Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gifted Student's Socio Emotional Needs

This is a short excerpt from Nicholas Colangelo's monograph, Counseling Gifted and Talented Students. Sometimes educators and parents get so caught up in addressing academic need that we forget to address students' socio-emotional needs. Dr. Colangelo's work helps me keep a good balance.
The following insights are based on a synthesis of research as well as my own observations/work over the past nearly three decades.
• Gifted students are typically as well adjusted as other peers.
• Social-emotional issues are present because of exceptional ability.
• In our society it is not smart to be smart.
• Meeting the cognitive needs of gifted students often meets simultaneously their social-emotional needs.
• Teenage years are the most difficult socially for gifted students.
• To be a gifted minority student is an added social challenge for these students.
• Intelligence is no assurance of character.
• Gifted students are not prone to suicide in any greater numbers than other students in their age group.
• Depression, anxiety, and isolation are among the common difficulties with gifted students.
• Gifted students do not have lower or more inflated self-concepts than nongifted age peers.
• Gifted students are more sensitive to the social needs of their nongifted peers than the reverse
• The messages that students receive from society about exceptional talent are only ambivalent in regards to intellectual talent.
• Underachievement in schools by gifted students is a manifestation of a combination of social-psychological tensions.
• Parents do not always know what is best for their gifted children.
• It is possible to be gifted and disabled (or have a disorder) simultaneously.
• Children benefit from counselors as part of their development in schools.
Gifted students get less than their share of counselor time and attention.

The complete monograph can be found at the National Research Center for Gifted and Talented.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November 2013

I want to inform you of the generosity of Paul Sanford. He has given us $4000 for our robotics program. His generosity has made it possible for us to upgrade to the newest version of Lego Robotics and to compete in the FIRST Lego Leagues Robotics competition. Thank you for the generous gift.

Third Grade
The third grade group has been studying techniques to improve creative thinking. We have used the techniques of productive thinking, SCAMPER and Category List. We have been working on evaluating our ability to think fluently, flexibly, with elaboration and originality. We have enjoyed creative thinking activities.
The students have also investigated five traits of giftedness, above-average ability, task commitment, creativity, courage and caring. We have looked closely at each trait and then evaluated ourselves on these traits. Our last activity will be to make a book to show our strengths in these areas.

Fourth Grade
Fourth grade students have been studying social justice. We have investigated religious intolerance, racism, child labor and bullying through literature and art. The students have worked on developing their visual and verbal communication skills through art, drawing, writing and poetry labs. This month, we began an independent research project on a self selected social injustice. Next month, we will use the knowledge from our research to create a persuasive piece to promote social justice.

Fifth Grade
The fifth graders have been working hard to prepare for the FLL competition. They have learned how to program the robots and have completed numerous tasks. To complete a task, students used creative problem solving, inventive thinking, logical thinking, and scientific research. The tasks are very complex. The second component of the competition is to present an invention to solve a natural disaster. The students researched natural disasters and decided to address flooding. They listed many inventive solutions and then decided to create a new type of ditch that has a drop down to a storage tank when the ditch fills. We learned more about flooding and the most current techniques to mitigate flooding from Calette Orr. Thank you Mrs. Orr.
We will compete at Arab High School on December 7th.

Do you need resources for holiday gifts? Here is a resource from Hogies Gifted Education

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September News

Alabama Association for Gifted Children will hold their annual conference September 26th and 27th at McWane Science center. Parents are welcome any part of the conference, but on September 27th there will be sessions specifically for parents. Please visit the AAGC website for more information (http://www.alabamagifted.org/?page_id=948 ).

Fifth Grade students have begun our FLL Robotics. We are building one of the field kits, and starting on our Project. This year's topic is Natural Disasters. If you have any contacts with scientists or EMS, we would love to reach out to them as experts to consult. We will begin afternoon sessions on Wednesdays as soon as the software is loaded.

Fourth Grade has begun a unit on Art and Social Justice. We will be looking at issues of injustice, and ways to be agents of change. Visual Art and written art will be the media we will investigate. We will learn how writers and artists can use their talent to make meaningful change.

Third Grade has begun and we are focusing on learning about the brain and how we can maximize our abilities. We will learn creative thinking skills and critical thinking skills as part of this unit. We will also learn about giftedness and the five traits of eminence, above average ability, creativity, task commitment, courage and caring.

We have lots of excitement and learning going on. Thank you for your support.

FLL Robotics Volunteers

We have received two field kits this year. The Kimbel family generously donated a foldable table and the funds to purchase a second field kit. I am now looking for adults to help build the items for the second table. Please come whenever you have free time Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday 8 am to 3pm. I will supply you with the Legos and the directions.
Lego play for adults!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

NAGC Mile Marker Series

The National Association for Gifted Children ( NAGC) is a great resource for information on addressing the needs of gifted and talented children. One of their resources for parents is the Mile Marker Series. There is a preview of the CD available for free (preview). This is an excellent place to start learning about the GT label, what it means, and how to help develop your child's potential.

Monday, April 1, 2013


We are busy working to finish projects. Third grade is in the middle of the unit, Journeys and Destinations. They are working hard to finish a study of the book, The Green Book. Fourth grade is working on their website for the unit, At The Mall. The website shows their creativity and their algebraic abilities. Fifth grade is working on the unit, Autobiographies. They are writing an autobiographical essay and studying Children's authors. We are very busy finalizing the semester.

It doesn't seem possible but with testing and other end of the year activities, SPACE students only have five more SPACE days as of April 1. We are working hard to complete what we can, but our time together is short. It never seems that I get enough time to work with your students. Both the children and I have so many ideas for learning!

Thank you to all the parents and children who helped make me feel special during teacher appreciation week. Your kindness is greatly appreciated.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Movie Suggestions

Bibliotherapy is defined as the use of reading to produce affective change and to promote personality growth and development. Movies can also be used to help children deal with their feelings and/or promote growth and development. I thought I might share a list I found of appropriate films for gifted elementary children. These films can be a means of starting a discussion about issues that gifted children deal with.

Akeelah and the Bee                                              High aspirations
Because of Winn Dixie                                          Creative Problem Solving
Ellen Foster                                                            Resilience, influence of mentor
I'll Remember April                                               Social Injustice, Moral development
The Journey of Natty Gann                                    Creative Problem Solving
Little Man Tate                                                       Asynchronous development, friendship
Matilda                                                                   Family Issues, Need for Acceptance
My Girl                                                                  Appreciation for female intelligence
A Painted House                                                    Moral development, Emotional support
Pictures of Hollis Woods                                       Art as therapy, Emotional sensitivity
The Red Sneakers                                                  Talent development, Anti-intellectualism
Ruby Bridges                                                         Courage, Importance of family support
The Sandlot                                                            Balancing academics and athletics
Searching for Bobby Fischer                                 Importance of healthy competition
School of Life                                                        Belief in self, Individual differences
Selma, Lord Selma                                                 Resilience, courage
Shrek                                                                      Importance of friendship
Up                                                                           Pursuing dreams, Managing grief
Wide Awake                                                            Loss of loved one, Sensitive male figure
Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken                                  Overcoming disability, Creative Problem Solving

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Second Semester

We have a very busy semester ahead. Third grade is studying Mysteries and doing a language arts unit called Journey and Destinations. Fourth grade chose Spying and Satellites for one unit, and are doing Literary Reflections for their language arts unit. Autobiographies and Record Breakers are the units Fifth graders are working on. Autobiographies is a language arts unit and Record Breakers is a math unit on data analysis.

We are very busy learning literary analysis, persuasive writing, logical deduction, scientific processes, the concept of change, the concept of systems, algebra and data analysis. The end of the semester will be here quickly, but we are working hard to meet our goals before testing begins.