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Education: Gifted and Talented Students

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  • When a child is gifted or talented, their parents and educators are faced with many issues and challenges. These articles and digests provide ideas, guidance and activities for both parents and educators of gifted students. While some of these articles are written specifically for educators, they can also benefit parents who are seeking to create or influence a program for their children. In addition, we've found that many of these articles, such as those on college planning and underachieving students, are appropriate and helpful for other students, not just those that are gifted.

    Our rating system for these Education and Gifted Students articles is:
    • - Best, in depth and most helpful overall
    • - Very Good, but more specific in focus
    • - Good reference material

    ADHD and Children Who Are Gifted

    Frequently, bright children have been referred to psychologists or pediatricians because they exhibited certain behaviors (e.g., restlessness, inattention, impulsivity, high activity level, day-dreaming) commonly associated with a diagnosis of ADHD. Almost all of these behaviors, however, might be found in bright, talented, creative, gifted children. Until now, little attention has been given to the similarities and differences between the two groups, thus raising the potential for misidentification in both areas-giftedness and ADHD. This digest provides specific differences between the two groups that will help parents and educators better understand and evaluate their children.

    Career Planning for Gifted and Talented Youth

    Parents and teachers often assume that career planning for gifted students will take care of itself. However, evidence is mounting that youthful brilliance in one or more areas does not always translate into adult satisfaction and accomplishment in working life. Some factors that can contribute to problems with career planning are presented here, along with ways of preventing and intervening with career development problems. This digest outlines by age group what to watch for and the steps you can take to help your gifted child.

    Gifted Children - Activity and Resource Calendar for Parents

    This great calendar provides a wealth of information, ideas, activities and resources for parents of gifted and talented children. Use it as a reference for articles, books, websites, mailing lists, associations and more.

    Helping Adolescents Adjust to Giftedness

    Young gifted people between the ages of 11 and 15 frequently report a range of problems as a result of their abundant gifts: perfectionism, competitiveness, rejection from peers, and more. Caring adults can assist these young people to "own" and develop their talents by understanding and responding to adjustment challenges and coping strategies. This digest provides a good description of these challenges and provides specific coping strategies.

    Joy and Loss: The Emotional Lives of Gifted Children

    As Ellen Winner explains in her outstanding book, Gifted Children, there is a myth that gifted children are better adjusted, more popular, and happier than average children. The challenging reality is that more frequently, nearly the opposite is true. For most gifted children, childhood is more pleasurable and more fulfilling because they derive joy from challenge and reward from work. At the same time, it is a childhood that is more painful, more isolated, and more stressful because they do not fit in with their peers and they set high expectations.

    Nurturing Giftedness In Young Children

    With young gifted children, their uneven development may confuse and concern parents and educators and may mask the extent of their giftedness. This digest helps parents and educators recognize and understand the early development of gifted children and helps the adults chose a program or school that is best for their child.

    College Planning for Gifted and Talented Youth

    Gifted and talented students often have problems beyond those of most other students who consider college and career choices. A systematic, collaborative approach is needed whereby students learn that college planning is part of life career development. This digest begins with specific activities and approaches for students in junior high-school and concludes with a description of what colleges will be looking for as they evaluate gifted students.

    Developing Learner Outcomes for Gifted Students

    Learner outcomes specify student behaviors we want at a particular developmental point. These outcomes provide the basis for creating worthwhile learning experiences, for setting appropriate expectations, and for assessing the extent of learning attained. This digest contains concrete suggestions for creating appropriate learner outcomes for gifted students and it contains a good example showing how outcome expectations could differ for gifted students.

    Discovering Mathematical Talent

    The fate of mathematically talented students will be determined largely by the ability of their parents and educators to discover and nurture the special ability of the students. This digest shows that by discovering the mathematical talent of these students early and by using that knowledge to provide appropriate academic nurture, we have the greatest chance to help these individuals reach their gifted potential.

    Dual Exceptionalities (Gifted and Learning Disabled)

    Gifted students with disabling conditions remain a major group of underserved and understimulated youth. This article provides parents and teachers with characteristics of gifted and/or learning disabled students to help identify those students with special needs. While the article is a bit 'academic' in its writing style, the lists it contains are insightful and useful.

    Fostering Academic Creativity in Gifted Students

    Creative learning is a natural, healthy human process that occurs when people become curious and excited. Children prefer to learn in creative ways rather than just memorizing information provided by a teacher or parents and they can learn better and sometimes faster. This digest covers creative behavior in children and outlines what parents and teachers can do to foster creativity, for all types of students, not just gifted ones.

    Helping Your Highly Gifted Child

    Most parents greet the discovery that their child is not merely gifted but highly or profoundly gifted with a combination of pride, excitement, and fear. They may set out to find experts or books to help them cope with raising such a child, only to find there are no real experts, only a couple of books, and very little understanding of extreme intellectual potential and how to develop it. This digest deals with some areas of concern and provides a few practical suggestions based on the experience of other parents and the modest amount of research available.

    Homeschooling Gifted Students: An Introductory Guide for Parents

    During the last 20 years, increasing numbers of families in the United States have chosen to educate their children at home or outside the conventional school environment. Current estimates range from 500,000 to 1.2 million students. Of that number, a significant percentage of families have chosen homeschooling as the educational option for their gifted children. There are many issues to explore when families consider homeschooling their children.

    How Can I Help My Gifted Child Plan for College?

    Children who are "gifted" demonstrate a high performance capability in intellectual, creative, or artistic areas, leadership ability, or specific academic fields. This brochure discusses early steps parents and their gifted children can take to prepare for college and to ensure that the college experience is positive.

    Identifying and Serving Recent Immigrant Children Who Are Gifted

    The challenge of identifying gifted children and providing them with appropriate educational services is particularly complex when they are recent immigrants to the United States. This digest describes these challenges and outlines specific strategies.

    Know Your Legal Rights in Gifted Education

    Gifted preschool, elementary, and secondary school children have very limited protections under state and federal laws. By contrast, children and adults with disabilities have, under federal statute and in turn under state law accepting federal provisions, comprehensive protections in the following areas not yet applicable to the gifted: identification for screening and program admission or eligibility purposes, educational or other institutional and related services, employment policies and practices, architectural barriers in and about public buildings and transportation facilities, and other civil rights protections.

    Leadership Development and Gifted Students

    The role of parents and educators is critical in assisting with the development of leadership attitudes and skills in gifted youth. Leadership has been designated a talent area in federal and state definitions of gifted students who require differentiated programs, yet it remains the least discussed of the curricular areas for these students in the literature, and it is not well defined. This digest provides a better understanding of how leadership qualities can be developed in gifted students.

    Nurturing Social-Emotional Development Of Gifted Children

    Gifted children can have social- emotional developmental problems arising from their characteristic strengths. This article shows how these problems are associated with their strengths and it provides ways that parents and teachers can prevent or minimize these problems.

    Personal Computers Help Gifted Students Work Smart

    Gifted and talented students in most schools now have access to computers in their classrooms, and an increasingly large percentage of these students have home computers. Educators, business and industry, the government, and the general public believe our most able students must be computer literate for our nation to be competitive in the next generation. Only recently, with the gulf between promises and achievements widening, have voices of concern been raised

    Providing Curriculum Alternatives To Motivate Gifted Students

    How to get the best performance from every student is a challenging task, especially in classrooms where there are many different levels of ability. This digest presents two strategies to help highly able students get more out of school. Teachers may find that the following strategies enable them to challenge and motivate not only gifted students, but also other students who have talents and abilities in specific areas. Parents will find these suggestions helpful when they work with their child's teacher.

    Should Gifted Students Be Grade-Advanced?

    Keeping gifted students challenged and learning to their capacity can require changes in their regular school programs. This digest describes a wide variety of options including many forms of pull-out programs offering educational enrichment, honors classes, after school and summer programs featuring special course work, and mentor programs in which children are matched with professionals in the community for special learning experiences.

    Supporting Gifted Education through Advocacy

    If you are a parent of a gifted child who would like to advocate for special programs within your school or district for gifted children, then this article will provide you with ideas for how to work 'within-the-system'. The article starts by describing how and why advocacy activities for gifted students should be different than for minority or disabled students. It then provides specific steps to follow in order to achieve long-term results.

    Underachieving Gifted Students

    There is perhaps no situation more frustrating for parents or teachers than living or working with children who do not perform as well academically as their potential indicates they can. Yet, at what point does underachievement end and achievement begin? This digest discusses the these issues and provides specific suggestions and coping strategies for both parents and educators.

    Blending Gifted Education and School Reform

    There needs to be a process for assuring that the unique needs of students who are gifted are addressed within the context of the current educational system. This digest includes a section on designing strategies for implementation of programs for gifted students and is a good reference for both parents and educators.

    Conducting A Literature Review

    The National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY) outlines how to access major databases and resources for education, gifted and exceptional student information.

    Differentiating Curriculum for Gifted Students

    Students who are gifted and talented are found in full-time self-contained classrooms, magnet schools, pull-out programs, resource rooms, regular classrooms, and every combination of these settings. No matter where they obtain their education, they need an appropriately differentiated curriculum designed to address their individual characteristics, needs, abilities, and interests.

    Differentiating Instruction For Advanced Learners In the Mixed-Ability Middle School Classroom

    A particular challenge for middle school teachers is being able to differentiate or adapt instruction to respond to the diverse student needs found in inclusive, mixed-ability classrooms. This digest provides an overview of some key principles for differentiating instruction, with an emphasis on the learning needs of academically advanced learners.

    Educating Exceptional Children

    They are the more than 4.5 million children and youth in this country who have physical, mental, or behavioral handicaps. Ranging in age from birth to 21, these children and youth with exceptionalities require the assistance of special educators in order to benefit from education. This digest provides a good overview of key issues, trends and programs for exceptional children.

    Gifted But Learning Disabled: A Puzzling Paradox

    For many people,the terms learning disabilities and giftedness are at opposite ends of a learning continuum. In some states, because of funding regulations, a student may be identified and assisted with either learning disabilities or giftedness, but not both. Children who are both gifted and learning disabled exhibit remarkable talents or strengths in some areas and disabling weaknesses in others. This digest provides insights and strategies for educating children who are both gifted and learning disabled.

    Giftedness and the Gifted: What's It All About?

    Using a broad definition of giftedness, a school system could expect to identify 10% to 15% or more of its student population as gifted and talented. This digest helps parents and educators understand the definition of gifted and how to recognize gifted children.

    Helping Gifted Students With Stress Management

    Many gifted youngsters have a heightened sensitivity to their surroundings, to events, to ideas, and to expectations. Some experience their own high expectations for achievement as a relentless pressure to excel. Constant striving to live up to self-expectations--or those of others-- to be first, best, or both can be very stressful. This digest describes how a gifted child can experience stress and it provides coping strategies for both parents and students. It also provides information to help parents tell if their child is experiencing burnout.

    How Parents Can Support Gifted Children

    The key to raising gifted children is respect: respect for their uniqueness, respect for their opinions and ideas and respect for their dreams. Gifted children need parents who are responsive and flexible, who will go to bat for them when they are too young to do so for themselves. At home, children need to know that their uniqueness is cherished and that they are appreciated as persons just for being themselves. This digest helps parents understand their unique roll in raising gifted children and it contains a good list of indicators to help parents recognize giftedness in their children.

    How To Provide Full-Time Services on a Part Time Budget

    There is a trend in many schools to eliminate gifted education programs in the belief that all students are best served in heterogeneous learning environments. This article challenges this trend and supports the benefits of keeping gifted students together in their areas of greatest strength for at least part of the school day. This practice of cluster grouping represents a way to make sure gifted students continue to receive a quality education at the same time as schools work to improve learning opportunities for all students.

    Meeting the Needs if Gifted and Talented Minority Language Students

    Providing appropriate gifted and talented programs for students from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds is a challenge that many school districts face. This digest explores the controversy surrounding the under representation of minority language students in gifted and talented programs and makes recommendations for more suitable assessment techniques and program models.

    Meeting the Needs of Able Learners through Flexible Pacing

    Flexible pacing includes any program in which students are taught material that is appropriately challenging for their ability and allows them to move forward in the curriculum as they master content and skills. For able or gifted learners, flexible pacing generally means some form of acceleration, accomplished by moving the student up to advanced content or by moving advanced content down to the student. With flexible pacing all students can progress through school at a pace that provides a steady challenge without crippling frustration or unreasonable pressure.

    Planning Science Programs for High Ability Learners

    What subject most intrigues young high ability learners? What subject is still rated highly by middle school academically talented learners? Interestingly, the answer is science even though it is taught less frequently than any other subject prior to middle school. This article provides suggestions for what a science curriculum for gifted students should include. These ideas are not only for teachers, but can be used by parents as suggestions for how their child's science curriculum can be improved.

    Teaching English to Gifted Students

    This Digest reviews the literature on the subject of teaching English to gifted students, examining how to identify students who are gifted in the areas of English and language arts, outlining some principles for developing effective programs in English and language arts for the gifted, and suggesting possible methods of evaluating gifted students and programs.

    Teaching Mathematics to Gifted Students in a Mixed-Ability Classroom

    If your child is mathematically gifted, then this article will provide you with strategies for how your school can meet the special needs of your child. While this article is written for the educational professional, parents will find it useful when talking with their child's teacher.

    Challenging Gifted Students in the Regular Classroom

    Our gifted and talented population must have a full service education if we expect these students to thrive in the manner in which they are capable. This is a good overview digest of the challenges faced in educating gifted students in the regular classroom.

    Developing Programs for Students of High Ability

    Educators need to understand the components of an effective educational program for the different needs and abilities of high ability or gifted students. This digest describes each of these components and is written specifically for the educator who is designing these programs.

    Gifted Learners and the Middle School: Problem or Promise?

    Historically, tension has existed between gifted education and middle school education, leaving some advocates of each educational practice suspicious of the other, and leaving middle school students who are advanced in one or more dimensions of learning in a sort of educational no-man's-land. This digest discusses this dilemma from the educator's perspective.

    Guiding the Gifted Reader

    When a child is a gifted reader, how do you offer challenging reading materials? How do you guide their reading, and how do you know what books to recommend to them or their parents? Another relevant concern is how to develop programs that use literature in ways that are the most helpful to gifted students and make the most effective use of their abilities. In programs for gifted students it is important to go beyond a basic response to the need for more literature in the curriculum. This article addresses these concerns, and will help parents and educators understand and guide the gifted reader.

    Professional Training for Teachers of the Gifted and Talented

    This Digest examines the roles of teachers of the gifted and talented, the roles of regular classroom teachers, and ways they work together. It also discusses necessary qualifications, ways to locate programs, and career opportunities in this field.

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