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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
that "regular" classes don't? Last year (grade 7) my son was id'd as being possibly gifted but didn't quite make the grade. This year he's been really really struggling, so I'm curious about what they might have offered him in a "gifted" class? It seems like he could benefit from more support in the organizational areas even though intellectually he's bright. So now the school will not see him as "exceptional". His homeroom teacher was pushing him to go into applied courses in high school even though I really don't think that is appropriate.
 

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It's different from state to state, and even school to school.

My daughter started gifted in first grade. At that time, it was "enrichment" - project and research based, no extra homework, 90 minutes per day.

Starting in second, it was academic. They did everything in their gifted class except science and social studies.

In third grade, they did everything, including science and social studies and "specials" in gifted.

This year, in fourth, they do all academics in gifted and go with their home room for specials.

Some schools may only offer extra work in their regular class, and others may only pull kids out for enrichment once a week. Apparently our school system offers some kind of enrichment as opposed to academic gifted but I don't know anyone who has ever taken that option.

They typically work at least a grade level (but often many more) ahead, the classes move really fast, and there's more homework and so many more projects.

What I have NOT found is any help with organization. In my own experience, gifted children aren't necessarily, or even often, more mature or organized than kids in typical classrooms. I wish they could get some help with organization (some teachers may include that, but so far my kid's teachers have not. It's very sink or swim, figure it out yourself).

If you feel like your child is being pushed into the wrong track, and so does he, definitely talk to someone! If organization is the big problem, that's something he can work on!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ok

Applied in high school is for kids who will go into trades, are not interested in an "academic" path or have something that makes it difficult for them to achieve these sorts of goals.
 

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Many gifted children have asynchronous development and really struggle in other areas other than cognitive/academics. Areas of particular struggle are often executive functioning (organization, sequencing, pacing,planning), fine motor, gross motor, coordination, etc. You may want to visit the Hoagies Gifted Pages on the web to learn a lot about gifted children. I think schools do a real disservice to gifted children. They may in fact struggle in some ways more than a child who is delayed, but when budgets get cut, gifted programs are often the first to go.
 

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Gifted classes are different at different schools and different parts of the country, so no body can tell you what they are like in your child's school. Our experience is that they go away by high school, and kids self select into the challenging classes.


I suggest working with him on the organization parts that he is struggling with. One of my DD has organizational (and other learning) challenges and we hired a tutor to work with her because she was at a phase were she just did.not.want.to.work.with.a.parent but was fine and reasonable when working with a different adult.


I also like the book "Smart but Scattered."
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the ideas

It's a PIA to deal with a system that isn't really supportive. In the past I might have thought "gifted" was just an excelerated class or something high achieving parents might put their kid (no offence meant to anyone) in but the more I hear and read about it I'm realizing it's a lot more complex. I don't have a lot of experience with gifted classes personally, I wouldn't have qualified for it myself in any case, I don't think, because I'm not strong in math, plus my parents wouldn't have pushed us to do that, they sort of stayed at arms length from a lot of stuff. It's interesting that in England, they apparently have "gifted" and "talented". "Gifted" is so ambiguous a term, and really only covers 3 specific areas via a paper test.
 

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In the past I might have thought "gifted" was just an excelerated class or something high achieving parents might put their kid (no offence meant to anyone) in but the more I hear and read about it I'm realizing it's a lot more complex...."Gifted" is so ambiguous a term, and really only covers 3 specific areas via a paper test.


Parents can't put their child into a gifted program -- students must test into the program. Teachers recommend certain students be tested. Many schools screen all children (my schools screens all students in 2nd grade).


In a school context, "gifted" means an IQ over 130. Some schools use different cut offs for programs (either higher or lower) depending on what works for the school and for their specific program.


There are different tests for IQ, and they have different numbers of subtest. IQ is not the measure of achievement in reading, writing, and math. It is an attempt to measure the underlying abilities that make it possible to learn academic skills -- things like processing speed and working memory are very important in testing intelligence.
 

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I'm in Canada as well, in an area that doesn't offer gifted classes, but I grew up in Ontario and was in a gifted cluster (an accelerated class-within-a-class) and did a couple of grade skips as well.

In Canada gifted classes tend to offer more open-ended project work. Often the focus is on STEM subjects (engineering, computer science, experimental sciences) more so than humanities. The math curriculum is usually accelerated by up to a year and the reading level of assigned fiction in language arts is usually a fair bit higher. It's actually not an ideal environment for kids who have difficulty with organization and planning, because there is more independence, self-direction and self-motivation expected. Kids like this, if they're gifted, often need a lot more support with executive function skills to cope in a gifted classroom than they would in the regular stream.

Like Linda, we've found that specific accommodations for giftedness (whether gifted classes, clusters, enrichment or differentiation) tend to disappear in high school. Instead students select the academic / honours / AP stream, choose subjects that are especially challenging, and at semestered schools they will compact and accelerate their learning by taking two courses per year in their strong subjects to get to higher-level courses sooner. My middle dd finished Calculus and AP Physics 1 & 2 at 16 thanks to a middle-school grade skip followed by course compaction at a semestered high school.

Miranda
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes I'm aware there will be no "gifted" classes in high school, I was just wondering if they would have helped him with school skills as well. Right now because he didn't make the "gifted" cut off, they won't acknowledge how he may need more support. Applied courses, proposed as the solution by his homeroom teacher, seems wildly inappropriate for my kid. There is a school skills class in high school for "exceptional" kids but my kid according to them is not "exceptional" enough.
 

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I would get him a psycho-educational assessment, if possible (it's privately done through a psychologist and you have to pay). It can give you a lot of insight into what his struggles are. I'm in Toronto and teachers recommend a student for gifted testing beginning in grade 3. The General Ability Index on the test must be in the 98th percentile to qualify for a designation of giftedness. Even then, a full time gifted class may not be the right fit. There are other options. And yes there are gifted classes through high school. It depends on where you are, what school board you are in. The main difference in the gifted program in school is that they study things more in depth. It is the same curriculum as the regular stream. Teachers have experience teaching gifted children and the academic and social struggles they face. The kids benefit from being among like minded peers. Giftedness qualifies for an IEP, that's where you get support and accommodations from. There are many reasons a student could get an IEP and the recommendations stated on it have to be followed at every grade in any class.
 

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What a great question:

I believe gifted classes and regular classes are intended to be supportive of the education process when in reality they are ways to distinguish the students against levels of capability.

I am strongly for teaching my children and being the sole guiding piece in their education so that they able to qualify for the gifted class although I will let them know up front that being in those classes means they will have to work very hard if not twice as hard to prove that they are exceptional students rather than just silver spoon fed gifted children.

This is just my opinion, thank you for presenting this prompt!
 

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I don't think that the issues the OP is seeing in her child are going to be helped by the gifted program and I suspect that it would be detrimental. I found the gifted program to be detrimental in general.

We opted not to accept gifted classes for our daughter. The classes would have taken her out of the ordinary curriculum, substituting "unlearning" for structured learning. The ordinary classes included literature and grammar, the gifted classes substituted this with free association and creative spelling, for example. The children in the gifted program were not as well-adjusted for several reasons (parental pressure/culture, cliquish elitism, and ostrasization from the student body). Not being in the gifted program is something my daughter, now an adult, has thanked me for on several occasions throughout high school and beyond. She feels that the enrichment she needed she got at home and through personal interests and that her schooling was adequate in both in academics and socialization.

I was in my public schools' and university's accelerated "gifted" programs and found it utterly inadequate. I failed (actually failed - F) 1 year of math in high school because I had been given a creative math course (gifted) instead of algebra I and II (mainstream) in intermediate school. I had never read Shakespeare until I was 24. My grandmother tutored me in grammar because I was having trouble with composition in high school, having read existentialist plays with free discussion in gifted class instead of diagramming sentences with everyone else.

So this has been our family's exposure to the gifted programs of 5 schools in 3 states over 24 years.

I think the best options are for parents to either enroll the child in a qualified private school for gifted children an/or to provide enrichment outside the public school (family activities, job shadowing and mentorship opportunities in the community, camps, etc)

A high IQ, which is the criteria for the gifted program, is not a reflection on a person's knowledge, only their capacity. A person with a high IQ is not going to be able to intuit the laws of chemistry for example. Only that they may learn more quickly, thoroughly, and be more creative with that knowledge.
 

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I am strongly for teaching my children and being the sole guiding piece in their education so that they able to qualify for the gifted class although I will let them know up front that being in those classes means they will have to work very hard if not twice as hard to prove that they are exceptional students rather than just silver spoon fed gifted children.
I don't really understand what you're saying. Giftedness is considered to be largely innate (no silver spoons involved), though environment will play a role in how readily it displays itself and how amenable it is to identification through testing. Gifted education is supposed to be about giving an appropriate education to children who are not getting an appropriate education in the regular stream because their brains are built differently. It's not supposed to be about having twice the workload: if the students are properly chosen and the gifted education program is based on a real understanding of its purpose, the workload should be approximately the same as what non-gifted children are experiencing in the non-gifted stream. I think that either you misunderstand the purpose of the class or those running it have created more of a high achievers' program than a gifted program.

My youngest dd is partly homeschooled (unschooled) but is involved in public school about half-time this year in what is, in essence, an individualized gifted program. She doesn't work twice as hard as her non-gifted age-mates. Yet she has finished a bunch of 10th grade material with excellent grades. That's because it is engaging, motivating and interesting because it's at the right level. This is what gifted programs are supposed to do: make education interesting and relevant and appropriate for kids with advanced cognitive abilities, not double up the workload.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that many gifted programs fail to do this, that they confuse "meeting needs" of kids who aren't being well-served in the regular stream with promoting intensive academics. Such programs serve high-achieving hard workers, but gifted students aren't necessarily that.

Miranda
 
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