Tag Archives: strategies

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!

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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!

Preparing for High School

By Lauren F.

Lauren is a 2012 Caroline D. Bradley Scholar and a rising high school sophomore attending a boarding school in Connecticut. She recently shared with us what she thinks incoming freshmen should know to help them prepare to enter high school. Here are her tips.

nervous-squareI don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous and excited for anything in my life than I was for starting high school. But let me emphasize “nervous,” as I’m sure all of you rising freshmen are or will be.

Therefore, I’ve compiled a very brief list of how to get prepared over the summer – in other words, a list of all of the things I wish that I’d done before my own freshman year!

1) Make a detailed list of what you’re going to need in the fall!

It turns out that just writing “clothes,” “shoes,” and “school supplies” leaves a lot of room for forgetting important things. Instead, make it specific: “six multicolored binders,” “rain boots,” “soccer cleats.” For boarders, this is twice as important, because there are things for your room that you’re really going need to remember: dryer sheets, duct tape, staplers, snack food, etc.

Read more of Lauren’s tips!

Gifted and Nongifted Siblings: How Conventional Wisdom is Wrong

By Mark Erlandson

Mark Erlandson, the parent of a gifted student who presently attends a boarding school out East, is a former lawyer and public high school English teacher from Wisconsin starting a new business as a legal writing consultant.

Gifted and nongifted siblingsOne of the problems with “conventional wisdom” is that it is often wrong. Remember the one about how the earth is flat? No? How about how you shouldn’t swim for an hour after eating because you would get cramps? Which brings us to the topic of today’s blog: the conventional wisdom that the nongifted sibling(s) of a gifted brother or sister suffers because of the relationship: the gifted child gets more attention from parents, teachers and relatives or gets more resources, or just the inevitable rivalry and competition that occurs between siblings in a situation where the nongifted sibling(s) will feel inferior and thus less happy.

The problem with this conventional wisdom about gifted and nongifted siblings is the research says it is just not true. Perhaps the largest study was conducted back in the 1990’s by Diana L. Chamrad and Nancy M. Robinson, PhD, and reported in the Gifted Child Quarterly. They studied 378 sibling pairs, ages eight to 13, where one sibling was gifted and the other was not. The authors expected to find that “the nongifted siblings were more anxious and depressed, that they were poorer students (relative to their ability), and that they thought less well of themselves and were negatively disposed toward their brother or sister.” Instead, the study concluded that “it is actually, if anything, an advantage to be the brother or sister of a gifted child!” [Emphasis in original.] Some of these benefits were decreased anxiety in younger children with an older gifted sibling, gifted children viewing their siblings in a more positive light than nongifted children do, and more positive sibling relationships for both when one was gifted and one was not than if neither sibling were. A study conducted in Israel and reported in the December 2009 issue of Gifted and Talented International found a similar lack of negative consequences.

Read more about gifted and nongifted siblings.

Emotionally Supporting Your Boarding School Student

By Bonnie Raskin

Bonnie is the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship Program Coordinator at IEA. She has extensive experience working with gifted middle school students to find the high school that best fits their individual intellectual and personal needs and supporting them throughout that high school experience.

This time every year, I’m approached by parents of Caroline D. Bradley Scholars who have just dropped off their sons and daughters at boarding school for the first time and ask about how to support their students during the transition to life away from home.

It’s true that your child is stepping into a world that is like that of a college freshman in some respects: he or she faces issues of time management, from preparing for exams to doing laundry; issues of relationships, from accommodating a roommate with different sleep habits to learning to speak with instructors; and issues of personal development, from coping with homesickness to frustration over weekend curfews that differ from home. While college students are more or less viewed as adults, this is not appropriate for your 14 year old. This is why boarding schools have tiers of responsible adult faculty and upper level students on site in every dorm for immediate access to all of the students housed with them, regular group and individual chats, and strict rules students quickly adopt as their “new normal.”

Going off to boarding school is what professionals call a “planned separation.” Homesickness is bound to be something your new boarder is going to deal with. If this comes up, reassure your child that those feelings of missing familiar surroundings, routine, family and friends are perfectly normal. The experience of going away to school has a certain rhythm: initial excitement or positive intensity, usually lasting the first two to four weeks, then a drop to what might be labeled homesickness. It is a natural phenomenon; it is inevitable and does not last. So parents—DON’T ask about it, just know that if the communication turns a little sad or wistful in late September or mid-October, that’s probably the cause. It’s your part of the dialogue to steer the conversation to positive topics. CDB boarding school alums advise that parents should NEVER ask, “Are you homesick?” because “if I wasn’t homesick, that question would make me be and if I were, it wouldn’t make me feel any better.”

Read Bonnie’s tips for supporting your boarding student!

Motivating Without Grades

By Lisa Hartwig

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

Report_CardMy oldest son didn’t get his first letter grade until he was a senior in high school. His elementary and middle schools did not give grades. In high school, the students only received a single GPA. His assessments were in the form of red lined papers or handwritten comments. By the time he received his first letter grade in the fall of his senior year of high school, it was too late to make any difference; the letters had no meaning and they did not motivate him.

See what Lisa learned about her son’s motivation.

My Child is Gifted. Now What?

IEA hosts monthly Gifted Child Parent Support Group meetings throughout the school year. These meetings are intended to provide support and community in the midst of the joys and challenges of raising a gifted child. At the May 2013 meeting, IEA President Elizabeth D. Jones presented “My Child is Gifted. Now What?” This post offers a few of the many highlights from that talk.

Life-Average_or_Memorable

As the parent of a gifted child, you are on the road to an extremely adventurous – and memorable – parenting journey.

You know that your child is different, and you may or may not know why or how. You search for answers and find out that your child is gifted. But what does that mean? How do you accommodate your child’s needs now that you know what they are?

Identifying and Acknowledging Your Child’s Gifts

Because you as a parent know your child best and see your child the most, you are the most likely person to notice your child’s gifts. Parents usually notice signs of giftedness in the first five years of their child’s life. 50%-90% of parents are proficient at recognizing early intellectual advancement in their children. As children near the age of 5, the accuracy improves.

Read more of this post here!