The Academically Gifted Gazette

Ronald E. McNair Elementary

Volume 3, Issue 7

April 2015


3rd-9th: Spring break

10th: Snow makeup day

10th-26th: Science festival

13th: Fourth grade field trip to the symphony

14th: PTA meeting

15th: Tax Day

15th: Last day to join PAGE for extended membership deal

15th: GCS Summer Arts Institute applications due

16th: Fifth grade Omnisource Video Contest entries deadline*

18th: Earth Day celebration

20th: Report cards

20th: TAG meeting

21st: Fourth grade Guilford County Kids Art Contest deadline*

*See separate email for details

Who Said It?

Simply guess who said the following quote and click on the link below to check yourself!

Hint: He has a birthday this month.

"I cannot live without books."

Nurturing Empathy in Your Gifted Child

Being Gifted and Dealing with Stress

Stress is part of our everyday life, and all children need to deal with and manage their stresses. They must learn to master a multitude of challenges, meet goals and deadlines, and behave responsibly—and all of this learning is accompanied by varying degrees of stress. Stress can overpower and distract children, and they do not usually have the strategies to deal with suffocating stress. It is the job of parents and teachers to teach and model the necessary coping skills.

What does stress look like?

For some children, they may become so hyper that they are unable to concentrate or make good decisions. Others may become clingy, demanding your constant support and reassurance. Children may appear bored and unmotivated while others develop phobias.

Stress can also manifest itself physically. A child’s posture may become tight and constricted, instead of relaxed. He may develop nervous habits or tics, such as biting his nails, stammering, or excessive eye-blinking. He may even avoid eye contact and withdraw.

What are the reasons for stress?

There are some obvious reasons such as death of a relative or family pet, break-up of the family, illness, relocation, a new sibling, or a newly blended family. Some stresses, however, may arise from cases that are less obvious.

  • Expectations that are too high.

    Society, parents, teachers, or the children themselves may believe that gifted children should receive A’s in every subject and “always work up to their potential.” Parent expectations may put too much stress on their children.

  • A concern for the world. Often gifted children have an enhanced global awareness. They may worry excessively about war, disease, starving children, cyclones in faraway lands, violations of civil rights here and abroad, and economic disparity. They feel that because of their special talents, they should be able to solve the world’s problems.

  • Overly intense parents. There is a fine line between encouraging children and pushing them. A parent may notice that a child is verbally gifted and require him to read aloud for an hour daily. That is pushing. That same parent could encourage the child’s verbal gifts by giving her a wide variety of story ideas through exposure to museums, community events, children’s theater, and day trips. The parent could ask the child for a special story to be written as a birthday or holiday gift.

  • Disconnected parents. On the other extreme, there are parents who do not provide the child enough structure or discipline. They use the hands-off approach assuming the children can function like an adult. The child ends up trying to rear himself, and since he lacks life management skills, he may become highly stressed and confused.

  • Too many activities. Gifted children may have a broad range of interests and they want to try everything from soccer to student government to volunteering in a hospital, and usually simultaneously. Although some can manage what appears to be a crushing load of academics and activities, others become nervous and frustrated because they have spread themselves too thin.

  • Boredom. If a child spends a large portion of her day waiting for other students to catch up, that can breed frustration and boredom. Some children may act out because, as a child, it is the only way they know how to cope with boredom. Being asked to do things they have done many times over also adds to their stress level. Do note, however, that gifted children may use boredom as an excuse to manipulate their way out of doing work they simple do not want to do. Effective communication between home and school is necessary.

  • Excessive rigidity at home or in the classroom. If there is an extreme amount of rigidity and authoritarian discipline at home or at school a power struggle may result. The child may feel unbearable pressure to measure up to unrealistic academic or behavior standards and may rebel by refusing to do homework of follow family rules. Another type of power struggle can take the form of underachievement. If the child feels that he/she can never get all A’s or win a school competition, she may give up. By failing in school or at an activity a parent values serves two purposes for the child: 1) It is a misguided way of the child taking charge of her own life and 2) It drives the parents crazy. Gifted children are intense and strong-willed; when a parent’s or teacher’s expectations become more important than the child’s feelings, a long and bitter struggle may take place.

  • Loneliness. It can be difficult for a gifted child to find peers that have similar interests. Classmates may call her a “nerd,” or a “dork.” This may lead the child to feel out of place with their age-mates, and instead they may find refuge in books, or they may prefer to spend more time with older children or adults.

What can you do?

  • Encourage your child to relax. Don’t load them up with responsibilities. Get involved with the child in activities that are outside their area of giftedness. Take a deep breath, meditate, and practice progressive muscle relaxation. Take time to enjoy family and friends.

  • Give the child outlets for her feelings of altruism. If appropriate, involve your child in volunteer activities that you may already do—visit cancer patients, go to a homeless shelter with your church, get involved with scouting, read to the little ones at Sunday school. Children learn best through example.

  • Do not highlight in conversation scholastic achievement. Avoid making a child feel that his only value is connected to good grades or that grades are the only things that matter. Encourage him to take responsibility for his own learning by promoting good study habits by setting aside a time and place for homework, by teaching him how to use a variety of resources , and perhaps by checking over some of assignments (but not all assignments every day).

  • Monitor your child’s activities. If your child is overscheduled and feeling stressed, sit down together and figure out which activities she truly values most and allow her to pursue one or two of those. Help her prioritize and set realistic expectations.

  • Emphasize what your child does well. Try to understand how your child looks at things and evaluate her work accordingly. When reviewing assignments, the emphasis should not be on what was not done, but on what was. Is the work creative? Was the artwork filled with fantastic detail, or the homework complete? Help your child find a way to “fit” and excel.

Children, whether they are gifted or not, will encounter challenging times or have to deal with making mistakes as they grow up. They have to stumble and occasionally fall in order to learn and grow. Sometimes they are able to right their own course, but sometimes they may need help. By being there for your child and serving as a support, someone who listens and guides, your child will gain the skills necessary to become a successful, happy adult.

Source: Strip, C. (2000). Helping Gifted Children Soar (pp. 166-176). Scottsdale, AZ: Gifted Psychology Press.

Caesar's Corner

Ready to show off all of that hard work learning Latin? Here's a chance for you to take a practice test in a format sometimes used in class. Simply click the link below and add the corresponding code in the bottom right corner of the homepage. It will automatically direct you to your practice test. Taking this test will earn you an incentive sticker toward a prize or privilege of your choice. Warning: You only get one chance!

4th Graders: B4IKUVIK

5th Graders: UJ96IZ52

2nd Grade Talent Development

2nd grade Talent Development students have enjoyed learning about conflict through Italian and Chinese cultures. Next, we will learn from the incredible Dr. Seuss and his beloved character Horton.

3rd Grade

Who is My Neighbor?

Last week, students learned how to analyze and interpret local immigration data. They created a graph using technology to properly display their individual information. As we move toward the end of the year, the children will be charged with developing a service-learning idea to help our immigrant population at McNair and perhaps beyond! If you have any ideas to contribute, please share them with your third grader. If your family has their own immigration story to tell, please consider a visit to the AG classroom to share.

4th Grade

The Power of Literate People

Students have worked hard to empathize with illiterate people. They have seen the world through the "eyes" of a dyslexic person, have studied why some populations historically have had limited access to education in the U.S. and abroad, as well as restricted their own access to reading and writing for an entire (and according to them, miserable) weekend. Next, we will dive into a series of short stories through The Library Card by Jerry Spinelli. Each student will be required to read one of their choice outside of class but will be offered incentive credit for reading additional titles. We are limited on books at this time. If you happen to visit the public library, bookstore, or e-book library in the next week or two, please pick up a copy. That will free up one more for another child to use. Thanks for your help!

5th Grade

Wherefore Art They?

From Van Gogh to Adele, fifth graders have recently studied how human nature influences artistic expression. Next, we will explore our own individual inborn and learned traits through Howard Garner's Multiple Intelligence Theory. Students will complete an inventory, tally their area/s of strength, and determine their own preferred mode of expression. I look for this group to be particularly passionate about saving the arts as we move toward a plan of action to do just that!

Math Quest

AG Classroom Needs

-TAG is still seeking a parent representative to help link us to the AG community we serve. Please let Miss Green know if you are interested!

-guest speakers on any of our current topics of learning

-glue sticks

-highlighters (multiple colors)

-snack-size bags

-composition books*

-USB flashdrives*

*These will be provided to AG families who may have something standing in the way of purchasing school supplies at this time.