Are Schooling and Learning Synonymous for Gifted Kids?
The Brave New World blog
, written by Australian Tania Sheko (parent and teacher, turned teacher librarian) raises the interesting question: Are schooling and learning synonymous? Between her comments and the comments of her readers, the following issues are raised:
When school isn’t the ideal place to educate kids, what should you do?
Should schools be responsible for completely educating young people or should they be considered supplements to education provided at home?
Are we adequately preparing kids for living and working in today’s world?
How can we foster a natural love of learning?
How can we allow and encourage young people to follow their passions, even though time consuming school assignments may make that difficult?
How can parents best communicate their educational philosophy and the needs of their kids to teachers?
How can parents play an active role in the education of their youngsters? What does “active role” mean?
What does an educated person look like?
How can parents and teachers help to keep the joy of learning alive?
How will technology change the way we learn?
These questions would be great starters for a deep discussions among teachers, parents, or students. Consider using one or more of the questions at parent or teacher meetings or with groups of students.
Brain Teasers for Gifted Kids
Looking for puzzles to exercise the minds of your students? Are you in search of interactive puzzles for your kids at home? Post a puzzle a day or a puzzle a week in your classroom. Present a puzzle to your kids while driving in the car. Create a puzzle corner at home or at school.
The Internet is full of games and puzzles that work the brain and help kids think outside the box. Just search on such terms as “brainteasers” or “puzzles.” Here are just a few sites that will keep you and your gifted kids occupied for a good long time.
is found at the Discovery Education website. Many of these are quite difficult, so are more appropriate for older students.
The Sunday Puzzle
is brought to you by NPR. Each week, puzzlemaster Will Shortz presents an on-air quiz. At this site, you will find an archive of his puzzles. These are probably the most challenging puzzles of the three sites I am listing here.
Oceans of Learning for Gifted Kids
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the ocean covers 71 percent of the Earth's surface and contains 97 percent of the planet's water, yet more than 95 percent of the underwater world remains unexplored. Just think of what there is to discover and how exciting it will be. One of every six jobs in the United States is marine-related, so it is definitely an area to think about for a future career.
Providing an avenue for gifted kids to study the ocean may ignite their interest in exploration. Who knows where it might eventually lead.
The excellent websites listed below contain not only written information, but lesson plans, images, video, audio, and other resources.
is sponsored by The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Some of the areas covered on this website include the latest news on ocean-related topics; numerous stories, resources, and lesson plans related to ocean life and ecosystems; and information about the latest research.
National Geographic has an extensive section on the ocean. There are special sections for both kids and for educators.
has ocean material for teachers and kids of all ages.
Once your student’s interest in the study of the ocean has been invigorated, you may want to consider giving him a hands-on experience through a study program. To explore the possibilities, go to Cogito
, which is an excellent website sponsored by Johns Hopkins University. Do a search on “study at sea.” You will be amazed at the opportunities that are available, including camps and living and working on research vessels.
Space Exploration for Gifted Kids
Do you have a student who is interested in space—and who isn’t? There are some great websites available for young people to explore. Use these websites as extensions of studies at school, enrichment, or resources for independent studies.
Mars Exploration Program
—Sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, this site offers youth-friendly information, photos, and video about Mars.
—This is basically an online news reporting site, focusing on space. The news is presented in both articles and in videos.
—Tells about and lists calendars for space events such as sunspots, solar flares, aurora australis and aurora borealis, meteor showers, and near-Earth asteroids. It also includes some excellent links to other space weather related websites.
—A collection of articles and images from news sources on topics such as using radio signals to weigh planets, creating a map of magnetic field lines of the sun, and helping NASA choose wakeup music for the final shuttle missions.
Space for Europe
—The European Space Agency provides a global approach to the study of space, with a special section for kids. There are also many articles and all kinds of videos on topics such as survival training for astronauts, the Hubble telescope capturing images of bubbles and baby stars, and venture capital funds backing business opportunities from space.
—This Web site offers an incredible amount of written information, as well as images, video, audio, and interactive activities. There are special sections for educators and for students. There is an area describing careers at NASA, including internship opportunities.
The Planetary Society
—This is the world's largest space-interest group. It is dedicated to inspiring the public with the adventure and mystery of space exploration through projects and publications. There are quite a few activities for kids.
—One particularly interesting section of this website is "Entertainment" (click on tab near the top of the page). Here you will find articles such as How ‘Star Wars’ Changed the World
and space video game reviews.