Dr. Linda Silverman "Giftedness 101"
(Past Event - April 23, 2014)
Gifted programs must be geared to the fastest minds in the class.
Dr. Silverman explained [paraphrased]: "If they can run with the Cheetahs" is something I have said--including here in Eagle County when GET first began--but, too often the second part to that statement is lost in translation. There is an essay written by Stephanie Tolan, a member of the Columbus Group, called "Is It a Cheetah?" The Cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world and the essay uses this as a metaphor for the Gifted. Our identification practices in our schools are not always finding and identifying all gifted kids. In an effort to "catch" those Cheetahs who have not been identified some kids who are "suspected" to be gifted are allowed into Gifted programs. Therefore, "if they can run with the Cheetahs" they might be a Cheetah and this will help the GT specialists identify them correctly. If the program is watered down to fit all of the participants and not geared to the brightest and fastest minds in the group then it is not a defensible gifted program.
More on the Columbus Group & "Off the Charts": http://giftedparentingsupport.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-columbus-group-conference.html
What is Giftedness?: "I see giftedness as a psychological reality. It can be observed in very young children and documented on measures of general intelligence. The capacity for abstract thought, insightfulness, compassion, sensitivy, perfectionism, intensity, creative imagination, sophisticated sense of humor and unusual energy typify the gifted individual throughout the lifespan and result in unusual life experiences. These lifelong characteristics marke the gifted as outsiders in society, and make them vulnerable."
[If a gifted student's education is only geared toward a certain strength domain it is not defensible as an appropriate gifted education.]
Achievement can be defined by those who are looking at the picture. In other words, giftedness may not show up as achievement and achievement and/or eminence is not an indication of giftedness.
What should we be teaching Gifted kids that we are not necessarily doing now:
Mountain folk are notoriously "individual" thinkers and often exhibit other gifted traits. This may be why you have a higher than typical percentage of gifted students identified here in Eagle County. One thing that we should be teaching our gifted students are Entrepreneurial skills so they can be successful in bringing their ideas to fruition and because they will be less likely to work within a corporation.
On Parenting GT kids: Differentiation is not only vital in curriculum, but also in the way in which we must parent our gifted kids.
Advice to Kids: Believe in yourself
Advice to Parents: Believe in your child/ren's dreams. [Don't limit their dreams to what you can imagine as reality.]
Advice to Teachers: Close your door and develop a relationship with your students [--i.e. know your students' learning needs, build trust with your students, teach your students versus teaching to tests, etc.]
Presentation Handout: Giftedness 101: Do you "GET" giftedness?
Teacher Checklist for Twice Exceptional
Article: Beliefs About Ability (in Notepad)
Article: Linking psychological traits with physical brain structure:
A MRI study of talented and average ability high school students
More on Linda Silverman at The Gifted Development Center
GET is a 501(c)3 non-profit advocacy group dedicated to providing support and leadership to the parents and educators of gifted young people in
Our programs address all aspects of the gifted learner including social-emotional development, gifted advocacy, appropriate assessment and identification, curriculum delivery and academic content, gifted with learning disabilities (Twice Exceptional), parenting support and more.
GET was honored to receive the Friend of Education award from the Eagle County Education Foundation in 2005 and five continuous years of support from The United Way of Eagle River Valley. Anne Dunlevie, GET President, received the 2004 Special Advocate of the Year Award and the 2011 Parent Advocate of the Year Award from the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented.