Monthly Archives: September 2013

Doing Homework the Wrong Way

By Lisa Hartwig

Lisa is the mother of 3 gifted children and lives outside of San Francisco.

Student writingThere is a right way to approach your school work and a wrong way. The right way is to plan ahead, break the project down into manageable pieces, allow enough time to proofread and edit your work and make sure the final work product looks good. The wrong way is to wait to begin until the night before the project is due, handwrite it (neatly at first, and nearly illegibly by the end) on the pages of a notebook and stay up all night completing it. My middle son took the second approach. But this isn’t a story about getting my son to do his homework the right way. This is about learning to accept his way.

To properly tell the story of my son’s “wrong way” project, I have to go back to the spring, when I attended the Bradley Seminar with my son. All of the attendees completed a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and learned about their personality types and their underlying characteristics. The facilitator asked the parents and students to line up on various sides of the conference room to join others with the same “type”. For the most part, my son and I were on the opposite sides of the room (no surprise). Most of our differences I understood, except one: how we deal with the outside world. I am a “judging” type. He is a “perceiving” type. This difference turns out to be a big one for us. Judging types like to plan and prefer an orderly life. Perceiving types are flexible and open to new experiences. Perceivers are enervated by deadlines. They take in information until the last minute and then complete their work in a burst of energy. Once I realized that my son was not going to share my love of lists and schedules, I stopped monitoring his work habits. I gave up on encouraging him to complete his school work in the right way.

The way my son completed his final project for his English class embodied his perceiving nature. The prompt for the project was “What is your American Voice?” My son decided to write his memoir. It would be in the form of a diary, written in a journal. He chose to write it in a red leather journal he purchased on a family vacation in France. He began the project the evening before it was due. He completed the 86 page memoir during his study hall, an hour before his English class.

My son was anxious about revealing so much of himself in a school project, so he sent his teacher an email expressing his concern. After reading my son’s work, the teacher emailed him back, and this is what he said:

It’s lovely, really…Your book is remarkably well-written for someone who just sat down and started writing. I guess writing isn’t ALWAYS rewriting. You have a natural gift for storytelling.

In this instance his natural work style worked for him. This is often the case. His rapid intellectual processing, long attention span and excellent memory allow him to produce quality work in a condensed period of time. There are instances, however, when his last minute burst of energy and inspiration isn’t enough. Last week he started running with the cross country team after not running all summer. On the third day, he injured his knee. His body was telling him what his English teacher did not: some tasks require the slow and steady approach.

My husband talked with my son and tried to make the connection between his preferred way of doing things and the possible consequences of his work style. His English project worked out because he is a good writer and he spent weeks crafting the story in his head. He likes to immerse himself in a burst of creative concentration. He also knew the teacher well. His knee reminded him that he cannot always be successful doing what is most natural for him. Running, like other skills (for example, music and foreign languages), require steady and persistent effort.

Last spring at the CDB Seminar I learned that there was a whole group of people who share what I initially thought was the wrong way of doing things. And it works for them, most of the time. Understanding this helped me let go of the need to organize, schedule and generally oversee my son’s life. It also helped my son identify his default work style. Over time, he will need to discover when his work style works for him and when it doesn’t so that he can be conscious about the need to modify it when circumstances require. I’m not really sure I can help him with this. As flexible as he thinks he is, he’s not really interested in trying things my way. In the meantime, I’m hoping that any further insights he may gain will not involve a visit to the emergency room.

The Many Faces of Gifted: Shaun

By Carole Rosner

Every gifted person has a unique story. The following story is part of a series of posts depicting the many faces of gifted by highlighting gifted children and adults we have found through IEA programs. IEA’s Apprenticeship Program – mentioned in this story – links gifted high school students from across the country with mentors who advance each participant’s skills through the application of knowledge and exposure to real world experiences.

ShaunY

Shaun Yosslowitz
2001 Apprentice, Robotics, Xerox PARC, Palo Alto, CA
2002 Apprentice, Astronomy, Caltech
IT Consultant, Accenture

For high school students looking ahead to college, IEA’s Apprenticeship Program is a great way to do something unique and productive during the summer. Shaun Yosslowitz participated in two science-based research opportunities that put him right in the middle of real-life work environments. Shaun told me his Apprenticeships were “a fun activity that I was able to put on my college admissions applications. So, it was definitely a worthwhile experience that I would encourage pursuing for anyone interested.”

Shaun participated in two IEA Apprenticeship Programs—a Robotics program held at Xerox PARC in Palo Alto and the Exploration of Mars program held at Caltech. “At Xerox Park I built and programmed a modular robot and presented the project to other interns and researchers at the facility. Using light sensors and basic Java, I built a robot to move away from light! I did not have much exposure to coding or Java beforehand, so I found it challenging but interesting.”

“At Caltech, under the guidance of a professor, I researched sunspots on Mars and learned general information about the red planet. The program culminated with a presentation that I gave to the other Apprentices also doing programs sponsored by IEA at Caltech,” Shaun explained.

After high school, Shaun went on to college with plans to go into medicine. “I started UCLA as a Chemistry major, as I enjoyed my IEA Apprenticeships and science classes in school, but graduated with a major in Business Economics and minor in Accounting. My desire to become a doctor quickly shifted to an interest in accounting.”

“During my last couple of years at UCLA, I interned with a local accounting firm and then at Ernst and Young, where I started working full time after school. Ernst and Young supported me through my Certified Public Accounting preparation courses and exams and also heavily subsidized my Master’s in Business Taxation from the USC Leventhal School of Accounting. Later, I decided that I wanted a change. I now work for Accenture as an IT consultant, specializing in the Finance/Accounting area in technology/systems.”

Shaun’s not sure where his life and career will take him, but he’s gotten some great insights along the way!

12 Lessons About Gifted Kids from Matilda

Matilda

Image from roalddahl.wikia.com

The lovable title character in Roald Dahl’s Matilda is a precocious young girl who can teach the world a lot about gifted kids. Here are 12 lessons from the novel:

1. Signs of giftedness can often be seen early in a child’s life. Matilda is depicted as an extremely precocious and advanced child, speaking perfectly by 18 months, reading by age 3, and multiplying double-digit numbers in her head by age 5.

Take a look at more lessons Matilda teaches us about gifted kids!

Announcing the 2013 Caroline D. Bradley Scholars

IEA has named 16 young people from across the country as its 2013 Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship recipients. The Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship annually awards highly gifted and talented students throughout the United States with full four-year scholarships to high schools that best fit their individual intellectual and personal needs.

Of the hundreds of applicants this year, 35 Finalists were chosen by two Scholarship Selection Committees made up of admission directors and school administrators from top secondary schools, colleges and universities across the country. Following extensive personal interviews, 16 of the Finalists were named 2013 Caroline D. Bradley Scholars.

The 2013 Caroline D. Bradley Scholars are:

  • Elyse Cornwall, Wauwatosa, WI
  • Alex Goldberg, Redwood City, CA
  • Sidney Hirschman, San Carlos, CA
  • Isaac Lau, San Francisco, CA
  • Joy Ma, San Ramon, CA
  • Jarett Malouf, Sherman Oaks, CA
  • Ryan Moon, New Hyde Park, NY
  • Grant Morgan, Vail, CO
  • Arin Mukherjee, Princeton, NJ
  • Kathleen O’Neill, Tiburon, CA
  • Molly Pyne-Jaeger, Los Angeles, CA
  • Kevin Sun, Lexington, MA
  • Vinjai Vale, Dallas, TX
  • Andrew Wang, Thousand Oaks, CA
  • Andrew Zerbe, Woodside, CA
  • Isabelle Zheng, Portland, OR

2013 Scholars come from the following middle schools:

  • Del Mar Middle School
  • Jonas Clarke Middle School
  • Los Cerritos Middle School
  • Milwaukee Montessori School
  • The Mirman School
  • New Hyde Park Memorial Junior High School
  • Nueva School
  • The Peak School
  • Princeton Charter
  • St. Brigid School
  • Stoller Middle School
  • Walter Reed Middle School
  • Windemere Ranch Middle School

For more information about the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship, please visit the IEA website.

Looking for Shakespeare? – Try ‘Looking for Shakespeare’ with Andre Martin

By Ellie S. and Charlotte F.

IEA’s Academy program provides young gifted students with challenging enrichment classes that focus on exploration and the application of knowledge. This fall’s Academy session offers a variety of courses, including the new class Looking for Shakespeare, taught by Independent Shakespeare Company actor Andre Martin.

Ellie and Charlotte are 11-year-old Academy students who attended Looking for Shakespeare, an event held by IEA in collaboration with the Independent Shakespeare Company. This is a post Ellie and Charlotte wrote about their experience at this event.

Ellie and Charlotte discuss Shakespeare with actor and Academy instructor Andre Martin

Ellie and Charlotte discuss Shakespeare with Independent Shakespeare Company actor and IEA Academy instructor Andre Martin

A friend of ours involved with IEA invited Charlotte and me, Academy veterans, to a taster for one of IEA’s new fall classes, Looking for Shakespeare. That friend was Louise Hindle, Academy’s new Program Coordinator. The taster was an invite to attend the play As You Like It performed by the Independent Shakespeare Company (or ISC) at Griffith Park last Thursday evening. In addition, as students of Academy, we were able to take a private tour of the backstage area with ISC actor and teacher of the new class, Andre Martin. This was a special treat. After we took the tour, we did a few fun activities with Andre to give us an even better idea of what the class might be like. Andre was very enthusiastic about teaching us, and we all loved learning from him.

The backstage tour was one of the most enjoyable parts of the evening, especially since Charlotte and I share a love of performing Shakespearean scenes. Before the play began, Andre led us all onto the stage and then took us behind the scenes and downstairs to the backstage area, where we could see the actors getting ready, putting on make-up and preparing their costumes. Andre explained some of the plot and introduced the characters from the play. We were lucky enough to meet some of the actors, including the man who played both the evil and benevolent Duke in the production as well as the actor who played Orlando, one of the lovers.

Andre gives Academy students an exclusive backstage tour

Andre gives Academy students an exclusive backstage tour

Following Andre, we left the stage and gathered on the grass for Andre to lead us in an acting game. “Imagine how a kind Duke would walk,” Andre told us. Charlotte, the other students and I walked in circles around Andre, imagining ourselves as a charitable person in authority. “Good,” Andre said. “Now how do you think a lover would walk?” A few of us wandered aimlessly, donning a dreamlike expression, and he laughed. I was beginning to wish my schedule would permit me to take this class…

Andre also led the students in acting games that included walking like different characters

Andre also leads the students in acting games that include walking like different characters

Leading us back to our seats, Andre encouraged us to pay careful attention during the play and kindly offered to answer questions or confer with him during intermission. As Charlotte and I took our seats and waited for the play to begin, we started to chat about our activities with Andre. We both agreed that Andre’s class would be an amazing and informative class to take. We also conversed about some of the things we had already learned with Andre. He had explained to us the plot of the play and quizzed us on the characters. We also got to hear his insights and opinions on certain parts of the play, such as the famous “Seven Ages of Man” speech and the fascinating character, Touchstone. We both took pleasure in hearing and learning about all of these things. Andre was very fun and energetic while he taught and was excited when we expressed our love for and experience with Shakespeare.

Once the play started, we were immediately pulled into its plot. The skilled actors captured our attention with their life-like portrayal of emotions and character traits. Soon, we noticed the different styles of the costumes used to represent the differing groups in the play. The courtiers dressed in elegant, fancy dresses and suits, while the forest exiles were dressed in more practical clothing for their setting. Also, the characters traveling into the forest wore clothes they thought would be suitable but were not and so they had to change identity.

Both Charlotte and I appreciated the depth of the production. When it was over, we thanked Louise and Andre for inviting us to the inspiring performance. Any kid taking Andre’s class in the Fall will surely enjoy it, we thought. As for this special taster event: now that night was one we would never forget.

Interested in Academy classes for gifted Kindergarten – 8th graders? The fall session starts September 21. Sign up today!

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