Saturday, February 7, 2015

9 Things I Wish People Knew About Highly-Gifted Children

This year I embarked on a new journey, a first of its kind in many ways- to teach a self-contained class of identified highly-gifted and talented first graders. They don't get pulled out by a gifted specialist 2 hours a week- they spend all of their school days, Monday-Friday, in a classroom together, homogeneously grouped and challenged with their highly-gifted peers. In this little class of 11 students, we learn, we challenge ourselves, and we grow. Here are a few things I have learned over the years of teaching pockets of gifted children, but things that I have more clearly defined opinions about since I started teaching this unique demographic this year.

1. They often feel misunderstood...and they often don't even understand themselves.

2. Their development is asynchronous- meaning that just because their cognitive and intellectual development is off the charts, that doesn't mean that other parts of their development (social, emotional) have caught up.

3. That being said, they are more emotional than most children their age- meaning, that they feel things, think things, and experience things much more deeply, differently, than a child their age should. They internalize everything, connect everything, and are quick to remember- slow to forget.

4. They have very specific areas of interest and passion, and love when others cultivate those things in them rather than try to drive or squish it out of them. And, if you can connect anything they do to their interests or passions, chances are, they will enjoy it more and be more willing to do it. (For example, my student doesn't want to write an Eric Carle pattern book? Well, what if it was about Minecraft? Sea animals? Argentina? Bingo- now they are writing, because you tapped into their interest.)

5. They don't need to be told, "You are so smart!" They need to be encouraged for the process they take to get somewhere, for their effort and perseverance through a task, for their ability to view mistakes as learning opportunities rather than extreme failure and loss. When they are told their whole lives how smart they are, the moment they struggle with something it is an identity crisis for them- they utterly break down and are so hard on themselves, because since they are smart, they should be able to do it, right? No...they struggle like anyone else, and they don't know everything- so the more we do to help them understand the value of effort, endurance, patience, and growth- the better.

6. When they say things kind of off-hand and bluntly, or interrupt you when you are telling them about something, or are honest to the point of brutal- they really aren't trying to be mean or disrespectful. They are just honest and extremely literal, can be quick-witted due to the constant connections they are making in their brains, and love sharing the world inside said brain with you. So the next time one catches you off-guard with a brunt of a comment or correction or observation, breathe, count to 3, and address them patiently. They really weren't trying to upset you or overstep your authority- they are just expressing their little creative, wheel-turning minds. This is something I've learned through experience this year with my students, that they aren't often trying to cross boundaries but rather are just wanting to share.

7. They have their own amazing ideas- and they would love the freedom to use, share, implement, and try them out. Sometimes these children can feel caged in by being told what they have to do to achieve a goal or show their learning, and often they have their own ideas of how they want to show you what they know! That's why student choice is so important. Sometimes I can barely let the learning standard or "I Can" statement leave my mouth before they have ideas flowing about how they want to work towards said standard. The thing is, highly-gifted children have their own ideas and innovative ways about how they want to explore and experience the world around them- and they need to be able to have the choice and voice to do so. Within boundaries of course, but these kids need the freedom to work towards a goal or a learning standard in a way that works best for them, or a path that they themselves pave.

For example: (first grade learning standards- origins of holidays and celebrations of Thanksgiving, reading fluency, listening/speaking skills)
Me: We are going to read a Reader's Theatre about the First Thanksgiving. I've already highlighted your parts for you to make it easier to see when it's your turn to read.
Students: *do a first read through of their parts*
Students: *glance around at one another quietly*
Student: "This...isn't a very long play. We don't have many lines."
Other students: "Yeah, we agree. Can we write two new scenes to the play and create props, costumes, and sets for it to perform for our parents?"
...and thus, a play was born. AND they were amazing.

Or, take this example:
Student: "Mrs. Rubinson, on Read-and-Roll I rolled a 6, and it says to write a review of the book or chapter after I'm done...can I create a catchy advertisement for the book on my iPad using PicCollage that reviews the book and tells others why they should read it?"

8. Just because they are highly-gifted doesn't necessarily mean they are high-achieving. It just means they think and see the world differently- mostly through making connections.

9. They still need their parents, teachers, coaches, friends...they may be capable of much, but they still need leaders in their life to facilitate, scaffold, love, and guide them. A more open-minded and creative approach ought to be used when dealing with highly-gifted children in order for their creativity and ideas and dreams to bloom and grow, and, like #1 up there says, they often feel misunderstood and don't often understand themselves- so they need the people in their lives to be their biggest fans.

I love that I get the opportunity to teach, love, shape, instruct, guide, mold, influence, and develop first grade highly-gifted children. I love what they have taught me so far about their little worlds and minds, and I love getting to share it with you.


122 comments:

  1. A must-read for anyone who touches the life of a highly gifted child. Brilliantly written, my highly gifted friend.

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    1. To help make learning to read fun and engaging, our reading program includes lesson stories that are matched to the progress of your child's reading abilities.

      These lessons stories are part of the learning program, and comes with colorful illustrations to make learning reading fun and engaging for you and your child.

      These are the exact same stories and step-by-step lessons that we used to teach our own children to read!

      Find out here: Teach Your Child To Read?

      Best rgs

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  2. Yes, this is brilliantly written!

    Thank you for dispelling some of the myths and misunderstandings of our highly gifted children! As parents of gifted children, our advocacy only goes so far before someone complains that we just want more for our gifted children who are perceived to already have it made. When a teacher who teaches and understands our gifted children speaks out, it sends a strong message, and I thank you for that!

    And darn, I sure wish my gifted children could have had a wonderful teacher like you!

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I love hearing parent perspectives on the topic of gifted children and education, and you're right- it's sad that others often think that gifted children "have it made" and that any advocacy for them is somewhat elitist. The reality is, they don't have it made- as seen through many of the points made in my post above. Thanks again for reading.

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    2. I feel like this article is an understanding of Myself. I was one of these children, misunderstood.❤️

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    3. Right, Deb. And many of us still encounter similar things as adults.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your views from the perspective of a teacher of gifted children! I love your writing :)

    You say "They still need their parents, teachers, coaches, friends...they may be capable of much, but they still need leaders in their life to facilitate, scaffold, love, and guide them.", and that is one thing I often point out too. In my book, they´re first and foremost children, and _then_ they´re gifted. Just like any other child they need us adults to guide them through school (and life!), it´s just that they might need guidance that´s a bit different than we´d give the other children :)

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! I agree with you- they are first children...their entire identity isn't just found in the fact that they are "gifted." It has a lot to do with the way they are and think and do and live in many cases, but it doesn't mean they still aren't 6/7 year olds (in my case, since I teach first graders) who need guidance and love, is what I have to continue to remind myself!

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  4. This is a wonderful summary of how gifted children learn. It would be great if they all had the opportunity to expand their minds and creativity so that school was a pleasure instead of a path to boredom and underachievement. Thanks.

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    1. Thank you for your comment! I wish that all gifted children everywhere could have the opportunity to learn in a self-contained room with their intellectual peers, creating and exploring in their own unique ways. My kids could tell you- they are never bored, and they "own" their learning in a way that they desire to achieve in most cases (they still can be underachievers from time to time, but when it is a learning goal or outcome they themselves set, it definitely changes their internal motivation!). This is something I want to continue to write about and advocate for, in hopes that it will cause others to re-evaluate and design gifted programs. Thanks again for reading.

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  5. These children are so lucky that you are there to understand and guide them. I am so happy you wrote this and will be sharing. More folks need to understand these amazing kiddos!

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    1. Thank you for your comment and for sharing! It is definitely something to spread the word about! :)

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  6. Thank you for publishing this. At the age of 65, I finally know why I was the way I was. I see bits of myself in each paragraph, and it feels good to know I'm not alone. I'm so happy children now have the opportunity to learn in their own way with teachers like you. Thank you!

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    1. Wow, Sallie- thank you for commenting and sharing this about yourself. I know that there are many adults out there who were never told or identified as "gifted," and it can really make a difference in understanding one's self (#1 above- feeling misunderstood or misunderstanding why they are the way they are). Even growing up as an identified GT kid, it was never really explained to me what my giftedness meant for me as a person. It has now come full circle being a teacher of gifted students that I have finally had many "a-ha" moments and have started to understand myself more. Thank you for your perspective.

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  7. Thank you for your insightful words and time taken to break down the world of our gifted learners. As an adult who grew up in this setting, I am appreciative of teachers like you that recognize the little things. What a joy - Keep it up!

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    1. Thank you for commenting and reading, and for your perspective as a person who grew up in this setting. I appreciate your affirmation and support!

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  8. Thank you for sharing this. I love the raw insight and truth that comes with your writing. You've given some fabulous advice that I hope parents and teachers alike can take with them from this article. I'm your newest follower and can't wait to see what you post next!

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    1. Thank you Melissa! I am excited for this platform I've been given as a teacher of the gifted, and glad that you'll be along for the ride. :)

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  9. I wish all gifted children had such a program, and such a wonderful teacher, available to them. The lack of support of their giftedness so often leaches their potential and joy from them. I wish my son could have experienced you as a teacher when he was little.

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    1. Thank you, Connie, for your comment and kind words. There are a lot of gifted and talented teachers around the country/globe that share these sentiments, and my hope is that the model our district has chosen to best serve these students in self-contained classrooms will spread. Thanks again.

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  10. Thank you for this! My first grader is in an all-inclusive gifted class and this describes him perfectly. Both you and his teacher "get it" for which I am grateful.

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    1. Thank you Jennifer! I am now curious what school district your child's program is in. What we are doing is so rare and unheard of, and so we would love others to collaborate with and share ideas with on this new journey.

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    2. Hi Jennifer and Whitley. I am curious of the location which districts other inclusive HAG schools are as well? I am doing research, as we must make a decision to either move our child into a separate HAG school for for grades 3 thru 5, or stay at the current home school that has a HAG classroom. The decision is going to be difficult! We are going to take our child on a tour of the HAG school soon. Both schools have excellent reputations, and strengths in their own way...BTW, we are in Winston-Salem, NC. Thanks, Shasta.

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  11. I am the mother of three highly gifted kids 11, 16 and 18. I have witnessed all of the characteristics you describe (in varying degrees) in each of my children. They will tell you #3 is their greatest struggle in life. As a mother, seeing the pain and oftentimes loneliness that results from #3 can be overwhelming and I will admit I am still working on mastering the patience needed to follow the good advice you give in #6. When my oldest was in elementary school and I was still foolishly trying to figure out ways to help him fit in (thinking he would be happier), another mother of a gifted student said to me, "Just let Jack be Jack". For some reason that was the most freeing statement for me and I have held that advice close to me all these years. It is uplifting that you have the same mindset - finding ways to support your students differences instead of trying to shove them into a "traditional learning mold". AG (in your class) is my nephew. How lucky he is to have you as his teacher!

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    1. Hello- thank you for your comment and insight! I love the part about "just let Jack be Jack." It is so true- our gifted children are happiest when they are given the freedom to be themselves, instead of being put into a box or mold that others expect them to fit into. Thank you for the reminder. Also- it is a privilege and honor to teach AG!!! I love that boy to pieces. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

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  12. I appreciate this. Thanks for understanding why somebody may be "honest to the point of brutal."

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    1. Thanks Bob! It has been a true lesson to learn patience and understanding in those moments.

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  13. Your observations are On Point!!! Thank You!!!

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  14. Spot on. Described my entire childhood. But what about adulthood? Think about 1-9 from the point of view of an adult. It's all the same story but it gets worse. You're surrounded by those who expect conformity and there's no place to be nurtured. There is no gifted and talented department at the office...

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    1. You just drilled into a well of uncharted territory for gifted adults...I love that you thought about that, because as a gifted adult now, I often have to fight conformity and swim against the flow in many aspects of life. There are many times that I look and think differently by my peers or colleagues or friends, and it can pose difficulty in relationships or frustration for me. You've given me some new things to write about...thanks.

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    2. I feel the same way. The whole time I was reading this I was thinking about how it described my life so perfectly as an adult.

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    3. I wept as I read this because I'm almost 50 years old and finally feel like somebody "gets" me. This was definitely my experience in childhood but mine was also abusive like so many others. But sadly I have believed there was something wrong with me because it seemed to affect me so much more deeply than my siblings. They've always said I was "special" but not in a good way. I believe we are all gifted just in different ways but THANK YOU for identifying and validating mine and so many others often unrecognized giftedness. What a blessing you and your students are to each other!!

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    4. i kept waiting for her to say "remember that a gifted child will not always be a great student forever"

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  15. I really enjoyed your blog. It was interesting and validating to read and evokes memories both good and bad.
    A thought about the bluntness mentioned or sometimes seeming arrogance. I offer this explanation: There is a polarizing effect of being thought of as "gifted." Successes are often minimized or overlooked, perhaps due to an often assumed ease of acquiring them. Results that don't meet expectations are often weighed more heavily by most everyone involved, especially the "gifted" child, and even more so if they have been criticized for lack of perfection. For someone who has been told or perceived a "How can someone so smart make such a simple (stupid, easy...) mistake," anything less than perfect can have a greater than expected impact. For example, one point missed out of a hundred for someone who only needs a "C" or "passing score" to feel approval is minimal indeed. But for one who perceives perfection as the only safe position, that point needs to be fought for, analyzed, understood or minimized to buffer it's loss somehow. It creates a need for perfectionism that manifests as a seeming mix of arrogance and unfortunately often missed by the viewer a deep insecurity. Without understanding from others of influence like teachers and other leaders, a lack of empathy only increases the need for that polarization and continues to affect esteem of the child and even adult.
    Thanks again for the thoughts!

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    1. I truly appreciate your insight here. I agree that such insecurities of perfectionism in gifted children often are overlooked. Not all gifted kids push for that perfect 100 score, as many are underachievers...but in the case that they are the high-achieving gifted student (as I was), that point does make a big difference, and can be seen as such a stumbling block. That's why I like the movement schools are going towards in mastery of standards rather than numerical grades. It takes the focus away from a number grade (which is often not reflective of what a student actually knows or can do) and instead allows the student to show mastery of the learning standards in their own way. Thanks again for your thoughts and for reading!

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  16. I know you are just the teacher these kiddos need. Miss you!

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    1. Thanks Melissa- for reading and posting! I miss you too!

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  17. You show insight with your students. I wish all teachers did. And I wish that people had undestood all this about intellectually-gifted children when I was young!

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    1. Thank you! Relationships are key and are #1 in my classroom. Not to mention, having a small class of 11 allows me to deeply know my students. I have taught in classrooms of 22 before, and even though I built strong relationships with those children and loved them dearly, it is quite amazing the depths and lengths one can go with half the size. SO much more attention can be given to each individual student, and individualization/differentiation isn't such an impossible, daunting task as it is with twice as many (or, for some, triple) students to know and personalize instruction for. Also, I wish they had too. I wish I had learned some of the things I am teaching my gifted students now- an upcoming post will talk about that. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  18. Loved this! Very helpful information to use with my 6th grader, who attends a TAG school!

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    1. Hi Angie, just curious what the "T" indicates and where are you? We are located in NC, and in the HAG school we are considering for our child, "H" indicates "highly." Thank you!

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  19. I really wish that my teen's first grade teacher had read this when she first started teaching! This is perfect for all teachers to read. I think it hits the nail straight on the heaf! His teacher almost made him hate school. And she made his ocd tendencies come out in full force. But thank G-d he did manage to get out of having his ideas squished on a daily basis. He came out on top as salutatorian of a very bright high school. I'm not sure if all kids can manage to turn it around, sometimes it also depends on how supportive the parents are. Come to think of it...some parents could use to read this too! Thanks for putting this all together on one page!

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  20. Wouldn't it be great if children w/learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, had the same opportunities as the G&T children? Dyslexic children normally have very high IQs and if given a classroom situation (11 students) like yours, would thrive! Instead they are immersed in a reg. classroom, pulled out for special tutorials & made to feel 'different'.
    At the beginning of every school year, parents fill out information sheets and are asked if they are Interested in learning more about the T&G program or ADD, but never about dyslexic information.
    If more children w/learning disabilities were given privileges like the above, their lives, grades and self-esteem would flourish!
    We need teachers for them as dedicated as you!

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    1. Gifted, learning disabled, ADHD -- I agree that all children would thrive in an environment of low teacher to student ratio, given the attention they deserve, taught in a way that caters to their learning style. I don't think there's a child that wouldn't benefit from this type of learning environment -- gifted child or not.

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    2. I have a gifted second grader who falls on the mild end of the Autism spectrum. It breaks my heart that any special help he gets focuses on his deficits while his amazing capacity for math and science are completely over-looked. 2E kids like mine are so misunderstood. The double-dose of social/emotional deficits seems to overshadow everything else at school. Thank you for being a great teacher and an advocate. I wish there were more teachers who understood these kids.

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    3. My daughter is dyslexic, but is also very bright. We had to move her from a very good (by average standards) public school to a (VERY expensive) private school that specializes in teaching children with learning differences. I feel one of the main reasons her private school is so successful at teaching children with learning differences is the small student/teacher ratio. The average ratio is 6:1 at my daughter's private school, where the average ratio in her public school was 23:1. I now teach high school students at this private school, and the small classes makes for such a wonderful learning AND teaching environment.

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    4. I completely agree about smaller student to teacher ratios, as well as specific clustering or grouping for such children to feel like their needs are met and that they can be successful. Honestly, the teacher to student ratio I have in my classroom isn't the reality for my other colleagues who work in our program. Our 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classes each have 20-22 highly gifted students. This is a big feat for any teacher, let alone 22 children on the same end of the bell curve spectrum of intellectual ability. It presents challenges and creates more discussion about the importance and cruciality of class size.

      Jennifer N, I absolutely agree that 2E children can be very misunderstood. We must look at the whole child, not just one piece.

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  21. I really wish someone had told my parents this when I was a kid - I faced a lot of barriers (some of which I still struggle with) because of this tendency to make connections and spent most of my childhood being told I was either rude or precocious. You've really nailed it. Thank you! I hope another child gets the support they need with your coaching!

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  22. As someone who was a gifted kid and as the mother of a gifted kid, I want to thank you for your insightful and well-written post. The children you teach are very lucky to have you.

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  23. My wife forwarded me this post and it so describes our 9 year old son, thank you for writing it. He is in a one day a week program at school that he loves. His teacher is great and loves his participation in class. My question is about #3 above. I have a hard time "dealing" with him when he gets so emotional. He is quick to tears when he feels that you are disappointed in him and cries until you can get on his level and calm him down. Even though we have figured this out on our own, it is still hard to realize that is what is going on in his brain. Is there any other "parenting" advice (personal, books, or research) you can give about how to handle the emotions of a gifted child, this is my biggest struggle?

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    1. One thing that we have been very intentional with this year is teaching our children about having a "Growth Mindset" instead of a "Fixed Mindset." Part of this is them learning that they are always growing, and that they do not have to be perfect- that when things don't go their way, or something messes up, or they make a mistake, that it is viewed as a learning opportunity or an opportunity for growth instead of failure. I recommend the book "Growth Mindset" by Carol Dweck and the following video on having a growth mindset and developing "grit" here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwsZZ2rprqc

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    2. thank you for writing this. Im a reading interventionist and I have some twice exceptional students. I struggle greatly with #8. My gifted students love to correct me and point out my errors. Any suggestions for handling this? I know they don't mean to be cruel, but their words sting. And the other non-gifted students are also watching their behavior. I know I need to adjust my teaching to meet the needs of all students. Just looking for ideas.

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    3. Trust me when I say this: when my GT students correct me or point out errors or say things harshly and bluntly, it can definitely sting! I think the key, though, is recognizing and knowing ahead of time that this is how they can be, and then being proactive about it, instead of reactive. It doesn't mean that we ignore it or allow it to necessarily continue without teaching them differently. Our job is to help these children be a positive member of society, and part of that is helping them learn to be better communicators.

      Teaching students about humility and how to choose their words carefully- or taking the time to explain to them that when they respond or comment in a particular way is hurtful- goes so far, instead of lashing out or immediately punishing them for a disrespectful comment (within reason, of course-- I'm not talking about severe cases here of disrespect, but your typical GT-kid-commentary). These children often do not know or realize that their reactions or words aren't kind or worded in the best way they could be, and so to take the time to patiently explain to them why their words hurt and what could have been a better way to express a similar idea will be monumental with these children. We don't want to silence children, or disallow them from commenting or sharing their thoughts or suggestions or feedback, but there is an appropriate way to do so, and it is up to us to model it and help them practice and learn it.

      Often it is simply just a conversation and helping them to understand what their words mean or what they can do or how they can make others feel. These children try to talk like little adults and often don't realize that they are overstepping their boundaries, and we can coach and teach them in those moments. When a student corrects you or points out errors, that is a great moment to have a discussion about how everyone in life makes mistakes, and you as a teacher are bound to make them- but how it makes you feel to always have yours pointed out. How would they feel if their mistakes were constantly pointed out in front of others? Help them to see it from your perspective (something hard for GT kids to do). Tell them that you aren't perfect, and that you are still growing and learning too in your teaching profession.

      There may be times, though, that by correcting or pointing out errors they are indirectly trying to provide you feedback as teacher. Student feedback is needed, and sometimes behind the correction or the blunt commentary they are trying to make a suggestion or provide a different way of explaining something. If that is the case, allowing a student to own their learning and teach others can be an awesome opportunity for them, but it is important for you to establish a means of providing feedback in a respectful way. More conversations! More talking and discussing and coaching these children in how to be effective communicators.

      I hope this is helpful.

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  24. I just want to tell you how much this blog meant to me. I only wish I had read something like this 21 years ago. You have described my son to a "T"! He's a brilliant, gifted individual that at times I didn't understand, nor did many of his teachers. What you have shared, I don't think can be taught. I cry now thinking of all the times the past 21 years I made some of these mistakes, yet knowing in my heart my son was and is a wonderfully gifted, soon to make something of himself, person. Thank you again and I hope someone with younger gifted kids read this and take it to heart. It's all true people.

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  25. Thanks for writing this! I know it and still I struggle to show enough patience with our older son (8 years) when he is trying to explain some of his inventions. This "list" might help me to keep it all in mind, what he needs.
    I would ad one thing - evaluating/marking should be done more carefully and after the child has the chance to say, how he/she feels about his/her work.
    Sometimes they are surprisingly critical to themselves and high marks does not satisfy them, because they know the work is not that good. This situation is not good for the teacher - can be seen as "stupid" because he rates the lousy work so high ;)
    Sometimes the children feel proud about a work that is "not enough" according to some standard - so they get a low mark - and then they can feel depressed and misunderstood. And I think it fits also for gifted adults.
    For "bill" and others adults - I believe that you can find the organisation MENSA in your country. It won´t help to reorganize your office workflow, but you can meet other gifted adults in your free time. And that can help a lot :) ... gifted adult can be in stress because the family expects him/her to be very succesfull in some demanding field - science, business, ... DO NOT BE AFRAID TO DO, WHAT YOU LIKE! Your gift will help you in whatever you do to do it good. People can recognize it and that is succes.

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    1. I've been thinking about your comment a lot since reading it a few weeks ago, and I truly appreciate your insight here! With all of my students their "personal best" varies, and I can't compare them to one another- it has been very helpful this year with designing rubrics and grading scales with the students' input and having them rate themselves on their assignments to help them have ownership over the work they have done, and usually they are quite honest about it- it allows the responsibility to turn back to them instead of me always saying, "Fix this" or "This could be better..." they can point it out themselves. I have been thinking about your comment, however, because I have noticed that some of my students have been submitting lower-level work and not putting forth the time and effort that I know they could- not going for their personal best- and I've had to make sure that I don't mark it high just because they did if it truly isn't worth the high grade. They still need guidance in this area, even if we allow them to self-evaluate, they may not always grade themselves appropriately. Thanks again!

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  26. Keep up this excellent work. As someone who often wished going thru school that others understood, I can guarantee your students will remember you long after their school days have ended. Totally teared up knowing that there are educational institutions out there that are geared towards those who need them beyond the basics. Love to you, your fellow teachers and your extremely lucky students. And further, what you're doing is not just building the foundations for highly gifted children, but for all children. Again, Kudos!

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  27. Great article! I experience #6 a few times per day and usually forget to count to 3. :-) My son is in the Aspire Academy and he loves it. You and the staff are doing a great job. We are lucky to have you in GCISD!

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    1. Thank you so much for your support! Speaking on the behalf of the academy, we truly appreciate it more than you know.

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  28. I am so happy to learn about your blog! You are doing such a great job! Thank you so much for sharing what you have learned! I wish my son could have you as his teacher. I cannot complain though. I am so lucky to currently have a Kindergarten teacher who has been an advocate of my son's abilities. Since the county we reside in, does not allow skipping of grades until the child is in 2nd grade, his teacher has given him work to his level to keep him learning and to ensure he is continually challenged and not bored. I know that we may not always be lucky to have an understanding teacher, so I always do what I can at home to keep him challenged. Do you have any other resources that you could offer, which I could provide to him to continue to feed his hungry mind? I had purchased apps, that I would hope would last him for awhile, such as a K-4th grade reading comprehension app only for him to complete it quickly. Then it takes me time to find him another one I think would be good for him. Meanwhile, I have him bugging me to research another app that he could learn something with. As a working mom of 3, my time can be limited but I do what I can to always be supportive of all my kids. Thanks in advance!

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    1. By the way, I just used the GRIT youtube video you suggested when my son was about to have a breakdown, because he wasn't finished with his higher level hw before his twin sister. I am so thankful it worked and helped him. It saved me from his tears. Thanks for the advice!

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    2. Hi Tess! Thanks for your response. I think that there are many other ways to keep a child learning and engaged instead of going higher and higher in content (for example, moving through 2nd grade to 3rd grade to 4th grade math content), but going deeper and wider with what he already has, not to mention, tapping into his personal interests, doing independent study of various things (what does he always ask questions about? The Eiffel Tower?, jellyfish?, Abraham Lincoln?, spiders?, the list goes on). Have him engage in some independent research, encourage him to keep asking lots of questions- have a "wonder wall" where he can jot down questions on post-it notes and then look up and research the answers to them; have him engage in creative projects and activities such as STEM activities (you can find lots of these on the internet) or crafting, using junk materials to create new things or inventions, coding programs, etc- this is an endless list. I will say that my team and I are putting together a web site for giftedness/our gifted academy that will soon be full of resources, and I will post it as soon as it is up and running- but this is a great page that we can add to our web site, about how to challenge and engage a gifted child's ever-curious, ever-growing mind as a parent. So, thanks for being a catalyst for that page! :) Also, glad the GRIT video helped!

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    3. Here are some apps that my students really enjoy in the meantime: Thinking Blocks, Math Slide, Sumdog, The Foos, Kodable, ScratchJr, BrainPopJr

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    4. Thank you so much! I really do appreciate it! Those are great ideas! I will look into your suggestions more. Sometimes I feel at a loss with my son but just this page alone on your blog has helped than I've found anywhere/anyone. And am excited and looking forward in the web site for giftedness. :) Keep up the good work!

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  29. Thank you so much for your article. This year I was asked to teach 4th/5th grade self contained GT. I have 18 students and all of what you mentioned it so very true. One of the things that I cannot stand is when I hear people say "oh gifted, I bet that is nice not to worry about kids not passing. REALLY!?!?! I have kids that struggle daily in one subject, and excel in others. I have pressure for them to preform above standard, but gifted kids don't often test well because either 1) they think they know it at first glance 2) analyze the question too much 3) really don't see the point so don't try. I am always glad to know I am not alone with my thoughts about my students

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  30. Thanks for your insight and enthusiasm. I used to be a teacher of gifted children (only 2.5 hours per week--pullout program). I loved it! (It's great to hear that there are full-time programs out there.) Now I'm a counselor for gifted adults and youth. A great teacher can make such a difference for these kids. My clients have stories about teachers they remember 40 years later. Keep up the good work!

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  31. Thank you for your post. It has prompted me to think that my child's dissatisfaction with school may not be due to "emotional troubles." What would you suggest would be the best course of action for a parent to support a gifted child in an elementary dual language classroom (she's native English speaking) in which the GT instruction is provided simply through differentiated instruction and then really it looks mostly like accelerated and advanced curriculum, as opposed to an opportunity for creativity and intellectual exploration. She mostly feels misunderstood and unhappy at school (although her report card wouldn't suggest as much). I am not sure what next to do. It doesn't seem that the school offers much in the way of GT instruction. Would you be aware of any quality elementary programs in the Austin ISD?

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    1. Not too sure about programs- I would just google search or peruse through the Austin ISD web site and see what kinds of gifted and talented programs they have available or if they have any type of services provided to students with that distinction. In the state of Texas, students that are identified as GT are required to be served in some way-- so hopefully they are doing something to provide services for your daughter. Honestly, if I were a parent in your situation, I would see what I could do as far as making the case for a gifted pull-out program or full time self-contained class program with your district. Write a letter to the school board, show examples from other districts of what they are doing and ask if they can start heading towards the same. In the meantime with your daughter, I would try to see if there may be opportunities for her to be able to show her learning in different ways, or be provided time to engage in independent study of some sort during the school day. There are many independent study/research programs available so a school or teacher wouldn't have to build one from scratch. When GT kids are able to pursue a personal interest, it does wonders for their love of learning.

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  32. Thanks so much for this insightful post! Do any of your students have Aspergers? I'm just curious. Your 9 things describe my 16 yo highly-gifted son. However, he also seems to display symptoms of Aspergers. He struggles with angry outbursts sometimes. When he calms down, he truly repents and feels sorry and apologizes. We wish we knew how to help him have better self-control. Any thoughts or advice would greatly be appreciated!

    ~Urailak

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    1. Not my students personally, but I have taught gifted children who were on the autism spectrum, and there are many gifted children that are twice-exceptional and have other distinctions. Your son is not alone! My one piece of advice (there is quite a lot to say on the topic and I truly suggest seeking out resources from your school counselor or pediatrician) is that usually with outbursts, there can be a pattern of triggers. Try to identify the triggers for your son and what things get him upset- you will most likely identify a pattern and be able to coach him through those situations before they happen if you see the trigger coming.

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  34. Whitley, I loved reading your article! I think many of the things you discussed apply well to my honors undergraduate students. I hope to use this article to help me better reach my student population.

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  35. Thank you so much! I have two highly gifted children one age 14 and one age 8 and this really hits the nail on the head. Love your observations and that you thought to share what you've learned.

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  36. Thank you SOOO much! I just bawled all the way through this post. My life has completely changed since recognizing all the ways my son's behavior can be attributed to being gifted and not just his adhd. THis post describes him to perfection! Anytime I see how others really GETthese kids, my heart swells. Thank you, thank you!!!

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  38. Not sure what is going on with "comments" (my earlier one disappeared) but I'd like to post that the term "gifted" is highly over-rated and really means the student has been born from the luck of the draw into a family that values education and has given them the resources to succeed academically. Most kids, if given the same luck of upbringing and resources would also be classified "gifted." PS I am a certified teacher with 9 years experience, which has only reinforced my beliefs. All kids should receive this level of instruction at school.

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    1. Dear Eric,
      I promise you that I do not delete comments if someone disagrees with me or has something opposing to add to the conversation. I am sorry that your previous comment disappeared, but know that I appreciate and encourage dialogue.

      I would like to add that before I taught "gifted and talented" children (which is a legal and defined term by the state of Texas and in our country for children whose general intellectual ability is higher than that of their average, same-aged peers) I previously taught 4 years in a general education setting, and I agree that any child, regardless of their intellect, deserves the best education possible- that they deserve individualized instruction that caters to their personal needs. Nobody would argue that. However, that means that gifted and talented children need individualization, too. They have needs like any other student does.

      I would only suggest to you that your argument that gifted children are simply children who were born to privilege weakens when you consider that many children in gifted programs across the globe could fall in the scenario of not having come from such a background. My previous school was a low-income, Title 1 campus and many of the children in our gifted program were not born to privilege. Across the country, there are gifted children who have illiterate parents, or parents who perhaps never finished high school, or are living in and out of foster homes, or whose parents couldn't afford to send them to private preschool and their first day of school was day 1 of kindergarten. Therefore, I flatly disagree that gifted children are simply children born to privilege with opportunities others didn't have.

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  39. From the other side:
    I was that G &T kid of the 40's, selected out and speed lined with similar kids. I finished high school (NYCity public) just after my 16th birthday. I also had the distinct disadvantage of having ADHD, which did not exist at that time. I did not have a teacher who didn't want me in her class, and the couldn't wait to get me out of her classroom as the hall monitor, milk monitor, run to the office and get me... Messenger.

    You are very on and thanks, but you don't get the magnitude of it. I'll use I, but it is we.

    I finish your sentences because I am two paragraphs ahead of you already.

    I disrupt your classroom because I have completed your lesson in the first 10 minutes of your class. I read a book behind your lesson book, because i don't have the patience for you to interact with all the other bright kids in the room, I am not interested in the Yearling, or Uriah Heap (at 15 miles an hour) when I am reading Creightons. the Citadel at a couple of thousand words a minute, and I'm going to be a doctor. For real!

    I am a chronic underachiever because I am internally forced to go 90 miles an hour and I am in rush hour traffic and keep bouncing off othe cars.

    I am very alone because no one can run with me.

    I am not daydreaming I'm using the 90% that you are not. I don't have an output device that can keep up with my production.

    I was very fortunate in college to have a professor/advisor who understood, allowed me to do impossible things, actually gave me the keys to the labs so I could work at my own pace, and who got me into medical school despite my less than stellar grades. I believe I have justified his trust.

    To this day I pace at meetings while everyone else sits at the table. I zone out the BS while others babble. I interject solutions while others are discussing the problem, and suffer fools poorly. Yet everyone listens.

    Fortunately I have learned to divert a lot of my brain activity into making people laugh.

    Thank you for identifying what we go through and passing it on

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    1. Your life experiences are very spot on with what a gifted person might go through. I want you to know that you are not alone.

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  40. Our district has classrooms at each level past first grade and a few schools specifically for gifted students. I think this has helped my daughter immensely. I do not, however, agree with standards based grading. It seems that the standards are not the same across the board. We are currently having problems with this across our district.

    Thank you for the reminder about emotions and interruptions. I need to remember that daily.

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  41. This is my son. Picking one thing of which to learn, whether it be trains, airplanes, dinosaurs, Star Wars...and keeping all that information in storage for later use. He's now currently on submarines; soon he will return to a previous subject and learn even more.

    We let him explore, create, imagine (drawing blueprints for airplane manufacturers was one idea), build (legos); for by doing this, he is expanding his world. Oh yes, there are times when as he approaches, I sigh; but I hope he never looses his thirst for learning.

    Thank you for describing my son. Thank you for showing me that he is not alone, and that there are others.

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  42. Thank you so much for writing this! As an adult who was a gifted child, I identify so strongly with what you wrote. It brought me to tears! Do you know whether there is any writing on this subject regarding us "grown-up" gifted children?

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    1. There is a lot out there about the topic. I just google searched it and many things popped up!

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  43. Great article! thank you so much for writing it. I really do feel like I learned some new things in order to interact with and support my son better. Thank you!

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  44. #5 is my daughter all the way. Currently in 1st grade and tested for gifted this year... she did not quite make the cut. However, she's bored in her regular class and often complains about how long it takes the teacher to explain things and how long it takes the students to complete things. She's also very quick to make connections and never forgets anything... internalizing every situation and is very sensitive. I think I'll push for a test again next year. I see so much of her in this article. Thanks so much! :)

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  45. You're all right, and I have been wrong.

    I will now stand beside you, in Society.

    I will assume my role.

    Geronimo
    Mohammed
    Nikola Tesla
    Martin Luther
    Robin Hood
    Jimi Hendricks
    Harry Houdini
    Sarah Bernhardt
    Joan of Ark
    Marquis deSade
    Johnny Appleseed

    I will also take my Meds.

    Marc Breed
    America's Fetish Photographer

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    1. This made me smile, and I love that you added Martin Luther to your list.

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  46. Spot on. I want to hug you I live this so much. This is a fantastic read!

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  47. As a person who has been labeled as gifted their entire life: thank you. The kids that go through your class are lucky to have someone as understanding as you are. It'll help them as they go on in life. I wish this kind of information became more widely understood. It would have made my life growing up a hell of a lot more manageable and a hell of a lot less stressful. When you said that bit about breaking down when they didn't understand something immediately--I know EXACTLY what you mean. God I have anxiety out the wazoo because of it. So thank you. Thank you so much, for taking the time to actually see these kids as they are and for helping them know who they are.

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  48. This is wonderful and should be so helpful not only for teachers, but also for parents. I had a child who was very gifted and who went through public school until 7th grade, which didn't exactly squish her creativity out of her, but was probably harder on her than I realized. I'm so glad there are programs like this now.

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  49. I feel like this will echo Jessica... Thank you very much. As a young adult, this sheds some light on my earlier years and I just wish everyone was as understanding during those...particularly difficult years of my life as you are.

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  50. I've never read such a clear description of the internal state of so-called Gifted kids that delivers both the positive and negative aspects of their mindset and their label. Your descriptions brought back a flood of emotions from childhood and even early adulthood. It made me realize that the reason I feel much more comfortable with my life now in my early 30s that at any point earlier is that I'm now in a PhD program, where it is socially acceptable to push yourself to your limits (if there are any) in an obsessive way, it's socially acceptable to be highly critical of both yourself and others, and most work is self-paced and self-directed.

    One thing I would add is the isolating feelings that the label "Gifted" comes with, when other kids express envy but an envy that is associated with judgments that the person is abnormal, weird, like a martian, so that the social realm is even more strained (despite the social awkwardness that many Gifted kids already experience). I do appreciate the school programs I was put in for Gifted kids that actually challenged me, but they were once a year or less, so there was still a very real daily struggle. I think if I had been part of an inclusive classroom like you are describing, it would have helped me by giving me a social group in which I belonged. Instead I constantly struggled to conform to the larger social context of my schoolmates while simultaneously struggling to understand how their minds worked and why they prioritized very different things than I did. By high school, though, I eventually gave up those efforts as they were too costly emotionally.

    I appreciate a lot of the commenters bringing up how these same issues manifest in the adult sphere. They don't suddenly resolve when everyone grows up. It's just the context that changes. And it's almost easier to just isolate yourself than deal with it. That's not to say that these individuals like to be isolated - the opposite, in fact - but sometimes it's the easier path.

    Thanks for your post. I've never had someone tell me that they really understood me, though I have found kindred spirits along the way. Your insight is valuable and so useful for so many others who struggle to meet Gifted kids on their level.

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  51. The word "engine-er" derives from the Latin "ingens" -- literally, one who does ingenuity. Last week was National Engineers Week, when we celebrate kids' innate ingenuity. They start, without ANY teaching, by developing a method (tek-nai-logos) of rolling over in their crib at four months, and then shortly after a method of movement -- "crawling" -- and they NEVER look back! But when they enter "the terrible twos," we begin to interrupt. "NO! Don't touch that!" As you said, they are tender, and they stop. Only a few go on to a life of engineering, and worse yet, only 15 percent of engineers are female. LOVE your kids! HUG your kids! We need all the engineers we can get!

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  52. I especially appreciated your comment: "Just because they are highly-gifted doesn't necessarily mean they are high-achieving."

    I have had the privilege and pain of living and working with several highly-gifted individuals. People often do not seem to realize that an individual is frequently not only not equally gifted in all areas -- they may be delayed or disabled in some areas as well.

    Often times gifted individuals become intensely frustrated by the dissonance between their thoughts, interests, ability to express, and ability to relate to those around them. I believe that the frustration frequently leads them to seek out negative interaction because that is what they come to expect.

    Surrounding kids with similarly capable peers is a good first step. Everyone needs to feel like others can relate to them and understand them.

    Giftedness and disability are still too often used by our society as reasons for exclusion and excuses for not providing appropriate support.

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  53. I especially appreciated your comment: "Just because they are highly-gifted doesn't necessarily mean they are high-achieving."

    I have had the privilege and pain of living and working with several highly-gifted individuals. People often do not seem to realize that an individual is frequently not only not equally gifted in all areas -- they may be delayed or disabled in some areas as well.

    Often times gifted individuals become intensely frustrated by the dissonance between their thoughts, interests, ability to express, and ability to relate to those around them. I believe that the frustration frequently leads them to seek out negative interaction because that is what they come to expect.

    Surrounding kids with similarly capable peers is a good first step. Everyone needs to feel like others can relate to them and understand them.

    Giftedness and disability are still too often used by our society as reasons for exclusion and excuses for not providing appropriate support.

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  54. Thank you for writing such a helpful post. I work with gifted adults and adolescents, and look forward to sharing your article with some of my psychotherapy clients.

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  56. Thank you for a very helpful post ! I am writing as a parent. I am often confused where my kids stand but your post was so easy to understand where they stand . It also reassures somethings I may be doing right,and what I may be misunderstanding entirely. I am a confused mess sometimes wondering how to communicate especially with my 11 year old who has a hard time expressing in words when we talk. We have encouraged her to write and she has used poetry as her tool now. My 8 year old has an overactive imagination and 8 out of your 9 points are bang on for them. He illustrates everything that happens in his brain when he has a trouble communicating them in any other way .Hope these are right things to encourage them to continue. I often wonder

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  57. Thank you for your post. I am thankful that there are folks like yourself who 'gets' this population. It can be isolating for them as well as the parents when not fully understood. Raising one is the best journey that I would not trade.

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  58. I love this. I have three extremely gifted children of my own -testing off the charts- that have challenged me in more ways than I can describe. But I wouldn't want it any other way. Child #1 really, really does not do well when, on rare occasion, things get challenging (or child #2 can come up with a solution faster than she can). She is hard working and over achieving; a perfectionist to the core. Child #2 is SO smart, he can't figure out how to interact with his peers very easily; he is a leader or nothing at all; and he is so passionate, it has taken a long time for his emotions to mature to match his intellect. He is a rule follower to the extreme. Child #3 is ridiculously smart and my most creative kiddo, but hates being smart. He doesn't like or want to do anything that would cause him to have to do anything...I am just amazed at each of them and how different they all are...and how long it took me to understand them better so as to work with them better on an individual basis. Gifted children are a whole different "ball game"...

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  59. This get's it completely wrong. Gifted children shouldn't be coddled and you shouldn't make excuses for poor or rude behavior. Proper parenting should be supportive of that child and let them know of wonderful gifts they hold. It should also include a good dose of "you don't know everything" and "this is what you need to live in this world as a good citizen." The worst thing a parent can do is raise any child (regardless of IQ) whose gifts will be ignored due to a lack of social skills.

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    1. I'm going to speculate that you misunderstood the part about social skills, while gifted learners may be hyper-intelligent, other areas may be significantly lacking including social and emotional development. There is no indication that coddling is an evidence-based practice here, rather being a supportive adult.

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  60. This label of "gifted and talented" drives me bananas! The label is detrimental to children on both sides. I have three children, and they are all unique and gifted in their own way. My middle daughter was told by her best friend that she isn't smart because she is not in the "gifted and talented" program. Her friend regurgitates what adults around her tell her - she is smarter than the other kids, and that is why she is in the special class and gets to go on more field trips, has more access to technology, gets to do all the fun science experiments, etc. Although my daughter is of average academic intelligence, she is very intuitive, ambitious, and well rounded. She cried to me the other day because her "best friend" essentially called her stupid.
    My oldest daughter is extremely intelligent, artistic, and wise beyond her years. However, she has learning differences (dyslexia and dyscalculia) that prevent her from being in placed in a "gifted" program. Because all of her friends were labeled "gifted" and she was not, she has horrible self esteem and calls herself "stupid."
    My son falls into the mainstream "gifted" definition, but I will not enroll him in a "gifted" program. I will put him in a more challenging school if necessary, but he's doing just fine learning alongside his "non-gifted" friends at the moment. His teachers just give him more difficult books and math problems to keep him excited about learning.
    I was labeled "gifted" as a child and never felt like I could live up to the label. Whenever I struggled with a subject, my parents assumed I wasn't applying myself. I still feel (even as an adult with a doctorate degree) like I haven't lived up to my potential. Since I was a "gifted" child, shouldn't I be out there either saving the world or making millions of dollars? My teachers would all be so disappointed in me if they could see me now. I had so much potential!
    Calling a child "gifted and talented" is bad for the "gifted" child as well as the "non-gifted" child.
    Think about what your labeling only certain children as "gifted" does to those children who do not receive that label, and think about the pressure you are putting on the children who are granted that label.

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    1. You must not have read the article.

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  61. Thank you so much for this post. It brings back memories of what it was like to be a gifted kid myself. I was fortunate enough to be in a full-time program, but my youngest (in elementary school) only gets about two and a half hours once a week, and her sister in middle school has two gifted classes every day. Reading this helps me to have more patience with my kids, thank you again.

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  62. This is such a great post!! I have 3 gifted children and can totally relate. I was also considered gifted as a child. Very well written. Thank you!

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  63. Where do you teach? What resources could you share as far as unique programs like yours where we can find resources for our gifted kids? Thank you for anything you can share!!!

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    1. I teach in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD in Texas. I can definitely share our academy web site, which links to several resources.

      http://gcisdaspireacademy.weebly.com/

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  64. As long as there have been human beings on earth, there have been at least some parents who coddle their kids; indeed, among such peoples as the Inuit, among whom child mortality has historically been especially high, infants have led a pampered life though of course, that is changing as more and more of them gain access to modern medical care.

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  65. Thank you for this. My son is in the GT program at his elementary (1st grade, not far from GCISD, we're in NWISD), and it only meets 1-2 hours per week. He has been struggling this year with containing his emotions and frustration when he can't easily do a task. He even had an incident where he flat out refused to do an assignment because he didn't like the story (I believe it was too sad for him, he feels things far more deeply than his peers). Although his wonderful teacher has been working with him to find ways to keep his behavior under control and not disrupt the classroom, I have been highly worried about him. This article helps me to understand that he is acting the way he is due to his brain working a bit differently, not because he's getting bored and losing interest in school (my biggest fear is that he will disengage at some point in the future, something common in highly intelligent boys). It also helps me to better understand some of the struggles I experienced as a GT kid who moved around alot, and as a result, didn't always end up in a GT program. We have been considering finding a magnate or charter school to try to get him into since our school district does not have a full-time GT program (1-2 hours/week just doesn't seem like enough to me). I know you teach in a full-time GT academy, what are some pros and cons to the full-time academy v. integration in the regular classroom among diverse peers and a few hours/week of GT work?

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    1. Hi Jenni- this is a late reply, but your question intrigues me. The thing is, even in a full-time academy, there is diversity. The students are all highly gifted, but they are not all at the same levels in each academic area, and they have different strengths and weaknesses. They are, however, able to be more fully themselves as they are in a social/emotional environment with like-minded peers and with educators who fully understand their needs and are there to help them to the fullest extent. Lots of time in these classrooms is spent handling and educating the students on social/emotional issues and helping them to better understand themselves so that they can operate more appropriately in society and with their friends. It is amazing as well to see these children reach their fullest potential academically by being placed in a setting that is geared towards creating curriculum, activities, and lessons with the gifted child in mind- self pacing, creativity, higher-level thinking galore. These students are not held back and there is no more ceiling to what they can do or learn on a given day. There is no more repetitive daily iStation practice when they have already reached the program's highest level and it won't go any further.

      The cons to this, of course, are that others deeply misunderstand the purpose and need for an all inclusive program such as this. They find it elitist or exclusive. However, if you read one of my other posts- A Case for Self-Contained Highly Gifted Classrooms- you will find more information about why this is not so.

      We have to remember why children go to school- to learn...that is their job...and if they are in a setting that doesn't involve new learning and innovation and pushing them to their highest potential, then we are failing them.

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    2. Thank you for your reply. We have decided to keep him in the same school again this year and are working closely with his teacher, principal, et al to help him with his social/emotional issues. He LOVES to learn, and has grown so much this summer. We also have him in Occupational Therapy for a few issues, and one of the things they are addressing for him is ways to "control his motor" and calm down when his frustration rises to the level of potential melt down. I still wish we had a FT immersive program like you do, and so am planning to work on drumming up support from within the NWISD community for the resources.

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  66. This article is really very interesting and effective. Thank you for share such kind of article. I think its must be helpful for us.
    Best childcare Guildford

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  67. Now THAT is the real deal. Our district offers full time Advanced Academic Program, they changed the name from GT to AAP. They are no longer for gifted children but high achievers, so my friend was told, and she had to pull out her daughter because she couldn't take the pressure of lots of homework and performance. What a diservice to the gifted community, instead of improving we are going backwards. Your students are so blessed to have you.

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  68. Great article. My 2nd grade teacher used to comment "Jakob doesn't let 'my teaching' get in the way of 'his learning'. He does his own thing. This often results in incomplete or sloppy work." Being raised by parents who thought The Belt was an all purpose motivator, I went through life thinking I was just lazy or f#$%#d up. It took a while for me to accept my reality. Hope some parents (and teachers) catch on before more gifted children are allowed to slip through the cracks.

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  69. Very well written and completely true, 'cause i know but it goes further and it is not only for a highly gifted child but also for a highly gifted adult. It is for whole our life. Sometimes I regret that I am highly gifted 'cause it is not always pleasant to be highly gifted.

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  70. Very well written and completely true, 'cause i know but it goes further and it is not only for a highly gifted child but also for a highly gifted adult. It is for whole our life. Sometimes I regret that I am highly gifted 'cause it is not always pleasant to be highly gifted.

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  71. Hi Whitley-what a beautifully written piece! I know so many of our families would love to read this and could see themselves and their children in your writing. Could we re-publish this to share it with our families (giving full credit to you of course). Our website is www.aane.org (Asperger/autism network) If you'd like to consider writing for our blog, you can contact me directly brenda.dater@aane.org

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