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Previous Topics...

See Old What's NOT New for the most recent topics...

Month Topic
November 2000 Holiday Ideas
October 2000 Social/Emotional
September 2000 C R A S H !!
August 2000 Back to School...
July 2000 Unconditional Love
June 2000 New Books
April 2000 Advocacy
March 2000 Surviving the Gifted Child
February 2000 Homeschooling the Gifted Child
January 2000 Identification
December 1999 You Know You're the Parent of a Gifted Child When...
November 1999 Distinguishing Myths From Realities
October 1999 Kids' and Teens' Resources
September 1999 Teaching Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom
August 1999 Basis of Practitioners' Objections to Acceleration
July 1999 Gifted Yet Learning Disabled
June 1999 Highly Gifted Children
May 1999 Gifted Children
April 1999 The Right to an Education
October 1998 Teaching Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom
September 1998 Early Entrance and Grade Skipping
July 1998 Twice Exceptional Child
June 1998 Highly Gifted Child
May 1998 highlights...
April 1998 highlights...


Holiday Ideas

November 2000

The holidays are nearly upon us, and we are again faced with the same question as every other parent... what to get? But for the parents of the gifted child, the answers are not always found in the TV ads or mailbox catalogs. And new ideas are always welcome. Here's a few of the favorites loved by gifted children of many ages, from around the world, along with the Internet resources to find them. Happy hunting...

For books, check out the great list of Hot Topics! books on Hoagies' Kids and Teens Page. Here you'll find books on genetics for the elementary school aged child, or the young adult; books on history for the preschooler through the young adult; science fiction for everyone, and tons of other books in math, science, and more, that really grab our gifted children.

For games, puzzles, and more fun and educational products, don't miss Products. Here you'll find SET and Quiddler, family card games for kids of all ages; Zome System, the great construction system for preschoolers through college (you can do architectural experiments and construct DNA strands!); and puzzles by Binary Arts and GamePuzzles that are sure to appeal everyone in your family.

For videos and DVDs featuring gifted kids in a positive light, check out Movies. From films for the little ones, to films for the young adults and their parents (hey, that's us!), there is something for every viewer here.

There are magazines for our gifted children Magazines, for all ages and interests, from Kids Discover to Muse, from Ladybug to Boomerang, the audio magazine!

The newest addition, sure to be a hit with gifted kids and parents and teachers alike, Nerd Shirts. Find a shirt on Hubble's Space, or Women in Science, or Math Rules, or The Periodic Table and Chairs, Harry Potter (of course!), or... lots more great t- and sweat shirts that amaze and amuse.

And don't forget teachers and parents: Gifted Books lists all the top titles in pretty much every facet of raising and educating these terrific gifted children... The most popular titles in gifted education are Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Source for Parents and Teachers Recommended by James T. Webb, Elizabeth A. Meckstroth and Stephanie S. Tolan, Teaching Gifted Kids in Today's Classroom: Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can Use Recommended by Susan Winebrenner, and Bringing Out the Best : A Resource Guide for Parents of Young Gifted Children by Jacquelyn Saunders. For younger children, don't miss Teaching Young Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom: Identifying, Nurturing, and Challenging Ages 4-9 by Joan Smutny, Sally Walker, Elizabeth Meckstroth. And for all our teachers, parents and kids, don't miss Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers from Preschool to High School Recommended by Judith Wynn Halsted.

And for the kids, the most popular books are The Gifted Kids Survival Guide (For Ages 10 and Under) Recommended by Judy Galbraith, and The Gifted Kids Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook Recommended by Judy Galbraith and Jim Delisle. Parents aren't left out: there's The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids: How to Understand, Live With, and Stick Up for Your Gifted Child Recommended by Sally Yahnke Walker.

Last but not least, two more great books, Cool Colleges: For the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, and Just Plain Different Recommended by Donald Asher, and Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers by Carol Ann Strip.

Happy Holidays!

Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted Child

October 2000

Gifted children are different. There's no getting around that. They learn more quickly, and in more depth than other children. They feel emotions more keenly, and are often upset more easily by world events that other children their age may be blissfully unaware of. But many people focus solely on their academic differences and needs, often to the exclusion of their social and emotional differences and needs. And just as often, other people working with these same children focus solely on their social and emotional needs in lieu of their academic needs, at least their perceived social and emotional needs, and the possible solutions to them.

But it isn't that easy.

Gifted children are children, and have similar social and emotional needs to those of other children. They need friends, peers with whom they can talk, play, interact at their own level. That's the first problem: that level is asynchronous. The gifted child may be 9 academically, 6 physically, 5 emotionally, and 7 and a half socially. Where is this child going to find a friend, a peer, who can understand his 5-year-old outbursts while playing 9-year-old strategy games and discussing 7-and-a-half-year-old social relationships?? Certainly not in the first grade class full of 6-year-old children, playing 6-year-old games in 6-year-old relationships!!

There are many resources for social and emotional support and guidance for parents and educators of gifted children. SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) www.SENGifted.org is an organization dedicated solely to this aspect of giftedness. SENG offers a newsletter full of information and suggestions, and a bi-annual conference for educators, psychologists, physicians, other professionals, and families, with their gifted children, to discuss the social and emotional needs of the gifted child.

There are also print resources for social and emotional support and guidance for gifted children. For teachers and educators there is Guiding the Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Youth: A Practical Guide for Educators and Counselors by James R. Delisle. Another good resource, a quick read (though a little less detailed information) is Managing the Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted: A Teacher's Survival Guide by Connie Schmitz and Judy Galbraith, with over 30 concrete, easy-to-use strategies for teachers to help gifted students develop socially and emotionally as well as intellectually. And Once Upon a Mind: Stories and Scholars of Gifted Child Education by James Delisle, introduces the research and practice of gifted child education, as well as the individuals who represent current and historical thinking in the discipline, with a strong emphasis on the social and emotional aspects of giftedness.

Print resources for parents include Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Source for Parents and Teachers Recommended by James T. Webb, Elizabeth A. Meckstroth, Stephanie S. Tolan, considered the classic book of this field, for parents, but also for educators and professionals. The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids: How to Understand, Live With, and Stick Up for Your Gifted Child Recommended by Sally Yahnke Walker is an excellent quick guide for parents, covering social and emotional issues along with the rest. And Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers by Carol Ann Strip is a user friendly guidebook that educates parents and teachers about important gifted issues, an ideal resource for the beginner to seasoned veteran in educating gifted children.

Web resources are probably the easiest to access (given that you are reading this page on the web right now!). Don't miss Nurturing Social-Emotional Development of Gifted Students (ERIC Digest #527) by James T. Webb, Giftedness: The view from within by Martha J. Morelock, Gifted Children: Youth Mental Health Update Recommended by Julia B. Osborn, and Myths of Giftedness by Association of Educators of Gifted, Talented and Creative Children in British Columbia.

For more readings, see Social / Emotional and Sensitivity.

The social and emotional health of the gifted child is just as important as his the academic well-being. But that does not necessarily mean keeping her with her age peers, denying her the opportunity to have true peers at her own social, emotional, and academic levels, or forcing her to 'act' like someone she isn't. Nor does it mean ignoring his social and emotional needs in lieu of his academic needs, or ignoring her academic needs in lieu in her social and emotional needs. Take the time to care for all the needs of the gifted child!

C R A S H !

September 2000

School has been in session for a month or more, and suddenly... crash. Perhaps this is a new experience for your child, and she has suddenly realized that her wonderful dream of learning in school is a shattered nightmare of repeat, repeat, and repeat. Perhaps this is an annual event, as your normally enthusiastic son slowly realizes that this year will be no different from the last, and that the only thing different is him. No matter how you reach this point, the result is the same: a horrible clash between the child's expectations of school, and the school's presentation of education to the child.

It's really not the school's fault, or the teacher's fault. The gifted child makes up only about 2.5 percent of their student body, perhaps more in a high technology suburb, and perhaps less in a low-income inner city, or a rural regional school. But gifted children are few and far between, no matter where they go to school. And perhaps it's even worse: the highly gifted child may occur only once in a thousand kids, the exceptionally, once in 20,000 and the profoundly gifted... one in a million! These numbers are not exact - the study of intelligence is not an exact science, but they are the current estimates derived from the bell curve of normal population.

And it's not your fault. You didn't know, when you had this wonderful son or daughter, that they would not, could not, fit in the normal educational process. You did not know the difference between normal and gifted, between gifted and exceptionally gifted, between profoundly gifted and ... other profoundly gifted! You did not know that your child and the school system would create a horrible crash! There is really nowhere to place blame.

What there is, is changes to be made, improvements to benefit the child, and accommodations to create a viable learning environment for every child. But since you are the one with the unusual child, you are the one to ask for, persuade, and in some situations fight for an appropriate learning environment for your child.

But how to know what is needed, what to ask for?

This is the "million dollar question."

What is right for one child, may not be right for another. For the moderately gifted child, a pull-out program of enrichment based on the classroom materials or completely outside the curriculum materials may be sufficient (or it may not!). For the highly, exceptionally, and profoundly gifted child, this pull-out may look more and more like a useless placebo. "Giving these children simple bits of information is like feeding an elephant one blade of grass at a time - he will starve before he even realizes that anyone is trying to feed him."

What you need next, after the crash, or before it!, is information. An excellent summary of the situation is Stephanie Tolan's Helping Your Highly Gifted Child. Some great books, both for your child and your self are the "Survival Guide" series from Free Spirit Press:

The Gifted Kids Survival Guide (For Ages 10 and Under) by Judy Galbraith

The Gifted Kids Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook by Judy Galbraith and Jim Delisle

The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids: How to Understand, Live With, and Stick Up for Your Gifted Child by Sally Yahnke Walker

The award winning Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Source for Parents and Teachers by James T. Webb, Elizabeth A. Meckstroth, and Stephanie S. Tolan is considered the classic text of the field, and an excellent resource for both the parents and teachers, for many different levels of "Crash!" And if some form of acceleration is called for (there are over 13 different forms of Academic Acceleration!), Academic Acceleration, Knowing Your Options published by Johns Hopkins IAAY publications (now out of print, use interlibrary loan to locate), offers a short, inexpensive summary of the options, the academic results, and the social and emotional impact (or not!) of various forms of academic acceleration.

Probably most important to both parents and educators in this situation, is to know that you are not alone. The simplest way to get support from other parents, or other educators, in this Internet age is... Internet support mailing lists. There are many listed on Hoagies' Gifted Support, from GT-Families for the families of these terrific children, to TAGPDQ for families of those kids who are beyond garden-variety gifted, to TAG-L and the William and Mary lists for educators, administrators and teachers grappling with the same issues from inside the schools.

And, last but not least, know that others have found successful routes around and/or through this educational crash that you are encountering. Success Stories is a page full of other parents experiences, with solutions ranging from grade acceleration to Montessori schooling to home schooling (even with working parents) to... Read these stories, and realize that you, too, can make education work for your child. And good luck!

Back to School...

August 2000

August and September bring the Back to School season in the Northern hemisphere, with its retail sales, school supply shopping lists, and angst about the new year. For families of gifted children, the angst is sometimes the greatest feature, whether the child will be returning to the same school situation, hopefully a successful one, or venturing into a new world. Here are a few favorite resources to help make this season a little easier.

Teacher Resources

 

Guiding the Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Youth: A Practical Guide for Educators and Counselors by James R. Delisle

Social and emotional issues of the gifted child discussed...
 

Teaching Gifted Kids in Today's Classroom: Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can Use Recommended by Susan Winebrenner

An excellent guide to modifying curriculum for gifted elementary and middle school students in the regular classroom
 

Teaching Young Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom: Identifying, Nurturing, and Challenging Ages 4-9 by Joan Smutny, Sally Walker, Elizabeth Meckstroth

A new guide for our youngest gifted students...

Homeschool Resources

 

 Gifted Children At Home by Janice Baker, Kathleen Julicher and Maggie Hogan

Written by home school moms for teaching gifted students at home (excellent resource, slight Christian flavor, but could easily be substituted as any faith / belief)
 

The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education by Grace Llewellyn

For adolescents (and their parents), discusses the differences between education and schooling with an emphasis on how to get the former even if you eschew the latter

Parent Resources

 

Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Source for Parents and Teachers Recommended by James T. Webb, Elizabeth A. Meckstroth, Stephanie S. Tolan

Considered the classic text of this field
 

Cheetah Is It A Cheetah? Recommended by Stephanie S. Tolan

The classic essay on the characteristics of a gifted child in a regular classroom (Running cheetah graphic courtesy of Diane Scanlon)
 

Stuck in Another Dimension: The Exceptionally Gifted Child in School by Stephanie S. Tolan

For six years I have tried to educate an exceptionally gifted child in a school system not designed to handle him

Student Resources

 

Becoming a Master Student Recommended by David B. Ellis

A great book for students of all skill levels and ages. Filled with brief 'articles' describing techniques that can help with everything from having your study area designed correctly for you, to basics in note taking and preparing for exams
 

Bullies Are a Pain in the Brain by Trevor Romain

This book blends humor with serious, practical suggestions for coping with bullies - And if bullies happen to read this book, they'll find ideas they can use too!
 

Get Off My Brain: A Survival Guide for Lazy* Students (*Bored, Frustrated, and Otherwise Sick of School) by Randall McCutcheon

Aimed at bright, talented kids who are bored, frustrated, and otherwise sick of school, including so-called "underachievers," Get Off My Brain is an offbeat, unconventional study guide
 

Girls and Young Women Leading the Way: 20 True Stories About Leadership by Frances A. Karnes and Suzanne M. Bean

First-person stories by 22 girls and young women prove that anyone can be a leader, regardless of gender or age. Includes a how-to "Leadership Handbook" section. Also...
bulletGirls and Young Women: 20 True Stories About Inventors Plus How You Can Be One Yourself
bulletGirls and Young Women Entrepreneurs: True Stories About Starting and Running a Business Plus How You Can Do It Yourself
bulletAdventures and Challenges: Real Life Stories by Girls and Young Women
 

And coming in 2000-2001 from Gifted Psychology Press, a book for Gifted Boys!

 

Mentorship : The Essential Guide for Schools and Business by Jill M. Reilly

This book describes a highly successful mentorship program in 'how to' terms that are easily applied and adaptable to a variety of situations." James T. Webb, Ph.D., Co-Director, SENG


Unconditional Love

July 2000

This month has been a difficult time for a family who are friends of mine, and for all the people that know the family, both in real life and through the technology of the Internet. The family lost their 8 year old son, in a few brief days, to an illness they never knew he had. Dr. Linda Silverman wrote this beautiful tribute to remember this wonderful child, and honor his special family. Please take the time to read it, and for Jonathan, give your children a little extra Unconditional Love today, and tomorrow...

New Books on Gifted

June 2000

Published this month: Uniquely Gifted: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Twice Exceptional Students by Kiesa Kay and others. A compendium of 40 articles by parents, teachers, researchers, administrators, and students consider the best educational possibilities for gifted students who also have a disability.

Starring quotes from many of our own kids: You Know Your Child is Gifted When...: A Beginner's Guide to Life on the Bright Side by Judy Galbraith, published by Free Spirit Press. A little book, full of great stories of gifted kids, illustrating their gifts from verbal to humor, and lots of great quotes from the experts, all to get you started on your adventure with your gifted child. The cartoon illustrations by Ken Vinton really add to the book!

Kidstories: Biographies of 20 Young People You'd Like to Know by Jim Delisle. These true stories profile real kids who are doing something special to improve themselves, their schools, their communities, or their world. A great book for our kids, to show them how kids can make a difference!

Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Source for Parents and Teachers Recommended by James T. Webb, Elizabeth A. Meckstroth, Stephanie S. Tolan. Considered the classic text of this field, this book is now in its 18th printing, and has sold over 100,000 copies! Called the "Dr. Spock" for parents of gifted children, it deals with the issues of motivation, discipline, peer relations, sibling rivalry, stress management and depression. The Wall Street Journal called it "An excellent book," and it was awarded the National Media Award from the American Psychological Association in 1983. And this month, it will be featured in every Barnes and Noble store across the country. Every home of gifted children should have a copy of this book.

And don't miss the Gifted Psychology Press summer 50% off sale (on selected items), including Gifted Children and the Law: Mediation, Due Process, Mentorship: The Essential Guide for Schools and Business, Talent Development II (1993 Wallace Symposium), and more...

Parent Advocacy (click here for lots more...)

April 2000

Parent Advocacy for our Gifted Children. It sounds like a tall order, and there's so much to be done, but... it can start with a tiny step. My own advocacy started with a web page class I was writing anyway, so I wrote the sample page as a resource for myself... and that's the very short history of Hoagies' Gifted Education Page. And lots of other parents are out there, doing big and little things to help advocate for their own children, that can and will also help you advocate for your gifted children, or even your grandchildren.

Many parents are sharing their advocacy with other parents through their writing:
Advocating for a Grade Skip: A Portfolio of Research by Sandy, Enabling Our Children by Deborah Thorpe, I Remember... by Wendy, Never Say Bored! by Carolyn K., A School Year in the Life of a Gifted Child by Lee Anderson, Should we tell them they're gifted? Should we tell them how gifted? by Draper Kauffman, Struggle, Challenge and Meaning: The Education of a Gifted Child by Valerie Bock.

It isn't just parents who are advocating for gifted children: Perfectionism and the Highly Gifted by Shaun Hately.

Parents aren't just writing about it... A Civil Rights Action for Gifted Children by Wenda Sheard, and one of my personal favorites, The Tea and Terrorist Society - Parent Advocacy at the District Level by Monique Lloyd.

Even the U.S. government is publishing articles about Gifted Advocacy: Prisoners Of Time Report of the National Education Commission on Time and Learning, April 1994.

Surviving the Gifted Child

March 2000

Surviving life with a gifted child (or as a gifted child!) can seem quite difficult at times, and at first, it may seem like there are no resources available. Your relatives may not be supportive, your neighbors may not understand, and your friends... you'd like to keep as friends, so generally, you quickly learn not discuss your gifted child and the situations you encounter. There are resources, however, places to start, not only for you, but for your children, too, who are probably feeling just as lost and out of place as you are!

For parents, The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids: How to Understand, Live With, and Stick Up for Your Gifted Child by Sally Yahnke Walker, contains all sorts of good advice for getting started advocating (and just plain living with) your gifted children. From "Early Readers" to "How Not to Raise a Nerd," this book covers all the bases. It's a great place to start, and refer back to often, when you discover that there's really nothing wrong with your child, it's just that she's Gifted!

For your children, there are two choices (and in my humble opinion, a hole, but I'll get to that later). For the younger gifted child, from the time they discover that they are different to about age 10, there is The Gifted Kids Survival Guide (For Ages 10 and Under) by Judy Galbraith. This guide strikes a chord with nearly every gifted child. "Hey, that's me!" There are the 8 Great Gripes of Gifted Kids, and of course, the 8 Great Things About Being GT. (And there are definitions, so that the terms being thrown around their heads, like GT, TAG, Stanford-Binet, WISC, Magnet school, and lots more.

For older children, there is The Gifted Kids Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook by Judy Galbraith and Jim Delisle. This volume picks up at teenhood, and goes right through starting college (or alternatives to college), covering the basics: On being "gifted," IQ, Tests and Testing, and Relationships, plus more. Then it covers some of the more sticky topics of being a teen and gifted: Top Ten Teenage Lies, Drugs Sex and Death, and finally Death with Honors: Suicide Among Gifted Adolescents. Though not many people want to think or talk about this subject, there is a great deal to be said, and intervention to be offered, and this book leads the way.

The hole, you ask? What about the gifted child from age 10 to 13? Perhaps I should write a book...

And my daughter's favorite: Gifted Kids Speak Out: Hundreds of Kids Ages 6-13 Talk About School, Friends, Their Families, and the Future by James R. Delisle. In their own words... Great reading for your gifted child!

A few more book resources to complete the picture:
Your Gifted Child: How to Recognize and Develop the Special Talents in Your Child from Birth to Age Seven by Smutney, Veekner and Veekner. This book isn't out to help you make your baby smarter, or make your toddler gifted. Instead, it offers a peek at the indications you might be seeing of a gifted child, long before the third grade screening in the school district of your choice. A good reference for parents of young children, this book includes tables of developmental milestones that might indicate a gifted child.

Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Source for Parents and Teachers by James T. Webb, Elizabeth A. Meckstroth, Stephanie S. Tolan, considered the classic text of this field.

Managing the Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted: A Teacher's Survival Guide by Connie Schmitz and Judy Galbraith, includes over 30 concrete, easy-to-use strategies for parents and teachers to help gifted students develop socially and emotionally as well as intellectually.

For lots more books on all aspects of Gifted Children, visit Hoagies' Books.

Homeschooling the Gifted Child (click here for lots more...)

February 2000

"We arrived early and Ellen, trying to amuse the already-squirming toddler, decided to lead her by the hand up to the makeshift stage to look at the instruments, none of which Ali had ever encountered live before. To Ellen's astonishment, Ali knew their names - flute, cello, trumpet, clarinet... We don't know from where - we didn't teach her."
And the skylark sings with me: Adventures in Homeschooling and Community-Based Education by David H. Albert

In what ways is schooling a gifted child different from schooling a non-gifted one? Homeschooling itself is not much different. You would always want your child to learn at his or her own best rate, so you would adjust the course work to his or her needs. The same is true for a gifted child. The only difference is the size of the adjustments, the type of adjustments, and the rate at which he proceeds through the curriculum. These are the things that make a truly individualized curriculum.
Gifted Kids Speak Out: Hundreds of Kids Ages 6-13 Talk About School, Friends, Their Families, and the Future by James Delisle

One thing no one told me about before we took our four highly gifted children out of school was that they would re-bond as a family and revert to the personal characteristics they each showed before entering school. The strong curiosity, the patience with siblings, and happy-go-lucky attitudes of the young all came back. If I had known what would transpire none of them would ever have been in any other school. Nobody told me, so I'm telling you: expect changes for hte good when you take them out of school. - Kathleen
Gifted Children At Home by Janice Baker, Kathleen Julicher and Maggie Hogan

Study on homeschoolers' socialization and self-esteem was initiated less than a decade ago. Using self-concept as measured on the Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale, he (Taylor) found that the self-concept of homeschooled children was significantly higher than that of the norms on the global scale. The median for the home schooled sample was the 91st percentile.

Coming out of a crisis situation? Many gifted children are leaving the regular schools not because of a philosophical predilection for homeschooling but because of a crisis situation at school. Often, the child may have behavioral or psychological problems associated with schooling difficulties. So, relax for a time. Let your child detox from regular school for at least three months (summer vacation does not count). Perhaps the whole family needs some time off.

Have the confidence to be innovative. You can successfully teach your child at home!
Gifted Children At Home by Janice Baker, Kathleen Julicher and Maggie Hogan

Identification (click here for lots more...)

January 2000

What's the difference between a bright child, and a gifted child? So many times, parents and educators get caught up in this differentiation, and the only loser is the child. Here are some checklists for identifying the gifted child:

Bright Child     Gifted Learner
Knows the answers   Asks the questions
Is interested   Is highly curious
Is attentive   Is mentally and physically involved
Has good ideas   Has wild, silly ideas
Works hard   Plays around, yet tests well
Answers the questions   Discusses in detail, elaborates
Listens with interest   Shows strong feelings and opinions
Learns with ease   Already knows
6-8 repetitions for mastery   1-2 repetitions for mastery
Enjoys peers   Prefers adults
Grasps the meaning   Draws inferences
Completes assignments   Initiates projects
Is receptive   Is intense
Enjoys school   Enjoys learning
Absorbs information   Manipulates information
Good memorizer   Good guesser
Enjoys straightforward,
sequential presentation
  Thrives on complexity
Is alert   Is keenly observant
Is pleased with own learning   Is highly self-critical

The characteristics of gifted children can sometimes be seen as 'problems', particularly in the school setting. Sometimes these 'problems' make the child appear not to be gifted at all!

Characteristic     Possible Associated Problems
learns quickly and easily   becomes bored and frustrated, dislikes repetition and shallow curriculum, hides abilities to gain acceptance, receives negative adult responses to smartness
exhibits verbal proficiency   dominates discussions, has difficulty with listening skills, exhibits manipulative behavior
has a high energy level   needs less sleep, becomes frustrated with inactivity, lack of challenge or active inquiry
exhibits heightened curiosity   takes on too many activities
extremely persistent, concentrates on tasks of high interest for extended periods   disrupts class routine, feels stifled by restrictions, resists interruption or schedules, perceived as stubborn or uncooperative
concerned with adult/moral issues, idealistic   attempts unrealistic reforms, feels frustrated, angry, depressed, develops a cynical attitude, receives intolerance from age peers
aims at perfection   sets unrealistically high goals, feels inadequate, feels frustrated with others, fears failure, inhibiting attempts in new areas
heightened self awareness, feelings of being different   experiences social isolation, regards differences as bad, worthless, resulting in low self esteem
highly sensitive be acutely perceptive   perceived as immature, trys to mask feelings to conform, vulnerable to criticism
responds and relates to older children and adults   experiences social isolation, seen as show off, odd, superior, critical, rejected by older children

Feeding an Elephant

Highly gifted children learn not only faster than others, but also differently. Standard teaching methods take complex subjects and break them into small, simple bits presented one at a time. Highly gifted minds can consume large amounts of information in a single gulp, and they thrive on complexity. Giving these children simple bits of information is like feeding an elephant one blade of grass at a time - he will starve before he even realizes that anyone is trying to feed him. [Excerpt from "Helping Your Highly Gifted Child" by Stephanie S. Tolan, ERIC EC Digest #E477, 1990]

You Know You're the Parent of a Gifted Child When...

December 1999

We've gotten so many great contributions to this topic. Click on the title to read the whole amusing, amazing list. Happy New Year!

Distinguishing Myths From Realities: NRC/GT Research

November 1999

How well do you know the research about our gifted children? Are each of these statements a Myth, or a Reality?

Acceleration options such as early entrance, grade skipping, early exit, and telescoping tend to be harmful for gifted and talented students.

Cooperative learning can be effectively substituted for specialized programs and services for academically talented students.

Gifted students have lower self-esteem than non-gifted students.

Schools should call for the elimination of ability grouping because ability grouping has negative effects on student achievement.

Bright, average, and slow youngsters profit from grouping programs that adjust curriculum to the aptitude levels of the groups.

Highly talented youngsters profit from work in accelerated classes as well as from an enriched curriculum.

Gifted children identified during their preschool years tend to stay ahead of other children with regard to academic performance.

Teachers need to show students examples of superior student work in order to challenge them to ever increasing levels of math achievement.

Which of these are myths, and which are based on research? To find the answers, along with a more comprehensive list of myths and realities, plus the list of research citations for each statement, read Distinguishing Myths From Realities: NRC/GT Research by Marcia Gentry and Karen Kettle. You may be surprised, and you should be certain you are familiar with research, and where to find it, for the next time one of these myths is thrown at you...

The first four 'facts' listed above are myths, the second four are realities, and are based on research.

Kids' and Teens' Resources on Hoagies' Gifted Page...

October 1999

Hoagies' Gifted Education Page is full of resources for the parents and educators of gifted children. But it also holds great collection of resources for our gifted children, of all ages! Starting with for Kids and Teens, you'll find great resources, both on and off the Internet, enjoyable for gifted kids.

First, my favorites:
Hot Topics! - Book lists on topics often of interest to gifted kids, starting at extraordinarily young ages, including history, math, science, physics, science fiction and fantasy, poetry and more...
Kids and Teens Links - The original Hoagies' Kids Page, contains hundreds of links our kids love: Artists, Books from Eric Carle to Harry Potter, Geology, Physics and Mechanics, Planets and Stars, Stocks and Bonds, and tons more!
Internet Investigations - Complete curriculum units, with labs, exercises, and more, right on the Internet. This may sound like school (and it can be), but its really cool! Topics from hot air balloons to weather, whales to geology, numerical integration to the electoral process, and more, plus curriculum collections including Encarta.
Plus, lots more great kids resources...
Contests and Awards - Contests to enter and awards to win, all the kind of things that appeal to our gifted kids: Internet web page design competitions, math contests, business solution contests, and more.
Kids Speak Out! - A new page at Hoagies', where our kids can display their work, whether artwork or writing, to share with other gifted kids.
Magazines - Magazines popular with our gifted kids, from the littlest science buff to the teenager... places to not only learn, but perhaps have their own work published!
Movies - Movies that feature gifted children as the main characters, along with brief review information, and links to more details and ordering information.
Reading Lists - Reading lists for gifted kids, to help select appropriate books without worrying about the content.
Software Favorites - Software that hits the mark for gifted kids and teens! Categories include Math, Science, and Puzzles, plus Programming, Voice Recognition, and more.

-- Carolyn K., director, Hoagies' Gifted Education Page

Teaching Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom

September 1999

A teacher's responsibility is not to teach the content. A teacher's responsibility is to teach the students, and to make sure that all students learn new content every day. With gifted students, the reality is that they already know a significant amount of the curriculum we are planning to teach, and they can learn in much less time than their age peers.

When asked what it was like to be gifted in a regular classroom, a gifted student [replied]:

All the time I just sat there... waiting,
Waiting for something new to learn.
My teachers should have ridden with Jesse James
For all the learning time they have stolen from me!

Gifted kids are gifted 24 hours a day, not just during those times they spend in special classes of on special projects or activities. When other elements of gifted programs are combined with differentiation in the regular classroom, as described here, gifted kids can experience consistent opportunities to enjoy learning and to be as productive as possible. -- Susan Winebrenner, Teaching Gifted Kids in Today's Classroom: Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can Use

Meckstroth uses this analogy: "If we were TV sets, some of us would only get five channels. Others are wired for cable (the general population) and some of us (the gifted) are hooked up to a satellite dish. That makes these gifted children capable of making connections that others don't even know exist!

"Teaching those types of voracious minds in a regular classroom without enhancement is like feeding an elephant one blade of grass at time. You'll starve them." -- Elizabeth Meckstroth, Teaching Young Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom: Identifying, Nurturing, and Challenging Ages 4-9

Basis of Practitioners' Objections to Acceleration

August 1999

"Early entrance and grade skipping were once commonly used options for meeting the instructional needs of gifted students in public education. Currently, however, many practitioners consider both forms of acceleration to be unacceptable - regardless of a child's demonstrated level of achievement. It appears that their objections are based upon a combination of personal experiences, intuitions, and the literature on school readiness.

"When asked for reasons for their feelings about acceleration, teachers... referred to their specific experiences with early entrants. [However] very few of the respondents had direct experience with either a referral for acceleration or the instruction of a child who had been accelerated. Nevertheless, respondents cited personal experience as being most important to shaping their opinions far more frequently than they did professional literature, teacher training, or the experience of their peers. It is interesting to note that respondents who either had been accelerated themselves or had family members who had been accelerated were more likely to report favorable attitudes toward early entrance and grade skipping." -- Eric D. Jones and W. Thomas Southern, Academic Acceleration of Gifted Children

Gifted Yet Learning Disabled

July 1999

"Possessing both superior potential and learning disability results in the experiencing of a variety of negative reactions towards school achievement. These include frustration, anger, and resentment...

School and academic achievement represent a recursive reality in young people's lives: each day gifted learning disabled students are confronted with a series of stimuli that activate their negative emotions. At home, they may also experience this activation through regular reminders of their weak school performance, such as questioning about school by well-intentioned parents. The scenario tends to result in negative affective experiences. Often these affective reactions go unexpressed, contributing to poor family and social interactions. When the affects are manifested they may take the form of aggressive, acting-out behavior. Frustration may be displaced onto classmates or siblings.

Emotions and affects that go unexpressed for long periods of time eventually have their day..." -- Linda Kreger Silverman, Counseling the Gifted and Talented, 1993

Highly Gifted Children

June 1999

"To understand highly gifted children it is essential to realize that, although they are children with the same basic needs as other children, they are very different. Adults cannot ignore or gloss over their differences without doing serious damage to these children, for the differences will not go away or be outgrown. They affect almost every aspect of these children's intellectual and emotional lives.

A microscope analogy is one useful way of understanding extreme intelligence. If we say that all people look at the world through a lens, with some lenses cloudy or distorted, some clear, and some magnified, we might say that gifted individuals view the world through a microscope lens and the highly gifted view it through an electron microscope. They see ordinary things in very different ways and often see what others simply cannot see. Although there are advantages to this heightened perception, there are disadvantages as well." -- Stephanie S. Tolan, Helping Your Highly Gifted Child, 1989

Gifted Children

May 1999

"If they learn easily, they are penalized for being bored when they have nothing to do; if they excel in some outstanding way, they are penalized as being conspicuously better than the peer group. The culture tries to make the child with a gift into a one-sided person, to penalize him at every turn, to cause him trouble in making friends and to create conditions conducive to the development of a neurosis. Neither teachers, the parents of other children, nor the child peers will tolerate a Wunderkind." -- Margaret Mead, 1954

The Right to an Education

April 1999

"Of all the civil rights for which the world has struggled and fought for 5,000 years, the right to learn is undoubtedly the most fundamental.... The freedom to learn...has been bought by bitter sacrifice. And whatever we may think of the curtailment of other civil rights, we should fight to the last ditch to keep open the right to learn, the right to have examined in our schools not only what we believe, but what we do not believe; not only what our leaders say, but what the leaders of other groups and nations, and the leaders of other centuries have said. We must insist upon this to give our children the fairness of a start which will equip them with such an array of facts and such an attitude toward truth that they can have a real chance to judge what the world is and what its greater minds have thought it might be." -- W.E.B. DuBois

Teaching Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom

October 1998

Gifted Readers and Reading Instruction by David Levande
The greater the ability in reading, the greater the need for a special program commensurate with that ability
 
Highly Gifted Children in Full Inclusion Classrooms by Kathi Kearney
With intellect developing at one-and-one-half, one-and-three-quarters, or even double the usual rate, an age-graded curriculum poses enormous academic problems, which, un=addressed, sometimes spill over into the social arena
 
Meeting the Needs of Able Learners through Flexible Pacing - ERIC Digest #464
With flexible pacing all students can progress through school at a pace that provides a steady challenge without crippling frustration or unreasonable pressure
 
Teaching Gifted Kids in Today's Classroom: Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can Use by Susan Winebrenner, published by Free Spirit Press (or through Amazon.com)
 
An excellent guide to modifying curriculum for gifted elementary and middle school students in the regular classroom
 
Teaching Young Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom: Identifying, Nurturing, and Challenging Ages 4-9 by Joan Smutny, Sally Walker, Elizabeth Meckstroth, published by Free Spirit Press (or through Amazon.com)
 
A new guide from Free Spirit Publishers for our youngest gifted students...

Early Entrance and Grade Skipping

September 1998

Academic Acceleration, Knowing Your Options published by Johns Hopkins IAAY publications
A concise summary of research on academic acceleration, including answers to the common questions of social emotional adjustment, self-esteem, and more; purchase directly from Johns Hopkins
 
Academic Acceleration of Gifted Children edited by Southern and Jones
A comprehensive textbook on acceleration, with chapters on early acceptance to kindergarten or to college, affective development of acceleration of gifted students, identification of good candidates
 
Acceleration by David Elkind
The author of "The Hurried Child" speaks out in favor of academic acceleration for intellectually gifted children!
 
Meeting the Needs of Able Learners through Flexible Pacing - ERIC Digest #464 by Neil Daniel and June Cox
In article after article, in the US and in Australia, early entry to primary school is just one acceleration option...
 
And last, but certainly not least...
13 Days of Radical Acceleration by Michael
On the first day of high school, my classmates said to me, "How can you be in high school when you're so young?" 

For the parents of the Twice Exceptional Child

July 1998

Gifted But Learning Disabled: A Puzzling Paradox - ERIC Digest #479 by Susan Baum
How can a child learn and not learn at the same time? For many people, the terms learning disabilities and giftedness are at opposite ends of a learning continuum
Uniquely Gifted: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Twice Exceptional Students by Kiesa Kay and others
to be published Summer 2000, a compendium of 40 articles by parents, teachers, researchers, administrators, and students consider the best educational possibilities for gifted students who also have a disability 

For the parents of the Highly Gifted Child

June 1998

Stuck in Another Dimension: The Exceptionally Gifted Child in School by Stephanie Tolan
For six years I have tried to educate an exceptionally gifted child in a school system not designed to handle him

May 1998

Hoagies' Kids and Teens
Tons of great things for your kids and teens, from books to magazines, reading lists, software to www links, and now including Hoagies' Hot Topics - book lists for your Math Nut, Physics Fiend, and lots more special topics books for kids of various ages! 

April 1998

Acceleration by Dr. David Elkind
""Promotion [in grade placement or subject matter] of intellectually gifted children is simply another way of attempting to match the curriculum to the child's abilities, not to accelerate those abilities."
 
Distinguishing Myths From Realities: NRC/GT Research
This quick summary dispels, with research citations, many of the major myths about educating gifted children!
 
Mathgym! Click on Mathgym Arcade for great interactive games, including Multiplication Invaders!
This great Internet JAVA game is a Space Invaders style speed trial for arithmetic + - * /
 
On-Line Support
If you aren't already participating in an on-line support group for families of gifted children, this is probably the most important resource for you. Some of the favorite general gifted mailing lists include GT-Families and TAGFAM, but there are lots of lists and boards to choose from. Imagine, talking to people who have kids like yours, and understand!

updated June 22, 2016
 


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