Guy Ellis

The parameters for defining giftedness in middle childhood are a standard that has unique measurements among varied surveyors. Although opinions differ as to how much emphasis should be placed upon different skills it has generally been accepted that high general intelligence, creativity, specific aptitude, leadership and psychomotor ability are traits that can be used to identify gifted children.

As anyone who has ever conversed with me will know I was never a candidate for giftedness thought either as a child or, especially, today. I may have been gifted in areas of creating ways to get out of things such as schoolwork and, especially, housework.†

High intelligence is generally acknowledged through a score of 130 or higher on a standard IQ test. The shortcomings and potential ineffectiveness of IQ tests as they relate to the placement of middle-childhood children in advanced studies have led a number of educators to rely less on raw data from these types of tests and move more toward a selection process that accounts for potential intelligence and potential future achievement as well as gauging other factors that rely upon the divergent thinking abilities of a subject as opposed to consideration of convergent thinking alone.

I took an IQ test once. My test result had a score more like a baseball game than an NBA basketball game.†††

Creativity is the trait displayed when original thought and fresh outlooks are applied to situations.† One test to measure creative thought in middle-childhood children is the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking.† Just as some consider the IQ test to be limiting in its ability to gauge overall intelligence of the subject so too do some educators consider the Torrance test to be too rigid of a mark for complete determination of creativity.† One criticism of the test has to do with the time limits for answers that it imposes on subjects.† Others point out that the divergent thinking that the Torrance test places so much emphasis upon is not in and of itself the only factor in establishing creative thought.

Specific aptitude refers to a more technical form of thought than creativity.† Specific aptitude is displayed by superior mathematical and scientific problem solving skills.

Leadership is a trait that cannot be tested or measured as easily, or as traditionally, as the traits listed above.† A middle-childhood subject will display leadership by integrating the aspects of convergent thinking and divergent thinking into a manner that makes possible the advancement toward completion of tasks wherein a group of peers is involved.† Leadership by example is the state in which the same thought processes as mentioned before are used to make individual choices by a subject.

Psychomotor ability refers to the trait in which a subject is able to demonstrate a superior physical control in a situation in which mental decisions must be married to physical action.† An example of this would be basketball.† In that example a subject would need to display the physical attributes of ball handling and shot making and the subject would also need to understand when best to shoot the ball and to pass the ball in order to have superior psychomotor ability.† Stealing a base in baseball is another example of psychomotor ability at work.

QUICK HITS

Believe it or not, mothers are the most important aspect to an athleteís success.

Sure, itís usually Dad that introduces a child to a sport. And itís usually Dad that breaks down the essentials of a sport and teaches the young prospect all of the fundamentals.

But consider this.

A football player makes a big-time play in a big-time game. After the requisite end zone celebrations with teammates the athlete runs to the sideline, throws off his helmet, and looks for the nearest TV camera.

The first words out of the playerís mouth?

ďHi, Mom!Ē

†The Ridgerunner winter sports are well and truly under way. As I write this the Grove defending State Champions wrestling team are busy preparing for their season-opening dual Thursday and the Ridgerunner basketball squads have already opened their season- each with a win!

Folks, you should really try to make it out and support all of these local teams- even if you donít have a child participating.

High school athletics are the best entertainment value going around. The five bucks you spend to watch the Ridgerunner teams will provide you with more fun than any silly old vampire love story movie. And, besides, your money is going to a very worthy cause- our future- as opposed to padding the wallet of some out of touch movie star.

Additionally, high school sports are about the only ones left that, as a fan, you can really believe in. Sorry, but itís my opinion that most professional sports these days are nothing more than vehicles to sell soap, beverages, fast-food, and sneakers. College sports have some purity left, but, unless you live in a college town, or attended said college for five years or so (many more years than that in my case!) then it becomes harder to get a feel for what is really going on.

Just from what I witnessed at Tahlequah during the Ridgerunner basketball season opener it looks like there is going to be a winter of fun ahead. OK, the teams have only played one game, so I donít want to lay into the hyperbole too thick, but, the players look to be very committed.

The boysí team showed a lot of spirit in their come-from-behind win and they played with some aggressive physicality.

Meanwhile, the Lady Red showed some real confidence in their season debut. Last seasonís young team has 12 months under their belt and it shows.

And you can bet that the wrestling duals this season are going to be the very definition of thrilling. Itís my opinion that wrestling requires more discipline and training than any sport out there. To see all the hard work on display is what Jim McKay was talking about when he said, ďThe human drama of athletic competitionĒ every Saturday all those years ago.

So, head over to the GHS gymnasium this winter and see what all the fuss is about. Youíll be glad you did.