Monday, August 31, 2009

From the Week of August 30th

ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE. Those of you interested in Dr. David Rabiner's research summaries on issues of AD/HD which might affect your high-ability child, be advised that the latest edition of "Attention Research Update" is online here. The topic of the month: The impact of working memory training and medication treatment on working memory in children with ADHD. (Whew -- long title.)

NAGC OFFERS A DEAL. Webinars on Wednesdays, an offering from the National Association for Gifted Children (that's right -- about your kid), has initiated a series of professional development events allowing attendees to listen, view slides and handouts, and question presenters. Parents are included in the intended audience, and for the rest of this year the webinars are free. Find the topics and the details.

FROM THE DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. You may now meet this year's Davidson Fellows at the DITD website. Be awed (unless you're their parents, of course). Find out more about the Davidson Institute here.

MORE STUFF as the days pass from M to T to W etc...


Monday, August 24, 2009

From the Week of August 23rd

SMART CHILD LEFT BEHIND is the title of an opinion piece in The New York Times this past Thursday. The piece disputes what it calls an optimistic notion that NCLB is raising test scores for top students as well as low-achieving students. It points out the disparity in the gains between the two groups, and provides three reasons why gifted students are not benefiting as much. Find the article.

KIDS LEARN ABOUT LEARNING DIFFERENCES -- their own. According to an Edutopia article, a charter school in San Francisco helps kids who learn differently. The school provides a Mel Levine-inspired environment and encourages students to learn about their personal learning styles. One former student relates how he went from getting straight D's in middle school to almost all A's in high school -- and into Cornell University. Read about the school.

IT'S FOOTBALL TIME AGAIN, and if your scholar/athlete is out on the field, make sure you know the symptoms of concussion, what concussion can do to higher mental processes, and the dangers of continuing to play after suffering a concussion. Two articles this week, one in The New York Times and one in Science Daily, attest to the dangers. Sorry to nag, but as they say: "A brain is a terrible thing to waste." Find the Times article. Find Science Daily's take on the topic.

RON DAVIS LECTURE. If you're a fan of dyslexia expert and author Ronald Davis, and if you live in the Chicago area, you're in luck. He has a two-hour lecture scheduled on the evening of October 14th in downtown Chicago. Find out more.

TAMARA FISHER'S most recent entry on her blog "Unwrapping the Gifted" is on RTI -- and she's concerned that the needs of the gifted aren't represented in the three-tiered RTI model. She explains her concerns... and then proposes changes in the RTI tiers to help address her concerns. She also provides links for those who want to learn more about RTI. Find her blog.

GIFTED WITH LD? OR JUST CAN'T SEE? An article in the
Arizona Daily Star relates cases of children whose classroom achievement was greatly improved by addressing vision problems. According to the article, the American Optometric Association contends that as many as 60 percent of "problem learners" have undetected vision problems. The article also recounted how one bright but reluctant learner in a gifted ed class was not participating; after vision screening and treatment, both his confidence and his grades improved greatly. Read the article.

MORE NEWS as the week goes on...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

From the Week of August 16th

HOLD THE PRESSES -- ER, THE BLOG. Hot news from the U.S. Census Bureau in a press release. (We saved you from having to read at least 50 other press releases with "back to school" or "school supplies" as their topics.) From the release: "...it's hot and many people are on vacation. But one of the nation's largest seasonal events will soon be under way impacting [sic] households from coast-to-coast [sic]. It's back to school time [sic]. From nursery school to college, 76 million students are headed to the classroom -- that's more than one-out-of-four [sic] of the total U.S. population age 3 and over... One statistic that may be a surprise -- the parents of two-thirds of students report that their children often like going to school. You can find these and more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at www.census.gov." Well, we like the fact that kids like school. Bless them.

GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY. Maurice Fisher has issued his Fall issue (rushing the season, we think), and it includes an article by Joan Franklin Smutny, an editorial board advisor to 2e Newsletter, on "preserving the sense of wonder" by using an arts approach for gifted children. Another author suggests that Ernest Hemingway is a "prose impressionist for the gifted." Interested? Find the newsletter.

ADVOCACY SUMMER SCHOOL, PART 4. Wrightslaw has posted the fourth lesson in their "Summer School for Advocates" series. Are you ready for the final exam? (Have you even looked at the lessons?)
Go to Special Ed Advocate.

ONLINE VERSUS CLASSROOM ED. A New York Times article reports on online education and its advantages over classroom education, drawing on a study recently published by SRI International. The conclusion: "On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction." Those of you homeschooling your gifted children, or providing your traditionally-schooled kids with supplemental enrichment online, or remediating that 2e kid, should feel justified. Find the article.

A WEAK WEEK for news and events from the world of giftedness, exceptionalities, parenting, and education...

Monday, August 10, 2009

From the Week of August 9th

CALIFORNIA SCHOOL FOR KIDS WITH LDs. An article in the San Diego Union-Tribune featured Winston School, a small (100-student) private school in Del Mar. According to the article, students at the school have LDs that include AD/HD, dyslexia, and Asperger's. All of the students graduating from Winston this year have evidently been accepted at two- and four-year colleges. Read the article.

LD AT U OF T. The University of Texas' Daily Texan says that 1262 students at the school are registered with the office that provides services for students with LDs. The article quotes the director of that office as saying, "
Many of them, although they may have areas of relative weakness, are incredibly bright and gifted in the areas that they do excel at." The school provides resources and one-on-one assistance from instructors. Find out more.

SMART INFANT, SMART ADULT. From the news center at Case Western Reserve: "Infants who excel at processing new information at 6- and 12-months-old typically excel in intelligence and academic achievements as young adults in their 20's, according to a study directed by Case Western Reserve University Psychologist Joseph Fagan." The results stem from a longitudinal study of infants tested in their first year of life. Find the news item.

GET INVOLVED WITH THAT GIFTED KID, DAD. It's not just a mom's job. A University of Illinois expert in early childhood education claims that m
others and fathers play different roles and make different contributions to a child’s upbringing, but a father’s influence upon a child’s academic success later in life is felt the most when he’s involved from the very beginning. Brent McBride also says that fathers and father figures can have at least as much of a unique impact on a child as mothers do, and therefore should be seen as co-equal partners in parenting. Find the UI news release.


ANOTHER WEBINAR FROM OGTOC. Sally_L has scheduled another webinar, this one on September 14th and titled The Art of Gifted Advocacy. It features Barbara Gilman of the Gifted Development Center in Denver. Gilman is author of Academic Advocacy for Gifted Children. Find out more.

GRADE SKIPPING FOR THE GIFTED. In Education Week, Laura Vanderkam and Richard Whitmire revisit acceleration for gifted children as an "obvious, easy, inexpensive solution" to nurturing gifted students. Read the article.

ADVOCACY SUMMER SCHOOL, PART 3. Are you participating in the Wrightslaw Summer School for Advocates? If so, this week's lesson covers how to use information from tests to track your child's progress. Go to school.

AN INTERESTING LD RESOURCE came across our desk a short while ago. NCLD has issued "
The State of Learning Disabilities (2009)." Here's what NCLD has to say about their effort: "NCLD offers this publication to policy makers, education professionals, media, parents and others to ensure that there is access to key LD data to and expand awareness about what LD is and whom the condition impacts." For that one "e" in your child's 2e equation, this report might offer perspective and statistics. Find the PDF.

TEXAS AND GIFTED. An article in the Dallas Morning News described the plight of gifted education in Texas -- no requirements of teachers to take graduate education programs in gifted education, few districts that pay teachers to take such programs, and no higher pay for teachers who do. Read about the state of gifted education in Texas here.

MORE ITEMS as the week goes on...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

From the Week of August 2nd

KNOW A DISTRACTIBLE KID? Blame working memory. Science Daily reports on a study of how a person's working memory capacity affects distractibility. As you might expect, students with a high memory storage capacity are better able to ignore distractions. Read about the study.

EDUCATIONAL JUSTICE FOR ALL. At Ednews.org, Michael Shaughnessy interviews Robert Denham, the head of a program teaching educational justice to doctoral students. Denham defines educational justice as "
providing education to all students on an equitable basis."
In the interview, Denham touches on educational justice for students with special needs. Read the interview.

EDUCATIONAL INJUSTICE? If so, on whose part? A Pennsylvania School District has sued the mother of two gifted children, one 2e, to recoup attorney's fees expended in dealing with "frivolous and harassing" legal maneuvers by the parent under IDEA. According to an article in The Morning Call, the parent has requested 22 due process hearings and demanded a Mandarin interpreter at special education meetings. Will this have a "chilling effect" on parental requests for their gifted and twice-exceptional students? Read the article.

IF YOU'RE THE MOTHER OF A 2e KID, THIS WILL SOUND FAMILIAR TO YOU. Forbes profiled several working-professional moms who have kids with special needs like AD/HD and LDs. 2e Newsletter readers will be familiar with many of the terms used in the article to describe how the moms deal with their kids and with school: "expert jugglers"; "Herculean amount of time," a "second job"; to "champion"; and "negotiation." Find the article.

VISUAL PROCESSING AND "READING" OTHERS. Researchers suggest that visual processing problems may contribute to the problems experienced by autistic and Asperger's individuals in identifying emotions in others. Find a report.

DAVIDSON ACADEMY. USA Today published an article about the Davidson Academy in Reno, Nevada. The Institute is a free public school for profoundly gifted young people. The article focuses on one student and includes quotes from the Academy's Colleen Harsin and NAGC's Jane Clarenbach. Find the article.

ASPIE ACHIEVER. The Hinesville, Georgia, Coastal Courier profiled a young man with autism who graduated from his high school as valedictorian and will enter college as a sophomore. Find out what the young man has to say about his challenges and his school experiences. Separately, the San Francisco Chronicle published an article on a California college for autistics; read it. Still more on ASD: The New York Times notes that three new movies revolve around Asperger's Syndrome. Says one of the directors,
The more I learned about Asperger’s, the better metaphor it felt like for the condition of all of us in terms of a desire for connection to other people.” Find the article.

WRIGHTSLAW SUMMER SCHOOL. Special Ed Advocate has issued Part 2 of "Summer School for Advocates." Wrightslaw promises: "
Learn how to use IDEA, NCLB, and state academic standards to get schools to provide the programs and services a child needs. You'll also learn what the law requires and where to find it." Find the newsletter.

BEING DIFFERENT. Kansas State University researchers are looking into how children perceive peers with characteristics such as obesity, aggressiveness, and AD/HD. Empathy may come from having personal experience with the characteristic, or from feeling that the characteristic is not under the control of the peer. Otherwise, children may respond unfavorably. Read about the study.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

From the Week of July 26th

THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GIFTEDNESS, CREATIVITY AND TALENT, edited by Barbara Kerr, has been released by Sage Publications. According to Sage, the encyclopedia presents state-of-the-art research and ready-to-use facts from the fields of education, psychology, sociology, and the arts. 2e Newsletter publisher Linda Neumann contributed the article on twice-exceptionality. See the publisher's blurb.

ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE. The most recent issue of this e-newsletter from David Rabiner has been posted. The topic is social information processing, its impact on relationships in children, and whether it's helped by AD/HD medications. The net-out: it's not, but if you're interested in reading about the framework for understanding the way children process information in a social situation, check out the newsletter.

KINDLE FOR TEXTBOOKS? An article in eSchool News reports on a recent proposal to supply students with Kindles, Amazon's electronic reader, so that textbooks could be cheaply distributed and updated. On the face of it, the arrangement would seem to benefit gifted and twice-exceptional students, not only allowing differentiation through access to more books cheaply, but also providing a text-to-speech function for those 2e kids who have trouble reading. The proposal, however, has its detractors. Read the article.

VIDEO GAMES AND THE BRAIN. Our unscientific experience with video games indicates that gifted children, boys especially, are very attracted to them. We've read about games having negative effects -- and positive. An article at the Dana Foundation site addresses the issue. Read it.

UNWRAPPING THE GIFTED. Tamara Fisher reports on one of her favorite places, Edufest, an annual gifted education conference in Boise, Idaho. Find out Fisher's impressions along with the responses she got when she asked attendees what they learned that they thought everyone else ("out there") needs to know. One response dealt with twice-exceptionalities. Find the blog.