While reading the descriptions of the children at Level 2, I wasn't having any ah-ha moments until...the 3 year old, Earl Langer, page 84, was described as reading manuals for household items. Also the girl on page 85, who was regrouping in the thousands at age 3. Yes, those children would be bored in my Title One school 2nd grade classroom. One page 93 the author says that whatever the Level 2 child teaches himself/herself, will end up accelerated. But whatever has to be learned through teaching, will end up scored much lower in the child's achievement testing. I find that confusing...not the lower part, but that the author contributes it to the classroom experience. I think it is just as easily attributed to learning disabilities, which can be ignored when a child is so bright.page 112: Very bright children are naturally motivated to learn; for such children, the environment must be set up less to motivate learning and more to allow it. Love that!! page 148: "These conversations take place a year or more earlier than for children whose intellectual levels are Two or Three." That is fascinating! Now I am wracking my brains to remember existential conversations I had with preschoolers. Umm...
Let me start by saying that I don't have children, so much of this reading is very enlightening for me. How interesting that many Level Two babies make eye contact while still in the delivery room (73-74). And how awesome that many Level Two babies "show great interest and patience in listening to people speak or read to them" (74). Although I don't know a lot about babies, both of these signs seem very advanced. I don't know what I would do with a child like Frank Price. I can't even imagine adding all the numbers from 1-100 in my head (92)! I don't know how I would help guide Frank. I guess it's a good thing that I'm an English teacher!It's so interesting that "the quick transition of not speaking at all to speaking in full sentences is a hallmark of exceptional intelligence" (102). How bizarre to have such a sudden transition!Although I understand why, it's too bad that "many parents of Level Four and higher children turn to home schooling, so fewer of Level Four and Level Five children children remain in regular schools" (127). I don't mean that students are not getting a good education outside of "regular schools." I just find it disappointing that public schools aren't better meeting the needs of all students.
My A-ha moments came from each chapter when they were describing each level from birth to five years old. I was astonished with the attention span each level had at such a young age—months! I was also really impressed with Layne Freeman (page 107) and how she showed an interest in the written and spoken word since birth. She had an amazing memory that allowed her to recite books and songs after only once read or heard to. When she was in Kindergarten the teacher told her mother she had difficulty decoding words on the fifth grade level! Her mother was amazed since she didn’t know she was able to read. It goes to show that what we model and say our children are absorbing every bit of it and just at different levels. I was shocked that Layne had this level of giftedness and skills and her own parents didn’t recognize her talents, but her teacher did!!
In response to Melanie on February 20th. I too am amazed with the stories of the individual children. I keep thinking about my niece and nephew and if they had or are doing some of those things at their age. I completely agree with page 112 that the environment must be set up less to motivate learning and more to allow it. I feel that SBISD is trying very hard to allow the resources to set up that learning atmosphere. We as educators need to focus on how we can utilize these resources so that we allow natural motivated learning!
My ah-ha moments came in two places. The first was on p.93 in the gray box. "Teachers are more likely to notice high verbal and reading skills..." I was wondering if that was because we interact with our students verbally and notice those skills first. My next ah-ha came on p. 95 in the gray box. "Writing is a common problem area for gifted children, their parents, and the schools. Teachers will point to a child's lack of advanced writing ability (usually normal for the age but not for the intellectual level) as evidence that the child is not really gifted." I have noticed this with gifted students and wondered why this was true, but not understoof why.I especially enjoy reading the summary of each level, as on pp. 96-97. Many of the points I read remind me of students I have had in the past.
In response to Sasha Luther on February 21st, I, too, am amazed by the things these children can do. The responsibility the parents have to advocate for their children must be overwhelming at times. Also, I feel that SBISD helps the classroom teachers in every way possible to challenge each child to the best of his/her ability.Another comment I had that was related had to do with the home schooling aspect. Some of the parents turned to home schooling as an option when other school settings didn't work as well for their child. To home school would require a non-working parent with enough time and resources to devote to the education of their child. Like Weedin, I have no children of my own, but I have observed the children of family members and friends. So many of the things these children can do so early amazes me.
One of my "aha" moments came on p 93 in the gray box when the author wrote that many teachers are more likely to recognize high verbal and reading skills as opposed to math ability. I wonder if that is because many elementary teachers are not as fluent in math concepts (I don't mean arithmetic) as they are in language development.Another "aha" for me was when the author described the alertness of the newborns and eye contact very shortly after birth (summarized on pp. 96-97). There were several references to humor, as well, and interest in Garfield (p. 113) and Calvin and Hobbs (mentioned several different times). These chapters have brought back a lot of memories from my own children. I remember my toddler son running from car to car in the Kroger parking lot, looking under the back bumpers to check to see which cars had dual exhausts.
In response to Melanie's comment on 2/20 at 6:31 P.M.--She made reference to p.112, "Very bright children are naturally motivated to learn; for such children, the envirnment must be set up less to motivate learning and more to allow it." I also love this part! Many of these children sought out information in areas of their interest, whether in books or activities that helped them develop their skills. Their minds were so quick that they could leap ahead and figure things out for themselves. Fortunately for these students, they had attentive parents who provided puzzles, mazes or appropriate books.
I am not sure that I have had too many aha moments while reading this book altough I do find it interesting. I, like Jane,have noticed that as it says on p.95 in the gray box quote about gifted children often struggling in writing. I have noticed this as well. I think it is because gifted children sometimes do not get enough instruction from teachers because they are ahead in so many areas. As a fifth grade teacher, I find myself doing a lot of teaching to the gifted kids to try to stretch them to reach their potential and improve in those areas that are now showing up to be deficient from lack of direct instruction in writing. I am not comfortable seeing them stagnate, plus the curriculum gets more difficult and by this time many have to learn how to learn because they have been able to get by on their own natural abilities for so long. I feel it so important that we give them opportunities to learn and explore with guidance. I also agree with Jane's comment about SBISD giving children an opportunity to learn in a differentiated atmosphere. At least at my campus, I have the freedom as a teacher in Lang Arts to let children explore in the reading and writing where their interests lie. It does improve motivation for these children. Really, all children. Gifted education is like all education in some ways. I am glad though that gifted kids are getting more attention. Their needs are great and often not met, because they meet grade level objectives.
It was fascinating to read about these stories about gifted kids and their early milestones most especially the eye contact while still in the delivery room. A specific statement that struck me was the author’s note in page 90-91 that “… a child’s welfare is better served by letting him find his own interests through reading, videos and unstructured play”. This to me further reinforced the need for creating an environment of learning versus mere instruction.
I guess that two things got to me in this section. On pages 83-84, the author states that "there is more to high intelligence than academic achievement. It is also about the child's pondering, interests, self-motivated drive to learn, and feelings that go along with complex reasoning ability."Just becuase a kid tests well and makes good grades in school, doesn't mean that they are extremely smart. Some families and cultures stress book smarts, formal education and good grades more than others. Also, when a parent sends his/her child to the better schools, the child may not be more intelligent than another who has had a less prestigious schooling experience. A person who is better educated is not necessarily smarter than another will less formal education.I also like it on page 83 when she wrote, "Gifted children enjoy learning, but that is not always the same as enjoying instruction." This brought me back to the beginning of the book when they spoke of the high percentage of gifted students who had dropped out of school.
Like Weedin and Jane Cooper, I have no children of my own. I have a problem with home schooling. Children need a social education just as much as an academic one (especially gifted children).I will not continue on with this comment, as it will surely lead to a story of yet another home-schooled spelling bee champion.
While I was reading Chapter 5 on Level Two, I was really intrigued when they talked about the babies alertness and eye contact, I never really connected that with giftedness before. I was also comparing many of the children's love of books and puzzles with that of my 2 year old nephew. On page 94, Chrissy Quan: I loved this because even though she could read Harry Potter, she loved little kids books too. It reminded me that however smart some gifted children are, they are still children and will act like children at times too.
In response to PVenegas: "A specific statement that struck me was the author’s note in page 90-91 that “… a child’s welfare is better served by letting him find his own interests through reading, videos and unstructured play”. This to me further reinforced the need for creating an environment of learning versus mere instruction."It is amazing to me to watch my niece and nephew develop in their school through unstructured play and the Montessori approach. By two years old they know their colors, letters, numbers and several words. It is hard to decide if it is because they are gifed or just able to learn through a variety of unstructured interactions and learning opportunities.
I agree with elizabeth h's comment "Just becuase a kid tests well and makes good grades in school, doesn't mean that they are extremely smart. Some families and cultures stress book smarts, formal education and good grades more than others."These readings highlight the difference between bright kids who may be extremely high achievers and advanced kids who are naturally gifted.
Page 83: “It is very important to notice what very young children of higher giftedness levels are doing without specific instruction.” Appreciate this statement, but wonder how difficult this is to assess. I am not a diagnostician, but as a result of reading the included vignettes, I suspect that some parents may withhold information regarding coaching and/or augment the truth regarding their child exhibiting characteristics/behaviors that indicate high intelligence.Less of an AHA….more of a hmmm...Page 112: In the vignette in which Brennan Ahlers dialogues with his father about calling his father by his first name. I don’t agree with the parent’s solution to Brennan’s challenge. Recently attended a session on gifted underachievers and over empowerment was one of the most prevalent and challenging behaviors she encountered in middle and high school underachievers. It seems that Brennan’s parents capitulating rather that teaching Brennan appropriate social behavior (outside of the home most especially) could cause Brennan to suffer socially, emotionally, and academically as he ages. Is it a good practice to exempt the gifted from developing an understanding of manners and accept norms? They don’t have to agree with societal norms, but it seems that it is important that they learn/develop the ability to empathize those who act in accordance with and/or value societal norms. Thoughts?
My first aha moment came from page 108 - “because I said so” does not work. Even at this young age, these children need explanations and reasoning to gain cooperation. My second aha was on page 110 discussing how the children need suggestions and strategies for how to “turn off their brains” and slow down thoughts to relax and sleep. I think that these two points easily cross over into the classroom, especially when dealing with management.
In response to Weedin, I too am concerned about whether public schools can offer something substantial for the higher level students. I’ve mentioned it before, but other than acceleration, when dealing with a level four and even threes - what is offered? I understand why parents turn to private schools or home schooling, but it is unfortunate.
RE: Jane Cooper’s comment about writing problems. I wonder if the writing issue can be attributed to thought processing speed being out of sync with writing speed, i.e. they are unable to get all of their thoughts (complexity) down on paper as fast as they can think/process them. Could it be this lack of sync that causes frustration and stymies the writing process?Or, maybe it can be a perfectionist issues? Maybe a need to get everything down on paper perfectly and/or the fear of being critiqued sabotages the writing process (prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing).Interesting issue!
One thing that struck me was how at such an early age these children had a driving need to create and solve problems as shown by the fascination with puzzles, legos, and other building toys. Also, they show a great attention to details such as Chrissy (p.80) "When she was two ears old, she drew people with a head, eyes, eyballs, nose, mouth, theeth, ears, chin, legs, and feet."I also found it interesting how they can tie ideas together at an early age, such as Boyd following complex direction before he was 1 (p. 75), Greg making analogies (p. 81) which leads up to an early developed sense of humor shown by many gifted students on many levels.
In response to S. Acevedo, the story of Brennan also concerned me. The passage on Gina (p.109) "that when she left the doorway, we started to laugh." concerned me also. The thought that it's o.k. for the child to do whatever they want because they are gifted could be sending the wrong message to the child. The session you attended on underachievers sounds interesting.
In response to PVenegas and elizabeth h, who both talked about an atmosphere of learning not just instruction - I agree that is the best way to set up a classroom. It is too easy to get caught up in what we have to get accomplished in the classroom and focusing on our lower performing students and keeping up with where we are supposed to be on the Roadmap. It would be wonderful to have some share sessions with other teachers/educators who have great ideas and strategies for setting up a classroom that would accomplish that task.
In response to EVessali, how can we reach Level Three and Level Four students? In classes of 30 students, how can we meet the needs of all students? How can we push all of our students to their individual learning? I agree that it's such a shame that students aren't at their most successful in public schools.
I agree with P Venegas. When I read: "It is very important to notice what very young children of higher giftedness levels are doing without specific instruction."Not only is it important, it is very interesting, can even be funny or fun.
In response to S Acevedo re p 112, who is to say it is inappropriate social behavior to call a parent by their first name. There was no mention that Brennan suffered socially, and even if he did, I doubt that it would be due to his calling his father by his first name. My nephew has called his grandparents by their first names since he was able to talk and no one considers it disrespectful—it is just an idiosyncrasy of his that everyone in the family and community accept.
response to SWagner: ooo, that is a great point about Chrissy drawing "people with a head, eyes, eyballs, nose, mouth, theeth, ears, chin, legs, and feet." So many times kids draw with only a few body parts, and we have to draw attention to the lack of a body, etc.
Re: LGuidry. You are right! I failed to realize that I was judging the situation with my personal opinion about appropriate behavior. Just wondering or trying figure out the causes of the prevalence of over empowerment in gifted underachievers. Thinking my bias caused me to view the dialogue between Brennan and his father as a little bit of a power struggle.
In Chapter 6, it put into perspective the struggles of defining GT children who a part of the 98th-99th percentiles. The behaviors can still vary and meeting the needs as the parents can be very scary. So as educators finding way to challange these students can be even more of an issue. As one father noted...how could he continue to stimulate his child's mind, knowing that his child is smarter than him. As educator's where can we look for resources to stimulate the minds of these children, even if it's over (meaning MINE for sure) heads?
Melanie is on to something when describing that a self-taught child will naturally excel in that area, but in the classroom, may drop off. Another viewpoint is that maybe what's being taught within the classroom is to no interest to that child. That's across the board, to me. Plus, I think the style of the teacher can also attribute to the challenging a gifted child's mind. In that sense, I believe the statement is very broad and aligned with too many variables.