The Evolution of Gifted Education

During the 19th and 20th centuries, more research has been done to understand the geniuses in the population and those who, despite being sub-genius, is still a lot smarter than the normal majority population of humans. Exceptional children may exhibit a set of traits that are noticeable when put into the general population.

These same characteristics may or not be surprising to the family since a child may be far more gifted than the parents or maybe “a chip off the old block” in which case, the traits of giftedness would not be viewed as unusual within the family context. Like with any other “different” characteristics, once apart from the family, the child may appear to be extraordinary to school teachers.

gifted child educationGifted Research and the Evolution of Gifted Education

Gifted research has focused on how this happens in nature and nurture. Intelligence can be improved during the first six years. As with much else in life, there are both nature and nurture and their relationship. These characteristics tend to run in families and to be predominantly natural even though intelligence can be modified through nurturing.

The Gifted Development Center is one of the organizations in America today devoted to better understanding and caring for the minority gifted population. This organization is directed by Linda Kreger Silverman. She is prominent in the area of gifted research today. She also has a strong web presence.

The Gifted in Schools

Public education has grown increasingly adept at accommodating this minority populace. This has been legally treated as a form of special education within the schools. The gifted population is treated as “differently” by the schools as the developmentally disabled children are. Legislation has improved conditions. The laws have been made to help the society to make the most of these people. Sadly, 50% of those children not recognized as “gifted” – with IQs over 130.

Many who are not properly identified may make trouble in regular classroom situations. These same children typically cease to be behavioral problems when they are placed into classes with their true peers to the great relief of everyone. This is one justification for the use of special classes and differentiated curriculum. This is so that they are not held back and do not give the rest of the children trouble.

Check local and state Department of Education to learn in greater detail what area school systems are doing to handle this relevant matter. Differentiated curriculum within normal schools most benefits the mildly and moderately gifted – people whose IQs are over 120 but below 160. Students whose IQ are over 180 are still better accommodated by special schools designed to handle their needs.

Help Children Learn to Organize Information Using Graph Activities

When preschool children learn to use graphic representations they develop a whole new set of skills. First, a topic is chosen, and information on that topic is gathered. The information can be organized and understood by the children in a wide variety of ways.

The following simple graphs activities help children develop strength with number recognition, one-to-one correspondence counting while advancing into numbers and operations. Also, the words and pictures used to create a graph to help build language skills. Cooperating with classmates allows for learning new social skills.

Transportation graph to represent to vehiclesMake an Observation

The first step to teaching children how to use graphs is deciding upon and making an observation about a particular subject. Several examples of observations children can make are:

  • How/what kind of vehicle did each child ride in to get to school today?
  • How many brothers does each child have? How many sisters?
  • How many children have brown eyes? Blue eyes? Green eyes?
  • Who is wearing pants today? A skirt? A dress?
  • What is everyone’s favorite book read in class this week?
  • What is everyone’s favorite fruit, vegetable, or flavor of ice cream?

Once a subject has been chosen, it is time for the children to discuss and organize the information into graph form.

Graph With Names

Using the example of everyone’s favorite book for the past week, start with a piece of paper large enough to accommodate the titles of the five books printed clearly across the top. If possible add a visual representation of each book title next to the printed words to assist in recognition.

  • Ask students to name their favorite book.
  • Ask students to write or watch the teacher print that student’s name in a vertical column under the book title.
  • Once all the names are recorded, ask the students to count aloud the number of names printed under each book title.
  • A student or the teacher records the number of names under each book title.

An extensive discussion can follow regarding which book was most popular, which was least popular, and why.

Graph With Tally Marks

Create a graph using the example of the vehicles the children rode in to get to school. Find a picture of each type of vehicle (car, truck, van, SUV, school bus, etc) and create a chart with names and pictures of the vehicles either across the top or down the side of the chart.

  • Ask each child to name the type of vehicle used to get to school that day.
  • Give the child a marker and ask the child to draw a small vertical line under or next to the correct vehicle.
  • When every child has had a turn, ask the class to count the tally marks by each vehicle. The teacher or children can write the number.

The class, guided by the teacher can then discuss the results.

Graph With Counters

Information can also be organized using a graph and three-dimensional counting objects such as plastic chips, small sticks, or buttons. For a graph depicting everyone’s favorite fruit, create a chart with words and pictures of fruit that can be placed flat on a table or the floor. The children can draw pictures of fruit to use on the graph.

  • Ask each child to name a favorite kind of fruit.
  • Have the child place a counter next to or under the fruit on the graph.
  • The children count the number of counters by each fruit.
  • The teacher or children write the total number of each category.

The class completes the activity with a discussion of the results

Graphs Develop Pre-Academic Skills

Graphs can be used in the preschool classroom to teach a variety of skills. Information related to classroom lessons or themes can be discussed and organized in many ways. In the process, children strengthen math, language, and social skills.

Fair Consequences for Teachers to Use With Middle School Students

When creating a classroom management plan, be sure to include consequences that match the age, a rule was broken, and the personality of the students in the class. Some results may be posted on the rules poster, and others may be customized to the situation. Consequences for middle school students need to be fair, consistent, respectful, and a ‘teaching moment.’

Appropriate Consequences for a Student who Interrupts, Talks Out, or Talks to Other Students in Class

bullying is common among middle school studentsAt the first offense, warn the student. It is important to use a soft, non-threatening tone to let the student know she is breaking the rules. Say something like, “It’s inappropriate to talk when I’m teaching. Please stop.” This will clearly let the student know she is breaking the rule, why it’s wrong, and what you want her to do. If she continues, give her a verbal warning, and explain that if she speaks out again, she will have a consequence.

Consequences for this offense can include being asked to step into the hall for a few minutes, serving an after school or lunch detention, or if you have a token economy system, a loss in points or stickers. If the student continues to break the rule, you should enforce the consequence without yelling or being disrespectful. Say something like, “You chose to continue to speak to your friend while I’m teaching, so you will need to make up this time in lunch detention.” You may want to bring the student into the hall to give her the consequence or bring her up to your desk to discuss this softly while the other students are working. It’s imperative not to embarrass or disrespect the student, as this will just prolong her misbehavior.

Consequences for Students who use Physical or Emotional Bullying Behaviors to Other Students

Most schools have very strict policies for a student who assaults another student. Be sure to follow these policies as soon as a student pushes, hits, or emotionally assaults another student. Usually, these policies include sending a student to the office or an instant detention, or even suspension. It’s important to follow through immediately with consequences for these offenses because if not, they can quickly escalate.

Consequences for Students Who Do Not Complete Homework or Cheat on a Test

cheating on a test should not be toleratedAt the beginning of the year, outline what will happen to a student’s grade if she does not finish her homework or misses an assignment. Explain that one zero on a homework takes ten perfect homework grades to erase. If a student misses one assignment, you may choose to give her one free pass. If she continues to miss assignments, contact the parents, set up a conference, and continue to show the student what missing these assignments is doing to her grade. Detentions may also work, but often, a student doesn’t complete her homework due to academic or social changes that are causing her trouble.

If a student chooses to cheat on a test, she should be aware of the consequences before the test begins. Appropriate consequences include receiving a zero on the assignment or having to retake the test after school and contacting the parent.

When disciplining middle school students, keep the consequences fair and consistent, Practice the rules at the beginning of the year, and ensure students know and understand the consequences. Always be respectful of the students, and try not to raise your voice or lose control. Use a soft voice and confident body language to control the classroom and the students will respect you.