One characteristic is Asynchrony of Development (page 216. This means the child's reasoning and vocabulary is way ahead of experiece or judgment. There are fears based on gaps. I recall a 2nd grader who was extremely concerned about the vegetable garden growing at school. The teacher could not fathom his thoughts and was quite irritated. The parent was called to interpret. Turns out, his lettuce seed was not sprouting, and as he felt repulsed by all vegetables except lettuce, he was worried he wouldn't be able to partake in the garden celebration after the eventual harvest.It is vital for the well being of the child to have adults who accept and serve as a confidant for those very real gap-based fears.
I chose the characteristics of behaviors of "feisty, independent and strong willed" (p. 201). Most classrooms with consistent routines and established rules/procedures are more pleasant to visit. If parents have rules and routines in place at home, this may make it easier for teachers to works with these students. The adults in the books were having trouble with the "willfullness" of the students. It seems that the more that adults learn to work with these students, the more cooperative they become. The stories of Rebecca and Phil (p. 202, 203) talks how strong-willed and independent-minded some students can be. These "independent" students may come across as diffucult (which they may be). Most teachers want to have the authority in the classroom and have students agree with them and be compliant to their wishes/directives. These kids are not necessarily not, say "yes maam," and do as asked. They may be more challenging, but it is good to be challenged every so often.I must say that I was suprised when I read about the "androgony of interests and behaviors" in some gifted kids. I don't think it is anything that needs examining or questioning, I just found it interesting (p. 228).
I chose concentration and attention spam on pg 205. This trait is probably mostly misunderstood if the child is in the right setting. One may believe they are day dreaming, however they may be making a connection in their own mind or wondering “what if..” Also, gifted children do not like to experience failure so the attention they may be giving to an activity is to gain the success they wish to achieve or to solve a problem that interest them.
Lisa M says...On page 205, it says with regards to attention span and concentration, "These children are often offended when an adult tries to distract them from what they want to do..."This trait could definitely be misinterpretted as disrespectful to the teacher or peers. I can see how these students will often end up in detention or missing recess time for this kind of behavior. It is a reminder that as a teacher, I need to be aware of what the child is doing and teach them how to transition from one activity to the next. This is the same type of technique I would use with my sepcial education students, but it is something that needs to be taught.
Lisa M says...In response to Melanie and the child with the lettuce seed, thanks for sharing the story. It reminds us how important and helpful parents can be when trying to communicate with and help our GT kids.
response to Lisa M "Anonymous"...teaching transition is an area I need to grow in. I sometimes change the routine planned in order to go with whatever flow is happening. This works well for the majority, but for those less flexible, I may offend their sense of justice. I need to be the most flexible, allowing and even encouraging certain students more transition time than others.
P. 222 regarding bossiness: I can see how being perceived as bossy would be a detriment to highly intelligent children. I have observed some of my students getting into difficulty by “adding rules or embellishments” in an attempt to make a game more interesting or challenging. It’s just too easy for them otherwise and too tempting for them not to, as with Phil Burns ordering the other kids around in an attempt to direct play according to his own plan and then becoming frustrated when the other kids didn’t want to do it his way.
One characteristic I found interesting was on page 223, Sportsmanship and Competitive Nature. It kind of made me giggle because I was playing a word game on my phone against a very gifted fifth grader that I used to babysit for. We had about 30 letters left and I was up by 40 points so he just resigned. I was joking to his mom that I didn't mean to make him feel badly and he was still in the game, and she said she would have to have the sportsmanship talk with him again...he does this often!
In response to Lisa M: I thought the way you summed up the attention span and what we need to do as educators was right on point. Not all kids are daydreaming and we need to understand where they are coming from too.
As noted on page 205, one trait that may be misunderstood or misinterpreted in concentration and attention span. The author notes that parents report that “their own children didn’t seem to hear them when engrossed in their own thoughts or activities, and they had to touch the children or gain eye contact in order to pull them out of their intense concentration”. I can easily see how this can be misinterpreted in a classroom setting. A teacher may think that the student is not paying attention to the subject matter, or may even believe that he is being purposely disrespectful, when in fact he might be focusing on a problem.
In response to Melanie’s comment about the lettuce see, I believe that one common theme across these characteristics is miscommunication, in some form or other. When dealing with young gifted children, you can’t always take their comments as face value and have to have the inclination to dig deeper and ask for clarification. It seems that when their thought process is revealed, things (behavior or comments) perceived as abnormal, become understandable.
One characteristic that could easily be misunderstood is when a student has issues with authority. Especially in a classroom setting, I can see how students might lose respect for a teacher who has "unreasonable power over them" (209). In particular, when a teacher assigns "busy work" or "inappropriate school assignments," I understand how this might frustrate or anger gifted students (and all students). This is a great reason why teachers should allow students choice in their assignments/learning.
The trait I wanted to address was perfectionism(p.207). "Gifted children need help interpreting the difficulties and failures that they encounter so that their self concepts remain strong." I have had gifted students work on complicated projects and run into difficulties, get frustrated and want to quit when the final product did not match the idea they had dreamed in their minds. I tried to help them see that the bumps in the road were learning experiences that everyone faces. Sometimes those are the fun part of a project-figuring your way out of a problem you encounter. Later when you look back on what you did you are proud of the process you went through to find your way around the difficulty.
Regarding E Vessali on 3/22 at 4:22 P.M. on concentration and attention span--I agree with that comment. What I as a teacher may see as daydreaming or off-task behavior, may be a gifted student's way of imagining a problem and becoming lost in those thoughts. I feel better when all eyes are on me for my whole class participation, but sometimes there may be other reasons why a student isn't responding right at that moment.
Sasha Luther brings up such a good point! I wonder how many times I've been frustrated with a student for "day dreaming." What if that student was just making a connection in his/her mind? I definitely need to remember this!
I agree with Weedin's thoughts on 3/22 at 6:24 P.M. about busy work that gifted students may resent or resist (209). If a student complains about a journal topic, I ask them to help me write some topics on notecards for future use or choose their own topic for the day. A creative student can always come up with a way to modify an assignment to make it more interesting for himself or herself.
After reading through the vignettes under Issue with Authority, I thought the student behaviors could be easily mistaken for oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) or emotional disturbance (ED). Especially the incident described on page 210-211 in which the student “held the pencil to the examiner’s face and said that he would poke her eye out” because she asked him to not start the test until after directions were finished being read. I think it is perfectly reasonable that the last thing on anyone’s mind witnessing or hearing about this incident would be “oh, he is highly gifted and that is something he does when he is frustrated. It is not a big deal. He doesn’t mean it.” The teacher and the parents really have to be strong advocates and models of behavior for these students to help them manage their issues with authority.
A child's refusal to do an activity in class can be very frustrating for a teacher. This book reminded me how important it is to take a step back and look at why. With the gifted children it could be perfectionism (pg. 208 "...many very talented, bright children simply refuse to try things rather than reveal that they can't do them well.") or issues with authority (pg. 209 "Michael hated arithmetic in school and frequently received zeroes on his math sheets because he refused to show his work.")
RE: Jane Cooper Loved your line about the “bumps in the road were learning experiences that everyone faces”. It addresses a serious stressful issue with a very lighthearted touch. It seems that it will neutralize the intenseness the gifted can experience during failure. Going to be using that one!
In response to elizabeth h, your comments on willfulness made me think of how valuable Love and Logic is for dealing with these students. Giving students choices and avoiding power struggles would work well with these students.
In response to Jane Cooper, your comment made me think of the Disney movie, "Meet the Robinsons". One of the central themes of the movie is we learn more from our mistakes and to "Keep moving forward!" Your gifted students might enjoy watching it.
In response to Jane Cooper's comment about perfectionism...I agree completely. Many of my GT students struggle with this. Sometimes my class is the first time that they will make a B or fail a test. Unfortunately some of them will just "give up" on chemistry and start to believe that it is just a subject that they will not do well, so then they don't study for the next test and then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because they will fail again. I have to reassure the students that they can master the material, it just might not come to them automatically.
In response to Weedin on March 22. I agree Issues with authority can be very difficult in everyday situations. We must not let our children feel we have an unreasonable power over them, but they we desire to strengthen their skills and give meaning to our teaching. Teachers must realize that may gifted students do not need busy work, but work that allow choices that interest them and allows them to grow mentally and not become stagnate learns.
P Venegas:I opted for the characteristic on concentration and attention span (p. 205). I believe that this can be easily misunderstood in class as “spacing out” or daydreaming when in fact they may be contemplating on other ways to do the activity and take it to the next level.
P Venegas:Page 234 states, “… most people unthinkingly accept that age is a logical way to organize schools, with little or no regard for when and what children are ready to learn”. It would truly be ideal for there to be a “school with no boundaries”, a school that puts emphasis on intellectual ability as opposed to social norms, but there are numerous challenges we face especially in light of the current educational structure. For me, having a differentiated learning plan for gifted kids would be a wonderful option.
P Venegas:Please disregard the last comment as that was for Question 3.
I think one of the top characteristics that could be misunderstood in the classroom is a strong-willed child (page 201). I can only imagine a teacher attempting to assign an activity within a classroom of 20 students and having a strong-willed gifted student rejecting the activity. The teacher may see the student as talking back or argumentative, instead of taking the time to listen to the student’s questions/comments. I have witnessed a strong-willed child get downright frustrated in tears due to the fact that she just wants to get her point out, question asked or explanation of her thought process. It’s very important to be heard and feel like they are a part of the process in what’s going on.
Though I recognize Jane Cooper's view that perfectionism can be a misunderstood characteristic in the classroom, I don't see that as being limited to gifted students ONLY. Perfectionism to me can be a problem of children who come from abusive homes, high-pressure households, etc., etc. Plus, I don't think it's a misunderstood for the teacher. I think a teacher can, for the most part, tell when a student is frustrated with their personal performance versus doesn't want to do the work.