Teaching Gifted Kids: A New Facebook Group for Elementary Teachers

Ok, friends. I'm taking a quick break from posting about vocabulary to let you know about something really great I've been working on behind the scenes with a few super talented friends of mine.

I'm going to start with a quick story about myself. If you've followed along with me on this blog (or if you know me IRL <---see how 'with it' I am? 😉 ha!), you know that I've taken a break from teaching for the past couple of years. You can read more about my journey here.

Anywayyyyy, when I was teaching, I used social media to post adorable pictures of my children and dog, connect with my current friends and family, catch up with old classmates, and keep an eye on the latest celebrity gossip.  Really, my social media use was limited to personal use for a large part of my teaching career because it wasn't really a *thing* until later on.

{Believe it or not, I got married and had my first child before I could make it "Facebook Official." Now I'm left wondering--did those things even happen?! Don't even get me started on how Pinterest didn't exist when I was planning my wedding. How did I even DO THAT? Sigh. I digress...}

I didn't join Facebook until 2009 (GASP!) and by that time, I had been teaching for about seven years. My first post on Instagram was in 2012, judging by how tiny and adorable my children were. 😊

So, while I'm not sure how many of you currently use social media in some form, I'm going to go ahead and assume that MOST of you use it to some degree, and you probably use it on a regular or semi-regular basis.

And I don't know about you, but when I was using social media during my time in the classroom, I was almost completely unaware of this growing population of teachers who were using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms to give people glimpses into their classrooms, offer tips about how they do things at school, and support each other on the wonderful, crazy, harrowing, stressful, amazing journey that is teaching.

But, let me tell you. I was missing OUT!

I've found out since having the ability to stay home and work on blogging and creating teaching resources, that there is this HUGE, WONDERFUL, INSPIRING community of teachers on many
of these social media platforms.

Teachers all over the world are taking time out of their busy days to share great bulletin boards they've created, collections of multicultural picture books they've amassed, inspiring professional books they've read, solutions to problems they've encountered, peeks into awesome professional development opportunities, and so much more. They've even created support groups on Facebook that are specific to grade level, subject area, and teaching specialty.

I've since joined several of these groups, in my quest to stay fresh and up to date with current issues facing teachers, and in part, to still feel connected to the people in the field of work that I love so much. I've been able to read about the success teachers have experienced in connecting with their students, offer advice when teachers face challenges I've encountered myself, and join in the laughter when teachers share their daily bloopers and mishaps. #beenthere

These groups, I realized, would have been SO helpful to me when I first started teaching. Or when I was the only gifted intervention specialist in the entire district. I might have felt a little less isolated, a little more normal, a lot more connected.

So here's the thing. Once I discovered these groups, I wanted to try and connect with some other teachers in gifted education because that's truly my passion in the teaching field. I started searching for groups of gifted intervention specialists, gifted teachers, teachers of gifted... But no matter how many different keywords or combinations of teacher + gifted + talented I entered, I was unable to locate a group.

I thought, surely, I must be doing something wrong, looking in the wrong places. I HAD to be missing something.

Naturally, I started reaching out to some friends and colleagues to see if they were ever able to find any groups. Everyone came back with the same answer: a resounding NOPE.

Well, shoot. That's not good. Teaching gifted kids is such a rewarding, rich experience, but it is also quite challenging, with some difficulties that are truly unique to this special group of children. The fact that I couldn't find a place where these teachers were connecting, sharing and building relationships was kiiiiind of a huge bummer.

So, guess what? For the past few months, I've been working diligently with two friends, Michael Sivert, from Mikey D Teach, and Susan Morrow from Keep 'em Thinking with Susan Morrow to create a group to fill this need we identified. All three of us have degrees or endorsements in gifted education, and we collectively have more than SIXTY years of experience in teaching and education! We've just officially launched the group recently and we're so excited to finally be able to spread the word that we are officially live and growing!

Our vision for the group is to be able to provide those awesome things happening in groups that I mentioned in the paragraphs above. We want it to be a judgment-free place where teachers of gifted children can come to talk about the challenges we face, ways to meet the needs of this special population of thinkers, curriculum series or other resources that work for gifted children, PD that grows us, the joy that gifted children bring us, and so much more. We want teachers of gifted children to feel supported, encouraged, and recognized for the important work they do each day with our high-potential kids and armed with the tools and knowledge they need to do it!

The group is mostly geared toward elementary (K-6) teachers who teach gifted students in the regular classroom, but ANYONE who teaches, supports, or interacts with gifted children in the educational setting is welcome and encouraged to join.


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