Category Archives: Gifted Resources

The Common Good: 25 Quotes to Inspire Us

Every year at IEA, we choose a theme to incorporate across all of our programs. This year’s theme was “The Common Good.” At IEA, we believe it is important to inspire and encourage children to make a difference in the world, to pursue the common good.

On December 10, the Nobel Peace Prize was presented to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”

Nobel-announcement-from-Twitter

Malala is the youngest recipient of the prestigious award. After being named the winner, she thanked her father “for not clipping my wings, for letting me achieve my goals.”

With this year’s IEA program theme in mind, and in honor of the latest recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, here is a compilation of quotes to help inspire individuals of all ages to join in solidarity, contributing to the common good.

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“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

“If you are lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down.” – Kevin Spacey

“Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.” – Alice Walker

Read more inspiring quotes!

“Parent Etiquette” During the High School and College Application Process

By Bonnie Raskin

Bonnie is the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship Program Coordinator at IEA. She has extensive experience working with gifted students and supporting them through the high school and college application process.

Applying to high schools and colleges

In an attempt to be supportive and helpful, many parents are too involved in their child’s application process, doing much of the work themselves.

As the program coordinator for the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship, I have been fortunate to get to know, work with and be guided by the experiences and expertise of independent school, college and university admissions deans and directors throughout the United States. This blog is a composite of what I have learned from dialoguing with them.

Last April, a few weeks after sending the acceptance and rejection letters to college applicants, a dean of admissions at one of America’s most selective universities told me the following story:

“Two days after we announced our incoming freshman class, I received a reply from an applicant’s father. It was curt and written on his corporate letterhead: ‘You rejected my son, he’s devastated. See you in court.’ The very next day, I received another letter, but this time from the man’s son. It read: ‘Thank you for not admitting me. This is the best day of my life.’”

All threats aside, receiving a letter like this never warms the hearts of anyone in admissions. It is the consensus of admissions professionals from preschool through college that more and more, today’s parents are getting too involved in their child’s school admissions process – and not merely at the college level. High school and middle school admissions staff have expressed horror stories about parental actions and involvement so completely out of hand that it seems impossible and implausible for otherwise rational people to behave in such off-putting ways. And this behavior never serves the applicant in obtaining the desired positive outcome.

The increasingly bad “parent etiquette” that admissions officers are seeing right now comes from a confluence of several characteristics of our boomer generation: our sense of entitlement, our suspicion of authority and our bad habit of sometimes living too vicariously through our children. It all adds up to some pretty ugly parental behavior often played out in front of our children. A college admissions dean told me, “Today, parents call the admissions office more than the student applicants, often faxing us daily updates on their children’s lives or asking us to return an application already in process so the parent can double-check his/her child’s spelling.” A high school admissions counselor noted a parent who asked whether they should use their official letterhead when writing a letter of recommendation for their own child. It’s not unusual to know parents who openly write their kids’ essays and even attempt to attend their interviews. They make excuses for less than stellar grades or tout athletic promise as “Olympic team potential.”

Read Bonnie’s tips for being supportive and helpful, not over-involved, during the application process.

Turning to Pen and Paper

By Zadra Rose Ibañez

Journaling for stress reliefOne of the questions we routinely ask applicants during an interview for a position with IEA is: “How do you deal with stress?”

If one were to ask me that, I would have several answers—take deep breaths, go for a walk, or listen to music, for example—but the answer that would describe the tactic that is first and most effective for me would be, “Journal about the situation.”

My good friend’s father is a very wise, very prominent businessman. One piece of advice I will always remember from him is, “If you are mad, write a letter. Don’t mail it. Put it in your desk drawer and sleep on it. If you are still mad the next day, then you can mail it, but usually by then, you won’t want to.”

Writing things down is a way to get situations and feelings out and to express them, to see them in a new light. The very act of writing is cathartic. In an article in the New York Times, Mary Gordon says:

Writing by hand is laborious, and that is why typewriters were invented. But I believe that the labor has virtue, because of its very physicality. For one thing it involves flesh, blood and the thingness of pen and paper, those anchors that remind us that, however thoroughly we lose ourselves in the vortex of our invention, we inhabit a corporeal world.

There are many ways to journal; travel-writing, write on a topic, describe yesterday, scribble thoughts of your future goals, aspirations, hopes and fears. One of the most effective ways for me to journal is free-writing. One example of this is the Morning Pages, made popular by Julia Cameron in her seminal book, The Artist’s Way (1992). In it, she says, “Put simply, the morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly steam-of-consciousness: ‘Oh, god, another morning. I have NOTHING to say. I need to wash the curtains. Did I get my laundry yesterday? Blah-blah-blah…’”

Cameron assures us, “There is no wrong way to do morning pages. These daily morning meanderings are not meant to be art. Or even writing. I stress that point to reassure the nonwriters…Pages are meant to be, simply, the act of moving the hand across the page and writing down whatever comes to mind. Nothing is too petty, too silly, too stupid, or too weird to be included.”

One key to getting the most out of Morning Pages is that they do not need to “sound smart”, and they are not meant to be read. By anyone. Including you. You shouldn’t read them yourself for at least two months, if ever. The point is to get the thoughts out, not to analyze them.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a writer or a carpenter, there is something useful in journaling. As Brenda Ueland said, “writing is talking, thinking, on paper. And the more impulsive and immediate the writing the closer it is to the thinking, which it should be….It has shown me more and more what I am – what to discard in myself and what to respect and love” (If You Want to Write, 1938).

So, as a method of meditation or stress-management or introspection, I invite you to write. As Julia says, “Just write three pages, and stick them into an envelope. Or write three pages in a spiral notebook and don’t leaf back through. Just write three pages…and write three more pages the next day.” And please, let me know as it helps you create peace in your day.

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blog_hop_nov14_gifted_self_careThis post is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page November Blog Hop on Gifted Self-Care. Check out all of the other great blogs participating in Hoagies’ November Blog Hop!

Three Days of Celebration, Many Ways to Celebrate

By Zadra Rose Ibañez

Many of us think of October 31 as Halloween, but the period from October 31 to November 2 is celebrated in many different ways around the world.

Many of us think of October 31 as Halloween, prominently featuring costumes and candy, but the period from October 31 to November 2 is also celebrated in many other ways around the world and in different cultures.

All over the world, the upcoming three-day window of time from October 31 – November 2 is celebrated in many different ways by different cultures.

Samhein is a Celtic Festival that happens at sunset on October 31 and continues through November 1. The holiday signaled the end of the harvest season and the coming of winter and was a time for introspection. For this reason, many considered it to be the Celtic New Year.

This was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and when livestock were slaughtered for the winter. Bonfires, thought to have protective and cleansing powers, were lit and celebrations occurred around them. Samhein was seen as the time when “the veil” between our world and the spirit world was thinnest and most easily crossed by pagan gods and nature spirits. It was thought that the souls if the dead would visit their homes during this time. These souls of the dead relatives were called to feasts and a place was set at the table for them.

“Mumming and guising were part of the festival, and involved people going door-to-door in costume (or in disguise), often reciting verses in exchange for food. The costumes may have been a way of imitating, or disguising oneself from, the spirits.” (Hutton)

Mumming and guising can clearly be seen in the tradition of Halloween. “All Hallows’ Evening” is the day before the Christian holiday of All Hallows’ Day or All Saints Day. All Saints Day is “a time for remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs and all the faithful departed.” (Davis) Halloween is often celebrated with dressing up in costumes, trick-or-treating, attending parties, decorating pumpkins as jack-o’-lanterns, eating candy and watching scary movies or visiting haunted houses.

All Saints Day, also known as All Souls Day, is celebrated in some countries as the Day of the Dead or, Dia de los Muertos. Many of the same customs and traditions from Samhein can be seen in Dia de los Muertos, such as laying out a feast for the departed. In Mexico, Dia de los Muertos is a bank holiday. Those celebrating the holiday build ofrendas, or private altars with foods, sugar skulls, marigolds and possessions to honor the deceased. This holiday can be traced back to the time of the Aztecs.

Similar celebrations, though at different times of the year, can also be found in China with the Ghost Festival and Japan with the Bon Festival.

Personally, I spend this time period thinking of the past year and planning for the future. It is a combination of Thanksgiving – gratitude for all that I have been given, recognition of all that I have accomplished and appreciation for all that I have shared – and New Year’s. What do I want the next few years of my life to be like? What values, goals and responsibilities do I want to grow into? Who do I want to spend my time with in the next few years and what difference will I choose to make in the coming year?

However you choose to spend this coming weekend, know that you are not alone in your tradition and that people all over the world are celebrating with you!

References

O’Driscoll, Robert (ed.) (1981) The Celtic Consciousness. New York, Braziller ISBN 0-8076-1136-0, pp.197–216: Ross, Anne “Material Culture, Myth and Folk Memory”; pp.217–242: Danaher, Kevin “Irish Folk Tradition and the Celtic Calendar”

Hutton, Ronald (1996) Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. Oxford, Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-288045-4, p. 363.

Davis, Kenneth. Don’t Know Much About Mythology: Everything You Need to Know About the Greatest Stories in Human History but Never Learned, HarperCollins, page 231.

Getting Unstuck: Creative Ways to Problem-Solve

By Zadra Rose Ibañez

“A mind too active is no mind at all.” – Theodore Roethke

MindmapSometimes, there’s just too much to think about to see a clear picture of where to go next. Sometimes, too much context or history swims around in your mind, crowding the space for new ideas.

As Albert Einstein said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”

At times like these, other methods of problem-solving can be useful.

One such method is using a mind map. This technique allows individuals to see relationships between concepts through pictures and diagrams, which are often thought to be more comprehensible than just words (Davies, 2010). The structure of a mind map begins with a topic or image in the center with major associated ideas connected to it, followed by subsequent ideas linked to the major ideas (Buzan & Buzan, 1993).

See more techniques!

Teaching the Gifted

By Louise Hindle

Louise is IEA’s Academy Coordinator. A British import, Louise graduated from the University of Manchester with a B.A. Honors Degree in English Literature and Language, completed her post-graduate teacher training at The University of Cambridge, and recently completed her dissertation in Educational Leadership and Innovation with the University of Warwick. Louise has 20 years of experience in education as a high school literature teacher, lead teacher, administrator, adviser, and consultant. She is also the parent of three fun and active school-aged children.

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Louise teaches a group of gifted students at an IEA Academy Genius Day

Somewhere in the middle of England, somewhere in the mid-nineties, my former self – three years into my teaching profession as an English Literature teacher, new in my role as second-in-faculty – landed the golden opportunity to teach the brightest 10th graders in the school, the ‘top-set’. This 10th grade top set, as we called it, comprised of thirty-two specially selected boys and girls all destined, according to their assessment data, to achieve the highest grades possible in English Literature state examinations. My former self assumed this would be the ‘dream ticket’, that I would be confronted with eager minds, self-motivated, confident young people with similar abilities. After all, if they’d been identified as the ‘top set’, teaching would be straightforward, without barriers, without learning challenges. These kids were high potential, they were gifted, therefore teaching them would be easy – right? How wrong I was, and how quickly I learned to address these misconceptions.

Read the lessons Louise learned about teaching gifted children!

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!