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IYGC 2013- On Celebrating International Year of Giftedness and Creativity (WCGTC)

January 2, 2013 1 comment

Photo by Magdzia s under Creative Commons Licence

On Giftedness and Celebrating Giftedness and Creativity in many places…  let us begin…

So…… While the New Year (2013) has already arrived in some places of our great spaceship earth, is about to arrive here, and may still be almost a day away in yet other countries… I think it safe to say that for most, it is an occasion which is eagerly awaited and welcomed… the letting go of what troubled us, and a new opportunity to embrace hope and wonder and possibilities….

It would be unrealistic of me to not to say or acknowledge that many of us are grateful to have made it through another year, through whatever extraordinary stories of strength, joy, pain and fortitude…However, it is also realistic of me to hope that we, individually and as a community, the gifted and talented community, will face this new, upcoming year with renewed hope and joyful enthusiasm, compassion and understanding,especially if things aren’t exactly as were hoped, and the strength to know when we need to let go and find new, unique ways of meeting challenges placed before us.

It kind of reminds me of when I was a child, trying to figure out why a certain kite I had made wouldn’t fly/get off the ground.. the consternation that came with what had to be done to it to make it work, adding a bit of weight here,  lengthening it’s tail, and  then, the joy of letting go, taking the materials and perhaps something more, and redesigning it all together…   I was constantly ‘accused’ of deviating from original instructions when working on a problem and trying to transform it into / allowing it to become something new..   The end products did not always look like conventional kites, however  I can say that surprisingly enough many of them did indeed take to the skys…

Creativity in this life is important, creativity is daring to be different, and in daring to be different we find ourselves capable of being/becoming/creating something unique in this world.  A something, which against all odds, may actually work… teehee…  Creativity can also be found in the most unlikely places, as seen below, and can bring a whole new meaning to recycling or even ‘junk art’… Creativity is.. well…it is “HOPE….”

This year, 2013, is our year of “hope”,   hope as an international community, to celebrate the International  Year of  Giftedness and Creativity. I am asking, in this brand new year we have, this 2013, that we all take a good  look at our individual (gifted awareness) kites.  I know each will be different from the next, child, parent, teacher, advocate, practitioner, researcher  or organisation, association, support group be it local, national or international.  One may be a box kite, or a chinese dragon, or a simple diamond, or a shape as yet unknown, and although they might not all agree with each other, I am positive that each has a very interesting story behind how it was constructed and or kept afloat.  You may have creative ideas and plans that will perfect your kite in the future, redesigns and reconstructions, or the way that you (will) reel in/out your spool as you manage the dips and dives your kite may take.

Very soon we will be asking for you to share some of these stories, as well as information on how you, your organisation or country plan on celebrating giftedness and creativity this year, so that we may help you share this with the rest of the world.  We also hope to have a number of activities during the year as well, which participants can join in. It is hoped that we can all be positive and enter into this with the spirit that within all our different experiences, efforts, samplers and examples – lie a greater good that will add to the richness of our diverse community, learning from each other and further and enhance our abilities to support and advocate, and strengthen the ties that bind us.

I also hope that there will be forgiveness and understanding if things do not go exactly as one planned as that is in essence part of the inherent chaos in creativity, and in knowing this, that we will embrace whatever new trijectories may need to be followed during this time, with joy and wonder.

A fair wind for our communal gifted awareness kite?  Let’s hope so… let’s give it the best chance we’ve got.. together…with all our other kites, of the many shapes and colours,  let us help it rise… with your/our many coloured celebrations of giftedness and creativity… Let us leave conflicts behind and work on becoming more visible in 2013- worldwide… again, for reflection: What will your kite look like this year? How will you shape it? What unique features do you hope it will contain? In what way would you have it add to our Communal Kite?… and when you get there, don’t be afraid to share it with us so we may share it with others too..

The celebration will culminate in the 20th anniversary World Council Conference in Kentucky, where we hope to highlight the shared efforts made by our worldwide community, and which in turn will keep our communal gifted awareness kite flying high, and we hope, that it will be experienced by many.. And, while your thinking on this, please do take a moment to visit the Conference website and have a look at  the wide range of strands on offer, and consider  either attending or contributing as  an individual as a way of  celebrating in 2013.

Let’s go fly a kite, up where the air is bright, let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring, up through the atmosphere up where the air is clear, Let’s all go… fly a kite……. “!  (from the soundtrack of Mary Poppins-Movie)

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On the International Year of Giftedness and Creativity 2013

June 13, 2012 7 comments

‘Our world is woven from many textures, colours, sizes and threads, and so are we, may we care for our fabric, keep it bright and light, and everchanging…we must be careful not to tear it apart, giving it a chance, inspiring our hearts….. ‘ L. Graves 2012

On the International Year of Giftedness and  Creativity 2013

As we are moving on into this year and the next, I thought this might be a good opportunity to touch on this subject again.  The International Year of Giftedness and Creativity, 2013. It is an exciting idea. A year to celebrate, create and validate gifted, talented and creative souls, and broadly based on the theme of ‘Stories’.

An opportunity for young, old and in-betweenies to think of how we can express ourselves through our stories, experiences and expressions of  our inner self.  Stories can be told//take form in an amazing number of ways.. Through a written word, painting, video/film, song, poetry, dance routine, construction, invention.   They can be altruistic, historical, A how-I(we)-did-something (achievement)- got somewhere.  The best Stories in our lives, the snapshot of what makes us who we are, and can help others understand the essence within that we all work with on different levels, are those that usually come from the heart, where ever we are, and whatever culture we are from/living in.  Stories in any form are wonderful teaching aids and theses stories can add richness to others lives and experiences. This richness may in turn become the thing that saves the soul of  yet  another gifted child. They are important to share.  Researchers, Parents, Children, Teachers, Psychologists, Educators, Family members, Activity leaders, Schools and Homeschools all have important voices and experiences that may add to a communal celebration of our community, and possibly help others in the world move that one step closer to understanding.

Now would be a good time to start think towards next year and how you or those around you, or that you work with  might  take part in this celebration. There will be more on this later on in the year, however before I go I felt I would like  to share a story of my own with you, an important experience in my life.

This is a Poem I wrote some time ago.  It  came back to me last night as I was falling asleep, and the thought  that it carried an important story, and was an important message to get out there and that it was quite possibly  clamouring for a spot on the New Zealand Gifted Awareness Blog tour... It is a voice that wants to be heard.. We must always be conscious of what kind of an impact our actions may have on the children we come in contact with, especially those who may not be so black or white,   in the gifted or non-gifted sense… but perhaps many hued….So for all the creative/visual types, and also in view of the fact that next year will be the International Year of Giftedness and Creativity, and some very Creative people in New Zealand will be hosting the WCGTC 2013 Conference, ‘The Soul of Giftedness’, – and creativity would be an inherent part of any gifted soul… I offer again, a personal experience in a poem….   Also, Please do not forget to also Click on the Blog image below to follow the tour to find the most wonderful collection of writings on gifted and be amazed as it unfolds!!!!…… )

 

Sometimes, as teachers and/or parents, in our busy worlds we can forget how much of an influence we may have on those precious souls in our care..  the emergence of a rare talent/creativity in any form, can often be tentative, and fragile and unsure.. often a product of  incredible sensitivity. It can be  most painfully squashed, and take years if  ever, to  have the confidence to appear again… often only if  met by another who understands..

“Unforgotten”

(by me!!- Leslie S. Graves)

You asked us

to draw a beautiful memory

We each had

Lovely coloured crayons

supplied

a blank paper and eyes

opened wide

We were only four, some of us

were even five

with tumbling fingers

scribbling hard, each

Hoping our picture

would please teacher

Ah..but I was one who considered

before I scribbled

and instead of dreamy shapes

I drew a train

complete with whistles, coal and flame

on tracks,

It’s engineer waved a cane

and shouted

‘ALL ABOARD’

You were working at

your desk

Did not notice, pick mine

out from  the rest

At the end of the day

during circle time

you asked us to identify

and take home our

drawing

Mine came up, next  to last

two hands came up

You who failed to see

my hand that worked so

diligently

Gave it not to me

but to another child

And then you wondered

why I cried and

would not love the

Circle left on that

last sheet as if it were my own

I would never draw again

Until many years had flown

Until a kind man

In another school saw a

doodle in a book

With passion

His eyes wide open

His heart sincere and true

Placed a pencil back into

my hand

and said.. welcome home

‘Hello World’- Drawing by Leslie S. Graves- 2011

1. Gifted and interested..in…MATH

April 24, 2012 Leave a comment

This picture is from a very nice website called 'MathisFun' which is also included in my Math livebinder. I would ask that you visit it, with your students/children.. explore and have fun!!

‘Gifted and Interested … in.. MATH.. ‘

In this first of a series of 10 interest based pieces, in which  a number of links will be shared and discussed briefly in terms of how they may be useful in keeping certain students minds open to a subject that they could easily lose interest in, if very advanced, and being mainstreamed, or alternatively, may have no interest in due to a number of reasons, or feel that they have no use for past basic computation skills useful for buying items at a local mall.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I believe it can be useful to have an unusual collection of resources that just might keep a spark or interest alive in a subject for a student, thus allowing for continued engagement, this may be by linking it to another subject that you as the students teacher/parent or mentor may suspect would be met with a positive reception.  With this in mind, I recommend taking time to reflect about each student/child and write down what you have observed that they are into, or that you believe they may enjoy.. and then secondly think about how this could be linked or have relevance to the topic that is to be taught… in this instance we are talking Math.  Maybe you have a child that is/is not advanced/interested in Math, but also has a strong interest in Nature/gardening.  You  might be starting a collection of links or other activities based around these two themes as long as they are connected.  These then could be used/sprinkled throughout the year during lesson time or just spare time, to keep a student/child thinking and engaging with the subjects. Also to teach how interconnected subjects can be and why one may be necessary in real life at times, in order to fully understand and enjoy another.. and it’s intristic beauty..

To get you started, I am going to share a few items from my livebinders, in particular, and for this post the Livebinder on Math which I feel may be useful for some.  The binder is,  as all my binders are,  not very well organised, but does contain a wealth of links. I think of it more like a treasure chest that needs to be rummaged through as one looks for meaningful bits of treasure… you never know what you will find within.

Math and Nature 


A very visual way to show students how Math and our Natural World are connected would be to use videos such as this:

[you,tube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkGeOWYOFoA]

Another wonderful video, from How stuff works,  explains the connections between the two, just beautifully, click on the link below:

Understanding mathematics and Nature

It also explains geometric connections… this in turn, should one think it helpful, could also be applied to the idea that shapes, such as these are also integral to other disciplines such as Art, architecture and can come into play in many other subjects… Ask students to think how a triangle may be/relate to history?,  Strategical military planning ?, Gardening?…..   speaking of gardening…. take a look at the following links:

The Cosmic Garden– is a very special garden in England that is only open once a year for a limited time. It is laid out in all kinds of Mathematical pathways, shapes, structures, flower beds, bridges and forms… This would make a good field trip for anyone living nearby, or alternatively give ideas for a revamping project of a schools own garden… Could some of these ideas be adapted to suit? Would student(s) take on a challenge to build/plant a small mathematical cosmic garden at home/school grounds?

Labyrinth– or Mazes as they are more commonly known, also involve numbers and math… it may interest students to know that they are not only found in activity books or on sheets of paper… but there are many many different kinds, including living growing mazes in a number of gardens, both older historical ones, and more modern ones,  in different countries in the world.. There are even some that are made out of corn fields, or Maize Mazes,  and appear and disappear each year!!   Could students work out how to grow one?,  a mini one that perhaps a class hamster could negotiate?,  Or alternatively if living in a rural farming/corn/growing community could a school or class plan and see if they could  grow one over a year… A project that could yield fundraising money for the school, as students open the Maize Maze to the public a month before harvest, and could charge an entry fee….

Apart from these wonderful growing things links, there are loads of ways to explore … and a number of additional links to do so can be found by digging around a little in my math livebinder…

Math and Music?

There are connections between Math and Music… which might surprise but also spark interest in students who may have a passion for both or either..

Leibniz once said that “music is the pleasure the human mind experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting”.  –  is a quote taken from this site called ‘Music of the Primes‘-  that has a wealth of information and resources

The Prime number listening Guide – calls itself – ‘a noisy introduction to prime number theory…’   — it has some good interactive and noisy activities…

Where Math meets Music  explores sound wave patterns, frequency and sound engineering

Harmony and proportion explores math in musical harmonies and interestingly linking back to philosophers (this could also have scope for those students who may enjoy classics… )

Feel free to explore my Math Livebinder by clicking below, for links such as these related to

Math and Art Math and Arquitecture Math and Food Math and Codes Math and Cards Math and knitting/quilts Math and cats Math and Real World Math and well, just a whole lot of things on this planet that we all share…

Happy hunting!!!  I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and  have found that the information that has been shared has been in some way helpful. Remember, this livebinder, and many others can also be accessed through the useful link tab from the top menu bar of this blog.

Which livebinder will I share and explore with folks next Monday?  Well, come back again and find out in 7 days time!!

Yours in gifted

Leslinks ;-D

Encounters with Giftedness and writing with dragons

February 22, 2012 1 comment

I was remembering a group of students I was working with on a writing workshop long ago.. it was a story about dragons on a different planet.  Not very innovative, granted, as there are many stories out there about dragons.  However, it was writers choice, so there you go.  Kids like dragons.  Gifted kids not excluded.  The difference was, they decided that each dragon had to be part of the same story, however each dragon would have a special strength, that would help them on a quest, a strength that  would  be  linked to their  riders in some  way. The idea being that this would get them to reflect on their inner selves and what they felt their strengths were, and how this would manifest in another (their dragons).  (the writers were the riders.. you understand)… they would be searching the planet for a ‘lost dragon egg’.. (no novelty there either I am sure.. )…  None of the students in this group in school had been identified as particularly able.  The interesting thing  about this story was the identification of one young lads perception of his strength and how this was displayed.  Jake ( a fictitious name), was rather quiet, timid and seemed reluctant to join into the conversation, however oddly, his eyes seemed to off into another place, as the possibilities within the story idea where being discussed.  A few minutes were given for the participants to draw a rough picture of their Dragons, which many did, complete with some of the various features associated with the ‘strengths and abilities’ they wished to attribute to their steeds.

We had many large and ferocious beasts, most breathed fire, had talons and special magic powers. Some were strong and athletic looking.  Some were very smart, and could mind read, or outsmart enemies.  Some were very colourful. We had a kind one that could heal others with it’s breath.  Jake, now Jake worked on his slowly and carefully, and was one  of the last to show me his  sketch. I was  taken aback by it’s unusual nature, as unlike the others it was not quite as big or bold or colourful.  Jake’s dragon not only wore glasses (like Jake), it was drawn in black ink, and constructed from swirls and curls, graphic artish, with large and beautiful wings.  More interestingly, instead of claws or talons, his dragon had pen nubs at the end of each toe on each foot..  When I asked him to tell me about this wonderfully intriguing creature, he replied ‘Well, as I am am ‘actually’ only  good at  writing, and  I am not very strong, at sport or anything, I thought I would give my dragon the power to ‘Rewrite’.  If I don’t like the way the story is going, or we need to change it than my dragons feet have the power to do that…..  ‘  Wow..

I think that was a powerful gift for a dragon to have…  I also think this was rather a good example of outside the box thinking from Jake.  A sign of potential giftedness, maybe??  As a teacher, would I be giving this kid a second look?  I like think about Jake now and then and wonder.  I’d like to think he’s doing alot of rewriting and writing and that someday I may be reading and rereading his stories… ;-D