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Lesson Plans

Re: gifted and talented

From: Jennifer Buerkle (
Date: Thu Aug 03 2000 - 05:34:39 PDT

  • Next message: Lawrence A. Parker: "Local District control"

    I've been teacher gifted kids art exclusively for the past ten years. I
    teach, at varying times, k-8. In Florida, my state, that mean intellectually
    gifted. Translation: IQ over 130. That said, let me add that I dislike the
    term "gifted" and have a lot of trouble with IQ tests as a total indicator,
    but there it is.

    There really is very little written about teaching art to intellectually
    gifted kids.

    Everything I now say, of course, is generalization, and like all
    generalizations, probably far too generalized!

    Not all gifted kids are "talented." (we did this debate a while back, I
    think) However, you will find in general that the quality of the product
    produced is higher than in a "regular" (yuk..that word is worse) classroom. I
    think there are a number of reasons for that. The kids catch on fast to what
    you WANT and they love to deliver what the teacher wants. It's their strong
    point! Also, they tend to have better small muscle coordination. There IS one
    exception here, and this sounds sexist, I know. But a lot of the little boys
    who get into the program because of high performance IQ (math-type stuff) have
    a lot of trouble with small motor skills and their handwriting is usually
    awful. They need a lot of reassurance. I find that the kids whose strengths
    are in the verbal areas have an easier time in the artroom.

    You will find you can move rather quickly through the curriculum, but have
    something to do for the early finishers, and something challenging, like brain
    teasers. And refuse to give the answers until next week. It also helps to put
    in a bit of competition when doing difficult puzzles, etc., for motivation.
    Gifted kids are kind of an anomoly. On the one hand, they want challenge, but
    they get frustrated if it doesn't come immediately and demand the answers.
    However, they are also known to analyze to the nth degree and not come up for

    Don't talk down to them. Probably the biggest indicator of giftedness I see
    personally is vocabulary. Major vocabulary. And they are master
    manipulators. Don't get into verbal arguments with them.

    A word about their parents. They can be a real challenge, from the most
    wonderful, helpful souls to the parents from hell. And a gifted parent from
    hell is a PROBLEM. Keep the lines of communication open between you and
    home....lots of letters home, etc. I find virtually all the parents have
    email, even those who are less affluent. I send most of my communication via
    email, with hard copies for kids who want them. I almost always get a reply
    and it keeps me informed. In the beginning of the year I send a note home
    asking for it, and I stamp Mona Lisa on the hands of the kids who bring it
    in. Works!

    Jen in Tallahassee, where it starts again on Monday


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