Motivating Gifted Students and Others: Updated 2/28/16
The Future Belongs to the
By Alan Haskvitz, teacher
National Teachers Hall of Fame
USA Today All American Educator, Tech Magazine Leaders Award
Reader’s Digest Hero in Education, Leavey Economics Award.
NCSS Middle Level Teacher of the Year, National Exemplary Program
Learning Magazine Professional Best American Teacher Award
Cherry International Great Teacher Award; Three Golden Bells
George Washington Freedom Foundation Award, McAuliffe Award
State/National Awards in economics, technology, ecology, agriculture,
economics, art, service learning, journalism, English, history,
photography, creative writing, civics, engineering, coaching
Featured on NPR, in CNN, Time, Newsweek, and USA Today
Featured in several textbooks, and national television, and books
Never been observed by District, State or Federal official
Some of My articles are here
Underachievement is a behavior and thus can
change over time.
Underachievement is content and situation
Gifted children who do not succeed in school
are often successful in outside activities.
Underachievement is in the eyes of the
What, Me Worry?
Highly gifted kids will often adopt a pattern of
avoidance of hard work when they have never
learned to work hard.
Many students haven't had to work very hard
to do well, but that changes as they get older.
They may have gotten away with avoiding
things they don't do well.
Another thing to consider is that many gifted
kids, particularly the verbally gifted, would
rather argue a point instead of using facts.
Extrinsic Rewards result in a
“What’s in it for me” attitude.
Intrinsic Rewards result in the
building of self-esteem
Rewards need to promote long
term behavior change. They do not
need to be related to achievement.
Ideas that work
Short term. What is the learning involved?
Cover material in more depth
Do less. Use Tom Sawyer Approach
Use a variety of methods
Appeal to their negative nature
Get them on your side.
Avoid Dead End Projects
Where is this assignment leading
Application of Learning
Motivation can be
related to methods
-Alter the curriculum, but don’t change the objective
-Accept different proofs of knowledge
-You need to realize that good words can be “bad”
-Fear of success
-Always value talking to student and asking opinions
Want to Get Student's Attention in a Hurry?
Today we are going to learn how to do a
Hand students form with room for name,
address, contact numbers.
Next ask them to write education they have.
Next add experience, achievements, etc.
“That is what you have accomplished to date.”
Remember that your are investing in yourself
A Common Trait
Gifted students, in most cases are
good test takers, and have the
ability to remember things more
quickly. But they aren't gifted in
the sense that they have a gift.
What they have is a different way
of learning, and even that may
reflect only one part of the
curriculum such as music, or math.
They can more easily
Dealing with Problems
If you see a student having a
problem, visit other students
before and after your visit.
Use Lost Scout
How did they get lost?
Achievement is Not
It's important to remember that
while you may get a student to do
homework it may not be
motivating to the child.
They need to learn where the
material is leading. They need to
see the path.
Make it Meaningful
Teach them speed reading
Teach them how to write by showing them the
structure writers use. End First
Give them the answer and they produce the question
Relate to their life
>Turn it to your
>Importance of team
>Help others be better
>Avoid “The Best”
It Teaches Avoidance
Learn by Doing
Prove that you know this
How would you teach this
Use variety of
Don’t underestimate value of
(what they learned)
Today I learned
Motivating as they look back
Helps them organize their
Enables them to see direction
1. Use memory cards
2. Use Cornell note taking
3. Invent secret
4. Write own textbook
Getting Them Organized
Battle Plan for the Day
Make connections across
Large sheet of paper
should be an
Publish, Research, be Active
It is motivating for students to be
proud of their teacher
Don't put up student
Don’t isolate students
Don’t compare their work
Don’t judge creativity
Any gifted child can potentially get in real
trouble because of the way they are
Genius without education is like silver in
the mine. – Benjamin Franklin
Each time we steal a student's struggle,
we steal the opportunity for them to build
self-confidence. They must learn to do
hard things to feel good about
themselves. – Sylvia Rimm
You can never hold a person down
without staying down with him. – Booker
High Interest Sites
The first recorded trial - in 824 - took place when moles did something wrong in
the Valley of Aosta (near today's Italian-Swiss border). Found guilty, the
offending moles were excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
E. P. Evans, in his 1906 book entitled The Criminal Prosecution and Capital
Punishment of Animals, tells us that judging animals extends back in time to
ancient Greece. Even inanimate objects - such as a fallen pillar - could become a
criminal defendant. The point of the cases was to investigate how terrible events
had come about.
Awesome Stories is the best source of material for motivating gifted students
based on content and diversity.
Awesome Stories is Offering 30 Free
This site that allows students to publish work,
correlates well with Common Core, and offers
exciting and motivating stories. It is well worth
a click or two. A great site for flipping, sponge
activities and to develop interests.
Example of Awesome Stories
The Little Boy Who Can Change the Weather: El Niño - Preface
You are a drop of rainwater and were born in a nimbus cloud that also produced your
brothers and sisters. People living on earth call all of you precipitation. We'll just call you
Now it isn't easy being a raindrop. When you are small, about 1 millimeter (the size of a
pencil point), you are spherical and have a shape like a flattened bun. You grow by
running into other drops until you reach about 4.5 millimeter and start to fall turning you
into a little parachute with a tube of water around your base. As you fall you break up into
smaller drops as the wind pressure pushes against you until you are flattened. Some of
your brothers and sisters are larger because they have collided with others, but you are
just glad to be done with the wild journey that started when you were born from water
vapor and a little nuclei such as a piece of salt that has evaporated from the sea water or
a bit of dust.
El Nino continued
Since seventy-one percent of the Earth's surface is ocean the chances are, Drippy, you
are going to fall into an ocean. Since the largest is the Pacific the odds are that that ocean
is going to be your landing place. Depending on the weather, your temperature is going to
be between 32°F and 80°F. If it is below that temperature then you would be a snow flake.
To give you an idea of what that temperature means, your bath is probably between 98°F
and a very hot 108°F.
You probably want to know what is going to happen to you once you land in the ocean.
Well, Drippy, you are fresh water and very precious. Only three percent of all the water on
Earth can claim to be fresh water. You are still fresh water when you land on a calm ocean.
If the ocean does not have any wind or waves you join with your fellow raindrops and
create a fresh water layer on the ocean. However, most of the time the ocean has waves
and wind and so you slowly mix with the ocean water and become saline or salt water that
makes up 97 percent of the Earth’s water.
Environmental, Familial, and Personal Factors
That Affect the Self-Actualization of Highly
Gifted Adults: Case Studies
Introduction and Literature Review,
Deborah L. Ruf, Ph.D.
Number one way to
reach gifted students:
Characteristics of gifted children predispose
them to existential distress. Because brighter
people are able to envision the possibilities of
how things might be, they tend to be idealists.
However, they are simultaneously able to see
that the world falls short of their ideals.
Unfortunately, these visionaries also recognize
that their ability to make changes in the world
is very limited. Dabrowski’s Theory and
Existential Depression in Gifted Children
Selected for Bright Idea Award
Represented the United States
in International Technology
competition in Rome
Worked with Joy Hakim on her
book, The Story of Us
Selected best from 20,000
entries and they testified at the
United Nations on the
importance of environmental
None of these were in
curriculum area taught
Students' work was selected the best from
12,000 entries earned an all expense paid trip
to Washington DC to meet the President.
The National Wildlife Federation selected
program as best from 9000 entries for
students involvement in political action and
Student’s integrated work in agriculture was
chosen as one of the top 12 in the nation and
was shared on national television.
Students’ research was published in the
National Middle School Newsletter.
Students passed state environmental
Students Piloted the Close-Up Foundations
National Community Service Program.
Graffiti campaign reduced graffiti by 90
percent in the community.
Students' work was the centerpiece for the
County of Los Angeles summit called by the
Los Angeles Registrar of Voters and lead to
rewriting of county and state voting forms.
Students' class work has earned trips them to
the United Nations, Washington DC, Tampa,
CNN in Atlanta, Sea World, and Disneyland in
Students won five congressional writing
competitions and over 20 essay and speech
Students were finalist City of the Future
engineering competition for industrial
Students’ work selected by Oregon Trail and
California Oregon Trail group for their sites.
Students' work on environmental friendly
driving techniques featured on DMV website.
Knows the answers
Enjoys same-age children
Asks the questions
Gets involved physically and
Plays around; still gets good
Questions the answers
Prefers adults or older
Differences Part Two
Learns with ease
6-8 repetitions for mastery
Grasps the meaning
Good at guessing
Bored -- already knew the
Shows strong feelings and
Highly critical of self
Has wild, silly ideas
Discusses in detail; elaborates
1-2 repetitions for mastery
Differences Part 3
Creates a new design
Thrives on complexity
Is keenly observant
How Do I Know if My Child is Gifted
Differences in Gifted, High Achievers
Janice Szabos, Challenge, 1989, Good Apple, Inc.,
Poor Teacher Training: End of Gifted Teaching
Making a Difference: Motivating Gifted
Students Who Are Not Achieving
Del Siegle D. Betsy McCoach
Motivating Gifted Studen
Helping Gifted Student
Marylou Kelly Streznewski in
her book Gifted Grown Ups:
The Mixed Blessings of
Extraordinary Potential, gifted
people may make up as much
as 20 percent of the prison
Education for the Gifted
--Blend the strands together by integrating
--Re-examine product by asking the Five Whys
--Evaluate Process, not Product
--Consider classroom center for evaluation
--Avoid dead ends by ReWeaving
--Work rapidly, but return to weave new material
--Motivates students through self-assessment
I asked Mom if I
was a gifted child.
She said they
have PAID for me.
– Calvin (Calvin &