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enfants hautement surdoués Traduction
de l'ERIC Digest n° 477 de Stephanie Tolan chez Douance Org.
the system isn't working a planning checklist
us know if you have anything to add to this list, or any discussion of
how you found a solution
Every fall during
the second week of school I receive countless calls in my role of president
of the Gifted Children's Association of B.C. Many parents realize
very early on in the school year that this year that their child is facing
a crisis connected with school. Here is one checklist to help find
___ Is this
primarily a social or
ie handwriting or medical (hearing etc.) problem .
___Does it face
the child on all fronts?
___ only at school.
___ Is it time dependent
(need to be registered in ______ by _____ in order to be
eligible for _____)
___ Is it something
your child can address by themselves with support?
support does the child need?
Draw up a plan to
contact and search out a solution and follow it with your child.
Drawing up a plan gives the child a means of framing the problem and a
possible list of contacts who may be able to help. It also gives
them back a sense of control of the situation as well as a sense of purpose,
instead of the hopeless feelings which may make the issue seem larger than
__Other gifted children?,
(someone who can teach math 9 to a 7 year old)
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it is beyond the child's ability to address (playground policy, gangs,
bullying, district education policy, class sizes, teacher training
___ Does the school
have any formalized support (counsellors, peer counsellors, Parent advisory
councils? cluster classes)
___Are their community
programs dealing with similar issues? (integration of children with differences
is often well covered and presented by community groups dealing with disabilities)
do they have resources you can use, do they have experience of dealing
with your school or local system.
local gifted support group or if you have none, any other non
profit agency connected with children to find out what records, programs
or contacts they may have to help you with your situation.
___ What outside
resources can be brought in to make adaptations for the child (distance
ed or correspondence courses, on line courses, community experts, high
you must advocate on behalf of your child do the following:
___ Know the stages
in your process. List them and check them off with notes and a date as
you progress through the system.
___ Write a list
with the problem at the beginning, your goal at the end and the steps you
assume you need to take to get there. Ask the class teacher or the
principal to check your plan to ensure you are following the proper procedure.
(Sometimes just seeing a written problem, a hoped for resolution
and the steps you are prepared to go to will fast track discussion!)
___What is the least
intrusive approach for handling the problem, keeping your child's self
___ Is the problem
resolvable ? If resolution is unlikely make a list of your alternatives.
___ Is it likely
to escalate? What is your plan if the situation gets worse?
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Begin at the
lowest level of the system. Document the discussions and phone calls and
be prepared to move slowly up the system. Determine what is the appeal
process in your district.
___ Is the difficulty
___Does the school
or district have any policy which relates to your issue?
___What is their
need to bring in "expert testimony" , articles, specialists to extend their
understanding of the issue.
is the line in the sand for your child, for you ?
_____At what point
will you remove your child from the situation? Although most situations
can be resolved with a bit of work, dealing with a gifted child has some
special parameters. Both of you may carry previous baggage from other
occasions. Most gifted children see so many possibilities that issues
become very clouded by "what ifs" . Reassure your child and yourself
by establishing guidelines. (you try to talk to the principal about
this first. If that doesn' t change the situation by ___ I
will do ____ with you.) Knowing there is a specified end or change
point gives children the framework to prevent hopelessness.
so that a situation which cannot be satisfactorily resolved can be changed.
Be open to various solutions, some of them may later be offered up by the
parties involved and it is better your child have a chance to go through
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ignore signs of severe stress! Our own first formal clue
that a situatation was untenable for our child was a series of mouth cankers
in our 5 year old. He felt helpless and didn't want us to feel ashamed
of him so he never spoke of the trauma he was undergoing. Watch your children
for signs of stress, tension, and depression and discuss issues with them
as soon as you can.
If you have a
visual spatial child (or one who needs help remembering and organizing
information) you may need to explore the concept of mind maps.
Mind maps are pictoral ways of sketching out relationships. For many
people this technique gives a framework for information recall, especially
the type of information you may have to recall for tests. Tony Buzan
is the guru of memory training using mind maps. He has a long list
of published books on his techniques which are well worth using with your
gifted child. Two to start with are Use your Memory,
BBC books 1994 (revised) and Make the Most of Your Mind,
Fireside books 1984 A wonderful website with all kinds of information
on memory training, mnemonics, book reviews and Great minds is run by Michael
Tipper, linked through the Happy Child web pages in the uk .
Several software sources exist for mind mapping as well. Emindmaps,
by Tony Buzan and Inspiration
is an American product with similar uses. If you have children who
need to start learning techniques to prepare for final exams and university
entrance, mindmapping is a good thing to look into
for our Children is a new online special newsletter produced by
the GCABC. It includes a simple form to fill out for your child if
you are trying to advocate for them in a particular situation (school or
otherwise) Let them know what other special newsletters you would
like via their website at http:// www.vcn.bc.ca/gca
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Have you or
your children run into issues with Bullies?
us and share your thoughts and ideas
are probably bullied more often than we realize. Our children are
different and they usually realize that long before we ever recognize them
for their differences or talk with them about what it means to be
gifted. Through no fault of their own they are separated out for
different treatment, sometimes viewed as "special" treatment by jealous
classmates. Couple this inability to change how they are treated,
with the gifted child's identifying characteristics of strong empathy for
underdogs and often righteous egalitarianism, and it is no wonder many
of our children become targets for bullies. What is worse is
that their "mature" outlook is often viewed as an ability to deal with
issues more easily than the perpetrator. Often our children are sent off
for counselling and courses on how to avoid being victimized when the bully
remains at large.
As a parent how
can you help your child avoid bullies?
Family Court Clinic has Canadian information for parents and teachers
First discuss openly
with your children what their differences are, and how others may perceive
them. Ensure they understand how they can adjust those perceptions.
Make sure they avoid
the appearance of a "victim".
Try to ensure they
have a good friend and get to hang out with them as often as possible in
"normal" situations (not only at orchestra practice or in the gifted class)
so that they learn some childhood skills of give and take with the support
of a friend.
Encourage them to
find some way to "give" to their immediate community of peers (classroom?)
so that they are perceived as a supportive part of the group, not someone
always singled out as the "good" example. Avoid the traditional types
of activities for gifted children like reading to the group, helping the
teacher, or helping peers with "hard" work, these usually increase the
gifted child's isolation and create situations where they are perceived
as outside the norms.
Teach them advocacy
skills so that they have skills to negotiate with difficult peers and can
explain any predicaments clearly to adults in power.
Make sure their
environment is safe. Walk to school with them and discuss the route, discuss
what to do if someone is bothering them in class, on the playground, on
the route home.
Listen and be proactive.
If your children are worried, discuss their concerns and help them find
a workable solution.
in school and what to do about it Dr. Ken Rigby, is an
Adjunct Associate Professor of Social Psychology and an educational consultant
based at the University of South Australia whose site is devoted to school
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Looking for ideas
for fall; school, out of school programming? email
us and let us know of good ones you have found and we will post them
Find reviews of children's
books, videos and other material courtesy of the Manitoba Library association
at CM: An Electronic Reviewing journal
Software reviews for games
and programs for younger students as well as site links for downloadable
games can be found at Kids
Domain, the UK Kids Domain
site also has lesson plans for teachers as well as software reviews, lists
of downloadable games etc. The reveiws at both sites are done by
parents and kids and are very thorough. They update reviews often.
by and for young people I recently ordered the calculus workbook
developed by Don Cohen the Mathman.
My kids are primarily visual learners who do math in a non linear fashion.
They will be great mathematicians if they can only make it through high
school. Don Cohen's book is great! It presents calculus
in a format which can be followed by keen seven year olds and yet
is clear and appealing to all ages. The workbook has been designed
by someone familiar with keen problem solvers as well as math phobes (best
of all parent input is rarely needed, speaking of calculus phobes.)
Each page deals with options for solving involved calculus problems.
You have to flip over the page to see the next step (which helps with my
sons who are speed readers and often read the solution before mulling over
the problem). All kinds of problem solving options are explored and
discussed, with an emphasis on pattern recognition and visual methods of
examining calculus problems. The book is designed to be used to work
on observing (creating) and solving problems. It is not a text nor
a curriculum based book. It is a wonderful way to introduce any keen
or math shy child to the joy of working on and solving what appear to be
difficult problems. This is truly a collegiate approach to math,
not the dry presentation of facts. Available in Canada via Jean
Lau who is building up a catalogue of materials for gifted kids
including Zome toys and Aristoplay games.
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Two we have tried
out and found really useful for gifted kids are Dorling Kindersley's
I Love Math (for younger kids) which does a great job of visually examining
fractions and word problems without the 'attack' approach of many other
math programs which focus on drill. Levels work well and smoothly
for primary grade math topics and the program is more interesting than
many of the simple drill problems. (fun for kids 4 and up)
Math involves curriculum from Canadian Grade 7 on. This
is not a drill approach but has clear visually enhanced topic descriptions
from pre-algebra through algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus and
stats. The interface is a bit tricky to start with but with a bit
of perseverance kids enjoy clicking on the problems to produce an answer.
The worksheet and resource room formats are great for doing homework and
the program will automatically generate an answer to problems you type
into it (the trick is to type in the equation correctly) as well as print
off homework sheets and allow graphing and graphing calculator functions.
It isn't a game based math program but it offers good support for kids
who learn better visually or at their own pace outside a classroom.
The program encourages mental math although a calculator is available and
it asks kids to look for relationships between problems as well as solve
them. There is also a web connection for help and connection to discussions
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What did you
learn in School today?
Looking for information on
what your child should cover in school next year? The BC Ministry
of Education site has very soft (and frustrating) online handbooks,
the Parents Handbook
on School Curriculum
More useful are the actual
Resource Packages, the actual "blueprint" for curricula for all grades
in B.C. If you are wondering if your child already knows the
material for next year, check out this site.
The Nechako School District
in B.C. have some great resources at their E-Bus home site. One of
the best is a list of sites concerning assessment
information for parents who want to determine how well their
children are doing in various subjects. Many of these sites have
great resources to teach children how to critique their work, and they
are useful anywhere in Canada.
If you have been frustrated
by your school lately maybe you need an alternate view. Read John
Taylor Gatto's article The
Curriculum of Necessity or What Must an Educated Person Know.
If you find that thought provoking you may want to check out more of Gatto's
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Opportunities for Your Gifted Child
Contributed by Lesley Ansell-Shepherd,
Parent frustration goes hand in hand
with raising most gifted children. Often our children are assessed
and defined by what they should be able to do. What the child
could produce, becomes the focus rather than who the child is.
Education is especially prone to defining children by their products, including
making value judgements about effort and intent which may be totally unconnected
with the inner reality of a gifted child.
our role as parents
As parents we owe our children the
opportunity to be children. Unusual children, but children, like
any other, who need unqualified support from a parent. We need to
assist our children find opportunities to converse, work, and play with
peers, although those peers may not be age based.. These children
deserve the opportunity to struggle, to learn to critically examine their
individual progress, which is often totally outside educational norms for
their age. As parents we need to teach them to understand who they
are, how they differ from much of the population, the benefits and difficulties
that engenders, socially, emotionally and intellectually. We need
to find them safe, secure and supportive environments to support their
unique learning abilities.
How to find
Follow your child's passions is often
mentioned in gifted literature but what does that entail? Here is
our example. Our son has been fascinated by Austin Mini cars for
years. (His first spoken word was one he developed for tires and
we have photos of him assembling his bicycle on his first birthday)
About age twelve he became entirely focused on searching for his
car. (In school it had been the topic of all his English essays)
Obviously he had a passion. We supplied him with Mini pictures, calendars,
collector cars etc. but these although appreciated, did not assuage his
desire. He counted his pennies, collected pop bottles, saved his
allowance and began to search the "beater" section of the automotive pages.
He phoned, searched the net and spent all his free time looking.
Finally we let him insert an ad in the cheapest of the local papers.
Within three weeks he had located a university student who had bought a
1967 "project" car, restored the engine, but could not weld (minis are
welded together I learned ) and would consider selling the car to a serious
collector, at a price our son could afford. Fortunately he chose
our son to carry on the torch. Our son checked the net, assured us
that if he lost interest he could sell the car and still make a bit of
money on his investment. The car, all the spare parts the student
had collected and the car's research file including "birth certificate"
arrived to grace our garage. At twelve our son owned a car.
(It was not our idea of a gifted child's development but he was insistent)
space to realize their own goals.
After ownership, then what?
Our family is best described as mechanically challenged and our son attends
an academic prep school with no shop courses.. He searched and found a
car restoration course at the local college. The age barrier of 16
was waived if his father accompanied him to the night school course.
He learned to weld and use a plasma cutter alongside a mainly retired population
of auto buffs who have been thrilled and supportive of his interests.
His reading and math have benefited from the real world experiences involved
in his project. He has learned to keep accounts, read technical journals
and manuals and has had to do the geometry to square his car body.
A previously retiring child has developed confidence in his ability to
solve problems and search for assistance. (His friends are awed by
his car ownership which has given him some popularity and self respect,
he can converse easily now with any generation.)
His interest has led outward from
his project. Last summer, on a family trip to Europe, he arranged
a side trip to meet with John Cooper, the race car driver and designer
of Mini Coopers. Mr. Cooper took our son through his garage, told
him of his racing career, his impressions of Pierre Trudeau, signed autographs
and posed for pictures with his young fan. It was the highlight of
our son's trip.
choose a path and trust their judgement
The car is still in our garage in
pieces, but it is destined for repainting and perhaps road trials this
summer. Our son is not yet fifteen. Now that his car is well
underway he is turning to an interest in video production. (Ever
seen the movie the Italian job?) The learning process is continuing,
for all of us!