Identification of Creatively Gifted Students
Recently, I had a request from a teacher about how to identify creatively gifted students at her school. The Center for Creative Learning
has in-depth information on this subject.
· Assessing Creativity: A Guide for Educators. This 121 page PDF file was originally published by the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, at the University of Connecticut.
· Database of more than 70 instruments used to assess creativity.
However, before considering the assessment of student creativity, one should ask a few basic questions.
1. What is the purpose of the identification?
2. If a child is identified, will that child be treated differently?
3. What areas of creativity are you assessing (i.e., scientific, art, music, school project development, general problem solving, oration)?
4. Is your assumption that children are born creative or that only certain young people have that potential?
When we talk about someone being generally gifted, it is best to state the area of high ability. The same is true for describing a person who is creatively gifted. We simply can’t expect any individual to be creative in everything. So, we must ask ourselves, what information do we expect to gain from these formal assessments?
As students advance in age and abilities, it is probably most accurate to have experts in specific fields determine creativity, as only they will have enough knowledge compare these students with the general population.
Pairing youngsters with others who are creative in similar ways is beneficial as these students will appreciate one another and feed off of one another’s ideas. (Aside: Remember that it is possible to be creative in ways that are not acceptable, in which case you wouldn’t want to pair kids.)
We should not forget that it is very beneficial for all young people to frequently be offered opportunities to be creative both at home and at school. Creativity is not a static attribute.
For more information on aspects of creativity, be sure and visit previous blogs.
Support Javits Funding for Gifted Education Research and Programs
Gifted education supporters in the U.S. Senate are circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter urging the appropriations committee to allocate $11.25 million for the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act in 2009.
The Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act is the only federal program that specifically addresses the needs of gifted and talented children. The act was passed in 1988 to support the development of talent in U.S. schools. The Javits Act does not fund local gifted education programs. The purpose of the Javits Act is to orchestrate a coordinated program of scientifically-based research, demonstration projects, innovative strategies, and similar activities that build and enhance the ability of elementary and secondary schools to meet the special educational needs of gifted and talented students.
The Javits Act focuses resources on identifying and serving students who are traditionally underrepresented in gifted and talented programs, particularly economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient, and disabled students, to help reduce gaps in achievement and to encourage the establishment of equal educational opportunities for all U.S. students. Click here to download a PDF file that offers an overview of some of the ways in which the Javits program is making a difference for students from underrepresented populations.
Contact Your Senators and Urge Support
We have until April 1 to help secure Senate cosigners for the letter. Please contact your senators and urge them to support gifted children by adding their name to the Grassley/Dodd letter which urges the appropriations committee to allocate $11.25 million for the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act. Click here for a copy of the letter, as well as the list of senators who have already added their names. Fifty three members of the House of Representatives have already cosigned a similar letter.
Contacting your senators via the Web is easy. Just visit the U.S. Senate's Web site, locate your senators, and fill out a brief Web form.
When I filled out my two senators' Web forms, I wrote the request copied below. Feel free to use some or all of the information I wrote when you contact your senators.
I am writing Senator [NAME OF SENATOR] to urge [HIM/HER] to support gifted children and gifted education by adding [HIS/HER] name to the Grassley/Dodd "Dear Colleague" letter which is currently being circulated in the Senate that urges the appropriations committee to allocate $11.25 million for the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act in 2009.
The Jacob Javits grants are very important to gifted education and gifted children. The Javits Act focuses resources on identifying and serving students who are traditionally underrepresented in gifted and talented programs, particularly economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient, and disabled students, to help reduce gaps in achievement and to encourage the establishment of equal educational opportunities for all U.S. students.
I hope the Senator will support the Jacob Javits Act by signing the Grassley/Dodd letter.
Thank you for considering this request.
Economics for Gifted Students
Resources for teaching economics to students is not something we hear a lot about, and yet knowledge in this area is something that is vital for one’s entire life. Strategies for teaching this are available for all ages. As a teacher, parent, or student, here are some you might want to investigate.
There’s an article in The Duke Gifted Letter
that reviews two board games for parents who are interested in teaching their children the complexities of the stock market: Bull Market
, by the Great Canadian Game Company Inc. for ages 8 to adult, and Stock Market Tycoon
, by Vida Games LLC for ages 12 to adult.
The National Economics Challenge
is a competition that takes place in 35 different states. There are two different divisions: one for high school students taking Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, honors, college level, or two-semester classes; the other for students enrolled in all other general or one-semester economics classes. There are monetary prizes for both students and teachers.
It is possible for a student to have dual enrollment in high school and college, remaining with his age peers at his home school while taking one or more classes at a local college. You can read about an unusual partnership that was created between an Illinois high school and university to provide duel enrollment courses in economics
that actually took place on the high school campus. Through the school partnership, administrators and teachers recognized that the high school audiences present special challenges for methods used most frequently on the college campus. Through this partnership, economics courses were taught by a tenure-track university faculty member and limited to honors students. Details are provided about the modifications made, especially in regards to disciplinary actions, grading policies, and scheduling.
Speech and Debate for Gifted Students
The Chicago Tribune
recently ran an article titled Can 100 Students Agree on Complex Foreign Policy? It's Debatable telling about a competition where more than 100 students in grades 5-8 from six schools debated the following topic: Should the federal government increase its public-health aid to sub-Saharan Africa? Every claim made by students had to be supported by a quotation from a public source, so the kids really had to do their homework before the competition.
We don’t hear a lot about speech and debate competitions for middle and high school students, but where they exist, they provide young people with real-world issues to research and open-ended questions to answer. Speech and debate can greatly improve critical thinking, communication skills, and self confidence in the public arena.
There are several speech and/or debate organizations you might want to look at. Even if your school does not sponsor these opportunities, the Web sites have great resources that can be implemented in the classroom or in family discussions.
This is the nation's oldest and largest debate and speech honor society.
This organization currently works with 311 urban high schools and 51 urban middle schools in school systems with approximately 87% people of color and 78% low-income student populations. Urban Debate Leagues have proven to increase literacy scores by 25%, to improve grade-point averages by 8 to 10%, to achieve high school graduation rates of nearly 100%, and to produce college matriculation rates of 71–91%.
IDEA develops, organizes and promotes debate and debate-related activities in communities throughout the world.
Overprotection of Gifted Students
The primary role and responsibility of parents is to protect their children from physical, social, and emotional harm, but author Debra Troxclair believes that parents of gifted children tend to have a propensity for overprotection.
Gifted children often
· are very sensitive to the expectations of others, causing them to feel different.
· have a strong sense of idealism and justice.
· have high expectations of themselves and others, sometimes causing frustration.
· possess strong emotional depth and intensity.
· are sensitive to inconsistency between ideals and behaviors.
Since it can be very difficult for parents to watch their children struggle with these traits, the adults may automatically and unconsciously step in to make their kids feel better. This may be the exact opposite of what is needed.
There are two types of overprotective parents:
· indulgent—characterized by guilty, anxious parental attachment
· controlling—characterized by high supervision, discouraging independent behavior
One thing that can be especially detrimental to a child is overhearing parents point out errors made by teachers, principals, and school districts. Hearing these comments can cause the young person to become confused about the natural balance of roles, giving the child too much power.
When coming to a child’s aid, parents need to consider if they are really meeting the needs of their youngster or if they’re really trying to satisfy their own fears.