‘On Giftedness and the New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week….
I am amazed and truely humbled again this year by the diversity and amount of useful information and depth of feeling which can be found in the posts that were posted for this event over the last few weeks. It is such a wonderful way for a whole community, or country or the world to come together over a topic that is truely important in their/our hearts and minds.
Equally, I am a little ashamed of not having had the time to have contributed a thoughtful post, as I would have liked to have done, but as a parent, this year, it came at an unfortunate time. The last year of highschool and exam time for my offspring. However, this experience in itself has thrown up some interesting reflections for me as a parent.
There have definitly been some rough potholes on our road (I say we, because my child and I surely lived/drove down this road together), that would have loosened the teeth on an elephant. Secondary (highschool to some) in our case was just not a happy experience. It was not so much that the courses, or teachers or the school itself (we switched schools twice, in an attempt to find a good fit), it was just… well… environmental I think.. like putting a fish in the desert and asking it to swim.
The fish would feel out of place, scared and frightened because it’s fins would find no water to push against to move, it’s tail would swich fruitlessly, the dusty grains filling its scales and eyes, scratchy, painful… gasping for breath with just the effort of staying alive… no way to flow… it would be enough to make any fish give up, lie on their side and wait for the inevitable..
That is when the fish/my fish needs(ed) advocates, to come along and pick them up, tell them that no matter what they won’t let go of them, leave them gasping in the sand. Instead pick them up, put them in a small traveling tank with water, so the dust washes off, and the fish can breath and move again, although still restricted, and, putting the tank under their arm, or in their backpack… walk with the fish accross that dessert, feeding when necesary, protecting it from the scorching sun, and evaporation, until they reach the other side. The beach and the sea with it’s vast wonders waiting. There are a few sand dunes to climb over (exams), but once through, release will come.
We are now standing in front of the tideline, with the warm sea foam frothing, and my child wiggling with delight again at the vast possibilities they see in front of them.. wanting to be released from their holding tank… As the Momma fish, I’m looking back over my shoulder at those advocates along the way, who held and transported both my childs holding tank (and to be honest my own to, when I grew to weak to carry it), and give thanks that they all were there.
That even my own child, reflecting back on their experience noted, ‘remember last November when I thought I would drop out and not finish, and here I am and so glad I’m alive, through it and out the other side with my friends…’
It brings home to me how important not letting go is, and the importance of community, holding hands and holding our kids up, passing them (and their parents) on down the line until we help them reach the relative safety of a shore (their shore) where they can dive in and swim were they will, flowing.
As I stand, waiting for them to take that plunge, bright eyed and eager, casting off the horrors of their misfit schooling experience, I know without a doubt that both their survival and mine is partially due to community- advocates, educators and other parents alongside ourselves when we faltered- that ‘understood-and got it’-, helping my little fish reach it’s sea.
Many of you here, who have taken part in these blogtour initiatives need to be thanked, as for without your helping hands, albeit perhaps, unknowingly by yourselves, the potholes and deserts that many of us face, may not have been negotiated with enough success to reach this shore, and different stories might have been told.
‘Giftedness- Creativity and Collaboration- Requesting your help…. ‘
‘Please add your colours, images and thoughts, together we’ll create a richer pot… for all…’
Some of you may or may not be aware of the Gifted Education Photo Quote project that was first started two years ago as a community effort, by a member of our Gifted on-line community (Mary St. George (NZ), and to which many in the Gifted community, have contributed. Please feel free to click on the image above to explore same.
This creative project was developed as a place where folks could go, when they needed ideas/images that could be useful for including in presentations or for getting across concepts and trying to promote understanding of issues around giftedness, talent, creativity, 2Eness and how these may affect the children and individuals we live and work with and advocate for. It was developed in the spirit of sharing, community and collaboration with the only charge being that if a photoquote image was/is used, (as they are protected under creative commons licences) that the user give credit to the author of that particular image/quote, and the hope that the user themselves might at some point feel inclined to perhaps add/contribute an image/quote of their own (CC licensed) to the growing ‘bank’ of photoquotes.
Before you begin however be aware of the following very important information:
- The starting point must be original art or an original photograph or a CC licensed item/image that allows modification.
- It must also be clear that the uploaded item contains some of the contributors own work.
- If there is a CC Licensed image with a suitable quotation on it and a person produced no part of it, but simply “found it online” then that person cannot upload it, according to Flickr’s rules.
- Your final product which you may wish to upload must be CC licensed, in order for others to use them and be shared..
- If they are not CC Licensed, we can only look at them, but not use them.
- Please read the useful information and links that are found here on CC Licensing your product before sharing your contribution, and make sure to License your creation so that others may use it for advocacy, which is the purpose of this Flickr site.
There have been many wonderful, creative, colourful, thoughtful and meaningful contributions.
To date I have known of many many people who have found this collection useful and have used many of the images found there. Personally I have used many of these wonderful images, and the photoquotes for a number of projects, including presentations. I like to do this because when I do this I get the feeling that a whole community of people are behind me and supporting the work I do/have done.
For example: one of the projects I worked with for the last two years, was putting together a slide shows. One was for the 2011 World Conference in Prague which contained details of Gifted Awareness Efforts taking place that year. As there appeared to be some growth happening in the number of these types of events, I put together a second one, to showcase this growth in 2012, and which was offered to the general gifted community during the Blog tour that was run during the inaugural International Week of the Gifted in August 2012. I found the photoquote collection invaluable for finding and adding images and the diversity of perspectives and issues dealt with in the quotes also lent a richness to the information on the events I collected. I and many others could feel the presence of community.
This year, during our International Year of Giftedness and Creativity, I am working on a number of similar projects, (or trying to anyways, we will see how it goes!! teehee) as well as a few other things which could do with the use of some of these fantastic contributions.
However, this is where I would like to ask for some help from our International Gifted Communities out there, and in particular those who may also be living in countries where you speak languages other than English too. I am wondering if there are folk out there who would like to go to the Gifted Photoquote Project flickr account, and upload some images with some quotes, (either your own, or a favorite you have found), joyful, and celebratory quotes on giftedness, talent and or creativity — 2eness, inventiveness, homeschooling or any other issues you may have in mind, and think about. I would love to include slides that might show a diversity of languages as well, however I am not to good at speaking, let alone writing to many of them myself, so, I am just wondering if some of the rest of you out there, would like to help?
I am hoping that if completed in time, this slide show project, with its diversity of languages and images may be shared at the 20th Anniversary WCGTC World Conference 2013.
Please, do not feel you have to hold back, however, if you, like many others, may only be able to contribute in English, as all contributions are of value and valued. I would encourage you to please go ahead, as all contributions will lend freshness and new perspectives to this very useful collection.
It is just that, quite apart from the project that I am working on, it would be quite wonderful and very useful to have images with quotes in many different languages for other folk in our gifted communities, whose language may not be English, or who may be intending to be presenting to others in another language.
Do please also remember to read the ” About Gifted Education Photoquotes”, on the flickr site, before you join or upload your images. Also do not forget to read the information and links on How to add a CC License as it will explain how to add a creative commons license to your creation. I am sure that this collection will be accessed and used time and again and give thanks to it’s creator.
Your contributions will be much appreciated, as always!!…
The WCGTC Presidents Election- 2013- Leslie S. Graves (that’s me!)
As many of you know, In August 2013, the 20thWorld Conference will take place. It is a special year in many respects, not the least of which is the coming election for/of a new President for the next/following four years. It is my pleasure to announce that my name has been put forward, – as a candidate that is now in the running for President of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children.
My agenda for the next 4 years would be to simply build on the seeds & foundations that have been put down in Kentucky, helping the roots, and the shoots to grow into a strong young sapling. I have many ideas and wishes for the organisation, probably to many to put down here. However, here is a short list of my vision on what direction I would like to see the WCGTC move in, would include:
- Help consolidate and expand any positive activities and initiatives- fostering and supporting gifted, talented and creative children and youth
- Encourage more collaboration, community and sharing of important information, research, best teaching practices , alternative and innovative methodologies &/or technologies
- To seek out under-represented communities, such as 2E children and disadvantaged populations, offering assistance.
- To build bridges between different cultures – listen to their voices, find ways in which access to information and or resources could be facilitated in diverse environments/countries.
- To be aware/sensitive to families/parents voices. Introduce a parent liaison.
- To consider the possibility of producing some WC lead resources on topics for members or others to access such as either e booklets/tip sheet/webinars/ videos in a number of languages to assist access to information.
- To continue to support on- going development of the GTI Journal, and it’s wide international readership.
These are just a number of my thoughts. If you are a delegate, and if you like what you have read so far, I would be most honoured to have your vote. If you are a member or another interested party in contact with a delegate, perhaps you would urge them to vote in my favour.
I have served the WC in many capacities, and fulfilled the duties of a delegate for many years, having sat on the EC for the last 6 years after that. As an EC member I served the office of Secretary, on several subcommittees, wrote the policies and procedures for the Scholarship and Awards subcommittee, helped to organise the International Day/Week of the Gifted producing a slideshare and co-running a very successful blogtour. I have encouraged new membership, retaining good relations with many in the gifted communities worldwide. I have attended, helped out at, and contributed/presented papers at four World Conferences, and will do so again at a fifth one (in Kentucky) shortly. I also donated a piece of my own original art work for auction, with proceeds going to the scholarship fund, with a portion of the sales of any limited edition prints of same, also going to the scholarship fund. Currently I am International Coordinator for the 2013 International Year of Giftedness and Creativity.
I Come from a multinational and former teaching (ESL) background., My Gifted Education experience has come through many courses completed, and involvement in third level for the last 8 years , as the gifted input Lecturer on Post Grad SEN teachers courses at UCD, in Ireland. I have mentored numerous grad students in the area of gifted, and been awarded an International Templeton Award from the Belin Blank Centre for Excellence in Education- Uni. of Iowa. All this leaves me a good amount of experience which will be beneficial to the WC. My background supporting parents and advocacy comes from working for many years with the (now dissolved) National Irish association for gifted children (IAGC- including acting Chairperson) as well as being a parent with pg and 2E kids. I have worked with parents, teachers, schools and children in the pursuit of best fit options. All this experience should also be beneficial to the WC.
I have worked at government advisor level as a commissioned writer on the National Guide lines for Teachers of Students with Exceptional Ability for the NCCA, and as a SME for the NCTE. I have also worked with many newer technology driven platforms including having been involved with work on a pilot program in rural schools bringing an innovative program for providing for potential over a virtual platform...
I would hope that this diverse, and broad range of experience, from an International, National, Educational, Parental and Child Advocacy perspective, coupled with my own Artistic/creative and innovative nature and capabilities would be conducive to harnessing, supporting and strengthening the potential of the WCGTC. This would be my wish as it’s new President.
I know that it won’t be easy, nor do I make any promises that I won’t make mistakes, which being human, I probably will. However, I would like to feel that I could contribute to the creation of a space, in which that sapling, this new, young WCGTC, with hopefully many more years to grow, will continue to spread it’s branches and become a strong oak tree. Hopefully it will continue to shelter many of the worlds gifted children under the shadows of its bows.
I would welcome your vote.
Leslie S. Graves
EC WC member
On the 14th of December 2012, a dear colleague and friend in the field of gifted, suddenly passed away in Canada.
Edna and I worked together on the WCGTC Council for many years, I got to know her-a lively, mischievous, bright personality loving her extended family well. She loved her colours, art & pets but mostly Edna always was ‘real’, and had great ability to see through things to what was really important, or what people where really trying to do or trying to be… As a friend and colleague I was many times thankful/grateful to her for that.
Born in Ontario, Canada in 1937, Edna suffered an early and tragic loss of her husband. However, never having had children of her own did not keep her from enjoying them . Never far from young folk, Edna became an Aunt to 17 nieces and nephews, and throughout her life she was dedicated and devoted to education.
Edna received a Doctorate in Gifted Education in Atlanta, Georgia in 1977, with a dissertation entitled – ‘An Observational Study of Gifted and non-Gifted Pupil-Teacher Interaction’. From there her career spanned many decades working, supporting and being active within the realm of Gifted Education both in her native Canada and Internationally, as a teacher, supporter as well a publishing numerous articles, including ‘Differentiation: Gifted Children in the Canadian Classroom with Dr. Janice Leroux. Edna was also a humble person, and I don’t recall ever, even once during our relationship, that she ever refered to herself as Dr. or placing letters after her name. She didn’t feel the need to, preferring to refer to herself as simply ‘Edna McMillan, of Stoney Creek, Ontario.
Having spent such a long time working within various gifted support circles, meant that she came to work with and know many many people, including those in academic high places, and those of us who struggle in the trenches of schooling systems and parenthood, all of whom will remember her sparkling blue eyes and sharp wit. At the risk of forgetting or leaving someone out, I will not name any names here, but those of you who read this will surely know who you are, and to what extent you were touched by her presence in your life.
First and foremost, Edna was a contributor, and contributed hundreds of hours across her professional career to the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children. First a member, than newsletter contributor, as one of the Canadian Delegates until her election onto the WCGTC EC (reverting to delegate, when stepping down in 2011, after a long and distinguished service), and as WC EC she held several positions including Treasurer and Vice President. During her last year on the EC, she worked on helping to update and modernise the organisations by-laws, a big job which she took on with her characteristic let’s- do- this, attitude.
Edna was there, in 1993, in Toronto, and coordinated the tenth World Congress in Gifted and Talented Education, as conference chair. During her educational career, she also lived abroad in Turkey, securing the World Conference for that country in 1999, again acting as conference co-ordinator in Istanbul. Her wisdom, experience and knowledge was of great assistance to the organisation over the ensuing years. During the recent global economic downturn, conferences in general worldwide began to experience difficulties. Ednas level headed advise and past experience, her gift for seeing what was achievable, and when to let go, was priceless. Edna contributed in a major way in making the 2009 World Conference in Vancouver a success, she was instrumental in the WCGTC Headquarters move from Winnipeg, in Canada, to it’s new premises in Bowling Green, Kentucky (USA), she also supported and aided the President and organisers of the 2011 World Conference in Prague, taking an active part in helping the fledgling International Day of the Gifted take flight.
It was at that Conference, in Prague, in 2011, that Dr. Edna McMillan stepped down from the council, receiving the highly acclaimed ‘Distinguished Service Award’, from the hand of the current World Council President, and a long time colleague and friend in gifted, Dr. Taisir Yamin, for her lifetime of Service to the organisation. As a professional, she gave her life to Gifted Children and will be sorely missed in the field.
From a personal point of view, I will hold my memories of Edna in my heart and mind, as a kind, sharp witty, intelligent and fun individual who coloured my world and made me think sometimes, laugh sometimes, and work hard when I needed to. I met good people through Edna, and many became good friends too. My last memories of spending time with Edna are such as this, my last goodbyes to her in person.
Spending the last afternoon and evening of the WC conference in Prague, quietly exploring the city with Dr. Dorothy Sisk (another esteemed friend and colleague in the field of gifted), and Edna McMillan, listening to classical music in the churches, taking a slow boat along the river, quiet conversations and sparkling wonder, coffees enjoyed and glasses of wine shared.. listening to Edna and Dorothy tell tales of conferences and escapades past and the joy of old friends meeting in far off places.. magic moments of connectedness, a snapshot/window in time. This will be forever etched in my mind when I think of her.
A good and special friend, with a life well lived through her passion for gifted, and will be missed by many. I am sure all those who knew Edna, through the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, or in other places or walks of life, will miss her presence in the world.
This blogpost, is my way of saying I will miss her too, and not forget, and hope in my heart that she is finding peace in the other far off place wherever that may be. Safe home for the holidays, dear Edna, safe home.
Ps– For any who wish to send their sentiments to her family, there is an online place to do so here: http://yourlifemoments.ca/sitepages/obituary.asp?oId=665305 Also, if any would like to send any memories or sentiments to the WCGTC we would happily recieve them, either in a comment here, or sent to the WCGTC care of Tracy Harkins -Executive Administrator at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, Please also note that all thoughts and sentiments in this post are my own, and do not reflect on what may be others, or intended to be so. Information I have touched on here and provided about Edna is what I have taken from conversations with same, and my own patchy memory of same. If there are discrepancies, please view these with compassion, and or understanding, if there is something that should be corrected, please accept any appologies in advance and let me know , Thankyou.
‘On Giftedness, Depression, Life and Hope… ‘- a poem/musings
‘You Will Survive…’— by Leslie Graves—
Darkness grips, entwining itself like smokey tendrils rising, spreading, from some smoldering, oxygen starved ember buried deep in the cellars of ones mind, rising, seeking chinks and niches, slipping through.. The needles stand straight, like soldiers, pin-pricks there to remind of pain- guarding–‘don’t go there’!!, however, needles have eyes…
The wispy, ghostly-gauzy tendrils slip through, chard smell a constant companion, as dense grey fog envelopes all. Within, the tide is rising, crashing waves upon ones shores, as it recedes, so whispery, gently slipping back within its core, ones winking blinking sparkles twinkling emerge and shining, lie, so many precious, fallen stars, along the tidelines of our many lives- and tell us- you-will- survive…
On Giftedness and ‘It’s alright to be Bright!’- The UK celebrates a 2012 Gifted Awareness Week!- October 20th to 27th
Giftedness and ‘It’s Alright to be Bright!!…’
It is wonderful and exciting to see another country in the world celebrating giftedness with a whole week dedicated and focus on this endevour. I particularly like the title ‘It’s Alright to be Bright!’, as this is at the very core of what we would like our children, and of course the rest of the gifted and talented population to feel.
From what I understand from the, The National Association for Gifted Children Britian, this particular week has actually been around for quite a number of years. Although the most recent economic downturn, has meant that it’s celebration has been been on a slightly more modest scale, this one will prove to extremely exciting from what I hear.
There will be many many events for kids and their families and teachers, and to facilitate this the organisers, Rebeca Howell and her team, have produced a wonderful booklet with ideas to share:
The booklet is based on Science Fiction and Future Fantastic, and should prove to be very engaging for any number of age groups.
It is a National initiative, and the aims of the ‘It’s Alright to be Bright Week are:
- Celebrate the diversity of children’s gifts and talents, whether football or frisbee, maths or mechanics, literacy or languages
- Help children understand the value of their abilities
- Raise children’s confidence in their gifts and talents
- Raise awareness of the social and emotional needs of gifted children and the essential support required by their parents and carers
We are hoping that all those who are participating have a wonderful week, and that many are encouraged to take part in this very important event. A great way to advocate while raising awareness in a fun and focused way.
The NAGC is a Non-Profit Organization in Britain and exists to give every child with high learning potential the opportunity to grow in confidence, thrive and achieve fulfilment.
Rebeca Howell, of the NAGC Britain, also took part in the International Blog tour organised for the WCGTC International Week of the Gifted 2012, – celbrating gifted awareness events around the world- it is well worthwhile to read her wise and wonderful contribution entitled ‘What is at the Heart of Giftedness?’
Happy It’s Alright to Be Bright! Week!