The Belin-Blank Center is offering a new book study this fall for one semester hour, available online from September 10 – 30 and taught by Dr. Kimberley Chandler. Effective Curriculum for Underserved Gifted Students, reviewing the book by the same name, helps educators better understand essential elements of curriculum design and delivery for gifted students. Importantly, at a time when gifted programs are attempting to identify traditionally underserved students, the class will explain the need for a differentiated curriculum for typically underrepresented students, including children of poverty and those who are from culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Students will develop confidence in using practical, evidence-based strategies with high-ability learners.
Dr. Chandler noted that “This book study will help to bridge research and practice through examining effective strategies gleaned from various studies conducted with underserved populations.”
Looking for a creative and fun way to kick off the year? If so, consider adding the National Invention Convention curriculum to your lesson plans. This is free, open-access curriculum that supports the type of critical thinking necessary to participate in programs like Invent Iowa. The framework of the curriculum is developed around the 7 steps of the Invention Process: Identifying, Understanding, Ideating, Designing, Building, Testing, and Communicating.
The curriculum was designed by the STEMIE Coalition. STEMIE is an education framework that elevates youth invention and entrepreneurship education to a core part of K-12 education. It contains lesson plans, rubrics, assessments, and other resources. Students have the opportunity to think creatively while using the invention process to design and test their work. It is a great way to help students better understand ways of solving real-world problems that they encounter on a daily basis.
Find the National Invention Convention curriculum here.
Michelangelo is credited with saying, “the greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”
Fall 2019 is the right time to expand our toolkits to learn
new ways to support the needs of gifted and talented learners. Of course, teachers earning their
endorsements in gifted education have registered as distance learners and
enrolled for credits this fall (courses with no instructor listed are
facilitated by Dr. Laurie
of Giftedness (PSQF:4120:0EXW), offered over Fall semester. (Dr.
to Educating Gifted Students (RCE/EDTL:4137:0EXW and 0EXU) has two sections
for the first time. Offered in an
accelerated format over the first eight weeks of the semester, the class has
more students than ever before. (Drs. Laurie
Croft and Kim
of Talent Development (EDTL:4067:0EXW), offered in the second eight weeks
of the semester.
Beginning at the ITAG Conference, October 14-15,
Des Moines, two semester hours of credit can be completed by teachers new to
gifted education (RCE:5237:0EXW Seminar in Gifted Education – TAG:
You’re It). This section helps guide
participants through basics that they will need to consider throughout their
first years in gifted education.
Several one-semester-hour classes, offered in the workshop format, are available this fall. These classes have no additional technology fees and focus over three weeks on one topic:
EDTL:4096:0WKA Topics: Effective Curriculum for Underserved Gifted Students tackles one of the field’s greatest challenges through a study of the book by the same name (September 10 – 30, 2019). (Dr. Chandler)
One or two semester hours can be earned by attending the ITAG Conference, October 14-15, Des Moines (PSQF:5194:0WKA Continuing Education Individual Study: Leadership in Gifted Education ITAG 2019), and completing projects of benefit to the gifted program.
Another semester hour (PSQF:5194:0WKC Continuing Education Individual Study: Identifying and Serving Young Gifted Children) begins at the ITAG Pre-Conference facilitated by Dr. Sally Beisser, Distinguished Professor of Education at Drake University, and continues online with Dr. Croft.
One more semester-hour this fall, EDTL:4096:0WKB Topics: Competitions for Elementary and Secondary Gifted and Talented Students, helps teachers understand the advantages and disadvantages of involving gifted learners in competitions. (Dr. Jenelle Miller)
The practicum experience required for the Talented and
Gifted Endorsement is available every semester.
Aim high as this new year begins. Develop your understanding of the nature and
needs of high-ability learners, as well as ways to begin to meet those needs.
This is a second example of an assignment completed for the Curriculum Concepts in Gifted Education class, based on “This I Believe,” an organization that builds on essays published by National Public Radio, and the thoughts captured during a radio show in the 1950s hosted by Edward R. Morrow. From their Website: Each day, Americans gathered by their radios to hear compelling essays from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and Harry Truman as well as corporate leaders, cab drivers, scientists, and secretaries—anyone able to distill into a few minutes the guiding principles by which they lived. These essayists’ words brought comfort and inspiration to a country worried about the Cold War, McCarthyism, and racial division.
In reviving This I Believe, executive producer Dan
Gediman said, “The goal is not to persuade Americans to agree on the same
beliefs. Rather, the hope is to encourage people to begin the much more
difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own.”
To read the first post in this series, click here.
I believe in believing in your students. I believe as educators we have many roles and responsibilities, we have at school for students of such diverse backgrounds and home life. The role I believe that connects us to our students, not only in teaching and instructing, is building relationships with our students.
All my life I always knew what I wanted to be a teacher. My mom would encourage me and say I would make a good teacher as I gave my younger brothers instructions and always made them be my students when I played school. I think it was a nice way of saying I was a “bossy” sister. Neither of my parents graduated high school, so they believed in me and supported my dream. When I was in high school, just to be sure that education was the route I would take after high school, I took a couple of business classes and I was in a co-op class for Business Professionals of America. I did the books and accounting for a local salon. I remember one of my teachers asked what I wanted to be, which a teacher had never asked me before in school. I responded proudly that I wanted to be a teacher. She smiled and responded that I would make a good secretary and walked away. I was crushed because as a teenager and student, you want your teachers to believe in you. I was an average student and had to work hard for my grades. I was a bit crushed and wondered if college and my dream of being a teacher would be attainable. Because I had a strong support system at home and I believed in myself…I became a teacher.
This is why I believe in believing in students.
Believing in their abilities, believing in their contributions, believing in their dreams, believing that we can get them one step closer and guiding them there.
I believe in knowing our students’ abilities whether it is a disability to our talented and gifted. What I don’t believe is that the talented and gifted are getting what they need in a pull out program once or twice a week in just the subjects of math and reading but also incorporating the arts. We are motivators, encouragers, and believers in our students from the toughest of students to the most talented and gifted. I believe our responsibility is a great one, but a rewarding one knowing we did our best in providing an education and built a relationship. I choose to believe in believing in students by knowing their abilities, learning styles, and interest so that I can challenge their strengths as well as work on what they need to progress in while building a relationship and providing a culturally responsive classroom.
Parents and educators are often looking for useful resources in gifted education. We would like to highlight a few. The Davidson Institute’s guidebooks for parents and educators on advocacy, early entrance to college, homeschooling, mentorships, and twice exceptional students can be downloaded for free:
The Belin-Blank Center offers extensive information on academic acceleration in several publications.
A Nation Empowered: An update to the watershed report on acceleration, A Nation Deceived, the 2015 report provides the latest research on acceleration. A Nation Empowered: Volume 1 is written in an accessible format for parents, educators, policymakers, and the general public. A Nation Empowered: Volume 2 provides the research and an in-depth look at topics specific to acceleration, including grade-skipping, early entrance to college, twice exceptional students, and longitudinal research.
A Nation Deceived, Volume 1: Published in 2004, this volume includes an overview of the issues surrounding acceleration for gifted students. The discussion of the myths is still relevant today.
Two resources on twice-exceptional students are also provided by the Belin-Blank Center:
The Hoagies Gifted website provides a somewhat overwhelming list of books in gifted education. We encourage you to visit the page again and again. Hint: start with the books that have a star next to them. Some of those are classics.
The Belin-Blank Center is home to one of the oldest gifted education professional development programs in the country. The last week in June, 2019, the Center will have educators living on campus and immersing themselves in the field of gifted education and talent development during Belin-Blank Fellowship XXXIX! For almost 40 years, the Center has been committed to offering the coursework that educators need to earn the required Talented and Gifted Endorsement, but even more, to providing the understandings that make teachers feel much better informed about the nature and needs of gifted/talented learners as the new academic year races toward them. (Where DOES the summer go?)
opportunities listed below are offered as workshops (with no additional
technology or other fees added to the basic tuition); all of these classes that
are still available allow educators to focus on specific topics that are
beneficial to their gifted and talented learners. These are described in more detail at belinblank.org/courses:
EDTL:4074:0WKA Differentiation at the Secondary Level, July 8 – 26, emphasizing the importance of differentiation rooted in content areas, including specific strategies to strengthen secondary courses; those who attend APTTI receive the same automatic tuition scholarship for this class;
EDTL:4096:0WKF Topics:Common Core State Standards for Gifted/Talented: Mathematics, July 17 – August 6, utilizing a NAGC publication about strengthening standards developed for general education to provide differentiated learning for meaningful experiences in math for advanced learners (participants do NOT need a background in mathematics to understand the needs of their mathematically gifted youth);
RCE:4119:0WKA Family Issues in Giftedness, August 7 – 27, the last of the summer classes, designed to allow teachers to be ready to work with parents in the new school year, better understanding their concerns and planning effective ways to communicate with parents as the school year begins.
The Belin-Blank Chautauqua will begin on July 8, and will provide six classes in a hybrid format that includes two days on campus with online opportunities for reflection, reading, and final projects submitted online. The Belin-Blank Chautauqua includes three classes in Week I:
enroll at the graduate level for all three workshops in either week—or both—receive
an automatic tuition scholarship from the Belin-Blank Center for one of three
classes (i.e., three workshops for the cost of two; six for the cost of four). Chautauqua includes a lunch on Friday of each
week, provided by the Belin-Blank Center, when participants can enjoy talking
with nationally recognized leaders in gifted education.
look forward to working with you this summer; we appreciate your commitment to
the needs of gifted and talented learners!
This I Believe is an organization based on both a more recent collection of essays shared on National Public Radio, and on a radio show in the 1950s. From their website: “Each day, Americans gathered by their radios to hear compelling essays from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and Harry Truman as well as corporate leaders, cab drivers, scientists, and secretaries—anyone able to distill into a few minutes the guiding principles by which they lived. These essayists’ words brought comfort and inspiration to a country worried about the Cold War, McCarthyism, and racial division.”
In reviving This I Believe, executive producer Dan Gediman said, “The goal is not to persuade Americans to agree on the same beliefs. Rather, the hope is to encourage people to begin the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own.”
Inspired by this idea, Dr. Laurie Croft, our Associate Director for Professional Development, assigned essays on this topic for the Curriculum Concepts in Gifted Education class. Over the next few months, with permission, we will share those responses on our blog.
This I Believe by Nicole Behrend Elementary Education major, University of Iowa College of Education, also pursuing the Talented and Gifted Endorsement
I believe education is a tool used to provide individuals with the knowledge to change the world and make it a better place. I think an educational setting is a place for students to learn how to work with peers, engage their critical thinking skills, and prepare them for the future. Education should be meeting the needs of all children. In education, educators need to differentiate instruction so that gifted students are being challenged to their highest potential.
In elementary school, I was a TAG student. For 1 hour, 2 days a week, myself and two others from my grade level would meet with the TAG teacher. In the class, I learned things at a faster pace and I was learning things I found interesting. I remember one thing I learned in my TAG class was Braille. Being a young elementary student and learning how to communicate in a way different than what I was used to was such an eye-opener for me. We wrote our names with the special machine and learned how braille was used around the world. After class, I bragged to my friends, family, and parents about what I had learned.
When I look back at my elementary years, most of the academic topics I remember were from my TAG class. After being a TAG student myself, I know how beneficial it is for students and how they look forward to that attention from the teacher. I want to be the teacher that my TAG teacher was to me. She made learning fun and made me excited. I want to instill enthusiasm about school in my students. I think more than anything, our gifted students need to be motivated to learn; they need to know there is a reason for the process.
Curriculum for gifted students needs to be differentiated to address their individual strengths, talents, needs, interests, and characteristics.
I believe I will have to modify the basic curriculum to meet the needs of my gifted students. I will provide enrichment opportunities to challenge students and allow them to explore areas of interest. I believe gifted and talented students need to be challenged. They need assignments that are modified or accelerated to meet their advanced needs. Gifted students also need to be with students like themselves. Advanced students benefit greatly from being with students of the same ability. To bring out the best potential for gifted students, the basic curriculum will not meet their needs. Gifted students need to explore their interests and the community they live in.
My role as a gifted educator will be to educate, assist, and encourage my students. I will need to educate my students and their parents on the opportunities and difficulties associated with exceptional students. I will need to assist my students in their learning and opportunities past the school. I will also need to encourage my students to develop creativity, productivity, and leadership skills. Our gifted students need motivation and attention just as much as the typical student, but they also need the modifications to help them continue on the path of high abilities.