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Gifted 101: A Guide for First Time Visitors

by Carolyn K. director, Hoagies' Gifted Education Page

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What is Gifted?

What is gifted?  How is it defined?  Who are the gifted?  What are their needs?  Why should we care?  So many questions...

What is giftedness?  There is no universal definition.  Some professionals define "gifted" as an intelligence test score above 130, two or more standard deviations above the norm, or the top 2.5%.  Others define "gifted" based on scholastic achievement: a gifted child works 2 or more grade levels above his or her age.  Still others see giftedness as prodigious accomplishment: adult-level work while chronologically a child.  But these are far from the only definitions.  Former U. S. Commissioner of Education Sidney P. Marland, Jr., in his August 1971 report to Congress, stated:

Gifted and talented children are those identified by professionally qualified persons who by virtue of outstanding abilities are capable of high performance. These are children who require differentiated educational programs and/or services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program in order to realize their contribution to self and society.

No Child Left Behind legislation created a new, achievement-based definition of giftedness, however it does not mandate that states use its definition:

The term “gifted and talented”, when used with respect to students, children, or youth, means students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities. (Title IX, Part A, Section 9101(22), p. 544)

A group of respected professionals in the field of gifted suggest a definition based on the gifted child's differences from the norm:

"Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally." The Columbus Group, 1991, cited by Martha Morelock, "Giftedness: The View from Within", in Understanding Our Gifted, January 1992

Most definitions agree: gifted children are a population who have different educational needs, thanks to their unique intellectual development.  What we're not so sure of, is how to identify them, and what this different education should look like.

That's where Hoagies' Gifted Education Page comes in... 

Welcome!

Welcome to Hoagies' Gifted Education Page, and the world of the gifted child!  It may be a challenge, but it's never boring!  We think you'll find our information useful, for parenting and educating gifted children. Thanks for visiting!

Hoagies' Gifted Education Page is the comprehensive resource for education of gifted children, for parents, for teachers, for administrators and other educators, counselors and psychologists, and even for the gifted kids themselves. It's full of great information, with links to the most complete, easiest to use resources on nearly every aspect of gifted education available on the Internet, plus lots of annotations and first hand information provided by parents facing the same challenges that you are facing.

But it's so big! Hoagies' Gifted Education Page, like our gifted children, can be overwhelming at first.  When you have a question, visit Acronyms, Terms, and other things we need to know... Recommended for references you aren't familiar with.  You'll be learning a whole new vocabulary! Visit Frequently Answered Questions (FAQs) for lots more answers and questions.

Before we start, look in the upper right corner of each page, and you'll find a full text search of the site.  If you have a specific question, or you're looking for specific information, type a few words of your topic in the search box, and click "Search" to search Hoagies' Gifted Education Page and ERIC EC Clearinghouse for Exceptional Children.

Gifted 101 offers a quick trip through some of the most valuable sections of Hoagies' Gifted Education Page for first time visitors. Let's start at the beginning... 

Identification

Your first stop in gifted education is often Identification. This section contains articles and research on identifying our children, whether they are obviously 'gifted' or just not fitting well within the traditional school environment. If you're not sure your child is gifted, read Characteristics of Giftedness by Linda Kreger Silverman. And for information on giftedness in Young Children, read The Young Gifted Child for telltale signs that young gifted children often exhibit.

Every parent and educator should read Stephanie Tolan's classic essay, Is It A Cheetah? Recommended, and for educators and other professionals, don't miss the National Research Center for Gifted Children's quiz Distinguishing Myths From Realities: NRC/GT Research Recommended.  Parents, read I never wanted to be one of THOSE moms Recommended... we were all there, once.

Testing

Many of us arrive here during the process of Testing and Measurement. If you are just considering testing, read Why Should I Have My Child Tested? and Assessing Gifted Children to learn about tests and testing of our gifted children. Once the testing is scheduled, you might ask How Can I Prepare My Child for Testing?.  When testing is complete and results are in, the next question is invariably What Do the Tests Tell Us?  If your child has been tested more than once, or the initial results just don't seem to make sense with your knowledge of your own child, read Why do my child's test scores vary from test to test?  Looking for information on a specific test?  Visit Inventory of Tests, a list of the most common (and many less common) tests given to gifted children, along with details about each test.

For a great introduction to gifted tests and testing, read Parent's Guide to IQ Testing and Gifted Education Recommended by David Palmer   Answers your questions, from Why test? to What do the scores mean? and What about scores of twice exceptional children?  Every parent entering the gifted education world should read this book.

Gifted Education and Gifted Programs

Now that your child is identified as gifted, what's next?  Gifted Education means something different in each state and school district, and it's often left to the parent to negotiate the channels of gifted education.  You should start by learning your state Gifted Mandates, as well as your local school board policy on gifted education.  Gifted Programs may involve enrichment pull-out classes, segregated classrooms, or grade and subject Academic Acceleration.  Classroom teachers may (or may not) offer Curriculum Modifications.  Gifted children are gifted all the time; their educational needs should be considered in the structure of their entire school day, not just the ready-made gifted enrichment program.

Your gifted child may need Curriculum Adjustments. Some adjustments that are often discussed for gifted children include Grouping, Academic Acceleration, and Early Entrance to Kindergarten. Each educational option has its pros and cons, including Social / Emotional Issues and Underachievement. If you'd like an easy to read introduction for parents and teachers, order a copy of Dona J. Matthews and Joanne F. Foster's Being Smart about Gifted Education: A Guidebook for Educators and Parents Recommended from Amazon.com or your local bookstore.  And while we'd love to find the perfect fit for each gifted child, often we must consider the Least-Worst Educational Option.

If you're the teacher of the gifted, there are great resources here for you.  Start with Gifted Education Professional Development Package... it's a full 6-unit course in gifted education, from soup to nuts -- Identification to Instruction, plus the condiments -- Underachievement, Twice Exceptional, and Social-Emotional aspects of giftedness.  And if you only purchase one book on gifted for your own classroom use (and you're in K-6 education), make it Susan Winebrenner's Teaching Gifted Kids in Today's Classroom: Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can Use Recommended.  Updated and revised for a new generation of teachers and classrooms.

Support

The best thing about the Internet is that it brings together people from all over the world. Though there may not be many gifted children on your block, or more than a couple highly gifted children in your whole school district, support is available on-line.  Mailing Lists, Message Boards, Blogs and more.... are electronic resources to find lots of other parents, teachers, counselors, and other professionals just like you, struggling with the same questions, concerns, and joys. For parents, groups like GT-World and The TAG Project, and their corresponding mailing lists, GT-Families and TAGFAM, are the only places we can talk about what our kids are doing now and want to do soon, without sounding like we're bragging or pushing. If you have an inkling of a special gifted group, specialty lists like GT-Special (for twice exceptional kids) and TAGPDQ (for families of "more than just gifted, or Pretty Darn Quick gifted kids), or TAGMAX (for homeschooling gifted families) might be a better choice for you.  Whatever your preference, please join us!  Teachers will appreciate Prufrock's Gifted Education Blog, and professionals, consider reading "Intelligent" Insights on Intelligence Theories and Tests (a.k.a. IQs Corner).

If you'd rather get together with parents and educators in person, check out Conferences for gatherings on gifted education all over the world. Or find some local support and information in Gifted Organizations.

Research and Articles

For general information on gifted education, go to Hoagies' Readings, including ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education. For specific topics, visit Highly Gifted, Young Children, Twice Exceptional, or Home Schooling Gifted Children, plus many other topics. Or use our search (on the left of every page!) to find a specific topic, author, or article.

A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students Recommended The Templeton National Report on Acceleration. Research shows acceleration is a powerful educational ally, but it’s a strategy that requires participation of parents as well as sensitivity to individual needs and circumstances. For that reason, this report is designed not only to persuade readers of the value of acceleration, but also to help schools administer acceleration programs effectively.  Also read the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC) reply Acceleration in Schools: A Call to Action.

Books

Getting started in gifted can be overwhelming.  That's where Giftedness 101 Recommended by Linda Silverman comes in. Equally accessible to the parent as the teacher, and written by a recent pioneer in the field, Gifted 101 dispels common myths about giftedness, challenges the view that eminence is the true signifier of giftedness, provides support for the twice exceptional, offers specific guidelines to parents and teachers, describes comprehensive assessment of the gifted, and focuses on the complex inner world of the gifted... a "must read."

A comprehensive resource whether you're just getting started, or moving further along your journey, is A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children Recommended by James T. Webb, Janet L. Gore, Edward R. Amend & Arlene R. DeVries This guide offers insights for both the beginner and "advanced" parent of the gifted child, including parenting, underachievement, sensitivities, twice exceptionalities, friendships, siblings, schools, identification, and much more!

For you: resources that you can bring right into your home, visit Hoagies' annotated lists of Gifted Books and Journals discussing many aspects of Gifted Children, and Products and Publishers to help educate the gifted child.  For teachers and counselors / psychologists, the books in the Gifted Library are a great set of resources on gifted education and gifted children.

For the gifted child: Reading is often an issue with gifted children, as many can read so early and so well; its often difficult to find books that are appropriate both in reading level and topic.  Reading Levels of Children's Books: How Can You Tell? Recommended answers the age-old question: what is the level of this book?  Our collection of Reading Lists can help.  Check out Hoageis' Hot Topics!, a different kind of kids and young adults reading list, with the titles listed by topic first and reading level second, on topics including Art, Math, History, Being Gifted, Cartoons, and much more.  Magazines offer gifted kids and teens lots of other reading opportunities. 

If your gifted child is struggling with reading, and some gifted children do struggle, visit Hoagies' Gifted: Twice Exceptional for more information about the frustration you and your child may feel, and how you can help.  You are not alone!

Don't Miss... A Crash Course Recommended Recommended

For a crash course in the best of gifted resources on the Internet, visit Don't Miss ... the Best of Hoagies' Gifted Education Page!  You've noticed the blue stars Recommended on some of the resources above and on the topic pages you've visited.  These resources are the best, the ones you shouldn't miss.  And they're all collected on a single page, for your convenience.  For a crash course in gifted education, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, and read through all the resources on Don't Miss ... the Best of Hoagies' Gifted Education Page!  Don't miss it! 

Along with the blue stars, you've found green stars Recommended on some books, toys, and other products.  Gifts for the Gifted: the Best of Hoagies' Shopping Guide Recommended are the "best of the best" products and services, .  Gifts for the Gifted: the Best of Hoagies' Shopping Guide is a great place for your gift shopping, and your own learning and fun!

For The Kids and Teens...

And to find lots of great stuff for your gifted children, visit Hoagies' Kids and Teens for great Kids and Teens Links to visit on the Internet, from Gene Gateway in Natural Science to CodeBreaker Crossword in Love of Words to Puzzle Parlor in Brain Teasers and much more.  Check out Software Favorites for software that hits the mark for our gifted children of all ages (and has a shelf-life of more than a week), and Magazines for reading favorites of gifted kids and teen (and even adults), and where we can be published in, too! Reading Lists for these unique kids, from literature to special topics. Hot Topics! book lists features books on topics as varied as Physics, History, Poetry, Fantasy, on Being Gifted, and lots more.  Movies offers movies that feature gifted kids (and adults) in a positive light.

Don't miss Internet Investigations! These ready-to-use curriculum units are found right on the Internet, with subjects from Hamlet on Trial (in Encarta, Arts) to the mathematics of M&Ms to an Anatomy of a Murder: a trip through our nation's (U.S.) legal justice system, for grade levels K to 12 and beyond.

To simplify your shopping...

By now you've noticed that some of the stars aren't blue, but green Recommended.  Blue stars are the best links; green stars are the best products.  To simplify your gifted child, adult and teacher shopping, with great new ideas of books, toys, magazines, music, movies and more, already tested and proven with gifted children and adults... Recommended Gifts for the Gifted: Hoagies' Shopping Guide!  It's full of the best-of-the-best products, sure to please, in areas from Smart Toys - this is now a dozen pages with a wide variety of toys and games, to Software Favorites - sorted for old or new PCs, to Music for the Gifted Mind - an eclectic and exciting mix, to Hot Topics! Reading Lists - a different kind of reading list, sorted by topics first, and age / level second, so that you can find books that gifted kids love!  There are Gifted Books and Journals for parents and professionals - a great place to shop for teachers' holiday gifts, or your own reference library.  There are Magazines for gifted kids and adults alike.  Movies Featuring Gifted Kids (and Adults!) offers great family entertainment, in movies both old and new. 

Shop here yourself, or send the link to friends and relatives for holiday shopping ideas!

A Little Humor

Dealing with the issues surrounding the education of our gifted children can be emotionally draining. Take a moment to "recharge" with A Lighter Note.... There are great poems, that really hit home for gifted children and parents. Plus original features, including You Know You're The Parent of a Gifted Child When... Recommended and rolling eyes The Ridiculous Things I Heard Today Recommended. And for one of the funniest books, that really gets into the everyday life of the gifted child, borrow or order and read Raisin' Brains Recommended by Karen L.J. Isaacson .

A Light in the Darkness

And when things look really bleak in your educational situation, read our Success Stories, and know that you, too, can find success in your child's educational struggles.

Your Next Steps...

When you're done Gifted 101 and you're ready for something more, Gifted 102: The Next Steps... continues your journey with more advanced information, and more great resources.  Check it out!

For more on parenting and educating gifted kids in the day-to-day world, follow @HoagiesGifted on Twitter, Hoagies' Gifted Education Page fan page on Facebook, or Carolyn K. on LinkedIn.  Different than Hoagies' Page updates, this feed includes timely short articles and links for kids, and brain research and gifted education features for the adults in their lives. Plus you'll find a safe place to ask questions and get tons of great ideas in response!

Please support Hoagies' Gifted Education Page!

We need you to support Hoagies' Gifted Education Page.  Hoagies' Page is not funded by any school, university, organization, or government grant.  The money needed to support the growth and maintenance of a 1150+ page website comes exclusively from your purchases through our affiliates programs, and from your generous donations.  Remember to click on Hoagies' affiliates program links, before you put items in your shopping cart at any of our affiliate stores.  When you order through our affiliate links, at no cost to you, a small percentage of your purchase will go to Hoagies' Gifted Education Page. 

Thank You for your support!
 

Last updated March 29, 2014 
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