GIFTED EDUCATION NEWS-PAGE
BOOK NEWS AND REVIEWS
Stand Up for Your Gifted: How to Make the Most of Kids' Strengths at School and at Home. (2001) by Joan Franklin Smutny. Foreword by Jerry Flack. Free Spirit Publishing, Minneapolis, MN.
This book addresses an important need in the gifted field by providing parents with clear and concise information on many topics pertaining to identification, education and advocacy issues. Smutny has also presented numerous case studies related to each topic that will help parents understand the daily problems of raising and educating their gifted children. Each major section (Starting at Home, Going to School, and Moving Into the Community and Beyond) has several chapters discussing the advocacy issues parents should learn about and apply in their homes and schools. For example, the section on Starting at Home has chapters on Understanding Giftedness, Understanding Your Child's Gifts, Providing a Haven for Learning, and others related to this section. The Going to School section includes chapters on Understanding Gifted Education, Getting to Know Your Child's School, Getting Involved in Your Child's Education, and Searching Out Other Education Options. The Final section, Moving Into the Community and Beyond, contains the following chapters: Connecting with Other Parents, Taking a Stand in Gifted Education, and Taking Care of Yourself. In the Other Resources section of this book, Smutny has included a list of publishers of gifted education materials and national organizations concerned with educating the gifted. We highly recommend this book to all parents who need a comprehensive resource for understanding the gifted field and learning how to provide the best possible education for their gifted children.
In Joan Smutny's discussion of the characteristics of giftedness, she says that sensibility is one of the key characteristics. Here are additional resources that discuss the importance of accessing and stimulating gifted children's sensibility levels:
Fisher, Maurice D. (1992). Early Childhood Education for the Gifted: The Need for Intense Study and Observation. Journal of the Illinois Association for Gifted Children, 11, 6-9.
Fisher, Maurice D. (1994). Fisher Comprehensive Assessment of Giftedness Scale: What to Look for When Identifying Gifted Students. Manassas, VA: Gifted Education Press.
Fisher, Maurice D. (1998). A Sensibility Approach to Identifying and Assessing Young Gifted Children. In Joan Smutny (Ed.). The Young Gifted Child: Potential and Promise, an Anthology. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, Inc.
Fisher, Maurice D. , and Walters, Michael E. (2000), Educating All Gifted Children for the 21st Century: Proposal for Training Regular Classroom Teachers. Journal of the Illinois Association for Gifted Children, 4-10.
Walters, Michael E. (1990) Teaching Shakespeare to Gifted Students, Grades Six Through Twelve: An Examination of the Sensibility of Genius. Manassas, VA: Gifted Education Press.
Walters, Michael E. (1996). Humanities Education for the 21st Century. Manassas, VA: Gifted Education Press.
Books Published by Gifted Education Press that Address Issues of Raising and Educating Gifted Children.
Carroll, James. (1997). Helping Gifted Children Succeed at Home and School. Manassas, VA: Gifted Education Press.
Fisher, Maurice D. (2000). Multiple Intelligences in the World. Manassas, VA: Gifted Education Press.
Fox, Lynn H., and Prejean, Andrea I. (1999). Bright Child: An Educational Guide for Parents and Teachers of Young Gifted Children, Grades K-6. Manassas, VA: Gifted Education Press.
Willard-Holt, Colleen, and Holt, Dan. (1998). Applying Multiple Intelligences to Gifted Education: I'm Not Just an IQ Score! Manassas, VA: Gifted Education Press.
The Life and Achievements of Albert Einstein, Nobel Prize Winner in Physics, 1921
Of the numerous books on Albert Einstein (1879-1955), we recommend the following well-written accounts of his life and work. His endeavors in scientific and humanitarian areas represent the highest levels of gifted sensibility:
Albert Einstein: A Biography (1997) by Albrecht Fölsing. Penguin Books, New York. Translated from German by Ewald Osers.
This comprehensive biography weaves Einstein's life and professional achievements into an informative study of genius. The author's technical explanations of relativity theory are clear and concise. Einstein was one of the greatest individuals in the history of physics who was also embroiled in political controversies throughout his life. These controversies kept his picture on the front pages of newspapers across the world, and resulted in his becoming one of the most well-known scientists in the twentieth century. In the political arena, he is remembered for his opposition to Germany's aggression in World War I, his urging President Franklin Roosevelt to support the construction of the atomic bomb, and his support of the state of Israel. In his letter (1939) to Roosevelt concerning the explosive potential of an atomic device, he said: "The new phenomenon would lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable - though much less certain - that extremely powerful bombs of this type may thus be constructed. . . ." (p. 711). In a letter (1919) to the London Times, he was prescient regarding his and Europe's future: "The description of me and my circumstances in The Times shows an amusing feat of imagination on the part of the writer. By an application of the theory of relativity to the taste of readers, today in Germany I am called a German man of science, and in England I am represented as a Swiss Jew. If I come to be regarded as a bete noire, the descriptions will be reversed, and I shall become a Swiss Jew for the Germans and a German man of science for the English." (p. 451).
Ideas and Opinions by Albert Einstein (1982). Three Rivers Press, New York.
Einstein was an outstanding essayist of the English language although his native language was German. His humanist concerns for many issues of society are reflected in this book. He discusses a wide range of topics including education, peace, human rights, science and religion, antisemitism, theoretical physics, and the future of the Jewish people. In Einstein's message to the Peace Congress of Intellectuals (1948), he said: "We scientists, whose tragic destination has been to help in making the methods of annihilation more gruesome and more effective, must consider it our solemn and transcendent duty to do all in our power in preventing these weapons from being used for the brutal purpose for which they were invented. What task could possibly be more important for us? What social aim could be closer to our hearts? . . ." (p. 148). This is why gifted students should study these essays - to learn that science, technology and humanitarian interests must work together to solve the world's problems.
GIFTED SENSIBILITY AND THE LITERATURE OF PRIVATE DETECTIVES:
DASHIELL HAMMETT (1894-1961) AND RAYMOND CHANDLER (1888-1959)
BY MICHAEL E. WALTERS CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF THE HUMANITIES IN THE SCHOOLS
"We're a scream. Reilly and Sternwood, two stooges in search of a comedian." from The Big Sleep (1939) by Raymond Chandler.
The two main archetypes in the American popular cultural imagination are the cowboy and private detective. These characters are paradoxical since one side to their personality is like a knight - they seek to make their environment right despite its flaws. The other side of their personality is concerned with how they go about their endeavors - they use a cynical and caustic approach to rectify corrupt practices. In this essay I will discuss the private detective as shown in the stories of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.
Gifted students will enjoy these writers and their subjects on both affective and cognitive levels. First, they will encounter some of the finest literary craftsmanship in contemporary American fiction. Hammett and Chandler were able to capture the elements of locale and characterization in their stories - this is why their books were successfully transferred into movies. Film critics considered the films from their books to be among the best American movies. Great directors and actors were attracted to these cinematic adaptations: The Maltese Falcon (1941, Hammett) - Director, John Huston; Actors, Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Mary Astor; and The Big Sleep (1946, Chandler) - Director, Howard Hawks; Actors, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The private detectives, Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon and Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep, were two of the most highly developed characters in American fiction, and both relied on the American vernacular to tell their stories.
Private detectives in a manner similar to Shakespeare's Hamlet sense that "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." - meaning something is amiss in the environment. However, unlike Hamlet they take the bull-by-the-horn. Through their inner tenacity, psychological intensity and physical courage, they seek to uncover the rotten elements of their society and solve mysteries related to the lack of personal integrity and social corruption. In going about their jobs, they display many different types of multiple intelligences.
Gifted students will find the writings of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler to be emotionally exciting and intellectually challenging. It would be a great opportunity for gifted adolescents to encounter these writers. Wonderful projects can be developed for both teaching writing skills and analyzing character by using their books. "Here's to plain speaking and clear understanding." (Sam Spade said this to the fat man, Casper Gutman, in The Maltese Falcon).
Maurice D. Fisher, Publisher, Copyright © by Gifted Education Press, December 2001-January 2002