Tag Archives: gifted children

Gifted…It’s Who They Are

Over the weekend I read an interesting article titled Gifted Ed. Is Crucial, But the Label Isn’tThere are many points where I agree with the author, but there are just as many I don’t. I have heard this saying, and I believe it: Gifted Education is good education. As I see it, what Gifted Intervention Specialists do in the classroom, and what parents of gifted homeschoolers do in their homes are strategies that would benefit all students.

The author tends to have an issue with labels. So, how do labels help us? It is good to know that a student is 2E, ADD, ADHD, or LD?  The label, in my opinion isn’t an adherence to children.It’s who they are. They are gifted and/or talented. Remember, giftedness is a something that can’t be changed. Our gifted children are born with that, talented students have an ability that they were born with, but can personally decide to show or not. With or without the label they are still gifted and/or talented. I am not saying that labels are the end all be all. What I am saying labels, in any case can help educators separate students, and have a predetermined understanding of what their abilities may be like.

When the author comes across and says the giftedness isn’t relevent to K-12 education, I have a problem with that. We have a full curriculum. We have classrooms full of students of various intelligence. It’s hard to get through a “rigorous” curriculum. Knowing which students are gifted, and knowing what their abilities are will make it easier for teachers to give those students the appropriate curriculum they deserve. It’s no different when a student has a learning disabilities. They need to get the appropriate curriculum that is appropriate for them.

It seems we are continually fighting the battle of perception. I know what when my students come to my class they are having fun, but they are learning. I am challenging them in many different ways. Some of my collueges believe my class is seen as “fluff” or something that can be taken away from a student like a bargaining chip, because my class isn’t graded. But, would it be appropriate to not serve a student with learning disabilities because their class isn’t graded? Of course not. Gifted education is just part of special education. Students need to be recognized and respected for their academic abilities. Every student in school should have fun in every class. Every student should be learning someting new everyday.

We just can’t throw the word “gifted” away. I have written about this before, just because a student as a label, doesn’t mean that you have to emphasis it. Teachers and parents need to be sensitive to the student. I have students who are gifted, but prefer not to be called out as gifted. I am fine with that. They know who they are. They take the challenges, and succeed. At the same time, I have students who hate to be labeled gifted, and hide that they are gifted. In either case, we don’t just let it go. They are gifted. Having that label doesn’t change who are students are. It doesn’t give them any un fair advantages in school. We are just delivering an appropriate education based on their needs.

If everyone is so up in arms about the label gifted, then maybe we should get rid of the label “athletic.”

Raising Gifted Children is Different from Teaching Gifted Children

This is a post for the Gifted Homeschooler Forum March Blog Hop.

I am passionate about gifted education. I strive to read books, magazines, and blogs about gifted children. I try to learn as much as I can from others from Twitter and Facebook, and others I have met in the field of Gifted Education. I enjoyed my time in graduate school learning about gifted children. I honestly believe Gifted Education is the part of Special Education that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.

That said…raising my gifted children at home can be hard. I have eight children, four children who are gifted. The oldest gifted child is 20, who is out in the world trying to find himself. He is smart, but not motivated or determined to get his life on the track to where his gifts would help him be successful. I have one that 19-year-old gifted child who is the opposite of his older brother. He is determined, motivated, and is headed on the path that uses his gifts to make him successful. I have one that is in middle schooler that is 14 and is complicated. He shows splashes of brilliance sprinkled with times of under-acheivement. He is the kindest child you will find. He has a big heart. We haven’t found his strengths as yet, but I know we will. Finally, I have a gifted child that is four years old. We haven’t gotten her tested yet, but we will. Her vocabulary, memory, and her cognitive skills really shine. We haven’t found her gifts yet, but I know we will.

Gifted children come in so many different shapes, sizes, and personality. When you add in the steps of life-like puberty it can be even more complicated. I love being a Dad to all 8 of my children. Meeting the needs of each of them is a full-time job in itself. I find that my children of all various stages of growth, intellect, and age are all different, but the one thing they have in common is family. They love the feeling of belonging. I can’t always be there for them, but they can be there for each other.

My wife and I try to do things for our children that will broaden their learning. We visit museums on vacation. We have our children try new things, and visit places they have read about. I can remember we took just a few of our children to Washington, D.C. a few years ago on my wife’s business trip. We went all over Washington, D.C.  While there we went to the Holocaust Museum. We spent hours there. They felt the horror, smelled the old shoes of Jewish victims, and left there with a heavy heart. To this day, they still speak of that time in the Holocaust Museum.

 

I have been teaching gifted children since 2006. I got into this field because of my oldest. All of my children either graduated from , or are in the same school district that my wife and I teach in. Back in 2002, my oldest son was in the 3rd grade. The gifted coordinator at the time asked me if I was interested in teaching gifted children since I have one. I told him yes I was. He gave me some information, and I went back to school. A few years later one of the gifted intervention specialists retired, and I got her job. It has been a ride, but there is a difference between teaching some one else’s child and teaching your own. I take both seriously, but the major difference is I can influence some one else’s child. I can challenge them, and I can see them through the rough challenges, but in a few years they are gone. My children are stuck with me. I continually challenge them, motivate them, cheer for them when they are in the classroom and when they are on the field.

Having a career teaching gifted children is great, but raising my children to be great assets to society is greater.

Being a Blowhorn

My students tell me I talk to much. That’s fine. I love to teach. I love connecting with students, and getting to know them. I do this, because I want to know them. I have several of them on my Instagram and Twitter. Several of them follow our Classroom Facebook page. I believe that knowing students in and out of the classroom is important. I learn a lot about them from their Instagram, and what they talk about on twitter. The other aspect of that is they get to know me in and out of the classroom.

Many ask why I focus on making meaningful connections with my students. The answer to that is easy. Its easier to stand up and be a voice, a blow horn, or an advocate when you are invested in someone. If you are invested, then those you stand up for are more than numbers or blank faces they are close people. They are connected to you. You feel obligated to do your best for them. That’s how I feel about my students. They are my children.

Being an advocate is like being a blow horn. You are trying to get noticed, to give instruction, or give warnings. I call my self a blow horn. When you are a blow horn, you are rallying to troops around. In my case, I am trying to make sure that my students are getting what they need in their regular classes, and parents are getting information that will beefit their children. I am making sure parents and students  have someone they can talk to when they want to have some experiences like summer camps, internships, or starting a parent group. They can count on me to help them as much as I can.

Being an advocate isn’t always easy. You have to be tactful, calculating, and sometimes cunning. Sometimes I hear my students complaining about a situation in a class they are in, and they are bored, under-challenged, or not engaged. I will try to meet that teacher, and suggest things to do with my students. It has to be done it tactfully. No teacher wants to be told they aren’t meeting the needs of their students. So informing others that their gifted students need to be pushed and stretched has to be done in a way that helps the teacher and students.

What I love about being an advocate is the fact that I get to share my passion, knowledge, and experience about and for gifted children. I try to be an open door for my colleagues to come in and talk about what I can do to help them, or to collaborate with them. I can I share my point of view. I don’t always get to meet with other teachers because of my teaching schedule, but when I do they will hear my views.

Advocacy takes several shapes. They don’t always have to be direct connection between students and teacher. Sometimes it with the public. Advocating is like a form of persuasion. You have to influence someone to get what you need. Sometimes advocacy is writing letters to the editor of your paper, or testifying in a state committee hearing, or going on a local morning show to plead your case.

Advocacy is also helping. Forming parent groups though SENG, or at your local school is one way that parents and schools can work together for the betterment of gifted students. Letting parents know what the gifted program is like, and why it exists is important. It also a good way for parents to find out what their school is offering gifted students like early college classes in high school, to post secondary education options from the local high school. It’s always good to have parents, teachers, and administrators making the suggestions for rules about acceleration of students for whole grade or subject.

Finally, advocacy is being informed. Letting parents, teachers, and administrators about some of the resources on the internet, classes or seminars / webinars, or blogs,books and magazines is an important aspect of advocacy. Parents and GISs need to stay aware of what is going on in the area of Gifted Education so they can share it with others and with administrators.  Joining a gifted association like Ohio Association for Gifted Children, or your state Gifted Association is a great place to start. You could also join the National Association for Gifted Children as well to see what is going on nationally in Gifted Education. Joining a tweetchat on twitter or a gifted related Facebook page, or following several bloggers who write about gifted issues is a great place to start collecting resources to be an informed advocate.

How are you being an advocate for your gifted children? What have you done that has worked? What have you done that didn’t work? PLease share your experiences in the comment section below, or better yet, join the #gtbloghop and post your blog on Twitter using the #gtbloghop hashtag.