I heard a fable once about a boy who caught a bee and kept it in a glass box for quite some time. The air holes in the lid allowed the little bee its necessary oxygen but not its freedom. The bee raged against the box’s glass walls, trying mightily to fly on its way, but, of course, it was unable to escape. After many, many days of flying into the walls, the bee began to give up. It had learned the limits of its new home. It now flew within the box’s contained space and ceased to ...


A few of you here have requested that I write about my experiences teaching gifted Native American children. An article that I wrote on the topic is in the Fall 2007 issue of "Understanding Our Gifted." (That whole issue has a theme of cultural diversity.) Most of today's post is pulled from my article in that issue. (That's why I've waited to cover this topic… Almost everything I wanted to say I had already written, but I needed to wait for it to come out in UOG first.) The field of gifted education has done a very admirable job in ...


I of course love many things about my job as a K-12 Gifted Education Specialist, but definitely high on the list would have to be the fascinating tidbits I learn from my students, coupled with the thought-provoking ideas they kick around in their heads and let me in on sometimes. Gathered just from the last week or so, here are a few examples: * I noticed an unusual symbol on the computer screen when looking over the shoulder of one of my students. "What is that?" I asked. "An interrobang," she replied. "A what‽" I responded with curiosity and surprise… The ...


In the September 2007 issue of "Parenting for High Potential," the National Association for Gifted Children published its newly created “Gifted Children’s Bill of Rights” written by NAGC President Del Siegle. Those of us who attended the NAGC convention in Minneapolis a couple weeks ago were also treated to a free poster of the list, printed by Prufrock Press. I shared the list with my 7th & 8th graders this week and I want to share it with all of you as well. Included beneath each item are some of my thoughts on it along with comments that my students ...


Last week and this week have found me spending late nights sitting at tables in cold gymnasiums (note to self: wear long johns tomorrow night!), meeting with parents for Parent/Teacher Conferences. The parents come around to each teacher on their child's schedule to "conference." I put out the word to the parents of my elementary students that they could meet with me at the middle school (last week) or high school (this week) if they wanted to chat with me about their child(ren) whom I work with in our District's GT program. The middle & high school parents are ...


Professional development – What thoughts and feelings do those words conjure up for you? Excitement? Boredom? A chance to improve your skills and learn new, interesting teaching strategies? A painful time of listening to someone talk about a topic you already have a handle on? We’ve all been there at one point or another – sitting in a required professional development class listening to someone go over Bloom’s Taxonomy or some other concept/strategy that we’ve been using effortlessly for years because we’ve already learned about it and incorporated it into our methodology. We grumble our way through ...


Last week I was at our state Teacher’s Convention, where I presented four times. I always enjoy learning from others and sharing ideas. For today’s post, I’d like to share a few excerpts from textbooks that highlight the importance of being a good filter when choosing educational materials for students. I often use these examples in my presentations because they are a simple way to illustrate the complex issues districts and teachers face when selecting curricular materials. I first read the first two examples about five years ago when I was working on my Masters degree in ...


Fifty years ago tonight (I’m writing this on October 4th, although most of you won’t read it until a later date), the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, into orbit. Aside from the obvious and relatively well-known fact that Sputnik unleashed the Space Race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., you might like to know that it also launched efforts to increase academic challenge for American students. America’s shock at being beaten to the punch, so to speak, by the Soviets manifested into concern that we weren’t challenging our ...


In my last post (The Wheel Still Turns), Jane commented: It is refreshing to hear of success in advocating for educating gifted children, but do you have advice for parents who may not have a dozen years to change the system? Do you have any effective advice for parents and children who need to learn in school TODAY? Your question is important because I know countless parents across the country can relate to it, too. As parents, you see effects of a less-than-challenging curriculum that we who work in the schools sometimes don’t see. And of course, as parents ...


The availability of appropriate academic accommodations for gifted students in our country is rather hit and miss. While it is true that the situation varies on a grand scale between states (diverse policies, laws, etc. – or even non-existent policies/laws), the nuts and bolts reality is that even within a state, community, district, or school with a uniform policy, differences range wildly. In any school anywhere, a gifted child could be receiving excellent accommodations within one classroom and a gifted child in the classroom next door could be re-“learning” the same material for the fifth year in a row – ...


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