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 News from NAGC

From Where I Sit
Making the Connection

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At the risk of dating myself, I invite you to remember when networking technology really took off. With the invention of virtual conferences, Skype, conference calls, and teleconferencing, many sociologists and technology gurus predicted the gradual decline and ultimate death of face-to-face meetings and conventions. The need to connect, they reasoned, could be met virtually, at a greatly reduced cost and with greater efficiency.

I'm happily here to report — with NAGC as a sample of one — that face-to-face meetings are even more vital to our work and to our lives than they have ever been before. Exhibit A? As we head into the NAGC Annual Convention in Denver next week, our total registration is higher than we've seen in six years. I recognize that attendance is just a data point, and a cold one at that. However, it's the power of our face-to-face connections that will compel educators from all over the world to board an airplane and come together for a shared learning experience.

New Book on Creativity

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Educating for Creativity & Innovation Donald J. Treffinger, Ph.D., Patricia Schoonover, Ph.D., Edwin C. Selby, Ph.D.

Today, more than ever before, we must all be able to think creatively, manage change, and solve complex, open-ended problems. Education today is different in its structure and practice than it was in any previous generation, not just because of the impact of technology and the Internet, but also because, across the lifespan, every person studies, works, and plays in a global community that was previously unknown to most generations. Although organizations worldwide recognize that their success both now and in the future depends on a workforce capable of effective thinking, problem solving, and innovation, educational practice still lags behind our knowledge in these areas. Educating for Creativity and Innovation is a powerful resource to close the gap between research and practice and to promote understanding and effective practice relating to creativity and innovation. In short, this is a book whose time is now!

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Teacher Corner
Reaching the Summit

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There is nothing like the feeling of getting ready to attend an NAGC Convention! I know that despite exhaustion, looming deadlines, and work to catch up on at school when I return the smile on my face and the thoughts and excitement I feel will carry me along during my slow introduction back to the daily classroom schedule.

In many ways the NAGC Annual Convention in Denver will be like a school and the attendees from across the country the "class." Pre-conference sessions, mini-keynotes, general sessions, poster presentations, and daily "classes" will present a jam-packed schedule. Hands-on practice, lecture, group work, and independent learning will ensure that there is truly something for everyone. Attendees will attend and organize "meetings, clubs, and activities" intended to create learning communities and support NAGC's ongoing projects and goals. Inside the halls of the hotel and convention center, folks will converse, listen, offer ideas, receive advice, and participate in one-on-one meetings. Physical education will be present in the form of speed walking, escalator riding, and button pushing. Lunch will be quick, and I am sure that some folks will take advantage of a little nap time. There will be afternoon snacks, some play time, a resource room, and book fair in the form of an exhibit hall. Friends will gather socially "after school," and new friendships will be made. The arts will be spotlighted on several occasions, and planned "assemblies" provide time to hear from our leaders about the current state of the field. Awards are to be given to new and veteran educators recognized for their contributions to the field of gifted and talented education and their dedication to NAGC and its mission. With each passing day, participants are sure to fill their brains with new and exciting research-based practices and ideas.

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Voices and Viewpoints
Beverly A. Trail
Past Chair, NAGC Special Populations Network

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"Voices and Viewpoints" features NAGC members telling us a little about their "day job" while sharing how their work with an NAGC committee or network relates to the field. As we flip through the 2012 Convention Program, we note the efforts of gifted leaders, such as Beverly, who have ensured that the Convention includes relevant sessions for parents and teachers of twice-exceptional children. In addition to the general sessions, "Helping Different Kinds of Minds to Learn," with Temple Grandin, and "Neurodiversity: Your Compass to a Changing World," with Jonathan Mooney, there is a full array of speakers addressing the needs of this audience. Bev recently appeared on Coffee Klatch Special Needs Radio with Nancy Green.

What is your connection to gifted children/education?
I am the Gifted Education Program Coordinator at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, where I am honored to be teaching students enrolled in the gifted education master's degree program.

The Learning Curve
Conference Learning

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Next week you will arrive in Denver with overall excitement and specific expectations of what you can do at Convention, who you can connect with and what you can expect. The obvious reasons we attend conferences is for networking and education, by which we mean learning. In this day and age, information is abundant and most of it can be found online.

In person you have a better chance of learning something relevant that helps solve your problems. Content helps you solve your challenges along with interacting with your environment.

As the conference Guru Jeff Hurt explains in his recent article "A Conference Learning Manifesto With Ten New Principles To Adopt":
    If the participant can't remember what happened, what they thought about and what they did, then no learning occurred. How often do we walk out of a conference lecture or panel discussion and remember what was said? Rarely! And if we don't remember it, learning did not occur.
In his blog, Hurt offers ways to overcome this problem: participate in "social spaces" and if so inclined, tweet what you just learned to the outside world, and tweet some more!

Be sure to actively participate in these "social spaces" at Convention:
  • Group Spaces: Exhibit Hall, Base Camp, Poster Sessions, Exhibitor Workshops
  • Performance Spaces: Student Entertainment and Student Art
  • Participation Spaces: Breakouts, General Sessions, Network Meetings and Events
And we suggest some additional "social spaces":
  • Elevators: take the opportunity to say hello to a new colleague
  • Morning Coffee in Base Camp: an alternate version of "golf course" conversations
  • Concession Stands: grab a meal with old and new friends
  • Events outside the Convention walls: Action Labs, Colorado Night at the Museum, stroll down 16th Street
  • Hotel Bar: share your thoughts and feelings over a nightcap
Here's to learning!

See you in Denver! To find out more about the Mile-High City, check out our Denver page!

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 From the Headlines

Universal 'Traits' Of Giftedness
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Educators, families and other stakeholders continue to grapple with the question: What does it mean to be gifted? Broad based research for a century has provided extensive evidence of how students with high ability/gifted traits "look," how they "behave" and how they "respond to the world" around them. More

The Highly Distracted Gifted Child: You Can Help
Psychology Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Christopher Taibbi, writes: "Recently, I was asked to sit in on a child study meeting for one of the students I work with in the gifted program. For those of you who may not know, a child study meeting is one in which the parents of a child and a variety of professionals in the education field sit down together to discuss (and brainstorm solutions to) any troubles that the child may be having in school. Typically, these meetings grow out of behavior concerns: defiance issues, perhaps; attendance concerns, maybe; and, more typically, concerns about distraction or attention. In cases where there is a clear and previous diagnosis of ADHD, the suggestions for assisting the child are fairly routine." More

New York City Ends Sibling-Preference Rule In Gifted Admissions
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New York City education officials are rolling out several changes to the admissions process for gifted programs as they confront an explosion in the number of children qualifying for seats. But none have created quite as much furor as the new policy that could send Rachel Fremmer's daughters to different schools. "How does it benefit the schools to have parents' time and money split between different schools?" said Fremmer, who has a 7-year-old daughter in the second-grade gifted program at P. S. 163, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and a 4-year-old daughter in preschool hoping to enroll there next year. More

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Emotional Intensity: 2 Sides Of The Same Coin
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Donna Leonard, a writer, reader, knitter, crocheter, mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin and niece, writes: "When my son, Nick was three-years-old, I got him a Spiderman coloring book. I was amazed to find that not only did he carefully color in the lines, but he was very concerned with getting the colors 'right.' He wanted to make sure he used just the right shade of gray for the buildings, the best red and blue for Spidey's costume. If his crayon strayed an eighth of an inch outside the lines, he would throw his head on the table in despair. I would try to comfort him and let him know it was okay to go outside the lines, but he wasn't convinced. This is the child who also lined up all of his toys, single file in a straight line from largest to smallest, so I don't know why I was surprised." More

Special Issue On Giftedness
Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Great resource for those interested about in-depth research on identification and assessment issues. More

District Seeks To Close Ethnic Disparity In Gifted Program
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Hispanic and black students are usually few and far between in gifted and talented education programs, but they're becoming more common in the Clark County School District in Nevada. About 24 percent of the district's GATE students were Hispanic or black in 2009, but the percentage grew to 32 percent last year. Yet, these minority students still are underrepresented considering they're actually not a minority in Clark County but total more than half of all students. More

Title I Plus Gifted Education Equals Partnership For Equity
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Increasingly, gifted education scholars, school district administrators and advocates are beginning to "cross the aisle" to seek out collaborative programming with organizations and agencies that will help to improve services to high potential students nationwide. The goal for many of these more recent collaboratives is to address the continuing "under-representation of children of color" (primarily African American and Hispanic American) in gifted and advanced learner programs. More

Center for Talent Development k12
Duke Tip Belin-Blank Center Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth
Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth MENSA for Kids

Compass Points
Karen L. Yoho, CAE, NAGC Senior Director, Marketing and Member Services, 202.785.4268

Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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