Alamance AG News

March 2015

Nurturing Empathy in Your Gifted Child

Webster defines “empathy” as the ability to identify with and understand somebody else’s feelings or difficulties.

Gifted children sense and feel things more deeply than their age-level counterparts. While many young children are concerned about toys, sports, and friendships, the gifted child may be more preoccupied with global issues such as poverty, homelessness, and abandoned animals. This divergence of perception can lead to feelings of isolation from their age-level peers. They are overwhelmed by the enormity of the world's challenges, and realize at an early age that there are matters far beyond their control.

Gifted children have a heightened awareness of the world around them but lack the emotional development to cope with adult world issues. Many adults may be quick to dismiss or minimize their concerns, which only serves to magnify their feelings of helplessness.

While gifted children are often quite empathetic, they still manifest age-appropriate concerns. They may hold self-centered views of their surroundings and dismiss the needs of others. It is important that we continue to foster healthy empathy and teach them how to use their talents to make a difference in the lives of others.

What can you do to help?

  • Acknowledge the concern - Do not minimize the issue. Be an active listener. Work with your child to explore ways to make a difference. Cultivate the concept that every action, no matter how small, counts. Get involved in your community by volunteering as a family.

  • Model empathy for your child – Capitalize on everyday interactions to demonstrate appropriate levels of empathy. Use characters in movies, books and TV shows to foster conversation. Share your own thoughts, concerns and experiences.

  • Teach your gifted child to communicate effectively – Provide a safe place to talk. Help your child articulate feelings and brainstorm potential solutions to problems. Explicitly teach children to read physical cues in order to recognize emotion in others. Practice additional avenues of self-expression such as journaling or artistic expression.

Meeting the Social and emotional needs of Gifted Students- Dr. Mary Ruth Coleman; NCAGT Conference 2013

Gifted Children: Emotionally Immature or Emotionally Intense- Davidson Institute for Talent Development

Vulnerabilities of the Highly Gifted- in Roeper Review; Roedell, W.C.

Empathy in the “Me” Generation-in Teaching for High Potential, Winter 2015; Dixon, Felicia.

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3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade AG Math

During the month of February we began our new unit using our problem solving skills for Math Quest. The students will compete in teams to solve problems using Guess and Check; Draw A Picture; Act it Out; Make a Table or Chart; Look for a Pattern; and Work Backwards. The Math Quest problem solving will be ongoing throughout 3rd quarter. All three grade levels are completing the Math Quest at the same time, however each grade level has their own level of complexity.

3rd Grade AG Reading

Our AG Reading students who have been busy studying immigration in America. Last month we read about immigration during the industrial revolution and how travelers came through Ellis Island and other designated ports. This month, we have read about the way immigration has changed since the 1920's, and what is now involved in the process of naturalization. We will continue to read nonfiction, news articles and biographies about current immigration concerns and hear the voice of immigrants through their personal stories. We will use the internet and other sources to research the Naturalization process for immigrants to become US citizens. Our goals are to empathize and understand the sacrifices and struggles they experience in their effort to become US citizens. We will acknowledge and appreciate the immigrants contributions to America’s diversity and how that makes the United States strong.

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4th Grade AG Reading

During 3rd quarter, we have been learning about different issues that impact someone's ability to learn. In the month of March we will continue this study by learning about students who struggle to learn due to economic or gender discrimination, culture, war, or forced child labor. The students will conduct a RAFT project about the history of struggles for equity of access to educational opportunities in other areas of the world. The students will learn through analyzing the characters in literature pieces and the historical figures in informational texts how illiteracy affects a person’s life. Specifically, we will learn about women's educational rights in Child Soldiers in Mali. Students should be able to grasp the plight of those who have challenges that deprive them of an education by reading and studying their stories and demonstrate an understanding of the courage that some individuals have to fight for their rights to learn.

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5th AG Reading

It is time for us to begin our study of the Arts! We will examine events and sights in nature from the perspective of an artist. We will learn to appreciate examples of The Arts and seek to find meaning in them. Through our study, we will investigate the background of artistic expressions to better understand the artist. The goal will be for all 5th graders to begin to understand how the arts are a part of each person’s life in many ways.

The students will learn about the four major art forms and what inspires the artists. We will look specifically at the art of Adele, Tchaikovsky, Lord Stanley and Van Gogh to name a few.

Mrs. Jenna Lay

Teacher for the Academically Gifted

Alamance Elementary School

Greensboro, NC