Why Giftedness Matters

When you think about the word giftedness, you may come up with the several different pictures in your mind. You may envision a nerdy guy with classes, a little girl reading some very think books beyond her grade level, or maybe you may be  a middle school student taking high school and college classes.

Giftedness has many different aspects, along with many different visions of identifying and servicing gifted children. According to the Columbus Group

Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm.  This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity.  The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.  (The Columbus Group, 1991)

Gifted children aren’t the same. They may have similar qualities and characteristics, but they are very different. There are many different theories about giftedness. Here are a few.

The Cattell-Horn-Carroll Theory is a theory that that helps to test your child to find out which of the 9 cognitive abilities your child is strongest in.


Another is the Dabrowski Sensitivity Theory. There are five different sensitivities your gifted child could fall into. Each has a different characteristics and methods of assisting children who are living with these sensitivities.dabrowskis-sensitivities

There are more theories about giftedness such as ones from Joseph Renzulli and Gagnes which I hope that you will check out as well.

So why did I go through all of that? Because Giftedness Matters! Our gifted children are a unique student population that needs attention, understanding, and our time. Our gifted children need to be challenged, pushed, prodded, and at times let to fail. We all have these stereotypes of what we think gifted children are, but that’s what they are…stereotypes. Gifted children are real people, who live with the perceived advantages and disadvantages of being gifted every day.

Giftedness matters because of how they are taught matters. Gifted children need to be taught in a different way than other children. They need to be stimulated and challenged in many different ways. Teachers can’t teach to the average or below average children, and think that gifted children will show yearly growth. If they aren’t challenged they won’t grow. Instead, they will show behaviors that are unwanted in the classroom.

Giftedness matters because the educational setting matters. Some students need a small groups, large classrooms, and others need to be schooled at home. Whatever the appropriate setting to met the needs of the gifted child are they should be done.

The #ohiogtchat is having a discussion on this on Nov. 6th at 9pm ET. I hope that you can join this chat and further the conversation with us and our guest Celi Trepanier, author of Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling and blog Crushing Tall Poppies. I wrote a review on this blog about her book. You can read it here.

Follow @jeff_shoemaker and @HeatherCachat  to get more information on this chat. You can also go to the #ohiogtchat website for more information as well.


Summer is Right Around the Corner

For many of us summer is right around the corner, and school will be out. I know as an educator that having the summer is important. For me, summer is a time for family gatherings, vactions, and relaxing. It also is a time for reflection, professional development, and summer classes. Doing things out in the community, or with your family teachers always seem to stay busy during the summer.

As #ohiogtchat takes a break for the summer, I hope that you take some time for yourself to be recharged. I also hope during that time of recharging you get inspired to do somethings this coming school year that you didn’t do in past years.If you are like me, I will read several books this summer to help me get inspired.

The National Parenting Gifted Children Week is July 17-23. Check out your gifted associations for information.

Concerning #ohiogtchat:

Our next #ohiogtchat is Aug 7: Alternative placements: (Homeschools / Unschool Movement/ Online Schools) Guest Corin Goodwin and Home School Panel. I hope that you join us for this chat. I believe that it will be a very interesting topic. More and more students are being homeschooled, and participating in online schools parents of gifted children want to give their children the best education possible. So this topic is becoming more relevant than what people assume it is.

Then two weeks later we have our second chat for the month of August. On Aug 14: Classroom Prep–How do you start your school year? Creating a Classroom Environment that encourages creativity and challenge. I hope by then, many of you will have been recharged and ready for the school year to begin. So let’s talk about the classroom environment.

Have a great summer and see you in August!.

How to be Effective During Chats

As one of the moderators of #ohiogtchat I help to lead a chat that brings topics related to Gifted Education, advocacy, and gifted children and adults. Near the end of each chat we encourage those who participated in the chat follow each other. What I have noticed in past two years of moderating #ohiogtchat I have noticed that many new people are joining the Twitterverse.

One of my passions is advocating got gifted children and Gifted Education. So if I can, I want to help others who have a passion for gifted advocacy online to be more effective I will. Now, the few tips that I want to share are ones I have learned from being on Twitter and participating in chats.

Before we talk about the chats, let’s talk about your profile on Twitter. Here are a few suggestions:

Don’t be an Egg-Head. When you set up your Twitter account they give you a colored egg as your avatar. Change it. Add a picture of yourself, or use some of the online photo editors to dress up your picture as much as you want. If you don’t want to put a picture of yourself, then use a logo of something that relates to you. For example, if you graduated from a college then use their logo as your avatar. I use my favorite picture with my wife.

Screenshot_20160413-130334Create a Profile. When you create your profile, write your description of yourself that accurately describes you. When you leave it blank it doesn’t allow others to see who you are. I would also use hashtags in the descriptions of the things you like or follow. For example, to the left is mine. I tell what is important to me, about me, and share the hashtags I like to follow. I also have a link to my blog page. I also added a picture to top. That picture shows I am into sports, particularly high school sports.

Use a handle that represents you. Some people like to use their name as their handle, which is what I did. Some like to be more creative with their handle. Whatever you choose let it show people who you are. Don’t make it complicated. Don’t use your zip code or birthdate in it. For example, don’t use “jsh03maker12fght”. It’s too complicated. Just be yourself.

Remember on Twitter, pictures and tweets last forever. People will judge about you is the material that place online. So don’t post images or tweets when you are angry, drunk, or extremely tired. The posts won’t make sense most of the time, and you may say something you regret later.

No as it comes to being effective in chats, here are a few things I would suggest. 

Increase your PLN (Professional Learning Network). When you join in a chat you like, I will go through and follow those people who are active in the chat. I want to learn from others. 

Study Up. Most chats will post the questions a few days before hand. Check out the questions. Do a little bit of research so you can add to the conversation. 

Like / Retweet. During the chat like and retweet statuses of others. By liking the post, you are agreeing with them. Post your own original thoughts in a chat. It’s nice to like and retweet, but you need to add your opinion or better yet some of your research. Share the article, website, post, blog, or the handle of someone on Twitter that will add to the conversation.

Finally, help to promote your favorite chats. When the moderator posts upcoming chat times and topics share those with others. Get more people in the conversation. The more people you have, the diverse the conversation. Here is a link to several tweet chats that you may be interested in. 

I hope this helps to give you an idea of ways to be more effective on Twitter. Again you can always follow me on Twitter at @jeff_shoemaker, and check out the chat I moderate called #ohiogtchat. (This chat is sponsored by the Teacher Division of The Association for Gifted Children.)

If you have any other suggestions on how to be more effective on Twitter and during tweet chats please let me know in the comments section below.

Gifted and Bored

I know it can seem strange, but gifted children really do, and can become bored in the classroom and at home. When a student becomes bored in the classroom the student will do anything to entertain themselves. Sometimes that entertainment isn’t helpful to the student, or to the classroom they are in.

There are a few reasons why gifted children could be bored in the classroom.

  • Under-challenged: Gifted children need to be challenged. Gifted children don’t need drill and kill type activities. They need activities that would stimulate their brains, and challenge them to go deeper into a subject. When they are under-challenged they will become bored.
  • Frustrated or Overwhelmed: Sometimes the work seems endless. Sometimes the student just doesn’t see how the parts of a project fit together, and can become frustrated. They may only see a long list of things to do, not necessarily how they all fit together. Along with that, sometimes the work is just too hard. Gifted students aren’t always good at everything. So when they come to an area of education they aren’t comfortable with they can shut down. They can feel incompetent. They may feel they can’t be successful, and let those they are closest to down.
  • Uninterested: Sometimes the topic of study isn’t interesting to the gifted student. Since there is no interest they may feel bored and disengaged.

So what are somethings that teachers can do to help gifted students stay engaged in the learning process and avoid being bored?

  • Create Depth in Lessons: One thing that you can do to help gifted children is to create extension and enrichment opportunities for them in your classroom. (There is a difference, so check out the link provided.) Allow gifted students to go in-depth in the lesson you are teaching. Do not give them extra work to keep them busy.
  • Give Choice: Give gifted students a choice when it comes to what to explore more intimately and in products to be turned in. To find out what the student already know give them the test at the end of the chapter or unit. You can do this together at your desk or have them do it at theirs. Knowing what they already have a grasp on can help individualize their learning. Also, give them some choice on what product to do. Instead of a test at the end of a chapter allow them to do a speech, make a model, or create an app that will show what they learned.
  • Pacing: Allow gifted students to move through the curriculum at their pace. There is nothing worse for a gifted child to have to sit and wait on the rest of the class to get the material they understand quickly.
  • Conference: One thing that I tell the teachers I work with is know your gifted students. Talk to them, and listen to their interests. Try to make a connection to them. So when they do get bored they have the confidence to say so, and you can help them past it.

Gifted children are a unique population of the student body that will help to make you a better teacher. They will ask to be challenged, pushed, and deepened by you. Don’t see it as a quirky kid pushing your buttons. See them as challenge. Give them the type of education you believe they ought to receive.

What do you do to help gifted children not be bored at school and at home? Let me know in the comments below.


Shameless Plug: This Sunday #ohiogtchat is exploring the topic of Gifted and Boredom. I hope that you can join in. The chat is at 9pm Et on April 3.


april3 ad

How does our culture form our view of giftedness?

Shameless Plug: On Sunday March 20th at 9pm ET the #ohiogtchat will be doing their chat on the fomation of identity in gifted children and adults. I hope that you can join us for this timely chat.mar20 ad

One of the questions that we are talking about for our chat is: How does our culture form our view of giftedness? I think this question has many different aspects to it. There are positive aspects and negative aspects to what our culture believes about giftedness. What I think it boils down to is the perception of what giftedness is. I believe those who have a negative view on giftedness doesn’t understand what it is, or believes that it doesn’t exists.

What is giftedness? There are several known definitions on gifted. Here are a few:

From the Ohio Department of Education:

“Gifted” means students who perform or show potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared to others of their age, experience or environment.

From NAGC:

Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, or sports).

From the Columbus Group:

Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm.  This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity.  The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.  (The Columbus Group, 1991)

Each of these definitions are a reflection of what our culture believes what giftedness should be defined as. If we look outside of our American culture and look to what other countries believe what giftedness is I believe there are things that would reflect their culture as well:

In the United Kingdom giftedness includes:

  • who are generally recognized by their school as being of superior all-round intellectual ability, confirmed where possible by a reliable, individual intelligence test, giving an IQ of 130 or more; or
  • who exhibit a markedly superior developmental level of performance and achievement, which has been reasonably consistent from earlier years; or
  • of whom fairly confident predication are being made as to continual rapid progress towards outstanding achievement in either academic areas or in music, sport, dance or art and
  • whose abilities are not primarily attributable to purely physical development.

The NAGC of Britain has the definition of giftedness as:

Highly gifted children tend to be those who demonstrate asynchronous development – the process whereby the intellect develops faster and further than other attributes such as social, emotional and physical development. Due to their high cognitive abilities and high intensities, they experience and relate to the world in unique ways.”

Looking back at our culture again, where do we come up with our own perceptions of what giftedness is, and how do foster the idea that giftedness is an important area in education that can’t be ignored.

There are many people who believe that giftedness is something that is a child is born with and some believe that it something that can be developed over time. I believe a child is born gifted, and that the talents that child has can continually be developed. I feel that if you look at the other side of this coin can a child be born with a disability, or is that disability developed over time?

Some are under the perception that every child is gifted. This is not so. Many children are smart, and creative. That doesn’t make them gifted. I have several teachers I work with who have trouble distinguishing between smart and gifted.  By claiming that all children are gifted they are essentially saying that there is no such thing as gifted, and that all children are the same. That is just no so. The perception has to change, but that perception is what is what our culture uses to influence the idea of giftedness.

Finally, the perception that being gifted is an elitist idea. Being gifted is a condition in which the child has no choice to be. Just like a child who has an I.Q. of 70 had no choice in it. The idea that we should help children who are gifted succeed in to school and in the community at-large is not elitist. It is necessary. Once these children have been identified they need to have the right tools for success.

Our culture changes how we look at individuals who are gifted. When Terman did his study of gifted individuals our culture looked at them as though they were different. Once our society saw that gifted children were an asset during the 1950’s and 1960’s the view of Gifted Education changed, along with how we saw giftedness. From there through the 1970’s and 80’s researchers started to look at giftedness a condition. Renzulli and others started to look at gifted children so they could further understand them. All that research helped us get to where we are today.

I hope that you take time out of your busy day to join our chat and see where this question leads us. Again, #ohiogtchat is Sunday March 20th at 9pm ET. You can follow me at @jeff_shoemaker and Heather at @HeatherCachat for further details.


#Ohiogtchat is Back

As one of the moderators for #ohiogtchat (Heather Cachat is the other) I wanted to make an announcement that starting this Sunday Jan. 10th at 9pm ET will be our first chat of the year! We have a great line up of chats happening this year. I hope that you take a chance and check out our website, and take part in the chats. Just follow @jeff_shoemaker, @Heather Cachat, or follow the #ohiogtchat hashtag.

The #ohiogtchat is graciously sponsored by the Teacher Division of the Ohio Association for Gifted Children.  I want to encourage you to be a member, participate in the conferences, and use the resources that this awesome organization puts forth.

-ohiogtchat   Home

Here is a few of the chats coming up. You can see the whole chat calendar on out website.

Jan. 10: Summer Camps, Summer ActivitiesWhat are some camps that your children have enjoyed that you want to share? What are some summer camps or activities you are looking forward to checking out? We will be discussing some summer camp options for multiple ages. Our featured guest for this chat is Patricia Farrenkopf (@emrsnpatty). She is talking about the Essex School for the Gifted at Otterbein University.

Jan 24: Critical Thinking: Questioning comes easily for gifted children, but what skills do they need to refine?

Feb 7: Other Achievement: when your child doesn’t achieve where you hope, in conjunction with Hoagies Gifted Blog Hop, @HoagiesGifted, http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hops.htm Guest Carolyn K. From Hoagies Gifted

Feb 28: Differentiation: A Review of Bertie Kingore’s works Teacher Academy Feb 29-March 1

If you haven’t had the chance to participate in a chat or you are now interested in seeing what we have already talked about please check out our transcripts.

We look forward to learning more with you during our chats.