Category Archives: Parents

Mental Heath and Gifted Children

unhappy-teen-150x150In the upcoming issue of the OAGC Review the central focus is going to be Gifted and Mental Health. I am a firm believer that we need to be aware of the mental health of our children. They have more avenues of stressors than what my generation had at their age, such stressor is cyber-bullying.

The Mental health and children has been a huge topic of discussion in my area of Northern Ohio after experiencing a half dozen successful suicides over the past two years. Over the past two years our community has experienced a half a dozen successful adolescent suicides. Our community has put adolescent mental health in the forefront of conversations in schools, churches, and in public forums.

At the school level, it is imperative to understand how important it is for teachers and parents to work together to know and form solid relationships with children. Teachers and parents should have an open, transparent and honest relationship when it comes to behavior change in their child. That open relationship allows both the parent and teacher to discuss issues about behavior, attitudes, grades, and social issues with their children.

When it comes to gifted children, they have experiences that only they can experience. They already see their peers and teachers differently. Some gifted children experience over-excitabilities, perfectionism, and a strong sense of not allowing themselves to fail. These stressors can contribute to a wide variety of emotions and can cause stress in the life of gifted children. These attributes, along with social and emotional development, can cause behavior change.

The life of a gifted child can be a roller coaster. In the early years of elementary school everyone wants to be their friend. As they grow up and move to middle and high school their ring of friends gets smaller and people begin to see them differently. They may experience bullying from others in name calling, alienation, and cyber-bullying. We know gifted children generally communicate with adults easier than with their same age peers that are in their classes. At times it may seem evident that their intellectual development doesn’t match their social and emotional development. This can cause a gifted child to feel like they have no friends or they just can’t fit in.

With these vulnerabilities, teachers and parents need to be diligent in looking for any changes in behavior such as:

  • Withdrawing from friends and/or social activities;
  • Losing interest in hobbies;
  • Giving away prized possessions;
  • Preoccupation with death and dying;
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs; and
  • Losing interest in personal appearance.

The changes in behavior will be seen at home and at school. When teachers or parents start to notice these changes they need to get help to the student. But they also need to communicate with each other. We don’t want another statistic of an attempted or successful suicide.

Resources

Frazier, A. D., & Cross, T. L. (2011). Chapter 51 Debunking the Myths of Suicide in Gifted Children. Parenting Gifted Children (pp. 517-524). Waco, Texas: Prufrock Press.

Delisle, J. R. (1986). Death with Honors: Suicide Among Gifted Adolescents. Journal of Counseling and Development, 64(May), 1986. 558-560.

 

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Movie Review: Gifted

I want to start this post by thanking Fox Searchlight Pictures for allowing me the opportunity to see an advanced screening of Gifted. I absolutely loved this movie, and want to encourage everyone to see it.

Gifted tackles the roles of the gifted parent and the gifted child. Each role in this movie is presented in what I feel is an accurate way. Being a parent of gifted children you want to make the best choices for them academically, emotionally, and socially. It can be hard. You want your children to be challenged at school, and get the appropriate education they deserve. You also want to them to understand themselves, and understand why they feel they way they do in certain situations. As a parent you also want your children to fit in with other children, even though they may not want to be around other children their same age.

I watched the Gifted movie with my wife. We saw ourselves in this movie. We went through the emotions of laughing to crying. The writers showed a great grasp of some of the issues of raising gifted children, and who gifted children are. I was impressed with how the main character, Mary played by McKenna Grace, portrayed some of the characteristics of a highly advanced learner. Her uncle, Frank played by Chris Evans, did a great job of using everyday experiences (like being in a waiting room watching people get excited about the news of a new birth) to show her what it was like when she was born. Giving these experiences I believe was a great move by the writers.

As this movie comes out to theaters, I hope that everyone would see Gifted. This movie doesn’t depict what every gifted child goes through. It doesn’t depict what every parent goes through either. This movie gives awareness to the fact that gifted children need to be challenged not segregated, and given an appropriate education, not more work when they are finished with material they already know. It also gives awareness that parents need support from schools and from family. Schools and parents have to work together in order for children to have success.

Again, thank you to Fox Searchlight Prictures for the opportunity to see and review this movie.

Working with Parents to Improve High Ability Students’ Education

middle-school

This week my school system is having their Annual Spring Parent Teacher Conferences. I feel this Spring Conference is just as important as our Fall Conferences are, but the parent turn out is noticeably lower than in the Fall. I was reminded over the weekend that Parent Teacher Conferences shouldn’t be the only time in which both parties work together to help improve the education of their children, particularly in middle school.

Middle School can be a tough transition for many students. In the elementary classes students are given their foundations, and middle school build on that foundation. In the middle school, students learn some independence and choice. Students can choose from sports, clubs, and after school activities that interest them.

When it comes to high ability learners, we have to be keenly aware that they are in the right classroom level that matches their ability. I found a joint statement that NAGC and NMSA (National Middle School Association) wrote in order to challenge schools, parents, and councilors to make sure they are meeting the needs of these learners.

To ensure that high ability learners are getting their needs met we have to look at creative ways to met them. Here are a couple examples of accommodations:

  • Long Distance Learning: If a high ability learner needs to take high school / college classes in middle school this is a great way to solve that.
  • On-Line Classes: If you high school or district offers online classes for high school credit. High ability learners would benefit from this.
  • Subject / Grade Acceleration: Moving a high ability learner a whole grade or just in a subject.
  • Independent Studies: Allowing a high ability learner to learn a subject on their on at their own pace is a great way to met the need to challenge students. (MOOCs are great for this since they are usually sponsored by a college.)
  • Participating in School and/or community based clubs: Science Olympiad, Quiz Bowl, Chess Clubs, Spelling and Geography Bees, Astronomy Clubs,and such: Allowing high ability learners to take part in programs listed above is a great way to met the needs of high ability learners.

All of the accommodations  listed above that would be effective and successful will only happen when parents, teachers, administrators, and councilors work together to make high ability learners challenged during school and after school. In middle school specifically, several of the accommodations listed above would work much easier the more parents and teachers talk and discuss the needs of their children.

In your middle school, what are some accommodations you have seen that have been successful? Share those in the comment sections below.

Mentoring Gifted Children

mentor-image

As the school year starts, one thing that my school does is a very good program called “Little Spartans, Big Spartans.” This program is designed after the Little Brothers, Big Brothers program. I really this program for the fact that it gives our high school students the chance to volunteer their time during the school day and work with children in middle and elementary school.

As this program gets rolling it out I started to think about the type of mentorships that would be successful for gifted children. Before you can begin to set up mentorships for gifted children we have to make sure the child is mature enough. The student should be an independent learner, a  diligent worker, and have a passion to learn more about a subject matter that is beyond the school walls. The student must have the temperament to understand that the person mentoring them is a profession in the field they are interested in and go in wanting to learn from them as much as possible. When the student takes this into view the mentorship will be successful.

The benefits of being in a mentor / mentee relationship are many, but here are a few that I feel are most important:

Benefits for the Mentee:

  • Student gets real world experience
  • Students get an increased knowledge base of the topic or subject
  • Students can get an increased passion for the topic or subject
  • Student gets a role model
  • Student can show growth in an area of giftedness (academic, leadership, creativity, visual arts, and / or performing arts)

Benefits for the Menor:

  • Mentor can have the opportunity to share their passion for their area or interest
  • Mentor can have the satisfaction of helping another who may be interested in going into the same field as them, which makes someone’s life better
  • Mentor gets the chance the chance to have a 1- on-1 relationship with a young person
  • Mentor gets the chance to mold a young person’s perception of their area or passion

To have a successful mentor program, students and mentors just can’t be thrown together. There must be set goals, and objectives that must be met so success can be measured. Communication must be open between mentor and mentee.

Mentorships can be a very successful program within your school or community. It has to be done carefully, purposefully, and with the utmost importance. It needs to be gotten tight the first time.

 

2016 OAGC Parent Day

Dear Families and Educators:
I hope everyone’s school year is off to a great start! I wanted to reach out and personally invite you to our OAGC Parent Day on Sunday, October 16.  This day is always a great jam-packed day and it only costs $5!!! 

* Jonathan Plucker, professor from John Hopkins  Center for Talented Youth will present a keynote on: Success in College and Life:  A Professor’s Perspective

* We will then have fabulous breakout sessions from some of the best speakers in the field on topics including:

  • Great Books for Great Young Minds
  • Top 10 Things Gifted Parents Need To Know Before HS
  • Beyond Instant Information: Engaging Generation Z Gifted Students
  • Safe Havens: Providing Support for Stressed-Out Gifted Children

Parent Day is a great opportunity to network and learn from other families–and often the educational/game vendors have set up early so you can buy from them.

Thanks for your help in promoting Parent Day. Attached is a flier to email around and also attached is a photo you can use to post on social media. You also can get these attachments online:
http://www.oagc.com/files/OAGC%20Parent%20Day2016%20Registration.6.22.16.pdf

 

Microsoft Word - OAGC Parent Day2016 Registration.docx

Parent Division of OAGC hosting a GHO

Parents, Educators, and Advocates of Gifted Children

Mark your calendars for an engaging and informative Google Hangout:
“You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know: Navigating the World of Gifted Education”
See below and the attached flier for more information.

April 21, 2016, 7 p.m.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know: Navigating the World of Gifted Education
Live Google Hangout Video Q&A
With OAGC Parent Division
#oagc
Watch Live here: You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know: Navigating the World of Gifted Education

OAGC_You_Don't_Know-Video_Hangout-April21,2016

Science Series highlights Nobel prize winning efforts of Lima native William Fowler

Ohio State Lima, Lima City Schools and City of Lima work together to promote power of education
Lima is the hometown of one of the world’s most famous astrophysicists. William A. Fowler won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 for his efforts to show how all the natural elements in the Periodic Table are forged under extreme conditions across the course of a star’s lifetime.
Stardust: The William Fowler Science Series, is planned to honor Fowler’s achievements. Stardust is a collaboration between the City of Lima, the Lima City Schools and The Ohio State University at Lima.
“It is a wonderful fact that Dr. Fowler grew up in Lima, was educated in the Lima City Schools and at the Ohio State University,” said Lima Mayor David Berger. ”And working together — OSU, the Lima City Schools and the City — we have decided to showcase that fact in order to emphasize the incredible, literally mind-blowing, opportunities created by education.”
Fowler grew up in Lima and attended Horace Mann Grade School and Lima Central High School. He went on to graduate from The Ohio State University before moving to the California Institute of Technology to continue his groundbreaking work in the new field of astrophysics. His theory of the formation of the chemical elements in the universe forms the basis of our knowledge in this field, according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in the original announcement of Fowler’s Nobel Prize.
Students in the Lima City Schools have been working on concepts and projects based on Fowler’s work throughout the fall term. Their projects will be on display for the culminating public event at 7 p.m., Thur., Nov. 19, 2015, in the Martha W. Farmer Theatre for Performing Arts at The Ohio State University at Lima. Physicist and podcaster Paul Sutter will discuss how we know what we know about Fowler’s work.
“Fowler’s work is important because it puts us in the proper context of the universe. It shows how life on Earth is a part of a larger story, a grand story encompassing the entire cosmos,” Sutter said. “And it shows how we’re connected: we don’t usually think of the distant stars as having anything to do with us, but his work showed that us and those stars were born from the same things.”
Sutter is the man behind the podcast “Ask a Spaceman” and an honest-to-goodness astrophysicist who is currently a National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) Postdoctoral Fellow in Theoretical Physics at the INAF Astronomical Observatory of Trieste and a visiting scholar at the Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle Physics at The Ohio State University. The INFN is the Italian organization devoted to the study of the fundamental constituents of matter, and carries out experimental and theoretical research in the fields of subnuclear, nuclear, and astroparticle physics.
During his podcasts, Sutter likes to answer questions that bring us all closer to having complete knowledge of time and space, like What would happen if you fell into a black hole? How big is the universe? Just what the heck is a quasar, anyway?
Sutter will be working with the students prior to his visit to campus. Students at Lima Senior will interview Sutter to incorporate his experiences into career exploration projects they are developing looking at astrophysics and other sciences. Students from the South Science and Technology Magnet will interpret the scientific principles they are studying through artwork. 12-15 pieces will be on display in Reed Hall on Nov. 19. Sutter will record two podcasts while in Lima, one at the public event and a second for a presentation to the Lima City school students at noon, Thur., Nov. 19, 2015. Students from the physics, physical science and biology classes at Lima Senior and eighth graders from the Science and Technology Magnet, West and Liberty will spend the day on campus learning how they, too, can begin to pursue careers in science, technology and the arts in Lima.


Editors’ Note: The tentative schedule for the day follows. A follow-up release with more information about the day will come out closer to the event.
10:00-11:15 a.m. Lima City middle school students tour Ohio State
11:30 a.m.-noon Lunch
11:45 a.m. Media time with Paul Sutter
noon-1 p.m. Paul Sutter presentation and podcast #1
1:15-2:30 p.m. Lima City high school students tour Ohio State
6:30 p.m. Doors open in the Martha W. Farmer Theatre for the Performing Arts
7 p.m. Paul Sutter presentation and podcast #2. Free and open to the public.