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Showing posts from December, 2016

5 Ways to Help Gifted Kids Find Their Gifts

When I work with gifted kids, I'm amazed by their lack of understanding about what interests them. They know how to surf the net exhaustively for Youtube videos that make them laugh, but not what skills and practices further their interests.

Developing interests and passions is critical to these students. Many people out there tell me that this is not just for gifted kids, that their average developing child needs to know how to do this too. While of course I agree that this is true, I also think that typical academic, fine arts, and sports programs are available in most communities are enough to engage and motivate most kids. Not true of gifted children who become jaded, disinterested, and shut down quickly when a program doesn't meet their needs.
Most people think of gifted students as being prodigies who know exactly where their gifts lie. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, I often question if some children who are identified as gifted will ever find thei…

Arguing with Gifted Children is Like Living in France

My Christmas break has been fraught with arguments, yells, and occasionally the slam of a door. Don't get me wrong, we've had a wonderful holiday. Living with gifted children is just this way.
I grew up in an argumentative family, so I'm used to and prone to it. My husband did not. His house might've had frosty silences, but other than that it was pretty cordial.

There are two kinds of people, I think. Those who tell stories and expect people to stay quiet until the end and those who start stories and expect people to jump in with connections and, dare I say it, arguments against each. and. every. point.

In Paris in 2002, I nervously approached the apartment door of a couple who had invited me for dinner. I came bearing Vouvray for my hosts. They ushered me in and exclaimed that my offering was, "too much! We are embarrassed to take this beautiful wine when we are serving chicken." It was the best damn dinner I've ever eaten to this day. Olives and chicke…

The Homework Habit

Recently after commenting on KJ Dell'Antonia's FaceBook page about how I manage homework in my house, she asked me to explain my ten minute per subject rule better. She said it didn't sound possible (it isn't always). We took an hour to chat about it. She told me my concepts and parenting methods sounded a bit like this book:
I hadn't heard about this book, so I ordered it. I've been slowly making my way through it as I reflect on what I believe about homework and parenting gifted children. Wishing I could share parts of it with my husband, but knowing he'd raise his eyebrows and tell me he knew this all along (he didn't).

I also read several of KJ's blog posts and New York Times articles about kids and homework because it's a topic that parents and teachers and kids think and talk about for much of the week.

How to Start Homework Off RightWhen Homework Engulfs the Whole HouseWhen Homework Stresses Parents as Well as ChildrenHomework's Emotio…

Helping an Illustrator with Valuable Words

I work with a gifted first grader. We don't meet much because I have to work in four different schools, so I have to make every second count. He has a wicked sense of humor, twinkling eyes, and an impish grin. His mind gets to 60 MPH in less than 20 seconds. It fires off in several directions and though he seems to be doing 16 things at once, he answers every question deeply and in a complex manner that usually ends with a joke and a laugh. He finds the fun in everything. Throwing ideas at him is a joy.

The other day I gave him this wordless picture book by Suzy Lee.
I put the book in front of him along with a pack of yellow post it notes and a pencil. "This illustrator needs you to write the words to her book. I guess she forgot," I said.

He chuckled at my joke and opened the book. In just fifteen minutes, the picture book words were written. They were breathtaking. If I could, I would show you every page. I am happy to share the words with anyone who wants them in case…