Gifted Education, mathematics, Parenting, teaching

Asking open ended questions

Open ended questions and activities are what gets kids moving, excited and engaged.

Asking open ended questions

What are open ended questions?

Open ended questions are those that have a myriad of responses. Open ended questions allow us to embrace different ways of thinking and responding and can often, at times, waken our own thinking up as we learn to see how others think.

For example – in maths lessons at home or at school show them some triangles and ask them: Is it a triangle or not? Why? What is our fixed definition of triangle and is this always correct?

This can then lead into what triangles can and cannot be through seeing what is in real life.

Another open ended task could be as simple as run your own ‘lemonade and cupcake stall’. For younger students they may simply work out prices and how many they need to cook/make. Older students will need to work out the cost of making these things to factor into the cost along with their own labour fees! Through this activity the students are learning how to add, subtract, multiply and divide.

So do we need to do away with drill and practise? 

Not necessarily  but we MUST cut down on it. Worksheets for every child in the class are not supporting anyone as the only sense of value children will see is if they can finish the task.

Drill and practise can be done in open ended ways – not just worksheets of the same addition style problem. Play games, make a maze with the answers, talk about the best solutions, link to real world activities – go beyond silence and repetition just for the sake of it.

Children do need to practise to get better at things BUT they need to see value also.

How does this support Gifted students? 

Many gifted students, although they will need support when a new concept is given to them, will pick it up quickly so there is not point asking for repetition.

Gifted students see more value in those open ended tasks as they can see where it applies in their own lives, they can add their own twist to it and they can be challenged.

Check in with your own classroom teaching or your students teachers and ask how they are allowing bright and gifted students to shine. How are they adding excitement to learning? How are they engaging and growing young minds.

What are your thoughts? 

Gifted Education, Parenting, teaching

Mathematics and Gifted Education

little girl with clock

Many educators and parents are often quick to jump onto online games, free worksheets and you tube tutorials to help support mathematics.

But what about gifted students?

At times, most gifted students do need support from a teacher  in the classroom – even if it is a quick five minute lesson.

But do they need online games at harder levels or harder worksheets as homework or as a fast finisher activity?

The answer is mostly, no.

Any gifted mathematician, once they understand the topic or new skill only need a small amount of drill and practice to master and from there it is up to the educators to give them tasks that allow them to use this new knowledge.

This can be done through

– Problem Solving

– Real world tasks

– Projects that embed the new skill/s

Some examples that I have used in the classroom and online

  1. Measurement: Stage 3 – Length, Area and Perimeter

My group of students had understood how to measure length, perimeter and area and from this were given the task of finding these dimensions in their own bedroom BUT – Let’s add challenge by increasing the parameters: I gave them the task to design their own tiny house. These houses have a set area of 40m2. They also had to use furniture that they had to buy from a particular homewares shop. So not only are they using their knowledge, they are also problem solving with a real world task. The students had fun and enjoyed the challenge. https://aussietinyhouses.com.au/tiny-houses/casuarina-84/

2.  Measurement – Time – Stage 2

This group of students understood how to tell the time on an analog clock. The main class were given the task of making their own clock to use the learnt skills but this group were asked to design a clock or a set of clocks that would help people to know what the time was in other countries. From here they had to decide the best time for the people in the different countries to call each other. Another additional activity is to challenge these students with elapsed time such as I started lunch at 1:27pm and ate for 1 hour and 17 minutes. What time did I finish?

There is no excuse for extra worksheets – problem solving and real world activities are the answer.

If you would like me to support you at your school or as a parent need support to talk to your school, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Vanessa

Gifted Education, Parenting, teaching

Depth and Complexity for Gifted students

So you have a gifted child and you are remote learning?

Blue and Gray Maximalist Technology Instagram Post

The activities being provided online may not be ideal for your child as teachers juggle the new platform and catering for all students.

So what can you do with a frustrated child and perhaps worried parent?

Projects!

A great way to support your gifted child is through projects that are:

– In their area of interest

– Challenging with depth and complexity

– A new area yet challenging and through provoking.

Think Dinosaurs, space, plastic waste, favourite authors, famous scientists or even LEGO. The possibilities are endless yet the depth and complexity is what needs to remain high.

I often use Kaplan’s Depth and Complexity Model to create my projects and you can try this too.

Here is an example of my use of this model – please use and give me feedback:

Using the Kaplan model to extend and enrich

 

Here are some website links:

https://www.romoland.net/cms/lib/CA01902709/Centricity/Domain/21/Kaplan-Depth-and-Complexity-1y4xdgk.pdf

https://www.byrdseed.com/introducing-depth-and-complexity/

 

 

Gifted Education, Parenting, teaching

Are gifted children healthy?

Interesting article about the physical and mental health of gifted children.

Studies show that our gifted children are often highly active, social and mentally healthy.

We just need to ensure the right support network is around them, like minded peers and various options for them is the key

https://www.nagc.org/blog/are-gifted-kids-healthy

Gifted Education, Parenting, teaching, Underachievement

Are there underachievers in your classroom? Part 2

There is still a lot of work being done in the field of underachievement in gifted students and one area that has been looked at is building the self esteem of the student.

Different research methods have been trialled recently to see what works best to lessen the amount of students who are underachieving in our schools.

Some tools have looked at ways to:

  • enhance motivation through self interest projects with built in depth and complexity
  • Learning how to set goals and regularly check in with a mentor (trusted teacher, older student or a link with a local university or interest group)
  • Grouping with like minded individuals within and out of school.

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And although these interventions are not all boosting the academic side specifically, they do help. When a student has a good friendship group, when they believe in themselves and when they see themselves achieve goals – they will naturally perform better academically.

So where to from here?

Schools need to consider how we help students to bond with like minded individuals, to build self esteem through challenge and to understand their strengths and weaknesses in a positive way.

More must be done to help all students – not just our gifted to reach their full potential.

A great way to do this is to raise the awareness of teachers about who gifted students can be and how we can help them.

Contact me

Contact me if your school needs assistance in training your teachers in the area of Gifted Education.

Part One can be read here

Gifted Education, Parenting, teaching

Being Gifted is not how well a child does at school, it is who they are.

Are you confused with the label of Giftedness?

Perhaps you have heard it being used too often or not at all?

For someone to be labelled as Gifted they are functioning at a higher level in their field of talent than the majority of the population.

That field can be:

Academic/Intellectual

Creative

Socio/Effective

Muscular/Physical

They have these gifts before they head to school in some form or another. These gifts need to be nurtured at home and in the classroom if they are to develop into talents.

 

 

 

So in looking at this, schools cannot make students Gifted.

They can however help students realise their gifts, they can challenge them and enrich their learning.

Parents are the key links to informing the school about their child and the gifts they display at home.

Teachers are the key to identifying the children in their classroom so they know how to challenge and support each gifted child to develop their gift into a talent.

How does your school identify and support gifted students?

 

 

Gifted Education, Parenting, teaching

Building resilient learners

Without considering learning difficulties or underachievement, many gifted students cruise through their schooling years.

I come across many gifted students who just cannot cope with a challenging task – although they are gifted, have tested highly or are anecdotal extremely able.

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They cry, they misbehave, they say ‘I’m hopeless’ at the drop of a challenging hat.

Although school is fun, there are friends and great activities – School is easy. There is little challenge.

And this poses a problem.

These children NEED to be challenged on a daily basis and many schools are doing these students a disservice by always giving them work they can achieve easily.

Without challenge, students never feel a sense of failure.

Without challenge, students do not need to change their way of thinking.

Without challenge, students do not need to build resilience

Without challenge, students do not know how to problem solve. 

Every teacher, in every classroom needs to set the bar just that bit higher. They need to pre test students to understand what they know so they can give them learning opportunities where they will be challenged.

When students are challenged they may fail, but they can work out solutions to fix that problem.

When students are challenged they understand how to deal with mistakes and failure and build up resilience.

When students are challenged they feel a better sense of achievement. 

It is too often I teach gifted students who get easily upset in pullout programs or misbehave because they are being challenged. They do not know how to stretch themselves or deal with mistakes.

Teachers of every grade need to constantly challenge their students in some way so that they grow every day and become stronger believers in their own abilities.

Visit my facebook page for some great discussions and ways that I can help you as a parent or teacher to challenge these students with my online or face to face course.

Educate Empower Gifted: https://www.facebook.com/groups/293988788179957/

 

Gifted Education, Parenting, teaching

Supporting your gifted students from Non-English speaking backgrounds.

 

In every school there will be students from a Non English speaking background and from this group there will be gifted students. We need to outline, in every school policy:

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What a Gifted NESB student looks like.

 

 

  • Acquire the new language at a faster than typical rate,
  • Demonstrate an ability to code switch or translate at an advanced level,
  • Show aptitude for negotiating between cultures,
  • Display inventive leadership and/or imaginative qualities,
  • Read significantly beyond grade level in the heritage language,
  • Effectively assume adult responsibilities at a young age,
  • Problem-solve in creative, nonconforming ways.

 

How do we assess these students to test if they are gifted?

 

  • Teacher observations
  • Pre assessments using different methods apart from pen and paper (try conversation in their mother tongue, drawing their knowledge)
  • Discussions with parents in mother tongue on students early development.

 

How do we support  Gifted student from a NESB?

  • Ensure the curriculum is enriched to the ability they can work at.
  • Ensure the curriculum is culturally sensitive where needed.
  • Develop an Individual learning plan that could involve self directed learning
  • Support the student where needed in the English language.
  • Make sure all teachers have PD in who gifted students are
  • Regularly communicate with parents to make sure they know how to support their child at home.

 

https://www.edutopia.org/article/identifying-and-supporting-gifted-ells

 

Gifted Education, Parenting, teaching

Parent and school partnerships.

Partnerships such as those that Pfeiffer’s discussions help forge between parents and educators can help minimize the differences between the treatment that athletically gifted and the academically gifted students receive. But what about the glory? What can academically gifted students do that will bring them the rewards and recognition that those who excel athletically often receive? The answer is competition, and there are plenty of competitions open to those who excel in areas such as mathematics, science, geography, writing, and the arts.

There is nothing more important than a good quality partnership between a school and the parents of the students they teach.

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In an article I discovered this week by Linda Neumann, it outlines the importance of deepening that connection so that academically gifted students receive just as much support as our athletically gifted students.

 

Although this article is dated 2011, I would argue that this disparity still exists in terms of how society sees gifts and the importance of gifts.

As educators we need to ensure that ALL gifts are catered for in the best way we can within the school we teach in.

 

As parents we need to advocate for our gifted students to ensure that there are as many provisions for them as possible. If the school cannot have all these provisions on site, there are many great places to go to both online and in person.

 

We also need to ensure there is regular communication between parents and teachers to ensure everyone knows how to support the student in every aspect of their education.

 

 

Read the whole article here: https://www.sengifted.org/post/finding-the-glory-on-and-off-the-playing-field

 

Gifted Education, Parenting, teaching

Building and nurturing resilience in highly gifted children

Many gifted students, due to their higher sensitivities have difficulty ignoring complex situations.

Resilience is rarely innate – it is a learnt behaviour.

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Resilience is cultivated when the children hear the school & teacher being talked about positively.

When the child is praised for their interests and strengths and who they are (personality) this can give them confidence to believe in who they are – not focus on their underachievement or boredom at school.

What you can do:

  • Talk positively about the school environment with your child whilst listening to their problems.

 

  • Talk to the school and your child’s teachers as often as you need to – we need to work together.

 

  • Find others in the community that have similar interests. Mentoring and group work with like minded individuals help gifted students to flourish. 

 

  • Try to deal with any issues in a positive manner.

 

  • Nurture your child’s inner resources (what they are good at – sewing, reading, researching, building etc)

 

  • Help your child to focus on the present – focus on each day and what can be achieved in that day rather than worrying about making it through the whole year. Focus on one good thing that happened during the day rather than focus on the negative.

 

Contact me if you are interested in school PD sessions for parents and teachers.

vanessaryanrendall@gmail.com