Tag Archives: students

I-Excel Testing Session for 4th-6th Graders at University of Iowa

BBC students outsideAre you thinking about having your high-ability student take I-Excel?  The Belin-Blank Center is hosting a testing session on the University of Iowa campus on June 12th.

I-Excel is considered an above-level test. It contains 8th grade content, but it is administered to high-ability 4th – 6th graders.  Students scoring at the 95th percentile or higher on any subject of the grade-level test (such as the Iowa Assessments) have reached the ceiling of that test.  An above-level test raises the ceiling, measures the student’s aptitudes more accurately, and can inform parents and educators about readiness for advanced curriculum.   More information and a video about above-level testing can be found at this link.

I-Excel is a test of 8th grade content, which provides a challenge for talented 4th-6th graders.  This test enables students to demonstrate their academic strengths in math, science, English, and reading.  The results of an above-level test tell us what students are ready to learn, which can help parents and educators make appropriate curriculum modifications and programming.  Outstanding individual scorers will be recognized in a formal recognition ceremony at the University of Iowa.  Families receive above-level test score reports and an extensive interpretation of results. This interpretation includes recommendations for curriculum readiness.  More information about I-Excel can be found here.

The next testing session on the University of Iowa campus is June 12th, and students may register here.  Check-in begins at 12:30, and testing will conclude around 3:00 p.m. The cost is $65. A few weeks before the test, we will send more details to students who have signed up.

Students unable to participate in the testing session at the University of Iowa can still take I-Excel testing this school year. See detailed information about Individual Testing, which can be arranged at a convenient location and time.  The deadline for testing this is June 10th, and testing will resume again in the fall.  If you have any questions, email us at assessment@belinblank.org.

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Meet Our Teachers: Jamie Boling

J BOLING_ HEADSHOTAs part of our occasional series profiling the great teachers who work with the Belin-Blank Center’s summer programs students, we sat down with Jamie Boling to talk about his work, both with the Center and as an independent artist.  

How does teaching influence your work as an artist, and how does your work influence your teaching?

Teaching’s biggest influence on my work is that it keeps me grounded in the foundation skills that I employ every day in my studio.  My whole focus in the classroom is to de-mystify the processes that artists use in their work and to arm students with the ability to create whatever they can imagine.  This approach to teaching requires me to break things down to the fundamental and to demonstrate daily the practical skills that make it all possible. I find that this method of teaching keeps me finely tuned and allows me to approach work with a heightened level of clarity.

Rogue_ JAMIE BOLING_ border web

Title: Rogue
Media: oil on canvas
Size: 66″x87″

My work and interests are constantly evolving.  My teaching is closely tied to that evolution in that the questions and challenges that I encounter in my studio often end up finding their way to the classroom in some form or another.  Since my approach to teaching is pretty organic, I am constantly working to find fresh ways to explore the issues and skills that are at the core of the creative practice.  By being deeply engaged in my own work, I find that it enables the discovery of new directions to explore in the classroom.

What is your favorite part of teaching?

My favorite part of teaching is definitely the exchange of energy and ideas that takes place in our classroom.  In my experience, creative people are also inherently curious.  Creative curious people love to be around other creative curious people, so the more is definitely the merrier.  The energy created by that interaction is electric and contagious.  I work to create a scenario where we all realize that by simply being engaged, we become teachers as well as learners.  That is when the magic happens…and that magic is why I teach.

What is the most important lesson you have learned about high-ability students (and especially talented art students)?

High-ability students have a work ethic that seems to be fueled by sincere curiosity.  The lesson for me has been in how to feed the fire.  I work hard to identify with students individually so that I can understand what is at the core of their inquisitiveness.  That investment enables me to facilitate discovery and encourage students in a targeted way.

So when we consider high-ability students with a talent in art, the level of production and creativity can be off the charts. My job then is to tailor a unique curriculum that challenges the individual to dig deeper into their interests as well as to arm them with the tools that will enable them to communicate their findings in whatever form is appropriate.

All images © 2013 Jamie Boling.