Saturday, May 29, 2010

DYSLEXIC HUMOR? The comic strip xkcd gave us pause the other day with a one-panel joke that had us not understanding the joke for awhile, then wondering whether a dyslexic would find the strip funny. See for yourself.

EDUTOPIA's current issue offers its "Top 5 Educational Videos." They include an interview with Howard Gardner on (what else) multiple intelligences, how to teach math as a social activity (?), and an introduction to project learning. Find the list

VERMONT PUBLIC RADIO aired a program called "Meeting The Needs Of Gifted & Talented Children," which inspired some lengthy commentary from listeners at the station's site. At least one listener noted that gifted children can also have deficits in one or more area. Go to the site to listen to the program or see the commentary.

SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. This is about obsessing on songs. You know what we mean -- when a song gets into your head and ungraciously refuses to leave. Some people call this "earworms." At any rate, a PhD student at the University of Montreal decided to research the phenomenon. She found which pop songs (in French-speaking Montreal) were most likely to become earworms. And she discovered the conditions under which earworms are most likely to occur -- "when subjects are usually in a positive emotional state and keeping busy with non-intellectual activities such as walking, which requires little concentration." Read more

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

GIFTED CHILDREN WITH AD/HD is the topic of an upcoming teleconference from the organization ADD Resources. This particular teleconference on AD/HD features Dierdre Lovecky, a member of the 2e Newsletter editorial advisory board. She is the author of the book Different Minds: Gifted Children with AD/HD, Asperger Syndrome, and Other Learning Deficits. Lovecky's teleconference is scheduled for Monday, July 15th, at 8pm Eastern time. Find more information about this and other ADD Resources teleconferences at their site.

GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY. The summer issue of this publication is out. The issue includes an article on theories of underachievement in African American students; an interview with Dr. Margie Kitano on gifted education; and an article examining two high schools for gifted students. Find the issue.

SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS ARE BOOKS is an award-winner. The third edition of Judith Halsted's work, published by Great Potential Press, has been awarded a 2010 Arizona Book Award as well as a National Indie Excellence Award. Halsted is a former contributor to 2e Newsletter on the topic of -- books. (Check out the 2e Newsletter booklist to find books for adults and for children.)

STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, SATISFACTION LINKED. The May issue of "Trends and 'Tudes," from Harris Interactive, explores the link between student satisfaction and student achievement as measured by grades. Also considered as factors affecting satisfaction are feeling safe at school, whether the students are preparing for college or work, and school pride. Read the issue.

THE DANA FOUNDATION has summarized the recent conference "Attention and Engagement in Learning," which covered topics such as multitasking, AD/HD, and optimal study times. Of AD/HD, one researcher said that the problem wasn't in capacity but in allocation -- the inability to attend to something interesting rather than what is "supposed" to be attended to. Read more on these and other proceedings at the Dana site.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

THE DUKE GIFTED LETTER, spring edition, is now out. Article topics include spatial ability as a neglected talent domain, and how to enrich children who are spatially gifted; organizing gifted-education advocates at the district, state, and national levels; and Renzulli's three-ring conception of giftedness -- traits of above average ability, creativity, and task commitment, all of which combine in gifted behaviors. Find the newsletter.

AD/HD AND PESTICIDES. A study published this week in the journal Pediatrics noted a connection between exposure to organophosphate pesticides and an increased risk of AD/HD in children. The thesis is that the chemicals affect neural systems and lead to behaviors such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Read more.

SPECIAL ED ADVOCATE for this week focused on Extended School Year Services. Wrightslaw says this: "Extended School Year (ESY) services are special education and/or related services provided beyond the usual school year, at times when school is not usually in session - typically during the summer. ESY services are different from summer school, summer remedial classes, and summer enrichment programs. ESY services are individualized, based on the child’s needs as documented in the IEP, and are free of charge to parents." If you think ESY services should be in the mix for your gifted/LD child, read Special Ed Advocate.

GIFTED IN EAST HARLEM. The New York Times profiled a program for gifted 4- and 5-year-olds in East Harlem, New York -- and which shares its "scruffy" facilities with local middle schools. Read more.

RTI AND GIFTED EDUCATION. Prufrock Press is making available complimentary copies of the summer, 2009, issue of Gifted Child Today on the topic of RTI and gifted ed. Go to Prufrock to download the PDF.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES has announced the winner of its Youth Achievement Award for outstanding accomplishments by a student 19 or younger. The winner, a young woman from Missouri, calls dyslexia her secret weapon. The organization's Junior Achievement Award went to a 14-year-old who attends Bridges Academy in Studio City, California. Bridges and its highly capable staff are familiar to readers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, which published Bridges' "Mythology of Learning" series of articles. Find out more about the awards.

GIFTED ACADEMY IN LAS VEGAS. Clark County had planned to establish a $2.5 million, standalone academy for highly gifted students -- but a $145 million budget cut is leaving the future of the academy in doubt. Read more in the Las Vegas Sun.

EDUCATORS GUILD. The Davidson Institute's Educator's Guild has a new post, including a profile of a gifted educator and updates from the institute. Find it. If you know a gifted educator to recommend for a future profile, you may do so from the page of the post.

NEW ORLEANS MAGNET SCHOOL. A high school founded post-Katrina for high-achieving and gifted students has graduated its first class, 39 students who bonded well, according to a recent article about the school. The article also covers the transition from conventional school to magnet school. Read it.

SPELLING BEE FAN? You'll have a chance to watch the 2010 National Spelling Bee on broadcast television, beginning with preliminary rounds on June 3rd. Find out more on the site of Scripps, sponsor the 83-year-old competition.

Monday, May 17, 2010

IQ FROM 67 TO OFF THE CHARTS. The Capital Times, of Madison Wisconsin, carried a story about a young man diagnosed as autistic at age 2. As a toddler, he scored 67 on an IQ test. Thanks to attention from his family, however, and the therapists and program at the Wisconsin Early Autism Project, the young man is now a fifth grader who "sets the academic bar high in his classroom," is at at the top of the game in Wisconsin math competitions, is school chess champion, and is "an excellent musician with perfect pitch." Read about the program he participated in as a pre-schooler, along with how his teachers since then have helped.

EARLY COLLEGE INITIATIVE. Michael Shaugnhessey interviews Michael Webb, an advocate for early admission to college as an approach to high school reform. Schools participating in the initiative blend high school and college academics and compress the time it takes to both graduate from high school and complete the first two years of college. According to Webb, there are now 212 participating schools which serve more than 46,000 students. If you're looking to challenge that gifted or 2e learner you know, read the interview.

UNWRAPPING THE GIFTED. Tamara Fisher has posted on summer learning activities for high-ability kids. See her choices.

LD IN COLLEGE. Read about the experiences of a young woman with AD/HD who attends Landmark College, and how learning can be difficult. The young woman has a coach, and has learned "how to make school work for her." Find the story.

EDUTOPIA, in a recent email, highlighted two of its discussion groups, which have, over the past months, accumulated lots of posts and (presumably) lots of shared knowledge. One group is on differentiated instruction; the other is on learning styles and multiple intelligences. If those topics are of interest to you as a teacher of gifted or 2e kids, check out the groups.

AP VERSUS IB. If the debate over the merits of those respective programs is meaningful to you, read Jay Mathews' recent column on the topic.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

DABROWSKI FANS may be interested in The Ninth International Congress for the Institute for Positive Disintegration in Human Development, to be held in St. Charles, Illinois, this July 22-24. Organizers call it "An interdisciplinary conference on Dabrowski’s theory of Positive Disintegration, drawing from education, psychology, religion, philosophy, counseling, spirituality." Dabrowski is noted in the 2e community for his writings on "overexcitabilities" as they apply to gifted young people. And, FYI, positive disintegration is not necessarily a contradiction in terms. Find out more about the conference.

MORE ON THE MEDIUM WE LOVE TO BASH. Science Daily reports a "shocking" study showing that
television exposure at age two forecasts negative consequences for kids, ranging from poor school adjustment to unhealthy habits. The article quantifies negative effects such as decreased activity, classroom engagement, and victimization by classmates. Read it.

SORRY, MOZART LOVERS -- NO "TWO-FERS." A recent study finds no evidence that listening to the music of Mozart can lead to cognitive enhancements. The "Mozart effect" is evidently just a legend. So just listen to the music for its own sake. Read about the study.

AD/HD MEDS AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT. According to a study reviewed this month by David Rabiner in Attention Research Update, AD/HD medication treatment over an extended period "is associated with significant gains in children's academic achievement." Rabiner notes caveats -- the gains were modest, for example, and the AD/HD classifications were not based on diagnostic evaluations. When the study is posted at Rabiner's site, it should be here.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

SUMMER INSTITUTE FOR TEACHERS OF GIFTED. The Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary puts on an annual Professional Summer Institute. Scheduled this year for June 23-25, its purpose, according to the organizers, "is to provide teachers and administrators with the knowledge and skills to design and utilize high quality curriculum within effective programs for advanced learners." Find more information.

BEST PLACES TO BE A MOTHER. WebMD has posted the results of a survey of the best and worst places to be a mother. The survey was conducted by the Save the Children's Newborn and Child Survival Campaign. Our subscribers in Australia and New Zealand will be pleased to learn that their countries ranked second and sixth, respectively. Five Scandinavian countries, along with the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, round out the top 10. Canada ranked 20th, the U.S. 28th. The survey compares the health and well-being of mothers and children in 160 countries. (Worst place to be a mom: Afghanistan.) Read the WebMD article. Find the entire index.

WHO'S TEACHING OUR CHILDREN? ASCD has published a report on demographic data of U.S. elementary and secondary teachers over the past 20 years. Here are some of the trends uncovered. Most categories of teaching have increased in size over the past 10 years, some by over 100%. The teaching workforce has also become older and more female-dominated.
And the teacher turnover rate is up. Read more.

TEACHER OF THE YEAR. eSchool News has profiled the U.S. National Teacher of the Year, Sarah Brown Wessling. Wessling emphasizes learner-centered instruction. You can read at least part of the profile here. Other reports are in her college alumni newspaper, the White House Blog, and the Des Moines Register.

THANKS. We recently asked for help in finding a school for a family with a 2e child moving to the St. Louis/Edwardsville area. Thanks to advice from several helpful readers as well as the mom's own thorough research, the family is now quite comfortable with their choice of a school in the southern St. Louis area. We thank those who responded and helped another member of the 2e community.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

GIFTED EDUCATION AND THE BUDGET. A thoughtful and fact-filled article in the San Francisco Chronicle highlights the effect of budget-cutting on gifted education, focusing on California. The article quotes one expert as saying, "Children who could have a tremendous impact on our planet are shortchanged." Find the article.

ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE. David Rabiner has posted the March and April editions of his e-newsletter. The March issue covers a study noting that year-to-year in-class evaluations of a child's AD/HD may vary, due in part to teacher/classroom context. One conclusion: don't over-rely on one teacher's observations (either pro-AD/HD or con) in diagnosing. In April, Rabiner comments on a study of adults with AD/HD, all on AD/HD meds, to see how the adults perceived their own impairments.

COMPETITIONS. The 2010 Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology began on April 30. High school students may enter individually or as part of a team. The deadline for entries is October 1. Got a gifted scientist or mathematician in your house? Find more information.

$10 MILLION FOR LD RESEARCH. A Silicon Valley venture capitalist with LDs in his family has donated $10 million to the University of Southern California to help provide tutoring, counseling, technological assistance and treatment to students there with AD/HD dyslexia, and other learning difficulties. The donation will also help fund academic research. Find out more in the Los Angeles Times.

U.S. PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARS. One hundred forty-one high school seniors have been selected as the 2010 U.S. Presidential Scholars. The students have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship, service, and contribution to school and community, according to the US Department of Education. The Scholars will be honored for their accomplishments in Washington D.C., from June 19-22. Read a
press release. Or, see if any high-achieving kids you know made the cut on the list of honorees.

GENDER AND ACHIEVEMENT. Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews says he used to think that boys' relative underachievement compared to girls meant only that girls were catching up. Lately, he reports, he read a book called Why Boys Fail, by Richard Whitmire, that caused him to change his mind. Find out why.

UNWRAPPING THE GIFTED. Tamara Fisher previews some "great summer learning opportunities" for educators, including Edufest, Confratute, The Hormel Symposium, and the Conference on the Autonomous Learner Model for the Gifted. Find her blog.

EDNEWS.ORG. Michael Shaughnessy interviews Don M. Winn, author of The Incredible Martin O'Shea, a very intelligent young boy who might have learning challenges. Shaughnessy, who says he suffered from dyslexia as a child, calls the book "profound." Read the interview.

SUMMER CAMP.Dr. Susan Daniels and Dr. Dan Peters will host Camp Summit for the Gifted, Talented, and Creative in Marin Headlands, California, from July 11th to the 17th. The two organizers say that the camp
was “created especially for developing the ‘inner and outer nature’ of gifted youth, and is intended to give gifted children ages 9-14 a positive residential camp experience. While not exclusively designed for twice-exceptional children, they are welcome.” (Parents are encouraged to raise 2e issues in advance to ensure that the camp is a good fit for their child.) Find out more.