Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Picky Eaters and Supersensitivities

By Tawnya Sherman

Often gifted kids are picky eaters. There may be a cause other than stubbornness!  This might be a sign of the kinds of intensities that can be seen in gifted children.  Polish psychologist, Kazimierz Dabrowski, identified five of these intensities, which he called overexcitabilities or supersensitivities:: Psychomotor, Sensual, Emotional, Intellectual, and Imaginational.  Picky eaters may derive from the overexcitability related to the senses.

Sensual à The primary sign of this intensity is a heightened awareness of all five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. Children with a dominant sensual overexcitability can get sick from the smell of certain foods or as toddlers will hate to walk on grass in their bare feet. The pleasure they get from the tastes and textures of some foods may cause them to overeat.

·      Appreciation of beauty, whether in writing, music, art or nature. Includes love of objects like jewelry
·      Sensitive to smells, tastes, or textures of foods
·      Sensitivity to pollution
·      Tactile sensitivity (Bothered by feel materials on the skin, like clothing tags)

·      Need or desire for comfort and pleasure

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Building Persistence

By Stephanie Newitt

Do your kids ever give up before their task is complete?  Do they ever have a meltdown over an assignment they perceive as difficult?  Among the gifts our kids have, do we ever wish we could give them the gift of persistence so they can work through difficulties and obtain the rewards they seek.

This past week we hosted a STEM camp for our kids and their cousins at our home.  The children were divided into teams and were to build their own Rube Goldberg contraptions to meet a specific goal.  On the last day, about an hour before the end of class, my youngest son left the project room, ran to his bedroom and locked the door.  He was frustrated with his project and felt like giving up.  I went to his room.  With coaxing he unlocked the door.   In a very neutral tone I called him down from his bunk bed and asked him to stand in front of me.  He had no idea why I was asking him to do this and so while he complied, he wore a perplexed look on his face.  As soon as he was in position, I scooped him up, and held him upside down, while I jumped and wiggled around the room.  By this time he was laughing!

“Mom!  What are you doing??” 

“Remember the movie ‘Big Hero 6’?  You need to use your great thinking brain to look at the problem from a different angle!  You can do this.” 

“OK! OK!”  Amidst more of his laughter, I set him upright on the floor.

He returned to the project room and continued to work on their Rube Goldberg with a more positive attitude until the “Show and Tell” moment with parents at the end of class.

This experience reminded me of the article by Dr. Dan Peters, “Coping 101:  Building Persistence and Resilience in Gifted Children.

You are invited to read this short article by Dr. Peters, where he uses his down to earth approach to introduce a few steps that will help us build persistence and resilience in our gifted children.  The steps he expands on are:

1. Improve frustration tolerance (lengthen the fuse)
2. Teach them to use their great “thinking brain”
3. Help them form a realistic view of self and their abilities
4.  Scaffold and support weaknesses
5.  Set up opportunities for success

Throughout these steps I would add to share family stories when family members have dealt with adversity and then persevered.  These family stories can be powerful if shared in the right way.  What strategies of persistence did Dad use when he was looking for a job while a high school student?   What motivators did Aunt Cathy use when she was a kid and the cookies didn’t turn out like she wanted?  Kids can come away from a family story thinking, “Well, if they can do it, and we are related, then I can do it too.”

So whether it’s sharing stories about how grandpa worked to make new friends when he moved to a new school, or how mom didn’t give up on her scholarship applications, you may also want to flip your kid upside down or just tap her on the shoulder and say, “Tag!  You’re it!”  Including family stories of perseverance and creating moments of uplifting humor can be a part of your scaffolding strategy and little by little you will be able to help your child build persistence and resilience.

Do you want to know how to effectively use family stories in your parenting scaffolding?  Then check out this article from the New York Times – The Stories that Bind Us

Big Hero 6 – “Look for a new angle” 15 second video clip:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpUPv4B-pxQ

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Heart of the Gifted Underachiever - Seminar 6/18/15

Do you wish to better understand the heart of a gifted underachieving child? 
If so, then you may be interested in the webinar hosted this week by SENG – the national organization Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted

The Heart of the Gifted Underachiever 

Thursday June 18, 2015
Time: 7:30 p.m. Eastern [90 mins.]  
Presenter: Josh Shaine
Fee: $40 ($30 for SENG members)
In a time when even the former foremost advocate for gifted children has turned its focus back to achievement and even eminence, where is the place for the gifted child who is not achieving?

Educational research is filled with explanations about the impact of expectations on our students, our children. Yet we have this set of children for whom there were sky high expectations by teachers and parents, but whose response bears no resemblance to the authority figures' dreams and hopes.

We will spend a little time on the history of the field, but mostly we will look at the kids - and at the long term implications of being a gifted "underachiever." 

(some senginars may not be available for registration so check back if it isn't)


Josh Shaine has been working with gifted students of all ages for more than 25 years, including many years teaching, administrating, advising, and sometimes directing programs for 7th - 12th graders through MIT's Educational Studies Program.
He has taught at public, private, and alternative schools, as well as working with special needs students who were either at home or institutionalized for a number of public school districts in several different states.

Shaine has served on the boards of directors of the Hollingworth Center for Gifted Children, Kids College, the Massachusetts Association for Gifted Children, the New England Conference for Gifted and Talented, the NH Association for Gifted Children, and Voyagers Homeschool Cooperative.

He currently organizes and presents at conferences around the country, including the Beyond IQ conferences in Boston, Chicago, and the West Coast. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

NAGC 2015 Annual Convention and Exhibition in Phoenix

Mark your calendar to attend the largest annual convention devoted to gifted and talented learners.  It will be held on November 12-15 in Phoenix!  It is a rare treat to have this event in Arizona. This event will be hosted by the NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children).

People who would benefit from attending are:
Classroom teachers, gifted/talented coordinators, school administrators, parents, college & university faculty, researchers, and more.

There will be a Parent Day and Kids Program on Saturday, November 14th.  NAGC Parent Day is "a one-day event that gives parents tools, information, and networking opportunities to help them support their children's optimal development and ensure their continued growth." This event is being co-hosted with AAGT (Arizona Association for Gifted Children).  Click HERE for more information. 

Registration will open for the Parents and Kids even sometime in June. It appears that the Parent Day event will be $45 per person and the Kids Program will be $35 per person (no meals included).

Click HERE to see pricing and register for the annual convention.  Early bird and group discounts available through September 21st.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Gifted Summer Summit 2015

There will be a Gifted Summer Summit on Thursday, July 9th from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Chandler High School.  The $99 per registration includes light breakfast and lunch.  This is open to teachers and parents of gifted students and anyone with a curiosity and desire to learn.

Registration is required and space is limited.  Click HERE to register or visit our website GilbertGifted.org events page for more info.

The keynote speaker will be Jim Delisle who has worked on behalf of gifted children and teens for more than three decades. As both a teacher and counselor, Jim learned how essential it is for people to understand that giftedness is more than simply "being smart"--it is the height of one's thinking and the depth of one's emotions that are the hallmarks of growing up gifted. The author of 17 books that have been published in multiple languages, Jim continues to consult with schools worldwide in an effort to increase awareness of the needs of gifted children and adults.

Other session topics include:
• Build it Big! - Future City Program • Social Media for the Gifted Classroom • Developing a Growth Mindset in our Students • Extension Menus for the Cluster Classroom • Learning To Exhale - Helping manage anxiety • Scattered but Smart - Organization strategies for gifted students • The “G Word” - grading the interdisciplinary unit • Math Application in the Upper Elementary Classroom.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

For the Love of Fonts

By Tawnya Sherman

Fonts have saved my gifted son from turning in sloppy projects!  There is such pride in turning in an assignment that has been typed.  Feeling like a cool grown-up comes into play.
When an assignment comes up, we talk about what font might represent the topic.  He will want to get started because that is a fun step and doesn’t seem so daunting.  “How do you want to grab audience attention?” can refer to both the introduction to the essay, as well as the font.
Fonts have helped my son realize that words can paint pictures.  By looking for a scary font, my child has to think about what scared looks like.  Then when he goes to write, his mind is ready to write using descriptive words.
An intellectual character from the TV series, The Middle, has a true passion for fonts.  It might be fun to show your child the videos below so he/she could get on the bandwagon.  J