Summer Ideas for Gifted Students

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Parents often ask me for summer or track out camps for gifted children. In the Raleigh area, we are lucky to have lots to choose from- nature, sports, engineering, arts, music…

How do you find one that is perfect for your gifted child? Or that challenges them? Or understands their needs? Or best- one they can find other like-minded children that understand them. As I always say, they are not better than other children, but they are different (see past posts!).

The National Association for Gifted Children has some great guidelines for helping parents find the perfect camp.

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For my Raleigh parents, here are a few camp ideas:

My favorite local camp is CrazBrain– highly recommend

I LOVE this camp!: Camp SMILE

Another one at NCSU: The Engineering Place

Two of my favorite nature camps: Hemlock Bluffs and Harris Lake

Music Camp (rave reviews from other parents): Camp Musart

Another nature one: Piedmont Wildlife Center

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Fantastic Camp for Science!!

Here Comes A New Idea for a Camp!

Signing up for camps, after school activities, and enrichment opportunities can be stressful. I have spent hours looking through the local town program guides, websites for camps in the area, scrolling Facebook for ideas, and asking other moms what camps they love or recommend. The great thing about our area is all there is to choose from but it can be overwhelming.

Well… on Friday, I decided to drop into a new science camp in the area- Crazbrain. I had met the owner a few weeks ago and wanted to see it in action. Last week, the students were doing a CSI camp! What??! I happen to love CSI shows and was curious about the activities.

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When we got there, the children had safety goggles, gloves, and were swabbing desks for blood (each desk represented rooms in a pretend house). They were really simulating being a real scientist- And they LOVED it! They quickly told me all about the activity and were eager to demonstrate to me how to use the solution to determine if there was “blood” in the room. Once the tested the q-tip for blood, they recorded the results and marked the rooms on the pretend floorplan a.k.a scene of the crime. At the end they had to come up with some theories about what happened at the crime scene.

IMG_5421 Kids love participating in hands-on activities and simulations. This camp is fantastic for budding scientists or curious kids.

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”

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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.

What do test scores mean for gifted children?

Testing does give an idea of strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles of children. Sometimes it can give us an idea of perfectionism and if there are learning disabilities.

I always encourage parents for the individual testing because it does help give them a good indication of the best learning approaches for their child. I don’t advocate for more testing but this type of testing can often be perceived as fun by children and helpful to parents and educators.

For gifted parents, I found this easy chart today to give you a general idea of how the scores can be explained. Very general!

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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.

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

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Pick Your Battles

Yes- all parents know that you have to pick the battles you fight with kids. Actually, I think everyone (parent or not) has heard that phrase. The hard part comes with what battles do you pick? Which ones do you fight and which ones do you walk away from? Which ones are important enough or meaningful to fight? Do you fight over socks? Do you fight with what to wear to sleep? Do you negotiate what to eat for dinner or just fix something and they can eat it or not?

One battle I have chosen to give up on (for the most part) is what my daughter wears to school. She is in preschool and honestly, who cares? The teachers don’t and certainly the students don’t notice. So I decided that why should I? I do battle when we are going out to dinner or to church… but for school, I decided just to let her wear what she wants to. It has made our daily routines much easier and about 20 minutes less without a battle!

Here is one of her outfits- green striped tights, green athletic shorts, warm boots (because she refuses to wear socks, she wears warm shoes), white shirt, her silver Ariel jacket and a beautiful athletic headband. She was happy and it gave me a smile that morning on what she picked.

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Picky Eaters?! Great Tip from a Occupational Therapist

I have written about picky eaters before and for any new readers… I was a SUPER picky eater growing up. I would not eat many foods and luckily the foods I did eat were fairly healthy. Well, now I am blessed with my own picky eater. She has a list of about 15 foods that she likes to eat and there is no amount of coaxing, bribery, trickery, etc. that can convince her to try foods she doesn’t like.

I get lots of parenting advice about this topic. “She will eat if she gets hungry enough” is my favorite. I always nod my head and say, “Yep, I guess she will”. But in my mind, I want tell them that she won’t. She would rather go hungry then eat something that smells funny, looks different, or that she just doesn’t think she will like.

So for now, we just try to remember, she won’t be eating creamy peanut butter sandwiches that are cut in circles when she is out at a business lunch!

Our occupational therapist gave us a great idea the other day- have her just touch the food and put it up to her lips and even in her mouth. She is allowed to spit it out but she needs to work on getting it into her mouth.PickyEater_300x

So we will try that- but I know she will outgrow some of this. I know as she gets older, she will eat more food. So I work on not being frustrated when I cook a great meal and she wants a peanut butter sandwich. 🙂

Summer, Trackout and Enrichment Camps

Parents!! I am going to write just a few blog posts next week about really great camps/ enrichment ideas for kids in the Raleigh area. Please let me know if you know any ones I can share with other parents.

Also- Carolina Parent is hosting a camp/school fair at the end of February and have listed all the vendors. Great place to get some information about what is around the area.

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Wake Academy is on Pinterest

Pinterest is a fantastic place for organizing web resources. I have to admit, I didn’t want to do one more social website but I love this one (thanks Kristi!).

I have tried to go back through all the blog posts and links on our website to categorize them so it was easy for parents, teachers, and me to go back and find them.

I have found articles and resources on: characteristics of gifted children, perfectionism, sensory, inspirational people, gifted preschoolers, camps, resources for parents, etc. Check it out!!

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How to Annoy a Gifted Child

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I LOVED working with gifted students in my gifted resource room and classroom. They are intense, perfectionist, funny, and enjoy challenges. They could also get annoyed quickly and sometimes didn’t hesitate to tell me all about it- even if I didn’t want to hear it. I learned over the years to help guide them in how to express this frustration or annoyance. I taught them how to try to be constructive and understanding towards other students. Sometimes I was successful. 

I recently came across this article my partner and I hung up in our classroom by our desk. We also shared it with some of the classroom teachers we worked with at the school. I felt it was important to remind myself of why these children got annoyed so I could be more understanding. 

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