Guides for Parents of Gifted Children Released
This month, we've released three exciting new books that I think will be fantastic resources for parents of gifted children. Each book focuses on a different area of talent and offers parents practical ways to help encourage their children in those areas. With this series (we're calling it the Involved Parents' Guide
series), I wanted to create a series of handbooks for partents that would offer guidance and resources for specifics areas of talent. With these first three books, we've targeted the talent areas of math, science, and writing.
If your child exhibits precocious writing, math, or science talent, then check out The Involved Parents' Guide
series, an exciting new addition to Prufrock Press' line of parenting materials for use with gifted children and advanced learners. These three books are filled with useful, practical, and engaging advice for parents who want to help their child's natural talents thrive.Encouraging Your Child's Math TalentBy Michael Bosse, Ph.D., and Jennifer Rotigel, Ed.D.
Parents of kids who show precocious advanced math ability will love Encouraging Your Child's Math Talent
, a comprehensive, helpful guide to supporting a child's mathematical talent. The authors guide parents in recognizing advanced math ability in their children, working with the school system, and encouraging children to pursue their mathematical interests outside of school, and offer tips for connecting a child's math ability to his or her everyday interests.Encouraging Your Child's Science TalentBy Michael Matthews, Ph.D.
Parents of children with precocious science ability will find the suggestions in Encouraging Your Child's Science Talent
engaging, encouraging, and practical advice. The author provides parents with advice for recognizing early science ability in children, helping that ability flourish at home and in the classroom, setting up science-related projects, and enriching a child's science education. Encouraging Your Child's Writing TalentBy Nancy Peterson, Ed.D.Encouraging Your Child's Writing Talent
brings a new perspective to teaching kids writing--one that helps parents encourage and cultivate a child's creative insights and love of words through the writing process. The author introduces parents to the characteristics of the gifted writer, provides them with tips to include writing in day-to-day activities, and leads them through the process of setting up writing workshops within the home.
In a recent article appearing in the Cincinnatti Enquirer
titled Finding the Gift in Every Child
, the author sets forth several interesting premises about gifted education.
- It’s a shame children have to be labeled at all. Words like gifted and challenged seem rigid and exclusive when the truth is that children, their abilities and inabilities, come in a jumbled and motley assortment.
- Some children can and should move more quickly and wade more deeply into some coursework. It isn’t fair to hold them back, or deny that they need to be served differently than other students.
- Schools need to create learning environments that are shaped around the child, rather than trying to shape the child around the environment.
- Teachers need support in the form of training to deal with wide ranges of ability levels and learning styles and they also need support staff.
- Caution should be exercised when identifying gifted children. While identifying children at early ages may help the brightest students get off to a good start, it may be too early to see the gifts that are just starting to bloom in some students.
- In addition to academic gifts, schools must acknowledge and support gifts of empathy, leadership, kindness, creativity, organization, and problem-solving.
- We must help all children see their potential and work towards it.
I receive many e-mails from parents who want to know if their young children are gifted. What a difficult question to answer. I’m still not sure if I know what the term really means. I do know that it means many different things to different people—including experts in the field. I personally think it is too much of a “catch all” term and does not really describe much about a child. I would understand much more about a young person if strengths and weaknesses were described to me, as well as personality traits and learning styles. So, I agree somewhat with the author of the above article. I agree that the term gifted is rigid. It is certainly not very descriptive.
The author acknowledges that some children should move more quickly and delve more deeply into some coursework. I know this is definitely true. I also agree that teachers need lots of support in terms of training and additional people power to make this work. A point is well made about needing to create learning environments that are shaped around the child. I’m afraid the No Child Left Behind Act
has made this almost impossible. Little room is left in the curriculum for variance or creativity.
The concept of the need for caution when identifying children is an interesting one. This concept poses the question: Is a person born gifted or can giftedness be developed at various points during one’s life? Can we fit people into neat little slots when they are young and expect them to always stay in those slots?
The author also stresses that we need to acknowledge and support various types of giftedness. Here are a couple of questions to ponder. Is one type of giftedness more important than another type of giftedness? Should we expect schools to address all types of giftedness?
Finally, we must help all children to see their potential and work toward it. I guess I would restate this to say we must help all children see the possibilities in life even if they aren’t obvious. The young people will then need to decide if they are willing to work toward those possibilities. Much needs to come from the internal drive of the individual. Just providing opportunities does not mean that everyone capable will take advantage of them.
Teach Creative Writing With a Bit of Humor
Guest Post by:
R.E. Myers, Ed.D.
About This Blog Entry's Guest Author
R. E. Myers, Ed.D, began his career in education as an elementary teacher in Santa Cruz County, CA. While pursuing his doctorate, he become a graduate student of the late Dr. E. Paul Torrance. That association led to a variety of experiences in the field of creative thinking. His newest book, Motivational Writing Lessons: Clever, Humorous, and Altogether Creative Lessons, is available from Prufrock Press.
There are still teachers who require students to write about their summer experiences at the start of the school year, and I suppose there are many of us who have written accounts of six or seven summers during our own school years. A number of us have also been forced to write, as everyone in our classes was required to do, a composition entitled "My Favorite Hobby" or "The Person I Admire Most." These aren't necessarily bad writing assignments when they are presented in a stimulating way and when students "get into" the subjects. On the other hand, they can be dreadful when they are introduced in a sterile and peremptory manner and when the students know that the assignment is just one more in a long series of such writing chores.
It is far better to inject some humor and excitement into your writing program by doing something a little offbeat. For example, you can put your students into hypothetical situations that evoke realistic, whimsical, or fantastic reactions from them. Below is one that focuses on sense experiences.
What would you suppose might be going on if you:
. . . walked on hot sand that burned your bare feet and felt perspiration running down your neck and looked out to the sea and saw a gigantic wave and realized your mouth was very dry?
. . . turned a corner and felt a stiff breeze that smelled strongly of garlic and heard a distant rumbling and saw hundreds of crows in the sky?
. . . climbed a hill by taking a rocky path that hurt your feet, picked up a leaf that got your hand greasy, and heard a lot of laughing and then saw a bunch of newspapers scattered everywhere?
. . . looked out of a window and saw lots and lots of ants and heard metal being scraped and smelled something burning nearby and then felt the building shaking?
By combining either logical or unusual sense experiences, you can create hypothetical situations that will stretch your students' minds—and that should be fun for them and for you.
Challenging the Minds of the Gifted Children with Chess
Chess is the gymnasium of the mind - Blaise Pascal
Are you looking for an excellent extracurricular activity for your school? One that will really excite and draw kids while improving their minds? Think chess clubs. At one school where I worked, parents started a before and afterschool chess club and it was one of the most popular extracurricular activities available. Kids not only learned strategies and practiced chess during club time; they also went on to compete at various levels with one child going all the way to nationals.
Middle School Gifted Students Taking the SAT
Yesterday, National Public Radio (NPR) ran a story about middle school students taking the SAT. The piece reports that more than 100,000 middle school students are taking the SAT each year.
Some are taking it for early practice so that they will do well when it actually counts for college entrance purposes (scores on the SAT aren't recorded or reported to colleges before a student's ninth grade year). Other students are taking it as part of the process of getting into the various talent search programs (e.g., Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University, Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University, and the Duke University Talent Identification Program). All of the major talent search programs require high SAT scores as part of their admission process.
To listen to the story, visit "Taking the SAT, Graduating Middle School" on the NPR Web site.
Don't Protect Your Gifted Students Too Much
As parents, we want our kids to be happy. It is painful to watch them experience the bumps of life. We also worry about their self-esteem and try to protect it. But BEWARE!! Too much protection can be harmful.
Many parents fight to get their kids into more challenging academic classes because it is understood that challenge is healthy. It is interesting then that parents often protect their students from challenge in other aspects of their lives
, such as dealing with uncomfortable situations, learning to work with people who have different ideas, earning money to purchase something they want, doing without a lot of material things, or learning to fill their own free time. We don’t allow children to struggle because we are afraid it will damage their self-esteem. Parents who constantly hover over their children, trying to make the world just right for them are called “helicopter parents.”
So stop trying to solve all your children’s problems. Just as you demand challenging academic classes for your kids, also demand that they accept their own challenges in life.