Tuesday, September 29, 2009

TALK TO YOUR KID. New York Times columnist Jane Brody just published a column called "From Birth, Engage Your Child with Talk." The co-publishers of 2e Newsletter discussed this at dinner tonight, and one of the co-publishers was a little irate. "Of course we talked to our babies. How could you just wheel them around and ignore them?" That's what bothers Jane Brody, who recently personally congratulated a young mother for engaging her child with talk. Read it.

ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE. David Rabiner has posted his most recent issue, titled "Are College Students with AD/HD Misusing their Medication?" And, if they are, who's doing it and what are they doing it for? Got a gifted AD/HD kid and worried? Read the column.

WRIGHTSLAW. The current edition of Wrightlaw's Special Ed Advocate contains an article called "Master of DeceptIon" about kids who don't do homework and conceal their inaction. Is that your bright but underachieving child? Read the article.

FREE WEBINAR. Fearless Sally_L, of OGTOC fame, says that thanks to presenter Deborah Ruf the upcoming webinar titled "Ruf Estimates of Levels of Giftedness" [pun there] will be provided at no charge, although donations to help recoup costs are welcome. You can find registration information here. Find information about the presenter here. And, in our experience, you can probably be certain that you won't be able to stump Dr. Ruf with a question about the assessment of intelligence.

Friday, September 25, 2009

September 25, 2009

AN EMAIL FROM SALLY_L alerted us to a math and science resource for children and young adults, Cogito.org, which just won a "Parents' Choice Foundation Gold Award." Cogito says of itself: "On Cogito, gifted kids from all over the world interested in math and science gather to talk to each other, as well as working scientists and mathematicians, about black holes, extrasolar planets, epigenetics, oceanography. Most of the site is open to the public, but the interactive areas, including the discussion forums, groups, and blog creation, are for members only. Membership is by invitation." Find Cogito.

A CURRENT STUDY ON AD/HD uncovered a flaw in the way the brain processes dopamine, and links the condition to difficulties in motivation as well as attention. Got a gifted kid with AD/DH? Read about the research.

WORRIED ABOUT "CHATSPEAK," the shorthand your children and students use to communicate via texting and IMing? Science Daily reports on a study that says not to worry -- that the language variations have no effect on "real" spelling abilities. R U roflol? Read more.

MORE WALDORF. We had some experience with a Waldorf School and were impressed in many ways. Now an article in Edutopia notes how Waldorf-type schools, inspired by Rudolf Steiner, are "on the rise." The century-old underlying theories can seem quaint, but the practice and results are not. An example: a mixture of kinesthesia and song helps students learn math facts, surely an aid for those who "learn differently."
(We frequently read about people "rediscovering" one of Steiner's methods or practices and applying them to various aspects of life today.) Read the article. (For even more information, read an Atlantic Monthly article from awhile back.)

2E RESOURCE. Wrightlaw has added a 2e section to its website, including pointers to resources such as 2e Newsletter. [Thanks, Pam and Pete.] Find it here.

DOES SESAME STREET TEACH LANGUAGE TO YOUR GIFTED TODDLER? Yes and no, according to a study reported in Science Daily. Kids under 3 don't learn much unless there's an adult present to interact with, but kids over 3 can learn action words. Read more.

NY TIMES FOR YOUR BRIGHT HIGH-SCHOOLER. Upfront, a magazine and website published by The New York Times and Scholastic, is distributed for use in high schools. EdNews.org interviews a member of the team that puts out Upfront. If you've got a curious child, check out the interview to find out more.

Monday, September 21, 2009

September 21, 2009

HAPPY CHANGE OF SEASON. In our Northern hemisphere, it's summer to fall, foreshadowing winter, a worrisome topic to one of the co-publishers of 2e Newsletter. On the other hand, to those of our subscribers in the Southern hemisphere -- happy Spring!

CHALLENGING MIDDLE- AND HIGH-SCHOOLERS. At EdNews.org, you can read about several Henry Ford Academies across the country which are based on non-traditional learning principles. From the interview by Michael Shaughnessy with Debora Parizek: "We believe foremost that all students—even students who struggle with, or who are not usually motivated by, traditional academics—can tap into an innate capacity to be creative which, when combined with a structured process for identifying and addressing real world challenges, enables them to emerge from school with a strong identity as an innovator." Find the interview.

IRRITATED MASSACHUSETTS PARENTS are disgruntled over what they see as a lack of services for gifted students, according to an article at the Boston Globe website. The state evidently doesn't spend much money on gifted education, compared to other states, and the state does not require or fund such education. In this article, you can read what Massachusetts is -- and is not -- doing for gifted learners, and what parents are doing in reaction. Find it.

OTHER NEWS. We just read through 100 press releases, looking for resources and news about the topics that concern us -- giftedness, LDs, parenting, family, health, and education -- and came up with this: Borden is celebrating Elsie the Cow's 70th birthday. Find out more. Oops -- then there was this one, from a salad dressing company: "As part of its continuing efforts to help schools instill a life-long love of vegetables in children, the makers of [company's name] salad dressings have announced the fourth annual [contest name] grant program, an initiative that will provide $10,000 grants to 10 public elementary schools in the United States to support increased access to and consumption of fresh produce during school meals." Hmmm -- and from whom might the salad dressings to go with those vegetables be purchased?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September 16. 2009

EDNEWS INTERVIEWS JEAN PETERSON. Michael Shaughnessy of EdNews.org recently interviewed Professor Jean Peterson of Purdue University. Peterson may be familiar to readers of 2e Newsletter for her work with gifted underachievers. In the interview, she describes her work, her latest book (The Essential Guide to Talking with Gifted Teens), and what she sees as concerns of gifted young people today. Find the interview.

ARTS, ATTENTION, COGNITION. In a newly-posted article at Cerebrum, two researchers argue that arts training can strengthen attention spans, improving cognition. The core of the argument: "We know that the brain has a system of neural pathways dedicated to attention. We know that training these attention networks improves general measures of intelligence. And we can be fairly sure that focusing our attention on learning and performing an art—if we practice frequently and are truly engaged—activates these same attention networks." Read the article.

PREPPING ASPIES FOR COLLEGE. A handful of college campuses in the US provide a college internship program to help young people with high-functioning autism prepare for college. The programs allow the young people to attend college while at the same time getting support in academics and social skills. Read the article.

THE PROBLEMS WITH SPECIAL ED is the title of an article in the National Review Online. The author points out discrepancies among states in the percentages of children placed in special education; the growth over the years in only two of the 13 federal categories of LDs (specifically, SLD and AD/HD); and what he calls "the misuse of special education." An example of the last point: schools that obtain extra funding from state and federal governments to address the problem. The author asserts that some special ed students struggle not because of LDs, but because of poor previous instruction or a difficult home life. Find the article.

DIFFERENT LEARNING STYLES ARE BUNK? A couple weeks ago we noted in this blog a Washington Post column about Daniel Willingham and his book Why Don't Students Like School? This week, Willingham makes a guest appearance in the column to make his case against the belief that students learn best when they are taught in a way that matches their learning styles. He says, "
There just doesn’t seem to be much evidence that kids learn in fundamentally different ways." Read his argument. And if he's right?

VIRTUAL CONFERENCE ON AD/HD. Do you raise or teach a gifted young person with AD/HD? David Rabiner alerted us to an upcoming conference on AD/HD scheduled for October 5-7. The fee: $197 or $297, the higher amount including transcripts of all sessions and a set of CD recordings of all sessions. On their website, the organizers offer a long list of reasons why you should attend -- including a virtual conference goodie bag.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, 2009

U.K. 2e-FRIENDLY SCHOOLS? A little help, please, for a 2e Newsletter subscriber who lives in the southwest of U.K., in Wiltshire (near Bath). Our subscriber is looking for a 2e-friendly school for her six-year-old son. If you know of one -- or know someone else who might -- please contact us and we'll put you in touch with our subscriber. Help out the 2e community!

NEUROFEEDBACK FOR AD/HD? If you have a gifted child with AD/HD, you might want to check out an article in US News & World Report about neurofeedback and whether it can retrain the brain to enhance focus. Find the article.

EXPORTING GIFTED ED. The Daily Herald, a Chicago-area newspaper, reported on the visit of a Japanese film crew to DaVinci Academy in Elgin, a Chicago suburb. The footage on DaVinci, a school for gifted grade-schoolers, will be part of a documentary on gifted education in the United States to be aired on a major Japanese television channel. The article quotes the cameraman as asserting that the US is "far more advanced in terms of gifted education." Read the article.

IDL PRESENTS ON UDL. If you live in Washington, DC, area, be advised that the Individual Differences in Learning (IDL) Association is hosting a meeting this coming Monday evening on Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL is a research-based practice that can help 2e children thrive, according to the group's website. Find out more.

Thanks to CEC SmartBriefs for leads to a couple of these items.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

September 6th

NO MORE MULTI-PART POSTS EACH WEEK. From now on, we'll just post two or three times a week in separate posts.

IT'S STILL SUMMER, according to Wrightslaw. At least, their "Summer School for Advocates" is still in session. The most recent edition of Special Ed Advocate (Part 5 and the conclusion of Summer School) features "action strategies for advocates helping children with disabilities." Find it.

MORE ON ADVOCACY. If you find yourself involved at school because your 2e child has an IEP, you might be interested in advice in the National Examiner: Always tape IEP meetings. Find out why.

DO YOUR BEST, PARENTS OF GIFTED KIDS. Apparently the impact of positive parenting can last for generations. That's the conclusion of a study done at Oregon State University on three generations of families. Negative parenting showed up in negative behaviors in children and, when those children grew up, negative and inconsistent parenting on their kids. Read more.

SPORTS, HIGH ACHIEVERS, AND LD. A back-up quarterback for the NFL San Francisco 49ers has an LD similar to dyslexia that challenges his ability to learn from the playbook and textual materials. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, teams were hesitant to sign him because of his LD. Read the article.

TETRIS IS GOOD FOR YOU? A study of adolescent girls showed that those who played Tetris 30 minutes a day developed greater brain efficiency and a thicker cortex. Some of the changes remain unexplained to the researchers. Read about it.

FROM DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. Just a reminder to teachers that the DITD website has "The Educator's Guild," and, given the institute's mission, there are plenty of resources for educators of gifted children. Find it here.

MORE TEACHER RESOURCES. A press release about Thinkfinity.org, a Verizon-sponsored site for teachers, notes that the site contains 154 new free online educational resources for the new school year. Two of the new resources are from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History; in another, students apply text messaging to the character Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye. Find Thinkfinity.

BOOKS FOR GIFTED KIDS. In the early days of 2e Newsletter, Judith Halsted contributed columns on books for young, gifted readers. Her book Some of My Best Friends Are Books has just been updated in a third edition. Read EdNews.org's Michael Shaughnessy's take on it here.

PRIVATE, PUBLIC -- WHICH IS HARDER? A young woman who was a straight-A student in the Fairfax County, Virginia, public schools transferred to a private boarding school in 10th grade. According to an article in Virginia's Connection, the young woman discovered that "I really didn't know how to study" before. What's the difference between the well-regarded Fairfax and Montgomery County schools and this private school? What are the advantages to gifted students of such a private school? Find out.

DOES SCHOOL BORE YOUR CHILD? Washington Post columnist Valerie Strauss covers the work of cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham on the biological and cognitive bases of learning. According to the columnist, Willingham, in his book Why Don't Student's Like School?, contends that students' brains will give up on problems that are too hard -- or too easy. He also takes issue with several beliefs commonly held by parents and educators: that everyone has a preferred learning style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic); that critical thinking trumps learning facts (kids need both, according to the scientist); and that making content relevant to learners increases interest (we'd have to find out more before we'd agree with this). Find the column.