Have you ever heard of the word Discombobulated? Have you ever tried to spell it or say it or even wonder what the meaning of it is? Language surrounds us and we take it for granted that children will absorb new words quickly. But how about the more difficult and interesting words? And how about […]
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:
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.
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.
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.
In Year 3 this term I am embarking on teaching students about myths from different cultures and times.
This week we started on what a myth is and how to tell the difference between a myth, legend, folktale and fairytale.
But what made this lesson higher order is what we did next.
Choose a natural phenomenon and find as many myths as you can about that phenomenon
Myths about the Sun
Key Questions using the KAPLAN Model for Depth and complexity
- BIG IDEAS- What are the big ideas behind the telling of this myth?
- PATTERNS – Are there similar patterns throughout the different myths?
- UNANSWERED QUESTIONS – What was the characters motive? What was the purpose of the sun before this myth? Why was this myth created?
- CHANGES OVER TIME – Has the myth changed over time? How are our viewpoints of this natural phenomenon influenced today?
Have you taught myths in your classroom? I would love to know what you have done!
Many gifted students, due to their higher sensitivities have difficulty ignoring complex situations.
Resilience is rarely innate – it is a learnt behaviour.
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.
In a recent article it was found that Gifted students who felt supported by their community are more likely to develop their gift into a talent. This lines up perfectly with Gagne’s Model of Differentiation and is something that all schools, parents and wider community need to take on board.
So what do you need to provide for your Gifted students?
– A sense of belonging. Allow them to work with like minded peers on topics they share interests in and at a level that challenges them.
– Pre-assess for every new subject area so you know how to cater for each student, their knowledge and learning style.
– Pursue interests. Learning shouldn’t be confined to the classroom. Encourage extra curriculum activities that spark joy rather than focussing on what they can’t or don’t want to do.
– Get to know them. The better a teacher understands his or her students, the more the student feels at ease in the classroom. Find out about their interests, their strengths and their weaknesses. Find out who they socialise with and what makes them happy. Lannie Kanevsky’s possibilities for learning is a great tool to use in the classroom for teachers to get to know their students.
Have you ever wondered if your child is gifted?
Perhaps they taught themselves to read at an early age?
Maybe they display empathy towards others beyond their years?
Some gifted children can manipulate numbers ten years before their age peers.
Being gifted can be seen in many different ways and although my blog has a strong focus on books and global issues, gifted education is something very close to my heart.
Having a masters in Gifted ed and working closely with gifted children over many years of teaching I have come across gifted children in all different types of classrooms.
One issue many gifted children have is not being recognised by their teacher. Parents often have a good sense (but sometimes doubt themselves or don’t know who to compare their children to) of what their children can and can’t do – and need to pass this onto their child’s teacher.
In order for our children to be supported we need to recognise the gifts they have and support them.
Here are some possible ways you can recognise if your child is gifted
- Walk and/or talk early
- Have an unusual sense of humour
- Be very curious and ask complex questions
- Show an early or intense interest in books, often learning to read at a young age
- Make unusual connections between topics
- Be self motivated, perfectionist, persistent or independent
- Have a long attention span and unusual memory for details or facts
- Learn rapidly, with little practice
- Think faster than they are able to write
- Prefer the company of older children
- Have unusual perception and problem solving ability
- Worry about adult issues and problems
- Need less sleep than most children
- Not always show their abilities in a school setting
It is important to remember that:
- Giftedness is not static – it is always changing so don’t arum just because your child can’t read at two that they are not gifted.
- Anyone can be gifted – It is not restricted to age, race, gender or disabilities/abilties.
- Being gifted does not always mean you are gifted in everything – You may only be gifted in one particular area
There are many different ways gifted children can be supported depending on their needs, some are:
- Subject acceleration
- Grade acceleration
- External programs with like minded peers
- Working alongside teachers in planning how they learn.
There was a great article in the Australian last year stating that one of the key problems gifted students face is boredom in the classroom which can lead to low self esteem, poor behaviour and disengagement with education. As parents and teachers we need to make ourselves aware of what to look for in order to identify gifted students and then how we can best support them so that their gifts turn into talents.
As a teacher of gifted students in a pullout group setting that focuses in literacy I am always trying out new ways to extend and enrich these students.
This week, in Year One, we looked at characters. The scene was set – we had just invented a machine that could travel inside books to meet different characters.
- Students were asked to think of as many characters from books as they could (noting books not movies)
- We then classified these characters as being either from the Past, Present, our world or other worlds. Some characters fitted in more than one quadrant. Students needed to justify why the character was placed where it had been.
- Once we did this, students chose a character from each quadrant that they would like to meet.
- I then introduced Gardner’s multiple intelligences in a simplistic way to show students all of the different ways someone can be smart.
- Students then worked out how their character showed different types of intelligences throughout their story with examples from the book.
This is a great way to look differently at character analysis and also helps students to see that being smart isn’t just about academia, it can be about so much more than that.
Let me know if you get to share this lesson in your classroom!
The justification for gifted education is simple: Academically advanced children should be given work at their speed and level, both to nurture their talents and prevent them from becoming bored and disruptive in class.
I came across an interesting article this week: 4 ways schools help or hinder Giftedness
This does make links to schooling in America but I believe there are links to Australia too.
Slow growth – it is often found in many schools that students who score highly in NAPLAN (albeit controversial testing) often do not show growth. How can we ensure that high achievers continue to achieve? There are many ways we can do this but change may be needed within the classroom – pull out groups, grouping within the classroom, acceleration, project based activities are just a few ideas.
Identification – are we using the appropriate identification tools for the students in our schools? Do you consider if you have students from a non-english speaking background? Indigenous background? Born overseas? Refugee? Each school needs to consider how they use standardised testing BUT they also need to consider how well teachers are equipped to create high quality pre assessments to gather data as well as good observation skills so they can pick up underachievers and 2e students (Twice exceptional)
Advanced curriculum – How well do we cater for gifted students in the classroom? Do we extend or enrich their learning? Teachers need to consider if they just need to be stretched sideways (problem solving, critical thinking within the current grade outcomes) or advanced to harder content (acceleration through stages). Many Gifted students will benefit from a combination of both but many do not receive this in the mainstream classroom. Teachers do need support for this to happen.
Tailor to students interests – It is really important that with Gifted students – and with other students also, that we tailor to their interests as much as possible. Think about how a lesson can be taught that catches students attention so not only are they excited about learning, they can use the great skills they have to build on skills in other areas. A students who is talented in mathematics can be extended in other ways – not always just in mathematics. They have the reasoning skills and the problem solving skills that may help them to solve environmental issues, humanitarian crisis or just something as simple as an issue in how the school timetable flows.
Gifted children, from an early age can show the capacity to think creatively, critically and abstractly.
Have you ever had them ask a question and you wondered how they came up with that thought? Or wondered why they have thought so hard about something that just seems trivial to you?
Gifted children need to know that these thoughts are valid and wonderful! As a parent you need to support this thinking and foster it in the best possible way so you not only have a confident child but you are a confident parent.
Being a confident parent allows you to inform teachers the strengths and weaknesses of your child.
What can you do?
- Build a home environment that nurtures this creativity. Allow your child to flourish at home and have a space that they can always create.
- Before praising them about the way the have responded or created something,, ask them how they came up with the idea. Learning how to explain their thinking is a great tool.
- Provide them with opportunities to explore their area of interest and link in with like minded individuals. Think after school activities, holiday clubs, online groups, links with universities, visits to art galleries, performances and music halls.
- Keep records of their creations and try to create with them.
- Encourage taking risks when trying new techniques and talk about mistakes and why we need to make them to learn.
If you need support with your gifted child or a gifted student in your classroom. Please get in touch for one on one consultations and workshops.
And read this great tip sheet created by The National Association for Gifted Children