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Friday, May 6, 2016

Definition of Giftedness

The following represent a variety of definitions of "giftedness":

Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive disabilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. (The Columbus Group, 1991)

The term "gifted and talented students" means children and youth who give evidence of high performance capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and how require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop such capabilities. (US Congress revision of the Maryland report of 1972 in 1988 - P.L. 100-297, Sec. 4103, Definitions)

Sternberg's five "necessary and sufficient conditions that gifted persons have in common":
  1. Excellence: A gifted person must be extremely good at something.
  2. Rarity: He or she must posses a high level of an attribute that is uncommon relative to peers.
  3. Productivity: The superior trait must (potentially) lead to productivity.
  4. Demonstrability: The trait also must be demonstrable through one or more valid tests.
  5. Value: The superior performance must be in an area that is valued by society.
(Davis and Rimm, 1998, p.23)

Joseph Renzulli's Three-Ring Model

"Gifted behavior...reflects an interaction among three basic clusters of human traits - these clusters being above average (but not necessarily high) general and/or specific ability, high levels of task commitment (motivation), and high levels of creativity. Gifted and talented children are those possessing or capable of developing this composite set of traits and applying them to any potentially valuable area of human performance." (quoted in Davis and Rimm, 1998, p. 19)

What is your definition of giftedness?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Creativity and Problem Solving

In the pursuit of "STRETCh'ing" student learning and meeting the needs of those students who are ready for the "Next STEP", The Center for Creative Learning has a wealth of resources for helping to engaged talented problem solvers. Many times students who are talented in the area of acquiring content knowledge quickly become disengaged with school out of boredom.

As schools shift to meeting the needs of 21st century learners, you will see more brain-based strategies and problem-solving application of content assessments.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Center for Gifted Education College of William and Mary

I found the following document that is an individual instruction plan "Menu" for the gifted child.

The vast majority of items on the list seem to be good for ALL children. I think programming for the gifted is not as simple as this list makes out.

With gifted students it is the asynchronous learning that needs to be accommodated for! 

It is not a one size fits all. The above model is not account for the asynchronous learning either. Tier 4 should be available as needed - not after formal identification.

As parents, you need to be armed with this information! If your child is great at Geometry and is working above grade level in that area only, you have a right to ask for their learning to be differentiated.

Sunday, April 3, 2016


With the shift toward CCSS and the mathematical practices, what better way to incorporate them! In this gamified version, students WHACK the gopher over his head once they master the mathematical practices. 

What does it mean?

  • Understand the meaning of the problem by looking for entry points to its solution
  • Analyze the information (givens, relationships, constraints, outcomes)
  • Design a plan  
  • Monitor and evaluate the plan and change course as necessary
  • Checks for understanding by asking "Does this make sense?"
  • Sticks with the problem - Does not give up easily.

How do I solve it?

  • Makes sense of quantities and relationships
  • Represent a problem symbolically
  • Considers the units involved
  • Understands and uses properties of operations
  • Considers many different strategies when deciding how to solve the problem

Application of strategies

  • Looks for patterns or structure
  • Uses models to solve problems
  • Looks for the big picture or overview
  • Knows and can select the appropriate tools for the problem (calculator, ruler, pencil/paper, concrete model, compass, protractor)
  • Notices repeated calculations and looks for general methods and shortcuts
  • Makes assumptions and estimations to make a problem simpler

Check for accuracy

  • Calculates accurately and efficiently
  • Labels accurately when measuring and graphing
  • Uses appropriate unit labels
  • Checks to see if an answer makes sense, and changes model/strategy when needed

Knowledge I used

  • Uses definitions and previously established causes/effects (results) in constructing explanations
  • Communicates answers by using appropriate mathematical vocabulary
  • States the meaning of symbols
  • Communicates and defends mathematical reasoning using objects, drawings, diagrams, actions
  • Decides if the answers of others make sense
  • Asks questions needed for clarifying and understanding

Saturday, December 6, 2014

"But I Don't Want To Be Gifted!"

I came across this article in an old binder and would love to give credit to the author; however, I have searched with numerous key words and have not been able to locate where the article came from. If you know...please contact or comment so that I can give credit to the appropriate person on entity that created this wonderful article!

While I definitely do not agree with everything in the article, there are aspects that hit home with the STRETCh philosophy. If we focus on the "next steps" with students, rather than a product they must produce  - everyone will go further and we will push each other as a society! We need to take the fear out of failure and focus creating young scholars who are engaged in learning and can preserver when things become difficult!

Here is the document - retyped so that it is legible :-)

There it is - a file folder full of potential: high IQ scores, graphs and charts with marks to indicate the ninety-ninth percentile, I.E.P's (Individual Education Plans), computer readouts, teacher checklists, parent checklists, and even student checklists. It's all there, all the "right" data - proof positive that this child is gifted. So what's the problem?

As we dig deeper into this maze of numbers, points and scores, the inconsistencies begin to surface. There are report cards with roller coaster grades, everything from straight A's to D's. There are hand-written notes from f r u s t r a t e d teachers and parents: 

  • "This child is bright, but he has such poor handwriting." 
  • "She isn't working up to her potential,  doesn't seem to be motivated." 
  • "He deliberately failed a history test, even though he knew all the answers." 
  • "She really seems to enjoy math but is so slow at getting her other work finished." 
  • "He is such a perfectionist."
  • "She has a poor attitude about herself and school."
  • "He asked to be removed from the gifted program. No reason given."
image from original article

And so it goes. This folder full of potential reads like a war diary, a chronicle of battles, some won, some lost. We find one problem after another, one recommendation after another, all in the name of education.


The word is gifted - a six-letter word that makes some gifted children cringe. Why? First, it is definitely a learned attitude, most often from adults. Parents who hesitate to admit in public that their child is gifted are sending a message to their child that giftedness may be something of which to be ashamed. School administrators do the same thing when they attach vague, cute titles to gifted programs. (Call the program anything, but just don't use the word gifted!) Instead of pride and confidence in establishing a program that meets the needs of certain students who happen to be gifted, there is fear and resentment - fear that such a program will "stir up" community resentment toward gifted students because they don't deserve a special program. Some classroom teachers reinforce the "gifted is a bad word" philosophy when they constantly remind gifted children of their weaknesses. They condition gifted children into being average or into thinking they are average. Parents and educators have a tendency to withhold praise from gifted children because they expect them to do superior work. They have mistaken the idea that gifted children don't need as much praise and reinforcement as other children. Is it any wonder that gifted children so quickly develop a resentment toward giftedness?

  • "It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to be gifted all the time." (Bryan, Age 5)
  • "Giftedness is not something you earn." (Dr. Walter Barbe)
  • "It ain't easy being green." (Kermit the Frog)
Bryan, Walter, and Kermit are extraordinary philosophers. They know. They understand what it means to be different. The pressure placed upon gifted children by parents, teachers, and society in general must seem unbearable at times. Dr. Judy Roseberry, Unified School District, Garden Grove, California, also understands. She h as responded to the pressures with the following:

Premises of the Demands of Giftedness:
  • High level intelligence makes certain demands upon the gifted child.
  • Behavior of gifted children results from these demands.
  • There are curriculum implications inherent in these demands.
A gifted child's behavior often reflects the following demands:
  • To crave knowledge, to satisfy the need to feel progress in what he/she is learning.
  • To feel the need to focus on or devour a subject.
  • To make observations, to see relationships.
  • To place high standards on himself/herself.
  • To be creative or inventive, to seek an unusual or unique approach to an assignment.
  • To question generalizations.
  • To be serious-minded, to be intolerant (usually) of foolishness or silliness.
  • To concentrate, to become totally absorbed in a task, to have a longer attention span.
  • To explore wide interests at a maturity beyond his/her chronological age.
  • To be sensitive to honor and truth.
  • To express ideas and reactions (sometimes being seen as argumentative).
  • To resist routine, drill; to require unique ways of pursuing drill.
  • To work alone.
  • To be intolerant of stupidity.
  • TO seek order, structure, consistency.
  • To do critical evaluative thinking (possibly leading to a critical attitude toward self and others).
  • To be rarely satisfied with the simple and obvious.
  • To be impatient with sloppy or disorganized thinking.
  • To have his/her intelligence responded to.
  • To seek out his/her mental peers.
  • To be friendly and outgoing.
  • To use his/her power of abstraction, to see and point out cause and effect relationships.
  • To have time for thinking, solitude.
  • To pursue a learning pace of his/her own.
  • To be outstanding in many areas but average in others.
As difficult as these demands may be for parents and educators to respond to, just imagine what it would be like to live with them every single day. Is it any wonder...?

Problem: In many schools gifted students must leave the regular classroom in order to participate in a gifted program. In some of these pull-out programs, the gifted students are forced to do twice as much paperwork because they are required to make up the work they miss in the regular classroom, as well as complete the work in the gifted program. In effect, they are being punished for being gifted.

Solution: Gifted students should be held responsible for the learning they are missing in the regular classroom but not necessarily for the work. Classroom teachers can administer pretests or posttests that can easily determine whether a gifted child has already mastered a skill.
  • Problem: Some parents use their gifted children as social status symbols. They impose unrealistic goals and expectations on their children, which can result in feelings of inadequacy accompanied by fear of failure.
  • Solution: Membership in an organization for parents of gifted students can be very helpful in raising the awareness level of parents who may be putting too much pressure on their gifted children. The interaction with other parents of gifted children is very effective. In addition, school counselors, gifted program coordinators, and/or psychologists should also be involved in solving this problem - the sooner, the better!
Problem: A gifted child may withdraw into a private shell if he/she is not being challenged. Since the gifted are capable of divergent thinking, they may feel their own responses are wrong because they fall outside the realm of what is generally accepted. They need to see themselves as part of a whole society.

Solution:  Finding a mentor for a gifted child offers a unique form of individualized instruction and self-directed learning. A mentor can help a student explore his strengths and weaknesses while improving his understanding of the relationship between school and the outside world. "Mentoring is the gifted tutoring the gifted, and underlines the importance of their being one of their own, as well as society's, best resources for realizing learning potentials." (Runions, 1980)

  • Problem:  Sometimes gifted children suffer verbal abuse from children who are not gifted. As a result, many gifted children will go through phases of trying to hide their true abilities.
  • Solution: Children's literature contains some examples of the gifted child and that child's relationship with others. For children who are classmates of a gifted child, literature can help their understanding too, of what it is like to be different.
The following book list suggests recommended reading for educators and parents of gifted children. Portions o the list are taken from Eileen Tway's "The Gifted Child in Literature," The National Council of Teachers of English, January, 1980.

The Gifted Child as Different and Learning to Cope:
  1. Exploring the Lives of Gifted People: The Arts, Kathy Balsamo (Good Apple, 1987)
  2. Exploring the Lives of Gifted People: The Sciences, Kathy Balsamo (Good Apple, 1987)
  3. Henry III, Joseph Krumgold (Atheneum, 1967)
  4. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1962)
  5. A Wind in the Door, Madeleine L'Engle (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973)
  6. A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Madeleine L"Engle (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973)
  7. The Rare One, Pamela Rogers (Thomas Nelson, 1973)
  8. The Girl Called Al, Constancy Green (Viking, 1969)
  9. A Tide Flowing, Eleanor Spence (Oxford Press, 1976)
  10. I Am Not a Short Adult, Marilyn Burns (Little, Brown & Co., 1977)
  11. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach (Avon, 1970)
The Gifted Child in School:
  1. Hugo and Josephine, Maria Gripe (Dell, 1969)
  2. Freaky Friday, Mary Rodgers (Harper & Row, 1972)
  3. A Wind in the Door, Madeleine L'Engle (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973)
  4. What Makes You So Special, Sherri Heller (Thinking CAPS, 1975)
  5. Leo the Late Bloomer, Robert Kraus (Windmill Books, 1971)
Special Traumas of the Gifted Child:
  1. Don't Burn Down the Birthday Cake, Joe Wayman (Heartstone Press, 1988)
  2. If You Promise Not To Tell, (Record Album/Activity Book), Joe Wayman (Good Apple, Inc., 1985)
  3. The Hall of Fame, Franny McAleer (Mafex, 1983)
  4. Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein (Harper & Row, 1974)
  5. How to Eat like a Child and Other Lessons in Not Being a Grown-Up, Delia Ephron (Viking, 1978)
  6. Father's Arcane Daughter, E.L. Konigsburg (Atheneum, 1976)
  7. The Great Filly Hopkins, Katherine Paterson (Thomas Crowell, 1978)
  8. George, E.L. Konigsburg (Atheneum, 1972)
Reaching Out to Others:
  1. Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth, E.L. Konigsburg (Atheneum, 1968)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Hour of Code - FREE lesson plan!

One of the largest road blocks to having K-5 teachers implement computer programming skills is TIME! I have often heard my teachers saying "I just can't add more more thing to the day."

That's why I think that the success of incorporating computer science skills INTO the curriculum is essential! Currently, I am looking at the CCSS and the learning progressions. Using Scratch ( - a FREE website, I am working on creating lessons that are aligned to the CCSS in ELA and math.

Please feel free to use the FREE resources and worksheets for the Hour Of code week - December 9th thru December 15th!  The worksheets take the Kindergarten student through the process of creating a holiday card through various screen shots.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sprout Kids Project - photosynthesis

Next Generation Science Standards:

5 - LS1-1 : Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the idea that plant matter comes mostly from air and water, not from the soil.]

The "Sprout Kids" project was developed when I had a science class that did not have access to a traditional science lab. 

Here is a link on how to make the "Sprout" or Grass Heads!

REMINDER - In order to align the project with the standards, you must use sawdust instead of potting soil!

Click here to download a free parent letter introducing the project!


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