A piece of a Gifted Education program is teaching Affective Needs. Affective Needs education focuses on developing students' belief systems, emotions, and attitudes. Gifted and Talented students can have asynchronous development, which is defined as a mismatch between cognitive, emotional, and physical development of gifted individuals. Gifted children often have significant variations within themselves and develop unevenly across skill levels. For example, a gifted child may be excellent in math, but poor in reading--or vice versa. Often, intellectual skills are quite advanced, but fine motor or social skills are lagging. Asynchronous development is the reason why teaching affective needs is apart of all Gifted Education programs. Previously, I integrated affective needs education into the units we cover, but I want to focus on this piece more.
I attended a conference last week with many other Gifted Education teachers and learned about a successful program to teach affective needs. The program is called Calm and more information can be found at calm.com. Starting this week, the students will begin learning meditation techniques to help gain focus and calm ourselves. As a class, we will discuss the benefits of deep breathing during stressful times and learn how to focus on breathing.
For the next 7 weeks, we will learn about how to clear our heads and focus on natural breathing. This will take between 3 to 5 minutes of our time. Calm.com will walk us through this process and I will lead the students through a discussion of how to use deep breathing at anytime. I am very excited to integrate this into our program and observe how it can help the students calm down in a stressful/ high anxiety time or just to help us focus on a task.