Resources worth exploring!
The National Association for Gifted Children has articulated prevailing myths about gifted learners and gifted education in their list of 10 GT Myths. We showed a youtube video made by gifted high schoolers, which illustrates and busts these myths at our 2012 Open House. After each myth, we shared the state of GT in Yarmouth and were proud to say that we have either completely busted or are in the process of busting all ten myths! Check out the video and our myth busting work below:

  • Myth One: Gifted kids are fine on their own. We have been working hard in Yarmouth to bust this myth. We’ve been focusing, as a district, on differentiation, so our kids won’t have to wait until January, or even October, to learn new things. In addition to this, we now have a focus on the CCSS that invite us to increase the rigor for every student.
  • Myth Two: The teachers challenge every student, so the gifted kids are just fine in every classroom. This is why our program is a combination of pulling out kids in small groups for targeted enrichment and the chance to be with like-minded peers AND supporting teachers and kids in the classroom. We have provided teachers with materials, resources and training in meeting the academic, social & emotional needs of gifted thinkers, so they DO know how to teach GT kids.
  • Myth Three: We need to keep gifted students in the regular classrooms in order to provide role models and challenges for other students. Teachers are working on grouping kids flexibly so they get to work with a variety of students in the classroom and differentiation means kids who can move faster or further get to learn new things rather than spending all of their learning time teaching others. Pulling GT students out in small groups provides them with that valuable time with like minded peers.
  • Myth Four: All students are gifted. It’s not fair to label only some students that way. It’s not about the labels, it’s about finding ways to identify kids who have this greater awareness, greater sensitivity and greater ability in order to give them what they need to grow as learners and producers rather than consumers of innovation.
  • Myth Five: Acceleration can be socially harmful to gifted students. We have completely busted this myth in Yarmouth. We have educated ourselves about the forms of acceleration, the research behind it and when to consider it to meet a students’ needs. We have developed a rigorous set of criteria that is used to determine the best way to meet a student’s need in specific subject areas. There are many ways to differentiate before we even consider acceleration - faster and higher is not always better; deeper and slower is often the key. Important elements in this criteria are conversations with the parents and student to discuss the emotional and social impacts of acceleration.
  • Myth Six: Gifted Ed programs are elitist. Finding ways to challenge each and every child in our district is the opposite of elitist. It’s fair and equitable. Everyone deserves to learn something new every day. The existence of the enrichment screening process and Talents Program continues to bust this myth.
  • Myth Seven: Students can’t be gifted if they get poor grades. Gifted kids can suffer from the fear of standing out. Or they may have a different way of approaching learning. Perfectionistic tendencies can also get in the way. If it’s not perfect, why even bother handing it in? The important thing is for students like this to be noticed for who they are, and to be helped figure out how they can be themselves. With the expansion of our screening process, we’ve been able to include a wider span of information to helps us identify gifted kids at all levels of academic achievement.
  • Myth Eight: Kids with disabilities cannot be gifted. Giftedness can manifest itself in very specific ways. Sometimes, those gifted behaviors are masked by disabilities or are very similar to behaviors of other diagnoses, such as ADHD. Gifted kids with a dual diagnosis are not uncommon - giftedness and ADHD. It’s important that kids get both the remediation AND the challenge they need in school.
  • Myth Nine: Advanced Placement classes are all we need for Gifted Kids in high school. AP classes can be an important part of the recipe for success. But what if the student has a burning interest? Acknowledging specific passions and providing opportunities is beneficial to the student and to our society. Allowing independent studies and hooking students up with mentors can be critical. Right now, we support acceleration when appropriate at YHS and provide freshmen teachers with information on the academic, social and emotional needs of GT kids entering the high school.
  • Myth Ten: Gifted Ed requires abundant resources that we cannot afford at this time. Yet we’re doing so much with the relatively modest resources we have now, from weekly pull out groups in grades 3-8, mentorships and independent study projects to drop-in times, clubs, and in-class extensions for all interested students. Just like the kids in the video say: keep the end in mind. JUST BEGIN.

Check out these opportunities to learn both near and far:
  • The Educational Forum for Intellectually Curious Students and their Families will take place at Boston University on Sunday Oct. 14th from 10:00 - 4:00 and is FREE of charge. There will be over a dozen programs, camps, schools and organizations there who offer services and exciting learning opportunities for gifted learners. SIGN UP now!
  • 2012 MEGAT Conference - Maine Educators of the Gifted and Talented
    Standards Not Standardization:
    Integrating Rigor and Creativity

    Friday, November 2nd, 2012

    8:00 am to 4:00 pm

    Black Bear Inn, Orono, ME

    Each year, our professional, state organization has a conference focused on the needs of gifted learners. Parents are welcome to attend to learn more about their own kids as well as about what is going on in our state to support gifted education.

Explore these interesting websites for articles, resources, and current developments in gifted education:

NAGC: National Association for Gifted Children
  • Click on the "Parents" bar on the left to find "The ABC's of Gifted", a link to the parent publication they offer and details about becoming a member.
  • Click on the "Advocacy & Legislation" bar on the left to find the "Advocacy Toolkit" for tips on how to advocate for gifted education both locally and on state and federal levels
  • The NAGC store shows a number of recommended books on gifted learners.
MEGAT: Maine Educators of the Gifted and Talented
  • MEGAT is just starting to build a list of resources on their site - take a look at the linked article and some book reviews that may be of interest
SENG: Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted
  • Take a look at their articles on everything from parenting gifted children to supporting twice exceptional learners
  • Browse their publications
Neag Center for Gifted Education and Development at UConn
Center for Gifted Education at the College of William & Mary
Stephanie Tolan's publications on giftedness
Characteristics & Behaviors of the Gifted

Books worth exploring:
Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults by Webb, Amend, Webb, Goerss, Beljan, Olenchak
Guiding the Gifted Child by Webb, Meckstroth & Tolan
Inspiring Middle School Minds: Gifted, Creative & Challenging by Judy A.Willis
The Gifted Kids Survival Guide by Judy Galbraith
A Love for Learning - Motivation and the Gifted Child by Carol Whitney, Gretchen Hirsch
Living with Intensity ed. by Susan Daniels, Michael Piechowski

Videos and audiofiles to get you thinking:
SENG videos and audio files

Note: Check Miss Smith and Ms. Agell's teacher pages for other sites of interest on a wide variety of topics, ranging from haiku to math challenges!