White Poodle, Black Poodle

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Sprite is very fortunate to have Paula, the Physicist as a mentor.
Not only does Paula share Sprite’s passion for astronomy, but she has also overcome the same learning difficulties that Sprite has and gained tertiary degrees.

Paula has been encouraging Sprite to accept the accommodations and extra support she needs and not to feel embarrassed about wearing one pink slipper when necessary.

But Sprite is still often reluctant to wear the pink slipper.
“People might say if I am clever enough to be in the gifted group I should not need any extra help” Sprite told Paula. “And if I do put on the pink slipper they might say I am faking and just looking for attention and that I can do well enough without it.
And some of the programs I was in last year have not continued this year.”

“So I wear the Can Do sandals or the Investigative grey sneakers and just try to do my assignments perfectly without any extra help but Intellectual Dabrowski brings me SO MUCH information that I cannot deal with all of it and then P’est Pour Parfait, the Perfectionist Poodle says what I have done is not good enough. He says I should have written more and that I have made spelling mistakes.
And he says to hurry because it has to be finished and handed in at the end of the lesson but not to hurry so much that I make more mistakes. And I get so tired that I just want to stop work and go home.”

Paula identified two issues from this conversation with Sprite.
She suggested that it was time to visit Dr Ed Needs, the education consultant,
again for a review of Sprite’s progress and recommendations for further provisions.

And she asked Sprite an interesting question.
“What colour is P’est Pour Parfait, the Perfectionist Poodle?”

“He is black” Sprite told her. “His coat is always very shiny and perfectly groomed with not a hair out of place.”

The next time Paula visited was after Sprite’s appointment with Dr Ed Needs.
Sprite was convalescing at home after an operation (more about that in another post) and she was sporting a new cast. Dr Ed had organized more formal support measures for her.

“In a way it is a relief” Sprite told Paula “because now I don’t have to worry about the pink slipper. But all this testing and therapy seem to be taking so long!  How long will it be before everything is perfect?”

Sprite is very fortunate to have Paula as a mentor!
“I have found” Paula told her “that being 2E is not something that goes away or that I could outgrow. But there have been people to support me and programs to help and I have still managed to be quite successful in spite of my difficulties. I would like to share some of those things with you. One day you will be able to do the same for someone else.”
And Paula had brought a gift to cheer Sprite up. It was a white soft toy poodle wearing a purple coat and purple framed sun glasses.

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“I thought it would remind you of our time we have together because of the purple coat which is like the Purple Riding Boots Mentor Program” she said.

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

“And also it will remind you about what I am going to share with you now.
Poodles can be white as well as black and, in the same way, perfectionism can be both positive and negative.
Dr. Linda Silverman says that perfectionism is the root of excellence and the driving force that propels toward the attainment of higher goals.

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She also discusses perfectionism in an article Perfectionism: The Crucible of Giftedness which you can find at http://nmgifted.org/GAC%20Resources/Perfectionism%20The%20Crucible%20of%20Giftedness-SILVERMAN.pdf

Perfectionism can be a negative force when it causes you to procrastinate or prevents you from participating for fear of not excelling or if it causes you to never be satisfied with any effort and never feel that you have done well enough.

Some people say that no human can ever be perfect or create anything which is perfect because this is an attribute only of the Divine. In fact artists from Eastern traditions have been known to purposely include a slight flaw in their work.

That is why White Poodle is wearing sunglasses – so that he will not dazzle himself with his own brilliance!
White Poodle is here to remind you that it is great to strive for excellence and to attain the ecstasy of being totally in the state of Flow described by Csikszentmihalyi in 1990.
But White Poodle is also cautioning you to be gentle with yourself and not let the negative aspects of perfectionism rob you of your joy.

 

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This is a post for the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum May Blog hop Perfectionism and Other Gifted/2E Quirks.
To read posts from others please go to
http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/blog-hops/perfectionism-gifted2e-quirks/

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Staying motivated throughout the homeschool year

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Sprite and her friends are joining in the first Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop for 2014 which deals with the challenge of staying motivated throughout the homeschool year.

The Tweet family of Twitter Birds who live at Sprite’s Site are teaching their tweetlets at home using the NEST Ed method.
Retweet says that she has experienced difficulty with maintaining motivation for the whole year but that she has found a number of strategies that were helpful.

Intellectual Dabrowski had encouraged her to watch

RSA Animate Daniel Pink The surprising truth about what motivates us
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

It discussed Intrinsic /extrinsic rewards and interest and engagement as sources of motivation
Retweet had tried using the reward of digital badges as motivation
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/digital-badges-2/

Get in the Flow
The Psych-Owl-Ogist advised Retweet to “Get in the Flow”
He told her that 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

He also referred her to the TED talk about Flow at http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html
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.

Columbus Cheetah agreed it was important for Retweet to start at the right level and work at a suitable pace in order to keep the tweetlets engaged in their studies and added that they should also be given opportunities to spend time with true peers.

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PBL – Project/Problem/Passion Based Learning

Retweet had seen how disastrous it could be when the tweetlets were not interested in their studies https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/the-psych-owl-ogist-5/

Intellectual Dabrowski had suggested the use of PBL – Project/Problem/Passion Based Learning and Retweet had incorporated project work in the areas that the tweetlets were passionately interested in to their studies.
Retweet had included some theme studies such as the study of luck https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/lucky-i-had-my-lucky-_________-with-me/  and arranged for the tweetlets to build kites. She had encouraged Tweetelle in her love of painting and suffered cracked ear wax as Tweetil mastered the drums.
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/pa-rum-pa-pa-pum/

She had incorporated some Online courses such as the ones offered by Gifted Homeschoolers Forum  http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/ghf-online/
Khan Academy etc. and various universities and programs and tutorials such as Scratch http://scratch.mit.edu/

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Vocational guidance

Giving the tweetlets some insight into future careers by taking them to Work Experience Week at the Twitter Stream for Vocational Ed studies had also provided a sense of purpose for the tweetlets. It broadened their awareness of careers that are available and what subjects should be studied in order to prepare for them.
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/the-twitter-stream/

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Participation in Global Projects
After I participated in the Global Education Conference I brought back to Sprite’s Site information about making connections with others by joining in global projects such as World Museum World Friends Project, Peace One Day, Dream flags, My Hero and Flat Stanley. Retweet was quick to see that collaborating with others around the world and sharing their work with a real audience would be great motivation for her tweetlets.
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/gathered-from-the-global-education-conference-2012/

Find mentors or tutors

Imaginational Dabrowski had suggested to me the benefits of finding a mentor for Sprite https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/purple-riding-boots/

“I love the idea of a mentor for Sprite!” Imaginational said “She could go and listen to her mentor 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 overcome her difficulties and not feel embarrassed about wearing one pink slipper. And she could come and visit and we could all look at the stars together”
We found Paula the Physicist who shares Sprite’s love of astronomy and she has been a great source of encouragement and motivation for Sprite.

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A recent gtchat discussed the value of mentoring for gifted learners http://globalgtchatpoweredbytagt.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/mentoring-gifted-learners/

Retweet agreed that finding mentors was a great way to encourage motivation and engagement. The Psych-Owl-Ogist had advised her to engage mentors and tutors or take courses with specialists in specific subjects and had suggested that she could share the teaching of
Migration and Navigation with Arctic Tern
Business Studies with the Secretary Bird
Collecting and curating with Bower Bird
Humour with Kookaburra
Carolling with Magpie
Theatre with Lyrebird
Elocution with Parrot

Retweet said that her tweetlets loved the sessions they spent with their mentors and tutors.

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This is a post in the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum February 2014 Blog Hop: Staying motivated throughout the homeschool year

To read all the posts from the blogs participating in this blog hop please see http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/?p=3285

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The Psych Owl Ogist 5

“I think those articles from Lesley Sword  would explain a lot of the Tweetlets’ behaviour” said Retweet

“But I also think maybe Tweetil is just BORED.
Sometimes he pulls twigs out of the nest just to see how it was constructed.
When we were trying to learn ‘Feel the Thermal’ his wings were not developed enough to do it; but he thought the previous lesson was far too easy. And the way it was supposed to be taught annoyed him because it sounded like a nesty rhyme.
Sometimes I wonder whether there is a conspiracy to dumb down Tweetlets by talking down to them, slowing the pace of learning and not making them aware of possibilities!

They were supposed to chant
Flap, Flap, FLIP
See my wing TIP

And then they were supposed to dip one wing lower than the other while standing still.

But Tweetil would go zooming around the rim of the nest chanting
Flap, Flap, FLIP
See my wing TIP
Skip, Skip, SLIP!
Oops, I lost my GRIP!

And then he would hold his beak and take a bottom bouncer dive bomb into the centre of the nest; which would send clouds of dust and feathers all over Tweetelle, who was practicing Preening 101, and there would be tears and tantrums from Tweetelle!

“Ah yes,” said the Psych Owl Ogist “Tweetil is definitely showing signs of not being engaged in the studies at the current level.

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.
Here is some more reading for you 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 too difficult.
You can listen to the TED talk at http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html

So for when you next tackle ‘Feel the Thermal’ – get in the flow and bear in mind the flight launching advice of ‘chick-sent-me-high-ee’

“Oh yes, and a tip for you when you are advocating for the Tweetlets with FLOCK Ed. Never say they are BORED http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/never_say_bored.htm