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Education For Life

What are your children learning in school? Does it relate to items in the news? Does it offer food for thought? Are they developing engineering minds? Do they engage in challenges that require persistence? These are the kind of educational experiences that last a lifetime. To engage children in this kind education you have to start with Big Ideas. You have to ask questions and let the students uncover the answers. The students have to be relied upon for the solutions to problems and their ideas have to be tried. They have to experience ideas that don’t work to create ideas that do work. The content can’t be limited to the teacher’s knowledge of tried and true projects or by the age of the student. Here at Vanguard, I teach gifted children at the primary level. In the current unit [...]

2018-08-10T17:23:11+00:00May 23rd, 2018|News|

Is School Increasing Your Child’s Emotional Intensity?

A common discussion in a Facebook Group for parents of gifted children I follow revolves around managing high emotional intensities. As a teacher who has spent the last twenty years working in gifted education, I also have first hand experience dealing with this component of a gifted child’s make up. There are also organizations like SENG that support parents as they deal with these complex challenges. This emotional intensity is a genuine concern. The paradox is there have been extensive research studies which do not support the correlation that being gifted somehow “hard wires” a person to have a higher level of emotional intensity. When considering this issue further I revisited Maslow’s pyramid of human needs. This theory that certain needs must be fulfilled for a person to reach their full potential offers evidence that the educational system is contributing [...]

2018-05-09T15:46:10+00:00May 9th, 2018|News|

Why Wait Until 3rd Grade to Serve Gifted Learners?

Currently, Illinois Association for Gifted Children's stance on giftedness is performance based. Teacher identification of gifted students occurs during the primary grades and then, for those identified, "services" ranging from enrichment classes to grade level acceleration begin in 3rd grade. What about the primary aged gifted students who eagerly enter school reading, understanding math facts, and/or having explored science topics in depth? Are they expected to joyfully perform tasks most of which are neither engaging nor fulfilling their academic curiosity for three years in order to be recognized for services? How many adults would joyfully complete boring, repetitive work with the hopes of being recognized for promotion at the end of 3 years? In my 20 years of experience many of these young gifted students, especially boys, will act out. They will refuse to complete or do poorly on repetitive [...]

2018-08-10T17:31:04+00:00May 2nd, 2018|News|

Why are Gifted Children Dropping Out of School?

According to a recent study, "An Alternate Path: The Experience of High-Potential Individuals Who Left School", in the October 2017 edition of Gifted Child Quarterly, about 5% of high school dropouts are gifted. For these students, dropping out "is the culmination of a process that begins long before they enter high school." 100% of gifted individuals in this study, ages 20 to 60, cited a lack of support from the school system as a root cause of their not completing high school. The lack of academic challenge combined with teachers who did not understand their needs and an educational system that was less and less accommodating to their needs as they aged caused these once eager young learners to become disillusioned with school long before high school. Starting with their elementary education, all of these individuals felt that no one [...]

2018-04-23T18:01:04+00:00April 25th, 2018|News|

About Calvin: The Unexpected Gifted Kid

I love this article entitled Calvin: The Unexpected Gifted Kid. As the title suggests, Calvin isn’t your stereotypical gifted boy donning big glasses with his nose always in a book. But as a professional in gifted education, I can tell you Calvin is definitely gifted! Unfortunately, Calvin embodies the gifted personality who most teachers would never recommend for gifted services in the public school. Calvin loves to learn but this is not evident in school because he doesn’t get good grades or high test scores. In fact, he doesn’t even like school. At conferences parents might hear that Calvin asks too many questions and is often off task. He might be identified as an underachiever or a daydreamer. It may even be suggested that he has an attention issue. Regrettably, these are the reports often heard by parents of [...]

2018-04-18T16:40:14+00:00April 18th, 2018|News|