Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Session 1 - Question 2

What were your “Ah-ha” moments while reading Chapters 1 - 4? Site the page numbers for fellow participants.


  1. One of my "Ah-ha" moments from chapter one was just how intense (page 6) these highly gifted children are. I notice this trait in children in my class who are already identified as well as those not yet identified.

    Another "Ah-ha" moment came from chapter two, page 20 where it talks about their uneven development between their intellectual development and their maturity. I see myself expecting more mature behavior from my gifted children because I just assumed that intellectual development went hand in hand with maturity. Obviously I was mistaken! At least now I know why.

    Also in chapter two, p. 11, it introduces the fact that parents of gifted children experience problems raising them. I knew that having a gifted child changed the dynamics of their relationship with this child and even the dynamics of the family itself. Now I am even more aware of why there are some parents who are such passionate advocates for their children. They want to make sure their child's educational needs are met so that they not only meet their full potential but that their emotional development is not harmed either.

    An "Ah-ha" moment from chapter three was when it pointed out that there were different tests that measured IQ and that these tests were in conflict and could be confusing and unclear when used together (p.34). Depending on the test instrument you could access a child's IQ as "ratio" or "deviation". Students are getting lower IQ scores on the current tests and because of this we are missing highly gifted children.

    Another "Ah-ha" moment was on p. 35 where it talked about how many reps an average child needs compared to a child of 115-120 IQ and even 130-135 IQ. Thank goodness we do group work and differentiated instruction!

    It became clear in chapter 4, introduced on p. 57, how easily it is to miss the level one gifted child because of the fact that they score below the range for gifted. They are still significantly more advanced than the normal school curriculum. It would be just as remiss to not address these children's educational needs as it would be to allow the students of low IQ to fall off of the radar.

  2. One of my "Ah-ha" moments was my realization that having a gifted child could actually be a challenge. Although it never occurred to me until this point, parents of a gifted child "may be misperceived as bragging, exaggerating, or even fabricating stories about their gifted child's achievements" (13). All parents should be understanding of what makes a child unique, but instead, some parents view parenting as a competition and they feel threatened.

    I wonder how many gifted students in low-income neighborhoods are misdiagnosed as having behavior problems rather than being gifted. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like the families in this book were, for the most part, middle/upper class and well educated. How many students are underserved because parents/schools don't recognize the students' gifts? In many cases, it must be so difficult to identify gifted students when "their uneven development often puts their intellectual development and understanding ahead of their maturity, experience, and insight. This can lead to anxiety and obsessions over things that others their age would never think about" (20).

    I was also interested to learn that "a gifted cut-off score used by schools for program eligibility is confusing if it leads people to think that a child is either gifted or not gifted. There is a continuum of intellectual giftedness, and children at different points along that continuum differ considerably in their learning abilities and their educational needs" (35). It's a good thing we differentiate instruction! We must remember that each student is different and learns differently.

  3. An ah-ha moment for me was reading page 55, where it talked about the Stanford Binet LM as being less reliable indicator at certain ages. It also discussed that test may have highest scores and out of date questions. I had always heard from parents that that was the test of choice for the very gifted, as the other tests have too many "ceilings". Now I realize it is the tester who stops at a certain point--probably due to finances somewhere along the way.
    When I see results from a child that ceilings out in many categories, I now know the tester decided that was high enough. That is a shame, as it won't show the true abilities of that person.

  4. response to Mrs. Scott: I found the ratio or deviation part confusing. I think I need a lesson in statistics.

  5. One of my Ah-ha moments was on page 12 when the author shares the issues parents have whether it is positive, negative, or conflicting feedback regarding their gifted child. Most of the responses really touched my heart. I tried putting myself in the parents shoes and I’m not sure that the way I would have handle some of the responses or comments would have been appropriate!
    Another Ah-ha was in Chapter 3 page 25 about the intellectual level and why it matters. I found it very interesting that today’s IQ test are not as accurate in indentifying the higher level of “giftedness”. With all the changes in the education system and finding best practices to meet the needs of our students we need to find the correct testing measure to meet their needs. Just a thought.

  6. In response to Weedin posted on January 31 at 5;14pm. I too wonder how many gifted students from tougher & rougher life styles are misdiagnosed or diagnosed at all. I feel and see that sometimes the schools that service a majority of low SES students focus more on the everyday procedures than focusing on meeting the needs of each student individual. We need to focus on equaling their development to let their intellectual development shine!

  7. I am interested in learning more to better meet the needs of my students. I am also interested in the criteria selected by the author for dividing students in the different levels of giftedness and what the different levels are.

  8. My ah-ha moment was when I read that characteristics vary greatly among the different levels of gifted children. There is no great common thread between those, for example, who score above 170, or for those who lie between a score of 130 and 150. There is a wide variety across the different score ranges.

  9. Sorry, that was the response to Question 1.

  10. Page reference for my comment above is p49

  11. An aha moment for me was that in high SES and schools with highly educated parents, the GT numbers will be higher. Sometimes it seems like we try not to identify kids who clearly are GT because the the bell curve says we shouldn't have so many. I feel like I am often advocating for these kids and trying to get them into a system that wants to limit the numbers based on the bell curve. I work in a school where the parents are highly educated, so we do have high numbers, but should our numbers be even higher? I wonder? Some parents feel that their kids don't need additional support or do not want to bring additional attention their child as the book says to identify their child.

    I am also fascinated by the testing process. It seems so NOT cohesive. I want to learn more about the testing process/ identification process.

    The students in the book are all over the place in what they can do. So much of it seems to be based on their exposure and opportunity. Some the children are saidto be able to work on the computer at a young age. Kids are sponges. How many if given the opportunity wouldn't figure it out?

    My next question is knowing who they are, what can we do to really meet their needs? It seems like they just need opportunity to explore and learn like all kids. Hopefully, this is happening in most of our classrooms.

  12. My “aha” moment came on pp.33-35 when the author discussed the various different assessments for IQ and the meaning of the scores. I knew that intelligence exists as a continuum, but I was unaware that different schools, states, etc use different tests and that still, those tests are somewhat subject to interpretation. We as teachers know that on any given day, any student can have a bad day, just not want to participate, etc and this can affect the outcome of the test. So there is some discrepancy not only as to whether a particular student makes the “cut-off”, but also to the degree of giftedness, even if the child did go beyond the designated number. There needs to be either multiple testing or other forms of assessment to determine the level of giftedness and the author gives the checklist of behavior observation items as one type of assessment.

  13. I had the same "Ah-ha" moment as I read the statement in page 20 (Ch. 2) about gifted children's uneven development as regards their intellect and their maturity.

    Another "Ah-ha" moment I encountered was in Chapter 3, p. 33, as it talked about the IQ scores and administration of tests. As noted, group testing, as opposed to one-on-one testing, may not always be taken seriously by the participants thus they may score below their actual capabilities. Though other assessments are conducted after test scores are obtained, would using the test scores as the initial determinant of giftedness be an appropriate measure?

    Also in Chapter 4, p. 69, is the impact of instruction (or lack of) and the significant difference it can make. As stated, if all children were taught at their own ability and readiness levels, their achievement scores would be quite similar to their ability scores. This further emphasizes the need for differentiated instruction.

  14. I concur with the various observations about the seeming correlation between socio-economic standing and the determination of possible giftedness. What I gathered from the book was that most, if not all, families belonged to middle/upper classes who had access to resources and/or had the educational background to recognize that there was something that set their children apart.

  15. In the course of reading the first 4 chapters, I began to realize (in an "Ah-ha" sort of way) that the recognition of giftedness is very dependent on socioeconomic status (parent advocacy, education support at home, education level of the parents). “Probably not low SES” and/or “probably not minority” came to mind while reading the following quotes:

    “He had gone to college basketball games with his father from the time he was two years old.” (p.3)

    “When Rick was 1 ½ years old …., I joined a women’s bowling league and took the boys with me while I bowled.” (p. 4)

    “However, if the child is unhappy with the school experience, parents set off on a journey of trying to figure out what might help. When these parents start to learn about some of the potential problems of gifted children whose environments are inappropriate, they become angry or dismayed that no one warned them of these possibilities.” (p.15)

    “The degree to which parents and children struggle with feelings of isolation or being alone depends somewhat upon the children’s level of giftedness and the community in which the family find itself.” (p. 22)

    “These worried parents find themselves having to become activists and advocates for their children through self-education, assessments, and considerable time and effort. Much of this done on their own and leaves them feeling tremendous frustration, uncertainty, and loneliness.” (p.23)

    Level Three Gifted: “more in high socioeconomic schools” (p. 51)
    Level Four Gifted: “two to three per grade level in high socioeconomic schools” (p.51)

    “In some very selective or competitive private schools or in districts where most parents are professionals, Level One children may be the average learners and will constitute the majority of the students.” (p. 58)

    Also, it seems that the author’s (whom I am impressed with thus far) tone conveys the notion that the imbalance of identification is accepted, i.e., that is just how it is. This struck me as odd and disheartening. Wondering if it will always be this way? Wondering whether giftedness is a product of nature, nurture or a combination of both? Wondering if the giftedness that tests recognize/identify most often is nurtured. Have lots of questions! Thoughts? Answers? Insight anyone?

  16. p. 13, paragraph 4, “It is painful to have people react to your child as though something is wrong…”
    This quote made me feel sympathy for the parents of gifted children. Reading this section helped me realize how lonely it must be for those parents. I hope schools and districts have parent groups to support the parents as they advocate for their children.

    p. 22, last paragraph, “Michael Fuller—I felt exhausted from years of worry and frustration. I was afraid to answer the phone if it rang at about 3:30 P.M….” Until I read the first chapters of this book I did not realize how difficult it was for the parents to find the best placement and situation for their children.

  17. My first series of "Ah'ha" moment were more like "OMG" moments. When I read Eric's Story" (pp.3-10), I immediately thought of my fourteen year nephew. Before he reached 7th grade, I was almost sure that he had aspergers. His behaviors,body movements, and interets in dinosaurs and rocks (science in general) seemed odd. As he got older, he also gained a love of fencing and chess in addition to anything related to science. His parents put their self proclaimed "agnostic" son into a Lutheran achool. Although they live in a very good school district, he still remains at Holy rinity. They realized that Nate was different, and didn't want to hurt him socially by having him moved to a new school, where people hadn't know him all through elementary school.

    When they discussed the "lonliness of the parents" (p.22), I felt bad, and also proud of, my brother and sister-in-law. Their lives revolve around chess tournaments, chess tournaments, Odyssey of the Mind, some sort of Math class from Duke,... They even sent him to some kind of genius camp in Philadelphia until last summer. He was too old for day camp, his mom didn't want him in sleepover camp. Instead Mom spent 5 weeks exploring England (Stonehenge was Nate's favorite). His parents rarely do anything that doesn't involve/include him. Everything is educational, much of it seems boring to me. They have given up a great deal of "adult fun" to ensure that their son gets exposere, challence and opportunity.

  18. In repsonse to S. Acevedo's post, I agree. I would thik that students from lower SES and who have less parental involvement are underidentified. Some parents place more interest and importance on their children's education and expose them to as much as possible.

  19. Also in response to S. Acevedo's post, I, too, am concerned about students from lower SES (particularly those with less parental involvement or minorities). I guess we need to be extra watchful to make sure all students are meeting their potential.

  20. One of my "ah-ha" moments came at the bottom of page 31, "...but test scores are not as clear-cut and simple as we might like, either." I guess I always thought that there was just a test somewhere that decided whether a child was labeled "gifted" or not. That there was a magical line that had nothing to do with a child's personality, behavior and creative process. For a long time I confused "giftedness" with "academic advancement" or "high achievers."

    Another "ah-ha" moment was from page 54 when discribing the "approximately 30% more advanced abilities than the average child" that a gifted child possesses. It gives interesting thought to the point that, if we have not identified gifted children from the onset, how much time & resources are we wasting by not providing the high level curriculum and/or education that we possibly can for these students.

    As a parent, many of the family synopsis' within chapter 1 hit home and provide insight into many of the issues and struggles that families go through with trying to seek out resources for your children.

    One question that had been looming is as a parent how do you recognize if your child is gifted? What does that look like? How do I distinguish between high achievers, giftedness and normal for my household?

  21. For me there were two A-ha moments. One was just the fact that there are more than just two levels of GT. I can sit in my classroom and begin to pick out thosw who are probably level five, and others at level one.
    My second A-ha moment came when I was reading the section "Early Indicators of Giftedness" on page 52. I've always knew that my son was bright, but after reading her list of "indicators" I really feel that he may indeed be gifted.

  22. I do have another A-ha moment while I was reading. After finishing Chapter 2, I wrote the comment about how the experiences of these parents mirrors our family's experience with a daughter on the other end of the scale. Being told by people and afterschool facilities how they could not care for my daughter because she was "normal" (although they never really came out with those exact words). I can relate to how their families treated them, and their children. Both ends are not fun.

  23. In response to B stevenson and providing high level curriculum, I wonder if we are providing the right curriculum at all. It seems that a lot of the family stories indicate ending up either home schooling or in a private school program. Is the public school system really answering the needs of gifted children? Yes a child might get to accelerate and be in a higher level class, but that's not the only way to approach gifted instruction. What about beyond that? I wonder...

  24. On page 35, in the section "The Intelligence Continuum and Education" I really connected with the part that says "the gifted cut off score use by schools for program eligibility is confusing if it leads people to think that a child is either gifted or not gifted." It goes on to explain the continuum. I like how this chapter explains how much different the IQ levels are and what that means to a child's learning.

  25. One Ah-ha moment I had was pretty much Chapter 2. It fit a friend of mine and her children in so many ways that I am going to send this book to her.

    Another ah-ha was over the discrepancy of all the different IQ tests, how they've changed and how there is a ceiling in the tests administered. (p. 33) Compounded with the fact that students have to be referred to be tested in the first place, I wonder how many students who are gifted slip through the cracks. I know all teachers want to do the best for their students and seeing some of the behaviors described makes me take a new look at some of my students.

  26. In response to S. Acevedo: The high SES struck me also. Didn't think of it in terms of "the giftedness that tests recognize/identify most often is nurtured". Will have to think of this awhile. Also makes me wonder if the book will address the different areas other than academic giftedness. How can they be tested and encouraged?

  27. In response to Lisa: I, too, feel much frustration with the bell curve and how many students should be identified. It cuts two ways: too many identified or why aren't enough identified? Is the problem with the assessment tool, how it is administered, how the students are identified for testing, the SES of the students, or that life just doesn't always fall in the bell curve?

  28. In response to Mrs. Scott, I can attest to the argument of assuming that high intelligence equals emotional maturity. There is something to be said about the correlation between intelligence, common sense and maturity. As a parent, I expect a certain level of maturity from my children, whether they are gifted or not, though I recognize their high level of thinking.

    In the realm of education, I also tend to look to home training as well, which can also be confused with high intelligence. There are so many technical terms that we coin in describing what we think a child is, though we are still learning what that is.

  29. I agree with the question posted by B. Stevenson that especially as a parent, how do we recognize whether our child is gifted or not? As one goes through the checklist of characteristics of gifted children, I can say that to a certain extent, I’ve observed some of these traits in certain kids yet have felt that these are normal milestones of development.

  30. I agree with Mrs. Scott about the uneven development between intellectual and emotional maturity. Many of the GT kids in my class are highly capable intellectually, but do not have the emotional maturity to persevere with difficult concepts/assignments.
    I also wonder with S. Acevedo about the identification of giftedness in the lower SES. This year I teach one grade level class for the first time in many years, and all the rest of my classes are G/T/PAP/AP. It is so obvious that all the children in G/T/PAP/AP classes come from abundant homes and so many of the GL kids are lacking in the essentials. The parents of the GL kids did not come to Back to School Night, don’t return phone calls, don’t make sure their kids are at school on time every day, etc. The parents of the higher level kids are more involved in every way.
    I wonder along with S. Acevedo about whether giftedness is due to nature vs. nurture. Is it a natural consequence that more of the higher SES kids are gifted because smarter people marry smarter people, have better jobs, make more money and have smarter kids? Or is it that the identification process is skewed toward the higher SES point of view?

  31. Regarding S.Acevedo's comment on 2/1 @ 8:17 A.M. regarding her observation that some comments the book made might mean "not low SES" students. I was wondering if the study involving these children included in the book was due to their ease in tracking them. Low SES students tend to have a higher mobility rate and would be more difficult to track over time.

  32. In response to Weedin...

    Yes, it did seem the families in the book were middle/upper class. jcooper was right though about lower income kids being harder to track.

    In response to Melanie...

    No! No! No! Do not take statistics. It was a horrible experience for me. I will show you what standard deviations look like. Unbelievably simple, unlike statistics.

    In response to Lisa...

    I want to know more about gt testing too. There is a training on 3.05.11 at Manvel High School in Alvin ISD. It is a Saturday. The address is in Manvel. Don't know exactly where Alvin is but if Manvel is farther I may have to book a room for Friday night! I'll have to see what Mapquest says.

  33. In response to P. Venegas, S. Wagner, and L. Guidy:

    Let me premise this by saying that I definitely believe that giftedness exists, it is a natural occurrence, and that, sadly and inexcusably, they are an often overlooked/ignored part of our student population. However, I am puzzled by the reality of the imbalance in identification, i.e., the high amounts of middle to upper SES identifications vs. low SES ids. Similar P. Venegas, after reviewing the checklist of characteristics of gifted children, through very novice eyes, I thought “my daughter can do most of these, but I would be shocked if she was gifted”. In my inexpert opinion, my daughter can perform most of the items on the checklist because she has been schooled since she was 3 months old (now 3 ½), and both of her parents, most of her parents’ close friends , and most of her toddler friends’ parents have college educations. However, even though I don’t think she is gifted, if my daughter was nominated to be GT tested, my husband and I would allow the testing whereas my own mother would not have allowed it for me or my siblings without a push from us (we were low SES growing up). Not because she was negligent or did not love us, but because it would have just another piece of paper sent home by the school that would have gone in the stack of other unread and unsigned things from school (achievement certificates, permission slips, etc.) if there was no reason to be concerned, i.e., she was not getting phones calls about poor behavior or truancy. School was not on the list of things to worry about if the phone wasn’t ringing. This behavior could be called “unintentional intellectual/emotional-slaughter”. That being stated, I often wonder how many parents with behavior similar to my mother’s in regards to school are called or notified when students don’t return the nomination forms. I wonder if notifying them would make a difference…or not.

    It is very difficult to accept that our society could be getting robbed of great inventions, innovations, ideas, artworks, global solutions, etc. because being born on the wrong side of the tracks may have caused a number of gifted students to not be advocated for, identified, or serviced.

    On the other hand, while reading the vignettes, I kept thinking of the “survival of the fittest” theory. I greatly admire all of the parents in this book who are advocates for their children. These parents made huge social, emotional, and financial sacrifices to ensure a quality survival of their child’s social, emotional, and intellectual well being. It doesn’t appear that anyone is handing these parents anything on a silver platter; so if their sacrifices cause an imbalance in identification then it just does…I guess.

    Such a complicated issue…

    Found a useful, resource rich blog post that briefly addresses this issue:

  34. RE: Lisa’s comments: “How many if given the opportunity wouldn't figure it out? “ and “It seems like they just need opportunity to explore and learn like all kids.

    Good points, and I agree with you if the child is driven, has support at home, and/or is still in the early part of his/her education.

    However, from a high school perspective, sometimes when I encounter identified GT and/or students who seem GT, but are not identified, there is a period of “tearing down the barriers” that I have to endure in order to get them to want to take advantage of opportunities to explore and learn. Often times, by this age, some of them have developed poor work habits, unhealthy perfectionism, and have a disdain for being “schooled”. As a matter of fact, one of my biggest underachievers just yesterday asked me why I was in college again and before I could answer he says, “Oh, yea, you like school. I hate school. Well, (in a matter of fact way) don’t get me wrong, I like learning and being smart, but I just hate school. I just think some teachers can’t teach. Uh, uh, not you, this is different, but like….well, you know what I mean.” I let him sweat in nervousness a little before responding, but he had no idea that I was thinking SCORE! I like to believe that him admitting that to me meant the we had reached a milestone and those walls that I had been trying to break through at all year had finally, in February, started to crumble.

    My point is that it has been my experience that some of the most able can also be conscious underachievers, and sometimes that reality has to be addressed/rehabilitated before they will buy into exploring and learning opportunities that happen in any way that looks like “school”.

  35. Thank you, Mrs. Scott, for offering to explain standard deviations to me. :)