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    #168886 09/24/13 05:56 AM
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    Mhawley Offline OP
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    I've heard several times recently from other parents, DS's grandparents and teachers that DS, Kindergarten, might "level out" by second or third grade and no longer be as advanced as he is currently. Wondering if others have heard of advanced kids "leveling out" and what your thoughts are about why this occurs.

    Mhawley #168889 09/24/13 06:23 AM
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    It was hashed out pretty good recently:
    http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/BB/ubbthreads.php/topics/167414/Plateauing.html#Post167414

    I think it boils down to:
    Kids who drove themselves to where they are aren't going to "level out" unless school goes to extraordinary efforts to hold them back.

    Mhawley #168891 09/24/13 06:29 AM
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    many people have a perception that any kid that is advanced in any area has been drilled by his/her parents for early success in reading/math/whatever. however, if a kid legitimately learns concepts faster it is less likely that "levelling out" will occur - unless they are placed in a stifling learning environment where (for a whole host of reasons) they might learn to dull their spark.

    my DD5 was certainly in one of those bad environments last year, and i barely recognized her after about three months of school. i firmly believe that she would have "levelled out" if we'd left her there - and i suspect the administration would have loved to have been proven "right."


    Every Sunday it brooded and lay on the floor. Inconveniently close to the drawing-room door.
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    Originally Posted by Zen Scanner
    It was hashed out pretty good recently:
    http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/BB/ubbthreads.php/topics/167414/Plateauing.html#Post167414

    I think it boils down to:
    Kids who drove themselves to where they are aren't going to "level out" unless school goes to extraordinary efforts to hold them back.

    On the other hand, there are plenty of educators that think they are doing everyone a huge favor by doing just that.

    I mention that because you should be alert for signs that this is taking place.

    Turning a PG child into a metaphorical bonsai tree is a strange thing, but it has certain hallmarks.

    "S/he needs to learn to..."

    * follow directions (perfectly)
    * take pleasure/pride in accomplishments and just relax (or some variant thereof)
    * be more "normal" (meaning, interact with agemates in the ways that NT children do)


    Those are all real warning signs, in my estimation. Couple any of the above statements from a classroom teacher with school refusal or complaints about boredom, and it's worth investigating.


    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.
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    The Davidson article on plateauing is excellent. Here is another discussion of leveling out:
    1) http://giftedkids.about.com/od/schoolissues/i/even_out.htm
    and
    2) http://giftedkids.about.com/b/2006/08/09/leveling-of-abilities-in-third-grade.htm

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    Yes, the phenomenon of trying to hold gifted kids back is real and may be widespread. Posts on this thread gave some good overt signs to watch for.

    Other indications may be more difficult to detect, because they may not consist of a direct statement to the gifted child or the parents of the gifted child but may have to do with the treatment of the gifted child relative to the rest of the class.

    Making the gifted differentiation consist of work done in isolation, as though a punishment. One example may be assigning math worksheets to be done in a corner, while the rest of the class gets to play math games with manipulatives and earn rewards.

    Grading policies such as allowing children performing below a certain threshold to redo their work while children performing above the threshold are denied access to the redo opportunity.

    Informing select groups of students as to when a test, quiz, or in-class performance assessment is scheduled, possibly even giving them a study sheet as prep, while withholding this information from other students (presumably the gifted).


    While the examples in the above roundup may not seem fair or equal, some defend such policies, practices, and programs as "equitable" and "just". The concept of equity has been compared to a golf handicap: providing an advantage to those who are less skilled, talented, or accomplished so they may compete with those who may be more skilled, talented, or accomplished.

    Gifted pupils may be collateral damage, their academic needs ignored, mocked, minimized, invalidated.

    Parents may wish to be alert that such policies, practices, and programs may lead to the development of social/emotional difficulties in gifted kids. For example, invalidating the academic needs of gifted pupils may serve to create perfectionism, underachievement, mistrust, negativity, social isolation, a sense of futility and frustration in their gifted children. Gifted children may see they are in a no-win situation which clearly favors others, and unwittingly employ maladaptive behaviors to become "less than" in order to cope and/or to receive a modicum of acceptance/support from the system which has provided invalidation.

    Mhawley #168901 09/24/13 09:20 AM
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    I *almost* wish the leveling out thing was true... then some of our problems might have magically disappeared by now!


    ~amy
    Mhawley #168942 09/24/13 01:11 PM
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    Thank you everyone for this great info. For my DS, the school has a great plan in place for reading, however for math, I have concerns. They have created a separate folder of extra worksheets that he can do after he has completed the main worksheet. I'm not a fan of this approach, but went along with it initially. Today I recieved an e-mail from the teacher in response to my questions re: whether DS has completed any of these advanced worksheets. The teacher's response was "DS has his folder in his desk, but so far has not completed any. He seems to want to do what we are doing in class - if he finishes work or centers early, he may choose to do those. I am not pushing him to do those however because I think that interacting with his peers is just as important and so far that has been his choice. I'm sure that he'll get to the folder eventually." In the 4th week of school the class has just begun working on counting to 10 and DS is adding negative numbers for fun at home. Any thoughts re: how the school can challenge him without making it seem like he is being punished in the classroom by having extra work?

    Mhawley #168943 09/24/13 01:32 PM
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    Originally Posted by Mhawley
    Any thoughts re: how the school can challenge him without making it seem like he is being punished in the classroom by having extra work?
    It seems the current choice is advanced work OR being part of a group? There ought not to be a dichotomy; The practices of pairing advanced work with social isolation and pairing unchallenging work with social inclusion are the problem. Each child needs work at his/her appropriate challenge level and pacing AND also true peers (intellectual peers, not just chronological age peers) if the child is to thrive in the learning environment.

    In order to challenge a child without making it seem like a punishment, the teacher/school/program would cluster group children. A cluster group may include students from the same classroom, a combination of students from multiple classrooms, or students from various grade levels, who are similar in ability and readiness.

    By cluster grouping, the school is not forcing the child to choose between academic challenge OR social inclusion. Cluster grouping provides both appropriate challenge level curriculum and true peers.

    Kids need both
    - appropriate challenge
    - academic/intellectual peers

    Here's a post including reasons which some schools have given for not cluster-grouping children by similar level of ability and readiness. sick These are examples of working against the continued growth and mental health of the gifted pupils.

    Mhawley #169014 09/25/13 06:19 AM
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    Can you request that he be able to do the advanced worksheets instead of the main worksheets? Ask if they can give him the end-of-the-year test. If he does well, ask if he can skip the math worksheets on the topics that he already knows, and just do the advanced one. Differentiation shouldn't equal more work.

    In first grade this year, they are supposed to be giving my twins end-of-chapter quizzes BEFORE the chapter starts, and then substituting differentiated work for them if they already know what is being taught. Still waiting for that to happen; but it is supposed to start soon. (I have been told to be patient - they have to learn the class routine first.)

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    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    Originally Posted by Zen Scanner
    It was hashed out pretty good recently:
    http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/BB/ubbthreads.php/topics/167414/Plateauing.html#Post167414

    I think it boils down to:
    Kids who drove themselves to where they are aren't going to "level out" unless school goes to extraordinary efforts to hold them back.

    On the other hand, there are plenty of educators that think they are doing everyone a huge favor by doing just that.

    I mention that because you should be alert for signs that this is taking place.

    Turning a PG child into a metaphorical bonsai tree is a strange thing, but it has certain hallmarks.

    "S/he needs to learn to..."

    * follow directions (perfectly)
    * take pleasure/pride in accomplishments and just relax (or some variant thereof)
    * be more "normal" (meaning, interact with agemates in the ways that NT children do)


    Those are all real warning signs, in my estimation. Couple any of the above statements from a classroom teacher with school refusal or complaints about boredom, and it's worth investigating.

    I agree with this and another one I would like to add is what DD's 3rd grade teacher said when she told me DD had behaviour issues because she finished her work early and then tried to talk to other kids which distracted them from completing their work (which is a serious issue, I am not minimizing it at all). I asked her if she could give DD any enrichment work to keep her busy when she finishes the required work and the teacher said, no, her problem is that she needs to learn self control. Yes, agreed to some small extent, she needs to learn to not talk when it is not the appropriate time for talking but she is BORED OUT OF HER SKULL! She just got poor behavior marks for the entire year.

    Thankfully, I discussed this with her new 4th grade teacher this year and she thanked me for mentioning it early and that it would be no problem, she would have DD choose a research topic, do computer research, write a blog, make a power point presentation and present it to the classroom when she needed to be challenged.

    Hallelujah! I am so grateful I could cry.

    momoftwins #169026 09/25/13 07:04 AM
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    Originally Posted by momoftwins
    giving end-of-chapter quizzes BEFORE the chapter starts, and then substituting differentiated work for them if they already know what is being taught.
    This sounds great and I'm aware of parents who were delighted to be told this. Once the practice was implemented, they found that it translated to no change in curriculum and pacing for their child. Parents may need to ask what is meant by "if they already know what is being taught". For example, if the student scores 90% on the pretest, would they...
    ... be allowed to move on, taking the pretest for the next topic?
    ... receive instruction in the area representing the 10% they did not know?
    ... receive curriculum compacting?
    ... or receive no change in curriculum/pacing because they did not demonstrate 100% mastery?

    A roundup of some thoughts to consider:
    - While gifted children may learn very quickly and have areas of great interest in which they have tremendous depth of knowledge and understanding, they have not necessarily studied the material in advance to prep for a pretest (as a hothoused child may have).
    - At the end of a unit, or the end of the school year, would the teacher/school/program allow a typical child who obtained 90% on the final exam to move on to the next topic, or would the typical student receive remedial teaching until achieving a score of 100%?
    - Parents may wish to look for philosophical consistency in how the teacher/school/program deems that a student "knows" the material.

    While teachers/schools/programs may vary widely, there may be some which knowingly or as an unanticipated side effect of other educational practices strip gifted children of their internal motivation. This has been discussed recently in other threads. The accumulated effect after several years can be devastating to the social/emotional well-being of the child and the whole family.

    Requiring a gifted child to choose between appropriately advanced work and social inclusion with classmates, and offering pretests which may require 100% mastery are some of the ways in which a teacher/school/program can tout offering gifted differentiation* while in actuality the student may never access differentiation in instruction, curriculum, pacing, or grouping with intellectual peers.

    While such practices may be staunchly defended by some as a means for institutions to close the achievement gap or narrow the excellence gap, practices which invalidate the gifted and/or cap the achievement of top pupils do not serve our society well.

    * differentiation... see roundup of buzzwords.

    kelly0523 #169028 09/25/13 07:12 AM
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    Originally Posted by kelly0523
    I agree with this and another one I would like to add is what DD's 3rd grade teacher said when she told me DD had behaviour issues because she finished her work early and then tried to talk to other kids which distracted them from completing their work (which is a serious issue, I am not minimizing it at all). I asked her if she could give DD any enrichment work to keep her busy when she finishes the required work and the teacher said, no, her problem is that she needs to learn self control. Yes, agreed to some small extent, she needs to learn to not talk when it is not the appropriate time for talking but she is BORED OUT OF HER SKULL! She just got poor behavior marks for the entire year.

    We have had the opposite problem... our DD has also been bored out of her skull, but exerted so much self-control during the day that she got great behavior marks, everyone said she was doing just fine in school, and then she'd get home and detonate. The stress and emotional damage this was causing her each day was phenomenal. It was largely the reason why we kept yanking her out and homeschooling after each of the school's previous failed plans.

    So this year, we're actively encouraging our DD to let off steam in school with a little misbehavior. We told her that any disciplinary problems in the classroom are between her and the teacher, and that unless her behavior escalates to the point where I get a call at work, we don't care. I've even shared how most of my elementary school report cards included comments about talking too much and disturbing others. My mom barely batted an eyelash at those comments, too... she was just happy I was getting such good grades.

    DD now reports she's sitting at a table that frequently gets in trouble for talking and giggling during class, and I'm a proud papa for it.

    As for impact on the other kids at her table, knowing her, I'm sure she's helping them learn at least as often as she's being random and goofy, so it's all good.

    indigo #169029 09/25/13 07:14 AM
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    Originally Posted by indigo
    While such practices may be staunchly defended by some as a means for institutions to close the achievement gap or narrow the excellence gap, they do not serve gifted students or our society well.

    Whenever the goal is to "close the achievement gap or narrow the excellence gap", the easiest way to do this is to prevent the better students from learning.

    Mhawley #169036 09/25/13 07:43 AM
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    There's increasingly a top down approach to business where the individuals are not to make decisions but instead, refer to the manual.

    Bingo.

    This is where I think that the business model not only fails completely in an educational setting, but is actively destructive.

    The teachers who are truly gifted teachers are forced out-- because they can't really stop being teachers in favor of being "curriculum delivery experts."

    I strongly suspect, in fact, that it is just such a pass that resulted in my DD's favorite teacher being abruptly terminated last year. She refused to color only inside the lines, and the administrators (corporate) got tired of it.

    What is sad is that kids who aren't in the central distribution at which curriculum is targeted/tailored wind up with NOTHING that they need from school. Teachers aren't allowed to give it to them.


    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.
    22B #169039 09/25/13 07:55 AM
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    Originally Posted by 22B
    Whenever the goal is to "close the achievement gap or narrow the excellence gap", the easiest way to do this is to prevent the better students from learning.
    Yes, gifted education has been around for some 50 years now and still families are breaking their wagon wheels on the same ruts in the road... only those ruts are worn deeper by the decades of families who've gone before.

    When educational institutions are asked to fix the ruts in road, they may first engage in grant writing, determine how many might be helped, pay themselves for their services, then say there is no money left for the gravel, asphalt, or concrete to fix the rut!

    If we all advocate and fundraise and donate the amount needed for the gravel, asphalt, or concrete, soon we find that it was spent for tree-trimming so that trucks could be brought in to do the work.

    Raise more money and it is spent on in-house survey equipment so future improvements can be measured.

    The next wave of money may be spent on underground infrastructure, passing electrical lines, cables, fresh water, and sewerage pipes below the rutted road.

    More funds result in a bypass road, a restricted access tollway, being built utilizing the newly acquired infrastructure.

    And so it goes. The rutted road of gifted education has resulted in great stimulation of the economy but has not much improved nor benefitted those who must travel that road. Families are still breaking their wagon wheels on the same ruts. Fortunate are the families who find forums like this and can read the signposts and hand drawn maps which other families have left as a guide of what the road looked like in their season of passing through.

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    Originally Posted by master of none
    I've noticed in corporations, employees are not supposed to think for themselves or go "rogue". Like the lifeguard in the past year or two that was fired for rescuing a swimmer who was not in the area he was supposed to be watching. There's increasingly a top down approach to business where the individuals are not to make decisions but instead, refer to the manual. And there's extensive training in those manuals and the culture of each corporation. Back when I started working, ingenuity and initiative were encouraged, and there were no manuals to tell us what to do. We just made the job our own.

    I've seen just the opposite. Modern manufacturing is about moving decisions closer to the floor and empowering the individuals to make great decisions and communicate their successes for others to profit from. Some of the work in process improvement works counter to this by over-emphasizing the documentation of new methods and trying to enforce them. The empowered worker recognizes the value of enhancements and implements them and continues to work.

    In IT, the old school "waterfall" method had everything designed and set in motion from day one. Developers and other workers would then work to implement the project over a long lifetime and any change had dramatic impact on the end results. In this model projects frequently failed because the business moved and changed faster than than the project. In modern agile development, developers work towards a small set of priorities and continuously test their work and review it with their stakeholders who aren't the top level managers, but the people closest to the work being done.

    I've noticed in some fast food restaurants, the person at the register can now make things right and give money back, etc. without calling over a manager to intervene.

    But spot on right with US teachers, teachers with a modern understanding of the learner who are given sufficient autonomy are the most successful. I think this is critical in Finland.

    Interesting and challenging work are now top key employee motivations over security and loyalty in the past.

    Mhawley #169042 09/25/13 08:49 AM
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    I actually agree with both positions. As Zen Scanner says, the workforce is increasingly required to understand their responsibilities, and make individual, creative decisions on how best to meet them. And as master of none says, the workforce is increasingly imposed upon by rules and regulations. Employers try to play both sides of it, and it creates a lot of tension on the employees. For instance, one thing those manuals won't detail is exactly how much autonomy the employee really has, and which decisions they're empowered to make. Their managers will make those determinations on a case-by-case basis, and they can't always rely on precedent.

    Basically, the rule is, "You're free to make decisions, unless I don't like them."

    And since very few employees are telepaths/empaths/prescients, you can generally sort workers into two camps... those who are willing to make decisions and live with the consequences (good or bad), and those who are frozen by doubt.

    Me, I like life on the edge.

    As an IT systems guy, I benefit a lot from both approaches. Since nobody knows what I do, I have a lot of freedom in deciding how to do it. But by adhering to an agreed structure when I do so, I also ensure that if something breaks after hours, one of my coworkers can find how I did it, and maybe address the issue without calling me.

    Dude #169043 09/25/13 08:55 AM
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    Originally Posted by Dude
    Originally Posted by kelly0523
    I agree with this and another one I would like to add is what DD's 3rd grade teacher said when she told me DD had behaviour issues because she finished her work early and then tried to talk to other kids which distracted them from completing their work (which is a serious issue, I am not minimizing it at all). I asked her if she could give DD any enrichment work to keep her busy when she finishes the required work and the teacher said, no, her problem is that she needs to learn self control. Yes, agreed to some small extent, she needs to learn to not talk when it is not the appropriate time for talking but she is BORED OUT OF HER SKULL! She just got poor behavior marks for the entire year.

    We have had the opposite problem... our DD has also been bored out of her skull, but exerted so much self-control during the day that she got great behavior marks, everyone said she was doing just fine in school, and then she'd get home and detonate. The stress and emotional damage this was causing her each day was phenomenal. It was largely the reason why we kept yanking her out and homeschooling after each of the school's previous failed plans.

    So this year, we're actively encouraging our DD to let off steam in school with a little misbehavior. We told her that any disciplinary problems in the classroom are between her and the teacher, and that unless her behavior escalates to the point where I get a call at work, we don't care. I've even shared how most of my elementary school report cards included comments about talking too much and disturbing others. My mom barely batted an eyelash at those comments, too... she was just happy I was getting such good grades.

    DD now reports she's sitting at a table that frequently gets in trouble for talking and giggling during class, and I'm a proud papa for it.

    As for impact on the other kids at her table, knowing her, I'm sure she's helping them learn at least as often as she's being random and goofy, so it's all good.

    This entire post made me smile. I am glad your daughter is finding her way toward cutting loose a little bit and I hope she feels completely liberated!! Most of all I hope both of our daughters find teachers that embrace their intelligence and help them let go of that boredom in a positive way for everyone involved.

    And I wanted to add a thank you for making me appreciate the fact that no matter how hard I tried to convince my DD not to talk and disrupt others, she just could not sit quietly. Fortunately, I was the same way and used to get into A LOT of trouble for talking when I finished the work early. I used to be isolated (the teachers would move my desk to a corner by myself so I had no one to talk to) because of it and spent most of my 7th/8th grade years in what was referred to as "cell block C" (C was the first initial of the teacher). Thankfully after I realized my DD just couldn't control the talking and wasn't being adequately challenged and that the teacher was not going to help I gave her permission to get bad marks for behavior (as long as the bad behavior was only talking when she shouldn't be).

    Last edited by kelly0523; 09/25/13 08:59 AM.
    22B #169046 09/25/13 09:06 AM
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    Originally Posted by 22B
    Originally Posted by indigo
    While such practices may be staunchly defended by some as a means for institutions to close the achievement gap or narrow the excellence gap, they do not serve gifted students or our society well.

    Whenever the goal is to "close the achievement gap or narrow the excellence gap", the easiest way to do this is to prevent the better students from learning.

    I totally agree with this. This is the problem I see in our school district. I won't go into a long winded vent, but yes, I can definitely see this happening.

    Mhawley #169049 09/25/13 09:20 AM
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    My favorite report-card comment ever was in middle school;

    "HK speaks well-- and often."

    blush

    At least she appreciated me.


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    Mhawley #169074 09/25/13 12:21 PM
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    For me it was "Sweetie frequently contributes to class discussions, and side discussions"


    ...reading is pleasure, not just something teachers make you do in school.~B. Cleary
    Mhawley #169076 09/25/13 12:27 PM
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    With me, it was, "Mrs. Val's mom, does your daughter get a chance to talk at home?"

    The answer was, "Mrs. T., the real question is whether the rest of us get a chance to talk at home."

    Val #169078 09/25/13 12:40 PM
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    Originally Posted by Val
    The answer was, "Mrs. T., the real question is whether the rest of us get a chance to talk at home."

    Love it. laugh

    kelly0523 #169098 09/25/13 01:56 PM
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    Originally Posted by Dude
    Originally Posted by kelly0523
    ... behaviour issues because she finished her work early and then tried to talk to other kids which distracted them from completing their work ... needs to learn to not talk when it is not the appropriate time for talking but she is BORED OUT OF HER SKULL!
    We have had the opposite problem... our DD has also been bored out of her skull, but exerted so much self-control during the day that she got great behavior marks, everyone said she was doing just fine in school, and then she'd get home and detonate. The stress and emotional damage this was causing her each day was phenomenal.
    I empathize with your posts. It is disappointing that the rut in the road has not been fixed and is still causing damage to gifted kids even decades after these problems (both cause and effect) have been clearly identified and articulated, and solutions proposed.

    Mhawley #169170 09/26/13 08:22 AM
    Joined: Dec 2011
    Posts: 187
    K
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    Joined: Dec 2011
    Posts: 187
    My one nice teacher said: Tends to be a social butterfly.

    My not so nice teachers said: Talks too much. Overshares. Can she be quiet for a minute? Put her in solitary confinement within the room and she still talks...to herself!

    Even when I was a Senior in High School my Government teacher called me Yak Yak Jaws instead of by my name. I am not sure he even actually knew what my real name was.

    Val! I love your mother's response, perfect!!


    Last edited by kelly0523; 09/26/13 08:24 AM.
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