Friday, September 12, 2014

Introducing Depth and Complexity

You may already know this, but gifted children love to be treated like the intellectual beings that they are.

When I was teaching, one tool that I found that helped encourage intelligent thinking were the Icons of Depth and Complexity.  If you are unfamiliar, the Icons of Depth and Complexity are simple visual and verbal cues to help to think more deeply about virtually everything.

Here's a quick graphic to help.

If you struggle with asking your child questions, incorporating the Icons of Depth and Complexity can help you.  Ask your child is interested and engaged, you can draw them out by asking questions such as:

"I here you saying 'plusing'.  What is the language of the discipline?  I think addition is the correct term."

"That is a pretty flower you see.  What are some details that you notice?  Can you describe them for me?"

"That child took your toy?  Let's talk about the ethics of what happened to you.  What was going on morally?"

"That was a good book!  Do you have any unanswered questions based on what we read?  I wonder what happens next..."

"I understand that Tommy wants to play checkers and you want to play soccer.  That's really frustrating.  Let's try and look at this from another perspective."

The more you incorporate the Icons of Depth and Complexity into your everyday language, the more you will see your child doing so as well.  This can be done from a very young age.  I don't think anyone really needs to teach a toddler to respond with wonder and awe.

If you are a homeschooling parent, consider purchasing the Icons of Depth and Complexity magnets for your refrigerator or posters for your homeschool room* as a visual reminder to incorporate higher level thinking.  One nice facet of the Icons is that they can develop a common language used across the disciplines.  As you teach your child science, math, and literature you are able to use the same icons to help draw out each subject.

You can also download the Icons from the J Taylor Education website free of charge in color or black and white for your own purposes.

The purpose here is not to give your child a vocabulary to impress your friends and peers.  While it may seem that way, what's really happening is giving your child the terminology to engage more fully in his experiences and to allow you both to explore them in a greater depth and complexity.  

*This is a free product recommendation.  I am not being compensated in any way for recommending a product that I believe helps children learn.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great tool - would be great for all kids to help expand their thinking, not just gifted kids. I know there was a study (can't think of the reference right now) where lower income families spoke less to their young children. The study suggested encouraging parents to speak more on a regular basis. This makes me think about also training parents to ask questions requiring higher level thinking to encourage complex thought. Thanks for the great ideas.


I love to hear your feedback! This website is intended to be a welcoming and safe space for parents and advocates of the gifted. All wholesome and encouraging questions are invited, as well as questions or concerns relating to gifted topics.