You are viewing joshwriting

Wed, Apr. 30th, 2014, 11:40 pm
Disjoint thoughts on the "G" word, prompted by a friend's blog

I am starting with my edit, because while this is an addendum to my thoughts on the funding issue, this is the most vital piece of the response to me.

Why advocating for the gifted in underfunded schools and where kids are in poverty is VITAL
a) Raising the top students of a school tends to raise the whole school more than any other approach we have tried.

b) The argument that one should not ask for specific spending on gifted is, to me, like not asking for SPED money for special education students -->
gifted education is not a FRILL. It is a need.

c) When you consider that gifted programs are often getting less than a penny on the dollar, asking for spending on gifted is not exactly asking for much - As a quick example... in the Texas 2011-2012 legislative cycle, Gifted Education got $56 million. The full budget for that cycle was $91 billion. Gifted got .0006 (or .06%).

d) The funding of gifted programs is itself a red herring. Pull-out programs are among the least cost-effective ways to meet the needs of gifted kids.

If you want to serve the kids in poverty, then more attention to gifted kids (or even some!) is going to have a more beneficial result than less attention will. This is the sub-population within the gifted that is hurt *most* by abandonment of the fight.

And dropping the gifted word makes that advocacy harder, not easier.


Children matter - not just gifted children
When I was previously teaching in the public schools, my principal, after observing class, wondered to me: "I get why you are good with the bright kids - it's why I hired you! But why are you good with the slow kids?!"

I explained to him that I teach people, not subjects, and that I sought to understand what each kid knew and how each kid learned and how each kid needed to have their needs met, to the best of my ability.

Why I advocate for gifted children
I advocate for gifted children because they lack sufficient advocacy. I advocate for funds for gifted children because their needs are no less real and because in a vacuum of such advocacy, the voices for other children are heard and gifted children's needs are set aside.

I push for that funding because it is a drop in the bucket compared with the rest of academic funding - and because the argument that if they give gifted kids funding, then they will have to cut funding for other programs is a FALSE argument designed to divide and to set populations against each other, making it harder for BOTH to have their needs met.

In pushing for certain additional children to be included in a certain program, an administrator noted that it was totally to be expected that I would advocate for my program. He didn't get it! If there were no need for them to be in the program, I would not want them there - that would do nothing to help the kids already in it, while possibly being negative for everybody concerned.

I advocate for these kids and these programs because even the mediocre programs do something worthwhile that these kids need.

Alternative Words, Part 1
I do not like the term “children of high intelligence” because that is not (all of) what I mean by gifted!”

I mean children with artistic and emotional gifts, leadership and wisdom gifts, and others less readily defined – I mean children for whom their innate higher aptitude leads them to need a qualitatively different kind of support from their parents, their teachers, and their counselors.

Alternative Words, Part 2
My friend noted that she never wants to tell a kid that s/he is ungifted.

Yeah, that is a pretty harsh thing to say, right?

How about "below average?"

"Not tall."

"Not able to dance well enough."

"Not athletic."

We do all of those things. Is it fun? No. We don't have to use "ungifted" to have a problem. "You are not highly intelligent." "You aren't smart enough to be in this program."

Still pretty harsh.

I don't see how changing the word fixes that problem, either.

Alternative Words, Part 3
I oppose the change in terminology not because I am wedded to the word GIFTED, but because the push to change it is a red herring.

I grew up in a school system in which there were no gifted children – it was school policy – but that did nothing to enhance the education of the children of high intelligence, nor to reduce the bullying behaviors toward the children of big vocabularies or the children of androgynous behaviors or the children who got the answers right too often in class by the children who resented kids who would have been called gifted in other schools but were never called that there (or the adults who felt the same way).

I have lived most of my life in a state in which the NAGC affiliate was named the Massachusetts Association for the Advancement of Individual Potential to avoid offense – but it did nothing to advance our cause or to help our children.

I live in a state in which we have a certification for teachers of Academically Advanced learners, but for which there are no courses offered that would lead to such a degree nor an approved pathway for an organization to base a program upon.

To what end, then, changing the word?

The kids still get bullied, the programs still get short shrift, the teachers still get no training.

I work with gifted children - no matter what you call them.



*******************
This blog is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page inaugural Blog Hop on The “G” Word (“Gifted”). To read more blogs in this hop, visit this Blog Hop at www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_the_g_word.htm
 photo Hoagies_Blog_Hop-G-word.jpg

Wed, Feb. 26th, 2014, 11:47 pm
Children's Book: A Fairy Tale

It seemed to Sam that everything that happened in her life could have come from one of the books she had read as a child. It was not so much that everything was overly simple or moralistic, the way so many children's books are, but rather that the world around her seemed thoroughly mysterious - things happened for no apparent reason, with no apparent cause, and with no obvious response. She could control only her own responses to the neverending series of accidents and adventures that life seemed intent upon serving her.

The current situation, if anything, exacerbated that feeling. She'd gotten on the bus to go to work, as she had each morning since the last "thrilling adventure" with her car and the black ice. The bus was safer, after all, right? Yet, here she was having had her bus siezed, not by terrorists but by pirates! Whatever were pirates doing in the middle of Chattanooga, let alone "capturing" a bus and claiming it as treasure?

They were pirates, though, no matter how unlikely it seemed. They dressed the part, though their language was not quite the stereotypical bit of "Arrrh, matey" that she might have anticipated, had anticipating anything seemed reasonable to do. Salty, yes. They swore plenty, especially when the chest they pulled out from under one of the bus seats failed to have in it the gold they expected.

Gold? Why would anybody expect to find a chest of gold on a city bus heading downtown, or headed anywhere for that matter.

"Lassie, you would not have happened to see somebody open the chest from under this seat this mornin', would ye have?"

"Um... no? I mean, I haven't exactly been watching, but I'd like to think I would have noticed something as unlikely as that."

"Perhaps not so unlikely as you might think, but that's of no matter now. We'll have to be takin' you back to the island with us."

"Island? What island? And... and I have to get to work!"

With that the leader of the pirates gave a great guffaw. He gestured toward her and a pair of his men seized her arms and hustled her off the bus and onto one of the duck boats that had surrounded the bus. She'd never gotten around to riding one of the boats, but this was not exactly what she'd expected whenever she thought about such a ride!

A couple hours later, she was sitting, stunned, on an island in the middle of the Tennessee River, surrounded by men and boys, laughing and singing, despite the ill-timed raid on the bus's chest. Every time she could interrupt their revelry enough to ask them what was happening, all she got back was laughter. It was quite maddening, all in all! She was unharmed, except for missing work and possibly getting fired as a result - and even that she was not sure counted as harm, as she had been feeling more than a bit worn and bored by work. But the feeling of 'out of control' was perhaps greater than ever.

A voice over her shoulder whispered "Isn't this the best yet?!" She looked behind her, but couldn't figure out where the voice came from. And, on reflection, it was not quite a whisper, but more like the full speech of somebody who just wasn't very loud."

"Who's there? And what do you mean?"

A small giggle followed, then a pop.

A bellow from in front of her: "Let's make her walk the plank!" They started chanting, "Walk the plank! Walk the plank! Walk the plank! Walk the plank! Walk the plank! Walk the plank!" There were about 15 of them, ranging from 12 to somewhere nearly triple her own age of 25, bouncing and hooting and shouting. "Walk the plank!"

This did not sound to her like a good idea at all. "But I don't want to walk the plank! Really!" Nothing she heard in response suggested that she'd gotten through any more this time than the last 10 times she had tried to talk with them. If it weren't so nerve-wracking, she supposed, it might even be tedious, but nerve-wracking it was.

The men blind-folded her and took her for a walk. It seemed about 5 minutes or 2 hours or just a moment, all at once. One of them told her to step up. When she just stopped, she was lifted onto what felt under her feet like a flexible piece of wood, just wide enough for her to stand on. "Walk the plank!" came the cheer, and again, "Walk the plank!"

She felt a poke and moved hesitantly forward. More pokes, more steps. The men went silent, which told her she must be at the end of the plank. It was as if they were all holding their breaths at the same time. She felt like doing the same. Another poke, not quite enough to knock her off, just make her wobble a bit. "Go ahead, lassie - might as well get it over with!"

She leapt.

...

and landed about 6 inches below her starting point. A great roar came from the group, first of approval and then mirth.

"Isn't this just the best?" came the quiet voice, again.

The leader of the pirates took her blindfold off. "Howdy do, lassie! I'm called Fred the Blue, on account a' my bushy red beard. These here are my men. We want to thank you for being such a good sport. We'll drop you back in the city, now."

An hour later, she was outside her workplace, though her head was still spinning. When she wandered in, her boss brought her into his office where he explained that her tardiness was just not acceptable.

"But I was kidnapped! Didn't you hear about the duckboat pirates and my bus?"

"Oh, yes, we heard. Really, Samantha. If you wanted out of the job, you did not need to go to such elaborate lengths. A simple resignation would have been quite enough."

**********

She did not remember going home. She must have, because certainly she was home now, and talking on the phone.

"Yes, Sam, we were greatly impressed with your application. And our recruiting manager said the job interview went extremely well. So, welcome aboard! Adventure Publishing is excited to have you as the new lead for our children's book division."

"Wait, what?" Interview? Recruiting manager? Who?"

"Fred Bluebeard, our lead recruiter - he said he met with you this morning."

("Isn't this amazing!")

She twirled fast enough to see the pop this time. "Come back here!"

The voice on the phone asked her to clarify, but she distantly said "Thank you, I am looking forward to it," and hung up. "Come back here!" she demanded.

Another pop and a pixie appeared, fluttering its wings.

"What is going on here? What was this morning all about?! And what do you mean by "the best yet?"

"When you were 5, you were lonely and bored and miserable and a few of us took pity on you and came to play. And you begged us to never let you get that bored again. We agreed and have been playing with you ever since - but only when you seem particularly at risk of deep boredom. Then we disappear, taking the immediate memory of our presence because that seems to make it harder for anything else to be as much fun.

"We make sure though that a part of you knows we are real."

"And this morning?"

"You told us how much you have dreamt of this sort of job - we just got you the interview (and then livened it up slightly). But the job is real and now it's really yours. This is the best yet!"

Suddenly, a string of memories became clearer to her and she understood anew the reason her life often felt the way it did. And she laughed and gently hugged the pixie.

"Thank you, friend."

Thu, Feb. 13th, 2014, 03:03 pm
Depth Perception

When we walk in darkness, those of us fortunate enough to have vision are conscious of the lack. We are tentative in our steps, feeling our way along with whatever glimmers and memories we have. If we are outside in the snow, we are careful of the path, the depth, and potential tripping hazards.

When we walk in the beginnings of false dawn, it feels so much lighter and easier to see that we tend to slough off a lot of that timidity and walk as if we can actually see where we are going. And we can, to an extent. We can see short distance destinations fairly well, but we really don't have a good sense of our footing. There is a flatness to light at twilight, whether pre-dawn or dusk, that denies us effective depth perception. Skiers know this sort of condition well, and remember in their muscles as well as their minds the feeling of unanticipated moguls and dips on the slopes and trails, as we wend our way down them on the last runs of the day.

Shadows are absent, as are other visual clues about the edges where one height blends into another, most often discovered by... accident.

What we tend to miss is how much of our lives is actually spent in metaphorical twilight - areas in which we have just enough light to think we can see, while the nuances, the shadows, the edges that mark important differences are missing - missing to the point that we don't even know there is something there to see, as we might if we were totally ignorant. This is the essence of the phrase "knows just enough to be dangerous."

What is it like to be black, gay, Jewish, blind, brilliant, OCD, immigrant, impoverished, care-taking, abused, without spoons, or a thousand other conditions - positive, negative, neutral, other?!

We don't know, but we are quick to decide what *we* would do in those situations and how /that/ person or /those/ people are mishandling it.

This does not make us wrong - but it increases the chance of our being wrong to a huge extent. And the bigger problem that goes with that is that our belief that we have enough light to see makes us resistant to input from those who are living or have lived the circumstances or for whom there has been far more light than the dimness we are inhabiting.

I don't have a fix for the lack of vision from which you suffer, from which I suffer, with regard to lives that are too distinct from our own. I cannot automatically shed light on these for you/us.

I can tell you:

LISTEN to the voices of the folks in those places.

*START* with the assumption that you are in twilight and cannot see clearly.

Just knowing you are in twilight may make it easier to avoid unnecessary stumbling.

Fri, Oct. 4th, 2013, 10:25 pm
100 Years, 100 Children's Books - Josh's List

Unlike the NYC Public Librarians, I have decided to go year by year with my top choice.

(To be continued

1913 - Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter (runner up - Little Wars: a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys' games and books. by H.G. Wells.



1914 - Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. (runner up - Five Plays by Lord Dunsany.)



1915 - The Lost Prince by Frances Hodgson Burnett. (runner up - The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather.)



1916 - Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. (runner up - The Lives and Times of archy and mehitabel by Don Marquis.)



1917 - Once on a Time by A. A. Milne. (runner up - Jerry of the Islands: A True Dog Story by Jack London.)



1918 - Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie: their adventures wonderful by Mary Gibbs. (runner up - The Magic Pudding: Being The Adventures of Bunyip Bluegum and his friends Bill Barnacle and Sam Sawnoff - by Norman Lindsay.)



1919 - A Harum-Scarum Schoolgirl by Angel Brazil. (runner up: Lad: A Dog by Albert Payson Terhune.)



1920 - The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting. (runner up: R.U.R. by Karel Čapek.)



1921 - The Windy Hill by Cornelia Meigs. (runner up: Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard by Eleanor Farjeon.)



1922 - The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. (runners up - Çalıkuşu (or The Wren) by Reşat Nuri Güntekin; The Chess Set in the Mirror by Massimo Bontempelli.)



1923 - The Wind Boy by Ethel Cook Eliot. (runner up - Bambi. Eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde (or Bambi, a Life in the Woods) by Felix Salten.)



1924 - The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. (runners up -The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes; When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne.)



1925 - The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen. (runner up - The Silver Trumpet by Owen Barfield.)





1926 - Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne. (runner up - Smoky the Cow Horse by Will James.)



1927 - The Midnight Folk by John Masefield. (runner up - Tarka the Otter: His Joyful Water-Life and Death in the Country of the Two Rivers by Henry Williamson.)



1928 - Armageddon 2419 A.D. by Philip Francis Nowlan. (runner up - The Boy Who Was by Grace Taber Hallock.)



To be continued!

1929 -



1930 -



1931 - Babar the Elephant (Histoire de Babar) by Jean de Brunhoff.



1932 -



1933 -



1934 -



1935 - National Velvet by Enid Bagnold.



1936 -



1937 - Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.



1938 -



1939 -



1940 -



1941 - The Black Stallion by Walter Farley



1942 -



1943 -



1944 -



1945 -



1946 -



1947 -

Tue, Jul. 16th, 2013, 07:37 pm
This is just a test...

No, really.

I am discussing with the author of http://www.teachthought.com/teaching/applying-the-404040-rule-in-your-classroom/ whether or not his blog's comment system is working. I have suggested to him that it is not, while he thinks that it is.

This is not to suggest that none of the entries on it are worth looking at, merely that I am not explicitly calling your attention to this entry!

Tue, Feb. 26th, 2013, 11:18 pm
A Loss of Wonder

Once upon a time… once upon a time. Just once?

How do you cope with a life that magic has touched then left? It wasn’t even his story! Despite that, the change in perspective was amazing and horrifying. It’s not as if he had ever believed in or seen magic, before – he had a hard enough time believing in it when it happened in front of him! But there it was and now nothing was the same.

The sky was gray. Not… gray gray. It was blue enough, he supposed, but… just not vivid. It was as if the sky had gone through the laundry a few times too many, but he had never noticed it until somebody came by with a brand new sky for him to see. Except, it wasn’t something wrong with the old sky – it hadn’t changed. This was the sky he had lived with for forty years, every day and every season. He just saw it differently now, after his experience.
______________________
He dragged himself through his days, barely managing to get up but having a hard time falling asleep. A colorless life seemed purposeless to him, but it was the only life he had. Friends commented upon it and tried to shake him out of his mood, but he was having none of it. He tried to explain to them what was going on, but they hadn’t seen what he had seen and did not – could not – believe him.

In the face of their disbelief, he started to pull back from those relationships, too. He learned not to share the experience with anybody, no matter how much they assured him they would not judge. Sometimes they laughed outright. Sometimes they had the grace to hold it in – but it was still obvious that they were holding it in. And sometimes they did not seem to want to laugh at all; they just pitied him. It was probably the pity, more than anything, that made him stop sharing.

So, he bottled it up and trudged along.
______________________
He wasn’t suicidal, though he would not have minded the confidence to feel that way. Unfortunately (from his perspective), he had no reason to believe that death would not be just that much worse. Whereas before he had had no notion of how washed out the world’s colors were, now he could all too well imagine its being worse. At times, it seemed, he could not stop himself from doing just that. With a humorless smile on his face, he hummed “all the world is sad and dreary, everywhere I roam…”

Therapists. God save him from therapists. If there is a God, which he supposed there might be, once magic was real. Or any number of them… maybe instead of trying to find a therapist who did not want to lock him up immediately, “as a danger to himself or others” (they explained), he should try religion! A small bit of hope made its way into his heart, despite his best efforts.
______________________
And was dashed.

God save him from priests. And shamans. And gurus. And… anybody smacking of spiritual higher beings! They all were possibly worse than the therapists!

Of course, they had no answers. None of them. Despite his hope, this was not a huge shock. That was just not the problem. But they had no answers! Not for him, not for themselves. They did not dismiss his tale, they embraced it. His sincerity convinced them that he had had a more other-worldly or spiritual or magical experience than the lot of them had had in their lives – and they wanted to follow him and worship him. Too much. Beyond too much.
______________________
Drugs. Psychedelic drugs. Mushrooms, peyote, acid, whatever. Something, anything to put color back into his life and world! And they helped, some, but not enough. It wasn’t the same. It felt different.
He got a call from one of the therapists – one who had listened politely and with a somewhat less judgmental air than most:

“I cannot say that I believe you, but it is clear that you believe you – and other than that singular, deeply held sincere belief, you don’t feel crazy to me. You don’t feel off. So, I’ve heard about something that would ordinarily sound totally bizarre, but which may just be the thing for you.

It’s a group that is forming for support for people with stories like yours. Yes, you heard me right – stories like yours! It’s to treat what the group leader calls “Post-Wonder Stress Disorder” or PWSD.”

______________________
He listened to the words, to the description, and played with the notion on his tongue. Post-Wonder Stress Disorder. He couldn’t even fathom how such an idea would come into being, let alone become a therapy group – but the concept resonated, so he took down the contact information.

The office, when he called it, sounded like a hundred other therapists’ offices. “Please come in early to fill out your medical history and our questionnaire.” “No, I’m sorry, the group leader can’t come to the phone, but she will give you all the time you need in group.” “No, we don’t take insurance, but we promise that our sliding scale will be able to accommodate your need for therapy combined with your ability to pay.” Still, none of it was thoroughly off-putting. The employee who answered the phone seemed competent enough and not at all bizarrely out there; just matter-of-fact in going about business.
______________________
He came a bit early on the night of the first group meeting. He wanted to get the lay of the land, check out the space if possible, and maybe suss out the kinds of folks with whom he would be sharing the evening. The building and waiting room were non-descript. He was slightly taken aback to find another person waiting when he walked in, but supposed the person might have the same anxiety about it that he had.

The waiting room was also bigger than he expected, with a dozen seats in it, which filled up over the next 45 minutes leading up to the start time. The other members seemed pretty average in appearance – but, he supposed, so did he. Several times, he almost said something, but was too nervous. On the other hand, he thought he’d noticed others with the same impulse. The door opened, and they straggled in.
______________________
Apart from the group leader’s introduction, things started slowly. For all that she explained that each of them had had what seemed like an inexplicable event in their lives that had devestated their views of reality, he felt a reluctance to share his story one more time. And he couldn’t help himself – when he heard the first of the others’ stories, it was incredible! It couldn’t possibly be true, could it? But how could he, of all people, judge somebody for a bizarre story?

The first speaker shared: “I drive a cab, usually on the hotel circuit near the Park. One night, I’m on a fare, not far behind one of the Park’s horse-drawn buggies. It pulled over abruptly and the carriage shrunk and turned into a pumpkin! And the horses disappeared!

The man went on to share what he’d tried to do immediately and then in the weeks after the incident. It was totally different from his experience – yet, the reactions to the event, both on the spot and after it, were so familiar that he could have used the same words to describe his own sentiments. He listened as a few others spoke up, the same sorts of tales presented of impossible sights followed by nearly complete shutdown and detachment from their world.
______________________
Frogs and beasts turning into humans, a talking bird, a statue getting off its pedestal, and several other wonderments poured out. As each member of the group took the floor, he unwound, bit by bit. The acceptance of the others when his turn came gave him his first feeling of connection since the event. It didn’t solve the grayness problem, but it gave him reason to come back next week. It was a start.
______________________
______________________
______________________
The last of the clients had left the group therapy room, about 30 minutes after the session was formally over. They were a jaded and anxious lot; their trust would be hard to win quickly. But tonight’s session went pretty well. It was a start.

With a wave of her wand, the therapist was gone.

Mon, Feb. 27th, 2012, 12:30 am
Tell a Fairy Tale Day

It was all well and good to go flitting about and casting spells, but nobody seemed to appreciate the prep work that went into the daily routine of magic and granting wishes and the like. She loved Mal and did everything she could to make him happy, within the limits of her charge, but there were times when his needs exceeded her ability to anticipate them.

This was one of those times.

Somehow, Mal had gotten himself locked up. "Something I said" was all the explanation she'd been able to coax out of him, but he looked pretty embarrassed and miserable down in the cell. (Why did every castle seem to come with a dank prison?) When she asked if she should get him out, he shook his head and advised her not to.

Nixie frowned. "What can I do, then? What do you need?"

"I need a string. After that, maybe I will be able to leave. Maybe"

She'd disappeared and reappeared with a ball of twine. He shook his head, and before he could say more, she'd vanished again. When next she arrived in his cell, carrying several kinds of string, he stopped her, and showed her what he needed.

Off she went to the barn yard. His instructions had been clear - and what he demanded of her here was beyond her ability to manage. She cursed and returned, dismayed, to the cell. "All of the animals are hale and hearty," she reported.

He, too, cursed. Then he thought for a bit, and sent her to the laundry. She looked about and poked and prodded. With a big smile, or at least as big a smile as her size would permit, she tossed some of her fairy dust, grabbed her prize, and hastened back to Mal. He took it from her, twisted and turned it, and tied a couple knots in it.

She was startled by a loud noise behind her - the guard, demanding to know if Mal had changed his mind! When Mal said he had, the guard opened the door and none-to-gently helped Mal upstairs.

The ruling noble (not that she could remember which title went with which castles) looked down at her friend. "So! Now you are willing? I knew a bit of time in the cell would change your mind." He turned to the guard. "Put him in the next room. He knows what to do." She followed them.

A few minutes later, from the next room, came music - alternately soothing and inspirational. The noble smiled vacuously. The guard returned.

"Mal, do we have to stay any more?"

He continued to play, but talked softly. "I don't know if I am going to be permitted to leave just yet."

"If we left, where could we go to be safe?"

Mal gave brief consideration. "We just need to get into the next duchy - across the river. But I don't think there's a bridge or a boat nearby."

Nixie giggled. "If you are ready to go, I think we'll be fine. Just keep playing." She blew some fairy dust on his fingers. "Now step away. Even as his fingers worked as if to play, the music continued without interruption.

Out the window they went, and over to the river, which was too strong for him to swim across.

A bit more fairy dust and a two bits of wood grew - one flat and the other long and thin. Mal stepped onto it, with Nixie on his shoulder, and he poled them across, surely if not swiftly. As soon as they were safely on shore, the wood returned to being a piece of bark and a twig.

"I didn't know you could do all that," exclaimed he.

With another big grin, she replied.

"Well, I am a Harper's Fairy."

Fri, Sep. 30th, 2011, 03:28 pm
Hiding intelligence and Finding peers

On hiding your gifts:
If one is unwitting about one's intelligence, then hiding it is not the issue, because it is not a goal. However it is still quite possible for it to remain hidden *depending on the area of giftedness* and how it manifests.

If one is aware of one's intelligence and one *wishes* to hide it, the ways to do so are myriad and moderately trivial, personality depending. The simplest is near-silence. Few or zero comments makes it pretty hard to judge. Then whatever work you do is what you are evaluated on by the teachers and, to a lesser extent, your age mates..

A bright enough kid can (and does) figure out a system for seeming to fit in. A socially adept kid can even fit in without such extreme measures - and they often do. Top 1% can and does include some kids who do not stick out unless they choose to, after a certain age - and sometimes that age is 2 or 3.

On finding true peers: Miraca Gross's paper on Sure Shelters is perhaps the best at discussing this that I have read, in terms of presenting the issues - for all that it has bits that are... more technical than necessary for this particular discussion.

The introverts among that 1% are seldom seeking more than 1 or 2 "best friends." The extroverts are... often frustrated. However, we don't need a 1-1 match in interests. However divergent we may be as we spread in aptitude from the center of the bell curve, complementary personalities exist sans depth of mutual interests. And... as one delves into the worlds of specialization, one finds others with that common obsession passion! The age gap may be a tad wider than expected by the unassuming parental units, but the shared focus is more powerful than that chronological split for many.

(My personal example of the age issue was when I asked my mother if I could bring a friend with me for a particular chess tournament and she gave her permission. She was more than a bit taken aback by the 45 year old cabbie at her door for the ride north to the tournament. *grins at the memory*)

(For the examples of the divergent interests/deep bonding, you will have to wait for the book.)

Wed, Jul. 27th, 2011, 12:40 am
A question

So, if you were going to tell a class of counseling psych grad students about me, in 15 minutes or less, what would *you* tell them?

Tue, Jun. 21st, 2011, 11:18 pm
Sheroes is down

Sheroes is was down, but should be back up shortly. (11:17pm, EDT) is back up now. (11:30pm, EDT)

Mon, May. 30th, 2011, 11:30 am
The Law of Conservation

When one source stops writing about group politics, another source starts.

It is both very creative and rather anachronistic how their society is run.

Sat, May. 21st, 2011, 12:10 am
To the boys (of all ages): "You are responsible for your own behavior. You."

A friend linked me to a powerful letter from a man to his daughter:
http://hugoschwyzer.net/2011/05/16/your-body-is-not-so-powerful-it-can-drive-others-to-distraction-a-letter-to-a-teenage-girl-about-clothing-modesty-and-slutwalk/

I commented that there should be a note to the boys, too, on that topic. Sarah S's letter is shorter and a bit less over the top, but no less important, in my opinion:

a) Strength in a boy is not about having sex with girls who don't want to. Strength is about resisting that biological urge and protecting them from boys who don't.

b) If you act like an adult, a lot of your friends won't get it. Not now. But they will later, and they'll be immensely admiring about how early you figured it out.

c) Despite what the media say, research shows that men with one sexual partner, in a loving relationship, are happier than men with multiple sexual partners. Be good to them and you'll be good to you, too.


(Thanks, Sarah S!)

Fri, May. 6th, 2011, 11:30 am
Legacy

For all that one may wish to live forever, truth be told, we can only expect to live on in the impact we have on other people.

There are those like Jesus or Buddha whose footprints on the future are huge. Shakespeare, Aristotle, etc.

But for lesser luminaries - especially those whose published works are limited (to non-existent), our person-to-person connections are the best we can normally expect.
*********

To a limited extent, the Internet has changed this. Anybody can put up verbiage or images that live on past her or his lifetime. This is not to suggest that it is all that likely, but the hope is there. The chance exists.

My mother's published works are limited in scope. What Can We Do With Blocks, What if Tiny Little Dinosaurs Played House, and other such works, entertaining as they are, tend not to be the sorts of things that people go looking for - and, even when they find them in English or French, they tend not to be life changers.

So, it was with a great deal of pleasure that for the first time, it was one of my mother's pieces that I've put on line that prompted contact from a desperate parent seeking help. Normally, it is my work on underachievement that catches the attention, and Patterns for Charlie gets read as an afterthought if at all.

Her work matters. This is not news to me.

That it matters to others and will for years to come puts a smile on my face.

Thu, Mar. 24th, 2011, 01:58 am
doing a meme for a change

I was amused when I looked at how I would do this one, so I am doing it.

To play along, make a post with the following statements in order of when they occurred in your life (feel free to add/remove/edit as appropriate).

[I only did first occurrences of each. Gets confusing for me otherwise.]

Become gainfully employed.
Buy a car.
Start college.
Graduate high school.
Get laid off.
Move out of parent's house for good.
Buy a house.
Meet future spouse.
Get married.
Try to start a business (and succeed).
Get a cell phone.
Graduate college.

Haven't done:
Move across the country for a job.
Have kids.
Get divorced.
Get remarried.

Tue, Mar. 15th, 2011, 07:41 pm
Yahrzeit, again

Three years ago, long about now, my mother died abruptly, though she had been dying in quiet (and not so quiet) ways for a while, before and after we noticed.

She left behind 2 and a half novels, 5 children's books (4 of which had peel-and-sticks), and a broad variety of poetry, including her (almost) epic quasi-children's poem-story, Ermengard Bear.

As the yahrzeit candle burns down, I'm contemplating what to do with her works. I like her writing, for the most part, but that does not mean there is a market for it. I kind of like the idea of tampering with it - bringing the out-of-date pieces up to date or twisting them to make the out-of-date parts work in a modern or beyond-modern world.

Yet, I am somewhat daunted. I am not among those who has every done NaNoWriMo nor even written any complete fiction longer than perhaps 10 pages (unless you count my research papers and technical writing documents). To rewrite, to undo and redo what was carefully written by my mother, may be a bigger task than I can handle - or than I really want to handle.

Yet, if I wish to give her work a longer life than my own death, something more must be done than merely having them on an unlinked, unsought, unlooked at website.

There are parts of my mother that I miss, parts that I would share given my druthers. Some of these are reflected in her writing. Some are reflected in mine.

Perhaps I can make this 4th year after her death the year in which either Moonlight in Gstaad or Fandango make there way from my own personal slush pile into the light of day (or laptop screen).

After all, I have homework that needs procrastinating from! And if anything would be a fitting tribute to my relationship with my mother - beyond my having gotten my undergrad degree on her birthday - it would be putting off my class assignments to work on her novels!

Farewell to the Court

Like truthless dreams, so are my joys expir'd,
And past return are all my dandled days;
My love misled, and fancy quite retir'd
Of all which pass'd the sorrow only stays.

My lost delights, now clean from sight of land,
Have left me all alone in unknown ways;
My mind to woe, my life in fortune's hand
Of all which pass'd the sorrow only stays.

As in a country strange, without companion,
I only wail the wrong of death's delays,
Whose sweet spring spent, whose summer well-nigh done
Of all which pass'd only the sorrow stays.

Whom care forewarns, ere age and winter cold,
To haste me hence to find my fortune's fold.

Sir Walter Raleigh

Sun, Nov. 7th, 2010, 12:41 am
Family pictures

My father sold the house.

That's a saga all its own and not one that I will write about now. But a side effect of his having sold the house is that it needs emptying of (most of (don't ask)) his stuff and the family's accumulated stuff over the nearly 50 years that we were in it.

Up in the attic, today, Susan and I found a number of pictures of family - most especially of my mother.

Not a small number of pictures, at least by my (nuclear) family's standards. Portraits from when she was 1, 2, 3, 4. A variety of pictures with her mother, with her friend, etc. A couple pics from a couple years with her on a pony. Family outings - not scads, but a few. Looks of intense concentration, looks of joy. Very familiar expressions to me, even though they came to me in an older face, decades down the road.

We found her baby scrap book, with a picture of my late great uncle Sam looking dapper and gay, indeed. Her "first business correspondence," a letter from American Telephone & Telegraph congratulating her on her acquisition of stock and encouragement to keep her address updated - along with her father's response to them, noting her relative youth and her hopes that the company will send her dividend checks regularly.

This is stuff I've never seen. Never ever heard discussion of.

Her father died when she was very young - but there are pics of her step-father, as well as of her father.

Was there a birth scrap book of me? Of my siblings? I know that there were pics aplenty of my brother at one point. A few of us - not lots, by any means - odd enough in a family that had camera after camera come into the house.

There's no real direction to this post. I will probably scan a bunch of the photos into the computer at some point, to share with those who care - and there are a few. Meanwhile, though, I am enjoying the look backward, if not so much the questions that twin with it --> Why did my mother's father's family not stay in touch after their son's untimely death? Why was there such a difference in upbringings? My sense has been from other families with whom I deal that there is some degree of consistency in those regards.

*shrugs* these are not questions I have any expectation to have answered - they just wander into and out of my consciousness.

Fri, Sep. 10th, 2010, 05:56 pm
Gifted Book Survey Results
















  Author Title
1 Davidson and
Davidson
Genius Denied
2 Webb, Amend, Webb,
et al
Misdiagnosis, Dual
Diagnosis
3 Winebrenner Teaching Gifted
Children in the Regular Classroom
4 Gross Exceptionally
Gifted Children
4 Webb, et al A Parent's Guide
to Gifted Children
6 Rivero Creative
Homeschooling
7 Daniels Living with
Intensity
7 Ruf 5 Levels/Losing
Our Brightest Minds
7 Tolan & Webb Guiding the Gifted
Child
10 Eide & Eide Mislabeled
10 Galbraith Gifted Children's
Survival Guide (pre-teen)
10 Lovecky Different Minds
10 Templeton
Foundation
A Nation Deceived
10 Winner Gifted Children:
Myths and Realities
15 Halsted Some of my best
friends are books
X Carolyn K. Hoagies' Gifted Education Page
16 Assouline Developing
Mathematical Talent
16 Clark Growing Up Gifted
16 Gladwell Outliers
16 K. Kay (Ed.) High IQ Kids
16 Rogers Reforming Gifted
Education
16 Silverman Upside Down
Brilliance
22 Assouline,
Forstadt, et al
Iowa Acceleration
Scales
22 Bauer & Wise The Well-Trained
Mind
22 Cross Social and
Emotional Lives of the Gifted
22 Delisle &

Galbraith
When Gifted Kids
Don't Have All the Answers: How to Meet Their Social and Emotional Needs
22 Gardner Creating Minds
22 Grost Genius in
Residence
22 Hollingworth Children Above 180
IQ
22 Holt Learning All the
TIme
22 Kerr Smart Girls,
Gifted Women
22 Kranowitz &
Miller
The Out of Sync
Child
22 Sousa How the Gifted
Brain Works
22 Strip & Hirsh Helping Gifted
Children Soar
22 Tolan Welcome to the Ark
35 Asher Cool Colleges
35 Baker, Julicher,
& Hogan
Gifted Children at
Home
35 Bloom &
Sosniak
Developing Talent
in Young People
35 Bluedorn,
Bluedorn, & Bluedorn
Teaching the
Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style
35 Card Ender's Game
35 Castellano &
Frazier
Special
Populations of the Gifted
35 Colangelo &
Davis
Handbook of Gifted
Education
35 Coleman &
Cross
Being Gifted in
School
35 Colfer Artemis Fowl
35 Delisle any book
35 Dreikurs Children - The
Challenge
35 Elman Unwritten Rules of
Friendship
35 Feldman, David Nature's Gambit
35 Feldman, Ruth Whatever Happened
to the Quiz Kids?
35 Feynman Surely You're
Joking, Mr. Feynman!
35 Fuller Talkers, Watchers,
and Doers: Unlocking Your Child's Unique Learning Style
35 Galbraith &
Delisle
The Gifted Kids
Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook
35 Gilman Challenging Highly
Gifted Learners
35 Gilman Educational
Advocacy for Gifted Students
35 Golon? Raising Topsy
Turvy Kids
35 Hirsh-Pasek, Eyer,
& Golinkoff
Einstein Never
Used Flashcards
35 Hollingworth Gifted Children:
Nature and Nurture
35 Hollingworth Human Intelligence
35 Jacobson Gifted Adults
35 Johnsen &
Kendrick
Teaching and
Counselling Gifted Girls
35 Johnson Identifying Gifted
Children
35 Kean The Disappearing
Spoon
35 Klein Raising Gifted
Kids
35 Ku The Spirited Child
35 L'Engle A Ring of Endless Light
35 L'Engle A Wrinkle in Time
35 Lindskold Brother to Dragons, Companion
to Owls
35 Llewellen The Teenage
Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education
35 Lowry The Anastasia Krupnik books
35 McCaffrey Dragonsong/Dragonsinger
35 Mendaglio Dabrowski's Theory
of Positive Disintegration
35 Neihart ??
35 Neill Summerhill
35 Olenchak They Say My Kid's
Gifted: Now What?
35 Owen To be Gifted and
Learning Disabled
35 Paterson Bridge to Terabithia
35 Piechowski Mellow Out' They Say. If I
Only Could
35 Pierce Circle of Magic
quartet
35 Pipher Seeking Peace: The
Journey of the Worst Buddhist in the World
35 Fitzhugh Harriet the Spy
35 Porter Young Gifted
Children
35 Potok The Chosen
35 Ratey Shadow Syndromes
35 Rimm Keys to Parenting
the Gifted Child
35 Rimm Why Bright Kids
Get Poor Grades: And What You Can Do About It
35 Sachar Angeline
35 SENG SENG Booklet
35 Shore Best Practices in
Gifted Education
35 Shurkin Terman's Kids
35 Smith, Julie Dean Call of Madness
(series)
35 Smutny Reclaiming the
Lives of Gifted Girls and Women
35 Streznewski Gifted Grown-ups
35 Suzuki Giftedness
35 Terman, et al Genetic Studies
35 Thompson Gypsyworld
35 Tomlinson The Differentiated
Classroom
35 Van Tassel-Baska Comprehensive
Curriculum for the Gifted
35 Van Tassel-Baska Excellence in
Education of Gifted and Talented Learners
35 Waitman The Merro Tree
35 Walker Survival Guide for
Parents of Gifted Children
35 Wallace, Amy The Prodigy
35 Wallace, David
Foster
Consider the
Lobster (honest!)
35 West In the Mind's Eye
35 Willis &
Kindle Hodson
DIscover Your
Child's Learning Style
35 Zaccarro Math and Science
Books










Fri, Sep. 3rd, 2010, 01:53 am
Survey of Favorite Gifted Books - Results

I want to thank those of you on LJ who responded to my questionnaire!

4% of my respondents were LiveJournal members. They recommended an average of 8 books each. The most frequent recommendation was Ender's Game, which was not recommended by anybody who did not identify LJ as their source for the survey.

I will probably run a follow-up survey aimed just at fiction, as more of you listed fiction than any other group, and I would be interested in seeing more of that input.
*******

The overall responses showed those to be the 2nd and 3rd most frequently cited books (22% and 20% respectively), with the Davidson's Genius Denied as the book mentioned the most, with 24% of the survey-takers endorsing it.

104 total books were mentioned, including 15 fiction titles. In addition, Hoagies Gifted was mentioned multiple times.

Top Nine Titles:
1. Genius Denied
2. Misdiagnosis And Dual Diagnoses Of Gifted Children And Adults
3. Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom
4. Exceptionally Gifted Children by Miraca Gross
4. A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children by Webb, Gore, Amend, & DeVries
6. Creative Homeschooling by Lisa Rivero
7. Living with Intensity, edited by Daniels and Piechowski
7. 5 Levels of Gifted: School Issues and Educational Options by Ruf
7. Guiding the Gifted Child by James T. Webb, Meckstroth, & Tolan

No other book was mentioned more than 10% of the time.

Again, thank you for your help!

Fri, Aug. 27th, 2010, 03:30 am
Giftedness and Delinquency, part 1 of who knows how many

One of the questions that arises along the way is "Are gifted children at risk?" Inevitably, the question brings the reply "At risk of what?"

Dropping out, depression, drugs, delinquency, and death (self-inflicted) are the answers. 4 of these five are pretty commonly discussed within the gifted lit - and often researchers seek to support or refute them. There are lots of stories and fewer statistics - and what stats there are may be misquoted, misremembered, or misremembered.

For the moment, I am going to focus on delinquency. I've been reading one of the studies that set out to disprove the notion that violent adolescents are any likelier to be gifted than the general population: High intelligence and severe delinquency: Evidence disputing the connection, by Dewey G. Cornell, in Roeper Review, May 92, Vol. 14, Issue 4.

Dr. Cornell had 157 violent offenders to examine and he did a pretty thorough job of illustrating his general point. Of the 157, "only 2 subjects obtaining scores greater than 130, and 2 more scoring greater than 120" on their full scale IQs (WISC-R or WAIS-R). He took it further, correctly observing that prison populations are known for higher performance scores than verbal.

"There were 13 subjects with Performance IQ's of at least 120. This included two subjects with IQ's greater than 140 and two more with IQ's greater than 130. In contrast, there were only 3 subjects with Verbal IQ's of 120 or higher, and all 3 had equivalent or higher Performance IQ's."

13 out of 157 is not overrepresented for 120+ (9% is the expected percentage.)

He talked a bit about race, and looks at the fact that the 'minority' members of the 13 above 120 performance IQ group were only 31% (4 of 13) vs. being 75% of the below 110 population. From there, he continued to explore his 2nd question, "Do highly intelligent delinquents differ from other delinquents in their social background and prior adjustment?"
*******

And that is where I think Dr. Cornell made his mistake.

The white population of the total 157 group was 44, or 28% of the whole. The number of whites who scored 120 and above on the Performance Scale was 9, or more than 20% of the white population, when 9% would have been expected.

Cornell wrote, in conclusion: "The results of this study provide evidence that high intelligence is not associated with severe delinquency. In fact, the majority of delinquents are of below average intelligence, and only a few delinquents obtained scores above the high average range. While it is possible to identify delinquents with high intelligence, it is not reasonable to infer a connection between delinquency and high intelligence."

I think he missed a vital segment of his population.
********

This is hardly conclusive to prove risk, let alone to be as definitive in the opposite direction from Cornell. But it does at least raise an unanswered question: Might there be a greater risk for gifted (high performance scale) white adolescents to become seriously delinquent than for the norm?

20 most recent