The recent news story about the devastating amount of plastics that have washed up onto Henderson Island in a remote area of the Pacific Ocean is shocking to see. However, this problem provides great opportunity for parents and educators to engage their gifted and creative students in being a part of the solutions of such crippling examples of human-inflicted damage to our planet.
We know that gifted and talented students desire curriculum that is authentic or real and that they have the abilities to engage in sophisticated problem solving, analysis, and ingenuity. The Henderson Island problem is one that these students should be aware of and should have opportunity to pursue, whether just on the level of this one significant example, or through interests that this example might generate.
Here are some potential questions that students could pursue to stimulate their thinking about Henderson Island as well as similar problems around the world.(more…)
I often have opportunity to visit schools all over our country. One trend that I have noticed over the past few years is that they all seem to have a designated makerspace for tinkering. This trend is wonderful to see for us here at NSGT as makerspaces provide a terrific outlet for the needs and skills of gifted, talented, and creative students.
The concept of a makerspace can mean different things to different people and can range from a place that contains highly sophisticated and expensive equipment (3-d printers, laser cutters, tools) to a gathering of simple, low-tech, and available materials (LEGOS, arts and crafts materials, wood scraps).
The common thread of all makerspaces is that they provide a physical place where people can gather together to make things, think creatively, and explore, using a variety of materials and supplies. (more…)
At Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG), our summer programs, we are finding that more and more families with whom we interact are either engaging in or contemplating homeschooling options. This development is understandable for gifted children due to several trends. First, funding for gifted education is tenuous at best. Gifted programs are usually first on the chopping block, if existent at all, and are afforded no real protections at local, state, or federal levels. Second, programs that do exist are often inadequate, either by virtue of being part-time or by not having the resources to provide the complexity, depth, and rigor of the widely varying needs and abilities of gifted students. Additionally, I believe that parents today are better informed about gifted education and the characteristics of their gifted children, than when I first started out in this field, so that there is an increased awareness of what their needs are and of what they are not receiving in school. Finally, I believe the ubiquitous existence of technology everywhere has made it much easier than ever to provide an education from home that is, at the very least, competitive with the education a gifted child can get in a school setting. (more…)
We offer a many STEM-related courses in our SIG programs. I’m always happy when I visit these classes in the summer and see a good percentage of young women in them and also disappointed when I see no girls or very few in them. Our world is increasingly technological and computerized, creating a need for all people to be knowledgeable and many to be innovative in STEM areas. While the gender gap in engineering fields is slowly decreasing, there is still a concerning disparity in the number of women in engineering fields, as compared to men. Considering that February contains National Engineers Week, now is an appropriate time to take another look at this issue, particularly with our concern for young girls with talent and skills not participating in STEM areas to the extent we would like to see. (more…)
When images of Omran, the young Syrian boy in the ambulance in Aleppo made the news, many of us were moved emotionally, but how many of us took action? How many of us have any idea of what to do in the face of traumatic news like this? Well, one brave little boy named Alex knew exactly what to do, so he took action.
Alex wrote a letter to the President of the United States. You may have heard of Alex, because his thoughtful letter did in fact inspire President Obama, and in turn, this little boy’s decision to act had a meaningful impact on millions of people around the world.
Something you may not know about Alex is that he is a gifted and talented youth, and like many children with high intelligence, he is incredibly sensitive and compassionate. These qualities are wonderful, but they are also part of the challenges facing the parents of exceptionally bright kids.
Alex is a student at the Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG), and looking forward to returning this summer. SIG is a program of the National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT), providing educational and social opportunities to meet the needs and abilities of academically gifted and talented students. In the following, Alex’s mother Val graciously answers a few questions about their family’s approach to dealing with a gifted student with extreme empathy — especially in light of Alex’s profound experience with President Obama bringing attention to the plight of refugees. (more…)
Today’s challenging world requires all the complex human capabilities we can generate in our youth. The National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT) and Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG) remain dedicated to encouraging creative thinking and creative problem solving in our gifted, talented, and creative youth. As such we have added an avenue of eligibility in creative thinking for entrance into all SIG programs.
Additionally, NSGT/SIG is committed to helping students learn more about their creative strengths through a nationally-normed assessment. We will invite 35 eligible students to take the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking in Stamford, CT on Saturday, March 11, 9:45 AM – 11:00 AM, free of charge. Participants not only will have the opportunity to learn more about their creative abilities, those in this round of testing will vie for $4,000 in SIG summer scholarships funds. (more…)
On November 30, 2016, I delivered a webinar entitled Family Relationships and the Gifted Child, Techniques for Staying Sane. If you weren’t able to attend and wish to view it, please click here.
A few of the questions that were asked, but there was not time to answer, dealt with asynchronous behavior. One questioner asked how to help the school understand asynchronous learning.
Probably nothing is more indicative of gifted behavior than asynchrony, which refers to the different degrees of development that gifted students possess in different areas. They appear to be out of sync with their age peers. For example, a preschooler may be able to read books that upper elementary students can read, but would still have behaviors one would associate with a toddler. Such asynchronous behavior is often a challenge as we witness advanced abilities in learning and thinking that don’t coincide with other behaviors, emotions, and skills that we would associate with an age commensurate to that ability. It can be confusing and frustrating to both child and adult. (more…)
On November 30, 2016, we delivered a webinar entitled Family Relationships and the Gifted Child, Techniques for Staying Sane. Click here for a recorded version.
A few of the questions that were asked, but there was not time to answer, dealt with anxiety. One question asked if there is a higher incidence of anxiety in gifted children than in others and another asked for advice for coping with an anxious child.
We often associate anxiety with giftedness but whether there is a causal relationship is not definitive. Because gifted children experience the world intensely, they may show a heightened level of behaviors that are associated with anxiety. Children who are acutely aware of the world around them may develop anxiety over worrying about global and local problems, perfectionism in themselves, and general fears regarding situations out of their control. (more…)
Many of the questions asked, that there was not time to answer, dealt with motivation. This topic is often a frustrating one for parents as they attempt to get their children to do things that aren’t currently happening that they think should be happening, like putting forth enough effort in school, caring about getting good grades, and so forth. When talking about characteristics of gifted children I always mention motivation as one of those common characteristics. Children, as well as most of us, are motivated to do things that interest them and that seem purposeful. So, when we believe a child is not motivated to do something, the first thing we should do is ask whether the thing is something we would expect the child to be motivated to do, based on her interest in the task and on her expectation that it is a worthwhile or useful endeavor. (more…)
Most of the questions asked during the webinar were addressed, however there were several that we couldn’t get to due to time constraints that we hope to address in subsequent blogs. Today’s blog will address a question about ADHD (a subtype of Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD, which includes hyperactivity). A parent asked whether a large public school or a small private school would be a better option for her son who has ADHD. Of course, the answer depends on the student, the programs and supports available in the chosen schools, and the characteristics of the child. Let’s start by looking at ADD.
ADD is a syndrome which is usually characterized by serious and persistent difficulties with attention span and impulse control, and in some cases, hyperactivity. ADD is a treatable complex disorder, affecting approximately 3-6% of the population. (more…)
National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT) and Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG) have an annual award called Person of SIGnificance through which we recognize a leader who has greatly influenced our enrichment work with gifted students in the alternative educational settings of summer and online programs. The 2016 awardee is Dr. Shelagh Gallagher, who we recognize for her career commitment to meaningful and engaging curriculum through her work with Problem Based Learning (PBL). Dr. Gallagher, among her many other accolades, has received the National Association for Gifted Children Award for Article of the Year and is a seven-time winner of the NAGC Curriculum Division awards.
Dr. Barbara Swicord, CEO of NSGT, presented Dr. Gallagher with the award during the annual convention of the National Association for Gifted Children, in Orlando, FL, on November 5, 2016.
Additionally, Dr. Gallagher has generously written a wonderful article on PBL for us entitled “You are a ….” The Integral Role of Apprenticeship in Problem –Based Learning. On top of that, she has created a fabulous 15 minute video on PBL. Both of these resources are available here. We encourage all to learn more about Dr. Gallagher, Problem Based Learning, and NSGT!
On October 13, 2016, NSGT presented a webinar entitled Current Trends and Considerations in Selective College Admissions: What Every Family Needs to Know! You can view it here.
The webinar was presented by Dr. Matthew Greene, President of Matthew Greene Educational Consulting. As Dr. Greene was unable to answer all the questions asked during the webinar within our time frame, we have tried to address some of the remaining ones in a series of blogs. Today’s question, in this fifth and final blog devoted to college admissions, deals with early entrance avenues to college, and is contributed by Barbara Swicord, President of Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG) and CEO of the National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT).
Question: As a college professor I can appreciate the diversity younger students bring to campus, but as a mom I hesitate… with the idea of having a younger child admitted early to college (albeit gifted, talented and ready). Are there colleges that are a better option for younger students?
Answer: There are several ways to enter college earlier than upon high school graduation at the traditional ages of 17-19. (more…)