Everyone thrives when they accomplish a personal goal. It might be small, like taking your first steps to something larger like getting accepted to college. As one gets older, their view of accomplishments changes. What they need to achieve changes. Right now in my professional life I feel like I am making big strides. Other people may not think so and I am ok with that but for myself I am extremely happy with what I have been able to do. Today was a HUGE day professionally and personally.

I am not a writer and I don’t pretend to be. I don’t enjoy it because I don’t feel like I can do it “perfectly”.

However, I GOT PUBLISHED today! In a real magazine (Education Guide for Carolina Parents Magazine)! And it is mentioned on the front cover! Check it out!


Tips on Effective Parent- Teacher Conferences

parent teacher conference

I am a huge supporter of parent-teacher communication. One important component of this is through conferences that are often held twice a year.

As a teacher, they were time consuming to prepare and to conduct.  I was often anxious or nervous to meet with parents. I can’t say I always enjoyed them as a teacher but I was always amazed at the power they had with the students and parents.

Now that I am a parent of a school- age child, I look forward to these meetings. It is a chance to ask personal questions about my child, gain a realistic idea of his strengths and weaknesses, and see his learning environment. It helps to build a bridge between home and school.

I love the tips in this article and believe they can be applicable to children of all abilities. I do have an article specifically about communication with your school for parents of gifted children. I will write a blog post about that soon…

Learn from my mistakes: What I wish I had done to get more out of parent-teacher conferences:

Perfectionism again…


I promise this is a topic you will hear about again…

It not only interests me when work with gifted children but those that close to me know that I am a horrible perfectionist. It is something I have struggled with all my life. I am beginning to understand it better now that I am an adult and researching this trait.

This blog is helping me too- I have had to realize that being imperfect is going to happen and people will still like me (or at least they say they do).

A few imperfect things I have done the past two weeks:

1. Misspelled a word on my business card (after I handed out about 100!)

2. Not been able to get the bullets to line up “just right” in a blog post

3. After posting great information to about 300 people, I realized a hyperlink didn’t work

4. In tomorrow’s post, I COULD NOT get the font to all be same size

5. A safe bet would be that I have misspelled at least one word

In the whole scheme of life these are NOT big events. My point is that sometimes perfectionists get caught up in the small failures instead of looking at the big picture.  I am realizing that if I learn from my mistakes, laugh about them, and move on… I do get better with my adventures. Hopefully I don’t lose people along the way!

A website of tips for parents of gifted children that have perfectionism:

Bright vs. Gifted

birght student vs gifted studentNot even sure where to start with this topic because it can be a sensitive one. However, remember this blog is my way to share information and my opinion (whether you agree with it or not is really not a debate for me- everyone has opinions).

With that intro… I believe is a difference between bright and gifted students. Not all gifted students are high achieving and not all high achieving students are gifted. Some of my best students in my classroom were not gifted but bright (and this is not a bad thing). I don’t believe one is better than the other- just different.

I have seen several charts to help demonstrate this difference and here is one (from:

bright vs gifted

Testing, take 4

Last post for now on testing. I hope I haven’t lost readers over the past few days.

First, I want to clarify. I do think there is a time and place for testing and assessment. It does give teachers and parents important information about the child and their learning. It can also provide teachers information about their effectiveness. Most (if not all) teachers do not want to “overtest” students.

An argument can be made for our school (Wake Gifted Academy) purposes, we use assessment data gathered for admissions purposes. Yes we do, but it is information gathered about the learner to best understand if we can provide the best education environment for the child. I like this quote from Carolyn K of Hoagies Gifted Education page about testing:

Why Test?

The answer to the question “Why Test?” is the same for the gifted child as for any other child: you should test to answer a question.  Tests can provide detailed information about the child’s learning needs to parents and teachers, including gifted identification for educational planning and gifted program participation.  Tests can also offer information for early intervention of learning differences, and to facilitate an appropriate education.  And you should test when you need the answer to any of these questions.

How to find books for gifted learners?

I am often asked by parents of academically gifted students how to find quality literature for gifted readers. Many times the content and issues surrounding characters in higher level books are not appropriate for the age of the gifted reader. For example, a third grader reading on an eighth grade level does not need to read about love relationships that might be addressed in young adult literature.

gifted reader

Here are a few reading lists for gifted readers:

I like this list because it also gives recommended grade levels:

Great classics:

Feel free to comment on any of your child’s favorite books. I love getting feedback about good books that academically gifted children enjoy.

Testing, take 2

Printable Door Sign for Testing Week

As I was reading the research paper mentioned in yesterday’s post, I found a few quotes I felt was worth noting.  My post on Thursday will talk about how I sound like a hypocrite when it comes to testing…

“When instruction is wholly geared towards teaching to the test, critics argue, scores are unlikely to provide an accurate measure of student learning, problem solving skills or critical and higher-order thinking skills. (pg. 27)”

“Ideally, a good assessment motivates students and teachers to work harder, creating a richer learning experience. But in itself, working harder does not always result in higher test scores (Lin, 2002), and higher test scores do not always reflect richer learning. (pg. 27)”

“As noted previously, high-stakes testing programs do not encourage the kind of complex, authentic curricular or instructional practices that are necessary to challenge gifted students. (pg. 33)”

From: State Standardized Testing Programs: Their Effects on Teachers and Students


Tonya R. Moon
Catherine M. Brighton
Jane M. Jarvis
Catherine J. Hall
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia


Gifted Students and Standardized Testing

Believe me– everyone has an opinion about standardized testing. I will not bore you with my whole opinion about testing. Maybe that will be another post? Not sure if anyone would read that.

Testing with gifted children is nothing short of torture. Weeks of review they often don’t need, review that is not stimulating (no offense to any teachers- hard to make this exciting), and then to sit hours on end to take the test is detrimental to many gifted students, or any student for that matter.

I stumbled upon this research article about standardized testing and gifted children the other day and thought some of the conclusion statements were worth mentioning (read the article for all the statements).

Teachers and students feel a tremendous amount of pressure associated with high-stakes testing to produce high student test scores.

The pressure felt by teachers associated with high-stakes testing results in drill and
practice type of curriculum and instruction.

There is a clear feeling among most teachers that the focus on minimum standards and basic skills has diminished both the richness and depth of the curriculum and professional autonomy over curricular and instructional decisions.

Gifted and talented students feel pressure to perform well to bring up all scores which can often result in disengagement from the learning process.

Many gifted students report frustration and resentment at the slow pace of learning and repetitive nature of text preparation.

It appears that the current high-stakes testing movement affects gifted students by providing a curricular ceiling that is well below their own academic potential.

From: State Standardized Testing Programs: Their Effects on Teachers and Students
Tonya R. Moon
Catherine M. Brighton
Jane M. Jarvis
Catherine J. Hall
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia

First Game Review

Here is my second confession (for a new blog, I seem to have lots to get off my chest!)- I love playing games, except Trivia Pursuit with my brother in law because I have NO hope of ever coming close to winning. In all seriousness, I love card games, board games, logic games… all types and my kids are finally getting old enough to play with me.

For my son’s birthday, one of my best friends got him a new game called “Hedbandz” and it is fun way to build on language skills. I would not recommend it for less than 6 years old because it does require listening and questioning skills that younger children developmentally don’t have yet.

Basically the game is putting a picture on your headband. You cannot see the picture but the other people playing the game can see it. The cards are varied- anything from food to types of transportation to various animals. The goal is to ask yes/no questions to determine what is on your headband.

wake gifted blog

Educationally this game is fantastic. It teaches the children how to ask general questions, such as, “Does the animal fly?” instead of specific questions like, “Is it a flamingo?”, “Is it a pigeon?”. General questions help narrow down the topic much faster in the beginning than specific questions.

For classroom teachers this is a great indoor recess or quick time filler because it can be completed in short rounds and doesn’t last long. It would also be an exceptional tool in an English as a Second Language classroom to build on vocabulary. I loved how it reinforced recall of information because the child has to remember what has been learned from the questions already asked. Plus, it goes fast so children don’t get bored with it quickly.  Last, it teaches perseverance (and showed me my lack of it) and to stick with the card even if you can’t get figure it out right away.

The only difficult part for some children is not thinking too specific. For example, when my son was trying to determine the picture on his head, he would ask questions like, “Is it a scalloped hammerhead shark?” or “Is it a Nile crocodile?”.

Oh and last- don’t play it with a preschooler nearby. Mine kept telling us what was on our headband!

educational game

PS- No comments about the picture of me!