How To Make A Dream Poster

Girl playing in the sun
Girl playing in the sun

Parenting gifted children is a challenge in many ways. But it is also exciting. Their intensities and passions are electrifying to be around. But sometimes our kids struggle with wrestling that excitement into a dream for their future. Life happens, the world misunderstands them and slowly they begin to limit their dreams, their passions. This is where we need to intercede and help our kiddos NOT lose sight of their dreams.

Dreaming isn’t about being practical or pragmatic. It’s about imagining the most fantastical life you can dream up, and imagining it in perfect detail.  Teaching our children how to visualize their passions can inspire them to do as Henry David Thoreau says and “go confidently in the direction of your dreams.”

A Dream Poster is a great way for your children to put their fantasies and dreams into something that can remind them of their passions. Making one is easy and can be done with minimal supplies. The how-to list below can be done to create a print poster. You can also adapt it to create a digital poster or collage board on Pinterest, Tumblr page, or similar online site:

How To Make A Dream Poster:

  • Start with a listing of your interests
  • Find or draw pictures that capture those interest, as well as your goals for the future
  • Make a collage, poster, or some other artistic representation of those interests. Be as creative as you dare. Some people have made 3-D letters, decoupaged with pictures of their dreams. Others have created Wordle posters or Tumblr pages. There really are no limits to what you can create.
  • Somewhere in the picture, write a goal of something you would like to do or achieve.
  • Date the picture.
  • Revisit it often and change it or add to it as you desire.
  • Most importantly, DREAM BIG!

It’s important for all of us to make visual reminders of where we want to go, both in terms of our goals and our dreams. Teaching your children to to this can help them harness their intensities and turn them into passions that ignite their future. A dream poster can be their (or your) reminder to help us when life throws curve balls, gets too difficult, or our dreams seem to fade from view altogether.


Looking for a “gifted” coach?

Did you know that emotional coaching is a highly effective way to reach gifted children? Not only that, but parent coaching can provide parents of gifted children with the insight they need to meet the needs of their gifted kiddos.

When I started working with families of gifted children nearly 2 decades ago, I became increasingly aware that teachers, parents, and students all needed more resources and more support than was available. That is a large part of the reason why I wrote Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students and 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids.  

As the years went on, I realized that the books weren’t enough. I could do more to support our gifted population and those that serve them. My consulting and coaching business grew from that desire. Now I am a regular speaker at school districts and other venues. My audience includes parents, educators, and students. Topics include the social-emotional needs of gifted students, understanding the role of temperament and using social-emotional learning competencies to coach gifted children. Speaking events can be presentation or workshop style.

In addition to my speaking events, I also provide coaching for gifted children and their parents. Different from counseling or therapy, the coaching I provide is centered on understanding giftedness and how to maximize potential through empowerment and embracing the positive aspects of giftedness while managing some of the difficulties. I work with clients on goal-setting, specific strategies to address areas of concern, and other skills to help them fulfill their goals.

If you or your organization would like more information about speaking opportunities or coaching, please contact me through my website by clicking HERE.

For 2016, I will be looking for more ways to support the gifted community, as well as anyone living an intense life. If you have ideas about what you’d like to see from me, please leave me a comment and let me know.

Thank you for the ways you supported gifted individuals.

Lots of covers, lots of excitement…

Hi everyone! Happy Wednesday. I, for one, can’t wait the week to be over. My oldest is home from college in three short days and I couldn’t be more excited. But that isn’t what this blog post is about.

It’s about my shiny new cover. Elana Johnson is helping me out with a cover reveal for my next book, Indie and Proud. But as I was prepping for that post, I realized that isn’t the only cover I have ready to share. I have COVER-S. That’s right, covers plural. Three to be exact.



You did it! You achieved your dream of writing and publishing your book. You should be happy. Instead you feel trapped in an ever-changing publishing race, stressed over the never-ending to-do list, and frustrated with yourself for continuing to doubt your talents, despite achieving your goals.

Face it, being a creative is difficult, and achieving some measure of success in the business doesn’t make you immune to your own fears and doubts. If anything, your achievements have added even more pressures. Indie and Proud shines a light on those fears and pressures, providing tools to deal with your frustrations and embrace your passions again.

Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, the book uses everyday examples and stories from writers and other artists to help artists find and maintain their balance in the exciting world of independent publishing. With specific strategies to address self-doubt, underlying fears, and the truly intense nature of being creative, Indie and Proud is a must read for anyone ready to embrace everything it means to be Indie.

Coming February 2, 2015

RAISING THE SHY CHILD: A Parent’s Guide To Social Anxiety

The fear of being judged by others in social activities is a common human experience, especially during childhood. But when the fear becomes all-consuming, it can disrupt daily functioning and the development of social competency. Raising the Shy Child: A Parent’s Guide to Social Anxiety takes a fresh look at social anxiety disorder, coupling the latest in research trends with evidence-based strategies and real-world stories to untangle the complexities of this disorder. Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, the book uses a combination of real-world examples and stories from adults and children with social anxiety disorder to show parents and educators how to help children find a path through their fear and into social competence. With specific strategies to address school refusal, bullying, and identity issues, Raising the Shy Child is a must-read resource for anyone dedicated to enhancing the lives of children.

Coming March 1, 2015 from Prufrock Press

Social-Emotional Curriculum for Guiding Gifted Students

What does it mean to be a successful person? What traits and characteristics define successful people? Why do gifted children, in particular, need a strong affective curricula in order to maximize their potential? These questions and more are explored in this guide to helping gifted children in grades 4-7 as they navigate the complicated social and emotional aspects of their lives. This curriculum is designed to help gifted children explore their giftedness, develop resiliency, manage their intensities, face adversities and tough situations, and cultivate their talents and passions. Including lesson plans, worksheets, and connections to Common Core State Standards, I’m Not Just Gifted is the practical guide necessary for anyone serving and working with gifted children.

Coming May 15, 2015 from Prufrock Press
I don’t know about you, but I am so freakin excited! I am also planning a few fiction releases – so I will be sharing that information soon…ish….
Until next time, what books are you excited for???

School for the Gifted: Looking for Extra Challenge


Parents of gifted kids often struggle with how to make school work for their kids. This is doubly so for parents of twice-exceptional kids or kids who are highly or profoundly gifted. Support groups for parents of challenging gifted children are full of stories of changing schools to improve things for students after advocacy efforts have failed.

Most of us, and I count myself among this number, have two very simple goals:

  1. to make sure our kids continue to learn and develop
  2. to make sure our kids are not emotionally damaged by the school environment

These are not unusual goals for parents to have for their children, but they can be hard to meet with atypical children. Educational experiences designed for a group never meet the needs of all individuals. Good teachers teach in ways that reach most kids most of the time. If kids are atypical, less of the programming works for them. If the mismatch between the kids and the program are too great, the kids suffer. At the same time, atypical kids can suffer at the hands of their peers – not having enough in common with the kids at school can lead to isolation, self-doubt, and bullying.

Like many school districts that do have programming for gifted children, our local school district identifies gifted children in grade 3, for placement in a program that begins in grade 4. The school district interprets the provincial curriculum in a way that prevents acceleration even once students have been identified as gifted. Within those limitations, the gifted program is excellent: the teachers have learned how to extend the material in ways that make the school board happy and challenge the students, and the administration has excellent tools for working handling twice-exceptional students.

But, keeping bright kids engaged in school until they get to grade 4 isn’t always easy.

Many of my friends with gifted kids have kept them in private schools with more flexible curricula (mostly Montessori) until they were identified for the public gifted program or home-schooled for a few years of early elementary school.

Canada is a bilingual country. We have two national languages: French and English. Many school districts in English-speaking Canada offer French Immersion schools. In these schools, native-English speakers learn in French.

Parents send their children to French Immersion schools for many reasons. The extra challenge of doing school in a foreign language appeals to many parents of bright students.

Language immersion works best when it starts early. This is true for all children due to the way humans learn languages. However, it is especially true for bright kids. Young kids are learning how the world works, searching for knowledge, stretching their comprehension as fast as their language develops and they have new experiences to learn from. Learning a second language requires spending time using simple language, unable to express or read as much in the second language as one can in the first.

Where we are, French Immersion starts in grade 1. My eldest was in the program for just over a year. It was not a success. Spending the entire school day focused on basic vocabulary was intensely frustrating for him. His brain was craving complex content but he could not manage the language to support that. In his few hours after school, he read books written for children 4-5 years older than his mere 6 years, but it was not enough. His frustration grew as the year went on. Early in the second year, it was clear that a new solution was in order and he changed schools twice more before the end of that year.

In September, my triplets enter grade 1 and will all be starting in French Immersion. I have no idea how it will go. They all read between 1 and 4 years above grade-level. They all enjoy complex thinking. They have all enjoyed their experiences with French in the past. If they enjoy the language learning and make friends, this school could be fantastic. If they hate the language learning and don’t make friends, it will be a disaster. The daily reality will probably be somewhere in between.

I am not expecting any two of them to have the same reaction. I am prepared for one or more of them to return to the school they were at last year if things don’t work out.

I will be watching carefully.

I don’t expect any school environment to be perfect. As long as they are learning and reasonably happy, I will be satisfied.


Kate is the founder of ImprovLiving: Improve Your Life with the Power of Improv and writes about creativity and story-telling as tools for making sense of the world at

March, Enrichment and Creativity

Hi everyone, and welcome to March!!! This month, we are focuses on enrichment and creativity – something most of us find very important to our lives and to the lives of our children. Our schedule of bloggers is on the right.

We are also welcoming a new member to the team, Amanda Hull. In truth, she was ready to start last month, but there was a tech glitch on my part, and I didn’t get her post up. I will do better this month.

Before I leave, I wanted to ask all of you what kind of things you would like to see for topics in the months to come? Just leave a comment and let me know.

And be sure to join us Weds with Kate’s take on this month’s topic.

Understanding Emotional Intensity

The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this:

A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.
To him…
a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a lover,
a lover is a god,
and failure is death.

– Pearl Buck

This is my absolute favorite explanation of what it means to be gifted – and therefore intense.  I have worked with gifted children and adults for more than a decade, and I can say that everyone, with the exception of dually exceptional individuals which we will discuss in future posts, have lived this poem to some degree.

Intensity refers to how an individual approaches life.  At its best, it is the driving passion that enables some people to achieve amazing things – in any domain.  But at its worst, it is the turmoil that has the power to consume these same individuals from time to time as they learn how to manage that aspect of their personality.

Intensity comes in the form of cognitive intensity – those aspects of thinking ad processing information that all gifted individuals to problem solve.  It relates to the attributes of focus, sustained attention, creative problem solving, and advanced reasoning skills.  Most people think of cognitive intensity as intellect, or “being smart” – all good things.

Emotional intensity is akin to the above poem.  It refers to the passion gifted people feel daily.  But it also refers to the extreme highs and lows many gifted people experience throughout their lifetime, causing them to question their own mental stability from time to time.  This type of intensity is a natural aspect of giftedness.  However, in my experience, it is also one of the most misunderstood attributes.

This month is dedicated to emotional intensity. We will all share our perspectives on the topic, with lots of strategies for you. We hope you enjoy and welcome whatever comments and questions you have!

Pencils, and books, and stress….Oh My!

Here we are, well into another school year. Carpooling, taxiing to too many activities, up until the late hours working on homework. My children are in Middle School and High School and their workload is extreme–not by my choice, necessarily, but by their own. They’ve both had colds already, both had multiple tests and projects.

Yes, the year is underway.

My children are used the chaos of the school year. In many respects they thrive on it. But this year takes busy to this whole other level, especially for my high schooler.

It’s her junior year. She’s in a honors program that makes college look easy. She loves it, but the schedule does not come without a price. She’s in a program with kids just like her. It’s competitive and it’s hard on her when she isn’t as successful as she wants to me. Already this year she has applied for something only to have most of her friends succeed where she did not. It’s frustrating to her. Her intensities grow and she turns into a bit of a mess.

But this year, something else has happened as well. She’s learning to process that angst and frustration. She’s talking more about why she gets frustrated, and dealing with her emotions better. It is magical for me to watch. My husband and I have tried to teach her these skills for so long–watching her use them is a blessing we didn’t honestly expect to see before she went off to college.

Yes, we are into another school year. And yes, it is intense. But this year also brings a rare maturity. At least for now. And you know what, we’ll enjoy it while we can.

On a different note – next month brings posts regarding my favorite topic – emotional intensity. I hope you guys have been enjoying the posts so far.

See you next week.