I found Checklist 3 on page 102 especially helpful and worth passing on. On page 87, I also found a section that was especially wise. This section deals with understanding the warning signs that lead to a child having an "explosion.” In dealing with a few students that can have emotional outbursts, I think the best thing I can do as a teacher is to prevent the problems from starting in the first place. This section gives very useful advice for exactly this. An effective teacher does this as second nature and is really in tune with her or his students.
In reply to PKassir on June 27, I also believe that as teachers, we need to be proactive and help prevent emotional outbursts. I like the idea of teaching our students how to discover the signs when they begin to feel like their emotions are escalating. Then, showing them some of the relaxation techniques, and letting them choose which one works best. With all that said, there still will be those times when a child has an outburst. I think if we view that as a teachable momemnt and part of the learning process, our kids will learn how to cope and react differently in the future.
I totally agree with PKassir. Being able to identify before a student has an explosion will help them maintain their emotions and keep them from not only disrupting the class but also allows the child to be more in control. I agree that being an effective teacher requires us to be able to identify when the student is losing control and being able to use a word to help them identify this.
In response to PKassir - I too agree! I really liked the way she explains how to teach a child to recognize his/her own escalation by comparing it to how they feel during an exciting movie. I would have never thought of this, but it is so true. Worksheet 5 - The MOvie Technique lists some really good thought provoking questions that are simple enough for a primary student to relate to.
One nugget that "spoke" to me was chapter 5, pages 55 and 56. The author was talking about Gifted and Learning Disabled. She was on target when she said that the process of identifying learning disabilities goes askew with gifted children. If the child's learning disability is detected prior to the giftedness the child's giftedness is usually not considered in their overall education program. I have seen a number of children who have come into my class and we focus on and put so much attention on the LD, and the GT is put on the back burner. As a teacher, it is a hard struggle working with both issues of a child. The other "nugget" that I gained was an a pat on the back to myself with the classroom meeting page 73. My focus in my classroom has always been that the children manage their own classroom and they contribute their voice into how the classroom works. So, I felt good that I was doing something considered positive.
Thanks for the honesty regarding your "back burner" observations. I have never witnessed it, but I suspect it happens more often than not. However, I do not think it happens maliciously. Maybe addressing LD over GT is caused by time constraints or misconceptions about giftedness in those who have not attended or participated in any GT professional development. After all, in our new PDLC...Workshop the icon for Special Ed is a complex Venn diagram and the icon for GT is an Award Ribbon...how is that for misconception!
I liked the section on pages 55 and 56 that discussed how schools usually find the learning disability before finding a student’s giftedness. Then, the child is usually labeled with a learning disability and is never challenged in the areas they have strengths in. However, if the giftedness is discovered first, then the child is considered defiant or lazy and they never receive the help they need. Teachers and schools need to be more aware of the possibilities that students may be facing. Both of these situations could cause a gifted student a lot of frustration and emotional issues.
In response to KMuske's comment on June 27th, I wholeheartedly agree with the order in which the child is labeled sometimes makes the difference in what learning experiences teachers may provide or expect. You're right when you say that when identified GT, the child's learning disability may be buried. We can't make the assumption that the GT child is being lazy or defiant in not meeting the learning expectations. Sometimes what is expected is way beyond the child's ability. We have to be aware of the child's needs and strengths and address them both.
In response to KMuske:This is such an interesting concept because people think that each child can only be identified in one area or the other. Our twice exceptional kids are getting the bad deal since their other needs are not being met. How can we put aside our prior knowledge of our students and be able to understand what they are trying to tell us about their other needs?
@KMuske 6/27I am fascinated by this idea. I have often thought about kids who are GT and struggle with certain subjects. I always thought they should look at kids who are GT in the way they look at SE kids. Is there performance level 1.5 standard deviation off from their IQ? I would suggest many kids have a weakness that needs to be addressed with specific IEP style objectives. I even suggested it once only to get knocked down by the principal. At least in our district some kids are identified as Math GT or LA GT. This is a least a signal to the teacher that there will be challenges both intellectually and/or emotionally in the other subject area.
@skippyjohn jones 6/28 10:00 amI love that you advocate for your GT students, and I hate that your suggestion had a negative outcome! Additionally, I am fascinated by your IEP suggestion. I had never heard of that until this week. GIEPs are probably going to be a topic of discussion on TAGTs #gtchat this Friday if it continues to be in the voting lead. Maybe you can join in the conversation. I suspect you have some valuable insight!Voting link: http://txgifted.org/polls/gtchat-topics-2012-06-29.
I will try to get in on it. 1.5 standard deviation is behind. Behind is behind so matte where you start. :)
I could say that my little “nugget” was started on page 87 where the author points out the warning signs for an emotional “outburst.” It’s great to have the author’s information, but a skilled teacher who knows their students, knows the specific signs for that child who is about to have a breakdown or outburst. A skilled teacher knows ahead of time that a particular activity will definitely trigger a reaction with that student…so prepare in advance, and make a modified, different activity specifically designed for that student knowing he will be successful and accepting of the task. There is no “uniformed”, “one size fits all” technique(s) to deter an emotional explosion. Some children need soft, slow, kind words to keep them with you. Others need some firm yet supportive words. But the important thing to remember is this – know your student, know ahead of time what works for this child. There should be no surprises, and certainly you should not expect that your behavior in handling an outburst “on the cuff” is necessarily the correct way (especially in hindsight). A classic example is my Asperger student who I was told would need a “time out” – sent away from the class to take a walk or believe it or not, in his earlier grade, he went into a tent for his time out. I preferred to not deal with his “frustrations” in this manner. Instead, I could anticipate his reaction and had it covered before an incident. If he was in full mode of an emotional uprise, I chose to use tactics that worked for him depending on what was upsetting him. There was no tent ever used in my classroom.
In response to T Healey's post on June 27, I love what you said about a skilled teacher knowing things ahead of time. I think this is a sort of 6th sense that an experienced teacher possesses and uses to anticipate problems before they arise. This is something I think you learn with time and with really getting to know your students as individuals, and really paying attention to the little triggers and the little things that mean a lot to a student. I enjoyed reading your explanation of how you dealt with your Aspeger's student. Great job!
My golden nugget was found on page 85-86: Working with the Explosion. It talked about that one of the most difficult aspects of the gifted student is the intensity of the emotional reaction. Usually I think of an explosion as an outburst or in an aggressive way. This chapter made me see that some of the times it is in a subtle and more passive protest. I found that really interesting as it stated they want more power and control in their lives. So I will be receptive to good reasoning and strong resiliency to help children manage their own behavior.
In response to Stacey L, I agree with your thinking of an explosion as an outburst or as aggressive. That is usually what I think of too. I need to rethink at times when observing a child as he or she may be acting defiant and passive to get their way and this can be just as challenging.
In response to Stacey and Amy, I too think of an explosion as an outburst, slamming doors, and other types of aggressive behavior. How many students have I fussed at over the years to get their work completed, and missed the fact that they were "exploding" in their own way? It will definitely make me stop and think the next time I notice a student that constantly doesn't do their work, and perhaps I can find a different way to address their needs to make the situation better for both of us.
In response to Stacey, I think that sometimes its just in the terminology in our heads. When a student decides to explode internally, we just think they are being lazy or having a bad day, versus an EXPLOSION, even though the outcome is the same. A student is not working to their new potential. I think I too will look at the quiet explosions differently viewing them as what they actually are than what they seem to be.
Page 66 discusses having too many or too little rules in the household. I think this can also apply to the classroom also. Too many rules can be confusing and not having enough rules can challenge the children in trying to figure out where their boundaries are with consequences to their behavior. Page 86 discusses how parents can develop a common language with their children. Choosing specific agreed upon words that the parents and children can use as they begin to see an outburst can be helpful to diffuse the situation before it arrises and gets out of hand. I like this idea, because it also can apply to the classroom and the teacher and child can agree upon their own language. This will help in the classroom, so as not to disrupt learning of other classmates and the teacher’s lessons.
@AmyL 6/27Respect, Responsibility and Results. If we teach the subsets of these three in clear concise terms, I think we all benefit. Of course, the New Testament in The Bible bring the rules down to 2.
I found my "golden nugget" on ebook pages 128-129: understanding the warning signs. Most children are not even aware of their own "escalation cycle". Most children do not know the signs of stress, or when they are going to have an emotional explosion. She mentions that some of the warning signs are obvious such as tears and agitation in their voice, but many signs are not obvious such as sweaty palms, ringing in the ears,tention in the neck, etc.
To NDeans June 27This section was eye-opening to me as well. I had not thought about all of the warning signs before I read this. Now I know how important it is to make the outbursts teachable moments. How powerful it would be to help a students become more self-aware so that they have better control over their emotions.
@ NDeans 6/27I too liked this part because it really helps the child in the long run, and not just putting a bandaid on the current issue. I am certain that as a child if I had learned to handle criticism better by knowing the warning signs before I blew up, I would handle criticism better as an adult.
In response to AmyL- I agree that having too many or too few rules can be a problem at home and in the classroom. Children need to have clear rules and consequences and understand them so they are not confused. They need to know what is expected of them at home and in school and understand what the consequences will be if they choose to break them.
A golden nugget for me was the tip sheet on p. 90, "Learning to Relax". So many of our kids come to us, not knowing how to deal with some of their stress and emotions. These relaxation techniques are easy to learn, and can be so valuable. I also found the explanation about how to debrief after the child has experienced an "explosion". Of course, being proactive and preventing an outburst is best, but in reality there will still be those times when a child experiences an emotional crisis. "Debriefing should include a discussion of the behavior that occurred and a consequence. The next step is a discussion of the preferred behavior and consequences. Finally, a plan to move the student from the nonpreferred behavior to the preferred behavior should be developed." (p. 103) I think if all of the school personnel were consistent in this approach, it really would help the children develop healthy coping strategies.
To travelingbug June 27I agree that relaxation techniques are very helpful for students (and sometimes teachers, too!). And yes, preventing an outburst is best. I know many teachers who are very good at knowing how to defuse emotional outbursts. But many outbursts occur during transitions when the student is outside of the classroom. Teaching students coping strategies and having all school personnel on board with how to handle these moments is crucial
My "golden nugget" was pg. 86. "Avoiding the Explosion." Gifted children have a hard time discussing their feelings. They can begin to feel overwhelmed and out of control. Parents and teachers can discuss this with the child to help them identify when they are about to lose control. We need to help these children develop their emotional language. By identifying a word that the child and parent/teacher can use to help the child realize when they are starting to lose control. The interesting part of this is that the word is not important. What matters is that there is a common vocabulary that both the parent and child can use to facilitate communication. The tip sheet on page 87 "developing emotional language" is a quick way to help start the discussion with your child/student.
In response to Laura Boyd:I think Avoiding the Explosion is so important! If we can help our students know when they are getting worked up or when something is about to happen, our classroom will be a much happier place. Developing an emotional language is so important in our classroom but also something we need to get the parents involved with as well.
My golden nugget is found in the Notes to the Teacher section beginning on page 79. Creating a nurturing environment with clear expectations has always been a priority for me as a teacher. I really like the Classroom Inventory worksheet on page 80 that details the items necessary for an appropriate classroom environment. I believe student success, whether it be academic or emotional, begins with us and this checklist is an easy way to determine if what we are doing might be fueling the emotional outbursts.
My "Golden Nugget" of information came from page 82 with the Tip Sheet for Communication with Parents.It is so important to remember all of these suggestions, but most importantly, I believe we have to be honest with the parents about their child's behavior. When you build an honest relationship with the parents, they will be more willing to work with you on a future plan of action.
In response to Bchristopherson, I also liked the parent communication tip sheet. I agree it is important to communicate with the parents honestly about their child. I think if you are honest with the parents, they trust you more and are more willing to cooperate with you on behavior or grades.
Pages 67-68 discuss consequences for behaviors. it said that puintive consequences were not very effective.Also on page 68, boundaries were discussed. It said that "parents stay in the role of parent, not friend."
My golden nugget came from page 66 about having too many or too few rules. The students need to understand there have to be some rules, especially for lab safety in the science class. There also have to be class rules so that everyone has an environment in which they can learn effectively. I will try to limit my class rules to the 5 which are the most important that i will want my students to focus on..This way with 5 they are not overwhelmed about what can I do or what can't i do..I am also going to try to condense my lab safety rules to the 10 most important to me..In the past we give them a safety rules sheet with about 30 rules and after reading this section, i feel 30 is definitely overwhelming. If I was a student reading the 30 rules of lab safety, I would now be thinking, "Is there anything I can do in lab which is fun?"
In response to Helen Roberts on June 28, I agree that having too many or too few rules can cause problems. When I began teaching, I found it hard to limit the class rules because I wanted to make sure everything was covered. That list of rules barely fit on a poster and lasted for a short time. I got my students involved with making the classroom rules and, with my guidance, we created 5 rules that everyone agreed to follow. It worked very well! I agree with Helen that sometimes it is hard to cut down on the amount of rules and expectations that deal with safety, especially in a science lab. I liked how Helen looked at having 30 science lab rules from the point of the students. When I start reviewing my science lab expectations for the next school year, I am going to look at it from the students’ viewpoint and try to group rules together.
It's also good to have them involved with the norms of the room. In Reading and Writing response groups, I ask them to brainstorm rules. And together we come up with a list. We need to limit that number though.
• Wouldn’t it be great if the list of tips for parents when communicating with their child’s teacher (p. 81) could be included in the front of all SBISD handbooks for parents?• Wouldn’t it be great if the list of tips for teachers communicating with their students’ parents (p. 82-83) could be included in staff development and/or beginning of the year packets for teachers? Especially the part about starting a conversation with something positive about the child and asking for advice from parents when conferencing with them. When asking advice, teachers get a quick insight into the family dynamics at home. Sharing a common vocabulary with the student and parents for discussing the student’s emotions (pp. 86-87, 102) would connect the three involved parties and lower anxiety levels all around.• The Mirror Technique (pp. 98-99) for gifted students ties right into their need to examine and reflect on what transpired. Teachers have a built-in check list for productively dealing with the aftermath of an explosion as well as providing a teachable moment for the future (pp. 100-101). A win-win situation for all involved.• I really like Tip Sheet #4: Learning to Relax (p. 90) as someone who tends to be tightly wound. Teaching these techniques to the whole class, similar to the suggestion to teach Breathing Colors and Mini Vacations to the whole class without calling attention to the gifted student (p. 94), would give them all resources for dealing with intense emotions/stress throughout their lives.
FMoore, I think putting these kinds of parenting tips would be great! There are so many parents out there that get dumped on with "you should do this", or "you should do that", etc. that I think some just get paralyzed, not wanting to permanently scar a kid. This isn't complicated or requiring a lot of steps, in fact the author even states to just tackle ONE thing at a time! The other part to include is that it will take one step forward, three steps back, and two steps forward---that this is natural, but don't give up the first time it doesn't seem to be working anymore.
My "Golden Nugget" is found on pages 86-94. Fonseca details strategies to avoid explosions. I particularly liked the Color Breathing. It worked very well for me when I used it as a way to relax. 2nd runner up to the Breathing was the Tip Sheet to develop an emotional vocabulary.Page 87 This idea should work really well in the classroom allowing teachers and students to help monitor escalating tension before an explosion actually occurs.
My golden nugget is on page 109. "It is important...that the child's giftedness never be forgotten or pushed aside in an effort to accommodate the other exceptionality." This reminded me of our tendency as a profession to be deficit seekers in an effort to increase student learning. We target areas of weakness and use interventions to cause growth. I suspect that when faced with educating a twice exceptional child even the best intentioned of teachers would focus most of their attention on the learning disability and ignore the giftedness. It seems that the emotional intensity that is characteristic of giftedness can be viewed as a type of mild disability--social/emotional or deficit. I hope to remember this if ever given the opportunity to educate a twice exceptional student.
In response to S.Acevedo June 28, 2012You bring up a great point about teachers overlooking the giftedness and focusing on the learning disability. It is also sad when teachers dismiss advocating for a student in which they might see gifted qualities because of the student's learning/behavioral/emotional disability issues. I hope the Planned Experiences process conducted in the elementary schools in the fall will catch some of these students who might otherwise fall through the cracks.
The part that spoke to me most was in Chapter 6 e-reader page 131 (I know this is different from book)where it talks about the home and how it is essential for children, whether gifted or not, feel that they contribute something to the home environment. Fonseca clearly states that chores are a way to teach discipline, respect, and a sense of importance. I think we (most parents today) tend to feel guilty when asking their child to do something around the house. I know I do, mostly because I feel responsible for "taking care" of them. But after reading this section, it gives me a new outlook on chores. By not giving them responsibilities, I am actually doing them a disservice. Guess whats changing at my house?
1. Disengage (page 94 and case study page 78). I learned about this first as parent then during my study of Love and Logic. It is critical in any situation to disengage from the crisis. It was nice to know this is a universal understanding we need for everyone. 2. The worksheet on p 73 on Class Meeting. Here again it reminds me of community circle time and it's benefits. I like this a lot. Be specific and brief, but thoughtful in topic always benefits young kids. 3. What I gleamed the most was that GT students need certain things too. Some GT kids seemingly don't need the structure. So as a teacher I can become complacent, but I must remember all kids have needs. Assuming one doesn’t leads us down a bad path.
I'm using an electronic copy of the book, so I'm not sure that all the page numbers match.On page 51, the critical point is made that consequences and rewards are meaningless unless we determine what motivates each child. Many places in the book, including page 78, address the frustration that g/t student often feel. If students believe that assignments are meaningless, deadlines arbitrary, or a teacher was unjust, they may shut down and refuse to participate. I have had g/t students complain passionately to me about a teacher who treated students disrespectfully. The g/t student may not be the one who is treated unfairly, but his/her heightened sense of justice and right/wrong may cause intense reactions. As teachers, we have to understand what motivates them and what may trigger outbursts or noncompliance.
On page 67 was my first nugget---positive consequences don't necessarily mean the child gets something unusual, it's simply that "hey, you did your homework, you get to watch TV". In the classroom, it might be, you wrote your script, now you can use the flipcam to record your book review. That is a positive consequence. (although, those two words sound really weird together...).My second nugget was on pages 85-86 when Fonseca writes about the stress to perform well and other negative feelings of inadequacy builds up until they explode. I am finishing my master's degree and I totally saw myself in that paragraph! It also gave me an ah-ha of that maybe where I need to start when debriefing a student after an explosion. I'm always having students work backwards from a situation to see the cause/effect of their actions and words, maybe I can use that same strategy to get students to understand what the different things are that helped to build the eruption.
The "Household Inventory" on pages 75-76. I would love to have students fill this out based on our classroom! (Although it might be similar to when I've asked for feedback after my students have completed major research papers and have found their responses to be less than enlightening!) It would be interesting to tweak it and use it to create class rules at the beginning of the year, then go back and review at various times. GT classes in particular run the risk of having students attempt to push boundaries, so it would be helpful to start off with a set of expectations based on these findings.
My golden nugget was on pp. 82-83, where it discusses overcoming communication difficulties between teachers and parents. At the school where I am, it is often difficult to get parent contact, so when contact is made it is often negative. I think we show the students that we want the best for them, but sometimes it doesnt get communicated to the parents. I feel I could definitely improve that aspect of my teaching not only with GT students but with all students.
My golden nuggets occurred throughout chapter six. At school, I work mostly this way. We have a very open dialogue, and students know their expectations. However, at home it's a completely different story. My son was identified as gifted this past January, and as I read this book I see a lot of him in the pages. I have a tendecy to react emotionally to what he does. I like the Daddy Time-out, and the Family Meeting. We will be giving both of those a try.