Anxiety-Free Kids - Helping Children with Anxiety Disorders (Podcast)
The topic of today's podcast is one that impacts many children, including those who are gifted. In this podcast we discuss the topic of helping children who suffer from anxiety disorders. Research shows that if left untreated, children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, to have less-developed social skills, and to be more vulnerable to substance abuse.
When do a child’s anxieties cross the line from typical worries to an anxiety disorder, how do you know if your child suffers from anxiety, and what can you do to help?
To answer those questions, I've invited Dr. Bonnie Zucker to discuss this important topic with me. Dr. Zucker is a clinical psychologist who conducts therapy with children and families in both her private practice and at the National Center for Phobias, Anxieties, and Depression in Washington D.C.
Dr. Zucker is the author of Prufrock Press’ recently released, Anxiety-Free Kids: An Interactive Guide for Parents and Children.
Listen to the Podcast
Click here to listen to the podcast
(approximate length: 38 minutes)
Click here to listen to or subscribe* to this podcast in iTunes
(requires that you have iTunes installed on your computer)
* If you wish to be receive notifications when new podcasts are posted, you need to subscribe to Prufrock Press' "Gifted Education Podcast" in iTunes or subscribe to the "Podcasts" RSS feed in the left column of this blog (see "Categories/RSS"). Click here to read instructions on using RSS feeds.
Free Curriculum on Investigating Systems
In past blog entries, I have talked about the importance of teaching universal themes and using essential questions. (Use Search Entries button on the right to find and read these previous entries.) I continue that discussion here.
Marion Brady who, over the span of his career, has been a teacher, administrator, and author, is a person with strong ideas about what our educational system should look like. He feels that traditional curriculum is fragmented, emphasizing the need to "cover the material," without providing an umbrella under which students can understand and apply their learning. Brady offers this umbrella through his curriculum titled, Investigating Systems
In the spirit of the current movement to offer open sourceware (free classroom materials online), the author provides IS for download. (You do have to register, listing personal identification information, to be able to download the curriculum.)
To give you an idea of the content of the curriculum, I am including its Table of Contents.
Organizing Information (Investigating Patterns, Investigating Relationships, Analytical Categories)
Analyzing Systems (Systems with Human Components)
Major Human Systems: Societies
Investigations of Structure
Investigations of Environment
Investigations of Patterns of Action
Investigations of Shared Ideas
The Dynamics of Change
Change and Stress
Constructing New Knowledge
In addition to the free curriculum, there is also a place for online comments and discussions. Rather than viewing this curriculum as fully finished, Brady sees it as a work in progress; therefore, input from those who use the material is valued.
Whether you are a teacher or a parent, whether or not you choose to use the curriculum in its entirety, you will find that this curriculum will help you better understand the concepts of universal themes and essential questions and how to use these in the education of students at home and at school.
Upcoming Webinar on Developing a Gifted Program
Coming up next week is an online seminar that will target program leaders in gifted education—preschool through grade 12. Check it out and see if it is something in which your school/district should participate. It will take place on March 26 from 4:00-5:45 p.m. Eastern Time.
What are the national standards for preparation of teachers of the gifted?
What is the implication of accreditation standards in teacher preparation programs for Pre K – 12 teachers, schools, and districts?
At the end of the session, participants will be able to
Describe the national gifted education standards.
Identify ways that school districts can use the standards.
Plan specific activities for implementing the standards in professional development.
The presenters are tops in the field: Susan Johnsen, Joyce Van Tassel-Baska, Diana Montgomery, and Margie Kitano.
To participate, one only needs a speakerphone, a computer, and a high-speed Internet connection. Administrators can arrange for as many individuals as they would like to participate for one low price. Teachers and educators can earn .2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
The sponsor of the online seminar is the Council for Exceptional Children
(CEC), which is “dedicated to improving the educational success of individuals with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.”
"Facets of Gifted Education" -- An Interview With ... Me
I recently had the chance to be interviewed by Laura Vanderkam, a co-author of Genius Denied and the author of the Gifted Exchange Blog.
If you get a chance, click this link to read the interview. It's a short piece, but it covers a wide range of gifted education topics (changes in the field of gifted education over the last 20 years, differentiated instruction, and some opportunities the field faces in coming years), and it touches on some of the publishing plans here at Prufrock Press.
Thanks to Laura for conducting the interview and posting it on her blog!
Integrated Curriculum for Gifted Students
Curriculum is meaningful when students can relate it to other aspects of their lives. This is more likely when material is taught using themes that integrate many subjects.
organizes education so that it links together the humanities, natural sciences, mathematics, social studies, music, and art. It views learning and teaching in a holistic way, reflecting the real world and prepares children for lifelong learning. Integrated curriculum includes
A combination of subjects
An emphasis on projects
Sources that go beyond textbooks
Relationships among concepts
Thematic units as organizing principles
Flexible student groupings
Teachers often learn the theory behind good curriculum development, but they are too often expected to create their own materials. It is difficult to find enough time to keep “reinventing the wheel.” There are a couple of very good resources for integrated curriculum that contain already-developed teaching units that target gifted students.
In my blog, I have frequently mentioned the units developed by the Center for Gifted Education at The College of William and Mary. These units contain in-depth activities that develop high-level thinking skills and encourage students to relate the material to their own lives. I have personally used several of these units and know teachers who have used others. The material is excellent! Units are available for elementary through high school. Titles include The Weather Reporter, Spatial Reasoning, Patterns of Change, and Defining Nations: Cultural Identity and Political Tensions.
The units developed by the Ricks Center for Gifted Children at University of Denver use critical thinking, problem finding, problem solving, and evaluating as an overlay for the content areas included in each topic. Multiple teaching strategies are used to address specific learning styles, individual needs, and intellectual abilities. Units are available for pre-kindergarten through grade 8. Titles include Arctic/Antarctic, Architecture, Natural Disasters, and United Nations.
Questioning Techniques for the Gifted
As parents and teachers, we want to stimulate the thinking of gifted kids by posing open questions and teaching students how to create their own open questions. A closed question is one that can be answered with either a single word or a short phrase (i.e., "How old are you?" or "Where do you live?" or any question that can be answered with either "yes" or "no"). An open question, however, requires a longer, more involved response and does not have one correct answer; instead, it causes the respondent to think and reflect.
There are several resources available for teachers to create open questions in the classroom. Parents can use these same resources to guide interesting conversations with their children and promote good problem-solving skills.
Open questioning techniques include essential questions and critical thinking questions.
This Web site lists seven key components that essential questions have in common.
Examples of essential questions include:
- What are the ramifications of cloning?
- What is intelligence?
- Are we really free?
- Where does perception end and reality begin?
- Does history really repeat itself?
- Are there any absolutes?
- Are there other more pressing issues that deserve consideration before space exploration?
- What was the greatest invention of the 20th Century?
Although the information provided at this site is designed for college students, most gifted students are fully capable of using the techniques. I especially like the generic questioning stems, such as:
- What are the implications of …?
- How does … tie in with what we have learned before?
- Do you agree or disagree with this statement? What evidence is there to support your answer?
There are also very good suggestions for using critical thinking in student writing. The act of writing requires students to focus and clarify their thoughts before putting them down on paper.
Questioning in the Classroom
Although this Web site was developed specifically to identify questions to be asked in science or math, the concepts can easily be transferred to many other subjects. Questions are divided into four groups: direct information, relational, divergent, and evaluation. Questions are also posed to reflect critical thinking.
What can you change to try to make ____ work/happen?
Where have you seen something like this before?
How can you use what you’ve learned?
The form at this Web site can be used to generate essential questions to be used in class.