Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The reason I ask

Thank you for your responses to my post on giftedness.  I wanted to get a feel for the general "feel" of what people think giftedness really is.

O is reading at a high level.  Very high, in fact.  She was reading at a level in October that surprised us then.  Her teacher sent home a progress report last week and told us the grade level along with the percentile.  Its well above what she was reading in October.  E and I teased that she may be reading at a level above my brother, who is 23. (Sorry, Dan.  We are just teasing. ;) )  My mom even joked that O may read above the level she read at when she graduated. 

She is also very good at spelling.  Her teacher asked us if she could give O harder words each week because she was getting them all right on Monday's pre-test.  There were a few other kids doing this too, so they do the words together.  Some of those words, though, give me pause.  (Of course, I've never been the world's best speller, either.  Thank goodness for spell check!) 

She's a few grade levels above for math and science as well (not nearly as high as her reading and spelling, though.)  But, like I stated before, does this make her gifted?  I think it just makes her "smart" or "above average". 

I casually mentioned the above to a few friends and they suggested she get into the gifted program. 
Sometimes, it seems that I am the only one with a very "conservative" definition of what gifted is. I tend to think of gifted as someone with the extreme ability to learn quickly, or already know things that haven't been taught to them. Thinking more along the lines of almost in MENSA or something.

First of all, I have no idea what grade that starts at. Second of all, I don't really feel like she's gifted (I know, I know. A mother is supposed to think the opposite. But, I'm a realist. She's an amazing student, and she's really smart. I just don't know if she's "gifted" and not just "well above average.") Third, I don't know that she would want to do something like that.  (She wasn't especially fond of the harder spelling words at first because it was different from what the other kids were doing.  Now that there are a few more kids doing it with her, she doesn't mind as much.)

Its not something I have to worry about, or even dwell apon for longer than a few days.  I guess I just wanted validation in the fact that I don't really consider her to be gifted or even want her to be labeled gifted.  Maybe in the future we'll have to revisit that, especially considering who her father is (we didn't have a "gifted program" at our school, but he got lots of "extra projects". Also purposefully got a B in one class one semester so he wouldn't have to be valedictorian. But, that's an entirely different post all together)  But, at her age, I prefer she's just "doing well for a first grader".


Chelsa said...

I think you're outlook is realistic. I was in the GT program in school and it put a lot of pressure on me. I'm not saying it harmed me, but sometimes I think people want our kids to grow up to fast as it is. I say let them be kids :)

There was a girl in my son's kindergarten class last year that they thought was super "gifted" and she is very smart. Long story short- they moved her to 1st grade (before Christmas). She had a really hard time adjusting (socially and otherwise). Even this year she's still having a harder time... I think if they would of left her put she would of been fine!

Chelsa said...

*too fast as it is.

Amy S. said...

I was a gifted student. Our school had a wonderful program. Twice a week we'd get to spend a few hours in the gifted class. I don't think that it put extra pressure on me at all. It gave me an outlet to be other "dorky" kids. And it kept us from being too bored with the basic curriculum. I had a wonderful experience with those classmates.

I was tested in a one on one situation after second grade. Usually, the teachers make the call about who should be tested. I'd let it ride unless the school contacted me.

Sarah said...

Schools vary a lot in their definition of gifted, that's for sure. I tend to be more on your side of the fence- gifted means WELL above average, and more across the board, not just in one or two subjects. I also tend to think of gifted people as learning a little differently than the average kid- in possession of a different way of problem solving and rationalizing than most people, and therefore having unique learning needs as well as a unique learning style. I think for those kids, special classes ARE helpful if they're going to reach their full potential.
I was the same as O when I was little, and trust me, by high school I was by no means a gifted student, just a kid who liked to read and write and was a naturally good speller. Other than that? A very average student.

Ambitious Blonde said...

I want to comment T, but my head is all fuzzy due to the cold meds, I'll be back later.

d e v a n said...

I didn't comment on your other post, but I was watching the answers.
I'm still not sure what I think gifted IS, exactly. However, if any of my kids get recommended for the gifted program, I'll let them because I think it can only help.

Stacey said...

I definitely have my opinions on what is defined as "gifted" and what the qualifications are for the "Enrichment Program" which is what our system uses rather than "Gifted". I didn't realize there was such a margin of subjective qualifications in AL and I do not always agree with the criteria to get in so to speak. Some of my kids on my "Special Ed" caseload I would definitely consider to be gifted, others are really proficient in some subject areas or leadership and that puts them in the Enrichment Program. And in this VERY highly educated town, many parents have that mindset of my child is "gifted", they need to be in the program. The reality for this area is there are many smart parents with smart children here, but that just raises the bar even higher for what should be considered gifted; however, the reverse seems to happen and the doors are widened a little bit with the rubric which blurs those lines of gifted and proficient.
J and I were both in the advanced program back home, which is something more to what I would consider a gifted program because there were specific qualifications to be placed in the program, rather than a whole rubric that is used here. We were placed in a different school from our home zone school which had the Advanced program with AP teachers and extra "elective-type" things (I started taking Spanish in 2nd grade through 12th, he took Spanish until middle school, then switched to French in high school). Our curriculum was completely different from other reg ed classes. In high school, they had what was like a middle ground between the Advanced Program and the Reg Ed; the Honors program, where those students weren't getting an advanced degree, but could take some of the AP classes if they chose to or a teacher recommended they take them. They also had Honors classes.
The way our system looks at it (and not until after 2nd grade when the EP Teachers look at the OLSAT scores and teacher recommendations-although they supposedly are not using the OLSAT anymore), to me, allows more children who are without a doubt smart to participate in "extras", but are they really Gifted??
No denying the extras are great. I'm with Devan. If my kid(s) are ever put into that program, I will let them do it. It's a great opportunity. They help kids further blossom with their strengths, pick up leadership skills, learn more responsibility and are put up against a higher standard than others. But to me, a gifted program should be more than just a small group time for little projects throughout the week with the EP teacher. The curriculum should be harder to better suit the child's learning level. I know that's not how it's done here. And with NCLB, RTI, and every other crazy program we're putting our teachers through and expect them to implement in a six hour day with gifted kids, SLI kids, SLD kids, OHI kids, AUT kids all in one classroom, I don't know how they can even TEACH to begin with, let alone modify the curriculum for the truly gifted students. This is one of many reasons why I am not a "teacher". As much as I love being in the schools, I could not do what they do.

Stacey said...

PS-Sorry for the rant. :)