GiftedHaven.net

This is a site a stumbled upon while looking at Hoagie’s Page for the Gifted, giftedhaven.net is a site designed to give refuge to gifted students, by offering them a place to network with other gifted students. I have looked around the forums there and have liked what I have seen. The community there is amazing, and the level of discussion high. The topics range from emotional problems, to if gifted students need less sleep than others. It seems that the conversation is aimed toward high school and college students, however I am confident that they would welcome younger students if they came along. I urge you to check it out, if not only to read the wonderful posts in the forums. Once again the site is Giftedhaven.net and the juice of the site is found on The Gifted Haven Forums.

Quote of the Day

Sorry for the lapse in Quotes, have been having problems with my internet.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

-Aristotle

This is the epitome of an open mind. If you can listen (and hear) someone else, even though you may not agree with them, you are a very skillful person.

Sports for Gifted Students

In my last post I talked about why I believe gifted students should participate in sports programs. In this follow up post I will discuss some of the sports that I think might be well suited to gifted students, as well as give some first hand accounts of these sports.

Team Sports: The following sports are played with a team, and will help your gifted student build communication skills as well as make friends.

1. Soccer- One of my favorite sports, I think that it is most fun when it is played in a semi-competitive atmosphere. I believe that this sport can be very fun if played well, but your gifted student will be turned away if they are just stuck back on defense.

2. Baseball or Softball- This is one sport that I do not enjoy, however I can see the benefits that it gives to gifted students. It offers great opportunities for team building and communication skills, and it can be fun. However, I would avoid extremely competitive leagues because I believe that students do not grow in that kind of atmosphere.

3. Basketball- I have played basketball non competitively and enjoyed it, but as with every other sport it can get out of hand when parents try and take it to the next level. As with the other sports, try and keep fun before everything else.

4. Volleyball- My favorite team sport, I believe that volleyball offers the best opportunity for team building and communication of any of the team sports. In volleyball there is constant movement and if you do not communicate, you will not do nearly as well as you would if you do communicate. Some see volleyball as a sport for girls, however I believe that it is equally as enjoyable for males.

With all of the team sports, I would say that the key is finding a sport that your child loves and having them stick with it. They may not be the best, but having fun is more important. With all these sports, the less competitive the atmosphere the better as gifted students have a high tendency to shut down when exposed to negative environments.

Individual Sports: These sports offer a good oportunity for gifted students to challenge themselves and discover their own limits. Also these sports can add to self-confidence and self-esteem, which are sometimes very important factors in a gifted students life.

Tennis- I have heard of many gifted students participating in this. I myself played tennis for many years. I think that this truly is an individual sport, you can play by yourself and for yourself, and unless you are on a team, there is no need to rely on anyone but yourself. This can be both positive and negative, and the effect will vary from child to child.

Golf- I think that golf is not so much a sport, but more of a skill that is extremely useful in life. It is a sport that can be played until you are very old, and you would be amazed at the connections you can make on the golf course. I think that it is best to be introduced to this sport at a young age, and if you grow up playing it, you are at a great advantage. The most important thing is teaching good etiquette on the golf course, this can often make or brake a student and if they have good etiquette then they are more likely to be accepted by the adults they may play with.

Bowling- Though this may not be seen as a common sport, I have know people to participate in bowling leagues and have a great time. This has a mix of both team and individual sports because if you are in a league, then you are assigned to a team. However, I believe that bowling is truly an individual sport.

Cross Country- I ran cross country this fall. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. However, when the season was over, I felt a true sense of accomplishment and pride. I had tackled a challenge and persevered through all of the hardship. Also I met many wonderful individuals along the way. For some reason Cross Country draws a crowd of intellectuals, and I was running with (behind) some of the best students in the school. I think that cross country is a great sport for gifted students because of the sense of comradery that comes from tackling great challenges with others, also I believe that cross country will leave your gifted student with a true sense of accomplishment and pride.

These are some of the many sports that are available to gifted students. Even though they might not be the most gifted athletes, gifted students do benefit from participating in sports. My one caution is not to hype it up too much. The reason kids play sports is to have fun, if that fun disappears, then so does the sport.

Education or Sports: Why Not Both?

I have seen and heard many stories where parents of gifted students are afraid to have their children participate in a physical activity or a sports team. There are a variety of reasons, from being afraid that they will get injured, to failure to see sports as a productive use of time. However, physical activity is a good idea for gifted students for a number of reasons, the least of which is exercise.

First, sports are good because they allow your gifted student to network with people outside of their normal peer group. The people that they will meet will be varied in their intellect and knowledge of the world, and the experience that your gifted student will receive by interacting with different people is valuable. Your gifted student will learn valuable communication skills that will serve them through out their life. Often communication is a weak point for gifted students, so the chance to practice with other kids of varying intellect is very valuable.

Second, sports help students cope with school. I know that the activity that I look forward to through out the day is my Volleyball practice. Even though school may not be going the way that I would like, I can get through the day because I know that I can have a great time for two hours during my Volleyball practice. By giving your gifted students something to look forward to outside of school, you are giving them an opportunity to clear their head and think of something other than their education for awhile.

Lastly, sports will give your gifted student the opportunity to get out and play. Similar to the last reason, this is very important because often times a gifted student is bogged down with responsibilities. They may feel that they have to live up to numerous expectations including their own. This is no mean feat, and the opportunity to act like a normal kid is very valuable. When a gifted student can go out and just have fun, they are able to perform their best in all the other areas of their life.

I hope that this post has given you a little perspective on why I think that sports are beneficial for gifted students. Because of the many demands that teachers, parents, and they themselves heap upon them, gifted students need the opportunity to vent and have fun.

Quote of the Day

“Education is about learning to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity. It is about learning to savor the quality of the journey. It is about inquiry and deliberation. It is about becoming critically minded and intellectually curious, and it is about learning how to frame and pursue your own educational aims.”

-Elliot W. Eisner

When we try and educate our students and the only goal in mind is to do well on a government administered test, how can we expect our students to have fun or take away meaningful experiences from their education. What they are going to receive is a sense that they are not unique and that there only purpose is to take tests. When this is applied to a critical thinker, such as a gifted student, they may probe even deeper. They may find out that a schools performance on a test dictates the type of funding that they receive, and that the school gets money from a student being present in class. Are those really the images and ideas that we want to be sending to our gifted students?

Quote of The Day

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

W. B. Yeats

If a gifted student is not interested in a subject, or if they cannot see the relevance of a subject to their life, then they are not going to be nearly as receptive to learning about the subject as if they are interested and they understand the real-world application. When a student refuses to learn about a subject, that student could then be marked as a discipline case and from there numerous other things could occur, but all could have been prevented if only the child had seen the relevance in a subject.

Quote of The Day

The essence of intelligence is skill in extracting meaning from everyday experience.

-Unknown

As I have said in many posts before, sometimes keeping a student engaged is as easy as showing them how the topic at hand applies to the real world. Often gifted students do not like to do unnecessary or seemingly irrelevant work, so if you show them how it can be used in their future, they may be more receptive to learning the subject.