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 […]Enriching a literacy lesson – character — Gifted Education Musings
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
I’ve just finished reading Wundersmith: The calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend.
This is the second book in the Nevermoor you won’t be able to put down.
Morrigan is still living in Nevermoor and is finally part of a society filled with many other people who have gifts – just none like hers. Read along as Morrigan navigates school, tries to make new friends and of course encounters adventure and danger along the way!
The characters, especially Morrigan are so real, so alive and in so many ways relatable to everything that you are unsure of or proud of in your own life.
I loved this book – can’t rate it highly enough.
Buy it for someone who needs some extra magic and another wonderful book in their collection! Ages 10 and up!
She took a deep breath and she simply asked, “Why?”
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts is a celebration being inquisitive, persistent, independent and creative!
In this delightful picture book, we meet Ada Twist , a young scientist who doesn’t start to speak until she is three (echoing Einstein). Once she does start talking her world is full of why, how, what, when and many different experiments and investigations along the way.
Ada’s parents and teacher are bombarded with her constant questioning and messy investigations but luckily they see her passion and her gift and give her the time and the support that she needs.
And that’s what they did – because that’s what you do when your kid has a passion and a heart that is true.
The illustrations by David Roberts are brilliant and not only support the story but add so much more to it. As we read along you can search for the pet cat, the smelly socks, her brother and the trail of investigations Ada leaves behind.
The reader can see her thoughts floating around her written not only in words but also through her facial expressions.
Andrea Beaty’s rhyming text is not only a perfect way to tell the story of young Ada but a perfect way to teach young children that when they follow their passions and dreams, with the support of those around them, they can achieve anything.
Ada Twist, who we leave in Year Two, still makes a mess and still makes mistakes but she is learning along the way and her passion is infectious – we see many of her class mates also taking part in her investigations and experiments.
Ada Twist, Scientist is a brilliant story based on inspiring female scientists such as Marie Curie and Ada Lovelace. Perhaps this story will inspire your daughter or female students to reach out and achieve their scientific dreams.
So what can you do at home?
Gifted education is a passion of mine and when I read this story to myself and out loud to different children I really loved the support Ada’s parents gave her. They weren’t smothering her by enrolling her in every course or after school activity and they also were not dismissing her talent by telling her to stop asking so many questions.
I think that parent’s can take note of Ada’s supportive parents and perhaps start to look at their child and see what they need, listen to their questions and answer them in the best possible way. Many gifted children do not turn their gifts into talents because of the lack of support and the feeling that they are asking too many questions.
- Listen to your children and answer their questions.
- Show them that you don’t always know the answers and help them to research or investigate.
- Give them time to play and investigate rather than always being involved in an after school activity.
Science Investigation: Smell
- Investigate the olfactory system.
- Investigate how long smell takes to travel to us and if we need to see something to know what it smells like.
- Create your own perfume for different purposes (to repell mosquitoes, to smell nice by the beach, to smell nice at a party, to ward off witches etc)
- Compare different smells and work out how we know the difference between good and bad smells and what those smells are really telling us!
Teacher Guide is here: http://www.abramsbooks.com/adatwist/
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 today 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.
I will be running a course for both parents and teachers later on this year, please register your name by emailing me if you are interested: firstname.lastname@example.org
Challenging our children.
It is easy to assume that bright children will devour everything that is thrown at them, enjoying any bit of learning, finding it easy and engaging.
This is not always the case.
As parents as educators we need to tap into our children’s interests and learning styles so we can help them to develop their gifts, ignite their passions and stir their imagination.
If we are to tackle problems like climate change, plastic ridden oceans and toxic waterways we need our creative thinkers to be passionate, to be engaged and to want to learn more about the world.
We need to extend our young children, accelerate their learning and enrich any task at hand. Without challenge and enrichment of learning these children can learn to just cruise through schooling and life, not realising the talents that they have.
So what can you do through books?
- Find books that engage your child. There is a book out there for everyone. Talk to your child, talk to the librarian and take the time to read together from as young as possible. Everyone loves reading something.
- Whilst reading ask your child some deeper questions. Not only ‘What?’ questions but also ‘how?’ and ‘why?’
- Talk about the book after you have read it. Ask more challenging questions such as – how would you change the ending? If you could be one of the characters who would you be? Could you change the ending? What if ……had happened?
- Find out more about the author – many authors have great websites and talk about how they came to be authors. Many will talk about persistence and passion.
Soon to come….a free e-book on questioning stems! Watch this blog!