Monthly Gifted Ideas

Every Month we will be posting a new idea or concept to assist with teachers, parents, and administrators in educating gifted children at school and at home.


The 2016-17 school year our reading will be from the book When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers by Jim Delisle, Ph.D, and Judy Galbraith, M.A.

For the Month of March our topic is going to be over Gifted Girls (pages 71-72).

Gifted girls is a unique subset of gifted children. Many girls take on the conflicts revolving around the expectations placed on them by society as gifted women. Many girls won’t expose their intelligence to teachers and parents due to the fact they don’t want to alienate themselves from boys who may want their attention.  Sometimes this issue will create long-term depression and low self esteem.

Gifted girls have issues that surround their self-image and abilities. Some girls have issues with hiding their abilities to fit in with their friends, We call this issue the Imposter Syndrome. Psychologist Matina Horner, in a 1969 report on her doctoral dissertation research, identified what came to be called the Horner Effect, or Fear of Success syndrome: that women characteristically under-achieve when competing against men.

I was reading an article from the Davidson Institute about gifted girls and they listed some very interesting characteristics about gifted girls that I had not thought about.

Become aware of the special challenges of gifted girls:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Apathy, based on resignation or feelings of inferiority
  • Fear of taking risks
  • Exaggerated concern about being accepted among peers
  • Ambivalent feelings about talent
  • Conflict between cultural identity and school achievement

Examine the signs of potential giftedness in this population. While each girl expresses talent in very unique ways, common indicators include:

  • Discrepancies between performance and self-concept
  • Discrepancies between average or low test scores and exceptional originality, imagination and insight in independent projects or assignments
  • Disinclination to participate, despite signs of talent or ability
  • Sudden, unaccountable appearance of some ability in a seemingly average girl
  • Misbehavior in class that shows ingenuity (despite its disruptiveness) or reveals leadership ability
  • Notable contrast between school performance and the abilities, achievements and/or activities reported by parents or community members

From much of what I am reading, to truly identify some of our gifted girls we have give them more opportunities to show their talent and gifts. Doing tests and class assignments aren’t enough. We have to have observations from both parents and teachers. We need to have open conversations with our girls we suspect may be gifted to see what they are interested in, and find out how they learn. We have to give our gifted girls some projects that challenge them and inspire them to step out of the shadows of all the average girls and show us their talents.

To help teachers identify gifted girls we have to look at cultures and socio-economic status. Both of these have an effect on girls. Many cultures have expectations for girls that may limit their abilities due to the roles they are expected to fill in their culture. Many times, the socio-economic level has effects on girls as well. Girls coming from low socio-economic levels may not have any strong positive role models to base their aspirations off of in their family or neighborhood.

E. Paul Torrance in 1977 came up with a list of observations that can help identify gifted girls in different cultures:

  • Ability to improvise with commonplace materials and objects
  • Articulateness in role-playing, sociodrama and story telling
  • Enjoyment of and ability in creative movement, dance, dramatics, etc.
  • Use of expressive speech
  • Enjoyment of and skills in group activities, problem solving
  • Responsiveness to the concrete
  • Responsiveness to the kinesthetic
  • Expressiveness of gestures, body language, etc. and ability to interpret body language
  • Humor
  • Richness of imagery in informal language
  • Originality of ideas in solving problems
  • Problem-centeredness or persistence in problem solving.
  • Emotional responsiveness

Some ways we can support gifted girls (page 72)

  • Identify them early. The best age for evaluating and identifying gifted girls is between 31/2 and 7. For some gifted girls, early school entrance is beneficial.
  • Provide special programs that stimulate and challenge them.
  • Encourage them to take higher-level math and science courses.
  • Use multiple measures of ability and achievement. Females still score lower on the SAT, the College Board Achievement Tests, the GRE, and other exams critical for college and graduate school admission. Most of these tests underpredict female performance and over-predict male performance.
  • Encourage them to take credit for their success and recognize their own talents.
  • Provide material to compensate for the lack of inclusion of women’s accomplishments in literature or textbooks.
  • Foster friendships with gifted peers who share similar interests.
  • Provide role models of women in traditional and nontraditional careers who have successfully integrated multiple aspects of their lives.
  • Avoid sex-role stereotyping. Encourage awareness of biased depictions of girls and women in the media.
  • Encourage independence and risk taking.
  • Avoid having different expectations for girls than for boys.

Underachievement and Gifted Children is the topic for February. We are looking at pages 169-180.

One aspect of gifted children that is hard to explain is the idea of Underachievement. The definition that many use to describe underachievement as “the discrepancy between a child’s school performance and some ability index such as an I.Q. score.” This discrepancy can also be seen as the difference in test scores and daily performance.

Many times underachievement can be seen as an attitude problem, or a personality issue (image of a lazy child). Teachers will say at times, “If they weren’t so lazy they would pass this class.”

Underachievement is content and situation specific. Many gifted children aren’t successful in school, but can be seen as successful in out of school activities. Many gifted students don’t have a passion for every subject, but many have passions in at least one.

Underachievement has 16 characteristics that can be seen in gifted children. These were compiled by research by Barbara Clark.

  1. They have low self-concept and give negative evaluations about themselves. These feelings of inferiority are demonstrated by distrust, lack of concern, and/or hostility toward others.
  2.  They are socially more immature than achievers, lacking self-discipline and refusing to do tasks they deem unpleasant. They are highly destructible.
  3. They harbor feelings of rejection, believing that no one likes them and that parents are dissatisfied with them.
  4. They have feelings of helplessness and may externalize their conflicts and problems.
  5. They do not see the connection between effort and achievement outcomes.
  6. They are rebellious, have feelings of being victimized and have poor personal adjustment.
  7. They have few strong hobbies or interests.
  8. They are unpopular with peers and have fewer friends.
  9. They are hostile toward adult authority figures and distrust adults, generally.
  10. They are resistant to influence from teachers and parents.
  11. They have lower aspirations for their future, lacking future plans or career goals.
  12. They may withdraw in classroom situations and be less persistent or assertive in these situations.
  13. They lack study skills and have weak motivation for academic tasks.
  14. They dislike school and teachers and choose companions who share similar feelings
  15. They often leave schoolwork incomplete and nap during study time.
  16. They perform at higher levels on tasks requiring synthesizing rather than detailed computational or convergent responses or those requiring precise analytic processing.

I am sure that many of us have questioned why a gifted student so smart is behaving in a certain way. I hope that this list clears things up, or gives some clarity as to why this behavior exists.

The post for January is like a part two from December. In December we looked at the characteristics of giftedness. This month we are going to do a deeper dive into some of the behaviors of these characteristics. Below is a chart that helps to explain in greater detail some of the expected behaviors from gifted children. This chart is on pages 8-10 in our book.

The Child who…                May also be the child who…
Shows superior reasoning powers and marked by ability to handle ideas Is impatient; seems stuck-up or arrogant; challenges your authority; has difficulty getting along with less able peers
Can solve problems quickly and easily Wants to move on quickly to more challenging problems, despite what the rest of the class is doing; hates to “wait for the group”; gets bored and frustrated
Shows persistent intellectual curiosity and asks searching questions Drives you crazy with questions; asks inappropriate or embarrassing questions; is perceived as “nosy”
Shows exceptional interest in the nature of humankind and the universe Has difficulty focusing on ideas that are less grand and sweeping; feels that everyday class work is trivial and meaningless; can’t “connect” with interests of age peers
Has a wide range of interests; develops one or more interests to considerable depth Seems scattered and disorganized; takes on too many projects at once; gets obsessed with a particular interest; resists direction or interruption; rebels against conforming to group tasks; disrupts class routines; is perceived as stubborn or uncooperative
Has an advanced vocabulary Talks too much; uses words to intimidate other people; finds it hard to communicate with age peers; seems pompous or conceited–a “show-off”; plays word games that others don’t understand or appreciate; dominates discussions; has trouble listening
Is an avid reader Buries himself or herself in books and avoids social interaction
Learns quickly; comprehends readily Gets bored with regular curriculum; gets impatient with peers for being “slow”; resists assignments that don’t present opportunities for new learning; dislikes drill and practice; does inaccurate or sloppy work
Grasps mathematical concepts readily Has little or no patience for regular math lessons or homework
Is creative and imaginative Goes too far; seems disruptive; lacks interest in mundane assignments or details; wanders off the subject
Sustains concentration for lengthy periods of time Has tunnel vision; hates to be interrupted; neglects regular assignments or responsibilities; is stubborn
Shows outstanding responsibility and independence Has difficulty working with others; resists following directions; seems bossy and disrespectful; is unable to accept help; is a nonconformist
Sets high standards for self; is self critical Sets is unrealistically high goals; is perfectionistic; lacks tolerance for others’ mistakes; fears failure; avoids taking risks or trying new things; becomes depressed
Shows initiative and originality Resists going along with the crowd (or the class); is a loner
Shows flexibility in thinking; considers problems from a number of viewpoints Has difficulty focusing on or finishing assignments; has trouble making decisions
Observes keenly; is responsive to new ideas Sees too much; becomes impatient
Communicates easily with adults Has difficulty communicating with age peers
Gets excitement and pleasure from intellectual challenge Expects or demands intellectual challenge; resists sameness and routine tasks
Has a keen sense of humor Uses humor inappropriately to gain attention or attack others; becomes the “class clown”; is disruptive
Is sensitive, empathetic, and emotional Takes things personally; is easily hurt or upset; feels powerless to solve the world’s problems; becomes fearful, anxious, and sad; has trouble handling criticism or rejection; is “too emotional,” laughing one moment and crying the next; may seem immature

Remember, not all gifted children will show each and every behavior. The problem areas that are outlined above will manifest themselves in certain situations or places. These characteristics that show will be built on their world view, their personal experiences, and their family make up, along with their own personality traits.

Look through the problem behaviors, and see if you can identity some of the behaviors in your classes. What can you do to help with limiting these behaviors in your classes?

Next month we will look at myths, misconceptions, and elitism.



This post  for December will be focusing on understanding some characteristics of Giftedness. Let’s start with the definition of what Gifted means. According to the National Association for Gifted Children‘s definition is:

“Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports).”


According to the State of Ohio giftedness means:

Gifted” means students who perform or show potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared to others of their age, experience or environment and who are identified under division (A), (B), (C), or (D) of section 3324.03 of the Revised Code. OH Admin. Code 3301-51-15

According to Dr. Jim Delisle and his book When Gifted Kids Don’t have the Answers there are 14 general characteristics of Gifted Children (Pages 6-7).

  1. Shows superior reasoning powers and marked ability to handle ideas; can generalize readily from specific facts and can see subtle relationships; has outstanding problem-solving ability.
  2. Shows persistent intellectual curiosity; asks searching questions; shows exceptional interest in the nature of mankind and in the universe.
  3. Has a wide range of interests, often of an intellectual kind; develops one or more interests to considerable depth.
  4. Is markedly superior in quality and quantity of written and/or spoken vocabulary; is interested in subtleties of words and their uses.
  5. Reads avidly and absorbs books well beyond his or her years.
  6. Learns quickly and easily and retains what is learned; recalls important details, concepts, and principles; comprehends readily.
  7. Shows insight into arithmetical problems that require careful reasoning and grasps mathematical concepts readily.
  8. Shows creative ability or imaginative expression in such things as music, art, dance, drama, shows sensitivity and finesse in rhythm, movement, and bodily control.
  9. Sustains concentration for lengthy periods and shows outstanding responsibility and independence in classroom work.
  10. Sets realistically high standards for self; is self-critical in evaluating and correcting his or her own efforts.
  11. Shows initiative and originality in intellectual work; shows flexibility in thinking and considers problems from a number of viewpoints.
  12. Observes keenly and is responsive to new ideas.
  13. Shows social poise and an ability to communicate with adults in a mature way.
  14. Gets excitement and pleasure from intellectual challenge; shows an alert and subtle sense of humor.

To add to this list there are few other points that need to be shared. Gifted children sometimes are more sensitive than most kids. They begin to develop a sense of empathy a lot sooner than average learner children do. They also have a social-conscience-which means that have an intense awareness of the world’s problems. They worry about the world, the environment, wars and conflicts, hunger and homelessness.

As you teach your children begin to identify some some of these qualities in your students. How do these general characteristics manifest themselves in your classroom?

Next Month we will look at some of the issues that are associated with these 14 characteristics.

Some more resources to look at:

  • Gifted Position Paper from NAGC
  • Some more Characteristics of Gifted Children
  • What to Expect when Raising a Gifted Child from  Ohio Association for Gifted Children (OAGC)
  • What to Expect when Teaching a Gifted Child from Ohio Association for Gifted Children (OAGC)
  • Google Hangout Streamed live on Apr 21, 2016

    Join us and learn “what you don’t know” about the world of gifted education. Hear families and gifted professionals share perspective on educational options and resources that have worked well for many gifted students. They will present information for grades K-12 and discuss educational choices and issues such as: advocacy in the classroom, grade and subject acceleration, handling social-emotional issues, having a child who is twice exceptional, and so much more. This session will be interactive and hope you will bring tips to share as we support each other on this journey called “gifted.”

    The hangout will be moderated by Angela Grimm, OAGC Parent Division Chair and will include OAGC Director Ann Sheldon and parents and gifted professionals throughout Ohio.


This post (for October/November) will be focusing on getting to know the gifted child so we can better understand who these children are, where they are coming from, and how they see themselves. Gifted children are so different. You won’t really find two that are the same. Many have the same qualities, but not necessarily in the same way.

Identifying who are gifted children are is the first step. Below is a chart that will help us first see the difference between a high achiever, a gifted learner, and a creative thinker. Each of these students are different. A high achiever is someone who is very smart; a gifted learner is one who is gifted; and a creative thinker is another type of gifted child. Each have their own characteristics. I would urge you to read through this chart and see if you can spot children in your classroom with some of these characteristics.






It is important to know who your gifted children are. They have many different complicated sides about them. Gifted children will often where masks that will allow them to hide. To the left is a short handout I received several years ago and have shared this with many around the district. Sometimes students don’t fit the mold of gifted child that many have come to think of. There are 5 areas that students can hid that will keep them from fitting that stereotype or mold:

  • Asynchronous Development: These are students who can learn much more quickly than the average student, by socially they are not there. Mind and maturity have not met yet.
  • Intensity:  Some students are much more intense than others. There is a popular theorist named Kazimierz Dabrowski who created a theory that gifted children fall into 5 different Intensities, or Overexcitabilities as he called them. You can read more about that here.
  • Social Isolation: Many times gifted children feel more isolated from their peers because of their advanced vocabulary, interests, and at times find their peers to be difficult to be around.
  • masks-of-the-gifted-1Underachievement: This is when a child chooses not to perform to expectations of either the peers around them.
  • Communication: Gifted children and average learners find it difficult to get along because of the gap in vocabulary and interest. Gifted children will often prefer to talk to adults than classmates.

Knowing the gifted children in your class, and them knowing themselves is an important aspect. Dr. Jim Delisle has come up with a short questionnaire that would help to understand where these children are coming from, and how they see themselves. Understanding how you see  the giftedness of your students, and knowing how they see their own giftedness is a big deal. I hope that you check out the Teacher and Student Inventory below. It isn’t very long, but I believe it will be very helpful.

You can access this Teacher and Student Inventory by clicking on the link below.



Every Month we will be posting a new idea or concept to assist with teachers, parents, and administrators in educating gifted children at school and at home.

These strategies are taken from many places including Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom by Susan Winebrenner.

May 2015: Individualized Reading

This is our last strategy of the school year. We are continuing to look at another strategy for reading. Keeping gifted children excited about reading, it is important to allow gifted children to choose a book they are interested in, especially when it is for individualized reading. This section has many differnt strategies to keep gifted readers reading different genres of books. One exmaple that I really like is the Circle of books. You can see it below.

I would suggest you take a look at the differnt strategies listed and explained in the link above.

circle of books


April 2015: Study Guides and Trade Books

This month we are continuing the theme of Reading. This month the strategy focused on using study guides and trade books. Study guides are a great way to extend reading to the next level. Check some of the exmaples provided in the link above.

The other part of the strategy is having students read some literature they find interesting. Allowing them to choose gives them some ownership in the book. As a teacher you need to make sure the reading material is challenging, and extending their reading skills. There is a lot of information and great ideas in this section. Be sure to really check them out.

March 2015: Extending Reading

This month our strategy is Extending Reading. Somethings to look for when looking for advanced learners is:

  • Advanced vocabulary
  • Loves to read
  • Comprehends reading materials that are several years above grade level
  • Make connections between various reading selections in various content areas



This section has many different strategies in it. You really should take some time to comb through this section to see what may or may not work for you. I placed a chart above to give you an idea of what is in this section. The chart above is just one way this strategy is used.

 January / February 2015: Differentiation and Compating in Content Areas

This month’s strategy is concentrated on the content areas. There is a lot of ideas in this section, too many to list here in the description. Just a few ideas to focus on are the choice menus in this section, along with the study guide method. These two in particular can work in just about every core subject. These strategies in particuluar are very customizable for students of all abilities.

 December 2014: Contract Strategy

In this month’s strategy the goal is to help students stay focused and on track. Using a learning contract is very helpful. This contract is between the teacher, parent and student.

Contracts can be and should be customized to the student and to the situation. The link above has a lot of information about contracts, and some samples and how they are used.

November 2014: Pretest for Volunteers Gifted TBT

This is a great strategy for gifted children to use. In this strategy teachers allow students who think they have mastered the knowledge already take the end assessment as a pretest. Allow all the students to check out the content, and wait for volunteers.

We would not suggest you allow all students to take the pretest especially struggling students, who can become disheartened by their peers looking at something once, and have the content mastered. So make sure you are selective in who can take the pretest.

Using this strategy will allow teachers to find students’ area of strength. Also, using the pretest will allow teachers to determine which concepts students already mastered. Having this knowledge teachers can give those students more challenging work to do instead of giving them the work they have already mastered. Using the grade they scored on for the pretest should cover all the work you would have given them for that unit.

Remember, we are here for our students. We want to give them the best educational experience they can get.

 October 2014: Most Difficult First

Many teachers realize that some highly capable learners don’t need the same amount of practice and work as their age peers. However, many teachers are afraid to learn the truth about these kids, believing that once they do, they’ll have to scramble to find appropriate extension materials.

This strategy is very effective way to ask kids who are in a pull out program to document their mastery without requiring them to make up all the work they missed. Teachers get the evidence they need that the kids are competent with the material, and the kids get the consideration they need that being in a pull out program should not lead to more work for them.

September 2014:  The Name Card Method

This method is used to help facilitate classroom discussions. Many times gifted students can dominate the discussions in class. This strategy is one that will help give all students a chance to participate in classroom discussions.

There are a few benefits to this strategy:

  • Minimizes blurting and other attention getting discussion-controlling behaviors.
  • Ensures nearly total participation in all discussions by all students; makes it impossible for anyone to “hide.”
  • Greatly improves listening behaviors. Students want to hear every word said by the teacher and by other students.
  • Eliminates teaching behaviors which may communicate ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, or gender bias.

To see the steps to implement this strategy in your classroom check out the link above.


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