Richard Sherman- Resilient and Gifted
I'm sure you have all heard the media coverage of Richard Sherman. I grew a little weary about all the hype myself, but I have to admit I sure was excited this morning to receive the email (below) from one of our wonderful parents of a young child in our school district, referencing this article about Sherman. Check it out yourself if you have a few extra minutes today: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/sports/football/seahawks-richard-sherman-is-much-more-than-just-talk.html?ref=sports&_r=1
I was very moved by how well this article highlights the idea that amazing and gifted children can sometimes slip through the cracks if they aren't resilient themselves, and it made me think even more about how we all should be doing a much better job recognizing these kids so they all get the chance to shine. The important part is not that Richard grew up to be famous (although Seahawks fans are sure glad he did!) but even more that he was a very intelligent child who continued to work hard through adversity.
Many people see the video of him yelling after the last Seahawks game and automatically stereotype him- some have gone for far as to call him a "thug." Yet this man has an educational background many who judge him cannot boast about. It makes me think about all the other kids out there growing up with stereotypes holding them down. Not all of them are as strong and resilient as Richard Sherman. I hope we all will think hard about the ways our biases or stereotypes in our head might impact the way we judge children. Just because a child's behavior does not fit the mold you may imagine a "highly capable" child
should have, or if a child does not have help at home for their homework time, or if a child is not the top of every class, it doesn't mean they aren't gifted. We have to look past the things that hold kids down and discourage them from achieving before we can truly judge their intellect or the way their brains are wired.
Richard Sherman believes that if you visualize what you want in life, you can create it. Wouldn't it be great if we helped even more brilliant kids visualize ways they can rise above hardships and become even more successful? What a wonderful article and (from what I have seen so far) a role model of a man.
Prodigy Child with HIGH ENERGY!
I also received a message this morning from a teacher with this quote: "Here's a gifted kid that is probably no peach in a classroom setting!" And a link to this cute Ellen show clip. http://blog.petflow.com/my-jaw-dropped-when-i-saw-what-this-7-yr-old-did-on-the-ellen-show-this-will-blow-your-mind/
Here is an absolutely wonderful pianist who is a young child FULL of ENERGY! Yes, I agree, this kid would be hard to teach in a "traditional" classroom if he wouldn't sit still and had so much to be excited about. But squelching that energy would not be productive. So how can we harness that kind of excitement and love of life and use it to help propel this child through learning even more about things in the world? Sitting him in a classroom where a teacher talks and talks and giving him work that he is not adequately excited or challenged by might hurt the talents he has by taking away that spark. How can we nurish our high-energy kiddos? (Not every child is a prodigy in some specific area like this kid is with piano, but so many gifted kids show this same level of energy- it's often misdiagnosed as ADHD and it can really hinder a child's learning to have teachers who don't understand them...)
How can we let these high energy kids be unique and support their interests and yet still get information into their developing brains? Research shows that kids learn best with differentiated learning situations- with teachers who reach out to them in ways that stimulate them with their interests and with interesting things. This is a child who would benefit from the idea of using technology like Youtube videos or other online challenges to catch his interest... a child who would likely soar with individual research projects he could present to the class... or classes where drama is used to emphasize information... With these kids we have to stay a step ahead of them in our own creativity. And yet imagine the benefits of the extra time we have to take to think of interesting ways to reach them- if you struggle against them to try to fit them in the box you will
struggle more every single day than if you help them fly.
THANK YOU to those of you who are sharing such wonderful examples of gifted adults and children. This is truly a grass roots effort to reach out to even more of our students who have high intellect but aren't always easy to spot when we are looking for kids to refer for services. We have done wonders this year in increasing our referral numbers from our lower income areas and see a large increase in cultural diversity in our referral pool- but we still have so much work to do. Thank you again for caring so much and for working with us as a village.
Have a wonderful week!
Here is the email I got from a parent:
We read this article
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/sports/football/seahawks-richard-sherman-is-much-more-than-just-talk.html?ref=sports&_r=0 and remembered the discussion we had regarding identifying gifted students
Greg and Jaque