Gifted and Talented Tidbits 7

By Lenora Barnes 10/21/16

This Week

This week the students completed Halloween themed rhyming word puzzles for their warm-up. After warm-up, most of the classes were able to continue with the read aloud novels. In the third and fourth grade classes we discussed the overexcitibility that was discussed in our novel. It is common for gifted individuals to have one or more of the overexcitibilities described by the Polish psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski. Many of the students wanted to share their own experiences with the overexcitibility.

Each of the grade level classes completed an instant STEM challenge during class this week as well. The students were given a set of materials and were tasked with creating a "water tower" that was at least 12 inches high and would hold a golf ball (water) for at least five seconds. It was a challenging task, but several groups were able to accomplish the goal in the seven minutes that they were given. After the builds, we debriefed and discussed the strategies that were effective and ideas for improvement.

The last part of class was spent coding. The students are working on various courses depending on their experience level. Once the new students are comfortable with coding using Blockly, the students will use Blockly to solve challenges with the Wonder robots.


10/24/16 - No GT Class due to GT Coordinator Meeting at Region 6

Dabrowski's Overexcitibilities

Something To Think About

The Myth of Elitism

I would like to share a story from the book When Gifted Kids Don't Have All the Answers. This story spoke to many in our book study group.

Many consider gifted education elitist. Some even view the term "gifted" as elitist. An elementary school principal from Pennsylvania grew tired of complaints from the school board and others that their school's gifted program was elitist. He in fact believed that it was not elitist enough. Principal Paluzzi detailed how the gifted program should be modified:

1. There should be a statewide search for a teacher who has been involved in gifted programs while in school.

2. Once hired, this teacher will receive a salary supplement.

3. Additional teachers should then be hired to work with children who show a high level of promise.

4. Students will not qualify automatically for the gifted program; they will have to try out to gain entrance. If accepted, they will be allowed to work with other gifted students based on their level of competency, not their age.

5. Teachers will have the option of offering these students supplemental instruction after school, on weekends, and during school breaks.

6. School assemblies will be scheduled frequently so these gifted students can demonstrate their skills and discuss their dreams with the other students.

7. Community support for the gifted program will be enhanced by regularly reporting on the student's progress in newspaper articles.

8. Each gifted student will be outfitted with a jacket emblazoned with a large "G" so that everyone will know they are in the gifted program.

The school board members were enraged when they heard of Mr. Paluzzi's plan. Then Mr. Paluzzi pointed out that they already had this program in place-though the district's football, baseball, and basketball teams.

According to Galbraith and Delisle, this just goes to show that elitism isn't such a bad thing after all, as it promotes a sense of excellence and pride. The authors go on to say that even schools with substantial gifted programs seem reluctant to promote them. They often worry about the kids that aren't labeled "gifted" and try to minimize the potential for hurt feelings by referring to their programs by a different name other than gifted education.

Are we sending mixed messages to our gifted students? Are we telling them that it's good to be smart, as long as you're not too smart? Are we telling them it's okay to be smart and perform at a high level as long as you don't talk about it? Are we telling them not to talk about giftedness or gifted education because it might injure someone else's self-esteem? It’s something to think about.

"There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people"

- Thomas Jefferson

Galbraith & Delisle (2015)