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Chiquita Banana
04-27-2009, 10:22 PM
Hello all.

I'm almost finished with my book, which is quirky women's fiction. My MC has two freakishly competitive, overachieving siblings, each of whom has a small child.

Sister's daughter is three, brother's son is two-and-a-half. They're bragging about how smart their kids are and the brother starts out by saying his son can count to 100. Sister retaliates by saying her daughter can count to 200. Brother then says that when his son is her daughter's age, he'll be able to count to 300. (It's okay that the 300 is unrealistic - the brother's just trying to one-up his sister.)

This is how I wrote it, but I realize I might be waaaay of base (my nieces are only one and can barely talk). If this is the case, does anyone have any suggestions for some more realistic numbers? 10-20-50?

They are definitely gifted kids, like their parents, so I'd like to use numbers that are insane but not inconceivable, if that makes any sense.

Alternatively, I could make the kids a little older. Could a four-year-old possibly count to 200 or a three-and-a-half kid to 100? To be honest, I'd love to keep the numbers in the hundreds. 10-20-50 might be impressive in real life, but this is fiction.

Sorry if I sound like a complete bonehead here. I'm just not exposed to kiddies ever, really. :)

jennontheisland
04-27-2009, 10:27 PM
My kid is hardly gifted, but he was able to count to 100 by 4. A lot of it has to do with parental involvement and regular repetition. Counting is one thing, it's repetitive and easily learned by rote. Random number recognition is another thing entirely. For example, the kid may know 56 comes after 55 and before 57, but if you out of the blue held up a card with 56 on it would he be able to tell you what it is? Or will he be able to write the number if you ask him to?

Same thing goes for the alphabet. Lots of kids "know" it by 2 because it's a nice little song, but couldn't tell you what the letters are to look at them.

Also, counting past 100. Meh. Counting by 2s or by 5s is much more impressive. Or reciting prime numbers.

WendyNYC
04-27-2009, 10:32 PM
Once a kid can count to 100, he or she has probably recognized the pattern, so the next hurdle would be 1,000, not 200.

I really can't remember how high my daughters could count at 2-3 years old, or what was normal or impressive. Is that terrible? Bad mommy. They worked on it at preschool, so all of them in the class could count to 10-20, for sure. And counting aloud is easier than recognizing a written number and knowing what it means.

veinglory
04-27-2009, 10:33 PM
Hmm, I wouldn't consider counting related to "giftedness". The term implies a broadly based ability in complex areas like algebra or music...

Once a kid has got to 100 the only difference is persistence and resistence to boredom. Counting in base 6, or in prime numbers, now that would be impressive. :)

WendyNYC
04-27-2009, 10:33 PM
[QUOTE=jennontheisland;3536106

Also, counting past 100. Meh. Counting by 2s or by 5s is much more impressive. Or reciting prime numbers.[/QUOTE]

Yes, skip counting would be impressive at 3.

Cyia
04-27-2009, 10:39 PM
I was reading and doing actual math at three, so counting to high numbers at 2 1/2 isn't all that hard to sell.

Izunya
04-27-2009, 10:51 PM
Do remember that gifted kids often get bored easily. And a lot of them decide, "I know how to do it, I don't have to do it again," an argument that drives classroom teachers into a tizzy fit.

So, if you want to throw an extra wrench into the whole thing, you could have one of the kids count to three hundred or whatever, and then flatly refuse to do it again because he already did it once.

Izunya

YAwriter72
04-27-2009, 10:55 PM
Do remember that gifted kids often get bored easily. And a lot of them decide, "I know how to do it, I don't have to do it again," an argument that drives classroom teachers into a tizzy fit.

So, if you want to throw an extra wrench into the whole thing, you could have one of the kids count to three hundred or whatever, and then flatly refuse to do it again because he already did it once.

Izunya


THAT is the truth! My 8 year old started reading when he was around 1 1/2-2, and to this day, will do something once to show he can then not want to again. (Unless of course no one is watching :tongue)

Cyia
04-27-2009, 11:03 PM
Do remember that gifted kids often get bored easily. And a lot of them decide, "I know how to do it, I don't have to do it again," an argument that drives classroom teachers into a tizzy fit.

So, if you want to throw an extra wrench into the whole thing, you could have one of the kids count to three hundred or whatever, and then flatly refuse to do it again because he already did it once.

Izunya

YES!

And teachers also dislike when a 1st grader corrects their grammar in front of the class - especially if said correction involves an eraser and the blackboard without permission.

And don't expect an advanced student to be able to tell you HOW they can do something, or to be able to pass that knowledge along to other students. I could do plenty of things in school that I couldn't (and can't) explain. I just knew they were the right answers.

Chiquita Banana
04-27-2009, 11:05 PM
Thanks SO much for the suggestions everyone! Just goes to show I know squat about kids - gifted or not. I'm so glad I posted.

Now, if I may:

what starts the whole 'my kid can count higher than yours' thing is that the sister has her 3 yr. old enrolled in Spanish class and she's got at least conversational language skills down pat. Not to be outdone, the brother announces that his 2 1/2 yr. old will be starting Mandarin in a couple of months. The sister scoffs (she's the eldest :)) and says he's setting his little boy up to fail.

This doesn't really matter as far as my story goes because I don't revisit the family, but just out of curiosity, could a gifted almost 3 yr old handle an introduction to Mandarin? (According to the brother, the classes don't intensify until the kids are five.)

I love my fictional characters!

Cyia
04-27-2009, 11:09 PM
Of course! Children that young are at the BEST age to absorb a new language. (Remember, native speakers pick up Mandarin by that age. ;) )

jennontheisland
04-27-2009, 11:14 PM
Don't forget: parents like those characters would have taught their kids sign language too. And kids as young as 8 months (when they start gaining finer motor skills) can start to pick those up. At 10 months, The Boy said "apple, more, please." Practically a sentence.

Chiquita Banana
04-27-2009, 11:21 PM
So interesting! Okay I may need to change the Mandarin thing, then. Any suggestions as to what the brother might sign his kid up for that his sister would say is setting him up to fail?

Gotta log out just now but will check back soon. Thanks again for all the input everyone!!

DeleyanLee
04-27-2009, 11:26 PM
It also depends on what the parents think is cool and show-offy.

In the 1960's my father was one of the rare breed of computer programmers (can you say: hardwiring and machine language?). By age 5, I could count in decimal, hexidecimal, octal and binary and convert between them as I counted.

I thought it was a fun game and didn't think it was that amazing.

I still do it just for the mental exercise and because I don't want to lose the skill. Oh, and because now more people know what I'm doing and I can impress/scare a few folks that way. Lots of fun.

Cyia
04-27-2009, 11:43 PM
In all honesty, at that age, anything's possible for a gifted kid. It might be setting an average achiever up to fail, but not an exceptional one. Though a spiteful sister could claim any of it was setting him up to fail if she wanted to make the point that her kid was smarter.

askcb
04-28-2009, 12:50 AM
Both of my kids are gifted. At 3, my son (now 7) just sort of understood numbers and counted like a maniac, foward backward, by twos and threes. He had a very long attention span, and built 150 pc puzzles upside down on the floor for fun. I don't see it so much in my daughter, but my son has always had a super strong desire to learn. He likes to "challenge" himself (his words).

My daughter just turned 3 and is very close to reading with a strong grasp of letters and sounds and how they form words. She can easily sound out small words. As far as another language goes, I definitely think that if she were exposed to one, she would pick it up with little effort--definitely quicker than I would.

Like another person mentioned, the process of learning can be different from other kids. In school he will get marked off for not showing his work, but it's because he can't be bothered with the step-by-step process when he already (I guess intuitively) knows the answer.

AngelRoseDarke
04-28-2009, 01:31 AM
When I was four my mother signed me up for a special gifted program at the University of South Florida. I had to take an IQ test to get in. After that, I was allowed to choose the classes I wanted to take. I took world literature, marine biology, ancient Egyptian studies, and world history. Mom says I took more than that, but I remember those off the top of my head.

Cyia
04-28-2009, 01:55 AM
In school he will get marked off for not showing his work, but it's because he can't be bothered with the step-by-step process when he already (I guess intuitively) knows the answer.


And it only gets worse in higher grades. Proofs are EVIL!

StephanieFox
04-28-2009, 05:51 AM
When I was 3-years old, I could count to 100, and I still can!

:D

HoraceJames
04-28-2009, 06:00 AM
My kid is considered gifted, but at 2-3 years old? His preschool teachers commented more on his artistic ability and long attention span. It really wasn't until he was 6-7 that his abilities in reading and writing were clearly above average. His math skills developed after that.

Keyan
04-28-2009, 11:29 AM
Yeah, I think extra languages is the wrong way to go; in many cultures, kids grow up bilingual or even trilingual. At that age, they pick it up fast (and can lose it as fast if it's not kept up). The most difficult part of it would be sitting still in a classroom, and if the teacher finds a way to make it fun, it's relatively easy to do.

In terms of math, it's not counting, it's operations.

"My kid can add numbers under ten."
"My kid can subtract numbers under ten"
"My kid can do subtraction with regrouping"
"My kid knows how to multiply...

And so on.

At two and three, it's easier to show off with reading: being able to identify letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make, and even being able to identify words that go with certain pictures.

Chiquita Banana
04-28-2009, 03:01 PM
Thanks everyone! Great suggestions.

Izunya
04-28-2009, 11:03 PM
YES!

And teachers also dislike when a 1st grader corrects their grammar in front of the class - especially if said correction involves an eraser and the blackboard without permission.

:D You know what teachers really dislike? When one of their students decides that the silent lunch punishment is unconstitutional. And takes it all the way to the principal before being shot down by the ultimate authority: Mom.

(The worst bit? I swear I was winning the argument before my Mom stepped in.)

But, yeah, I was classified gifted in school and I ran the gifted program—briefly—when I was a teacher. So, Chiquita Banana, if you need extra info on gifted kids I can probably provide a bit. It's always useful to remember that "gifted" really, really does not mean "never gets in trouble." In fact, gifted kids are often easily bored and stubborn, which is a great recipe for misbehavior.

Or humorous disaster. I had to teach in a teacher's lounge at one school—lousy, lousy situation—and I failed to stop one boy from attempting to snort pepper. His rationale? He wanted to see what would happen. I loved my job—I'd go back to it in an instant if I still had my health—but anyone who enjoys the odd split-second of boredom would not enjoy it at. All.

Izunya

blackrose602
05-03-2009, 06:43 PM
Huh, I'm learning some things about myself in this thread. I learned to read at 1 1/2 and was reading my mom's college textbooks by age 3. I also learned algebra through a computer game at 4. I loved playing with mathematical concepts. When I was tested at age 7, though, I tested at a reading level of 12th grade and a math level of 7th grade. "Experts" told me from that point on that I was gifted in reading but not so much in math.

What I found out later is that it was a limitation of the test. I flatly refused to learn the multiplication tables. I didn't see the need, and I hated rote memorization. According to the rules of testing, the test has to stop when it reaches a section that the student can't do. It's presumed that the student can't do anything above that level either. Therefore, when I was unable to recite the multiplication tables, the test stopped. No chance to show off my cool higher math skills.

Gifted kids definitely learn differently than average kids. Profoundly gifted kids learn differently than moderately gifted kids. Let me know if I can help in any way!

backslashbaby
05-03-2009, 07:30 PM
I hated anything that was just rote memorization, but my brother's unusual ability is his memory. So some 'gifted' (I hate most of those labels) kids are much better at memory tasks, and it does help things, eh?

For a task that would really be too much, I love the take on politics and things at those ages :D Would some parents have their kids learning battle strategies? Comparative politics? Believe it or not, some do... and are so impressed that their kid can spew back the beginning of the Declaration of Independence at 3 (see memory kids, above ;) ). god I hate those kinds of parents!!*

*but I like having kids exposed to symphonies, languages, swimming and assorted things - don't get me wrong.

spike
05-03-2009, 09:51 PM
I've seen kids that young count even higher than 300. It's just a matter of teaching them.

While having a great memory is considered "gifted", what is more impressive (at that age) is one to one correspondence. I've seen very young kids who could memorize addition families and multiplication tables, but didn't know what they meant in a physical sense.

dgiharris
05-04-2009, 10:42 PM
When I was 18 months old, I began to talk. I knew my ABCs when I was 2. When I was 4, I knew my multiplication tables, could add subtract multiply and divide, spoke spanish and english, could count to a million and I knew how to read.

I put frogs in the freezer in my attempts to freeze them and bring them back to life, and I played with any and everything electrical.


In a nutshell, kids are WAY WAY WAY smarter than we give them credit for. I am by no means a genuis. My IQ is just a little above average, nothing super special.

What was special is that my mother spent her time at home and we didn't really have a tv at the time. She was bored and took it upon herself to teach me.

In fact, there is new research out that basically states we are seriously squandering our kids potential.

A perfect example of this is below. A company has developed a reading program for 1, 2 and 3 year olds. Apparently, they are able to teach toddlers how to read, and read well.

http://www.yourbabycanread.com/default.aspx?adid=gglybr.ggl6105

Mel...

p.s. I don't mean to sound condescending, but I get the sense you haven't done any research on gifted children. Truly gifted children will blow your socks off. There are 4 yr olds that play the piano, violin, beat computer programs in chess, etc. etc. You need to do some research if you think a 3 yr old that can count to 300 is something special. It's not.

backslashbaby
05-04-2009, 11:07 PM
I agree. But there is 'gifted' and then there are the unbelieveable geniuses :)

I grew up in an area (ugh...& class) where there are programs left and right for gifted children, and the majority of the children of these folks are of genius IQ. I took the OP to be writing about these folks (maybe she isn't).

If she is, it's not like these kids would even get a mention in the local paper for their feats. But the parents in this large clique sure as hell compare them all ;)

PS - my parents wouldn't tell us our IQs growing up, thank God, although we took advantage of the cool programs. But it's like the Twilight Zone in some cliques, I swear.

MeganRebekah
05-05-2009, 06:11 AM
PS - my parents wouldn't tell us our IQs growing up, thank God, although we took advantage of the cool programs. But it's like the Twilight Zone in some cliques, I swear.

I laughed when I read this! My mom refuses to this day to tell my sister and I what are IQs tested at when we were placed in the gifted program.

Gretad08
05-06-2009, 03:06 AM
PS - my parents wouldn't tell us our IQs growing up, thank God, although we took advantage of the cool programs. But it's like the Twilight Zone in some cliques, I swear.

Too funny! We weren't allowed to know our I.Q.'s either. (They eventually told us once we were adults)

Kids, no matter how well mannered, tend to brag and that was a big no no in my house...absolutely not tolerated, so not giving ammunition was good.

Ooorrr, maybe they thought the numbers weren't high enough and they didn't want us to feel stupid...

backslashbaby
05-06-2009, 05:23 AM
:D

The school let us know the scores before high school, though. My sister and brother still quibble over 3 points in who is smarter!! My parents definitely get the award for intelligence there ;)

Dommo
05-06-2009, 05:30 AM
I kind of wonder how rapidly kids could grasp mathematical concepts if they were taught with the intensity of other subjects at an early age.

It wouldn't surprise me to see a gifted kid doing calculus by the time they got into middle school.

backslashbaby
05-06-2009, 05:46 AM
Yeah, I was surprised to see that even in these gifted programs there was still no way to move farther ahead if a kid could. In a perfect world, I'd have every kid learning at their own pace.

My studies would have been very lopsided, but why not learn much more about a subject you're very good at? Very young, too, if the kid is ready.

dgiharris
05-06-2009, 09:16 AM
I kind of wonder how rapidly kids could grasp mathematical concepts if they were taught with the intensity of other subjects at an early age.

It wouldn't surprise me to see a gifted kid doing calculus by the time they got into middle school.

It is my belief that a good teacher with a gifted child could teach the child calculus by age 8 if not earlier.

And I don't mean showing them how to do a few problems. I mean actual college level comprehension.

believe it our not, Once you understand Algebra, you have everything you need to understand Calculus.

And once you understand the fundamentals of math (multiplication, addition, subtraction, division) you have everything you need to understand Algebra.

Take a look at the link I posted earlier about teaching kids how to read as toddlers. Its amazing what kids can do.

Mel...

Aesposito
05-11-2009, 01:07 AM
My learning disabled 12 year old could count to 100 at age 3. It was just a matter of rote memorization and pattern recognition. She's in sixth grade now, reads and does math at a 2nd grade level, but counts just fine..... (don't ask her to make change though, LOL).

I was a so-called "gifted" child, reading at 2.5, writing stories at five, and so on... and I don't think I counted (or cared to) until grade school.

Audrey

Prawn
05-11-2009, 01:43 PM
Dude, you should checkout youtube. DO a search for child geniuses There are videos there of kids that can do everything. There's a two year old that can tell you the names of all the capitals of all the countries in the world, finding each on a map, and a 15 month old that knows all the US presidents.

blackrose602
05-11-2009, 08:17 PM
Dude, you should checkout youtube. DO a search for child geniuses There are videos there of kids that can do everything. There's a two year old that can tell you the names of all the capitals of all the countries in the world, finding each on a map, and a 15 month old that knows all the US presidents.

It's debatable whether either of those can be considered actual genius though. Those are more savant-type skills. My understanding of intelligence is that it includes comprehension and application abilities, not just list-style knowledge. Now, if that two year old can also explain each country's history, style of government, and relevance in today's interconnected world, that's true genius. Likewise, does the 15 month old know each president's major accomplishments and biggest mistakes? Not trying to knock their skills, they are impressive to be sure, but without a more global comprehension, that's not really a measure of intelligence. My opinion only.

backslashbaby
05-11-2009, 08:35 PM
I agree, blackrose. Imagine learning a string of 26 random letters, for instance ;) Toddlers' minds are ripe for that sort of thing anyway - part of language aquisition.

I freaked my parents out when I was very very young (don't remember how young) because I asked if xxxx was our last name. They'd never told me our last name, or what last names were, but there were enough clues on TV and their conversations with other people and things. It was a pattern thing. Some kids will knock your socks off with abilities that include analytical skills at a very young age.

Prawn
05-12-2009, 01:21 AM
It's debatable whether either of those can be considered actual genius though. Those are more savant-type skills. My understanding of intelligence is that it includes comprehension and application abilities, not just list-style knowledge. Now, if that two year old can also explain each country's history, style of government, and relevance in today's interconnected world, that's true genius. Likewise, does the 15 month old know each president's major accomplishments and biggest mistakes? Not trying to knock their skills, they are impressive to be sure, but without a more global comprehension, that's not really a measure of intelligence. My opinion only.

Sure seems pretty smart to me. Washington, Adams, Jefferson... That's it for me. As far as naming the capitals of all the countries and finding them on a map, can you do as well, blackrose? If your kid could do it, you'd be damn proud.

Cyia
05-12-2009, 05:30 AM
I kind of wonder how rapidly kids could grasp mathematical concepts if they were taught with the intensity of other subjects at an early age.

It wouldn't surprise me to see a gifted kid doing calculus by the time they got into middle school.

I could do beginning Geometry in 2nd or 3rd grade, since high school teaches Calculus 2 years after Geometry there's no reason a kid couldn't learn it by middle school. I remember one of our teachers telling us the reason she chose elementary education was specifically because it was math light. If the day ran long, math got axed... which is why so many kids do lousy in math. There's no structure for it.

C.bronco
05-12-2009, 05:33 AM
I remember my son could count to 100 at the age of 3. I'd made a poster with 1-100, color coded by tens.
We were at an aquarium, and he counted a school of fish (which was hard because the same bunch kept swimming in a circle). We waited until he reached 100 and decided he'd got them all. :)

blackrose602
05-12-2009, 06:32 AM
Sure seems pretty smart to me. Washington, Adams, Jefferson... That's it for me. As far as naming the capitals of all the countries and finding them on a map, can you do as well, blackrose? If your kid could do it, you'd be damn proud.

No, I can't. Because I never bothered to do the memorization. But I was able to read, comprehend, and discuss college textbooks at age 2 (engineering and psych, my parents' majors). I'm not saying the kids in question couldn't do the same thing. But I still maintain that simply parroting back a memorized list, in a vacuum, is not a sure sign of high intelligence.

Of course I'd be proud if my kid did it though...it takes a level of concentration/dedication that far outstrips my own :)

Izunya
05-12-2009, 11:46 PM
Sure seems pretty smart to me. Washington, Adams, Jefferson... That's it for me. As far as naming the capitals of all the countries and finding them on a map, can you do as well, blackrose? If your kid could do it, you'd be damn proud.

No, blackrose is right. Being able to name a bunch of capitals is impressive because of the concentration and dedication involved, but it's not necessarily an indicator of a gifted kid. IQ is not a measure of how much raw information your brain can contain; it's (supposed to be) a measure of how many ways you can manipulate it.

Think about it this way. Being able to recite the names of capitals is one level of knowing. Being able to put them on a map is a higher level, since it's attaching the list to something real. Being able to combine that information with other bits of knowledge—say, a child learning about the arctic circle and figuring out on her own that Moscow must be pretty cold—that's another level.

Enrichment programs, ideally, are not just about supplying students with extra facts. They're about exercising your brain, finding weird and interesting things to do with those facts. Egg drops are a favorite, for instance, because egg drops are all about combining stuff you know (gravity works, eggs break when they smack into something at speed) with a bunch of random things (straws, paper, paper clips) to make something new (a thing to keep eggs from breaking) and then evaluating how you did (which, in the case of an egg drop, is really, really easy. And messy).

The thing about gifted kids is that they have a natural facility with ideas—that's what makes them gifted—but they still need plenty of practice. Not every interesting or original idea is a good idea. If being gifted were just about information, we'd just turn them loose in the library.

Izunya

Prawn
05-12-2009, 11:52 PM
Seems like we are just splitting hairs here about what is smart and what is genius. There's smart, there's really smart and there's genius. Here's the video in question (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r43yCiKlbCo). I can't do what she can do, although I could learn. On the other hand, this kid is 2 and probably isn't potty trained yet. Is she a genius? I don't know. I know she is on the continuum somewhere.

8thSamurai
05-20-2009, 11:52 PM
There's a difference between rote memorization and a kid that's going to figure things out for themselves. Parroting back facts isn't that impressive, unless you're talking about the parents' involvement with the child.

My brother figured out how to crawl onto the roof of the garage when he was ten months old. I wanted to fly, and built a makeshift trebuche out of toys and stuff I found in the backyard.

My poor parents.

Gifted kids are 'trouble' - they argue with their teachers, get bored easily, will do things that any logical adult cannot fathom (like the pepper thing). Insatiably curious, they HAVE to know 'what would happen'.

Cyia
05-21-2009, 08:21 AM
They also watch PBS and try to turn the microwave into a kiln using bread for clay. :D

(No matter what they say, Corningware will crack if you get it hot enough.:rolleyes:)

I was three when I found out you couldn't boil ice cubes over a gas heater in a Glad baggie. :idea: Live and learn.