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Topic: Giftedness

Can America’s ‘lost Einsteins’ be found more easily than we think?

February 4, 2018

Are we looking for the ‘lost Einsteins’ in the wrong places? Research suggests we should be looking at students’ spatial and flexible thinking skills, not math and science scores. Who are the ‘lost Einsteins’? Late last year the The Equality of Opportunity Project released a report concluding that the U.S. is losing out on as much as 400% of innovation potential by failing to effectively nurture under-represented minorities, i.e. Blacks, Latinos, and girls. The report states, “there are many ‘lost Einsteins’ – people who would have had high-impact inventions” but never do because they grow up in communities where math and science in general, and innovation specifically, isn’t fostered. Stories in the NY Times and The Atlantic among other outlets fueled the social media discourse about an educational system… Read More

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To Label or Not to Label

June 2, 2016

by Nancy Weinstein Using labels, particularly when discussing children, tends to create visceral reactions. Many rightly argue that no one can or should be defined by a single word, or placed in a category from which there is rarely an escape. Here’s one well-written exposition on the unfairness and detriment of defining  or labeling children by a single test. It can have negative consequences for struggling learners and gifted learners alike. Labels can have an ever-lasting negative impact on self-esteem and mindset. But there are others who embrace labels. They rightly claim that only when labels are properly given can challenges most effectively be addressed. Advocacy groups such as Say Dyslexia and Autism Speaks are notable examples. In the case of dyslexia, we know there are programs that have… Read More

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Childhood Expert Eileen Kennedy-Moore Answers our Questions

September 21, 2015

We are supremely fortunate to share with you this week insight from a leading child psychologist who has great advice on on how we can better handle some sensitive parenting moments. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, is an author, psychologist, and mother of four. She has a private practice in Princeton, NJ, where she works with adults, children, and families. In addition co-authoring Smart Parenting for Smart Kids and The Unwritten Rules of Friendship, she has a new video series for parents, produced by The Great Courses: Raising Emotionally and Socially Healthy Kids. Some of the topics she covers in her Great Courses lecture really interested me, including how to guide children through issues related to anxiety, perfectionism and popularity. I’m happy to share her answers with… Read More

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It’s Time for Parents to Change the Conversation…

March 20, 2015

By Nancy Weinstein As parents we really need to stop saying: the teacher, the curriculum, the lesson, or the test is bad. Really, we’ve just got to stop. The reality is that most teachers are highly competent. Most curricula are well-vetted and well-written. Most administrators put a lot of care into selecting the materials they believe will work best for their students. So don’t immediately assume the worst of our educators. Instead, consider starting with the assumption that the instruction is probably fine, but for whatever reason it is not working well for your child. Believe me, I’m not suggesting that you allow your child to struggle or be bored without asking for accountability. Quite the contrary. I’m simply suggesting a shift… Read More

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Too Gifted: When It’s Not a Back-door Brag

January 23, 2015

By Sarah Vander Schaaff One of my favorite lines form “30 Rock” is when Jenna tries to explain the concept of back-door bragging, giving this example: It’s hard for me to watch ‘American Idol’ because I have perfect pitch. And so it might seem when parents of a profoundly gifted child talk about the problems they have finding the right stimulation, peer groups, and emotional support for their child who, from the outside, is just “too perfect” for everyday life. But the concerns are just as deep, and at times frustrating or painful, for parents of the profoundly gifted as they are for the rest of us. At the end of the day, we all want our children to reach… Read More

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Know your Child: Complex Reasoning

December 9, 2014

How the experts define complex reasoning Complex reasoning refers to one’s ability to draw inferences and analyze information involving objects, images, space or numbers. You may hear it called abstract reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, visual reasoning, or critical thinking. In the shoes of a child with complex reasoning difficulties The child with difficulty in complex reasoning skills often has the feeling of being lost in a big city without a map. Give this child clear directions, and it’s not a problem. Ask this child to use a combination of logic and intuition to get from point A to B and it can feel downright scary, like being completely lost not knowing which way to turn. These children may shy away from unfamiliar situations, challenging problems or… Read More

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Know your Child: Spatial Perception

December 9, 2014

How the experts define spatial perception This is the mind’s ability to process material that is visual or exists in a spatial array such as maps, graphs, or symbols. It may be called spatial relations or visual-spatial perception and is part of the complex reasoning domain of cognitive skills. In the shoes of a child with a spatial perception weakness In many cases, this weakness doesn’t become a problem until the skill is needed for a very specific task, such as drawing, reading graphs or maps, or working with geometric figures. Because students typically do not rely on these skills throughout the school day, or they are very important in one math unit but far less important in the next… Read More

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The Curse of the Gifted Class

June 10, 2014

By Nancy Weinstein The United States is failing its gifted students. And despite the national weariness for standardized testing, the answer lies in a test. But it’s a test you can’t study for; would never tie to teacher performance; doesn’t require billions to fund, and thanks to advances in technology, can be taken anywhere in about an hour. I’m referring to cognitive assessments, the uncontested, most reliable measure of a student’s learning strengths and weaknesses and the best way to engage learners of all abilities. Back in the day, these assessments were called IQ tests and there was a notion that when it came to smarts, you either “had it” or “you didn’t.” Thanks to a better understanding of neuroplasticity,… Read More

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It Ain’t Easy Being Gifted

May 2, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff Is there a way to talk about young people being “gifted” and not enter a territory fraught with debate? From what I’ve been reading recently, there are not only arguments about how we define “giftedness” but arguments about the arguments. For parents, the identification matters in a practical sense if they are trying to understand how their state identifies and fosters students with unique abilities. And it matters to our society, in a practical sense, if we are hoping to identify and encourage the next generation of leaders, innovators, and artists. But in the emotional and less quantifiable ways, it matters when we consider that there are many young people who possess the potential for giftedness… Read More

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What are we searching for?

February 28, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff I’m not sure any of us would want to explain a recent log of Google searches, a trail that out of context might make us out to be anything from hypochondriacs, stalkers, or really, really devoted bargain hunters. But perhaps as parents the most sensitive searches we make relate to our children. Last month, The New York Times published a piece by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, “Google, Tell Me. Is My Son a Genius?” (January 18, 2014) that revealed an apparent gender-based fear in parental Google searches. According to Stephens-Davidowitz, “Parents are two and a half times more likely to ask, “Is my son gifted?” than “Is my daughter gifted?”” And the trend holds, he says, for other queries… Read More

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