Tuesday, June 16, 2009

From the Week of June 14th

CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGY can make a difference for many gifted students who have receptive or expressive difficulties -- and the tech-savvy teacher can use technology to engage learners in new ways. Education Week is hosting a free online chat called "Cutting Edge Classroom Technology" next Tuesday, June 23rd. We don't know if they'll cover assistive technology, but if tech in the classroom interests you, it might be worth checking out. Find out more. (To save time, consider accessing the chat transcript after the event to find topics of particular interest to you. For example, see the transcript of a recent Education Week chat with Carol Ann Tomlinson on differentiated instruction. The down side: you lose the chance to ask questions.)

HARD WORK EXEMPLIFIED. Anyone with an LD or other cognitive/emotional obstacle to learning has to work harder than his or her peers in order to achieve. The Washington Post carried a story about a young man with TBI and his efforts to graduate from high school and enter college. Although many of his grades were Cs and Ds, he excels in a couple special areas of interest, one of which is history. According to the article, he scored a near-perfect score on a statewide history exam; "I did it with my eyes closed." Find the article.

WE DO THIS FOR YOU. Since it seems to be a slow week news-wise, let us pass on some of the world-shaking information we find in the press releases we read daily in our attempts to find items of interest on giftedness, twice-exceptionality, LDs, education, parenting, and so forth. Over the last few days we've learned:
  • That Tropicana thinks we should get more fruit in our diets, scolding us that seven in ten American adults don't get their daily four servings. Are they genuinely concerned for our health?
  • That "summer is here," lately the lead sentence in many press releases. Zzzzz.
  • And, finally, that California's Hughes-Elizabeth Lakes Union Elementary School District has selected Forsythe Transportation to provide bus service (honestly!). And you thought you were well-informed.
We won't even bore you with all of the releases that start, "Today, [Company Name], the leading provider of [some product or service], announced [a self-serving initiative to make more money while seeming to do public good]."

EVENT ALERT. Over on the right side of this screen is a listing for a June 18th Webinar featuring expert on 2e Mary Ruth Coleman. The Webinar is hosted by Our Gifted and Talented Online Conferences, courtesy of admin and owner Sally_L, who plans to donate proceeds from the event to establish a scholarship for a grad student in gifted education with a special interest in twice-exceptionalities. The event will be this Thursday morning, but it will be recorded and accessible to registered participants for three weeks afterward, so you can time-shift if you like. If you're interested in this event, check it out and register at the OGTOC site, then go join that organization's online social networking site to receive event information and take advantage of the other features of the site.

NO SERVICES FOR YOU -- JUST TRY HARDER. An occupational therapist in the Atlanta, Georgia, area writes in the Atlanta Journal Constitution about the plight of kids with "soft" developmental disabilities. She tells of working with kids with average or above-average intelligence (and even those whose IQs astound her), kids who look and act okay and whose teachers feel should just try harder. The author notes the self-reinforcing spiral of poor achievement, poor self-esteem, and helplessness. One of her calls to action: "We are a use-and-toss society. We cannot afford to use and toss children who learn differently." Read the article.

GOT A GIFTED KID ON AD/HD MEDS? WORRIED? The U.S. FDA recommends that people continue taking stimulant meds even though a new study showed an increased incidence of sudden death in children taking the meds. According to the The Wall Street Journal, limitations in the study affect the conclusions which may be drawn. Read the article.

MORE ITEMS (if we don't die suddenly from Ritalin) as the week goes on...


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