Monthly Archives: September 2014

Advocacy and the Gifted Teenager

By Min-Ling Li

Min-Ling is IEA’s Apprenticeship Program Coordinator. She joined IEA after teaching high school mathematics in Los Angeles. Her dedication to supporting high-potential students is rooted in her own experiences as a student who struggled to find outlets that nurtured her intellectual and social dispositions.

Meeting the academic needs of gifted teenagers requires a

Meeting the academic needs of gifted teenagers requires discussion, planning, and cooperation.

Amelia is a 10th grader who attends a small private school in Northern California. She enjoys singing and dancing, as well as reading about the universe and diving into the intricacies of supernovae. Amelia is self-motivated but often finds that her school and the courses offered do not satisfy her curiosity in the arts, math, and sciences. The content to learn within her school is often shallow, and completing assignments of knowledge-gathering is baffling to her, as she can find the answer with taps on a keyboard and Wikipedia. She despises memorization. Amelia is respectful. With that said, she follows her enthusiastic and inspiring teachers as they “cover material” which she masters quickly. Amelia is an example of a gifted child within “American schools [that] pledge to educate everyone and expose students to a wide variety of topics” (Davidson, 2004). Amelia’s needs are oftentimes overlooked.

Providing safe and nurturing learning environments for gifted students is often difficult when the student seeks services within educational spaces that are not aware of the needs of gifted youngsters. As the coordinator for a gifted program and a teacher of general education students, I have gained knowledge and experience from my interactions with teenagers. Being an advocate is pivotal in my responsibility to offer the best learning environment for gifted students.

Read about advocating for gifted teens!

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Leaving Behind Normalcy: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child

By Brianna Safe

Brianna has worked at IEA since 2011 and with gifted students since 2009. She graduated from Biola University with her BA in Humanities and English and is particularly interested in how literary art can inform issues in human psychology about how individuals conceive of themselves and make decisions. 

Asynchrony and the gifted childThe word “normal” is often casually batted across the field of developmental psychology, and I shudder at the implicit limitations of such a word. Sure, “normal” is a practical point of reference for understanding how children grow, in what ways and at what ages. When used descriptively, it can be a useful tool for seeing general patterns of physical, cognitive, and emotional development. The harm seems to come when we choose, often without realizing, to see normative development through a prescriptive lens. To prescribe “normal” as the measure of a healthy, happy child may confine us to a definition too narrow to allow the perspective that each child is a unique instantiation of life, and therefore will develop in his or her own unique way.

bell-curve

For those parenting a child at either end of the bell curve, the normalcy lens can cause more trouble than not. Any parent of a gifted or special needs child (or in some cases, the twice-exceptional child) can attest to the fact that, if normal is the rule, their child is indeed the exception. For these parents, it can be a challenge to let go of normative expectations and accept their child’s distinctive development.

Read more about asynchronous development and the gifted child.

Small Steps

van_gogh-great_things_small_things2Last week, IEA’s staff members met for a two-day retreat. The retreat was filled with fun, laughter, and collaboration as we participated in teambuilding activities, discussed our programs and the organization, and planned for the coming year. To start the retreat, each team member shared a quote she brought to inspire the group.

Here are some of those quotes:

“The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.” – Thomas Merton

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vince Lombardi

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

As we looked at the quotes and listened to why each person chose that quote, we found a few themes: We are all here to make a difference. The issue we are addressing – the importance of meeting the needs of gifted children – is a big issue, and we encounter many barriers in working towards that goal. However, that goal is worthy of every ounce of our time and attention, and the small steps we take to get there are powerful and important. Every small step we take impacts a life, and every life we impact impacts the world. That is why we are all here.

Over the rest of the retreat, we talked specifically about the small – and sometimes large – steps IEA will take over the coming year to support the needs of gifted children across the country, steps that included everything from school outreach to parent support to enhanced program offerings.

All of us in the gifted community can take small steps to work towards a world in which our gifted children are understood, celebrated, and supported. Please join us as we take necessary steps towards that worthwhile goal.

Five Offline Resources for Gifted Kids

In this fabulous age of technology, it is easy to get swept up into the many online resources for kids, parents, and teachers. We’ve even featured a few here, including podcasts and educational websites for gifted kids as well as TEDTalks for parents. There are so many resources out there, though, that have existed for many, many years and can be just as good as – if not better than – those online. So, here are some great resources for gifted kids that might seem obvious but are often overlooked.

1. Your Local Public Library

Resources for gifted kids

The library can be an amazing source of information for the gifted child. (Photo credit: Mr Moss via photopin cc)

Many parents of gifted children are extremely grateful for public libraries. For our voracious readers, it can be extremely costly to purchase books at the rate at which they read them, not to mention the amount of space it takes to store them. Public libraries allow these kids access to a wide variety of books at no cost. They also have resources that would be more difficult to get elsewhere, including archives and reference materials. Additionally, the library is a great place to casually browse collections and stumble upon new finds in the safety of age- or genre-specific sections. Many libraries these days also provide online portals to rent ebooks, audiobooks, and other digital materials for our tech-loving set.

See more offline resources for the gifted child!

Announcing the 2014 Caroline D. Bradley Scholars!

We are excited to announce the 2014 Caroline D. Bradley Scholars! Please join us in congratulating this new group of bright, talented young people who demonstrate academic and personal excellence.

Rebekah Agwunobi, Washington
Cole Arnett, Texas
Tuvya Bergson-Michelson, California
Paige Busse, New Jersey
Audrey Chin, California
Galileo Daras, California
Miranda Derossi, Nevada
Eden Fesseha, Pennsylvania
Elias Garcia, New Mexico
Aeden Gasser-Brennan, California
Calder Hansen, California
Matthew Hurley, Illinois
Michelle Jeon, California
Anjalie Kini, Colorado
Ethan Knight, California
Kathy Lee, California
James Liu, Oregon
Holly McCann, North Carolina
Nicholas Miklaucic, North Carolina
Catherine Phillips, North Carolina
Emily Powell, California
Ruhi Sayana, California
Jeffrey Shen, California
Henry Spritz, Maine
Yajur Sriraman, New Jersey
Seth Talyansky, Oregon
Sophia Vahanvaty, California
Andy Xu, South Carolina
Ivy Zhang, New Jersey
Jacob Zimmerman, Massachusetts

The Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship awards highly gifted students with a four-year scholarship to a high school that fits their individual intellectual and personal needs. Students apply in 7th grade. If you are interested in receiving information about the 2015 Scholarship as it becomes available, please join our email list.

The Best Hideout in the World

By Zadra Rose Ibañez

girl-reading-library

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside a dog, it’s too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx

Summer, Tuesday afternoon, 3pm. You find me sitting at a beautiful wooden table with the sunlight streaming in through the window panes, perfectly spotlighting my notebook and pen. I write until the sun climbs off the table and only fluorescent light illuminates my writing.

I am at the library, and I am happy. Comfortable, calm, at peace. I feel powerful: full of potential and opportunity.

When I was little, my mother would take me to the library each week to get my fill of reading materials. The children’s section was to the left of the entrance and the grown-up section was to the right. My mom allowed me to go off to the kids’ books on my own – giving me autonomy in a safe space. I remember reading Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock to my mom at bedtime, a chapter a night.

Read more of Zadra’s reflections on the library!