So you’ve begun to learn more about those gifted kiddos in your classroom and you’re wondering where to go for more resources... What will work in your classroom? What resources are available for you as a parent of a gifted child? “Help! What do I do with these kids and where can I learn more‽” Don’t worry… You’re not alone. I cross paths all the time with teachers who have begun to learn about gifted students, realized how little they were prepared for these unusual students, and desire to seek out resources that will help them understand and reach these kids. In my last post I offered up a variety of web resources, and today I’d like to mention some of the great companies out there that offer books, games, curricular materials, and other items that can be helpful.
Prufrock Press publishes a wide array of books and other resources about and for gifted students. You can find books aimed at differentiating the curriculum for various subject areas (math, social studies, science, language arts, etc.); books with ideas for staff development on gifted education; books with information about the social and emotional needs of gifted children; resources with insights about students who are twice exceptional (e.g. both gifted and learning disabled); and resources that focus on the development of thinking skills. Prufrock Press also offers a wide array of identification tools and assessments. I enjoy the magazine "Gifted Child Today", which Prufrock publishes. And parents, too, can find resources at Prufrock designed specifically for them.
While Free Spirit Publishing doesn’t focus solely on gifted education, they do have some great items aimed at that population. Of the many resources from Free Spirit that I have, the two that the teachers in my district appreciate the most are "Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom" and "Teaching Young Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom". A middle/high school version of this book is also available, and all three of them come with handy cd’s full of reproducible forms that you can print right from your own computer. Free Spirit is also home to the “Survival Guides” for gifted kids, parents of gifted kids, and teachers of gifted kids. My personal favorite Free Spirit resource to recommend is "You Know Your Child is Gifted When…" because it’s such a fun, quick, insightful, and accurate introduction to gifted students.
Great Potential Press focuses on resources for “guiding gifted learners.” Parents of gifted children will find a number of the field’s best parenting books here, along with information about discussion groups for parents of the gifted. They also have informational DVD’s, the widely-useful book "Re-Forming Gifted Education", and the Iowa Acceleration Scales. The IAS are the most-often used and most reliable means for determining if a student is a candidate for subject acceleration or grade acceleration. (In the interest of full disclosure, Great Potential Press is the company that publishes my & Karen’s book, “Intelligent Life in the Classroom.”)
Creative Learning Press provides “products for high-end learning.” They have a huge selection of how-to books that guide children in learning about specific topics. Also available at CLP is the original "Curriculum Compacting: The Complete Guide to Modifying the Regular Curriculum for High Ability Students", plus an array of Interest Inventories, resources for aiding students in conducting independent research projects, and rating scales for use in the identification of gifted students. You will also find books and activities for different subject areas (math, art, science, etc.) Finally, CLP sells all of the thorough and excellent resources about curriculum differentiation authored by Carol Ann Tomlinson. They are well-researched and well-written resources for any teacher wanting to develop and fine-tune his or her differentiating abilities.
NAGC (the National Association of Gifted Children) provides some resources for parents and teachers of gifted children as well. Among them, you can find guidebooks for developing gifted programs, information about critical issues and essential readings in gifted education, curriculum models for gifted students, and resources for teachers at the secondary level (the often-overlooked grade levels when it comes to gifted programming). Two NAGC resources that I have found useful are "The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children" and "Designing Services and Programs for High-Ability Learners".
Other companies with extensive options in their Gifted Education sections are Bright Ideas, Corwin Press, Zephyr Press, Pieces of Learning, ALPS Publishing, and Tin Man Press. Many of the Tin Man Press thinking skills books are particularly useful. As well, The Critical Thinking Co. has hundreds of resources for development of thinking skills, along with countless others aimed at the core curricular areas of math, science, social studies, and language arts. Finally, Professional Associates Publishing is where you can find many other great options on differentiation and identification, including the Kingore Observation Inventory which the teachers in my district find particularly helpful as a portion of our identification process.
Last but most fun, when you’re looking for a special gift for that uniquely gifted person in your life, check out ThinkGeek. From T-shirts with slogans like, “There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and those who don't,” to a shower curtain featuring the Periodic Table of Elements, ThinkGeek is a treasure trove of geek paraphernalia!
Feel free to post your own suggestions in the comments section.
Have a great week, everyone! :o)