The gifted experience is unique, ever-changing, and ultimately an individual adventure in self-discovery. While the field of gifted education is filled with a myriad of conceptions and definitions that only occasionally agree with one another. Rather than debating what giftedness is and isn’t, let us look inward and describe what our personal experience with being gifted feels like by utilizing only GIFS.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how much is a GIF worth?
Often times our gifted kids are at a loss of words to describe their feelings and emotions related to being gifted. I have long advocated for having students share their experiences of being gifted though photography, but what if we took that challenge even further? What if we challenged them to tell their story using only GIFs.
I have seen tweens and teens carry on entire conversations using only a series of GIFs to convey their messages. The use of GIFs relies heavily on an understanding of pop culture and memes. The internet is a veritable warehouse of these animated shorts that are both intriguing and slightly annoying at the same time.
Set the Stage
If you have not already, begin by talking with your students about what it might feel like to be gifted. Hopefully you have already had this type of conversation with your students, but if not, now is the perfect time. Help them explore and develop an understanding of who they are and what makes them different. Over the years I have found the following to be useful in provoking conversation.
The Gifted Child Bill of Rights by Del Siegle
The Eight Great Gripes of Gifted Kids by Judy Galbraith
The Manifesto: A Guide for by E. Paul Torrance
Is It a Cheetah? by Stephanie Tolan
Profiles of the Gifted and Talented by George Betts and Maureen Neihart
Create a List of Key Words
Have your students start by listing all of the key words and phrases that immediately pop into their minds when consider what it means to be gifted. Allow for 2-3 minutes at the most for this step. You are not looking for an essay here. Instead, you want their immediate gut response. Don’t let them overthink this part. Unless overthink is one of their keywords. Which, honestly, it might be.
Finding the Perfect GIF
After students have created their list of key words, now it is time to find GIFs to go along with them. Here are two options.
OPTION 1: The Google Way
Yes, another example to show that you can find almost anything on Google. Try using Google Images (https://images.google.com).
Click on the Tools button. Then click Type and select Animated from the menu.
NOTE: The images do not appear to be animated, but by clicking on them you will see that they are in fact GIFs.
OPTION 2: GIPHY
While I tend to do most things through Google, for this task, I actually prefer using GIPHY (https://giphy.com). This is an online collection is heavily weighted with pop culture GIFs that are not necessarily created with school in mind and is a representation of some of the best and worst of the internet. So, proceed with caution. That being said, chances are that your students already know about this resource and use it with some frequency.
Once you find the perfect GIF, then are ready to share the image by “right-clicking" and selecting Copy Image Address
Creating a Compilation Using Google Slides
Google Slides is my number one go to tool for easy student creating, collaboration, and sharing. Start by creating a new blank presentation with no background or place holders. Create enough blank slides so that each student has at least one. This gives everyone their own workspace.
Once you have copied the image address or URL of the GIF that you want to use go to
Insert —> Image —> By URL in the menu bar on Google Slides.
Paste the Image Address that you copied from GIPHY or from Google Images using Command+V.
As giftedness is a multifaceted construct, encourage your students to include a multitude of images to represent the range of emotions that they feel being gifted represents. I would also encourage them to use the Presenter’s Notes box at the bottom of the slide to include their names and a brief narrative explanation.
I can't wait to see what you and your students come up with. Please share your experiences below.