Savvy's Amazing Toddlers

Every year, Savvy highlights the accomplishments of talented local teens in our Amazing Teens feature. Now, we are opening it up to the little ones, too! Nominate your toddler (under the age of 5) to be featured in "Amazing Toddlers" in the July issue of Savvy. All we need is a little info about what makes your rugrat so amazing, a current picture and a little info.

Submissions can be serious or silly. Does your child sleep through the night? Is your trophy case bursting at the seams? Is he/she super kind and talented? Tell us what makes your kids exceptional! Deadline to submit to Amazing Toddlers is June 10. Must be available to attend a photo shoot in Little Rock on June 15. To enter email savvy@arktimes.com and include: 

  • Parent(s) name
  • Child's name
  • Child's age
  • City
  • 200-300 words on what makes your kid amazing
  • Current picture

*Incomplete submissions will not be considered

Inside XTreme Bugs

 

Bugs are taking over the Clinton Presidential Center at the exhibit "Xtreme Bugs," so we headed to the Clinton Center this weekend to see what all the buzz was about.

My stepkids both run screaming from a room at the sight of a bug no matter how small and harmless, so tensions were a little high on the beautiful walk up to the museum. Questions like "Are the giant bugs real? Are they going to grab us? Will they be able to step on us?" were mostly answered before we caught sight of the giant critters moving around the front fountains, and everyone was all smiles. 

The exhibit features 20 larger-than-life animatronic insects to help visitors get an up-close perspective on a few favorite creepy-crawlers. Kids can learn some cool facts about the extreme nature of bugs by exploring why bugs look and behave as they do.  Informational signs throughout offer insight to fun and interesting facts about bugs (did you know cockroaches can hold their breath for 40 minutes?!). The detailed, moving bugs were great, but one of our kids' favorite elements of the exhibit was an interactive touch-screen board, that quizzed them on the bugs, and let them listen in on some of the noises they make in the wild.

The exhibit will be up through July 23. We recommend you check it out if you're not too squeamish! clintonfoundation.org.

 
 

Monster Jam

By Amy Gordy

 

If you're looking for something fun and different to do tonight, check out Monster Jam at Verizon arena. Enormous trucks go head-to-head competing for arena-fame and glory. My stepson, who I had no idea was a fan until I told him about the tickets, informed me that Gravedigger is the best—"he always wins." Gravedigger was actually pretty impressive. The larger than life truck ramped up a miniature mud mountain, balanced on two wheels and then roared backward. The crowd (including us) obviously went wild. The drivers hopped out to do ATV races, a donut competition and more until the grand finale where everyone got what they came for—big cars crushing little cars.

 
Monster Jam
 

Highlights included:

  • Funnel cake
  • Two female drivers!
  • The truck painted up like a zombie—brains and everything!
  • The audience doing "zombie arms"
  • Getting some quality time with my stepson, and him kind of thinking I'm cool, even if only for 2 hours.
Those are brains on top!

Those are brains on top!

The last show is tonight, and tickets start at $17. Check it out and don't forget earplugs or noise canceling headphones for kids and adults. 

 
 

Becoming Gifted

By Dr. Christine Deitz

 
Dr. Christine Deitz

Today’s public schools do more than a respectable job of identifying children of advanced ability for gifted and talented programs and services. Gifted services are typically decided on a case-by-case basis, and on a child’s need for creative and critical learning experiences beyond the traditional classroom. In short, gifted children require special services and supported opportunities to fully develop their potential.

Beyond a Number

Traditional thought suggests giftedness begins with an IQ of 130. In the past, high IQ scores were an indication that a child required acceleration or enrichment options. Giftedness today is assessed differently—not by the speed at which blocks are rearranged into specific patterns, but by documenting the way children create and solve problems, and by the rate in which they master content. For adults, however, there is no committee of GT professionals to decide they have an advanced ability for baking, creating spreadsheets, or selling used cars.

We know talents and gifts develop over time. Is it possible to for adults to become gifted?

As adults mature and experience life, skills sharpen and attitudes deepen to the extent that individuals gain expertise in creative problem solving. As an adult, you may feel smarter, quicker and wiser than you did as an adolescent or young adult. Even decades after you have completed your formal education, your mental capabilities continue to grow. Perhaps you feel a heightened sense of awareness. Perhaps you are more funny or clever than you ever were as a teenager! What parent cannot re-engineer a jacket zipper or help a child produce a science fair project over night? Is it possible you are becoming gifted?

The answer is, “Yes!” Having a propensity to be truly good at something, a fascination in a particular area of interest, or a passionate focus on a topic is more than likely an indication of some advanced ability. As adults, we definitely benefit from having the time and opportunity to develop expertise in an area that may or may not be work related. As our mature selves, we also have more resources available that allow us to follow through with an area of interest. So, yes, you may be becoming gifted!

Growing Giftedness

How can adults develop their area of potential? Find a mentor and engage in projects with other adults who have sharper skills than you. Whether it is on the tennis court, at work or at the card table learn from someone who challenges you and helps you sharpen your edge. It is important to know that you do not have to be accomplished in everything in order to be gifted. People often excel in one particular area like math, writing, sports, communication or technology.

You may not have been identified as an advanced student in school, but as an adult, you can set your own agenda to develop your specific talents and abilities. I do not recommend online surveys or quizzes that indicate if you are gifted, smart or otherwise advanced. These surveys are designed for entertainment purposes and do not offer meaningful insight regarding your capabilities. Rather, trust yourself. Appreciate how you’ve grown and developed over the years. What are your passion areas? Are you a budding or accomplished artist, orator or people person? Recognizing your area(s) of strength(s) is a good indication of where your gifts and talents lie.

Daily Think Tasks

Because your brain behaves like a muscle, it requires lots of water and frequent exercise. Increasing an awareness of your daily creative and critical thinking time will grow those dendrites! I recommend the following:

  • Solve puzzles (crossword, Sudoku, logic, etc.)
  • Practice your passion
  • Discover how something works
  • Learn something new (many universities offer courses online!)
  • Ask “what” and “how” questions; figure out the “why”
  • Create something
  • Fix something
  • Improve something
  • Read for pleasure and for information
  • When faced with a problem, create more than one solution
  • And… Be forever curious

I hope you will continue to think about your potential and your giftedness. Advanced and talented individuals play an incredibly critical role in today’s society. Please continue your exploration of gifted issues by visiting these awesome resources:

Authors’ Note:
Christine Deitz, Ed.D. is the Associate Director of the Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. Prior to this position, she was the specialist for gifted secondary programs for the Little Rock School District and a consultant for College Board in social sciences. She is a National Board Certified Teacher, author, speaker, consultant and gifted child advocate. She has received numerous recognitions from the National Association for Gifted Children and is a regular presenter at state and national conferences on curriculum, teacher effectiveness, and needs of gifted children. Email Christine at mcdeitz@ualr.edu.