"Gifted and Talented" is how they are identified in the educational system, but that "label" doesn't begin to scratch the surface when describing my students. Curious, inquisitive, and intellectual are often ways my students are described. Creative, artistic, and musical are other characteristics. Difficult, stubborn, and defiant also describe these amazing children. There is no one description that adequately describes all gifted students, but there is one thing that everyone agrees on: gifted students need opportunities to explore and develop all aspects of their giftedness and learn that their uniqueness is a strength and not a weakness.
"Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid," Albert Einstein.
Remembering that each person is a unique individual with unique needs and unique learning styles is the key to being able to effectively reach, teach, and support these amazing young people.
Hopefully we've all had that experience of reading a book that powerfully "spoke" to us, a book whose characters we could relate to, and whose struggles and triumphs we identified with. Bibliotherapy is the process of helping the reader learn about and cope with any social or emotional struggles or developmental needs by identifying with a character in a book who shares a similar struggle or need. Using bibliotherapy with gifted students helps them gain insight into their own giftedness. Define "Normal" is a novel that completely dispels the idea of what being "gifted" looks like.
Define "Normal" is a poignant, darkly comic novel that challenges readers' definitions of what is "normal." Bibliotherapy presents gifted students with ideas for how to cope with some of the struggles of their giftedness.
These struggles can include finding meaningful friendships, depression, dealing with expectations, and being a unique learner when most of the students around them don't learn in the same way. The reality is that gifted students don't always have everything going for them, despite what people mat think. They come packaged with worries, sensitivities, quirks, and surprises, mixed with their unique intelligence. Connecting with a character similar to themselves helps them understand themselves and to know they are not alone.
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