The PYHI Project

Image Jo Freitag

mage Jo Freitag

Now that Sprite’s Site has been declared a neutral sanctuary zone Sprite has realised that there needs to be a few rules to ensure that the residents and their visitors are all safe and being respectful to each other. She sees that Sprite’s Site is a microcosm of the larger world and that the problems that afflict the world at large could become problems in her world unless wise steps to prevent them are put in place

The Twitter Birds have experienced greeting alien arrivals to their world. They presented Sprite with a slide show about their encounters. There were three possibilities they said –
1. The aliens came with warlike intentions
2. The aliens came with peaceful intentions
3. The aliens came seeking a place of asylum

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

They reassured Sprite that, unlike some places in the real world, it was not very likely that the new arrivals at Sprite’s Site would have warlike intentions. So she should concentrate on how to make them feel welcome. They told her that they had shared feasts and music and art and exchanged gifts with the aliens who came in peace and that they had all been enriched by sharing their cultures.

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Sprite herself does not have very good social skills. She finds relating to her age peers difficult and never knows quite how to start a conversation.  And when she manages to get a conversation started she cannot always interpret facial expressions and body language to know when she is boring or completely confusing the other person. So she discussed the matter with the Utopian thinker Imaginational Dabrowski and then announced that there would be a meeting to discuss the introduction of the PYHI project.

As they had only heard the word PYHI and not seen it in writing Intellectual Dabrowski made the assumption that the topic of conversation would be the constant number Pi. He set about gathering as much information as he could and learning the value of Pi to as many digits as he possibly could. He wanted to be well informed to provide information at the meeting.

Edward, the Autonomous Learner, who loves to teach himself computer programming languages, assumed that PYHI would be in some way related to PYTHON programming language.

Sensual and Psychomotor Dabrowski immediately jumped to the conclusion that a PYHI project would involve eating a large stack of pies! Tortoise and Beloved Snail thought that PYHI would be the acronym for Pull Your Head In because that was their chosen method of avoiding conflict and seeking safety.

They all brought their opinions to the meeting and Sprite could see merit in all the suggestions.

Sprite agreed with Intellectual and Edward that education must be a basis for building a respectful multicultural society and that seeking and then freely sharing information was important.

She agreed with Sensual and Psychomotor Dabrowski that sharing culture was very important and that eating together was a great way of getting to know each other. She recalled all the fun the International Feasts and visits of the Taste Tester Dogs  had brought. Also she remembered how Evelyn’s Grandma’s donation of cakes and gingerbread men for the cake stall at the Sprite’s Site Voting booth had created goodwill with the Persona Dolls who wished to vote at the elections.

And Sprite agreed with Tortoise and Beloved Snail that the acronym PYHI could remind everyone to Pull Your Head In rather than making a situation any worse by being physically or verbally abusive.

Imaginational Dabrowski’s version of PYHI turned out to be Put Your Heart In which he conceded was simple but at the same time challenging. It was a call to give respect, speak graciously and do to others as you would like them to do to you.

For helpful information and resources in relation to social issues for the gifted see SENG  and Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page: Social/Emotional Aspects of Giftedness

This is a post for Hoagies’ August Blog Hop: Gifted Social Issues
Read more posts by going on the hop at


Making connections 3

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

“Pincher’s real name is Prudence” Sprite said “I finally talked to her today.”
Ever since Sprite had decided that maybe she was supposed to act as a mentor for the little girl she thought of as Pincher Sprite had been rehearsing the introduction that Emotional Dabrowski had suggested to her.
“Hi! How are you today? My name is Sprite by the way; what is your name?”

“I am scared it will come out all wrong” said Sprite. “It would be so embarrassing if I ended up saying Hi Pincher. Who are you today? My name is Sprite by the way.”

She had also been taking a ball of wool so that she could ask Pincher if she wanted to play cat’s cradle.
She had become so anxious about it that she had even prayed that if she really was supposed to be a mentor that the introductory process would go smoothly.

But for several days she had not seen Pincher. One day it rained and they ate their lunch in their own classrooms. Another day Pincher’s class went on an excursion. Then Pincher was away from school for a few days with a cold and then Sprite was absent for a day for a doctor’s appointment.
Sprite had stopped taking the ball of wool to school and rehearsing her introduction.

“It turned out so much better than I could have possibly hoped” Sprite said. “Pincher’s teacher was on yard duty at lunch time and Pincher was walking around with her. I like to do that too. And they came over to where I was sitting to eat my lunch and read my book.
The teacher said “Hi Sprite! How are you feeling now? (And listened properly while I told her) And then she said “I would like you to meet Prudence. She has a present for you.”

“The day I was away our class visited her class because they have organised a buddy program.
And I have been paired with Prudence. Mostly the teachers chose who we were going to have as a buddy. But Prudence had specially asked if she could have me!”

“Prudence had drawn a picture of me and she wanted to give it to me but she felt a bit shy about doing it in case I didn’t like her picture. So the teacher helped her to introduce herself to me. I think it is a pretty good drawing for a little kid!”

Making connections 2

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Now that Sprite had decided that maybe she was supposed to be a mentor for the little girl she thought of as Pincher she was worrying about what she should do and say.

Of course the Dabrowski Dogs and the Black Dogs were eager to provide input.

“I think it would be wonderful for you to be her mentor” said Imaginational Dabrowski. “She could come to visit us and go on excursions with you and you could lend her books and …”

“I would like to urge caution” said Guard on Duty Black Dog. “You really do not know anything about her. You do not know whether she needs or wants a mentor. You do not know whether she even wants to be friends or if she just likes playing with your crutches.”

“Paula said I need to talk to her to find out about all that.” Sprite said. “But I just do not know what to say.”

“I suppose I could talk about the weather” she suggested.

“Yes, you could talk about barometric pressure and isobars and the Stevenson Screen” said Intellectual Dabrowski.

“Talking about the weather is depressing!” said SAD Seasonally Affected Black Dog

“Then you could tell her about chaos theory, fractals, tessellations and harmonic motion of the planets” said Intellectual Dabrowski.

“That is NOT a good idea!” said Wistful Black Dog who tends to have negative thoughts about the past. “Remember the reactions you got when you tried to talk about those things in the past.”

“Take a ball or a Frisbee and ask if she wants to play” yelped Psycho Motor Dabrowski.
“Yeah, great idea. You can throw it and she can go fetch it” said Little Bully Black Dog. “Then you could ask her to go and get all sorts of other stuff for you too.”

“That is not a good idea at all!” Sprite said. “I don’t want to bully her or tease her. I want to talk to her and find out more about her”

“Ask her how she is feeling” suggested Sensual Dabrowski. “Ask her if she wants to use your crutches because she really has a sore ankle or if she is just dressing up like you because she is a copycat. If you like I could sit in front of her and scratch myself and see if she gets itchy too.”

“Ask her if she feels like an alien too” said little Thinks-he’s –an-alien Black Dog

Emotional Dabrowski was horrified by those suggestions! “You can’t say things like that to her the first time you talk to her. That is NOT going to make her feel comfortable enough to talk to you.
You could take a board game or a craft or wool for a cat’s cradle game and ask her if she wants to play with you.
Why not say “Hi! How are you today? My name is Sprite by the way; what is your name?”

Making connections

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

“I think I have an Apprentice and I don’t know what to do about it!” Sprite told her mentor, Paula the Physicist.

“There is a little kid in a lower class who follows me round and copies what I do.  When I got my new pinafore she wore a pinafore just like it two days later.
She always wants to have a go on my crutches and if I sit down to eat lunch she will try to borrow them. Sometimes I do let her use them.
I noticed she has a bandage on her ankle so maybe she is like me.”

“Why do you think she is your Apprentice?” Paula asked.

“It was something Retweet said yesterday.” Sprite replied. “How did you know you were supposed to be my Mentor?”

“Well you asked Jo to invite a Physicist to your P Party back in 2010 and Jo chose to invite me. And because we arrived for the party a month late we had an opportunity to spend more time talking than we would have had at the party and we discovered the things we had in common. I was able to share the things I had found helpful to me and our mentor/apprentice relationship has developed from there.”

“If she really is supposed to be my Apprentice – what am I supposed to do about it?”

“You could spend time together doing something you both enjoy and, as you talk, you will work out how you can help. What do you both like to do?”
“I don’t know.”
“What is she interested in?”
“I don’t know.”
“What subjects does she enjoy?
“I don’t know.”
“What does she find difficult?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well you need to start by talking with her. What is her name?”

“I don’t know – I think of her as Pincher.”