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#1 of 10 Old 03-26-2010, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is very smart, that we have always known, but we did IQ testing and he has a very high IQ. He will qualify for gifted services at school. DS would be considered Challenging gifted type according to "profiles of the Gifted and Talented". He will be in a local Charter school next year for Kindergarten. He is currently in a small private school and is doing work a typical public school would be doing in 1st grade (he is 4.5). He has inconstant work habits though and it will be very easy for him to slip through the cracks. He does really well with structure and having a teacher over him all.the.time. This won't be possible with 23 other 5 year olds in the class.

We weren't going to tell the school about his giftedness or pursue gifted education through the school (it is all integrated although they do do ability grouping) Now I am wondering if we should tell the school (I know nothing about this either) We don't really want to push him. But we want him to succeed.

What would you do? What are the drawbacks of gifted accommodations in public school? Where do I start with all of this?
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#2 of 10 Old 03-26-2010, 11:18 PM
 
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I'm curious about this as well. There is a gifted program in my school district but it doesn't start until third grade. From what I can gather, they don't classify kindergarteners as "gifted" and you can't skip kindergarten or first grade.

My concern for my own child is that he will be bored silly in public school kindergarten. We have decided to keep him in Montessori school (private), probably thru third grade, unless he tests into the public school gifted program for third grade.

Mama to DS 10/04, DD 12/06, and DD 11/09 my baby
Missing DS 10/08
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#3 of 10 Old 03-27-2010, 11:22 AM
 
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..... is doing work a typical public school would be doing in 1st grade (he is 4.5). ....
show them the test results and a work sample. ask about acceleration. 1st grade will be more interesting for him!
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#4 of 10 Old 03-27-2010, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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show them the test results and a work sample. ask about acceleration. 1st grade will be more interesting for him!
But he is not socially there, not even close.
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#5 of 10 Old 03-27-2010, 07:43 PM
 
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Huh - I've never seen that matrix. DS used to fit the Challenging profile (from 3-6), but has changed dramatically. He's still pretty divergent though .

Isn't the Gifted Development Centre in Colorado? Yep:
http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/

I would tell the school. If he's challenging, he's not going to fly under the radar. Better that they ascribe it to giftedness than something else and start using behaviour mod strategies (that won't likely work) and don't try meeting his academic needs (which has worked wonders for my son).

DS had a horrible kindie year and we HS'd gr 1. He needed time to mature and develop, and we had to find a program that could meet his needs.

I encourage you to go and talk to the schools before kindergarten - I have found huge variance between schools within the district.

GL to you.

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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#6 of 10 Old 04-02-2010, 06:11 AM
 
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I'd find out exactly what the school has to offer. Very few public schools have gifted programming for kindergarteners so telling them may not really be beneficial yet. Personally, we've found that teachers are more embracing when they "discover" your child's talents for themselves. If there is no gifted kindie program in place, it might be best to let him start and see what happens. Be prepared and talk to your son about what to expect. The first month of kindergarten is about building confidence and learning routines. The material is pretty much repetitive for ALL the kids and it will take a bit for the teacher to really get to know all the children and what they are able to do. After at least 2 solid weeks, set-up a friendly conference and share what you know and see what can be done if it seems like your child is unhappy.

I have BTDT experience with two gifted children if that helps. We didn't have test scores for our kids prior to kindie. DD's kindie teacher had her figured out 5 minutes after she entered the classroom. DD was an extreme case... several years advanced and unusually focused and driven. She was accelerated out of kindie by Christmas. Accomodation wise, she's had a combination of grade acceleration, subject acceleration, in-class differentiation, honors/advanced classes, gifted clusters and GATE classes. She's in 8th grade and doing fantastic. For High School she will be in classes specifically for highly gifted kids. Now, DS was already quite young (just makes the cut-off so still 4 when he went to kindie.) He was a decent reader and loved math but far too social and playful to care much for academics. His teacher loved him and knew he was smart but literally didn't know he could read until the end of the school year. We let it go because frankly, since DS was happy and enjoying school, we weren't worried about an academics. The next year we moved him to a brand new tri-lingual school with accelerated academics. He has a subject acceleration in math and goes to a gifted pull-out class twice a week. He's in 4th grade now and it's a great fit.

The one bit of wisdom I learned during those early years is that it's OK to try things. If something doesn't work, change it. Don't stress about making every single right decision. I'm telling you right now, there will be mistakes. However, if you prepare your child for that in advance and let them know you'll never let them wallow in a terrible situation, they can bounce back from anything. Follow protocols at the school... never go to the principal before going to the teacher. Never go to the superintendant without first speaking to the principal. Never try to chat about it informally. Always schedule a conference where all parties are prepared. When asking for accomodations, make the case for the emotional/social benefits for what you are asking first. It's MUCH easier to say "no" to "but my child is so bored" than "he's unhappy and feels like there must be something wrong with him."

Kindie was not a good place for my eldest but it was a joyful time for my youngest. It could be either or something in between for your own son.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#7 of 10 Old 04-02-2010, 09:43 AM
 
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The one bit of wisdom I learned during those early years is that it's OK to try things. If something doesn't work, change it. Don't stress about making every single right decision. I'm telling you right now, there will be mistakes. However, if you prepare your child for that in advance and let them know you'll never let them wallow in a terrible situation, they can bounce back from anything. Follow protocols at the school... never go to the principal before going to the teacher. Never go to the superintendant without first speaking to the principal. Never try to chat about it informally. Always schedule a conference where all parties are prepared. When asking for accomodations, make the case for the emotional/social benefits for what you are asking first. It's MUCH easier to say "no" to "but my child is so bored" than "he's unhappy and feels like there must be something wrong with him."
That is wise. We discuss perfectionism in gifted children - I sometimes think perfectionism is a problem for parents too. Parents keep looking for the perfect learning environment for their children. I know how important it is to find a good, supportive, engaging place to learn. I also know that properly prepared and supported, many children will manage well in less-than-perfect situations, and even learn valuable skills while managing. If something really isn't working out, cut your losses, but sometimes we can learn a lot from our mistakes. It's hard, because a mistake with a school can have long-lasting consequences, but I think children are pretty resilient - or they can be if they are supported and guided.

I'm trying to think of the drawbacks of gifted accommodation in public school, but none leap to mind. There are some accommodations that I think need to be implemented carefully - pull outs and accelerations, in particular. I would say, however, that you have to be careful, observant and involved with any learning situation - at school or at home. If a child benefits from a particular accommodation, there is no harm - and if he doesn't, then the advice to try something else is good advice.

Reading between the lines, I wonder if you are more concerned about the labeling that tends to happen with a gifted identification and inappropriate/unhelpful expectations that come with it, rather than any specific change in his classroom or the teaching methods used. Good communication with the teachers helps make sure that expectations are appropriate. Many teachers still don't have a good understanding of giftedness, so it will be up to you to advocate for him. Some teachers are brilliant though.

You also mention that he needs a teacher to stand over him. That tempts me into a lengthy discussion about child-led learning, but I'm going to resist. It also tempts me to talk about the boredom a gifted child often has with routine work - and the lack of motivation to finish that kind of work. In case it's really more about organizational issues, I'll just suggest that you talk to his teacher about implementing a bunch of mechanisms that help him learn to be organized and follow through on things on his own - using agendas and lists and reminders and routines etc. to stay on track.

Best wishes.
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#8 of 10 Old 04-02-2010, 11:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You also mention that he needs a teacher to stand over him. That tempts me into a lengthy discussion about child-led learning, but I'm going to resist. It also tempts me to talk about the boredom a gifted child often has with routine work - and the lack of motivation to finish that kind of work. In case it's really more about organizational issues, I'll just suggest that you talk to his teacher about implementing a bunch of mechanisms that help him learn to be organized and follow through on things on his own - using agendas and lists and reminders and routines etc. to stay on track.

Best wishes.

Please go on. We considered Montessori for him, but he is not self motivated in the slightest.

You are right, I am more concerned about him being labeled and found to be a 'problem'. At his current school this is not the case. All the teachers from his preschool teacher to upper elementary, identified that he was very smart right away. It has been positive for him, but a new school makes me worry.

DS is very social and playful as well and has little interest in doing the work. He is very motivated by competition.

Sometimes I wonder if he is learning anything at school, then he opens up and is like a walking encyclopedia. The other day he started speaking German, we had no idea where it got it.
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#9 of 10 Old 04-03-2010, 12:26 AM
 
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we did not tell our school. they did a testing in K which my dd did not pass (she found the test boring and didnt complete it). i could have insisted on retesting but i didnt. mainly coz i knew the gifted class teacher would not be a good fit for her. in the schools where i am they automatically test in second grade. then you can choose if you want to put your child in gate or not. they dont ask your permission to test your child.

the key is your child's personality and what they want out of school.

in k my dd told her class teacher 'i go to school to party, i come home to study.' that has been her philosophy. she 'should' be in the gifted program but instead is in a split classroom where essentially she is second grader in a third grader class, but doing 3rd grade work. that works for her MUCH better.

Why? her personality. she doesnt really wanna do the work in school. she wants leadership opportunity. at K she was bored and instead of acting up she would 'disappear'. her report card looked great for academics but terrible in 'following orders'. she would be so much in her dream world that she couldnt hear the teacher when teh teacher called her.

however she wanted to go to school every single day. apart from regular duty that each child has in class, the teacher gave my dd much more work to do. not academic. but leadership. it naturally happened and the class looked upon dd as a leader. and so my dd was convinced that she assisted the class and that if she didnt go to school they would be lost without her. in fact i even heard some kids say that. my dd was the companion to the child who was most afraid. she took them to the office or restroom or the principals office.

mind you i knew nothing about this side of school or my dd's personality. i was looking for an academic program. what i discovered was my dd had much more social expectations out of the school than just academics. so far this year she has had the best teacher. her kind of teacher. and she is shining. so for her who is socially mature and plays better with older kids than younger, a grade skip has been better than a GATE class. rather the teacher is key. not so much what they do in class. she has an incredibly hard academic class. meaning a LOT of work. lots of homework. lots of worksheet. my dd does it for the teacher. she finds someway to fit some humor in there to make her teacher laugh. her challenge in hw is to how to make it more goofy.

all of this is new to me. at k i had no clue what kind of school was good for dd. rather i thought academics was key but i had v. limited choices. academics is important but in my dd's case other things are far more important than academics. in first grade i moved her to a gifted school which has all 3 classes - gate, split and regular non accelerated.

i see kids around me and i see a lot of them - its amazing all the things they focus on and pick up. a good fit for one is not a good fit for another. i think when you have a social child it becomes even more important that you keep an eye on other factors than just academic.

one of dd's friends parents purposely opted out of the gate program because they knew the non gate teacher would be a much better fit for their high anxiety sensitive son. and so far it has worked really really well.

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#10 of 10 Old 04-03-2010, 01:17 PM
 
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I think you and I may have pmed about other issues in the past unless I am confusing you with someone else.

Does the charter he will be attending offer subject acceleration (sending kids to different grade levels for different subjects)? That was a good first step for dd11 before she skipped a grade later. Grade skipping may be a better idea later down the line if you don't feel it is right now.

Also, does the private school he attends end in preschool or could he continue there for elementary since they already know him & are accommodating him well? Or do you feel that this charter is a better idea for elementary (or cost considerations)?

We, too, at times have found some teachers to do better with figuring it out for themselves (with a lot of clues from us without actually using the word "gifted.") However, if you have the data, I might consider giving it to them up front. For dd11, letting teachers sort it out on their own worked okay b/c she is the stereotypical gifted kid who was very, very hard not to notice was gifted even when she was not fitting in well to ps.

Dd9, on the other hand, suffered half or more of her school years with teachers who were certain that she wasn't gifted b/c she presents differently than her sister. She flies under the radar very easily b/c she is so concerned with fitting in and being "normal." Her teachers' attitudes toward her have really messed up her self image and we are now at the point of feeling like homeschooling is the best option for a while.

I guess that whether you let them figure it out themselves or not depends on how likely they are to figure it out in a reasonable timeframe vs. beating down your dc's self image and making him feel like there is something wrong with him.
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