Gifted/Talented/Highly Capable Students

A flexible curriculum that integrates well into language arts, civics and social studies, communications and life skills, the Giraffe Heroes Program (GHP) challenges and inspires gifted and talented (G/T) students. In this Program students use creative problem solving, critical thinking, and decision-making skills. They practice skills in academics, leadership, and communication, and they experience teamwork and active citizenship.

Many G/T students would like to do something for the world, but they’re not sure how or what. And all too often, even those who would most like to be of service, discover some intellectually enticing area of expertise and isolate themselves within the narrow confines of that pursuit.

The GHP gives such students a meaningful way to engage with the world. In this Program, students hear stories of Giraffes heroes, look for Giraffes in their own communities and then, inspired by these active citizens, the students design and carry out a service project that addresses a problem they care about in the community or in the larger world.

Teachers of G/T kids who are using the Giraffe Heroes Program, have given us this feedback —

The Giraffe Heroes Program challenges G/T students’ intelligence and thinking skills by using both analytical and evaluative tools, and by giving them projects with no ceilings on them.

The Program involves some hard work, which is a great gift to the G/T child, who often has poor work habits and poor study skills from years of not being challenged.

It meets G/T students’ emotional needs. Many gifted children think deeply about, and are troubled by, problems and issues of our times. This Program helps them build the self-confidence to address their concerns by giving them problem-solving tools, strategies and experience they actually use to make a difference in their worlds.

It meets their social needs. The Program provides opportunities for G/T students to work cooperatively with others. They get practice in respecting others, listening to others’ ideas, and working in teams to accomplish shared goals.

It develops leadership skills. As students carry out their service projects they gain experience guiding groups or teams, develop decision-making and problem-solving skills, interact with adults in the community, give presentations to groups and sometimes deal with the media.

While leadership skills are now touted for all learners, there is general consensus that G/T kids need them sooner than others.

It fits well with the components of standard gifted curricula, such as written and verbal communication, problem solving, creativity, logic and critical thinking, and affective education.

It helps G/T students deal with perfectionism, a common trait. As they face new obstacles in their projects and find ways around these obstacles, G/T students learn valuable strategies for coping with situations that don’t go the way they were planned.

It fosters self-motivated learning and actions. G/T students are often cautious, outer-directed learners because they are so wedded to the extrinsic rewards of high marks. This Program gives kids a chance to do something they care deeply about and to learn all they must know to accomplish that personal goal. It promotes self-directed learning by:

  1. inspiring them with stories of courageous, compassionate, self-starting people who are deeply committed to their causes, even when no one else cares;
  2. using reflection questions, journaling and alternative assessments to engage students in their own character development;
  3. giving students responsibility for choosing and carrying out a service project that meets needs that they have identified.
  4. avoiding external rewards as prompts for action. The Program advises its facilitators that an expectation of being rewarded draws students toward thinking about the reward instead of experiencing the intrinsic joy, excitement and satisfaction of service and of accomplishing a personal best; and
  5. offering a focus on acting for the common good rather than for a grade.

The Giraffe Heroes Program helps gifted and talented students act on their highest principles. Many G/T kids develop a strong moral sense before their same-age peers and these kids often suffer when their peers don’t respond to their concerns about societal problems.

This Program gives them both practical tools and encouragement for doing something about the problems they see around them.



iutucoverIn classrooms since 1991,
we’ve had plenty of time to
test our ways of teaching
character and service.
As technology changes,
we’re converting our
proven content into
digital forms. Now,
the first downloadable
program is ready for you—
It’s Up to Us, for teens.
And it's free! 
Take a look!.

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Stay Informed & Inspired

From time to time, Ann Medlock, this Project's founder, does a brief but inspiring email called Heads Up. You can check out past copies here. They're so good (and so free) we bet you'll join the Heads Up circle and send them on to friends & family.

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The Giraffe Heroes Kit

We now offer you a tool kit you can use to train tomorrow's heroes, in class or after school. (Full info)



Grades K-2 Guide

Stan Tall & Bea Tall, our twin spokesgiraffes 
for the K-2 Giraffe Heroes Program 
have some bad news and some good news. 
First—the K-2 is no longer for sale in print. 
And here’s the good news—
The entire K-2 program will soon be a free download!
Lesson plans, videos, audio tracks, dozens of stories, 
printable handouts, correlations, & links to resources—
it will all be in a free download to your computer.
We’re working as fast as we can to complete the conversion.
If you’d like to be notified when it goes online,
email us, we’ll make sure you get the word.

Grades 3-5 Guide

Out of print

Grades 6-9 Guide

The Giraffe Heroes Program
for your 6-9 students

Voices of Hope

Service-Learning Guide


Student Anthology