Archive for category Gifted

Working with Parents to Support High Ability Learners

middle-school

A version of this was posted originally posted on Ramblings of a Gifted Teacher

This week our school system is having their Annual Spring Parent Teacher Conferences. I feel this Spring Conference is just as important as our Fall Conferences are, but the parent turn out is noticeably lower than in the Fall. I was reminded over the weekend that Parent Teacher Conferences shouldn’t be the only time in which both parties work together to help improve the education of their children, particularly in middle school.

Middle School can be a tough transition for many students. In the elementary classes students are given their foundations, and middle school build on that foundation. In the middle school, students learn some independence and choice. Students can choose from sports, clubs, and after school activities that interest them.

When it comes to high ability learners, we have to be keenly aware that they are in the right classroom level that matches their ability. I found a joint statement that NAGC and NMSA (National Middle School Association) wrote in order to challenge schools, parents, and councilors to make sure they are meeting the needs of these learners.

To ensure that high ability learners are getting their needs met we have to look at creative ways to met them. Here are a couple examples of accommodations:

  • Long Distance Learning: If a high ability learner needs to take high school / college classes in middle school this is a great way to solve that.
  • On-Line Classes: If you high school or district offers online classes for high school credit. High ability learners would benefit from this.
  • Subject / Grade Acceleration: Moving a high ability learner a whole grade or just in a subject.
  • Independent Studies: Allowing a high ability learner to learn a subject on their on at their own pace is a great way to met the need to challenge students. (MOOCs are great for this since they are usually sponsored by a college.)
  • Participating in School and/or community based clubs: Science Olympiad, Quiz Bowl, Chess Clubs, Spelling and Geography Bees, Astronomy Clubs,and such: Allowing high ability learners to take part in programs listed above is a great way to met the needs of high ability learners.

All of the accommodations  listed above that would be effective and successful will only happen when parents, teachers, administrators, and councilors work together to make high ability learners challenged during school and after school. In middle school specifically, several of the accommodations listed above would work much easier the more parents and teachers talk and discuss the needs of their children.

What accommodations do we do as a school district you would like to see more of, or is there an accommodation we haven’t thought of?

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Selection of Gifted Children for Gifted Services

Part 3 of 3 of the Gifted Nomination, Gifted Screening, and Selection for Gifted Services

As was mentioned in the previous post, students who scores a 129 or higher (Superior Cognitive Abilities) are automatically placed in gifted services. If a student falls into the Creative Thinking Abilities category then we have to further test.

In our district we use two different checklists that the State of Ohio allows us to use. The first is the GATES (Gifted And Talented Evaluation scale. The GATES is a checklist done by the classroom teacher(s). The score for this must be 83 or higher to be placed in a gifted program. We also use the SRBCSS (Scale for Rating and Behavior Checklists of Superior Students) to help screen students. The SRBCSS checklist is also done by the classroom teacher(s) and to qualify for gifted services a student must score 51 or higher.

The gifted department will test 100% of the students in 2nd and 5th grade, but the additional screening will only happen generally to about 25% of the students. This additional screening is always based on their CogAT test scores.

Once the gifted department gets all the scores parents are notified if their child has qualified or not for gifted services. There is also a letter that goes out to indicate there needs to be more testing. Then final list of students who qualify for gifted services a letter goes out to parents and teachers to let them know their child/student has qualified for gifted services.

If you have a question about the whole process of how a student gets into a gifted program please let one of the gifted intervention specialist know. They can answer all your questions.

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Nomination of Gifted Children

Part 1 of 3 of the Gifted Nomination, Gifted Screening, and Selection for Gifted Services.

When starting the process of finding gifted children for gifted services you start with the nomination process. The nomination process is an important aspect of gifted education. There are a few ways a student can be nominated for gifted testing:

  • Parents can ask regular classroom teachers, gifted intervention specialists, or school psychologists to have their child tested if they believe they see some gifted characteristics in their children.
  • Teachers can ask gifted intervention specialists, or school psychologists to have their students tested because they feel that student or students are achieving above other students, or they feel they that student is learning faster than the average student.
  • Students can nominate themselves if they feel they need to be tested for gifted services. This is called self-advocacy.

All students who exhibit some, or little gifted tendencies should be considered for gifted services. Every student has the right to be tested for gifted services. Students from every group, and subgroup should have access to gifted education nomination for testing. Students in regular education and special education should be included. This process can be started any day of the year, and for every grade.

Just as a side note: every year in our district we test every 2nd and 5th grader in order to find students who would be able to qualify for gifted services.

Here is a great resource (below as a .pdf file) for testing and identification  from the book Identifying Gifted Students: a practical guide by Susan K. Johnsen: office-for-civil-rights-checklist-for-assessment-of-gifted-programs.

Research shows that parents are the resource when trying to identify gifted children. They know their children, and see them in multiple settings where they can show their giftedness. The next best resource is the regular education teacher. Research shows when regular education teachers have professional development on the characteristics of gifted children they are twice as likely to nominate children for gifted services. (Which is why the gifted department is trying to help educate regular education teachers on gifted education.)

When a student is nominated the instruments used should be fair and culturally appropriate. To be culturally appropriate means that the instrument ensures the student understands the purpose and nature of the test; minimizes language; include practice items; and present novel problems instead of narrow school related information.

Finally when nominating a child for gifted testing it is good to use as multiple sources. Teachers should be getting information for their own curriculum through tests, and quizzes; from parents who see their students acting differently from the school setting; and from the student themselves. Let the student tell the teacher some reasons why they feel they need to be tested for gifted services.

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Not All Gifted Children Test Well

The beginning of the  school year is always busy for me. This is the time of year many parents contact me to test their child to see if they qualify for gifted services. Many parents tell me their child is gifted, but tests don’t always show it. I always try to reassure parents that I try to create a peaceful and stress free environment. After testing and scoring, I come to the same result as the parent. The child didn’t test well. So I have to use more than just one instrument to see if a child is gifted or not.

But, how can a child who is gifted not test well? There are several ideas as to why a child doesn’t test well. Parents and teachers know some students don’t test well, but know they are smarter than the test results.

If you know a child is gifted, and isn’t a great test taker here are some ideas as to why they may not test well.

  1. Motivation. Some students have motivation and some don’t. If a student has a lack of motivation then doing well on a test is the last thing the child will do well on.
  2. Intra-Stress. Sometimes a student will not test well, because inside they are too stressed out. It doesn’t matter that the environment is peaceful and stress-free, some students will still battle their own stress.
  3. Perfectionism. Some students feel they need to be perfect in everything. This particularly comes out during timed testing. Children who suffer from perfectionism want to answer every question correctly sometimes will not test well. They get stuck on a question and can’t move on.
  4. Over-thinking. Gifted children are smart, but sometimes they overthink things. Students who overthink on tests don’t do well on multiple choice tests (which most gifted tests are). Gifted children make connections differently. When they can’t use their thinking skills to create something unique, they struggle.

 

To help children overcome these aspects teachers and parents need to help them overcome these shortfalls. When dealing with motivation or lack thereof, try to spark intrinsic motivation. Use their hobbies and passions to your advantage. Use the idea that doing well now will help them in the future to get into a college or university they are interested in going to.

To help a student who has stress issues teach them techniques that will help them center themselves. Help them to recognize when the internal stress is creeping up, and how to control it.

A student who has an issue with perfectionism needs to understand that making mistakes isn’t a big of deal they perceived it to be. To help them understand this place the student in simulations that they will make mistakes or fail. They will see and feel that they survived. This idea isn’t just with tests. This is an aspect of life. Children who suffer with perfectionism need to know at some point they will make mistakes in life. It matters how they handle the mistake and move on.

For students who  just overthink things on tests help them understand they don’t have to fish for an answer. Most multiple choice tests are straightforward. Just as in life, somethings are just that…straightforward. Once the test is over students will look back, and realize not fishing for a unique answer was the best decision.

As the school year goes on, and you begin to see some of the aspects listed above I hope that you can give these children, and parents some help.

What are some other aspects do you find in students who don’t test well.

For this post, I used the awesome resource Parenting Gifted Children by Jennifer L. Jolly, Ph.D., Donald J. Treffinger, Ph.D., Tracy Ford Inman, and Joan Franklin Smutny, Ph.D. 

Posted originally on Ramblings of A Gifted Teacher.

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Gifted Placements Matter

One aspect of Gifted Education is to find, identify, and service children who are gifted. To follow the mentioned sequence gifted intervention specialists need to work with classroom teachers to to get as much input on a student as possible.

Gifted intervention specialists should look to classroom teachers to help with finding talent, and to help with the placement of students. I was reading Dr. Jim Delisle’s book When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers, and he gives 3 tips for successful placements of gifted children:

  1. All placements in a gifted program should be considered tentative, with the fit between the child’s needs and the program’s offerings being the bottom line criterion for continued placement. Bad match? Look for something better.
  2. All placements in a gifted program should be considered voluntary.  No one should have to act gifted if they don’t want to.
  3. The names of students selected for a gifted program should be shared with the students’ teachers, who should be asked if they know of any other children who might be considered for placement. Teachers cannot remove a student’s name from this list, since this is a sure way to eliminate perceived underachievers and troublemakers.

My personal feeling is that this is correct. I believe that we have to be an advocate for gifted children. Not all gifted children will benefit from a pullout program, or a placement in a full grade or subject acceleration. We need to be flexible, and looking out for the best placement for the success of gifted children.

Once the placement process is complete, we need to make sure we are supportive of the student. When a student is in a pullout program the student will miss some classroom instruction. It doesn’t help when classroom teachers dump all the work that a student missed while in a pull out program. Teachers both Regular Education and Gifted Education need to come up with a common sense solution to help gifted students not get over whelmed with the a ton of extra work. When students are in a pull out program classroom teachers may need to readjust when they plan to take tests or quizzes. I would also suggest the use of pre-tests to see what material all students have mastered. This may help with some curriculum compacting for gifted students during a unit the teacher is covering.

For students who are not in pullout programs,but in an accelerated placement classroom teachers need to monitor the academic progress of the student for several weeks. How the student fits in emotionally also needs to be monitored. If it seems the student isn’t mature enough of handle the new accelerated class placement, then a new placement will need to be provided as an alternative.

What we need to remember that if the placement doesn’t fit we need to change it right away. Success of the student in a placement that will challenge the student is what is important.

Originally Posted on Ramblings of a Gifted Teacher

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Looking for a great website to challenge your Gifted Students?

giftedsources-comA few years ago I went to Ohio Association for Gifted Children Annual Fall Conference, and went to a session that that talked about a new resource that was being developed and maintained by Northern Kentucky University. The professor who is in charge of this is Kimberly P. Code. This website several different categories on it based on subject areas. Each tab has a huge list of links that students can go to and get challenged. The screenshot of this website to is to left.

This website is a great resource. Not only because it has resources for all subject areas, but it also has tested resources that work. That way when you go through the list, you can see all the link that work.

I hope that you would it out: GiftedSources.com

 

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Allen County Student Chess League

Are you interested in Chess? If so this is for you.

The league will meet on the third Saturdays of each month, with the exception of this month to begin:  October 22nd.  We will be meeting at the Lima Public Library in Meeting Room 2.  We are excited to be able to offer this enrichment experience for the children of Allen County and beyond.

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2016-2017 Bus Schedule

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OAGC Members can now Access NAGC Webinars

Parents I hope that you will join OAGC and take advantage of the benefits.

As a new OAGC membership benefit, all OAGC members have free access to the NAGC Webinars on Wednesdays!  To obtain the access code, simply log in to the OAGC website, click on the general membership area and the NAGC WOW access code will be posted. Use this unique code to register for the NAGC webinars. The first webinar begins on June 10th, 2015.

If you do not know your OAGC membership log in, please contact Kay Tarbutton at sktarbutton@sbcglobal.net .

Note: If you cannot watch a webinar live, you can sign up for it and watch it later when you can.

Upcoming webinars:

Wednesday, Sept. 16
Acceleration: Making Informed Decisions
Ann Lupkowski Shoplik, Administrator, Acceleration Institute, Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

Thursday, Sept. 24
Creative Underachievers and the Fashion of Passion
Sylvia Rimm, Director, Family Achievement Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio

Wednesday, Sept. 30
Scientifically Speaking: Best Practices For Science Education with High-Ability Children
Steve Coxon, Associate Professor and Director of Programs in Gifted Education, Maryville University, St. Louis, Missouri

Wednesday, Oct. 7
Friendship, Character, Spirituality, and Integrity: Paths to Overall Well-being
Janette Boazman, Chair, Education Department, Assistant Professor of Education, University of Dallas, Irving, Texas

Wednesday, Oct. 14
How to Start Homeschooling Your Gifted Child
Suki Wessling, Writer, San Francisco, California

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OAGC Parent Day 2015

Parent Day 2015

The OAGC Parent Day 2015 is Oct. 11. I hope that you can make it. Here is a few things about the day.

  • First is the Division meeting–ALL parents welcome!
  • Stephanie Tolan will be the bulk of the afternoon. She will keynote and then we have a Q&A with her. She has been a past Keynote speaker at NAGC.
  • Then a parent/professional panel on how to be an advocate–from classroom level on up. The panel will be comprised of a professor from OU/parent, former Gifted Coordinator, Ann Sheldon (OAGC Director) and a parent or two. Angela Grimm will moderate.
  • The day will also feature one of the authors from the new Fordham book called Failing Our Brightest Kids, a look into how the US is doing too little to educate students to achieve at high levels.
A great jam-packed day and it only costs $5!!!
Parent Day is a great opportunity to network and learn from other families–and often the educational/game vendors have set up early so you can buy from them.

 

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