Computer Science Education Week!

Next week (December 5-11, 2016) is Computer Science Education Week (CSEd Week)!

One way to get involved is through Hour of Code. You may have heard of it through our presentation at ITAG, our Twitter, or some other means. Last year, 590,000 Iowans tried an hour of code (or more!), and this year Code Iowa is in its third year of a partnership with Code.org to generate more interest and participation in Iowa. Visit the Hour of Code website to learn more about how to teach an Hour of Code, how to promote your event, and to find activities to fill your Hour of Code and beyond! You can also register your event and find local volunteers who can inspire your students by visiting your classroom in-person or remotely. Share pictures of your event using #CodeIowa or @IowaSTEM (and share them with the Belin-Blank Center using @belinblank)! By participating in Hour of Code, your school and/or organization can become “Certified Code Iowa Partners” and gain access to free CS trainings in 2017. Find out more at www.iowastem.gov/CodeIowa.

So you have a plan for your Hour of Code; how else can you participate in CSEd Week?

What are your plans for CSEd Week? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @kflanaryIOAPA

JSI Alliant Energy Community Grant

students_for_ae_blogThe Belin-Blank Center is proud to announce a new scholarship opportunity for gifted students. The Alliant Energy Community Grant will provide scholarships for 10 STEM Excellence and Leadership students to attend our Junior Scholars Institute.

As an advocate for education and innovation, Alliant Energy offers a number of scholarships. In less than 20 years, the Alliant Energy Foundation has given nearly $50 million to local communities. We want to thank Alliant Energy for helping us pave the way for gifted education for students in rural Iowa.

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One student from each of our STEM Excellence & Leadership schools will be eligible to receive this grant. STEM Excellence & Leadership, funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, is a unique educational program that helps empower under-resourced rural schools in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.

Alliant Energy’s generous donation will allow ten 6-8th grade students from these schools to participate in a one-week-long summer program. JSI students take an advanced course and live on the University of Iowa campus in the Honors program residence hall.

Other students interested in attending are also welcome. Registration for this and other summer programs will open December 15, 2016. For more information on the Belin-Blank Center’s summer programs, visit belinblank.org/summer.

To learn more about all of Alliant Energy’s charitable donations and community involvement, visit: http://www.alliantenergy.com/CommunityInvolvement/

Talent Search: Bridge to Opportunity

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They say, “A picture is worth 10,000 words,” and that must mean that a video is worth over a million!  We are excited to share with you a video explaining what Talent Searches can do for students, educators, and parents.  Academic Talent Searches discover students talented in math, science, and language arts using the efficient method of above-level testing.

4th-6th graders might take I-Excel, and 7th-9th graders might take the ACT.  These above-level tests help us to understand not only the extent of students’ talents, but also what they are ready to learn next. The tests help us to understand the needs of exceptionally talented students, as well as to think about ways in which we can modify programs and other opportunities offered in school (and outside of school) to best realize those talents.  The Belin-Blank Center staff is eager to work with educators and families to understand how the test scores can be used to inform educational decision-making, so students are challenged every day.

We thank the Sara Rieger (an artist, teacher, and parent), for putting the information about Talent Searches together in such a creative and engaging way!

If you have questions about I-Excel or other opportunities the Belin-Blank Center offers, please contact ann-shoplik@uiowa.edu.  Take a look at our new video, and let us know what you think!

 

 

 

APTTI 2017 – Save the Date!

We are so excited to announce the dates for next year’s Advanced Placement Teacher Training Institute! APTTI 2017 will take place on the University of Iowa campus June 27th-June 30th, 2017. Registration for the institute is coming soon.

APTTI is a College Board-endorsed AP Summer Institute that provides teachers comprehensive preparation for developing and teaching an AP course. 2017 courses include AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science A, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Physics 1, and AP US History.

For more information, visit our website (belinblank.org/aptti) and check back to the blog for updates on registration and course availability. We hope to see you this summer!

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Helping Students Overcome Overcommitments

As this article from Galin Education states, “high school students are busy.” Especially as they consider college and job applications, students feel compelled to say “yes” to every request or opportunity that arises, because each challenging course, volunteer opportunity, or extracurricular activity seems to increase their future prospects. This can be especially true for gifted students, who often excel in multiple areas and may be encouraged to be involved in every group, club, and sport in addition to challenging coursework. However, when students spend every waking minute (and many minutes when they should be sleeping) working to complete all their obligations, it leaves little time to develop their own interests and passions or to relax and engage in leisure activities.overachieverOf course, enrolling in challenging coursework and participating in volunteer and extracurricular activities are worthy commitments. There is a line, though, where students go from being involved to being overcommitted. Teachers and parents can help students examine and evaluate their involvements and make changes as needed.

Suggestions for Overcoming Overcommitments: From the article linked above, this article from the American Psychological Association, and this article from Gifted Child Quarterly.

  • Encourage students to consider why they are involved in each activity. For example, are they involved merely to impress selection committees, friends, or parents, or are they driven by interest?
    • Gifted students may be overwhelmingly involved, but they are interested in all of their activities. In this case, they might need someone to help them prioritize.
  •  Help students examine their schedules: Over a typical day or week, what responsibilities are mandatory? How much time is left for other activities?
  • Teach students how to say “no” and mean it: Students may feel powerless to turn down involvement, and end up committing to something out of an inability to say “no”. This can be especially relevant for high-achieving students with a desire to help solve everyone’s problems.
  • Equip students with time management skills. Help them understand how much time to devote to their responsibilities, and how to schedule time for leisure and relaxation.

Do you think your IOAPA students are overcommitted? How do you support them?

Dr. Susan Assouline Receives NAGC Distinguished Scholar Award

Susan Assouline director Belin-Blank Center

Dr. Susan Assouline, Director, Belin-Blank Center

We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Susan Assouline has been awarded the 2016 Distinguished Scholar Award from the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). She will receive the recognition at the NAGC convention in Orlando on November 5th.  NAGC annually presents the Distinguished Scholar Award to an individual who has made significant contributions to the field of gifted education and demonstrates a continuous record of distinguished scholarship and ongoing scholarly productivity as recognized by experts in the field.

Dr. Assouline is the Myron and Jacqueline Blank Endowed Chair in Gifted Education, Director of the Belin-Blank Center, and Professor of School Psychology at the University of Iowa. Her areas of expertise within gifted education include acceleration, mathematical talent, and twice-exceptionality.  Her most seminal contributions are A Nation Deceived, published in 2004, and A Nation Empowered, published in 2015. These books have changed the way the nation perceives acceleration as an option for gifted learners. Dr. Assouline is also the lead author of the Iowa Acceleration Scale, which is used by educational professionals nationwide in making evidence-based decisions about grade skipping.

Quite notably, Dr. Assouline is incredibly successful at securing funding for her research and professional activities; both independently and as part of a team, she has received over 37 million dollars in grant funding and private gifts. This is remarkable, given the limited funding afforded to scholars in gifted education. A recent grant, for 10 million dollars, initiated The Bucksbaum Early Entrance Academy, an early-entrance-to-college program, which allows students to enter the University of Iowa after completing 10th or 11th grade.

Dr. Assouline’s work has had a broad and deep impact on gifted scholars and educators and has shaped the gifted education field both nationally and internationally.  Not only does Dr. Assouline’s work exemplify the highest level of scholarship, but it also has a practical impact on the lives of gifted students. For example, her publications and presentations on academic acceleration have influenced state and local policies and activities affecting gifted students. Dr. Assouline has mastered the art of connecting scholarship to practical applications in the field, securing her standing as a positive catalyst for gifted education.

Dr. Assouline has guided the Belin-Blank Center’s research and service to reach gifted and talented students and their educators throughout the nation and around the world. She played a central role in the development of the Assessment and Counseling Clinic and the Acceleration Institute, both housed at the Belin-Blank Center. These two unique and nationally respected programs have changed the path of gifted education research in many positive ways.

Dr. Assouline’s multiple contributions have not gone unnoticed by her peers. Most especially, in 2015, she became the first female Endowed Chair in the College of Education at the University of Iowa. In 2012, she was elected into the Iowa Academy of Education, and twice was awarded the MENSA Award for Excellence in Research. The University of Iowa community has also recognized her contributions through the Distinguished Service Award, Award for Staff Excellence, and the Honors Program Award for Recognition of Outstanding Service.

Invitation to Participate in an Intervention Study for Youth Diagnosed with ADHD

Pearson’s Center for College & Career Success and the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa are pleased to invite parents of students who have a diagnosis of ADHD to apply for participation in a study examining Cogmed Working Memory Training.

Students should be between the ages of 7 to 15 and identified with a diagnosis of ADHD.

The training protocol is 50 minutes per day, five days per week, for the duration of five weeks (a total of 25, 50-minute sessions).

The purpose of this research study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the CogMed Working Memory Training program as an intervention for students who have ADHD. Individuals will be compensated up to $30 for study participation.

Interested families are encouraged to contact Megan Foley Nicpon at megan-foley-nicpon@uiowa.edu

We look forward to hearing from you!