Why is Early Education Important?

I am often asked about the importance of having the appropriate learning environment for gifted students. I loved how these educators answered the questions in an article titled: “Love the Child, Not the Gift”

Baby Einstein

Why help gifted students? Because the first rule of education is “do no harm.”

 JON: What are the most important reasons why we need to invest in gifted students?

SIDNEY and FELICIA: The first rule of education is to “do no harm.” There is considerable research suggesting that gifted students can be harmed if they do not receive appropriate educational interventions. This is especially true in elementary school and among at risk populations, such as children who live in poverty or children who have both gifts and disabilities. The harm can manifest as disturbances in social and emotional development, such as behavior problems, depression, loneliness, and alienation. It almost always manifests as lost academic potential. Hence, the first reason to invest in gifted students is to ensure that they are not harmed by their school experiences. We might call this a moral imperative for investment in gifted students. A second reason to invest in gifted students is to enable them to fulfill their potential.  Gifted students by definition have unusual capabilities, but those capabilities cannot be fully realized without a long process of talent development. For gifted individuals, talent development is a prerequisite for self-actualization. We might call this a humanitarian reason to invest in gifted children. The third and final reason we propose for investing in gifted students is because of the potential return that investment might yield for society. Gifted individuals have tremendous potential to benefit society as adults, whether they choose to focus their talents on raising their children, excelling in their professions, performing at high levels in the arts, making discoveries in the sciences, and/or creating inventions that enhance our lives. We might call this the pragmatic reason to invest in gifted children—the investment may return substantial gains to society in the future.

Anyone Going Stir Crazy?

Snow day, again??!! I am not sure where everyone else lives but in NC we have not had a fun winter. It has been dark, wet, and dreary. To top it off, the past two weeks there has been snow. Maybe some people love snow, but I do NOT. Where we live, everything shuts down- schools, roads, grocery stores , etc. (maybe a touch of my sanity too). My kids are quickly running out of things to do and I think they have even gotten tired of fighting.

So today, I found a few ideas that I thought I would share.

Everyone has a different parenting opinion about technology… so no judgments. Here is a great list of STEAM apps.

 ipad

Another idea is creative story starters- you pull a sentence out of a jar and kids make up a story.

storytelling-prompts-398x600

GoldieBlox Zipline

Yesterday I wrote about a really neat new toys marketed for girls. I love that it encourages girls to be scientists and mathematicians. One of their toys that looks like so much fun is a zipline that the toy goes down. I really think I am going to get this toy soon for my daughter! But I think my son might like it just as much even if he won’t admit it.

What?! New Lego Sets!

OK- Again, I am confessing. I loved Legos as a kid and that was not a normal girl toy when I was growing up. And I never really had Barbies (NOTHING wrong with this) but I had tons of blocks and match box cars. 🙂

We have TONS of Legos at my house and I really enjoy seeing my son put them together. Watching him follow the visual directions and put together the set is worth the price. He saves up his allowance or earns extra money to get more.

Gifted #Education Daily posted this really neat new Lego set and I cannot wait to see it. These Legos make life like models of birds. Not Angry Birds but real birds. They look so neat!

Read more: Short review of the sets

Andy the American Goldfinch

bird legos

Last Minute Holiday Idea- Tapple!

One of my favorite AIG teachers recommended this game to me. It looks like so much fun! I am definitely going to get this for my fourth and fifth grade students. Each round is short and could also be a great time filler for teachers.

Description from the website:

Tap the Tapple Wheel!

Tapple is the award-winning, fast-paced word game that gives families & friends a rush of excitement as they compete to beat the timer! No need to spell  just say your word, tap the timer, and pass the Tapple Wheel. The last person standing wins the round!
Tapple will entertain your friends & family during holiday get-togethers, parties and more! The kids won’t even know they’re learning as they rush to tap the timer!
AGES 8+
2-8 players
10-20 minutes play time
MSRP $19.95

http://www.amazon.com/Tapple-Fast-Word-Fun-Everyone/dp/B00BBLI5CC

Inspiring…

The other day I was asked about teaching by a twenty-something friend. Professionally she is in the financial world but is looking for a career change. She mentioned that she has changed companies for different reasons- mainly because she didn’t feel challenged. After a few jobs she realized that it was fulfillment she was searching for in her job. And she asked me about teaching…

Through our conversation, I quickly realized how sad it made me when I realized that she had not be encouraged to pursue this – either from the media or from her family. I am sad because I cannot imagine a better job than teaching. Changing a child’s life, affecting how their attitudes about school, and just seeing them learn is so incredibly amazing. When I am not teaching, I feel a piece of myself missing. I told her how much I loved it and how I could not wait for the day I was able to get back in the classroom. I hope that my days as a teacher are considered inspiring either for students or others to enter this amazing profession.

Anyways- here is my second favorite TED Talks. Rita Pierson is SO inspiring.

Need More Holiday Ideas??

zometool

One of my favorite teachers I have worked with sent me this link over the weekend with some great toys, apps and books listed for gifted children. It is definitely worth scanning through the list.

I LOVE this toy: Zometool for math or spatial gifted children. They have lots of resources posted on the website for the toy- including resources for educators. I think this might be a learning tool we buy.

I found a review of the toy that showed how the toy works and would be great for gifted children.

Another one of my favorites that I think would lend to some really great discussions with gifted children was titled: Where Children Sleep. I looked at the pictures posted on Amazon- super idea but out of print and over $400. So I did find a link to some of the pictures in the book by James Mollison. Because I can’t let stuff go… I emailed the author to see if there was somewhere to buy the book. But he lives in Italy and I am sure is very busy.  (Guess what?!! I did hear from the author. The book will be in reprint early next year. I will have to keep an eye out for it.)

On My Wish List

This recommendation comes from one of my favorite academically gifted websites (I will blog about his website soon).  He does a great job explaining the game and uses pictures. Over the years many of my gifted students have recommended the game to me. We definitely put it on our wish list for the holidays.

Thanks Ian Byrd from byrdseed.com for this recommendation.

quirkle gifted game recommendation

One of my best friends also highly recommended this toy! After I wrote this post she wrote me about the toy: Qwirkle is a good game of strategy. There are wooden blocks with six different shapes in six colors. Using the blocks, players try to score the most points by building lines that share the same shape or color. The player with the most tiles that share something in common (color or symbol) plays their pieces and wins points. The game is over when all the tiles have been played and all the points have been tallied.

Board Game for Beginner Programmers!

robot turtles

I hope I am not losing readers by now with all my game recommendations. But I am really enjoying looking at all the games and ideas that parents have told me about the past week. I especially love that this one was on Kickstarter.  The parent reviews are high and it looks fantastic for any young child that has the mind or desire for programming or coding. Reading through some of the reviews it does seem like a game for preschool to younger elementary age gifted children.

Zooleoretto

More ideas for gifted children! This suggestion comes from a parent of a gifted child.
One board game we really like is called Zooloretto. We have the “mini” version and hope to graduate to the larger ones. Its great for strategic thinking but also has the appeal of the animals and trying to get a “daddy” and “mommy” animal in your zoo so you can get a cute little “baby” animal. We play this as a family frequently! 
zoolo1
(Fantastic full parent review: http://fathergeek.com/zooloretto-mini/)