This is a professional development blog. We'll be discussing books we read as a group. Our discussions will be focused on gifted children.
One "nugget" I found interesting was on pages 55-56 where it discussed "school systems typically are good at diagnosing learning difficulties." However, that if a child's learning disability is discovered before they are labeled gifted the are given the label "learning disability." If giftedness is identified first then they are seen as lazy or defiant. Teachers and schools need to be more aware of the possibilities that students may be facing. Both of these situations could cause a gifted student a lot of frustration and emotional issues.
This also stood out to me. On page 60 Fonseca states that " the disability often takes precedence over giftedness" and treatment plans are developed accordingly which may not be the best practice for the gifted child. It is clear that a team approach would be best when creating programs for gifted students with a dual diagnosis.
I agree with both Ms, Choy and Ms. Stephenson :) about students that can be both gifted and learning disabled. We need to do what is best for the student when making plans and programs to meet the students' needs,
In response to Jchoy, I couldn't agree more with you and I am curious how often this happens?
In response to jchoy, I would not agree with you more. It seems we are so quick to get a diagnosis that we don't stop and question if there is more to it than we first suspected. In making plans for the student's education, we need to look at the whole picture and make sure we are addressing the need of the whole student.
I agree with jchoy (July 1). My "nugget" was the same as what she mentioned. I do agree that school systems are excellent at diagnosing learning difficulties. It was very enlightening to realize that if a child's learning disability is discovered before they have the G/T label that they are assumed to have a "learning disability". If the giftedness is properly identified first, then the child is seen as lazy and/or defiant. This is what brings me back to "it takes a village". School systems need to be more aware of these findings and be understanding of the variety of feelings, emotions that these children may be facing. Why is it that the disability often times takes precedence over the giftedness?
One " Golden Nugget" from this reading is found on page 65 about setting " clear expectations regarding behavior, clear consequences, and appropriate boundaries." I think that really speaks to me as a parent and as a teacher. it's important to set these expectations and use them " to judge their behavior against the backdrop of those expectations." A lot of times I have caught myself setting up too many rules only to have it fall back on me instead. I realize that these expectations must " have meaning and merit" for the students or else it's of no consequences to them to follow through. And in that category, it's also important to set the good and bad consequences as well. I like how the author uses punitive verse positive consequences. I like how it's set up so that it's an earned consequence simplest based on behavior and not on the parent or teacher. It allows the students to take charge. Classroom management emphasis on positive disciplinary practices and the author supports that.
In response to the comment by Sarah Chu, posted July 1st, I agree with the importance of this checklist as a parent and a teacher. Consequences are more effective when they are positive as in earning something as opposed to losing something (p.64.) Positive reactions and consequences are more powerful.
One "Golden Nugget" is found on page 74 (Avoiding the Explosion) which we as teachers may not know how to prevent. On page 74, Fonseca recommends coming up with a word together, in her case "spinning" when the child is "stuck in a negative emotion and not being able to get out of it." This is very useful for the classroom. It develops a common language and relationship between the student and teacher in order to prevent these types of explosions. Together we would be able to dissect the feelings that go along with the negative emotions before it happens.
In response to C TatroJuly 1, 2014 at 1:54 PM, preventing an explosion by use of a word is a great idea. I can't wait to try this idea in my class room this year with some of my students that i think it would benefit before the situation gets out of control
I have seen this used effectively before with an emotionally intense gifted student.
In response to C Tatro (July 1,2014) I am definitely going to try this strategy of trying to prevent an explosion. I think if the child comes up with the word they have "buy in" to it, so it won't further trigger them into an explosion. I know gifted students sometimes get so into something they become oblivious to things around them.
In response to C Tatro (July 1) I think you have to know the kid before you try this strategy of coming up with a word to prevent explosions. Like JChoy said above (July 3), we do not want the word to become the trigger. But like with new things, it might work this week but not next week. We have to evolve as the child's emotions by maybe using a visual cue. We cannot ultimately change the emotion but we can be preventative and empathetic.
I completely agree with coming up with a word together. I have seen this used and it really connects the student and teacher.
My golden nugget came from page 66 about having too many or too few rules. The students need to understand there have to be some rules, especially for lab safety in the science class. There also have to be class rules so that everyone has an environment in which they can learn effectively. I will try to limit my class rules to the 5 which are the most important that i will want my students to focus on..This way with 5 they are not overwhelmed about what can I do or what can't i do..I am also going to try to condense my lab safety rules to the 10 most important to me..In the past we give them a safety rules sheet with about 30 rules and after reading this section, i feel 30 is definitely overwhelming. If I was a student reading the 30 rules of lab safety, I would now be thinking, "Is there anything I can do in lab which is fun?
In response to Helen Roberts: I agree that 30 rules is overwhelming. I think there are a few rules that all kids need. Our grade level made it simple and applies the rules of "I will do my best, and I will not stop learning for myself or others." This covers just about every scenario. I appreciate the advice on page 67 to analyze the classroom settings and inventory what is working vs. what is not working. I love that change is what keeps us moving forward as educators because "small changes can yield large results" when they are thoughtful and purposeful changes.
In response to Helen Roberts, July 1st, there may have to be more rules depending on the subject as Helen stated for Science and less rules for the overall classroom environment. Keeping them short and to the point are always helpful too leaving details out. Or you could choose 3 top rules that cover everything (Respectful, Responsible, Safe)
On pages 78-80 are questions to use as a teacher in assessing the expectations and consequences for behavior as well as teacher reactions. I think this Classroom Inventory can be helpful in working with teachers having some difficulty with management or with particular students.
A "golden Nugget" of wisdom I gained came from the subheading, Predictable Reactions from Parents, page 68. Fonseca (2010) found that "households in which parents consistently react in a calm, but firm manner tend to yield very positive results with children. Likewise, when parent reactions are random and emotionally charged, children do not learn to manage or change their behavior as easily." When I read this nugget, I instantly connected to the Dr. Fay's book Teaching with Love and Logic: Taking Control of the Classroom.I have found that Love and Logic's Leading with Empathy really helps with difficult situations, especially the one liners.
Good thinking, A. Mitch, I was thinking "Love and Logic" just like you. Fonseca makes good sense on discussing parenting styles on pg. 68. It makes sense that children respond positively to calm, firm, consistent parenting,
Fantastic! I can see how this book does gives parents tools to make good decisions with their child.
My golden nugget has to be about the classroom meetings beginning on page 73. Much like using TRIBES strategies, I agree with Fonseca that students need to be involved in problem solving. While it may take time for students to generate ideas on how to solve problems in the classroom, it is time well spent. Children are much more likely to use strategies they help to create than strategies that come from the teacher alone. When teachers regularly hold classroom meetings, students feel more invested and more a part of the learning environment,
A Mitch and Judy B Song, I couldn't agree more with your opinion that Fonseca is right in line with both Love and Logic and Tribes. When I have firm, kind boundaries, the kids know the expectations. Classroom meetings give the students a voice and build community. My golden nuggets are from Chapter 7 "Working With the Explosion." Kids need to understand the warning signs (how does their body feel before an outburst) and learn techniques to deal, such as the mini vacation and mental rehearsal. They also need to develop the vocabulary to express what is happening, so they can better stop it. I love teaching kids to say, "I need a moment." I will definitely try that idea from Chapter 7. Sorry I don't have page numbers. My kindle page numbers are now in the thousands ;)
Thank you for your comment!
Working with the Explosion Chapter 7 was my "golden nugget". I work with young children and understanding how to help them express their frustrations is HUGE! Developing language so they may express their feelings is tough at any age but the younger the child the more difficult it is. They aren't really sure what to say or do. I have found that having a common language that everyone understands and uses on a daily basis is key to the success of a classroom. We do lots and lots of role playing to help with understanding our feelings and the feelings of others and the normal consequences that might take place for the inappropriate behaviors. I agree with Mrs. Timmreck , A Mitch and Judy B that Love and Logic fits nicely with Fonseca. The thing I think might really hard for kiddos that are in Kindergarten is being able to forsee the reason for the outburst...and on top of that trying to change it before it develops fully is going to super hard for them. However, I am willing to give it a try!
My nugget was in Ch. 7 - this chapter seem to give many helpful tips. I think one of the most important points was the attention to debriefing - this is something that I feel we never really attend to but is so important in this type of behavior. I think we all need some type of debriefing or closure to an explosive situation. This chapter reminds me of a student that I wish I had used Tip Sheet 5 - page 87.
The Movie Technique on page 77 was a nice golden nugget of information for me. We teach children to slow down the moment when writing a good piece. This technique on worksheet 5 parallels nicely with asking kids to slow it down and notice exactly the things we ask them to write about. What are your feelings? What does your self-talk include? What are you thinking exactly? And, most importantly, what will you do? Focusing on understanding is key for gifted students to accept that they are in charge of their choices.
I agree with that slow down the moment comparison!
A nugget that stood out with me was on page 82--"During the Crisis", despite being proactive, children will still explode...The successful management of the explosion lies in the parents' ability to disengage from a crisis. How often are we shopping and see a kid totally lose it and then people look at the parent unforgivingly, so then it is almost impossible for the parent to disengage, because you feel badly for your child and guilty for the breakdown.
Yes. Disengagement is difficult even when you are at home. In public, is the worst. I am always proud of parents when I see them not become emotional and take kids to a private spot if one. It is hard to remain calm. It is nice to read that passage and be reaffirmed that remaining as calm as possible is the right move.
Explosion in public...sometimes I think parents love to "add fuel to the fire" with regards to disciplining their child in future. It's almost as if they think they are doing such an awesome job with discipline they want everyone to hear and watch. Seriously, most of the time they look like idiots and appear to use the punitive consequences rather than the positive.
My interesting "nugget" occurred on page 66. I never thought about the negative effects of parents having too many rules. I would have thought that setting rules and expectations would be a positive experience for gifted students who can't handle open ended situations. I do love the idea of having children help make the rules to further the by-in factor. I do that in my classroom, but I never thought to take it into the home.
My nugget was found on page 86- Avoiding the explosion. This is the biggest problem we have at my house. Getting my own child to open up and discuss feelings is almost impossible! Picking up on the warning signs is something I need to work on!
I really like the section about clear expectations for behavior on p. 54. As a teacher I have always been cognizant of this principal but I have been less proactive in this way with my own children. Quality over quantity is my golden nugget.
In response to M Reid, I couldn't agree more- if you set expectations for behavior and are clear about them, a system develops. And once they start teaching themselves that system by abiding by those expectations, it negates any need for the quantity of regulations you provide each day.
I agree with M. Reid. Setting clear expectations for behavior and being consistent with them is key to success.
I agree with M Reid's 7/18 statement about setting clear expectations for behavior. In the past I have assumed that since the students were g/t and middle school, they would be accountable and take responsibility for their learning, they would become 'self-determined' learners and it ended up with a lot of chaos, missed or pushed back due dates and frustration for me and the students.
I agree....its so important from the get go to establish clear expectations! We teach rules and procedures in Kindergarten for a good 6 weeks! They are essential if you want to be able to teach!
My nugget begins on page 54 where outlets for gifted students who struggle with traditional learning is discussed. This connects to an earlier post I made where I am looking for ways to make school more enjoyable for GT kids. The "hidden message" refers to watching out for adolescent girls. They begin to gain interest in boys and try to get away from the "smart girl" label. Helping them to realize that smart trumps cool and they can achieve both in the classroom, can be comforting.
In response to Mrs. Demeris, I agree with her last sentence completely! Being cool and smart can both be achieved!
p.54…”we use courtesy, responsibility and respect as an all-encompassing guiding principle.”These concepts seem to encompass it all. They are similar in scope to the four concepts ofTRIBES.p.55…”The key with consequences is positive versus punitive…this type of discipline puts the child in charge of the consequence in that the child ‘earns’ the consequence-good or bad-simplybased on behavior.”“Furthermore, punitive consequences do not tend to motivate the child to behave better, nor do they enable the child to learn how to make better choices…” Again I think this way of thinking separates the behavior (choices) from the person’s being(self-esteem). Programs or concepts like the Boys’ Town lifeskills focus on similar premises.p.56 “this means that the parent stay in the role of parent, not friend.” I think this appliesto the teacher role as well. I’ve seen teachers blend/exceed the teacher boundary or role by being a “friend” to a student. You can maintain the teacher role and be more objective. I also think the roles encompass respect. You can still do what is best for the child and have him/herknow that you care for them as their teacher (not their peer.)P.74 “The best way to manage the explosive nature of gifted children is to deal with thecrisis before there is one.”This makes sense in both the home and school settings. One challenge I see is that the teacherNeeds time to get to know the child first.“Another important preemptive strategy involves the teaching the child how to recognizeWhen he is ‘on the edge.’”Again the child’s behavior may appear differently at school and hence recognition signs of thispreexplosion may differ. Again knowledge/relationship with the child need to be developedand time for this to happen.
Gold Nuggets? Why yes, so many I can’t even begin to list them all. Perhaps I should have a “do-over” with my own personal children. As I read pages 43-72, I thought about how I have parented my own children, how to help my sister with her 4 year old, and how to handle students, GT or typical. The information presented was quite enlightening and could definitely prevent some behaviors from occurring at home as well as at school. The parent and child household inventory is wonderful. I especially liked the part of the family meetings and classroom meetings. I have followed through on both types of meetings, but not to the detail that is laid out in the book. When it comes to “family meetings” and discussions regarding home life for your students, I truly believe you first must create an incredible relationship with the parents prior to bringing up discipline, consequences, meetings, etc. Then, I think discussing these topics will be incredibly beneficial for everyone. Really, how could it not? I like to use three words in my family and classroom, “helpful, kind or necessary.” I have also learned what my “hot button issues” are and I have my own coping strategies for that.
I loved the fact that Fonseca asked the reader to determine his or her own escalation(p. 85ish). To me that's a golden nugget because it asks the reader to put his or her self in a GT kid's shoes and to see if they can deal with whatever sets them off. This is a great chapter for parents to read.
This was a big one for me, too, Charlotte! I so often forget what it was like to be an emotionally intense child myself that when my son has a meltdown or a student refuses to complete a task, I often have a hard time relating. But empathy is key with all our students (not just our gifted ones), and putting myself in their shoes will only help me to remain calm in these situations and determine the next best step for helping a child cope with intense emotions.
A few golden nuggets that I have found are the clear expecations for behavior mentioned in Chapter 6. I can really benefit from reading the chapter because it discusses that expectations need to be made clear in the home and in the classroom. Chapter 7 also gave me some great insight and suggestions for avoiding an explosion, and also what to in the middle of one. The Mirror Technique suggestions are great to have on hand for what to do after a student has an emotional explosion in the classroom. I like the idea from p.87 of "leading the child to an understanding of his behavior without telling him what to think.
I really enjoyed the Movie Technique in Chapter 7 (worksheet 5). I feel like this technique would work well for any age, with a little adjustment/differentiation. This activity allows students to reflect on their own emotions and also how those emotions apply to other situations, thereby making them more aware. I've found that making my students and children more aware of their emotions and discussing them calmly can really diffuse an intense situation.
The golden nugget for me was Chapter 7, pg 119-120. The majority of the chapter dealt with ways parents and students can establish ways to deal with their emotional intensity and it was good to know (be reminded) that parents play a pivotal role in the development of their child. The nugget for me was the statement, 'Proactive strategies are not limited to parenting...knowing your hot buttons as a teacher is key to proactively dealing with potential outbursts in the classroom.'. That stood out to me because often as teachers we rarely focus on our role and emotions and how they affect the situation with the student.
Chapter 6 was particularly valuable to me as a parent of teenagers and as a high school teacher. I think everything said in that chapter about expectations regarding behavior, rules (not too many but not too few), and consequences for behavior relate to all children, not just G/T. I liked the Worksheet 1 on positive discipline; however, some kids respond to negative consequences more readily. If kids have some ownership in rules and expectations, they are more likely to comply and to go along with consequences. I loved the idea of "classroom meetings."