Challenging gifted children

Percy L. Abram, PhD offers suggestions on how to challenge gifted children and avoid the trap of perfectionism
Parenting Advice | Challenging Gifted Children
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Challenging gifted children

High achieving students in language arts and mathematics often have a very fixed idea of what it means to be a good reader and what it means to be a good math student. The program that we use at my school is a spiraling program in mathematics, so students get exposure to a number of different mathematical concepts in the early elementary grades, and it spirals through. So there are students who may pick up ideas of decimals, fractions, percentages, very early on. And those who don't know that throughout the year, they're going to have an opportunity to pick up on those again as the year continues. What I like to talk to students about when we're talking about math is its broader applicability outside of the worksheet. So when students may feel that they have their numeracy skills down, we then move on to how are you going to apply that to building of a map? How are you going to apply that ideas related to money? How are you going to apply to that something you may be interested in outside of the school, whether it's sports or music or dance? And what we find is that there are broader applications for mathematical concepts that students aren't even thinking about despite their strength in computational skills. And I think it's the same with language arts. We have a lot of students who are great readers but don't understand the components of telling a story. So giving them that opportunity to understand the arc of a story, giving them understanding to tell through words, through writing, or even now with technology through pictures how a story is arranged gives them a sense that language arts is really much more than reading words on a page.

Percy L. Abram, PhD offers suggestions on how to challenge gifted children and avoid the trap of perfectionism


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Percy L. Abram, PhD

Head of School

Percy Abram is the Head of Gateway School.  Gateway School is a Kindergarten – 8th grade independent school in Santa Cruz, CA.  Prior to joining Gateway School, Dr. Abram was the Upper Division Director at Brentwood School in Los Angeles.  An LA native, Dr. Abram received his B.A. (Economics) and M.A. (Education) degrees from UCLA, and his M.A. (Sociology) and Ph.D. (Education) from Stanford University.  Dr. Abram and his wife are the parents of a 10-year old daughter and 7-year old son, and despite running a school and being responsible for 260 students each day, he still finds parenting his most challenging job.

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