Byrdseed.com is a resource for teachers who work with gifted and talented students. If you work with this population, you know that textbooks do little to address their unique needs, leading to boredom, apathy, and behavior problems. Hopefully, you’ll find tools and ideas to help you reach these kids.
What is “Gifted and Talented”?
Depending on your location, your school might use a term like GATE, GT, TAG, HAL, or Highly Capable.
These students are wildly diverse but are often highly creative, complex thinkers with unexpected social and emotional needs. They develop asynchronously, or out-of-sync. In some aspects they are on-level, but in others, they could be far beyond their peer group (Kathi Kearney explains how her 6-year-old had learned algebra, but also couldn’t tie her shoes). In some US states, gifted programs fall under special education, and students may even be required to have an individualized education plan or IEP.
A major problem in the field is that, well, there’s no agreed-upon definition of “Gifted and Talented”! The National Association for Gifted Children in the US (NAGC) has to link to 50 states separately since each has a different definition.
I, personally, think the label “gifted” sounds too positive and leads to unreasonable expectations and stereotypes. Teachers, parents, and students themselves may expect those identified as gifted to be compliant, “good at school”, and well-organized. They may be none of these things.
These stereotypes lead to the wrong students being identified for gifted programs, while kids who really need the special services are considered too messy, loud, or uncooperative. We also see an overrepresentation of white and Asian students in gifted programs [1, 2].
- I love Bertie Kingore’s explanation of high-achieving versus gifted to clarify a gifted kid versus one who is “good at school.”
- NAGC describes equity issues in gifted programs.
- Here’s what Mensa lists as gifted characteristics.
Who Is Ian?
I taught gifted 6th graders in Garden Grove, California where I grew up as a gifted kid myself. On my journey to become a teacher, I earned a degree in Computer Science, briefly played bass in an almost successful rock band, and married Mary — an amazing fashion designer. I now live in Portland, OR.
- Send out free weekly mailers packed with Curiosities and Puzzlements
- Develop video projects and investigations for students (and their teachers) at Byrdseed.TV
- Run in-person events through Gifted Guild with Lisa Van Gemert.
If you need a picture of me:
- Here’s me in color credit to Erin at Appetite for Color.
- Here’s an older, black and white photo, credit to Mary Byrd.
Get In Touch!
Have a question? Want more information? Just want to send a note? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Byrdseed’s logo was generously created by my friend Cindy at Blot and Dot.