Gifted SAT meeting

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by lcr, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. lcr

    lcr Companion

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    This is my second year teaching and I have a fifth grade student who was screened as gifted. We are having a meeting this week with the parents. What should I do to prepare? What kinds of observations should I have ready? Thanks, any help would be great.
     
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  3. Mamacita

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    Notice what kind of questions the student tends to ask.
    Do his answers come mostly from books, or does he think out of the box?
    What is he reading?
    Is his speaking vocabulary larger than average?
    Does he memorize things or does he really know them?
    Can he make connections and associations?
    What kind of music does he like? (Don't laugh; it's an actual way to assess!! If he focuses on one kind only, or if he likes many different kinds, or if he tends to analyze music in terms of history and notation, etc.
    Is he creative in ways other than writing? Art? Music?
    Can he see the world as the flowering of geometry?

    Just a few to get you started.
     
  4. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I don't like the talented and gifted programs. All children are gifted and talented in some way and I think drawing attention to the ones who excel in specific areas is only making them think more of themselves than is necessary. O.K. now eat me alive.
     
  5. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    There are all kinds of special needs; why do we serve some and not others?
     
  6. Grammy Teacher

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    I don't get you comment. Missy. These are not special needs kids.
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

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    Grammy Teacher, I disagree. If you haven't read Stephanie Tolan's WELCOME TO THE ARK, let me recommend it. It's not easy being a gifted kid (I mean, not just bright)... knowing you didn't do anything to deserve being gifted, knowing that some people assume you will be stuck up about it, feeling that it's your duty to "get" everything without needing help and if you don't "get" everything immediately you're a massive disappointment to everyone, seeing that if you're struggling and another kid is struggling, it's the other kid who's going to get help from the teacher because after all you're the gifted kid and you should be able to figure this out, being cognitively able as a four- or five-year-old to think about outcomes (parents DO die, nuclear war or another 9/11 COULD happen) that as a four- or five-year-old you can't handle emotionally, making a connection that other kids your age don't and having those kids treat you like you've got plague, being expected to behave your intellectual age rather than your chronological age when it suits the grownups and then being expected to behave your chronological age rather than your intellectual age when THAT suits the grownups... Most truly gifted kids spend at least some time wishing they could just be normal, especially when they perceive that people around them resent them for existing.
     
  8. Grammy Teacher

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    TEACHERGROUPIE, The only reason these children feel that way is because they are being singled out to such a degree that it makes them feel uncomfortable. I don't need to read a book to figure that out.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

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    Grammy Teacher, I wish you'd read Tolan's book anyway (it's a novel, told from the point of view of several kids who are more gifted than I, but it rings very true with my experience).
     
  10. Grammy Teacher

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I am not denying that it is can be a hassle because I was one of those gifted and so are my children. I have always been against the program in the schools. We were not a part of it by choice.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

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    It is as with anything else: some kids benefit from a program (if it's done right), some may do better without the same program; some programs are done right and some aren't. I'm of two minds, always: on the one hand, neat activities and opportunities do need to be available to ALL kids and not just reserved to the gifted kids; on the other hand, if some kids are ready for a range of them a whole lot earlier than others are, is it proper to make those kids wait? Not all schools handle that kind of diversity well; if they don't, a gifted program may well work better. And in some schools the gifted program is viewed as a sort of entitlement by parents of high socioeconomic status, and then the gifted program tends to be overcrowded and it doesn't serve the population it was supposed to serve. (And it tends to produce the sort of brainier-than-thou attitudes that set my teeth on edge: there is NO excuse to use one's intelligence to bludgeon or shame another human being!)
     
  12. Grammy Teacher

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    I agree with you. That is why I have choosen not to participate in ours.
     
  13. deko9

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    Sep 27, 2005

    quick

    A quick thought. I had several paragraphs typed up and my computer froze.
    Unfortunately we live in a societ that doesn't celebrate the gifted kids. Being average is what everyone is striving for. Other societies revel their gifted individuals. GOD forbid we become an elite society. These gfted kids are going to be our future leaders, scientists, and Nobel Prize winners. They need to be given every advantage possible. After serving several gifted kids in my classroom over the years and working towards a higher education in gifted, I have read so much research that the general public just doesn't know- or want to know. If this popu;ation of students aren't recognized as special needs they will not work up to theri potential. For the most part the gifted students that I have worked with are not "Stuck-up" or snobbish, and if I do hear comments I set them straight immediately. Some of these higher IQ kids just don't know how to work in society and these pullout classes help them recognize they aren't alone and help to deal. I know their are some pretty bad programs out there, but if a child needs to be challenged and needs guidance, we as teacher aren't just obligated to help the ld/bd kids get special help we need to help the gifted too. And forget about NCLB don't even get me started at how all the gifted get completely left behind with that piece of legislation! Popular belief has us all believing that gifted kids will get it on theri own, abd they'll be just fine. THEY WON'T and they need to have advocates too. Thnaks for letting me rant, this is a subject close to my heart and I want these kids to succeed, and they have as mch potential, if not more to fail/drop-out as any other kid in our rooms. I hope everyone who reads this looks at these kids as special needs kids too.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

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    I know a mom who pulled her kid from a program like that (this refers back to Granny Teacher's comment, not deko's); the other moms gave her a hard time, but she and I and the teacher knew it was the right choice for the kid, and he ended up getting more individual attention than he would have otherwise. But one of the advantages of a good program for high-end gifted kids is that, for once, they're just like everybody else!
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2005
  15. Carmen13

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    So the goal of the programs for gifted kids is developing social skills?
    (Just curious, we "don't have" gifted kids overhere...)
     
  16. Mamacita

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    Oh dear, Grammy, this is a first for me, because I disagree with you. G/T kids, the TRUE G/T kids, not the snobby brats thrust into good programs by politically influential wealthy parents with issues, have every bit as much of a right to have their needs met as any other child. As a kid who spent most of her elementary years out in the hall tutoring the dumb kids (sorry, but I'm still bitter) I can say first hand that a class where I was actually challenged would have been a dream come true. Nowadays, even regular classes are dumbed-down to such an extent, that even average kids are bored. We live in a politically correct era, and this means catering to the slow and needy, and ignoring the smart lest we be thought elitist. Time and Newsweek are written at a fifth grade level, remember. Our society has thrust its intelligent members back to the level of secondary citizens, whereas anyone who is slow and needy gets all kinds of help. It's not right. This is being discussed on this thread right now, actually: http://sigcarlfred.blogspot.com/

    Don't think that I am against special help for the slow; I'm all for it. But not at the expense of the smart. Sorry. A large statistic of our dropouts are gifted kids who just couldn't put up with the slowness and boredom of classes geared for average and below students. I couldn't deal with it, and my own kids had a hard time in school because of it.

    Special help for all. ALL. In Indiana, it really IS special ed; I got my endorsement for G/T through IU Special Education.

    Now tear into me. I'm ready.
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

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    Re deko9's comment: I know another mom who's also a principal in a middle school; she says if she had her way, she'd abolish grades tied to ages and have kids progress through each level in each subject at their own speed, so that you might have a seven-year-old kid in seventh grade math and in first grade PE (that would be her daughter). I'm not sure how all the logistics would work out, and it might necessitate some changes in how teachers are trained, but that's another possibility.
     
  18. Mamacita

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    I love that idea, TeacherGroupie. LOVE it. That's the way it used to be back in the day, you know. Somewhere along the line, it got changed and perverted.
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

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    No, that's not the goal, but as often as not it tends to be a really agreeable side benefit.

    You don't have gifted kids? Do you mean there aren't any really, really bright kids (which I find hard to believe), or that you don't have programs for them? If you don't have programs, what does happen to the really, really smart kid?
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

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    Human beings being human beings, it probably got abused somehow, or someone in it got abused - it WOULD, for example, be necessary to figure out how to make junior high safe for a gifted second grader without making it inappropriate for a normal junior higher, and that could be a pretty difficult balance.

    lcr, you've really gotten something going here, haven't you?
     
  21. Grammy Teacher

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    Whoa...I don't think any of you know what you are talking about.
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

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    Why do you say that? Is our experience to be disregarded because it wasn't just like yours? That doesn't constitute a valid counterargument.
     
  23. Grammy Teacher

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    The truth of the matter is, I have much to say and I am tired ...therefore don't have the energy tonight. This discussion could go on for hours. If I can, I will try and get back with you tomorrow night . In the meantime, try not to get too upset. I have always been against the gifted/talented thing and it gets tiring to have to repeat my story over and over, but I will try to when I am not so tired. I have some newsletters I want to type up for work.
     
  24. Mamacita

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    One of my former students, who is now grown up and a music professor in Massachusetts, might be the one to talk to you all about this issue. I'll see if I can get him to come this direction. He usually shuns anything that smacks of mainstream education like the plague, (his schooling was not pleasant, for the most part. . . .) but I think he can add to this discussion and give us both points of view: that of a student, and that of an instructor.

    It was once, back in the day, fairly common for twelve-year-olds to go to Harvard and Yale. I think if a person, regardless of age, qualifies, he/she should get to advance.

    And fast. And it doesn't matter to me WHO their parents are. The only thing money ever says to me is "goodbye."
     
  25. Syele

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    This is one of the reasons(not nearly the only one though) I chose to Homeschool my own kids. My own experience in the PS was a mess because of the fact I was bored silly the whole time. I took all the testing in Elementary school and they wanted to put me in the Gifted program and my mom said I couldn't go there until I had straight A's where I was (I was refusing to do work that was boring.)

    I never did go in the gifted program, and I never felt challenged to learn more. I even got in trouble in high school for reading the non-condensed version of a book the class was working on. No one had said not to until after I had read it. After that, I didn't participate in literature classes at all. I just showed up and stared out the window.

    I know the gifted programs in different areas are drastically different from one another. I'd find it hard to say all of them are good or that all are bad.
     
  26. Mamacita

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    A good gifted program is different from the regular curriculum. It is not simply MORE of the same old stuff. Too often our bright quick kids are 'rewarded' for their speed and prior knowledge by being given more of the same stuff they already proved they knew. Why should they have to sit there day after day, forced to do and redo and redo again the same stuff they did right the first time, just because others in the room haven't mastered it yet? And to tell them to 'kill time' by reading, or coloring, etc, is tantamount to criminal. We send our children to school to advance, not to retreat, or even to stay put. Not allowing that advancement is a terrible, terrible thing. Kids who are fast and smart deserve to be accommodated, just as much as do the kids who are neither. Don't encourage our bright children to hate school, and to turn off intellectually, by forcing them down to the standard of the state, or the class average. It's not fair, just as it's not fair to force the slow kids up when they're not ready or just plain can't do it.

    Our bright kids deserve consideration too. And I don't think they're getting much of it, the way most schools are set up. Average is as close to the bottom as it is to the top, you know. A pretty shoddy goal, if you ask me.
     
  27. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    There are gifted kids, but public schools don't test kids to know if they are gifted or not. When a teacher or a parent "suspects" his/her kid is gifted, they may take them to the Intelligence Institute, to take tests. Recently these kids are being more and more talked about, over here. Some gifted kids even gave interviews... I'm divided on this subject. I know a gifted kid may easily get bored on a regular class, but would it be better if he attended a special class? I don't think so. I agree with an extra help but that's it. Otherwise we are insisting on the idea that gifted kids only get along with each other, that regular kids don't understand them, etc and that's not true. Is intelligence the most important thing when choosing a friend? And I don't think that helping a colleague is a waste of time...it's part of socializing. If the "regular" kids are supposed to help each other, why should gifted kids be the exception? Of course, a good teacher doesn't expect a gifted kid to tutor! A good teacher provides extra activities for a gifted kid to do. But many times, as the year goes by, a gifted kid finds more appealing to help his/her "regular" partner, than to proceed on the extra activity alone. Somehow along the way, colleagues became friends...
     
  28. GlendaLL

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    Jane - I wish that you had been my son's teacher! I don't know that he would qualify as "gifted," but he is definitely a smart, talented kid. He loved the AP classes that he took in high school (chemistry, physics, calculus). But, it really hasn't been since he has been in college that I see him truly challenged. That should have been happening since kindergarten!!
     
  29. Mamacita

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    Here is what my precious former student has to say on this topic:
    ===
    You can post this reply (I'm not keen on registering -
    spammer/virus types get emails that way):
    --

    In an ideal world, all children would have access to a quality education and given the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Of course, we do not live in an ideal world. Therefore, those of us who have taken the
    mantle of teacher - for my money, the single most important mantle in the world - have to find ways to get kids to that point in some hideous circumstances.

    I count myself fortunate beyond compare that Jane was my teacher, because she believed in me when it looked like no one else really cared. Here's my story.

    In fourth grade, they took three of us from my elementary school and pulled us out for G/T class 2 or 3 times a week. If memory serves (and years of college and/or alcohol will dull the memory of elementary
    school somewhat), we took a class on basic computer use. (In rural Indiana in the early-to-mid 1980s, a computer was a wonder.) This class wasn't much, but it was something. It sent me a message - that the school
    district, while still believing strongly in educating every kid, felt that certain kids showed the promise of greatness to justify extra opportunities. I grew up on a hog farm; my family was not (and to this day is not) wealthy (indeed, for most of the 80s, we were no more than one missed payment from foreclosure - I still don't know how we made it). I was not rich,
    connected, or related to a member of the school board. Yet, because I showed aptitude, I was given a great opportunity.

    The next year, there was no G/T. One of the three junior high schools wanted a new gym floor, so they cut the G/T program to pay for it.

    For three years, I was rarely challenged. I kept up my grades - what choice did I have? - but I learned to loathe the small minds and xenophobics that populated my school district.

    Then I had Jane for 8th grade English. She encouraged me and believed in me when, as I said above, my entire community was sending me the message that good enough was good enough. She exposed me to culture unavailable to the average son of a hog farmer. She took me up to
    the nearest College town and let me explore the bookstores up there.

    Because of her, I believed in myself again. Because of her, I went on to college (it was not a given - my two brothers are quite intelligent, but they have no degrees) and then to grad school. Because of her, I knew what a good teacher is. Every time I step into a classroom, Jane is there.

    And it's all because she believed in the spirit of what a G/T program should be. All of her students get a good education - but she finds those with potential and sends them to places they couldn't have imagined
    otherwise.

    And you can quote me on that.

    Wes Flinn
    Assistant Professor of Music
    Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
    North Adams, MA


    (hope it helps. It's kind of rambling.)
     
  30. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Carmen of Portugal, I believe you have pretty much hit the nail on the head. You have a great head and heart. I have much to add, tomorrow, but off to bed now.
    Jane, PLEASE don't make me come over there. There are programs for the types of children that you talk about...the unconventional students...they are NOT gifted and talented...they are just a bit off the beaten path.
    All right now. I will meet all of you tomorrow in the dark alley at 7:00(or so)...I have soooooooo much to do this week, but will try and be there. Bring everything you've got cuz' I rarely back down!
    PEACE! Till Tomorrow...Grand Mama
     
  31. kinderkids

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    Well, I'd like to add my two and a half cents here. I had been identified as a student who could have been in g/t classes as well. I took AP classes in highschool, etc. I graduated with 4.0, etc. I never found myself getting bored, I had too many other things going on.......primarily my piano and flute lessons, which kept me very busy, as well as participating in athletics. I think the term "bored" is overused, I found things outside of school to keep me busy and interested. Now, my daughter is much like myself, she is a fresh in college this year, but already has enough credits to be a second semester freshman, almost sophomore level. She has always excelled and done well in school. Jane, I hate to say this, but I find it very rude and condescending when you refer to children as the "dumb" students. I take that very personally, because my boys you see ,would be some of those "dumb" students you refer too. It was not their choice to have autism and both be in cdb classes. It really grieves me as a mom to hear any one, especially such a well educated lady as yourself refer to students as the "dumb" ones. Please, these children didn't ask for this, and it is hard enough each day for them to hear it from their peers, yet alone adults who are otherwise well meaning. I just needed to tell you that I think that term is awful and doesn't need to be used at all. Perhaps you really meant to say the "lazy" ones. That I can accept, because that is a whole different ballgame. Thanks for letting me express my opinion.
     
  32. Mamacita

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    I used that term as a leftover from my own childhood, from a time when it was not an insult but a simple description, and if it offended you I am truly sorry. A student with a legitimate problem is NOT what I was referring to at all, in any of my rants. But just as those students deserve accommodations, so do those who are faster and smarter than the norm.

    Grammy, come on over. I've wanted you to for a long time anyway. I think this is the first time we've disagreed, for usually we are mean together.

    G/T students are not always unconventional; indeed, many of them have tried to pace themselves and hold themselves down for so long, sometimes it takes a while to remind them of what they are capable of doing. Then again, sometimes G/T kids ARE unconventional. There are all kinds, just as there are all kinds of other students. I've always believed that G/T techniques would work for regular kids too, but since we're held to the below-average standard by the mighty thumbs of the state, that's a moot point. Only things that are measurable are important to administrators, and the important things are not in that category. Sorry, I'm not backing down one tiny little bit. Let the smart, fast kids go as rapidly and as quirkily as they can; do not hold anyone back for the sake of another. It tells our intelligent kids that they are not as important as the slow kids.

    Neither is "more" important than the other; they are equally important. Therefore, they both deserve equal accommodations.

    (If we are going to use "dumb" properly, then we should use it only to describe people who can not speak. Or in the journalistic sense.)

    And obviously none of us here on this forum have THAT problem. Isn't it wonderful?

    My children could both write beautiful cursive before entering kindergarten, yet both were given low grades because they did not begin their letters on the right spot. I am still angry at that teacher over that. I am also still disgusted because my kids, who were reading LOTR in first grade, were forced to check out books from the beginner's section along with all the others, instead of getting to climb the stairs and get books where they usually got them. Both sections were supervised, so I'm not buying that excuse either.

    Yes, I have issues, new and left-over. I think they are valid issues. It's not fair that all the time and money in the special ed budgets goes towards the low end; our high end kids have rights too. And whenever the budget gets crushed even further, the high end is the first to be cut, because "they can take it" while the low end can't. I don't buy that either. Sorry. I despise the "dumbing down" of America. And I'm sorry if that phrase is offensive; it's the way journalism expresses it.

    People assume that our smarter kids don't "need" as much as do the less intelligent kids. They are wrong. They need, and they deserve, as much if not more.
     
  33. GlendaLL

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    Jane - I LOVED the letter from your former student!! It is obvious that he benefited from your appreciation of his giftedness and special talents. I have no doubt that he is passing on to his students what he gained from this "special education." That is the power of education for the gifted students. Their education is not stagnant - they pass it on to others! Society benefits so much from recognizing and meeting the needs of these special students.
     
  34. Syele

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    kinderkids, I honestly think you were lucky to have the chance to do those things and not get bored. I was an only child of a single mom, we never had money for music lessons or extra tutoring or Athletics teams etc. I was on my own.

    As far as life goes- I wasn't bored, I read tons of books. I made friends with the librarians and convinced them to let me "sneak" into the sections for higher grade levels. I Sat in the back of the class when I could get away with it so that I could read with the book in my lap undetected by the teachers. I did projects at home in my room and for Birthdays and Christmas I asked for supplies to do those projects. I did learn and I wasn't bored with learning, I was bored with the school and the process of school itself.

    I wasn't in a G/T program, I wasn't paired up with another student (as Carmen described). I was just there everyday, I wanted to learn and remember only four teachers who made any effort to challenge me beyond what the other kids were doing (three of those were in high school).

    I think Gifted students can be served well in a regular classroom and they can be served well in a separate program but they can be ignored and left unchallenged in both situations as well. Good teachers will recognize a Student who needs extra challenges. In My experience, those type of teachers were few and far between! Not only did I not get extra challenges, I got punished when I tried to do more on my own.

    So, no I wasn't a bored kid and I learned alot, but I cannot thank the programs advocated by my schools for that. School itself was boring, overused word or not.
     
  35. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Sep 27, 2005

    Jane,
    I realize you didn't mean to offend.:) I am just very sensitive as it hits close to home. Yes, children who excel should be give the opportunity to do so in school! I have no complaint with that. I was given that opportunity with my music, and am thankful for it. I realize "dumbing" down is a journalistic term, but it is a term that really is degrading to those who have no choice in the IQ they have been given. And I'm not backing down off of that one. I also know first hand, that it has been much easier having a child who is highly intelligent, gets it , has a love of learning, etc, etc, then to be the parent of a child who struggles daily with the tasks most people take for granted. For my daughter, our only worry was what college should she choose. For my boys, my worry is who will be there for them when my husband and I aren't around anymore? Puts things in perspective for me, and I certainly wouldn't wish any parent to have to go through what my husband and I have gone through for 15 years, and will continue to for the rest of our lives. Complain about gifted education? No, not me. I have learned too many important lessons from both ends of the spectrum.
     
  36. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jane, going back to an earlier post: California also does G/T through Special Ed, though here we call it GATE (Gifted and Talented Education). Some schools track kids by classes but keep them on the same campus; I'm not sure that works well, though it does mean the kids can maintain ties with their homies. Other districts do partial-day or full-day pullout - you lose the neighborhood continuity, but there's a lot to be said for getting to spend all day at school without feeling like a total geek.

    Grammy Teacher's claim that these kids feel different only because they've been singled out may be true for some, but for the true-GATE kid, the causation is backward: that is, it isn't the case that the kid thinks and feels differently because of being singled out, it's the case that the kid is singled out because of thinking and feeling differently. That's one of the messages of Stephanie Tolan's books and Web site (www.stephanietolan.com/) about giftedness, which I cannot recommend highly enough. These kids particularize and generalize in ways that their age-mates don't. My older daughter almost flunked her kindergarten screening because she identified one color swatch as raspberry, and indeed it was - but she had to utter the word "red" in order to pass. The canny veteran teacher finally asked her to name the color family that includes raspberry, at which the kid shot back, "Red."

    The true-GATE kid who doesn't get singled out (and often made to feel very uncomfortable) for thinking and feeling differently has either got a cohort of other true-GATEs to feel normal among or has figured out that being true-GATE is socially costly and therefore elects to hide. The latter would be my younger daughter. But the hiding is itself costly.

    To paraphrase Kinderkids, the GATE kids also "have no choice in the IQ they have been given."
     
  37. andreakg

    andreakg Rookie

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    This is my first post on this forum, but it is something that as a student, I had a lot of experience with. In the high school I went to, we had regular classes, AP classes and Gifted classes. The only AP class I was a part of was English and I was in AP English for all four years of high school. I enjoyed my regular classes because in those subjects I was on track with everyone else and I could keep up. I happened to excel in English and I feel that had I been placed in the regular class, I would have been bored.

    In my English class, we were constantly challenged. The amount of work involved and the quality expected in that class was incredible and it was hard, but it was also so great to be in a class with other people who were as interested as I was about the subject we were learning. That AP class prepared me for the amount and quality of work I am expected to produce in my college classes and I am thankful for that.

    On the other hand, I had a "friend" who was in the Gifted program. She constantly commented to me and others that she and her classmates were so much smarter and advanced than the rest of us. A lot of the kids in that program seemed to be that way, but to me they didn't do near as much work as the AP class. Because they were "gifted" they usually just sat around in class and talked about whatever book they were reading at the time or had debates. It was like being labeled gifted was a free pass to be lazy and it made me so mad that those kids thought they were smarter than I was. They thought they were smarter because they were told they were, not because they worked harder for it.

    I am currently an education major and I want to teach high school English. I would love to teach an AP class because I think it would be great to teach a group of students who are able to handle a faster pace and more advanced study. Having said that, I want to teach regular classes too because making an AP student love a subject isn't hard. That's why they are in AP, because the excel at it and they like it. Taking a regular student who dislikes a subject and making him love it and helping him to do well in it is a much harder task, and one that I think may be more rewarding.

    Both sides here have valid points, but I guess my point is that every student should be allowed to learn at the level they feel comfortable. This makes it necessary for a school to hold separate classes with different levels of work. That doesn't mean that the student should be treated any different than any others, just that they do different assignments at different paces. Just my opinion. Sorry this post got so long! :)
     
  38. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    The IQ they have been given is considered to be a GIFT, and I can't see how a gift could be a bad thing... If GATE-kids were given the choice between being gifted or being average, would they choose the second alternative?
    Yes gifted kids may feel misunderstood by their peers sometimes, and they wish they didn't. Many kids feel this way, for a lot of different reasons. Besides, the gifted programs don't focus on this issue at all.
    These kids need extra challenge, but let's keep in mind that they have extra curiosity and extra ability. Somehow I can't imagine them getting bored and not learning because school doesn't challenge them enough. I also can't picture a teacher preventing a kid from learning beyond the regular curriculum!
    TeacherGroupie, you asked what happens to very very smart kids over here? They are in regular classes. High school isn't that easy over here, so I think I could say it is a challenge for every kid!
     
  39. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Carmen13, it's fair to point out here that the German word "Gift" means 'poison'. It's not uncommon for gifted kids to say - generally only in the company of other gifted kids - that they wish they could be normal because life would hurt less.

    Some of the pain comes from bad encounters with others' expectations - this may be part of what Grammy Teacher is talking about - and is avoidable.

    But some of it comes from combinations of factors that there is no way to control. I've already mentioned that it's much harder to shield gifted kids from grim realities of the world like war and death - and from realizing at much younger ages than most kids do that, no, one's parents AREN'T omnipotent; what makes this hard for the gifted kid is (a) not having had time to acquire the wisdom to deal with these realities and (b) getting shut down when trying to talk about these realities with grownups because the grownups themselves are having trouble coping and are unhappy about being reminded of this by some little smart aleck who, if normal, would have the decency to keep believing the grownups are in control of the matter.

    Gifted kids are also often dissatisfied - at much younger ages than other kids - with what they produce because it falls so short of what they can envision; this is one reason why they can be so graceless about praise, because they know what their work SHOULD have been and this feeds further into the deep suspicion that one is a fraud that Stephanie Tolan documents in her article "Is It a Cheetah?", which you can find at http://www.stephanietolan.com/is_it_a_cheetah.htm. (I have NEVER met a true-gifted person for whom Tolan's article doesn't ring true.) Telling the kid not to feel that way is, of course, pointless - none of us controls what we feel - though it's the solution most often attempted.

    As to andreakg's experience with the snotty kids in the "gifted" class, I'm sorry she was put in that position and even sorrier that the snotty kids were there. That sounds like a classic example of a bad program: collect the gifted kids, stick them in one place with teachers who don't know who they are or how to help them grow into their gifts and themselves see the position as a free pass, and you will indeed get the disaster that andreakg describes. What a waste! A good gifted program is like a good martial-arts program in that it teaches one NOT to come out fighting in all situations: it helps one learn self-control and control of the gift in a setting where it is safe to ask questions and make mistakes. And it most emphatically imparts the principle that it is inappropriate to bully others with one's gifts, whatever they may be.
     
  40. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    TeacherGroupie, I understand what you're saying but it sounds like every gifted kid is "condemned" to be unsatisfied, unhappy and misunderstood! Sometimes they may wish they were normal, the same way a normal kid wishes he/she were gifted/talented. It's part of human nature, feeling unsatisfied about ourselves!
     
  41. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Gifted kids who don't get what they need may very well be "condemned" (your word, not mine) to be "unsatisfied, unhappy, and misunderstood." I suspect most gifted grownups are always a little unsatisfied - I know MY output never comes up to my expectation, but I've learned to live with that, mostly, sort of, on good days, though it's not always easy. Grownups who've had help growing into their gifts generally tend to be happier than those who haven't (the ones who drop out, for example), or at least as happy as one can be in a world full of inequities unaddressed. And most gifted grownups who stay in the world and aren't wretched have learned when it's okay to turn their gifts loose and when it's appropriate to rein them in to spare others (or themselves) unnecessary damage.

    Please read the Tolan article.
     

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