Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Contest for Gifted Kids; Neuroeducation; and More

GOT A PASSION and the urge to communicate it to educators or parents in the gifted or twice-exceptional field? The National Association for Gifted Children has opened up proposal submissions for its 2010 conference, to be held in Atlanta next November. Find out more and register to submit a proposal.

FILM CONTEST FOR GIFTED YOUTH. The organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) is inviting kids to "creatively share what it feels like to be gifted -- in two minutes or less." Gifted kids under 18 may submit a video by posting it on YouTube and submitting an entry form to SENG. Deadline: Midnight, March 1st. Find out more.

MORE ON NEUROEDUCATION. Lately we've posted a few times on the topic of neuroeducation, using the findings of neuroscience to guide teaching methods in the ordinary, everyday classroom. An article in The New York Times from December 20th gave examples of how neuroeducation works with math in the classroom. For example, pre-schoolers can learn cardinality, and are able to do simple division when the concept is delivered appropriately. For example, one expert quoted in the article said, “If children have games and activities that demonstrate the relationship between numbers, then quantity becomes a physical experience.” Neuroeducation builds on innate abilities such as subitizing, using parts of the brain that instinctively judge quantity. If you're looking for an article that makes neuroeducation concrete, try this one.

BRIGHT, INTELLIGENT, AND STRUGGLING TO READ. A study to be published in January shows that IQ and reading ability in dyslexics are not linked over time and do not influence each other, as opposed to typical readers, whose IQ and reading ability track together and influence each other. The study's lead author, Dr. Sally Shaywitz, says in a Science Daily article that "I've seen so many children who are struggling to read but have a high IQ. Our findings of an uncoupling between IQ and reading, and the influence of this uncoupling on the developmental trajectory of reading, provide evidence to support the concept that dyslexia is an unexpected difficulty with reading in children who otherwise have the intelligence to learn to read." Read more.

OMEGA-3 AND SENSORY OVERLOAD. Also from Science Daily, research indicating that omega-3 fatty acids help animals avoid sensory overload. From the article: "The finding connects low omega-3s to the information-processing problems found in people with schizophrenia; bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders; Huntington's disease; and other afflictions of the nervous system." The study examined the role of DHA fatty acid in sensorimotor gating, which helps animals respond to stimuli, and suggests that the proper fatty acids might have therapeutic potential. Read the article.

VIDEO GAMES IN THE CLASSROOM. The Sunday supplement Parade Magazine describes a classroom in New York City in which educators use a curriculum entirely focused on video games. According to the article, students "study and explore subjects through role-playing activities and computer-driven interactive quests... They work together on game-like 'missions,' solving puzzles and completing challenges as teams. Their courses have been combined into multidisciplinary “domains...” And at semester's end? They reach the "next level." Find the article.

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND. The January issue has been mailed and contents are online. Although the "meaty" articles are reserved for subscribers or those willing to buy the digital issue online, interested readers may find some "public" features of interest: "How Birth Order Affects Your Personality"; "Should Parents Spank Their Kids?"; book reviews; and other items. Go to the table of contents to see what interests you.

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