Perfectionism is complicated, difficult, important and quite common in bright people. In groups this month, we are taking about making mistakes, being wrong, messing up, trying things that feel scary and allowing mistakes to lead our learning. Students are being challenged to take on something new that has always felt a little scary to them. They are being asked “What have you wanted to do that you have always been afraid to try?”

Perfectionism has a few things to think about:

  • Healthy vs. Unhealthy perfectionism: It can be healthy to strive for your best. It becomes unhealthy when it prevents you from doing things, trying new things, or finishing work. It is healthy when you go above and beyond in something you love and you feel proud. It is unhealthy when you focus on the mistakes and negative self-talk dominates.
  • Black and White Thinking: Learn to see gray! Perfectionist see things as either/or. You are smart or dumb, good or bad, right or wrong. The world is full of gray. You are smart and there are things that you can learn better and things that are hard for you.
  • Intrinsic and Extrinsic: Intrinsic perfectionism is the unhealthy strive to do a perfect job for your own self. This can be hidden and very hard to cope with. Extrinsic perfectionism is focusing on what others think of you.
  • Social Perfectionism: The need for others around you to meet your unrealistic and high standards. We will be working more on how to work with others in the future. This is a root cause of frustration for many perfectionists and it is simply unfair to other people around you.
  • How to Make a Mistake: We talked about making a goal of making a small mistake everyday. Sometimes finding success in the act of messing up can be healing. Make a mistake everyday. Celebrate it. Document it. Notice that the world still appreciates you.
  • “Crazy Uncle” – Naming your negative self-talk. Give that voice in your head that is always talking down to you a personality, name and an image. Then you can talk back to it or dismiss it easier.

(and remember – it’s okay if there is a mistake in this post! I did my best and that is enough.)

December was a short month and I met with most, but not all groups. And the groups that met sure had fun! We laughed and laughed and got silly and creative and took risks and it was fun. We played drama games. Students were hesitant and shy (some of them) at first, but all students took a risk at some point. All students laughed. All students thought outside the box. We experienced the stress-relief of being creative and being silly. When stuck in a rut – laughter can get you thinking again. When feeling nervous, being silly in a safe environment can help loosen up your emotions. Some students who tend to be more introverted did feel a little nervous and uncomfortable at times, but overall- we learned that laughter and play can make you feel more creative, brave and relaxed. So, when life feels hard – find a way to play.

See the source image

The Parent-Student TAG night will be Tuesday 12/5 at 6:00 at VES.

We were supposed to meet on Thursday, 12/7, but rescheduled it due to the light parade. See you on Tuesday!


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November Topic of Discussion: Self Identity

In November, TAG groups are having discussions based around the topic of self-identity. Who are you? What are your dreams and hopes? What are your strength and weaknesses? How is your identity influenced by your environment?

In middle school and high school, students are drawing and writing about their internal identities: strengths, personality characteristics, passions, dreams, and core values. What makes you who you are? And then adding environmental influences around that: family/home, community/culture, school, as well as gender, race, age, and chance. I am also giving them a handout for the Piirto Pyramid of Success. The discussion and activity are guided by this perspective of giftedness and success.

In the elementary schools, students are drawing and reflecting about who they are and who they want to be. The concept of the pyramid of success is simplified for them. They are identifying who they are and who they want to be through coloring, drawing, and writing.

As smart people, these kids can be complicated. Through taking a moment to stop and reflect about who they are, they will identify their own strengths as well as areas of weakness or self-challenge. By stopping to think about how their environment influences them, they can take some control over how they want to be influenced. We just are who we are day to day, but stopping to reflect about it can be a powerful experience.

To read more about the Piirto Pyramid of Success, see a previos post on this page: http://www.fernridge.k12.or.us/apebworth/2014/04/22/the-piirto-pyramid-of-talent-development/

TAG Parent Discussion & Student Engineering Nights

  • Who: Parents of Identified TAG students and High End Learners in the Fern Ridge School District and Students who are identified as TAG or invited by a teacher in the Fern Ridge School District
  • What: Parents: Discussion Nights with Angie Pebworth and Students: Engineering Nights with Paris Hood
  • When: 6:00 – 7:30 pm  October 26th, November 16th, December 7th
  • Where: Veneta Elementary School –  Parents: Library & Students: Room 19
  • Parent Discussion Topics:
    • October: Gifted Characteristics and Profile
    • November: Navigating the School System
    • December: Perfectionism, Twice exceptional, Underachievement, and other quirks
  • Student Science Topics
    • October: Rising Upwards: building structures
    • November: Going Fast: making it move forward
    • December: To the Sky: airplanes and flying machines
  • Bonus! Pizza is included! Free of cost!

A Rain Forest Mind – October’s Topic

 Intense Thoughts; Complicated, tangled and busy observations; Emotions, emotions, and more emotions; Complex; Intense

A rain forest has been compared to a TAG mind by Paula Prober, a local therapist who works and specializes in gifted youth and adults. This month, as I pulled together students at the various schools, we talked about our rain forest minds. We talked about what it was like to see the world through numbers and to always be organizing things into categories. We chatted about what it was like to be in love with words and language and always have our nose in a book. We also bridged this analogy into our emotions. We talked about having intense emotions and complicated view points. We talked about how our minds and hearts are like the rain forest- not better or worse than other habitats, but different- more complex and more intense. I introduced the idea of working together this year on social-emotional topics.

To read or follow Paula Prober’s blog, check out https://rainforestmind.wordpress.com/

To read about a rain forest mind, go to https://rainforestmind.wordpress.com/home/

And – I recommend this book if this analogy rings true for you and you would like to read more: Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth by Paula Prober


Goal 1: Middle School and High School Teacher Based TAG Plans

The implementation timeline is:
Introduce 2017-2018 school year,
Full participation and completion 2018-2019 school ycar
The goal will be met by a measurement which defines the following:
Teachers at Fern Ridge Middle School and Elmira High School will be taught how to write a plan to
provide challenge to advanced learners in their classrooms during the 17-18 school year. Throughout the year,
and beginning the following school year, teachers will tum into their supervisor a teacher-based TAG plan. The
plan will include how the teacher will assess rate and level of advanced sturlents ancl how those students will be
challenged, enriched or taught at their rate and level within that class. These plans will be communicated with
The goal will be determined as successful/unsuccessful by:
Administrators will have and approve Teacher based TAG plans for all teachers in their buildings.
Parents know the teacher-based TAG exist and have access to them.


Goal 2: Professional Development for Teachers

The goal is: Offer PD for teachers in the FRSD focused on TAG identification, classroom accommodations, and
characteristics of TAG students.
The implementation timeline is: Begin 2017-2018 school year, and on-going in years to follow.
The goal will be met by a measurement which defines the following:
Every school year, there will be at least one PD offered to staff that focuses on TAG. It may be provided
through a written handout, an email or a quick staff presentation. It may be an optional PD offered to any
teachers who would like to attend. Potentially, it could be built into district or building PD inservices.
The goal will be determined as successful/unsuccessful by: During every school year, a TAG PD can be


Goal 3: Self-assess the District’ s Referral/Testing Process 

The goal is: Look at the district’s referral and testing process for areas to be improved
The implementation timeline is: 2017-2019
The goal will be met by a measurement which defines the following:
The TAG team wilt look at how our district can improve our process for TAG referrals, screenings,
testing and identifications. The team will identify areas of weakness and determine goals to be met. The broader
goals are to improve identification of underepresented populations, specifically economically disadvantaged
students, assess the tests we use and ask if the process for testing is effective, and to consider a broad screening
instrument for our district.
The goal will be determined as successful/unsuccessful by: Goals will be specifically determined and evaluated the TAG committee.


Goal 4: Create Inter-District TAG Collaboration

The goal is: The FRSD TAG Coordinator will connect with other TAG coordinators and teachers in other
The implementation timeline is 2017 and on-going
The goal will be met by a measurement which defines the following:
The TAG coordinator will know other district TAG coordinators, educators and volunteers that are
passionate and knowledgeable about TAG. The purpose of this goal is to collaborate with other districts about
TAG to overcome possible limitations of being a small district. TAG is a specialty that can be isolating and can
only be improved with collaboration and connection. This goal could be met through networking, formal
meetings with other educators, or through connections made by other formal or informal groups.
The goal will be determined as successful/unsuccessful by: Every school year, the TAG coordinator can name an interaction with a different district employee or volunteer about TAG. Ideally, a lesson, idea, or improvement can be named as a direct result from that interaction.

Welcome to FRSD TAG Program for the 17-18 school year!

This year our focus will be social-emotional issues common in gifted people. At all schools, TAG students often report academics as challenging and appropriate. (We do have great teachers!) If there is ever any need to help challenge and support academics of gifted students in the classroom, I am here to help. I can help teachers, students, or parents problem solve and improve academic life for TAG students.

Last spring, I was lucky enough to see a presentation by the ODE TAG coordinator, Angela Allen. She spoke about the lack of social-emotional support for gifted students. These students are often complicated and may need some extra support thinking and reflecting about themselves to become their best self.

This year, I will be meeting with small groups at all schools to lead discussions and activities centered around social-emotional issues common with TAG kiddos. Topics will include: goal setting, perfectionism, introversion/extroversion, perseverance, respecting diverse learners around you, managing intense emotions and more. Every month, the theme for all groups will be the same and I will post here about the topic for families to read and be aware of our topic. Discussions will happen in small groups at different times, in different buildings, and will be age-appropriate, all through-out the month. Please check back for monthly topics!

Let me know if you have any questions!

Angie Pebworth


cell: 541-485-3764

School: 541-935-8225 ext 5119