Saturday, May 30, 2015

#ArmchairBEA: Read the Book, Saw the Movie, It Really Sucked

Read the Book. Saw the Movie. It really sucked.

A new movie based on one of your favorite books has just hit the silver screen. You’re really excited and can’t wait to see the movie. You go the cinema, buy you tickets, and wait in the theatre with you popcorn and soda. (It’s not the whole movie experience without popcorn and soda.) As you watch the movie with your friends or family you begin to notice the little things you loved about the book are missing or the plot line has completely changed. While those who haven’t read the book are thrilled over the exciting movie you’re not so highly amused. So what happened? How could a movie be different from the book you just read? You thought since you liked the author’s work it would be the same as the movie. Right?
You looked stunned. I use to think the same thing. I’ve always been an avid reader. Whenever Hollywood would release a movie based on a book I would make every effort to read the book before I saw the movie. I didn’t pay much attention to the differences between the two mediums until I started my writing career five years. I wanted my novels to hit the silver screen just like my writing heroines, JK Rowlings and Stephanie Meyers. I even read the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini before I saw Eragon. 

I was greatly disappointed in the Hollywood version of Eragon. Let’s face it; the book was better than the movie. How many times have we heard someone say that about some book that had been turned into a movie? As an author and a reader I wanted to know why that is. I found my answer when I started my MFA in Creative Writing at Full Sail University. 
The answer is so simply it was astounding. The problem with adapting any book into a screenplay is that they are two different kinds of mediums driven by two very different forces.  When an author writes a book the reader is told the story through the eyes of the protagonists. We are inside the main character’s head for the majority of the novel. We hear their thoughts, experience their emotions and live the story through their body. Think of it as a sort of out of the body experience. Sometimes the author will allow us to hear the thoughts of the antagonist or secondary characters. We leave the story feeling as if we had been somehow transported to another time or place. And we want that same feeling to permeate onto the silver screen. 

There’s only one problem. Screenplays are not internally driven. A screenplay is a visual medium. The story has to be seen and heard. The audience cannot live the story through the eyes of the protagonist but must experience it with the protagonists. We are transported to the time and place of the story as if we living every step of action with our beloved main character. Although we are living the story with our new friend, just like in life, we are not always privy to what the character is thinking. We have to ascertain those feeling and emotions from the actor who is portraying that character. You have to pay close attention to the dialogue and body language in order to determine what that character actually feels. Sometimes a screenwriter will allow the audience into a character’s head via voiceovers. Voiceovers are when a character is speaking over a scene but we do not see them. It is hard to properly do a voiceover in a script because the voiceover needs to carry dialogue throughout the script and not just in the opening. Since we are living the experience with the main character we do not get to see or hear what other characters, including the antagonist, are feeling unless they are speaking to our main character or a supporting character that is near the main character.

Some screenwriters have done a wonderful job in keeping with the author’s storyline. One thing to remember when you are comparing the movie to the script is that the author has no say whatsoever in how their story is delivered to the silver screen. When an author wants their novel to become a screenplay they will option the novel out to the screenwriter. Optioning out means the screenwriter has bought the rights to the book in order to write the screenplay. The author is out of the picture after they have sold the rights unless the author is also the screenwriter. But there are very few authors who can do this. VERY FEW! If an author manages to cross both the literary and media realms successfully then they are highly honored by writers in both their fields. 

After the screenwriter had bought the film they will rip the author’s book apart deleting some scenes, adding new ones and polishing up original ones in order for the internal story to become an external story. This is where some screenwriters have changed the plotlines of some books when placing it on the screen. One example of this is Eragon. If you read the book then see the movie they are completely two different plots. Go ahead. Try it. You’ll be amazed. Another adaptation I can think of where the screenwriters really messed up is with the movie The Hunger Games. 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a book that is told in 1st person narrative and is highly internally driven. The problem with converting the book to film was that when the film came out it did not explain Katniss Everdeen’s motives or the emotions she was feeling during her entire ordeal. It only focused on the action, which without the emotional experience explained left me greatly lacking. So much so I’m not certain I want to see the next movie.  
As a reader I was very appreciative of learning why my most beloved stories were changed in the process of bringing them to the screen. I hope this article has opened your eyes as to why your favorite book may have sucked on screen. Not all adaptations have failed on screen. Some of the best adaptations I have seen so far have been the Harry Potter and Twilight series. I’ll never stop reading books and watching them onscreen. If anything the lessons I have learned here will make my movie experience a more interesting one. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

#ArmchairBEA: Branding the Blog?

Blogging 101: Branding the Blog

A blog can be one of the most difficult things an author writes but it can also be an author's best friend. An author's blog should be the place their readers can come to talk about the author's book, receive updates, and learn more about circumstances within a story's setting. I use my blog to keep my readers updated with my writing projects. I also use my blog to expand upon the historical and/or cultural settings in my books. My readers know that when they come to my blog they will find interesting historical or culturally related articles. I have been writing and sharing historical posts since 2010. I generally post historical or cultural articles on my blog every Tuesday and Thursday.  I have a new blog series that focuses on Gifted Education that runs on Mondays. I started this series soon after I started my PhD in Education.  

When I started blogging ,five years ago, I only posted on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Over time I have added different weekly memes that I have found from different bloggers. I did this because I wanted my readers to feel they knew me. I don't want to be that author who is so high and mighty that the readers feel disconnected from me. The world has changed and there's no room for the author of old. Readers want to feel connected with their favorite authors. 

Another change that I made to my blog was branding. I generally write stories that take place in the 18th century but I have been known to periodically go outside that timeframe. My characters are strong females who are family oriented. I wanted my readers to understand that if you are going to read one of my books then those are the qualities you will always find in the story. So I redesigned my blog. I had a logo created for me. I chose the bear because I am like a mother bear with anyone whom I have been given leadership over. I am very protective, loving and caring. I am a teacher with a servant's heart.  

Once the logo was created I took the image and manipulated it so I could use it on my blog. Sometimes you will see my logo on my social media outlets that has been placed on a background specific to the book I am promoting, such as the one below for Calico. This is Calico and War Chief Little Owl.

Last year, I replaced my logo on my blog with the one you see here:

I felt the new banner on my blog went well with the message I was trying to promote with my blog. Allison Bruning is a historical fiction author with a passion for history. I took the banner and placed it on all my other social media sources. So whenever my readers see this image they know that is my official site. My website also mirrors my blog. 

By branding my social media with my blog and website I've seen more and more readers inquiring about my writings. The author's blog should be a place of consistency. It should be place where readers can not only learn more about the book but you as well. It's your name that you want to brand not your blog. 

#ArmchairBEA: Interview with a #Shawnee #Shaman

Welcome to another Armchair BEA posts. Today we are talking about characters. I would like to introduce you to a new character in my Children of the Shawnee series. Red Bird. Red Bird is the grandfather of Yellow Oak, the shaman we all came to love and adore in Calico. Although he cares deeply for his grandson, he places the needs of the Shawnee before his family. The creator, Our Grandmother, has given him special permission to travel through time to meet with us today. Please give a warm welcome to Red Bird!

ALLISON: Welcome to the Armchair BEA, Red Bird. We are delighted to have you.

RED BIRD: Thank you. 

ALLISON: Can you tell us where you live?

RED BIRD: Well I usually live in the sacred lands with the other shaman elders.

ALLISON: Oh, what's that like?

RED BIRD: I cannot tell you much because it's a sacred place for my people. It is a special place where no Shawnee may dwell unless they are a shaman.

ALLISON: Ok. You said you normally live there. Where do you live right now?

RED BIRD: I have travelled into the world of men to save Chief Little Owl's family from a demon that has possessed Chief Big Deer's son. The demon, who calls herself the Demon Bride, is feeding on the evil that was already among Chief Little Owl's village. My grandson was supposed to help them but he failed. The creator has charged me with two duties: Eliminate the Demon Bride and the lies that have been told. There have been so many lies told in Chief Little Owl's village that no one is making decisions based on the truth. The truth must be revealed. Hearts must be mended. Lives must be saved. 

ALLISON: Your grandson was the shaman, Yellow Oak. He left the village with his wife. Where are they now?

RED BIRD: They are safe and well in the Sacred Lands. 

ALLISON: Is it true that his daughter is Chief Big Deer's wife?

RED BIRD: It is. His adopted son is the French trader who lives with them, Fox Claw. He married the chief's daughter, Creek. 

ALLISON: I see. How does it feel to walk among your family? Do they know who you are?

RED BIRD: I have had many family members throughout time. I love each and everyone of them but I know my obligations as a shaman come before my love for them. It is a hard path to walk but one that I must. I have not nor will I divulge my true identity to them without the creator's permission. 

ALLISON: Can you tell us what year it is and where the Shawnee are located?

RED BIRD: The year is 1774 and most of our people live in Ohio. We share hunting rights in Kentucky and Virginia. It's a dangerous time and place for our people because the settlers have illegally settled our land. The British promised us that no one would be allowed across the mountains but they have not enforced that rule. I am lodging with Chief Little Owl and his family at Dr. Ephraim Garrick's plantation in Virginia. It is too dangerous for us in the wilderness and we needed to be somewhere the soldiers would never suspect us to be in the first place.

ALLISON: Are the Shawnee at war?

RED BIRD: We have been at war with the settlers for a long time. Too long. The war has disrupted our way of life. Lives have been lost and the people are unbalanced. 

ALLISON: Have you spoken to the British for help?

RED BIRD: We have but they will do nothing to aid us. We must fight this battle on our own. We will not give up our lands nor our way of life. We are Shawnee.

ALLISON: I understand that there is a list of captives that the British want back. Have your people complied with the British demands?

RED BIRD: The women and children that were captured are Shawnee. They abandoned their white ways when they become Shawnee. We have asked all of the women and children if they want to return to their old lives. It is their decision whether or not they want to return to their white ways. We have returned all of the captives who do not want to remain with us. Why force someone to do something against their will? We do not force the women and children who want to remain with us to return to their old ways. If they don't want to leave then we will protect them.

ALLISON: Is that the position Calico finds herself in? I understand the list contains her name and the name of her twin sister?

RED BIRD: The Huntress is confused and I do not blame her after the ordeal she went through with
Yellow Oak's son. She questions everything she ever learned about being Shawnee. It will take her husband to heal those wounds. Chief Little Owl is an excellent Shawnee warrior, leader and husband. He knows the creeds and lives by them. As for her twin sister, we do not know where Rose is. We have not seen her since she left our village over ten years ago as a child.

ALLISON: I understand Chief Little Owl and Calico are both severally injured. Will they survive?

RED BIRD: They must for the sake of the people. The prophecy must be fulfilled. 

ALLISON: What prophecy? I thought the prophecy was fulfilled when they married?

RED BIRD: That was just one of many prophecies told about this powerful couple. They are the hope of our people. They face many dark battles that will either destroy them or make them stronger. Chief Little Owl and the Huntress will never be forgotten by our people as long as they follow the path the creator has set before them.

ALLISON: Can you tell us more?


ALLISON: Well ok. Thank you for visiting with us today. We hope you have a safe journey back to 1774 Virginia.

RED BIRD: Thank you. 

Red Bird rises from his chair and disappears. 

You can purchase the first book of the Children of the Shawnee series here. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

#ArmchairBEA: Social Media

Social Media 
Welcome back to the Armchair BEA 2015 on my blog. Today we are talking about social media. As an author, I mainly use social media to stay in contact with my readers. I have several different social media sites that I maintain on a daily basis. 

I have been blogging for five years on this blog site. My weekly schedule has grown from one or two blog postings to almost everyday. I eventually has so many posts that I took down a few and placed them in an anthology. My typical weekly blog schedule looks like this:

Sunday - What's up with Allison?

This is a little weekly meme that I picked up from a blogger last year from the Armchair BEA. I use it to keep in touch with my fans on what has been going on in my life and what I am working on.

Monday - Lightening the Way: Teaching the Gifted Child

I started this blog series a few months ago after I realized all the information I was learning about gifted education in my PhD program was something that educators and administrators could use right now. It wasn't something so far fetched for my readers to see something about education on my blog. When I was promoting Elsa I would write many posts about Aspergers and Autism. 

I am not only an accomplished author but an educator as well. I'm gifted and like many gifted adults the educational system failed me because educators don't understand that being gifted doesn't mean we have it all together. It's quite the contrary. There's a reason gifted education is part of the special education system. I want to change the way gifted students and adults are taught in America. 

Tuesday/Thursday - Historical Post 

My Tuesday and Thursday posts are still set to the same schedule that I had them on when I began blogging. On Tuesday's I blog about situations, events, etc that are related to my previously released book. My blog is currently focusing on the development of the Native American cultures in Ohio because it relates to my first book, Calico. Calico isn't my most currently released novel but I am promoting it because I am currently working on the sequel, Lies and Deceit. Both books are part of the Children of the Shawnee series which is a historical romance series set in 18th century Ohio from the Shawnee's perspective. 

On Thursdays, I tend to blog about events, circumstances and situations that relate to my current work in progress or WIP. Since I am currently working on Lies and Deceit I am writing posts that have to deal with Shawnee culture and traditions. 

Wednesday - Express Yourself

 This is another weekly blog meme that I picked up at ArmchairBEA last year. It's a fun event that allows my readers to get to know more about me. You never know what I will be writing about from week to week. 

Other Social Media
I have other social media sites that I tend to frequent as well. 

#ArmchairBEA: Visual Storytelling

One of the most interesting things that has happened to me in my writing career was the ability to see my words transformed into a music video. A few years ago, I was asked by a production company located in Indianapolis, Indiana to create a music video for the Scottish-American band, Highland Reign. I was asked to work closely with the band members. I listened to their song many times and created a treatment for the video. I had never written a music video before and, to be quite honest, was very excited to do so. I worked for a month then handed the script over to the band for their approval. They absolutely loved it. I moved to Indianapolis the weekend the band was shooting the film. The production company learned of my background in dance and theatre then asked me to choreograph and assistant direct the film. I agreed. Here's the video:

There's something magical that happens with a storyline when it goes from written word to screen. Writing a music video is completely different than adapting a book to film. If you have ever read a book then saw a movie, TV adaptation, or read a graphic novel with the same story it will always be different. Sometimes the transformation doesn't always work and sometimes it does. Here's an explanation on why stories may not always be the same when it's adapted from book to movie.

I am so in love with the multimedia aspect of storytelling that I have a few projects in the works. I have written a few shorts and screenplays. I am currently adapting one of my screenplays into book format while trying to adapt Calico into a screenplay. I also have a few graphic novel ideas that I am working on as well. The hardest part about creating a graphic novel is that I am not an artist. It's hard for writers to find artists who are willing to work with your story at an affordable rate. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

#ExpressYourself: May Day! May Day! It's All About Allison Day!

Welcome back to the Express Yourself Blog Hop. This week's posts I will be making up for all the posts I have missed this month. It's been a crazy month for me. Just insane. But I haven't forgotten my readers. I love all of my fans! I want to warmly welcome any new readers who have found my blog via the ArmChair BEA.

This month's questions were the following:

So here we go......

Question #1:  Tell us about something I haven't tried yet, but would like to. 

I would love to take a cruise from the United States to Europe. I think it would be the most amazing thing ever. I have always loved to travel. My father was a diver and I have always shared his love for the water. I think it would be romantic to go on a cruise with my husband.

Question #2:  We are 1/3 of the way through the year. Name something you have achieved so far?

Last September, I started my academic journey towards obtaining my PhD in Education. I can't believe I am about to start my fourth quarter of studies at Walden University. I have throughly enjoyed all my classes. I look forward to more of my studies. My educational goal is to open a private academy for gifted students and a resident camp for the arts.

Question #3:  What quirks does your BFF have that you adore, because it makes them unique?

I think that thing that makes our entire relationship unique is how we met and interacted. Krystol Diggs and I met while attending the MFA in Creative Writing program at Full Sail University. We were both members of a popular group of students. Krystol has a way of networking that I am very impressed with. She taught me a great deal about networking with other people in the industry. We were in every class together and became quite close. After graduation, most of our group stayed in touch but we eventually lost communication. But Krystol and I stayed connected. A year later, Krystol decided she wanted to go to get her PhD and she knew I had always wanted to get mine. I was in an area of my life where I had given up on my dreams. She convinced me to go back to school with her. She's working on her PhD in Psychology and I'm working on my PhD in Education. Although we are in different programs we are still in communication with each other. Last December, we decided to attend our first residency together. It was so exciting because although we had been best friends for two years we have never meet each other face to face. We shared the expenses and had the time of our lives.

Question #4:  Name a few things I like to eat while writing?

I love to eat dried fruits, nuts and chocolate. Sometimes all three!

#ArmchairBEA: The Mysterious #Library of All Ages

Library Love

 Welcome back to the first day of the ArmchairBEA 2015! Please step through the portal to enter into the the ATHENA MEMORIAL LIBRARY. 

Around and around you swirl amongst all the text ever written from the start of mankind to the future. Books and texts never viewed before swirl around you until suddenly........

.... you descend from the sky into a large library. You slowly land on marble ground. The bookshelves are so high you wonder how on earth those books were ever shelved. Somewhere in the distance you hear a woman yell out your name. You turn around to come face to face with a fairy. So they do exist, you exclaimed in your thoughts. She stands firmly with her hands on her hips with a stern look of disapproval as if she had somehow read your mind. 

"Well of course I exist. I am the library fairy. The guardian of every text ever written. Now, you came to land in search of an author," the fairy exclaims as she floats around you. Despite her size, you are quite impress with her boldness. You glance at the top shelf then wonder what might magic the small fairy might possess. You decide not to ask too many questions or test her boldness.

 You look back at the fairy and ask, "Uhm, yes. I was looking for the complete works of Allison Bruning?"

"Fairy name, please," the fairy asks peering down her tablet. 

"Fairy name?"

The fairy stomps her feet and looks up at you like your were a nuisance. "Yes, all authors have a special name given to them by the fairies whenever they accept their writing skills by Athena."

"I...ugh...hmm...I don't know it."

"What! How could you not know your author's fairy name. No one ever comes through the portal without it! How on earth do you expect to read your author's past, current and future works without it?"

"Wait, you mean I can read any of her stories that haven't been written yet?"

"Isn't that why you are here?"

"Well, no, I didn't know.... how is that even possible?"

The fairy smiles at you as she stares at you through her glasses. She lowers her tablet. "Ah, I see. You're one of those mortals who accidently discover the portal while attending the ArmchairBEA conference." She sighs, "I truly hate this time of year. It always happens. One of you bloggers will find out that an author is attending then do something that makes the portal appear. Then out of your own curiosity you end up right here without the proper name and/or knowing the proper procedures."

"I didn't do anything to Allison's blog. I promise. I just showed up to read her post and then ended up here."


"Honest. I just want to know more about her books so I can read them."

"Then go to Amazon and read about there. Here's the link.... Now off with you." The fairy lifts her wand and starts to mutter something in a language you have never heard before. 

"Wait," you plead. The fairy pauses and impatiently glares at you. "What is she working on right now? Can't you at least tell me that?"

"She writing the second book in her Children of the Shawnee series. It's titled Lies and Deceit. It's
a really good book. I would highly suggest you read the first book before the second one is released later this year."

"Tell me more, please."

"No. Goodbye." The fairy touches you on the head with her wand.

You suddenly find yourself back at your computer staring at Allison's website. You blink your eyes wondering if what you experience was really true or not. How did you get from Allison's blog to her website? Was the library just a dream? You turn to your right and find a copy of Calico beside your computer. Bewildered and confused you open the book up to find an inscription on the dedication page with your name on it. 


You close the book and stared at the computer. It wasn't a dream. The library was real and fairies do exist. 

#ArmchairBEA: Introductions

Welcome to the 2015 Armchair BEA! I'm so glad you have joined me this year. This is my second year participating in the virtual conference. This year I will be participating in the blog, twitter and Instagram challenges. I'll also be hosting a giveaway on Saturday. You don't want to miss out on the fun.  During the Armchair BEA conference I will continue my normal posts but will also be posting posts related to the topic of the day. Here is the list of topics we are to post about:

Who is Allison Bruning?

That is such a loaded question. There's so much to tell. I'm a complicated person. LOL! 

Ok, so ArmchairBEA has given me a list of fourteen questions and I was instructed to chose only five to answer. All of the questions are really great. I had a hard time choosing one but finally, FINALLY, I have made a decision. LOL.

Question #1: Where are you from?

My husband and I live in Indianapolis, Indiana but neither of us are from here. I actually have two hometowns and states. My family, on my mom's side, were one of the first families to settle in Ohio. My ancestor was given land in Ohio as pension for fighting in the American Revolutionary War. My family came through the mountains, settled in Southern Ohio and eventually made their way north where they helped found Marion, Ohio. My mom's family never left the area. I was born in 1776, only two hundred years after my family fought in the war that gave them land in Ohio. You can kind of say I'm connected to Ohio. 

My other hometown is Alpine, Texas. My mom and I moved to Texas when I was sixteen years old. I graduated from Big Spring High School in Big Spring, Texas in 1994. After graduation I moved to Alpine, Texas where I attended Sul Ross State University. My mom moved to Alpine a year later. I lived in Alpine so long that many residents thought that I was from there. When I married my husband, who is from Marfa, no one knew that that I actually came from Ohio. Marfa and Alpine are high school rivals that lie only 30 minutes from each other. Both towns are located in the Big Bend Country of Texas. 

Question #2: What is your theme song?

Reach by Gloria Estefan. 

I am a goal oriented person with big dreams. I've struggled in life since the day I was born with obstacles that should have killed me. I'm a dreamer with a strong faith and a drive to make the world a better place. I'm always challenging myself to be better than I already am. 

Question #3: What is your favorite genre and why?

I absolutely love Historical Fiction! I'm obsessed with 18th century, especially the American Revolution Era. The 18th century was a time where many societal and mental changes occurred that eventually made us the world we are today.  I also like Victorian Era and turn of the century United States.  I have been writing historical fiction novels since 2008. I don't like to write stories that everyone had heard before. Instead, I look at a historical situation and wonder how the situation would have been viewed by someone whose story we rarely hear. For example, in my book Elsa the main character falls in love with a man who has Asperger's Syndrome. Thing is it's 1905 and nobody has ever heard of Asperger's before because it won't be discovered for another 30 or so years in Germany. So I wondered what was life like for someone with Aspergers when no one understood you and Ohio was in the middle of Eugenic laws?

Question #4: What book are you reading now?

I'm in the middle of reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Outlander is the first of nine books that follows the relationship between Claire and Jaime. Claire is a WWII nurse who finds herself in the middle of 18th century Scotland after she touches some stones in her time. She is discovered by her husband's ancestor, who turns out to be a very nasty man, and is rescued by Jaime. I learned about the books when I was on Facebook and everyone in one of the historical fiction groups was talking about the new series on STARZ. I decided since I love Scotland and 18th century that I would watch the series. I was hooked. I normally don't watch something before I read the books but this time I was hooked. I bought the first five books of the series and have been reading Outlander ever since. The books add a layer of depth to the series on STARZ. I would highly recommend reading the series.

Question #5: What is the top book in your TBR pile?
Another series I have been faithfully watching that is based on a book series is Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. This was another series of books I had never heard of before until some of my friends were talking about the series on HBO in comparison to the book series. 

I was so interested that I decided to binge on the complete series in order to catch up so I can watch season 4. I was captivated. During the break between season 4 and season 5 I was introduced to the Outlander series. I changed plans and started reading the Outlander books.

Monday, May 25, 2015

#LTW: #Gifted Children and Highly Sensitivity


Welcome back to Lighting the Way: Teaching the Gifted Child. Teaching gifted children and adults can sometimes be harder than teaching a normal population of students because you are not only dealing with a high intellect but also the various other ailments or disorders the student brings to your classroom. It is not uncommon for a gifted student to have other disorders or ailments. Oftentimes, gifted students are often misunderstood and/or misdiagnosed because of their unique social/emotional needs.

Many time a gifted child and adult will struggle in the world because the educational system doesn't always know what to do with their gifted population. Many people believe gifted children and adults will be ok if they do not receive any additional support. But that is contrary to the reality of being gifted. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

#WhatsUpWithAllison: #ArmchairBEA!

What's Up with Allison?
ArmChair BEA!

Welcome back to my blog! This week is a very busy week for me. It's time for the ArmChair BEA! So what is Armchair BEA?

Armchair BEA is the international online book conference that happens at the same time as the BEA in New York City. It's a virtual conference where book bloggers and authors share their blogs with each other through blogging, twitter parties and Instagram. It is so much fun. I've meet amazing authors and book bloggers that I am friends with today. The conference starts on Weds. and there will be plenty of awesome things happening on my blog so you will want to check back on a daily basis. 

One of my goals in life is to attend the BEA conference as an author and a publisher. But until that day happens I will continue to interact with the international BEA conference. 

Are you ready?

Monday, May 4, 2015

LTW: Identifying the #Gifted Student

Identifying the Gifted Student
Welcome back to Lightening the Way: Teaching the Gifted Child. This week we will be looking at the qualifications of how to identify a student who is gifted. 

Gifted education has traditionally been reserved for students who score a 130 or above IQ. Borland (2009) argued utilizing a standard IQ score as the aptitude for those who are admitted into a gifted program is problematic. A student who scores 129 on an IQ is not considered gifted and thus is denied services they may need in order to survive their academic career whereas the student who has a 130 IQ is admitted to the program. What is the school supposed to do with the child who just barely missed entrance into the gifted program? Sternberg (2002) argues IQ’s should not be the only measurement used to determine eligibility for admittance into a gifted program but one of many bases used for determination.

Multiple Intelligences
            The definition of intelligence has been defined and redefined throughout the centuries. Lunenburg & Lunenburg (2014) found scientist and educators tend to disagree whether intelligence is a single characteristic or a group of different abilities. Harvard professor, Howard Gardner, argued intelligence can be defined by 1) the ability to create a service or product that is valued by the culture in which the creator lives in, 2) a set of problem solving skills that aid someone in solving every day problems and 3) gathering new knowledge and creating finding or creating solutions for problems (Luneburg & Luneburg). Gardner identified nine different types of intelligences: logical - mathematical, linguistic, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalist, and existential (Luneburg & Luneberg). He argues that everyone possesses different strengths and weaknesses in all these areas. Luneburg & Luneburg (2014) argued students who struggle in English/Language Arts (ELA) may be doing so because they are not being taught in their preferred intelligence. The researchers suggest classroom educators need to adjust their delivery method and assignment expectations in order to meet the students’ intellectual needs.  
Successful Intelligence

Sternberg (2002) defined Successful Intelligence as the ability to utilize one’s strengths and correct one’s weaknesses in order to find success in one’s own culture by contributing to the society through a combination of creative, analytical and practical abilities. Like the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, the Theory of Successful Intelligences argues that there is more than one type of gifted student in the world. Yet unlike Multiple Intelligences, Successful Intelligence identifies only four types of gifted students; analytical, creative, practical, and balanced. Sternberg (2002) found Successful Intelligence explains why some gifted students achieve success on IQ tests while others fail, even though they show signs of giftedness outside a test environment. 

An analytical gifted student is identified as someone who is able to analyze, criticize, judge, compare and contrast. Sternberg (2002) found these types of students oftentimes excel in standardized testing and academic settings. The creative gifted student excels at inventing, discovering, imagination, creating and supposing. Sternberg (2002) argued these students do not do well on conventional tests and but excel in the rapid acquisition of creating new ideas. A practical gifted student is someone who excels at putting ideas into practice. Sternberg (2002) found these gifted students are successful in adapting to any environment and can decipher cultural norms that are not taught or verbalized. A balanced gifted person is identified as someone who does not show an extremity is any of the previous categories but is able to exhibit practical, analytical and creative attributes in a balanced way. Sternberg (2002) argues these gifted individuals know precisely how to use all three attributes accurately when faced with any situation.
Intelligence and Identifying Gifted Students
            Admittance into any gifted program is generally determined through the standardized IQ testing. Kaufmann (2012) found 90% of states in the United States use IQ scores as part of their definition of giftedness in students. Borland (2009) found most educators believe only 3 – 5% of the world’s population are gifted and challenges educators to rethink those percentage rates because there may be more gifted people in the world than previous believed. Silverman (2014) argues IQ scores may be depressing the reality of the size of the gifted population. Silverman (2014) found IQ scores are inconsistent from test to test thus making it hard to glean an accurate picture of a person’s true intelligence. Silverman (2014) argues the new IQ tests work well for 90% of the population but are inadequately constructed for the highly gifted or the profoundly retarded student.  Sternberg (2009) argues the identification of gifted students should be gleaned from a multiple of tests.

Creative Problem Solving
            The National Research Center on the Gifted and the Talented (2002) found most research conducted on creative problem solving and the gifted population has been conducted on adults instead of children. It is difficult to review literature on this area in gifted education due to the lack of research.

Cho & Lin (2011) found middle school aged children best exhibit creative problem solving skills when faced with ill defined or open-ended problems. Measuring a student’s ability to utilize creative problem solving skills can be problematic. The National Research Center on Gifted and Talented (2002) found, like the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, creativity is expressed differently from person to person and culture to culture. Thus it is difficult to establish a baseline from which every creative problem-solving test administered can be judged against. Cho & Lin (2011) found when psychometric instruments are used to measure creative problem solving skills it usually only measures divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is just one of many different types of creative problem solving skills.  Kaufman (2012) found 54% of states in the United States who have defined giftedness have accounted for creativity in their definitions.

            Defining giftedness through intelligence and/or creativity can be challenging. While in the past an IQ of 130 or above defined giftedness, new research is starting to challenge that practice. The gifted students not only show a higher IQ but also have higher skill sets that were not previously measured. In order to fully understand the gifted student educators, psychologists and administrators need to understand and appreciate all of the advanced skills a gifted student brings to the gifted classroom instead of focusing just on their IQ score. 

Borland, J. H. (2009). Myth 2: The gifted constitute 3% to 5% of the population. moreover,             giftedness equals high IQ, which is a stable measure of aptitude: Spinal tap      psychometrics in gifted education. The Gifted Child Quarterly, 53(4), 236-238. Retrieved             from

Cho, S., & Lin, C-Y. (2011). Influence of family processes, motivation, and beliefs about intelligence on creative problem solving of scientifically talented individuals. Roeper Review, 33(1), 46–58.
Hélie, S., & Sun, R. (2010). Incubation, Insight, and Creative Problem Solving: A Unified Theory and a Connectionist Model. Psychological Review,117(3), 994-1024. doi:10.1037/a0019532
Kaufman, S. (2012, January). Who is Currently Defined as Gifted in the United States? Retrieved from
Lunenberg, F., Lunenberg, M., (2014). Applying Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom: A Fresh Look at Teaching Writing. International Journal of Scholarly Academic Intellectual Diversity, 16(1), 1-13.
Silverman, L. K. (2012). Assessment of Gifted Children. Malone Family Foundation. Found at
Seokhee, C., & Chia-Yi, L. (2011). Influence of Family Processes, Motivation, and Beliefs About Intelligence on Creative Problem Solving of Scientifically Talented Individuals. Roeper Review, 33(1), 46-58. doi:10.1080/02783193.2011.530206
Sternberg, R. J., & Grigorenko, E. L. (2002). The theory of successful intelligence as a basis for gifted education. Gifted Child Quarterly, 46(4), 265-277.
The National Research Center on the Gifted and the Talented. (2002). Assessing Creativity: A Guide for Educators (Award No. R206R000001). Retrieved from