OZeLIVE 2016


Again this year I participated in the OZeLIVE! Online conference which ran from February 26 – 28 2016

This year there were 19 interesting and inspiring webinar sessions. I attended most of them during the conference and intend to catch the ones I missed by listening to the recordings.
The recordings of the sessions are available at http://australianeducators.ning.com/recordings-2016


I presented a session titled Persona Dolls: Dressed for learning.
Clothes can be used to illustrate nationality/ethnicity, religion, historical period, character/occupation, customs and lifestyle, dress style preferences, and also as an analogy for other characteristics (eg De Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats and De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes)
My friend Judy Murcutt sent me photos of her collection of dolls from many different nations to help illustrate the session.
As well as discussing the use of Persona Dolls and other dolls in education we talked about the resources available for teachers who want to participate in Diversity Week and Harmony Day.
Gifted Awareness Week Australia 13 – 19 March 2016 activities were also mentioned.
For details of the events for the week see http://www.aaegt.net.au/?page_id=1170

The recording of my OZeLIVE session can be found at https://sas.elluminate.com/drtbl?sid=2008350&suid=D.51092091ED4B4597AC051BB74A41CD

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Sources of inspiration and encouragement


From the beginning of this adventure I have been fortunate to have people who provided inspiration, information, and input of opinions, gifts of materials, encouragement and even prayer support!
The initial inspiration for the project came from the teacher who contacted me with questions about giftedness for her own Persona Doll project

My lovely friend and prayer partner Judy Murcutt joined in the adventure with great enthusiasm from the beginning. She gave me foam balls for heads and metres of quilt filler material. She even sought information about making the dolls and brought me the frame for the doll which became Edward.
At each step she has happy to listen to my stream of thought ramblings and quick to pray about any concerns.

Another lovely friend and prayer partner Elizabeth Albiston has also been a great encouragement and given wise advice and practical assistance.

When I decided to create a full set of the 6 Neihart & Betts Revised Profiles of the Gifted and Talented I contacted Dr. Neihart and Dr Betts asking for permission to reference their work in this manner and received an encouraging note granting it.

I also asked for advice and opinions from several psychologist and education consultant friends.
Janette Phelan a psychologist with Uplift Centre Pty Ltd in Brisbane visited during the Summer holidays and had many suggestions for possible uses of the dolls for PD, counselling, play therapy as well as teaching empathy in early childhood education settings.
Janette warmed especially to Vince the At Risk Profile student and said there were some excellent programs for graffiti artists in Brisbane


On 3 Feb 2015 I wrote to Janette

Hi Janette

The Persona Doll project is going along well.
I have the clothes for the remaining 3 of the Betts and Neihart profiles but not the materials to make the forms yet.
Plus I now have Bearnice and the Memory Elephant.
I have set up a new blog specifically for the project at https://jofreitag.wordpress.com/

One of the posts I will write will be about discussions/suggestions/advice/help I have received.
Would you be happy for me to include the discussion we had when you visited (especially in connection to Vince, the graffiti artist) with a contact link for you?

Kind regards, Jo

Janette replied

Happy for you to include the discussion and contact details!
And of course say I am in Brisbane.

If there’s any particular fabrics you’re looking for, let me know. 
I may have something suitable in my stash. 
Nothing came to mind when we were talking but you never know…
Good luck getting the timber!

Janette Phelan
Uplift Centre Pty Ltd

And then there have been all the social media friends who have shared the excitement of the project especially the folk from the Creative Chaos Group on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/brilliantchaosonline/  founded by Lisa Lauffer of Artisan of Creative Miracles

Lisa Conrad of Gifted Parenting Support  and moderator of Twitter #gtchat   and Susanne Thomas of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum and Building Wingspan blog were both very encouraging.
Dr Edith Johnston of How to in life http://www.howtoinlife.com/about/ was particularly helpful and we have enjoyed several discussions on Facebook.


This is a post for Lisa Rivero’s challenge to write 30 blog posts for the month of September.
To read all about her challenge see http://www.lisarivero.com/30postshathsept/



The making of Adam

The inspiration for my Persona doll Adam came from this set of clothes.
My daughter, Erica Polan looked at the checked shirt and jeans and said “That is for Adam. He is the rurally isolated gifted child”.

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag

I received an Arbee wooden doll making kit from Jan Weiner and a huge bag of quilt filler padding material and a bag of foam heads from Judy Murcutt. Thank you both so much!

adam materials

I found a red jumper and a hat in the Op Shop and swapped Miranda’s boots for other shoes and gave the boots to Adam.

My husband, Rainer assembled the frame and I dressed it and in this way Adam was created.

What a contrast to the way in which God created Adam!
 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Gen 2:7

Photo Jo freitag

Photo Jo freitag


Originally posted on Sprite’s Site blog 27 January 2015

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag

My friend Judy Murcutt rang and told me she would be bringing me a teddy bear which had the same base as the persona dolls I am making. She said I could take it apart and use the frame to make another doll.

But, as with Felicity, when the bear arrived it was far too beautiful to deconstruct.
So I named her Bearnice and and gave her a back story.

Bernice’s story

There’s a bear in there!

It is the first day of the new school year and you, dear teacher, are meeting your class for the first time.
And one of the students is a bear – a very much alive bear in a folk art dress, jacket and apron, with an engaging smile and an intelligent sparkle in her eyes, carrying a basket of gingerbread men.
It must be a mistake of some kind. No teacher could be expected to teach a bear!
You check with the admissions officer and are told “Oh, that is Bearnice.”

“What am I supposed to do with her?” you ask.

“You need to make sure she learns all that she is expected to learn in your grade this year”

“But she doesn’t speak the same language as we do!”
“You have taught students who have English as a Second Language in the past.”

So now you have a few options.
You could ignore Bearnice altogether – maybe she will just go away.  But you wouldn’t do that, would you?

You could assume she must really be like all the other students (maybe she is just dressed up as a bear and when she is comfortable enough in the class she will remove the disguise)
But in your heart you know that is not likely to happen. She really is a bear.

You could find out more about bears in general and Bearnice in particular. Learning about her needs, interests, abilities and passions may show you why she was put in your class.

You can learn from her and find out what you can do to help her fulfil her potential and complete whatever mission she has. Maybe she has something to contribute that could save the planet!

And here are
The Messages contained in the Story:

Some gifted or 2E twice exceptional students seem to be so different from the other students in the class.
You may have difficulty communicating with them for many different reasons.
They may be a long way ahead of the class in some areas and have gaps or weaknesses in other areas.
When you get to know the student personally you may find that they have specific areas of interest and specialized knowledge and a sense of being on a mission.

(Spoiler Alert: Bearnice already has extensive knowledge about and a desire to remedy the decrease in bee populations)

Fotobabble at http://www.fotobabble.com/m/d2tZRDhJYStGTU09 



Edward the Autonomous

Originally posted on Sprite’s Site blog 4 December 2014

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag

And now there are three!

My friend Judy Murcutt brought me another doll last week. Judy has been helping me to locate materials and work out methods for creating persona dolls. She asked several of her friends who are keen on craft work and has been given new leads. One of them gave Judy a doll frame which had been standing in her garden to scare away possums. She thought I would be able to take it apart and see how it had been put together and she did not want it back.

I was able to see how the doll had been put together and have repaired and clothed it and it has become Edward, a sensitive botany and animal loving gifted boy. Edward is a little professor who dresses in a rather old fashioned manner, plays the recorder and other instruments and reads classical literature. Although quiet and peace loving he is very interested in knights, Arthurian legend and life in mediaeval times. That is a leather bound copy of Ivanhoe he is clutching.
I am having a great deal of fun with these dolls and think there must be a divine purpose behind them because there have been so many amazing coincidences in the finding and making of all of them.
I am just waiting to find out where it is all leading and said jokingly that maybe I would end up with a full set of persona dolls representing Neihart and Betts Profiles of the Gifted and Talented.


I am half way there.

Sprite is definitely an example of the 2E Profile.

Felicity is either an example of the Successful Profile or the Underground Profile.

And Edward is a prime example of the Autonomous Learner Profile. Edward reads voraciously and can often be seen examining plants and insects with a magnifying glass. He loves science experiments. He is happy in his own skin and pursues his own learning at his own pace in his own distinct manner. It is very appropriate that he is wearing the ‘Do what is most sensible’ Brown Brogues. He would also be comfortable in the Investigative Grey Sneakers.

So now I need to create Vincent (Vince) the At Risk Profile graffiti artist, a Creative Profile character and either a Successful Profile or  an Underground Profile character.

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag