Definition of Gifted and Talented students

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by teacher82A, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. teacher82A

    teacher82A Rookie

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    Sep 21, 2008

    What is everyone's definition of a gifted and talented student? Every year, I have at least one parent who is constantly on my case about providing enrichment activities for their child. Half the time, that student cannot even follow the directions to complete the work independently. A gifted and talented child should need minimal teacher guidance in my opinion. The boy I have this year (whose mother claims he is gt) needs a lot of guidance to complete the more challenging work. This mother even told me that she had past teachers quote "develop a new curriculum" for her children and call his work folder an "opportunity" folder because he shuts down when he hears the word "challenge." I do not want to go through all this trouble when in my eyes, he is smart, just not as smart as the mother thinks he is. She also said she had him take a test to see if he could skip a grade and he didn't pass/qualify. Shouldn't that tell her something? I don't know what's worse the parents who don't care at all or the ones who care too much? :dizzy:
     
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  3. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    I think the definition of gifted depends upon your school system. The local public school in my area defines gifted as having an IQ of 135 or higher.

    I have seen children that definitely qualify based on their IQ stores alone, but there is something called a twice exceptional child, meaning a child who is "gifted" but also has learning disabilities.

    I think you need to look at these children just as you would any other child. Most teachers tend to look at "giftedness" in one narrow area, meaning academic skills. In reality, academic giftedness only accounts for a small percentage of children who are truly gifted.

    Is there a way you can support him as well as stretching his skills? Sounds like that's what he needs.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Here's a list of 'opportunities for enrichment' that a colleague sends home- no work for you, and a true G & T kid would go to town on it...

    Practice cursive handwriting

    Read something and write about it

    Study health

    Try siblings homework

    Play a learning game (Dominoes, Memory Game, etc.)

    Think of words that rhyme with the spelling words of the week

    Have someone give you a practice spelling test

    Draw a picture and write about it

    Write a poem about a classmate

    Observe someone or something and write about it (nature)

    Learn your spelling challenge words

    Learn about a country (books, Internet, world books, etc.)

    Write your own math problems and solve them

    Watch history channel and write about what you learn

    Learn about someone famous – Try dressing up like him/her

    Look for caterpillars

    Write a letter to a relative

    Write an acrostic poem

    Play a spelling game

    Graph how many quarters, nickels, and dimes you have (apples and bananas)

    Count your money – make two or three equal piles

    Play hangman with a sibling

    Keep a personal journal

    Read more – try to reach our goal of 45 minutes of sustained reading

    Write a story (a memory, a special wish, etc.) - We are working toward growing our lives as writers

    Make a picture book

    Study math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division)

    Buy an extra math workbook to complete at home

    Become an expert on a specific topic. Read about it. Watch videos or tv shows about it. Write about it. Create a board game to teach your classmates about it. Prepare a lesson to teach us about it. Be creative. How will you share what you are studying? It is all up to you!

    Get an early start on researching your state

    Do arts-n-crafts projects

    Brain teasers

    Go to the library

    Type a story on the computer

    Make a web-page

    Locate different states on a map

    Find facts about a specific topic in a magazine

    Practice Spanish words

    Look up words in the dictionary to increase your vocabulary

    Write in writer’s notebook

    Write trivia questions for HNN

    Write positive thoughts for HNN

    Make something for book buddy

    Find a book to read with your book buddy

    Bring home notebooks to review class notes

    Make a list of ideas for your writer’s notebook

    Make a model butterfly (solar system, simple machine, etc.)

    Draw a map – Create your own city and make a key. Can you write directions to get from one point to another?

    Make a joke book

    What is a palindrome? Can you look it up on the Internet? Create a list of palindromes! (Homophones, Synonyms, Antonyms, etc.)

    Think of a word and then only use those letters to make up more words. How many words are there in Thanksgiving?

    Write a new ending to a story

    Brainstorm other extra homework ideas

    Write a chapter book

    Make a picture book

    Go to the nature center

    Make up your own input/output problem

    Ask talking globe questions

    Describe an object in detail – Can someone in your family guess what you are describing?

    Make a comic book

    Compare 2 items using a Venn Diagram

    Conduct a science experiment

    Extend something you did for homework. On the back of a worksheet, create something of your own and solve it.

    Make a power point presentation

    Draw a picture using Kid Pix

    Play an educational software game


    Search the Internet – here are some useful sites

    http://mathforum.org/k12/mathtips/

    http://www.eduplace.com/math/brain/ - this site lists a new brain teaser every Wednesday

    http://www.ventura.k12.ca.us/mound/id19.htm – this site picks a new problem the first Monday of every month.

    http://www.gamequarium.com/index2.htm – this site is full of games for all subject areas

    www.pbskids.org -

    www.mathsurf.com

    www.enchantedlearning.com

    www.funschool.com

    www.funbrain.com
     
  5. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Sep 21, 2008

    :soapbox: Being gifted and being smart are two very different things.

    Gifted is not just based on IQ scores or the ability to finish work quickly and accurately. IQ's above 140 often are present in gifted students, but this alone is not an indicator of giftedness, only of sheer intelligence.

    While many gifted child are self-motivated and self-directed, many are not. Many have problems relating to other children socially. The perception that gifted children are necessarily good students isn't totally accurate.

    That being said, I've rarely known a gifted student who couldn't pass the test for advancing to the next grade. (Our school will not allow gifted students to be "pushed ahead" in grades -- but these students could still pass the test if they were allowed to do it.)

    Here are some signs that a young child (ages 5-8) may be gifted:

    • Thinks abstractly; that is, she grasps advanced mathematical and linguistic concepts and can talk about such complex issues as ethics, morality, and religion.
    • Has a specific talent, such as the ability to perform mathematical calculations in her head, or understand concepts like multiplication before they are taught in school.
    • Is able to intensely concentrate and focus on one activity for long periods.
    • Has a large vocabulary and understands words not typically used by peers.
    • Is a leader; that is, often organizes group activities, such as initiating games when she's with other children.
    • Is confident in her accomplishments and ideas.
    • Performs well in academic areas.
    • Is creative; that is, she loves to tell stories, draw, or compose songs.
    • Has a sense of humor and appreciates wit.
    • Prefers to spend time with older children and adults.
    • Performs academic work that is two years ahead of her grade level.
    • Is sensitive to other people's feelings.
    • Memorizes facts easily and can recall them and relate them at appropriate times.

    You might be surprised to learn that a child can be both gifted and learning disabled. In most cases, the disability is recognized and giftedness is undetected. Giftedness in children from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged backgrounds, and in those for whom English is a second language, is often overlooked as well. If your child falls into any of these categories, it's best to find a psychologist who is sensitive to these issues. It is also important to ask your child's teacher to observe him and look for talents that conventional tests cannot detect.

    Highly and profoundly gifted children are often defined as those who score above the third or fourth standard deviation on IQ tests (Webb, Meckstroth, & Tolan, 1982),
    Although the current revisions of the Stanford-Binet and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children do not have as high a ceiling as older versions of the Stanford-Binet, a similar population emerges at about 140 IQ on the newer tests

    "Just as we have worked over the past decade to make public buildings physically accessible to the disabled, we must work to make our age-graded classrooms intellectually accessible to the highly gifted" (Kearney, 1993, p. 16). More than 50 years ago, Hollingworth noted that "In the ordinary elementary school situation, children of 140 IQ waste half of their time. Those above 170 IQ waste practically all of their time" (Hollingworth, 1942, p. 299). Recent research confirms that this is still the case today (Silverman, 1991; Renzulli & Reis, 1991). The vast majority of highly gifted children are caught in an "age-grade lockstep,"(Stanley, 1978, p. 3) which routinely offers such children academic work five, six, seven, or eight years or more below their intellectual level (Gross, 1993; Stanley, 1978).

    Use classroom management and teaching strategies which do not exploit highly gifted children. Busy American teachers since colonial days have used bright children to run errands, tutor other classmates or younger children, and perform maintenance tasks in the classroom. The 1993 federal report on the status of the education of gifted students notes that "Most academically talented students have already mastered up to one-half of the required curriculum offered to them in elementary school" (U. S. Department of Education, 1993, p. 19), not an appreciable improvement from the 1930s (Hollingworth, 1942). Despite rhetoric to the contrary, "Most regular classroom teachers make few, if any, provisions for talented students" (U. S. Department of Education, 1993, p. 2) Furthermore, the trend toward using heterogeneous cooperative learning groups in contemporary classrooms may lend itself to the exploitation of highly gifted children, especially in settings where group grades are given or where no homogeneous groupings are allowed (Robinson, 1990).
     
  6. michelb366

    michelb366 Comrade

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    Sep 21, 2008

    Well put RainStorm! You beat me to the punch!

    OP - can you contact the student's previous teachers to see what areas they believed he needs enrichment in? Remember, he's still a 3rd grader, even if he does end up gifted in one or more areas. Does your school/district have a gifted coordinator?
    MIchelle
     
  7. MrsWbee

    MrsWbee Companion

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    Sep 22, 2008

    Here in AZ, there is voluntary testing for GT each year, and a child must pass an area with at least 97% accuracy to qualify for GT services in that content area. A mom of one of the students in the class I volunteered in last year swore up and down that her child was gifted and that the teacher needed to modify the curriculum to meet his needs, yet he never even came close to qualifying on any of the tests (nor did he on the previous two years' tests). She finally told us that the child would not be completing any of the homework because it was not challenging enough and was wasting his time.... this child literally could not even figure out which way to write his name on the paper, and his grades were average at best on the grade level material.

    Does your district have someone who handles GT testing? Do you have GT programs that you can turn to for support? If the child is gifted, he should be placed in appropriate programs. If he's not, then maybe you could have a parent-teacher-admin meeting to explain that the child needs to follow the "typical" curriculum, and that your classroom management and enrichment skills will ensure that this child's needs are met, as they are for all of the students who cover the spectrum.
     
  8. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Sep 22, 2008

    I have known few, if any, parents who've said their child is gifted without having some type of justification for it. Parents are highly biased, but they're not blind. Usually, the ones who are wrong about it are the ones whose children are academically advanced but have been pushed hard by their parents, not the ones whose students actually appear average academically. Having a gifted child can be kind of a PITA, actually -- for parents as well as teachers.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 22, 2008

    It's true that parents of a clearly average child don't generally claim the child as gifted. There are, however, plenty of parents - especially in the wealthier parts of town, and especially when there's a "gifted group" for a significant part of the school day - who'll claim their bright child is gifted and who will move heaven and earth to get the kid classified as such and into the program. The result is often either that the bright kid flounders generally in a class that serves the truly gifted child well, or that the program meets the bright kids' needs and the gifted kids are still bored spitless.

    Having a gifted kid can indeed be kind of a PITA. Being one can be, too. Though the assumption that the gifted kid shouldn't need the teacher's attention is rot - and I think it accounts for more than a little acting out in the classroom: the gifted kid is no more immune than any other child to the understanding that bad attention is better than no attention.

    My seat-of-the-pants definition of giftedness is that the kid says or does something jaw-dropping on a fairly regular basis. Of course, it needs to be safe for the kid to do so: some children learn painfully young that their jaw-dropping insights or products are better kept to themselves.
     
  10. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Sep 22, 2008

    We usually agree with you on most things 3sons, but I have to disagree on this one. As a classroom teacher who specializes in working with gifted students (I am the cluster teacher for our gifted program) I have dealt with DOZENS of parents over the years who insist their child is gifted, when the child doesn't come close to meeting the basic requirements for that program.

    I had one last year who just insisted her child was gifted. She received very average marks on her grades, her IQ was in the very low end of average, she was very well-mannered and tried hard, she didn't have an enriched vocabulary, she didn't think abstractly, and she was well about the average on the tests used for our program. (To be in the program, you have to be WAY above average, and this child wasn't even at the average mark.) Her parents based their decision that their child was "gifted" on the fact that she was so much "smarter" than her siblings.

    Some parents have a good idea, but many don't.
     
  11. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Sep 23, 2008

    Well, I'll certainly defer to your experience on it. Though I've known a lot of parents, I don't typically discuss gifted status unless it comes up. Also, a lot of the other parents I do know are from a culture where being gifted is kind of a bad thing.

    Really, what I wanted to suggest is that if a parent really thinks their child is gifted, the teacher should try to find out why the parent thinks that. They might have some evidence that's not obvious.

    Moreover, TG, I recently moved, and I think I see what you mean. I'll do another post on back-to-school night (teachers get to do them. . . I can too, as a parent, right?), which was last nigt, and at which I got a view of a rather different district than my previous experience.
     
  12. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Sep 24, 2008

    Well, I'm late in chiming in my :2cents: here (thank you Hurricane Ike for making us lose electricity for 9 days-talk about AtoZ withdrawal).

    I work with G/T students in Early Childhood - so believe me when I tell you a child can be gifted but not necessarily exhibit those inclinations. Some children I encounter have just never been taught. Some lack the verbal skills to express their higher-level thinking. And very often with the young kids, their completed work looks just like the average child's work would - they just don't have the basic skills to get their thoughts down on paper in any sort of higher level product.

    I had a student once whose name began with the letter J and she couldn't even identify that letter of the alphabet (much less any others), she couldn't count past 5 at the beginning of the school year. Fast forward to 2 months later, she was writing about the "reflection of the glistening sun". Every word I taught for vocabulary, she picked up immediately - no one had ever tapped into those abilities before. Even gifted kids need to be taught to be independent thinkers, to be creative to take risks - many children don't enter school with those concepts intact whether they have that G/T label or not. Gifted children are sometimes lazy the same way "regular" children are. They have learned how to do the minimum and like Rainstorm said can have LD's but learn to compensate for that early on.

    That being said, I do believe there are parents who believe their children are gifted, but are simply high achievers. The difference in what I see is that gifted children are able to make connections between concepts, they see patterns in everything, they do often have a more advanced vocabulary, but the children I see from low-income and ESL homes usually lack that when they enter school. My advice to the OP is to continue to challenge this child and have that proof to show the parent; if the student can't handle that work then that's evidence for the parent as well.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 24, 2008

    I had one of the overachieving parents last year.

    Vicky was probably the LAST kid placed into the honors program. She really struggled in math-- came to extra help and worked her tail off, but struggled.

    Mom insisted that she was "gifted" and should just work harder. (Mom, if she were really gifted, she wouldn't have to work harder. Could you PLEASE, oh PLEASE, let her be an average kid?????) Mom had her enrolled in a Saturday class at a local college, requested extra problems for her to do--the whole works.

    I always felt so bad for Vicky. She'll never measure up to the lable that mom wants her to be, and she's a perfectly wonderful kid.
     
  14. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    One of the worst things about this isn't just that the mother thinks her daughter is something that she isn't, it's that she won't be able to look past it and see who her daughter is until she backs off.

    That said, the actual pushing won't be bad for Vicky. There are still benefits from doing the work, whether she's gifted or not. So you can feel bad for her, but remember it's not the worst thing in the world.

    edit: for example -- a lot of Asian parents push their children relentlessly hard (I could get more specific than "Asian", and note lots of provisos, but I'll leave it at that). Quite a few of them, gifted and nongifted alike, do quite well in life.

    My kindergartener son is not gifted (academically, anyway). My wife and I have watched him, and he's quite endearing, but it can be difficult sometimes with instructions (you know, send him to the other room to get a fork and he comes back with scissors, that sort of thing). We do push him academically, and he can add numbers to 20 and recognizes his letters and sounds, and can sound out short words extremely slowly (which is not bad, since he knows English only partially). Assuming his development stays constant :)lol:), his raw intelligence will be more-or-less average but his academic skills will be somewhat higher than average. Not a bad spot to be in at all.

    Of course, we also try to recognize the natural talents he does have.:D
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I beg to differ.

    The "extra" work kept her from concentrating on the work I gave her. So she would have 20 extra problems done for me to look at, but have gotten none of the ones I assigned correct. Had she backed off on all the extra stuff, she would have done a whole lot better in our coursework. At the risk of sounding full of myself, I'm a GOOD teacher and can get kids to understand the material. But not if they're being overwhelmed by other, "more important" things that are on mom's agenda.

    But, more than that, this poor kid could never measure up to what her mom wants her to be. Her self esteem was in the dirt, and understandably so. She resorted to cheating on one test, and she's not a "cheater." But she NEEDED to be the star that mom insisted she was, instead of "the kid who struggles in math."

    I hope I'm not ever "that mom" or even "that teacher." It's fine to push our kids to be all that they can, but there's also got to be a balance where we recognize all the wonderful things they ARE.
     
  16. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Sep 25, 2008

    Don't have time to really respond to this appropriately this a.m., but the worse kind of "gifted kid" is one who has a mother that thinks he's gifted and he's just average. I can't stand a mom who steals my time telling me how smart her kid is... I'm sorry, I've been in the business for 20 years and can tell for sure within a couple of hours and for sure 1 week if a kid is gifted. It's such a sore issue with me right now because I had a silly mom come during my only 1 hour planning period for the week and pursued to waste the whole hour telling me how smart her average kid was.
     
  17. teacher82A

    teacher82A Rookie

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    Thanks for the replies. I honestly believe this student is high average (not GT) and there is nothing wrong with that. I think his mother puts way too much pressure on him. If he makes the simplest mistake, he'll grunt out loud (not enough to disturb others, but enough to drive me crazy) and not correct his mistakes. I think he's in the mindset that he never makes mistakes. And many times, he cannot follow the simplest written directions on his paper before he says "I don't get it." I'd like to tell the mother all of this, but I need a tactful approach. Any ideas?
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The mom may have perfectionism issues of her own, alas (in fact, she probably does). I don't know how you can deal with hers... but do your best to make your classroom a place where he can take risks and make mistakes and it's not the end of the world. You may need to pull him aside and discuss this privately, or maybe you can find him a mentor from among the older kids who are similarly situated?
     
  19. thompsonk

    thompsonk Rookie

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    Oct 29, 2008

    So, as a mom who believes her child is well above average....what do I do? I don't want to be one of "those mothers". But, at the same time, I want to do what is best for my son.
    He seems very bright...reading at 3, voracious reader, can name all the presidents, write in cursive, etc. But, never really tested as far as IQ or anything. Does seem to have amazing photographic memory.
    So, how do I know if he qualifies as "gifted". And, if so...what should I be doing for him? We do have problems with him completing homework as he says it is babyish and boring to write the word "up" 10 times, etc.
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 29, 2008

    Giftedness in school is assessed using one or more tests, as a rule. What you do depends on what your school or district does, and to some extent on the teacher.

    Right now, I think I'd start with the teacher. In talking to the teacher, start by saying you'd like to work with her, not against her, and you might want to make the point that you'd like to help your son develop good habits with study and with homework but that that doesn't seem to be happening right now.
     
  21. thompsonk

    thompsonk Rookie

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    Oct 29, 2008

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Actually, the teacher seems very helpful. She is working with him separately on writing stories, advanced math, etc. But, still expects him to do the same homework the rest of the class is getting, not really sure why...

    The only testing he has had is the MAP testing in reading/math.
    His scores were high....203 in reading, 208 in math, 560-710 Lexile level.

    I am just concerned as friends/family have expressed the opinion that I am hurting him by not taking him out of his present public school and enrolling him in private schools. First, we can't afford private schools...and he loves his teacher/class and doesn't want to leave. Just wondering if I am truly hurting him/holding him back by allowing him to remain there.
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 29, 2008

    As to the homework, perhaps you and he can work on extending it: for example, maybe he finds ten words in which the sequence "up" appears and writes those? See if the teacher might accept something like that. (I'm guessing she just doesn't want to have to make up special homework for him, and it's possible that there's an issue at your school with assigning work that's assigned in later grades.)

    As to the school, there's no one right answer for everyone.
     
  23. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Oct 29, 2008

    I can only speak from my experience...

    In my school board, all students in Grade 3 go through a "gifted screening" process. Those who score above a certain level receive a full psycho-educational assessment to determine whether the student falls in the "gifted" range. My son "passed" the screening and tested as gifted in the follow-up assessment. Here, gifted programs are held only at certain schools; for Alex to attend, he would have needed to attend a different school. He was painfully shy during his first few years of school; now that I know more, he may have been selectively mute. By the end of grade 3, he had one good year under his belt--one year where he felt comfortable and was participating orally in all aspects of the program. For him, a change of schools would have meant a huge social setback. He had no desire to go to a different school or a different program; he wanted to be at the neighbourhood school with his friends. My husband was quite insistent that he "should" go, but could give me no good reason why we should put our son onto a bus to somewhere he didn't want to be every day (other than to say that he had a child in the gifted program). We kept our options open, knowing that we could make the change at any time. Alex thrived in his neighbourhood elementary and high schools (and now has 100% so far in Calculus and Chemistry in his first year at university). I know that we made the right choice for our child.
     

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