty Corner?” I asked Sprite.

“I put myself here because I am not being active in doing something when I can see things are not right or not fair” said Sprite.

“But in my own defence I have to say that I don’t know what I should be doing and there are just so many things wrong or not fair that I don’t even know where to start!”

“You and me – both!” I agreed

Donkeys live a long time

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I called in to Sprite’s Site to check a couple of references and was greeted by Imaginational Dabrowski.

“Where have you been? Was it an exciting expo or a creativity conference or……? Where have you been?” he asked.

“I participated in RSCON 5 http://www.futureofeducation.com/  and I will be writing about that soon” I said

“I have been working on an art course online at Derwent Academy http://www.derwentacademy.co.uk/

“And I updated my personal website with the July FB Creating Challenge   and the 52 Illustrations Challenge and June and beginning of July My Sky  pictures.”

“And I went to visit posts on a couple of blog hops and I will write about that soon too” I said

“Why didn’t you write posts for Sprite’s Site and why didn’t you take Sprite and Retweet along with you?” Imaginational asked.
“Well, um … because reasons … real life got busy” I said

“I was looking for you because Sprite is all depressed” said Imaginational “ And  when I tried to cheer her up by suggesting utopian ideas she just hugged her donkey tight and said ‘That is how it is supposed to be – but it isn’t like that!”

“It is probably SAD Seasonally Affected Black Dog  who is making her miserable. We have had a lot of storms and rain lately” I said.

“No, I blame Intellectual Dabrowski” said Imaginational.  “He let her read Orwell’s Animal farm and the newspapers!”

I found Sprite sitting on the chair in the Naughty Corner cuddling her donkey.
“How’s Eeyore?” I asked

“He is not Eeyore. He is Benjamin and he says ‘donkeys live a long time’ and he is sad” she replied.

“It sounds as if we need to have a talk!” I said