Free Education Online Webinars

On Thursday 21 April 2016 the Persona dolls helped to illustrate a presentation for Free Education Online Webinars. It was the first session of a two part series and the teachers who participated used the whiteboard slides and the chat text box to interact with each other to find solutions to the needs of students described in Neihart & Betts Revised Profiles of the Gifted and Talented.

The title of the presentation was Personas, profiles and portraits of giftedness.
The recording of the session can be found at

Vanessa Crouch, the moderator also created a Padlet page to collect all the references mentioned during the presentation at


Part 2 was presented on Thursday 28 April 2016.
The second part discussed Sprite, the Twice Exceptional student, causes of underachievement, and De Bono’s 6 Action shoes.

The recording of Part 2 can be heard at
Vanessa Crouch’s Padlet for Part 2 is found at

Australia e-Series Tech Talk Tuesdays Webinar Part 2


Slide from presentation Photo Jo Freitag


I presented the second part of the Australia e-Series Tech Talk Tuesday webinar Personas, profiles and portraits: Sprite the Twice Exceptional on Tuesday 2 June 2015 at 4.00pm Melbourne time.

The second part of the presentation focussed on Sprite, the Twice Exceptional Gifted Student who is both gifted and also has some form of disability or learning difficulty/difference. It was appropriate to give a full session to this particular gifted profile as Sprite is the most fully developed and described of my Persona dolls. See  


Slide from presentation Image Jo Freitag



Also the education of 2E students is a huge topic.

We discussed
* identifying 2E students,
* myths relating to 2E students,
* catering simultaneously for giftedness and the disability using De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes as the planning tool
* possibilities for modifying studies for 2E students using S.C.A.M.P.E.R. as the thinking tool
* social emotional issues relating to 2E students


Slide from presentation Photos Jo Freitag



You can listen to the recording of the second part of the webinar at 

Slideshare for Part 2





Whose shoes?

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag

Shoes are a very important part of the costumes for my persona dolls.
They not only help to describe the backgrounds and characters of the dolls but can also be used as metaphors.
For example I have developed a program called Feetspeak: 2E shoes which uses De Bono’s Six Action Shoes action planning to select education and support programs which will be suitable for gifted and 2E students who are both gifted and also have disabilities, learning difficulties or differences.

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag

De Bono set

I have written about the De Bono Six Action Shoes on Sprite’s Site blog at
Orange gumboots

Pink slippers

Grey sneakers

Blue formal shoes

Purple riding boots

Brown brogues

I have added a few extra types of shoe to add as metaphors for education and support programs for gifted and 2E students
Of course there is going barefooted which represents not having any provisions at all.
Then there are the sparkly sandals  which either represents a fun but not particularly demanding holiday program or a full time provision which is billed in the glossy brochures as a wonderful Extension Program and is often very expensive to attend but in reality turns out not to have much substance.
The Can Do adjustable Velcro shoe which represents either a flexible program or the ability to fit into a mainstream program without extra provisions

The plaster cast  which Sprite, the twice exceptional gifted student wears represents an ideal combination of the attributes of the 6 DeBono Action shoes to give support for her disability but can only be used if eligibility and funding criteria are met.

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag

There is a lovely collection of pink slippers for the all the dolls to share

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag

Felicity is the only doll whose white shoes are glued in place so they cannot be removed or exchanged

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag

Some of the Persona dolls wear shoes which tell more about their situation or character than about the education programs they are involved in.

Sprite doll No 1 has a pair of soft blue boots, Miranda can wear smart red boots to match her red dress Sprite doll No 2 has a pair of brown boots with a badly scuffed toe on the left foot showing she had been dragging it. Adam has a pair of boots which are suitable for life on the farm. Nobody has claimed the cute pair of crocs yet. The black sneakers belong to Vince. Michaela the creative loves her sparkly shoes and Evelyn has a pair of formal blue sandals indicating that although her country area is not offering a full time program for gifted students whenever there is a program such as a visiting author giving a workshop offered she is included in it.

Photos Jo Freitag

Photos 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 



Could Sprite be a Persona Doll?

Originally posted on Sprite’s Site blog 13 October 2014


Image by Jo Freitag 2014


Recently I received a request from a teacher to answer some questions relating to giftedness to help her develop a persona doll for an assignment she was doing.

She supplied this information about persona dolls and the doll she intended to create.

“A persona doll is a doll developed by a practitioner/educator to enable children to gain an awareness and understanding of the richness and diversity of different backgrounds and lifestyles as well as to help children learn strategies for dealing with unfairness against themselves and others.
The dolls are given personalities, family and cultural backgrounds, likes and dislikes and the stories that are created around them enable children to explore positive and negative emotions.
To be able to develop one, I need to research and consult with children and their families to develop the persona doll identity and story. This is to avoid stereotypes and to provide an authentic representation of the children and their challenges.
I believe that developing a persona doll about giftedness can also be a way to advocate because children, families and educators where it will be shared will be cognizant of the current realities and difficulties faced by children that are gifted.”

I wrote a post about Persona Dolls for Gifted Resources blog at

She then asked a large number of detailed questions about ethnic, socio-economic and cultural conditions and everyday life matters to help her build a unique and authentic persona for her doll.

She would have liked to ask the questions to my youngest child also, hoping to hear a child’s voice expressed. Our youngest is now in his late twenties; so was not able to provide the child voice.

After replying that gifted children can be found in every ethnic, socio-economic and religion group so she could choose whatever background she felt most comfortable to use when developing her persona doll; I answered the giftedness related questions and some of the everyday life issues questions using my twice exceptional blog character, Sprite, to personalise the answers.

I was delighted to find that I was able to give quite a detailed portrait of Sprite from references to posts in the blog. I provided this picture.

Image by Jo Freitag

Image by Jo Freitag

Here are my replies to some of her questions.


Name:  Sprite

Age: Not specified – a pre-teenager in middle – upper primary school but about six years ahead of age group for academic level

Cultural background: Australian

Gender: Female

Area of giftedness: Intellectually gifted with passionate interests in sciences (especially astronomy) 
Hobbies are playing guitar and playing with her imaginary friends. All her toys have complicated back stories and she likes to make banners for them and set them up to stage protest marches

Is giftedness diagnosed? Sprite has been assessed as being in the exceptionally/profoundly gifted range
by a psychologist with specialist knowledge of giftedness and her (unspecified) learning difficulties/different learning styles have been diagnosed by education consultants like the (fictitious) Dr. Ed Needs

Sprite has a Visual Spatial Learner style of learning

Sprite has a Memory Elephant. The Memory Elephant is a personification of memory and the Visual Spatial Learner’s style of thinking

Character traits

As with many gifted people Sprite is an introvert and has many intensities and sensitivities including Dabrowski’s Over excitabilities which are depicted as the Five Dabrowski Dogs and can be prone to depression depicted by the Black Dogs

I have checked whether my readers perceive Sprite in the way I intended to portray her and have found that they did

Class or Socioeconomic Status

Gifted children come from every social class, socioeconomic and ethnic group and religious background. So how you depict your own Persona Doll is up to you and will influence your response to the cultural and lifestyle questions

For myths about giftedness see

Languages spoken: Sprite speaks English (she would like to learn other languages)

Religion: Sprite is a Christian. Her faith is very important for her and she thinks very deeply about it and asks many questions. She has been asking questions about life and death, God, the universe, ecosystems, philosophy etc since she was very young.

What holidays does she celebrate? She celebrates Christmas  and Easter She wonders whether she should celebrate Halloween herself but the Dabrowski Dogs always dress up for it She also likes playing tricks on 1st April
Socio-economic group: She is from a middle class socio-economic group neither extremely wealthy nor extremely poor

Sprite, like many gifted children, has difficulty getting to sleep. Her brain is so active that she has trouble switching off. She is a perfectionist and will mentally review the happenings of the day and what she should/should not have done or said in the situations.She has a vivid imagination and is sure that the shadow on the wall is Leaping Attack Black Dog coming to get her.  She also has vivid dreams

Social/friendships issues

Sprite has trouble relating to children her own age as she has very different interests which she likes to discuss at great length

Sprite likes most foods and her favourite flavour is chocolate.
She has been fortunate enough to try food from many different cultures.
However because of sensual overexcitabilities she does not like some textures of food such as mushy or sloppy foods. So she likes to keep food of different types separate on the plate. She also does not like food that is very spicy or too acidic or too fatty. She is not allergic to any foods but knows that many people can be.

Her friend, the gifted Twitter Bird chick, Tweetelle, has become a ‘seedetarian’ for moral reasons

Sprite’s favourite colour is blue and her favourite clothes are a blue skirt or shorts and a blue tee shirt. Because of sensual over excitabilities she does not like scratchy materials and does not like tags left on her clothes or having seams on her socks.

Shoes are very important (see under Do you have a tailored program?) Her favourite shoes are her De Bono pillow soft pink slippers.

She does enjoy dressing up

Does she have a tailored program?

Sprite’s Site blog is about finding the educational provisions that will be most suitable for Sprite as a twice exceptional student.
She needs to be challenged in her areas of strength and supported in her areas of weakness.
Feetspeak: 2E shoes is about planning programs that will be suitable for gifted students who also have a learning difficulty or different learning style using Edward De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes as the planning tool and road testing their effectiveness using Gagne’s DMGT model.
Sprite is always depicted as having an injured left ankle and needing to wear different shoes on each foot to illustrate the concept that she needs different educational provisions for both her giftedness and her disability.

So could a Sprite Persona Doll be useful to advocate for the understanding of gifted or twice exceptional students? Imaginational Dabrowski and I think she could.

I began to consider the idea of buying a persona doll
and dressing it as my Sprite (I already have all the mini versions of De Bono’s 6 Action shoes and a mini plaster cast); or of sewing one myself.

I found sewing instructions here

This is what I imagine a Sprite 2E twice exceptional persona doll would look like.

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag