#gtchat—A New Way to Participate in Discussions About Gifted Education
In January, Deborah Mersino
launched the weekly Twitter discussion group, #gtchat
. Every Friday at noon and 7:00 p.m. (EST), parents, teachers, and gifted education advocates from across the globe gather together on Twitter to participate in an ongoing discussion about gifted education. As Deborah notes, participants in the forum "share resources, ideas, experiences, and new ways of thinking about gifted issues."
For those of you who don’t understand the ins and outs of Twitter, that pound sign (#) before “gtchat” is called a hashtag. The hashtag is designed to identify a specific topic. (For example, whenever I post a new blog entry at the Prufrock site, I list it on Twitter using the hashtag, #gifted.) So, #gtchat identifies postings of the discussion group that Deborah hosts.
On Deborah's website, Ingeniosus, you can see a sampling of the topics
that have been covered on #gtchat so far and see transcripts
of the discussions. A system also has been created in which prospective participants can vote on the two topics to be discussed each week. Recent topics have included:
The Birth of a GT School: Making it Happen/How?
Everyday Social Life of Gifted Kids: Proactive Support
Going Crazy? Why Parenting the Gifted Can Be Tough
IQ Testing: Who, What, Where, When, Why, & How
Exploring the Power of Mentorships for Gifted Students
One of the best things that results from these Twitter chats is the number of resources that people share. For instructions on how to participate in this weekly forum, click here
. Deborah has the ability to break down difficult subjects into easy-to-understand words, so don’t feel intimidated if you’ve never used Twitter before. She makes it very user-friendly.
Response to Intervention (RtI) for Gifted Students
We all know that one size does not fit all when it comes to students' education. As advocates of gifted students, we are acutely aware that a very bright child may be advanced in one academic area, performing at grade level in another, and performing below grade level in another. Even highly gifted students cannot be expected to be advanced in all subject areas.
Response to Intervention (RtI) is a tool that was originally designed to provide services to students with achievement deficits and/or behavior problems, but had not been formally identified for special education. RtI is a tiered services model, which means that instruction and any other necessary assistance is delivered at whatever level is needed. It is an effective tool to use with very bright students who have not been formally identified as gifted and, therefore, have not been placed in a gifted program. It is only common sense that teachers constantly evaluate all students on a regular basis to determine their educational needs. Response to Intervention provides a structured method for doing this.
If you are interested in learning more about RtI's application to gifted education, you may want to check out the Summer 2009 issue of Gifted Child Today, which focuses almost exclusively on RtI and gifted education. Prufrock Press, the journal's publisher, recently began offering this issue free of charge as a downloadable PDF in response to the large number of requests from graduate students, teachers, professors, and other gifted education professionals who have used it for professional development purposes. According to Joel McIntosh, the publisher of Prufrock Press, the special issue, guest edited by Mary Ruth Coleman, Ph.D., and Claire E. Hughes, Ph.D., was so popular after its initial publication that "it quickly became one of the most widely-read issues in the peer-reviewed journal's history."
You will want to view the articles made available to learn more about this important technique. For additional information on Response to Intervention, you also may consult the following websites:
Complimentary Download: RtI and Gifted Education
You can now download a complimentary copy of a special issue of Gifted Child Today on the topic of Response to Intervention (RtI) and gifted education.
RtI is a key component of educational reform in the United States. For gifted education, RtI represents many important opportunities and challenges. To help education professionals take a proactive look at the ways gifted education and the needs of gifted students fit within the RtI initiative, Gifted Child Today’s editor, Susan Johnsen, Ph.D., and the journal’s editorial board invited two prominent professors (Mary Ruth Coleman, Ph.D. and Claire E. Hughes, Ph.D.) to guest edit a special issue of GCT on the important topic of RtI and gifted child education.
After that special RtI issue of GCT was published in the summer of 2009, it quickly became one of the most widely read issues in the peer-reviewed journal’s history. In fact, Prufrock Press, the journal’s publisher, had so many requests for additional copies of that issue, extra copies from the original press run were quickly sold out. It seems that many individuals, universities, and gifted education programs around the country were using the special issue for professional development purposes.
To encourage the widest possible exposure of this important topic to gifted education professionals, Prufrock Press has made the decision to offer this issue of GCT free of charge as a downloadable PDF.
Click here to download a complimentary copy of the Summer 2009 issue of GCT.
Please note: The PDF is large (7.5MB) and, depending on your Internet connection, may take several minutes to download.
Prufrock Press hopes this free downloadable copy of GCT will be helpful to you as you explore the topic of RtI and gifted education. Please feel free to pass this information along to others who might be interested in this topic.
Teaching Tolerance to the Gifted
We are a nation of many skin colors, religions, types of family units, economic levels, languages, physical and mental abilities, political persuasions, ethnicities, customs, and so forth. It is important that young people learn to understand those who may not look, act, or think the same as they do. That does not mean that they always need to agree with those who are different, but it also doesn’t mean that they should belittle or bully people who are not the same. Instead, kids need to discover what they can learn from one another. By incorporating tolerance at home and at school, we develop environments where young people feel safe and appreciated. We also open up their minds to different cultures and ideas. All of this enhances general learning.
There are some excellent websites that help both parents and educators teach kids tolerance. Here are a few.
Teaching Your Child Tolerance
—Explains to parents why their own discomfort with the subject of tolerance should not get in the way, why tolerance is important, and how it can be taught at home.
—A wealth of information is provided to use with students of all ages. The current featured activity is Discrimination on the Menu
. Discrimination on the Menu
provides lesson plans for grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Discussion questions are challenging and thought provoking for even your brightest students. In other sections of the website, you will find articles from past issues of Teaching Tolerance
magazine, classroom activities, teaching kits, and recommended resources.
RaceBridges for Schools
—This website provides videos, theatre games, lesson plans, and resources that build relationships and promote understanding of many different ethnicities. Be sure and scroll to the bottom of the first page of the website and click on “Other RaceBridges Projects” for even more ideas.
Teachers who are beginning to plan for the next school year will find many community-building activities at these websites. The activities are valuable no matter what your teaching environment may be—regular classroom, gifted classroom, or gifted pullout.
More Pre-K Pupils Qualify for Gifted Programs in NYC Schools
More students are qualifying for gifted kindergarten programs in hyper-competitive New York City schools, but a spike in the use of tutors and test-prep programs by privileged families may be playing an outsized role.
Apparently, parents in NYC are hiring tutors and buying IQ test-preparation materials for their four-year-olds! The problem is so bad that the results from the identification instruments used are becoming invalid. In this recent New York Times article, one Prufrock author, Dr. Susan Johnsen, makes an important point: “Any test is susceptible to test preparation, and that’s why you start to invalidate those assessments.” Dr. Johnsen supports the use of a wide variety of tools for assessing giftedness in kids.
Read the full article, "More Pre-K Pupils Qualify for Gifted Programs."
Explore Firefighting with Gifted Kids
Firefighting has always fascinated young children. Firefighters dress in special clothes, ride in special vehicles, and perform unusual tasks. They save people and structures. They are our heroes at a time when there is an absence of heroes. If your child is interested in this subject, there are many ways you can help him or her learn more.
There are firefighter museums all over the country. Do an Internet search for “firefighter museum” in your hometown or any place where you plan to travel. Visit these sites and see if they have any special programs for kids.
Local fire stations often allow visitors to tour the facility, talk with firefighters, and find out what their days look like. Schedule a visit with your young people.
Find out about firefighting worldwide
. How is firefighting managed differently and how do the jobs of firefighters vary in different countries?
has many videos
that you can watch about firefighting. You can search on firefighter training, firefighting tools, forest fire, fire fighting airplanes, and fire boats to name a few. (Notice that firefighting can be spelled as either one or two words, so try both with your searches.) If you have young children, screen the videos to make certain that they are appropriate.
Branch out and think of subjects related to firefighting—clothing, vehicles, tools, types of fires, types of firefighting, famous fires, fire departments, layouts of fire stations, life at a fire station, special training for firefighters, ways to keep your home safe, what to do in case of a fire, ways to put out different types of fires, and how firefighters protect themselves. Brainstorm as many ideas as possible.
Encourage kids to make their own creations focusing on firefighters. Perhaps they could make a book or develop a game to teach others about firefighting. Or, they might draw pictures and write stories.