Author Archives: belinblank

Changes to Family Therapy Services

Frequent readers of our blog will remember our posts on the variety of services offered by our Assessment and Counseling Clinic, including family therapy.

Family therapy can help parents, kids, and teens find better ways to communicate and help families create schedules and routines. Family therapy can also help families navigate mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or eating disorders and can help and provide families with a framework for coping through developmental transitions. Previously, we included family therapy as an option on our intake form for clinical services; however, now we are asking that families schedule directly with Dr. Jacob Priest, Assistant Professor in the UI Couple and Family Therapy Doctoral Program and supervisor of the family counseling service. To schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Priest at jacob-b-priest@uiowa.edu or 319-335-6044.  Appointments will occur at the Lindquist Center on the University of Iowa campus, and this service is free of charge.

Back to School with the Belin-Blank Center

Our August newsletter is in an inbox near you!

Message from the Director: The Lifelong Process of Becoming

What do you want to be when you grow up?

This was the question asked of my granddaughter on her first day of kindergarten (firefighter and teacher were her responses).  Likely most of us have considered this question at various points throughout our lives.   I certainly have.

Although I have been an educator for four decades (1977-2017), I am grateful that the years have not jaded me.  Each first day of a new school year offers a sense of wonder, anticipation, and optimism, perhaps because I recognize that it is not really about what my granddaughter – or any student or colleague — will be when they grow up; rather, it is about the lifelong process of becoming.   With a new kindergartner in the family, I thought that it would be appropriate to share with you my wishes for her as she engages in the process of becoming. I wish that she would:

  • Find challenge in learning both in and out of school. Learners, and those who teach them, know that challenge represents the optimal learning environment.  There is just enough prior knowledge to build upon in acquiring new knowledge.  The appropriately challenged learner is neither bored nor frustrated, but rather empowered to seek new knowledge and develop further the sense of curiosity with which we are all born.
  • Build resilience to become an empowered learner. Without ever having set foot in a formal school setting, my granddaughter confidently states that her favorite subjects are math, science, and reading. If she wants to be a firefighter and a teacher, those are good subjects to master; however, she will need to recognize that there will be favorite subjects and those that are not favorites.  As well, there will be good days and days that are not as good.  The latter are important so that she can bounce back to enjoy the good days and revel in great days!
  • Develop leadership skills so that she can experience a meaningful life and make a positive impact on society. Sure, that is a tall order for a kindergartner, but it is an important aspect of learning and becoming.  When she enters her fifth decade of a profession, whether it be teaching and/or firefighting or a profession yet unknown, I hope that she will be able to look back and see how her leadership contributed positively to society.
  • Hone a sense of humility so that she will always approach the multitude of opportunities and gifts already bestowed upon her with gratitude, as well as develop an awareness that others do not always have these same opportunities or abilities.

My granddaughter started her formal education this week just as I was commencing my 5th decade as an educator.  I have never lost that sense of excitement on the first day of a new school year, and I hope she – and all of us – never lose it.  Keeping in mind the ideas of challenge, resilience, leadership, and humility may help her – and each of us –in the process of becoming.  Have a great year!

What Will You See Through The Window?

The Belin Blank Center is proud to announce the official launch of The Window podcast.  Hosted by the Center’s Director Emeritus, Dr. Nicholas Colangelo, The Window can now be found on SoundCloud, in the iTunes Store, and on The Window’s website.

Our current episode features Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek.  Kathy is the Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University and is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.  Her research in the areas of early language development and infant cognition has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and Human Development, and the Institute of Education Sciences resulting in 14 books and over 200 publications.  Kathy is an advocate for the importance of play and playful education in early childhood, and should be of particular interest to parents and educators alike.

The Window podcast is designed to engage thought leaders on issues relating to maximizing human potential and directing talent toward a larger social good. We invite you to open the window and listen in.

Professional Learning Opportunities in the Fall

Some say professional development, some say professional learning…I just know that many of the teachers who work with gifted students are lifelong learners, looking for new opportunities whenever and wherever they can find them.  I know that these teachers continue to learn from their students—sometimes learning that an old strategy isn’t working as well as it used to, and wondering what new tools they can add to their professional toolkits.

The Belin-Blank Center is providing multiple options this fall; most can be found at belinblank.org/educators, following the link to Schedule.  As always, the semester includes three-semester-hour classes such as the Introduction to Educating Gifted Students and Psychology of Giftedness. An eight-week version of the Introduction to Educating Gifted Students is scheduled from October 16 – December 15, if you prefer an accelerated pace.

Workshops, which typically last for three weeks, begin on September 5 with Topics in Teaching and Learning: Perfectionism and High-Ability Learners. A second topics class, Writing for High-Ability Learners, is scheduled from October 23 – November 10.

The Iowa Talented and Gifted Association Conference is a logical place to offer academic credit, and the Center usually offers TWO different opportunities.  For experienced teachers who can benefit from the credit option, Leadership in Gifted Education: ITAG 2017 begins on October 23 (you can even register by filling in a paper form at the conference) and concludes on November 10.  Participants can choose between either one or two credit hours.  For the first time, we also plan to offer one Iowa Licensure Renewal Unit for participation in the conference.  For teachers NEW to gifted education, we offer a two-semester-hour option that we call TAG: You’re It; building on what you learn at the conference, the class will provide content that can most help with the first year or two in gifted education.

As well, this year we’ll have a special opportunity for a THIRD credit option associated with the conference: Dr. Susan Assouline will be offering a pre-conference workshop about academic acceleration, including better understanding of the Iowa Acceleration Scale, and how it can help you determine whether a student is a good candidate for whole-grade acceleration (grade-skipping).  The Center will offer a one-semester-hour class that will build on the pre-conference session with choices of readings and emphasizing what individuals most need from the academic credit.  One Iowa Licensure Renewal Unit will be available, as well.

Finally, if you attend the National Association for Gifted Children Conference this year in Charlotte, North Carolina (November 9 – 12), the Belin-Blank Center is offering Leadership in Gifted Education: NAGC 2017 for either one or two semester hours of credit; this workshop is offered from November 16 – December 8.

Please check back often to see what professional learning opportunities are available; if you have a topic that you would like to see offered, please contact Dr. Laurie Croft at either laurie-croft@uiowa.edu or  319-335-6148.  And for some of the best informal professional learning in the field today, please join our gifted-teachers listserv.  To subscribe to the list, send an email to LISTSERV@LIST.UIOWA.EDU and, in the text of your message (not the subject line), write: SUBSCRIBE GIFTED-TEACHERS First-Name Last-Name.

 

Join Us for Saturday Fun on September 9th!

UPDATE: All seats are now filled for September 9th; however, we do still have availability in our October date for 4th-6th graders and 6th-8th graders, and February classes will be up soon.  You may also join the waitlist for classes that are full – occasionally we have drops and can add students from that waitlist.

Do you have a 2nd-8th grader with an interest and talent in robots, circuits, geography, art, or science fiction?  Check out the classes for our upcoming WINGS date on September 9th in Iowa City!

A variety of classes are available, such as Watercolor Science (grades 2-4). In this workshop, students will use chemistry to create their very own watercolor paints. Using cabbage dye and household items, students will learn about the pH scale and mix their own liquid watercolor palette. Using our homemade watercolors, we will learn about other nifty watercolor tricks and techniques including using salt, rubbing alcohol, and wax to create watercolor works of art!

Another option is Making A World Through Science Fiction Writing (grades 6-8).  Want to build and explore your favorite sci-fi setting in VR? In this course, we’ll talk about what makes our favorite sci-fi worlds so rich and enjoyable.

We’ll try designing and possibly exploring some of these worlds using the virtual reality design program, CoSpaces. Once we’ve spent some time exploring, we’ll work on coming up with ideas for worlds of our own and some stories that could happen there.

And if you already have plans on the 9th, we have several additional WINGS dates coming up, too.

Scholarship Program for Young Iowa Researchers

Do you have young researchers in your classroom whose work begs to be recognized? Are you looking for ways to provide your high achieving students with additional opportunities? The Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) offers substantial scholarships to Iowa students for original high school research.

The University of Iowa invites all students grades 9-12 in the state to present their original research in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers at the Regional Symposium in Iowa City this March. Five finalists at the Iowa Regional JSHS will be awarded academic scholarships ranging from $750 to $2,750 and will be invited to compete at the 55th National JSHS for scholarships up to an additional $12,000. To apply, students need to submit their papers by January 12, 2018, so it’s not too late to start research projects! On January 24, we will notify candidates if their work has been selected for presentation.

Regardless of whether or not their paper is selected, we encourage all interested students to attend the Regional Symposium as delegates from their home schools, and we further welcome you and all other STEM teachers in Iowa to attend and bring your students. Student delegates pay just $25 for lodging and the Awards Banquet, and the $50 fee for teachers and chaperones is waived for every five students in attendance from your school (i.e. 10 student delegates = 2 teachers/chaperones).

Timeline at-a-glance

Fall Semester Students conduct original research
January 12 Research paper and application deadline
January 24 Regional Symposium selection notification
Feb 2 Registration deadline for student delegates, teachers, and chaperones
March 5 & 6 Iowa Regional JSHS in Iowa City
Late April National JSHS

For more information, please visit our website at www.belinblank.org/JSHS. Don’t hesitate to contact us at JSHS@belinblank.org if the Symposium is of interest to you or your students. We look forward to reading all the brilliant papers from Iowa’s next generation of researchers!