BOOKNEWS AND SOFTWARE REVIEW
Terman's Kids: The Groundbreaking Study of How the Gifted Grow Up by Joel N. Shurkin. Little, Brown, 1992.
This book is an excellent resource for those individuals who would like to learn more about the gifted, and to read a concise description of Terman's research. Shurkin has provided readers with a complete description of the technical details of Terman's longitudinal study of about 2,000 intellectually gifted individuals. This study began in the 1920s when they were elementary school pupils and continued with follow-up surveys in the 1930s through 1980s. Its long-term examination of the characteristics and achievements of the gifted is still the best study ever conducted on the nature and development of giftedness. Shurkin's book is unique because it emphasizes the human elements of Terman's subjects (his "Termites"!), rather than research statistics, by pro- viding fascinating descriptions of their lives. For example, he describes the life of Beatrice Carter, who with an IQ of 192, was one of the most intellectually advanced of the 2,000 subjects. Many other "Termites" are described in this book such as Ancel Keys who as a child had a voracious appetite, and who grew up to become a physiologist at Cambridge and Harvard universities. In 1960, he and his wife published a highly successful book on nutrition entitled, Eat Well and Stay Well. There was Shelley Smith who became a correspondent during World War II, was captured in the Philippines by the Japanese, and remained a prisoner of war along with her husband until 1943 when both were repatriated. After the War, she covered the Japanese surrender in the Philippines and Japan's reconstruction. There are many other interesting and inspiring stories in Shurkin's book concerning gifted individuals first identified by Terman's tests of intelligence. Their lives and accomplishments offer strong support for continuing to use well-designed intelligence tests as an integral part of the identification process.The Creators: A History of the Heroes of the Imagination by Daniel J. Boorstin. Random House, 1992.
Besides being of great value to educators and parents interested in the humanities, this book would be a very useful resource in advanced secondary and college level humanities courses. It is written by a former Librarian of Congress who is one of our nation's preeminent scholars and historians. The Creators is divided into four major sections: The Riddle of Creation: A Prologue, Creator Man, Re-Creating The World, and Creating The Self. The author has included chapters within each of these sections which provide the reader with detailed histories of creative achievements in the arts and humanities. The range of creations and creators discussed by Boorstin is enormous -- beginning with the creators of religions such as Confucius and Buddha; proceeding with an analysis of great stone monuments, e.g., the Pyramids and Stonehenge, and the images created by early man in Altamira, Lascaux and Les Trois Frères; discussing the images of the Egyptian Pharaohs (their hieroglyphs), ancient Greeks, Romans, and early Christianity; examining the birth of Greek Theater and its development of Tragedy and Comedy; describing the creation of prose by the Greek philosophers, e.g., Plato, Socrates and Aristotle; demonstrating the creative achievements of the Middle Ages in philosophy (Boethius), music and Gothic architecture; explaining the great literary creations of the Renaissance by discussing the writings of Dante, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Rabelais and Crevantes; showing the development of English creativity in literature through the works of Shakespeare, Milton, Gibbon, and Dickens; Providing a concise history of Western and Chinese painting, symphonic music, and dance; and completing this incredible journey into the history of creativity with a detailed account of European literature and modern art. The Creators is a companion book to Boorstin's earlier volume, The Discoverers (1983). We highly recommend both works to parents and teachers of the gifted, and to gifted adolescents interested in history, literature, art, and other areas of the humanities. These books represent the achievements of a genius of historical organization, sensibility and analysis. BRAVO, Dr. Boorstin, for a grand accomplishment of intellectual integrity, creativity and greatness!
The Mutanoid Math Challenge (for ages 7 to 14) by Legacy Software; 9338 Reseda Blvd., 2nd Floor; North- ridge, CA 91324. Telephone: 1-800-532-7692.
This is a challenging, ScrabbleTM-like arithmetic game for an IBM PC or compatible with at least 512K of RAM. It can be run from either a floppy or hard drive with either a keyboard or mouse. The theme of this neat, colorful and wacky software is that planet Earth has been totally taken over by junk and trash in the year 2020. Rockets full of junk are launched into space to make more room for people. Aliens encase themselves in this space-junk so they look like broken-down refrigerators, bent out-of-shape barbecue grills, and toothless chain saws, etc. They look silly, are covered with glop, and become the laughing stock of the universe. To seek revenge, they challenge students in grades two through eight to fast moving arithmetic games involving the completion of various types of arithmetic operations and word problems. Students choose a particular Mutanoid to compete against, one of three difficulty levels, and select other options such as Sound and Timer. Points are assigned to both student and Mutanoid performance; a game board shows rankings and displays the winners' Trophies. Number relationships, mathematical concepts and different problem-solving skills are learned in the context of a cleverly executed graphics animation program. It should stimulate the mathematics performance of elementary level gifted students, particularly the second and third levels of difficulty.
CURRENT ARTICLES FROM NEWSLETTERS, MAGAZINES, ETC. FOR TEACHERS AND PARENTS:
Coercive Egalitarianism by Stephen Schroeder-Davis. Discusses the social factors which oppose high achievement, particularly in the gifted. From Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented News - May/June 1992. ADDRESS: 5701 Normandale Road; Minneapolis, MN 55424. Phone - 1-612-927-9546.
Scapegoating the Gifted: The New National Sport by Linda Kreger Silverman. Talks about how the gifted have become devalued by our society. From Connecticut Association for the Gifted Advocate - Spring/Summer 1992. ADDRESS: Box 581; Wallingford, CT 06492.
Notes: Was America A Mistake? by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. Argues that the revisionist reaction against Christopher Columbus is overblown. From The Atlantic - September 1992.
The Concord Review - Fall 1992. This fascinating issue contains many excellent historical articles written by high school students. ADDRESS: P.O. Box 661; Concord, MA 01742.
DISCUSSION OF A GREAT CLASSIC BY JAMES FENIMORE COOPER
BY MICHAEL E. WALTERS
"....He draws his metaphors from the clouds, the seasons, the birds, the beasts, and the vegetable world."
This description of how Native Americans derive their language from nature is part of the Introduction by James Fenimore Cooper to his masterpiece, The Last of the Mohicans (1826). . The recent release of the new movie version enables us to again appreciate the author. There is much in this novel that will appeal to the gifted child. Besides being an exciting epic tale, it encompasses several areas of the academic curriculum. The first is the history of North America which enables the reader to understand that this Continent in 1757 included the French Canadian and Indian cultures as well as the Anglo-Saxon culture. Gifted students like to view history from different vantage points. Cooper presents us with a living history, and confronts us with the historical perspective of all these cultures. We relive the experiences of Montcalm, the French general; the varied Native American tribes, e.g., Iroquois, Mohawks and Hurons; the frontier people; and the British imperial need for political dominance. Cooper also promotes a keen interest in the ecological legacy of our Continent. Moreover, the gifted child will learn a lesson concerning the integrity of the creative artist: Cooper achieved anthropological, sociological and historical insights of incredible accuracy and sensitivity. This novel possesses a nobility of soul; the gifted will have their sensibility refined and stimulated by reading it and seeing the movie. "It is impossible to describe the music of their language, while thus engaged in laughter and endearments, in such a way as to render it intelligible to those whose ears have never listened to its melody. The compass of their voices, particularly that of the youth, was wonderful; extending from the deepest bass, to tones that were even feminine in softness...." (Description of the language of the Mohicans, from Chapter XIX, The Last of the Mohicans).
******* Maurice D. Fisher, Publisher, © Gifted Education Press, October-November 1992 ********