Reality check

I have been doing some deep thinking after writing that previous post about gifted children and the media and the exposure to the media in the Survivor – Gifted Island game.
I just want to make it clear that the Survivor – Gifted Island game is a completely  FICTIONAL TV simulation game show.

I love the simulation games and icebreakers that are played at camps and PD sessions. I love the FUNN generated by Mark Collard in his workshops and his books No Props and Count Me In  and I enjoy visiting his Inspire Your Group blog at

But if there really were such a TV show as Survivor – Gifted Island I definitely would not participate in it! I would not subject  my family and a much appreciated teacher/ mentor to being on public display and would not want to do it myself! Especially when you consider that  gifted people are often highly sensitive and introverted.

But I am having a great deal of fun writing this series and using the situations of the game to demonstrate issues that do exist in the real world. So having aired that disclaimer – let’s continue with the story!

Onto the Island and into the Fish Bowl

Sprite had wanted to bring her fish in their bowl with her to Survivor – Gifted Island because she was afraid that they would starve or Caramel Cat would eat them while we were away. I told her I would arrange for people to pop in to Sprite’s Site and check on her fish.
After only a few days on the Island I began to feel that we were the ones in the fish bowl. Camping in close proximity to other families can be difficult. You feel that your attitudes, opinions, parenting style and lack of camping skills are all being scrutinized by the people in the surrounding tents.

On the island we are living our lives in front of the viewers of Survivor – Gifted Island and at the mercy of the editorial selection of the game’s producers. And of course the producers consider tears and tantrums to be much more entertaining than quiet dignity! So the scenes they choose to put to air would be most likely to be the very ones we want to forget.

Gifted children often attract the attention of the press when they  amaze with their unusual accomplishments but it is wise to try to avoid the limelight if at all possible. I remember this from my dealings with the media when our children were young and from discussions with other parents of gifted children on email discussion lists.

Kathi Kearney gives some wise advice about this topic in an excellent article Highly Gifted Children and the Press at

How to vote for Sprite

Sprite has been a given brief leave of absence from Survivor – Gifted Island in order to supervise her campaign assistants and be there to shake hands and look important at the polling booth and tell people how to vote for Sprite’s Site in the Sydney Writers’ Centre Best Australian Blogs 2011 competition

Sprite’s campaign assistants are the Memory Elephant, Columbus Cheetah, the Dabrowski Dogs, Oliver Moremouse, soft toys Puppy and Pony and assorted Twitter birds. Caramel Cat has put in an appearance but is not really contributing much to the effort. The Origami Secretary Bird is trying to form a Union for Campaign Assistants and Beloved Snail is ready to transport any postal votes. Sprite’s Site has been spruced up in order to be ready for visitors.
Sprite is displaying her Campaign poster which was created using paint and WeeMe avatar maker from  which she hopes depicts her in a favourable light!

It will only take a couple of seconds to vote. You can record a vote for Sprite by clicking on the People’s Choice voting badge or by going to and voting for Sprite’s Site on the P-Z page.
If you have entered Sprite’s Site by following a link to a specific post you will need to click on the blue Sprite’s Site header first to see the sidebar.

#gtstoogies 15 April

Well, we have set off for the Survivor – Gifted Island game having already endured the first tantrum from Sprite; even before we left home; when she realised how few of the things she wanted to take would fit in the one backpack she was allowed to take. I managed to squeeze Columbus Cheetah into my backpack and with a bit of repacking we managed to fit a few more items in Sprite’s pack including the frisbee and ball for the Dabrowski dogs.

Sprite was very upset that she was not allowed to take her telescope, microscope and laptop. I am hoping that these things will be provided since it IS Gifted Island – maybe they will be rewards that can be earned. I tried to encourage Sprite that maybe not having these items would provide extra challenge and make the experience even more  inspirational but she did not appear convinced!
She was also not happy about having to leave her De Bono Six Action Shoes pink slippers at home. She was only allowed to take two pairs of shoes and I pointed out that the Can Do Adjustable velcro sandals and the De Bono Six Action Shoes grey sneakers would be the most useful pairs to take.

I apologise for not leaving the place in a tidier condition!  We have left the coffee maker and Dr Jeff Goldstein’s 21st C water cooler ready for the #gtstoogies gathering after #gtchat this week and have ordered a cake to celebrate the Birthday of Leslie Graves of from Ireland.

We will start sending you our journals from Survivor – Gifted Island soon.

Survivor – Gifted Island 2

“Are you really sure you want still want to go on this Survivor – Gifted Island game?” I asked Sprite.

I had been reading the information the producers of the game had sent, particularly the information about what you were allowed to bring with you. There was a list of clothes, toiletries, one spare pair of shoes and a few extra items which could be brought to the island and it all had to fit in a small backpack.

“Of course I want to go!” said Sprite. “It will be like going camping with a whole lot of gifted people.
I have already packed all the stuff I want to take and put it by the table but some of it doesn’t fit into the backpack.”

Survivor – Gifted Island

“I have nominated us to play the Survivor – Gifted Island game” Sprite told me.
“It is like a cross between Survivor, Big Brother, The Amazing Race and that show about the camp for badly behaved teenagers.”

So I thought I should find out more about what was involved with the game.

It is played by teams of one parent, one teacher and one gifted or 2E kid.

You don’t get voted off the Island – you just have to stay there and survive and everybody gets to watch how you cope and laugh or cry about it.
Apparently there are wonderful rewards for all the ones that survive. They haven’t exactly said what they are but they mentioned things like cures for diseases and improvement for the environment and beautiful art,  music and literature.

There’s one twist – the teachers are on one island and the parent and kid are on another island. Part of the strategy of the game for the parents is to form alliances with other parents (parent support groups) and with the teachers. But it is harder to make alliances with the teachers because you have to find a way of communicating with their island or building a bridge or a raft to go over there.

To start with you are only given the food you need (not taking into account that the food provided may be an allergy concern for your child) and basic tent shelters. You can participate in challenges along the way which provide rewards such as books by experts, enrichment opportunities for the child and a mobile phone with access to the Internet.

Some of the initial challenges which can lead to rewards are

  1. Cook a meal with the provided ingredients which is guaranteed to be enjoyed by all the members of the tribe on your island
  2. Invent word games and stick and sand games to keep the kids from becoming bored
  3. Stage a Talent show concert


Sometimes the contestants (both the teachers and the parents) get given clues leading to information about people and programs that would be helpful and have to devise ways to get to the places and come up with a method of covering the financial costs involved. There was a hint that there could be another island with psychologists and education consultants on it.

One of the rewards which the students can win is to spend time on the teacher’s island being mentored in their chosen field.

Just as you gain the rewards of the mobile phone and Internet access and get excited about the possibility of building alliances you discover that there is a further plot twist to the show.  False or misleading information is being fed to all the Survivor contestants which causes dissention between members of the same group and misunderstandings about the opinions, attitudes, motivations and actions of the other groups. Rumour that there is prize of a million dollars for the sole survivor leads to competition rather than cooperation. And myths about the definition and characteristics of giftedness add to the difficulty of building alliances.

“Oh and all the Dabrowski Dogs will be coming to the island with us too!” Sprite added.
I thought to myself ‘And I would not be at all surprised to find that the perfectionist poodle and the Black Dogs will be there also.’