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Teaching Students Who are Gifted. Part 1: What is the nature of giftedness?/ Some theories and definitions. Historically, gifted identified by excellence in linguistic or logical mathematical realms Terms Used : Gifted/ Talented, Gifted, Talented , Specific / General, Advanced Learners.

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Historically, gifted identified by excellence in linguistic or logical mathematical realms
  • Terms Used: Gifted/ Talented, Gifted, Talented, Specific/ General, Advanced Learners
origins of giftedness
Origins of Giftedness
  • genetics (biological) and
  • twins and adoptive studies show link
  • social/environmental factors
  • nature /nurture combination;
levels of giftedness
Levels of giftedness
  • According to IQ measurements, the following labels are generally accepted:
  • Bright - 115 and above
  • Gifted - 130 and above
  • Highly gifted - 145 and above
  • Exceptionally gifted -160 and above
  • Profoundly gifted - 175 and above

- B.C: “Possess demonstrated or potential abilities that give evidence of exceptionally high capability with respect to intellect, creativity or the skills associated with specific disciplines”

- US: “gifted” are “children with outstanding talent who perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared to others of their age, experience, or environment.”

Often demonstrate outstanding abilities in more than one area
  • Demonstrate extraordinary intensity of focus in their particular areas of talent or interest
  • (However, they may have accompanying disabilities ) and should not be expected to have strengths in all areas of intellectual functioning
brain research fmri
(Brain Research: fMRI)
  • looks like a 'brain on fire.'
  • Bright red blazes of high metabolic activity burst out all over the scan.
  • Each red patch represents millions of microcombustion events in which glucose is metabolized to provide fuel for the working brain.
  • Gifted brains are remarkably intense and diffuse metabolizers
The orchestration of activity is planned and complex, and it seems to require the coordination of diverse visual, spatial, verbal, and sensory areas of brain. Gifted thinkers are rarely one-mode thinkers.
  • enhanced sensory activation and awareness. Gifted brains are essentially "hyper-sensitive," and can be rendered even more so through training.
Not only are the initial impressions especially strong, but also the later recollections are often unusually intense or vivid.
  • Because vivid initial impressions correlate with better recollection, gifted brains are also characterized by increased memory efficiency and capacity.
  • These memories are not only especially intense and enduring memories, but they are also frequently characterized by multimodality, involving memory areas that store many different types of memories.
howard gardner
Howard Gardner
  • theory of multiple intelligences that includes seven different types of intelligence: linguistic and logical-mathematical (the types measured by IQ tests); spatial; interpersonal (ability to deal with other people); intrapersonal (insight into oneself); musical; and bodily-kinaesthetic (athletic ability).
renzulli enrichment triad model
Renzulli Enrichment Triad Model
  • giftedness involves the interaction of three sets of characteristics:

-above average intellectual ability,


-task commitment.

-interaction may result in giftedness in general performance areas such as mathematics, philosophy, religion or visual arts, or in the performance areas as specific as cartooning, map-making, play-writing, advertising or agricultural research.

Treffinger (1986, p.40) defined the characteristics

Above Average Intelligence

  • * Advanced vocabulary
  • * Good memory
  • * Learns very quickly and easily
  • * Large fund of information
  • * Generalizes skillfully
  • * Comprehends new ideas easily
  • * Makes abstractions easily
  • * Perceives similarities, differences,


  • * Makes judgments and decisions

* Questioning; very curious about many topics

* Has many ideas (fluent)

* Sees things in varied ways (flexible)

* Offers unique or unusual ideas (original)

* Adds details; makes ideas more interesting (elaborates)

* Transforms or combines ideas

* Sees implications or consequences easily

* Risk-taker; speculates

* Feels free to disagree

* Finds subtle humour, paradox or discrepancies

creativity in thinking vs product
Creativity in Thinking (vs. product)
  • Insight: separating relevant from irrelevant, find novel ways of combining relevant bits of info, relate new and old info in novel and productive way
  • Not necessarily Genius
  • Creativity: express novel and useful ideas, to sense and elucidate novel and important relt, and to ask previously unthought of, but crucial questions
task commitment
Task Commitment
  • Sets own goals, standards
  • Intense involvement in preferred problems and tasks
  • Enthusiastic about interests and activities
  • Needs little external motivation when pursuing tasks
  • Prefers to concentrate on own interest and projects
  • High level of energy
task commitment cont
Task Commitment (Cont)

- Perseveres; does not give up easily

when working

- Completes, shares products

- Eager for new projects and challenges

- Assumes responsibility

Task commitment refers to the passion and the perseverance that follows when students are involved in problems, topics and projects of their own interest or choosing, in our outside of the classroom.
  • Gifted students are typically committed to task that are personally meaningful
A lack of commitment to a task assigned by someone else does not necessarily mean the student lacks task commitment. For example, failing to complete classroom assignments is not an appropriate reason to exclude a student form gifted programming.
  • Therefore, educators using task commitment as an indicator of giftedness should do so carefully.
Renzulli's three-ring concept of giftedness has helped educators to look for more than intellectual ability in identifying students with potential. We now recognize the importance of creativity. When these two factors are combined with task commitment, there is potential for giftedness.
Gardner's and Renzulli's work illuminates the need to identify student potential in a variety of ways and to develop multiple programming options to meet each student's unique needs
most prevalent characteristics of giftedness
Most Prevalent Characteristics of Giftedness
  • learn rapidly
  • have extensive vocabulary
  • have excellent memory
  • reason well
  • are curious
  • are mature for their age at times
  • have an excellent sense of humor
  • have a keen sense of observation
  • have a vivid imagination
have a long attention span
  • are concerned with justice and fairness
  • have a high energy level
  • are perfectionistic
  • are perseverant in their areas of interest
  • are avid readers
  • have ability to generalize info
  • are able to make abstractions readily
  • have capacity to id similarities/differences/and relationships
  • are concerned with big picture or global issues.
  • report high energy or activity levels.
  • are sensitive to clothing tags and other tactile sensations.
early identification
Early Identification
  • Early id of students who are gifted important to plan/deliver appropriate ed plans
  • Some gifted students whose abilities are not identified and addressed early may exhibit secondary emotional and behavioural difficulties
District screening and id procedures should be in place to ensure consistency of access to programs designed to support gifted students.
  • Every effort should be made to ensure that screening and id procedures are unbiased with respect to language, culture, gender, physical ability, learning or other disability
  • What screening devices are used ?
  • No single criterion should be established for access to or exclusion from services
  • assessments using multiple criteria and information from a variety of sources, all of which are valid components
should include several of
Should Include several of:
  • Teacher observations :anecdotal records, checklists, and inventories
  • Records of student achievement including assignments, portfolios, grades and outstanding talents, interests and accomplishments
  • Nominations by educators, parents, peers and or self
  • Interview of parents and students
  • Formal assessments to level C of cognitive ability, achievement, aptitude and creativity
  • (A student who is talented in areas other than academics should also have an assessment of intellectual abilities, as it is important information for educational planning )
data collection on
Data collection on

-general intellectual ability

-specific academic aptitude

-creative or productive thinking

-leadership abilities

-visual or performing arts

-psychomotor abilities

identifying the gifted in our schools
Identifying The Gifted in our Schools
  • Individual School District’s decide on process for identification purposes
  • Great differences in site based decision to meet criteria, provide planning
  • Pressures to either “under” identify or “over” identify Gifted
  • Gifted Rating Scale
underrepresented groups
Underrepresented Groups
  • Girls
  • Low socio-economic status
  • Various ethnic groups
some misunderstandings
Some Misunderstandings
  • Not necessarily a ‘high achiever’
  • Many are not self-directed, independent learners who need little direction.
  • Many do not have the patience or desire to serve in a ‘helper’ or ‘teacher’ role
  • Study skills and work habits are often not well developed (because things have tended to come with little effort )
Social and emotional skills are often incongruent with intellectual capabilities.
  • Many are more comfortable talking and

working with adults or older students

  • Many feel isolated and misunderstood
  • Undue demands are often placed on them (perceived to be more mature and responsible)
  • -Parents, teachers, and students themselves, set unrealistic goals, which end in frustration and feelings of failure
  • Easily bored and frustrated with tedious. repetitive tasks
  • Unusual curiosity – wants to know ‘why’
Reject authority, be non-conforming, stubborn.
  • Dominate or withdraw in cooperative learning situations.
  • Be highly sensitive to environmental stimuli such as lights or noises,
  • Be so emotionally sensitive and empathetic that adults consider it over-reaction, may get angry, or cry when things go wrong or seem unfair.
be overly critical of self and others
Be overly critical of self and others…
  • And that's one of the real struggles of embracing one's own giftedness is that we have these ideas in this culture that gifted people are arrogant, gifted people are snooty, that they think they're better than others. And that's typically not the case; they're more likely to feel inadequate to others, because of their own high standards.
These reactions of gifted students to the regular education environment are normal only within the context of an understanding of the gifted. Without that understanding, they may be used to label the student as ADD/ADHD.
dabrowski overexcitabilities
Dabrowski: Overexcitabilities
  • A term to describe excessive response to stimuli in five psychic domains:
  • psychomotor
  • sensual
  • intellectual
  • imaginational
  • emotional) which may occur singly or in combination.


intensity is a surplus of energy.

Children with a dominant psychomotor overexcitability are often misdiagnosed with ADHD since characteristics are similar. 


* Rapid speech

* Impulsive behavior

* Competitiveness

* Compulsive talking

* Compulsive organizing

* Nervous habits and tics

* Preference for fast action and sports

* Physical expression of emotions

* Sleeplessness


The primary sign of this intensity is a heightened awareness of all five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing.

Children with a dominant sensual overexcitability can get sick from the smell of certain foods or as toddlers may hate to walk on grass in their bare feet. The pleasure they get from the tastes and textures of some foods may cause them to overeat.


* Appreciation of beauty, whether in writing, music, art or nature. Includes love of objects like jewelry

* Sensitive to smells, tastes, or textures of foods

* Sensitivity to pollution

* Tactile sensitivity (Bothered by feel of some materials on the skin, clothing tags)

* Craving for pleasure

* Need or desire for comfort


This intensity is the one most recognized in gifted children.

It is characterized by activities of the mind, thought and thinking about thinking.

Children who lead with this intensity seem to be thinking all the time and want answers to deep thoughts.


Sometimes their need for answers will get them in trouble in school when their questioning of the teacher can look like disrespectful challenging.


* Deep curiosity

* Love of knowledge and learning

* Love of problem solving

* Avid reading

* Asking of probing questions

* Theoretical thinking

* Analytical thinking

* Independent thinking

* Concentration, ability to maintain intellectual effort


The primary sign of this intensity is the free play of the imagination. Their vivid imaginations can cause them to visualize the worst possibility in any situation. It can keep them from taking chances or getting involved in new situations.


* Vivid dreams

* Fear of the unknown

* Good sense of humor

* Magical thinking

* Love of poetry, music and drama

* Love of fantasy

* Daydreaming

* Imaginary friends

* Detailed visualization



The primary sign of this intensity is exceptional emotional sensitivity. Children with a strong emotional overexcitability are sometimes mistakenly believed to have bipolar disorder or other emotional problems and disorders. They are often the children about whom people will say, "He's too sensitive for his own good."


* Extremes of emotion

* Anxiety

* Feelings of guilt and sense of responsibility

* Feelings of inadequacy and inferiority

* Timidity and shyness

* Loneliness

* Concern for others



* Heightened sense right and wrong, of injustice and hypocrisy

* Strong memory for feelings

* Problems adjusting to change

* Depression

* Need for security

* Physical response to emotions (stomach aches caused by anxiety, for example

“It is often recognized that gifted and talented people are energetic, enthusiastic, intensely absorbed in their pursuits, endowed with vivid imagination, sensuality, moral sensitivity and emotional vulnerability. . . . [They are] experiencing in a higher key.” - Michael Piechowski.
I've never seen giftedness expire. I've seen it get worse - that the sensitivity deepens, the perfectionism gets more intense, the excitability factor - all this energy will erupt, just makes more of itself.
  • too needy, too sensitive, too friendly, too excited, too driven, too disorganized, too fast, too competitive, too arrogant, work too hard (Anti-procrastination disease)
Desire for high stimulus situations: mischief, smug, bored, know-it-all; or procrastination, risking, need to make life difficult in order to feel like a hero
  • Thinking too much, can't turn it off, obsession style
potential conflict in class
Potential “Conflict” in Class

* Get bored with routine tasks.

* Resist changing away from interesting topics or activities.

  • impatient with failure
  • perfectionistic.
  • Disagree vocally with others, argue with teachers.
  • *Make jokes or puns at times adults consider inappropriate.
  • Ignore details, turn in messy work.
View the video clip


How many passes does the white team make?


The answer was 13.

But did you see the…….?

common elements for individualized program
Common Elements for Individualized program
  • Different in pace, scope and complexity in keeping with the nature of the extent of the exceptionality
  • Provides opportunities for students to interact socially and academically with both age peers and peers of similar abilities
  • Addresses both cognitive and affective domains
planning and implementation
Planning and Implementation
  • Often blend of opportunities in the school and community
  • More extraordinary the abilities, the more necessary expand options to outside of school
supplemental services should contain some of
Supplemental services should contain some of:
  • Independent guided education
  • Specialist teachers in resource centres or resource rooms
  • District and community classes
  • Special groupings which provide opportunities for learning with intellectual peers (OM)
  • mentorships
s mart

1) Pace of Learning


B) Telescoping

C) Compacting

2) Opportunities for Scope/Depth of Understanding

3) Engaging Curriculum:

- follow interests and passions

-individualized/peer projects

a acceleration
A. Acceleration
  • Acceleration is the practice of placing students at a higher than normal level of instruction to meet their learning needs. It occurs when a classroom teacher provides the student with advanced curriculum, when a student skips a grade, or when a student takes a specific course at a higher level.
acceleration programming options
Acceleration Programming Options
  • Continuous progress
  • Grade skipping
  • Content acceleration
  • Testing out of course requirements
  • Advanced courses in summer or afterschool
  • Correspondence courses
  • Specially designed credit courses
  • Advanced placement courses
  • Dual enrolment
  • Early graduation
  • Early enrolment in college
  • Radical acceleration
Students can be accelerated by grade, when they are advanced in all areas, or by subject. (I.e. a student in Grade 6 may be doing math at an advanced level and language arts at his age level)
  • While many educators resist acceleration as a strategy, research overwhelmingly supports it. Acceleration has been shown to be positive for both achieving and underachieving gifted learners in the majority of documented cases. (Benbow & Stanley, 1983; Kulik & Kulik, 1992).
  • “forcing” issue because of online course
research on acceleration
Research on acceleration
  • Rogers and Kempster, 1992 acceleration:

1) not academic burnout or gaps

2) not negative social emotional

  • works especially when:

-early entrance to school, grade skipping (gr. 3-6)

-acceleration in Math; early admission to College

-requires flexible placement, diagnostic assessment, commitment of Admin and teachers

research working with peers
Research Working with Peers
  • Cross (2002) need intellectual peers part of day to stay stimulated in are of advancement, but also same age group peers ( except for “prodigy” )
b telescoping
B. Telescoping
  • Telescoping 
Telescoping is reducing the amount of time a student takes to cover the curriculum. Courses often involve overlapping content and skills from one grade level to the next.
Gifted learners may not need as much time to learn and remember the material. An example of telescoping is when a student completes grades 8 and 9 math in one year. Telescoping can be used in conjunction with acceleration.
c compacting
C. Compacting
  • Compacting is a strategy designed to streamline the amount of time the student spends on the regular curriculum. This strategy allows students to demonstrate what they know, to do assignments in those areas where work is needed, and then to be freed to work on other curricular areas.
use compacting to reduce repetition and to "buy" time for the students to work on an individual project of their own choice.
  • It may also be used to extend work in a given topic. For example, if the area to be compacted is math, the student will spend less time on regular classroom assignments and have more time to work on applications or math enrichment activities.
2 opportunities for depth of comprehension
2. Opportunities for Depth of Comprehension

a. Broad Based Themes

b. Tiered activities (according to readiness)

c. Analogy/ Metaphors/Similes

d. Succinct to Elaborate

( bumper sticker/ 7 word lifestory to elaboration

e. Open-Ended Curriculum/Activities


f. Independent Study (Make a contract with

steps/dates/expectations/assessments )

g. Problem-Based Inquiry

A)Kaplan (1986) uses broad based themes as a curriculum organizer. A theme can span several disciplines and give rise to the study of many topics. The content of the curriculum, the thinking and research skills used, and the end product of the investigation are taken into consideration in the development of the theme and related lessons.
  • Examples of broad based themes are: change, cycles, structures and systems. Students at any level can take part in lessons developed around any theme. The work will vary in levels of sophistication.
b tiered assignments
b) Tiered Assignments
  • Tiered assignments are designed to meet the needs of a group of learners functioning at a range of levels. Students work on the same content, but are asked different questions and are provided with different activities which are assigned according to readiness, interest or learning style.
d) Succinct to Elaborate

(bumper sticker/ 6 word lifestory to


6 word memoirs
6 word memoirs
  • For sale: baby shoes, never worn.


Independent Study

(Make a contract: steps/dates/expectations/

assessments )

-Open-Ended Activities

(examples- )

-Problem Based Inquiry

-web quests

3 engagement through interests passions
3. Engagement through Interests/Passions

a. Choice boards (or have as


b. Current events connections

c. Contests

learning centres stations
Learning Centres/Stations
Learning centres are physical "stations" where students are engaged in activities designed to extend their understanding and thinking about a topic.
  • Activities may include working on an individual or small group investigation, watching a video tape, listening to an audio tape or working on a computer activity. Sometimes there are games to reinforce a concept or problems to solve.
Learning centres can be used to reinforce and extend the regular program or to identify and extend the interests of students. In the latter case, they may not be directly related to curricular content, but introduce the students to new possibilities for study.
  • For the teacher, learning centres provide a way to work with small groups while the rest of the class is engaged in other assignments or centre work.

student contests
Student Contests
  • work on independently
  • Highly motivational for many
  • Work at own pace
gifted learners said as adults looking back what experiences worked
Gifted Learners said ( as adults looking back what experiences worked) :
      • Exploration of Interests or Passions
      • Knowledge and Use of Thinking


      • Use of the Skills of Collaboration and


      • Encouragement of Curiosity
      • Development of Self-Confidence
      • Creation of Positive Self-Esteem
      • Development of Leadership skills
  • Learning That Lasts a Lifetime:  Former Students Tell Us What Works! by Franny McAleer
Independent Study -see samples,

(Make a contract: steps/dates/expectations/


In 12 -o’clock buddies, research topic of “Dual Diagnosis”
  • Powerpoint on course website

fill in the blanks on study guide

By __________,