Friday, 16 June 2017

Happy Gifted Awareness Week


This week we have been busy celebrating the wonderful diversity that gifted learners bring to our school community.

The following is a list of facts, traits and issues many would not recognize as a part of giftedness in children.
Ten Facts You May Not Know About Gifted Children But Should
1. It is widely acknowledged that giftedness is an inherent attribute.
Giftedness is present at birth, an inherited trait. Chances are very high that one or both parents of a gifted child, as well as siblings, are also gifted. Nor does giftedness discriminate against culture, religion, social-economic status.
2. Gifted children do not always excel in school.
Being gifted is no guarantee of success in school or later in life. For many various reasons, a gifted child will not always score well on tests, ace every task or turn in their homework. Many gifted children underachieve in school and often drop out.
3. Gifted children can and do have learning disabilities.
As with any child, a gifted child may have learning disabilities which can negatively influence their achievement in school. Unfortunately, gifted children with learning disabilities, also referred to as twice-exceptional or gifted+, often go unidentified because their advanced cognitive abilities often mask their learning disabilities.
4. Gifted children often develop asynchronously.
Asynchronous development is an imbalance or uneven growth of developing traits, skills and abilities—a gifted child’s intellectual abilities can be years ahead of their emotional maturity and social skills. A 12 year old child who understands high school algebra and science, but is unable to sleep at night alone without a nightlight, a fan and all of his stuffed animals is an example of asynchronous development in a gifted child.
5. Gifted children can have overexcitabilities (OE’s).
These are the emotional intensities and sensitivities set off by various forms of physical and psychological stimuli. A constant buzzing sound which causes extreme irritability and the inability to move on until the sound is located and stopped is an example of OE’s.
6. Gifted children often have difficulty finding like-minded friends.
Gifted children, with their intellectual, emotional and developmental differences, can have a difficult time finding friends or same-age peers who share and understand their intellectual interests and quirky traits. Parents of gifted children find this common situation the most painful to watch their gifted children experience.
7. Gifted children often feel like they don’t fit in.
They realize early on that they may be out of step or out of sync with children their own age. Feelings of isolation and not belonging can eventually lead to emotional struggles, depression, dropping out of school and even suicide.
8. Gifted children are gifted in and out of school.
The emotional intensities, asynchrony and social struggles leave school with the gifted child and follow him home. Being gifted is who they are, not how well they do in school.
9. Being gifted is not a net-positive situation.
Being ‘smarter’ or able to grasp and master concepts and skills above grade level is not a guarantee that any child has it made and will be successful in life.
10. Raising a gifted child is not easy.
Given the educational considerations, overexcitabilities, social struggles and asynchrony, life with a gifted child can easily come with its share of bumps in the road. Additionally, the reality that so many only see the stereotypical gifted child—the child who has it made—means parents find little support or empathy among other parents or adults when they need it most.

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Our gifted learners are a complex population. By nature, giftedness is an asynchrony between different developmental areas of a person. It can be very overwhelming (and frustrating) to have the thinking capacity of a young adult, the emotional regulation of a hormonal teenager, and the physical motor skills of a child all at the same time.....our kids are amazing! 

I found this short film Just Breathe which helps kids deal with emotions. I know ALL our kids, and us, will get a lot out it.  

To finish off our week we had a special afternoon tea with some of our gifted learners, whanau and MP for Palmerston North, Iain Lees-Galloway. Our students loved sharing their learning and discussing their needs in education. We had a great discussion about gifted education and learnt about Labour's policies around gifted learners in education in this election year. 



Tuesday, 2 May 2017

RSS GATE Parent meeting

Our next RSS Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Whanau meeting is coming up on Wednesday 3rd May at 6pm. We will meet in the Staffroom, and there will be a space available to bring your child(ren) with a quiet activity if needed.

Our school-wide focus for term 2 is about investigating through Science; culminating in a RSS Science Fair. Joy and I will be briefly presenting about the Manawatu Science and Technology Fair (MSTF) which may be an additional outcome for your child's learning.  We will be providing a brief overview of the scientific process, how to support your child(ren) with their investigation, and MSTF requirements. This is a valuable opportunity to ask questions and find out first hand how to support your child(ren) through this learning process.

GATE Parent Meetings are a great time to get together with other like minds and share ideas. If you would like to come along, or discuss giftedness further please contact Suzanne at suzanne@russellst.school.nz

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Gifted Awareness Week 2016



                                       Happy Gifted Awareness Week!
                     This week we highlight and celebrate the diverse gifts and talents we share in our school community. 

Wondering what giftedness is all about? Gifts and talents are words you may have heard banded around but understanding what they mean is actually not that simple! Giftedness is valued differently across culture, time and space. Although as a society we often look for indicators such as intellect and achievement giftedness is about potential. It is a way of BEING. There are however common qualities and behaviours that can be a starting point toward identifying giftedness in all individuals. If you want to know more about identifying and nurturing gifts and talents, check out the tab 'understanding giftedness' or contact me at suzanne@russellst.school.nz


Monday, 15 June 2015

Happy Gifted Awareness Week!

Take a look at these two clips. Although these cuties are not even at school yet they are already demonstrating gifted behaviour clues. In a world where achievement is continually reinforced as a measurement of ability these clips remind us that giftedness is about who a person is and their potential.

Have a great week celebrating who our gifted children are, not just what they can do :)

Heightened moral sensitivity is shown as the young boy talks with his mother about the food on his plate and articulates his depth of concern and feelings of hurt for animals that are killed for eating. He shows great empathy and compassion for his age. The quick pace at which he gathers, processes and extrapolates information throughout the conversation and uses this to develop his own ideas and beliefs is evident. The way in which he expresses himself is also quite distinct, in that he able to clearly articulate his questions, understanding, concerns and beliefs.

A clear example of heightened emotional intensity, apparent even in a baby as young as ten months. The profound effect the Mum singing has on this wee girl and how her response change throughout is quite remarkable. It raises the question of how, at home or in an educational setting, we might identify, validate and nurture emotional qualities such as this. This example promotes the very important need to acknowledge the advantages the intensity of experiences that giftedness and talent can bring to a child and how this can be expressed and used in a positive way, as well as the challenges it can pose for the child and their family members, and the need to support them in knowing how to cope with and respond to these in the best way possible.

Thanks to Vanessa's blog 'Lifting the Lid' for these http://liftingthelid.weebly.com/

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Stanley's Tree


For Stanley’s 7th birthday he wanted to do something a little bit different...he wanted to plant a tree. "There are too many trees being chopped down," he told me. "Planting a tree is good for the environment." So yesterday Stanley, his brother Jack, and a couple of friends went to the Esplanade and planted two Pseudopanax ferox trees.


As Stanley gets older he will be able to go back and visit his tree. They tried to get a tree that is almost the same size as him. That way he can go back every year and see which has grown the quickest - him or the tree.  The lady who is in charge of landscaping around the playground area, Janine, gave the boys some information about the trees. She showed them the right way of planting and watering trees, and lots of information about planting trees in winter. 

The boys cheered with hot chocolate. (Stanley is the one on the left). They had a wonderful time. What a terrific idea Stanley!




Wednesday, 18 June 2014

It's Gifted Awareness Week!

I found this a number of years ago in a Tall Poppies magazine. It always makes me smile and reminds me why I love to work with students who 'think outside the square.' You can find copies of Tall Poppies in the parent's section of our Library...


“25 Things I’ve learnt from my children (honest and no kidding).”

  1. A king-size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 3 bedroom house about 4inches deep.
  2. If you spray hairspray on a nylon duster and then run over it with roller blades, they will ignite.
  3. A 3 year old’s voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.
  4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a large room.
  5. You should not throw balls up when the ceiling fan is on, using the fan as a bat. You have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can then hit a ball a long way.
  6. The glass in windows (even double glazed) doesn’t stop a ball hit by a ceiling fan.
  7. When you hear the toilet flush and the words uh-oh,” it’s already too late.
  8. Brake fluid mixed with bleach makes smoke. And lots of it.
  9. A 6 year old can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36 year old says they can only do it in the movies.
  10. Certain bits of Lego will pass through the digestive tract of a 4 year old.
  11. ‘Play dough’ and ‘microwave’ should not be used in the same sentence.
  12. Super glue is forever.
  13. No matter how much jelly you put in a swimming pool you still can’t walk on water.
  14. Pool filters do not like jelly.
  15. VCRs do not eject toasted toasted sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.
  16. Rubbish bags do not make good parachutes.
  17. Marbles in petrol tanks make lots of noise when driving and are very expensive to remove.
  18. You probably do not want to know what that smell really is.
  19. Always look in the oven before you turn it on. Plastic toys do not like ovens.
  20. The average response time for the fire brigade is about 20 minutes.
  21. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.
  22. It will however make cats dizzy.
  23. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.
  24. The mind of a 6 year old is a wonderful and amazing thing.
  25. 60% of people who read this will try mixing the bleach and brake fluid.
Updated from Rosemary Cathcart, 2005


There are a number of things happening around the country as part of Gifted Awareness week. These include:

*  Rose Blackett, educational Psychologist, teacher and parent was interviewed on Radio NZ on Saturday. You can hear Rose online here: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/2599647/rose-blackett-gifted-children

* Our local gifted network group 'CenGATE' is now hosting 2 meetings a term: the first is open to parents and caregivers. If you would like to go on the mailing list for this (meeting dates, upcoming events, minutes from meetings etc) please email me: suzanne@russellst.school.nz

* There is also a blog tour as part of gifted Awareness Week: Blog Tour