Asheville Citizen-Times from Asheville, North Carolina on December 29, 2014 · Page Q7
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Asheville Citizen-Times from Asheville, North Carolina · Page Q7

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Asheville, North Carolina
Issue Date:
Monday, December 29, 2014
Page:
Page Q7
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WNCPARENT.COM 7 T hrough testing or just day-to-day life, you have recognized that your child is smart — really smart. Being intellectually gifted sounds like, well, a gift, but it comes with challenges too. Gifted learners need differentiated instruct ion through advanced material and stimulating, thought- provoking activities, both i nside and outside of school. You suspect your child is academically or intellectually gifted. Now what? First, schedule a conference and talk to your child’s teacher about your observations and the potential need for a change in instruction. “Parents are the child’s first teacher, s o they bring critical information about their child to the process,” says Judy McGuire, the AIG Facilitator for Bunc ombe County Schools. In county schools, “teachers, parents, a nd even students themselves can nomi- n ate an individual for the Academically/ Intellectually Gifted Program,” McGuire adds. “In third through eighth grade, once a student is identified as gifted, they receive weekly services from an A IG specialist in school and are clus- t ered in classrooms with at least five o ther gifted students.” “ I see gifted learners as students who c rave depth,” says Ian Riddle, Tek-Kids f ounder and instructor. “They want to a sk a lot of questions. They want to explore seemingly insignificant details. T raditional classrooms can’t always s upport this fully because of their size.” That’s where extracurricular enrichment comes in. G ifted enrichment is about more than d ifferentiated instruction at school. P arents must nurture their children’s t alents — extracurricular enrichment p rograms are an opportunity to do just t hat, and usually an ideal fit for gifted k ids. The key is to pick activities that are o f interest to your child — subjects they w ant to know more about. Math and science often come to mind when thinking of gifted individuals, but there are c reative opportunities, too. In fact, math a nd technology are creative. “ You can paint with math. You can w rite music with math. You can build g ames with technology,” Riddle says. “Math and technology are tools, and it is up to the individual to decide where to take it.” In area public schools, after-school enrichment activities include Odyssey of the Mind, Math Counts, Destination Imagination, Science Olympiad, chess club, robotics and more. The activities offered vary by school, so check your s chool’s website or call their office. Many programs are available outside the K-12 public schools as well. Super S aturday is UNC Asheville’s five-week Saturday morning educational enrichment program geared toward creative, h ighly motivated, and/or academically gifted students in grades three through eight. It provides opportunities for students to explore new ideas and broaden their perspectives through a wide array of experiential, “hands-on” courses in the arts and sciences — everything from Movie Making & Animation to Vikings, T heater Technology to Icky Sticky Biology. “Super Saturday is an amazing oppor- t unity for families of gifted students,” says Lori Davis, program coordinator of c ultural events and special academic p rograms at UNC Asheville. “It offers classes and projects on a variety of exploratory and creative topics that kids might not have time to explore in their day-to-day environment.” R iddell offers Sci/Tech/Engineering e nrichment classes and summer camps t hrough Tek-Kids. Most of Riddell’s pro- g rams are rich in technology, which s peaks to the majority of today’s kids. H owever, he offers classes like Hands- O n Geometry and Paper Airplanes & the Science of Flight for those less drawn to t echnology, too. T he bottom line is that learning can be fun and engaging, when it’s tailored to astudent’s intellectual level and inter- e sts. If your child is often bored in s chool or in other age-appropriate edu- c ational activities, it may be time to c onsider gifted education and enrich- m ent. GIFTED LEARNERS By Penny Williams WNC Parent contributor FOR MORE INFORMATION »Buncombe County Schools AIG Program: www.buncombe.k12.nc.us/ domain/4931 »Asheville City Schools AIG Program: http://bit.ly/13uC9Pq »Super Saturday: https://cesap. u nca.edu/super-saturday-program » Tek-Kids: https://sites.google.com/a/ tekkids.net/home2/home THINKSTOCK How do you accommodate children who need advanced learning?

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