Marketing Gifted Education
Educators and parents often become frustrated in their efforts to promote gifted education. Perhaps it’s time for us to learn some lessons from the corporate world about promoting our field more effectively.
Deborah Mersino has combined nearly 20 years of national marketing communications experience with her passion for gifted education to form Ingeniosus. As part of her work, she has started a blog
that contains lots of good ideas for incorporating business sensibilities into the educational realm—specifically in the area of gifted education. Using concrete examples, Mersino cites ways in which school communities unconsciously shut parents out. She is sympathetic to the concerns of both parents and teachers and her goal is to form strong partnerships between the two groups. Among her ideas for creating good, efficient, and informative communication is the use today’s technology.
Mersino’s goal is to create situations in which parents and teachers listen to one another, are both empathetic and pragmatic, and show respect. She focuses on examples, trends, and tactics that help bolster impact and strategies that help alleviate tensions.
Too often, teachers develop wonderful curricula for working with very bright kids, but lack skills to educate parents about classroom activities. When teachers are able to bring parents on board with gifted/talented programs, mothers and fathers will volunteer, spread the word, rally around, and become partners in education.
Teachers and district coordinators should read this blog on a regular basis for innovative ideas to keep parents informed about gifted education in the schools. There is a link at the blog that will allow you to subscribe via RSS feed or you can subscribe directly by emailing Deborah.
Gifted Students and the Role of Exceptional Teachers
Recently there was an article in the National Post
(a Canadian newspaper) that discussed the research of Larisa Shavinina, a gifted education expert from the Université du Québec en Outanouais. Shavinina examined the backgrounds of more than 50 science Nobel laureates between 1981-2005 through personal interviews, autobiographies, and public documents. She found that they all had at least one teacher who was very important to them and acted as a role model. These formative teachers were enthusiastic, inspiring, and used “a playful spirit” that sparked a passion for science.
Many of the Nobel Prize winners were not considered gifted when they were young. They were often normal or sometimes underachievers. Some were twice exceptional (gifted with learning disabilities).
Professor Shavinina eventually hopes to include in her study science laureates from 1901-2006. She plans to discover when each winner’s first exceptional scientific talent was identified, the advantages and disadvantages of different educational approaches, and the factors that influenced their successes.
As parents, we need to figure out how to find inspiring teachers. In addition to classroom teachers, mentors can also play a significant role in inspiring students. You will find blog entries on mentors by using the search function in the right column on this page.
99¢-$1.99 Web-Only Clearance Sale of Gifted Education Books
Here we go again!
As many of you know, once a year, I need to clear out some of our out of print or older overstocked titles to make room for our exciting new releases for the next school year.
During the sale, we offer a selection of titles at drastically reduced prices. The books I have placed on clearance are in perfect condition. Many of these wonderful titles have been quite popular over the years, but I simply have too many in inventory, and I want to sell them while they are still great tools for the classroom.
I know it's a cliché, but do act quickly. We're truly clearing out odds-and-ends, so once a title sells out, we pull it off the Web site (I had to pull one title off the site just 4 hours after the sale began today).
Save money on exciting classroom materials during Prufrock's year-end inventory clearance.
Order before May 15 and receive these books for 99¢–$1.99! Supplies are limited.
Click here to visit our 2009 "Web-Only Clearance" sale. [Link Removed: Sale Ended on May 15, 2009]
School and School District Purchase Orders Accepted Online
If you need to make purchases using a school or school district purchase order you may do so online. Our online shopping system accepts purchase orders.
Twitter for Gifted Education Support and Information
Increasingly, teachers and parents of gifted children use the free service, Twitter, to stay connected and keep informed.
What is Twitter?
Think of Twitter as a microblog. A post on Twitter, called a "tweet," is limited to 140 characters. Each of the following would qualify as tweets on Twitter:
- Thursday, the school board will consider increasing funding for gifted programs. Please, everyone, come to the meeting and show support.
- Anyone know of a great unit for gifted students on the topic of how the stock market works?
- Help! Thursday night is "Math Camp" at the school. Anyone have some fun math activities that students and parents would like?
A tweet on Twitter is much like a publicly available text message from your cell phone (in fact, while Twitter is an online service, you can receive and send tweets to and from your cell phone).
Gifted Education Supporters on Twitter
As other social networking sites become cluttered with extraneous gimmicks and advertising, Twitter remains a nice, simple tool for networking with others who share a similar interest. On Twitter, you will find tweets from other teachers of the gifted, gifted and talented state associations, gifted parenting groups, and more ... all sharing ideas and information.
In the last two days, I've read Twitter posts about gifted education teaching positions that are opening at a new school for the gifted, about an important Ohio Senate committee hearing on gifted education scheduled for next week, and about tips for encouraging parent involvement in a gifted classroom. All of that was available on Twitter.
Get involved with Twitter. For the service to reach its full potential as a communication tool for gifted education supporters, it needs you to join in the discussion. Like any social networking site, Twitter thrives on participation from its members, so join the service, encourage other gifted education supporters to join, and start tweeting!
Twitter lets you limit the tweets you see and read to just the few people you want to "follow," so you need a way to find people with interests like yours. Let me give you one "secret" tip for finding those people. Go to the bottom of your Twitter page, and choose "Search." This directs you to Twitter's advanced search where you can search for topics or issues about which people are posting (the search link at the top of the page only lets you search by user name). This advanced search tool is an easy way to find others who are posting on topics important to you.
Lately, I've been doing a bit more posting on Twitter. If you would like more frequent updates about gifted education, special needs learners, and my thoughts on education publishing, click here to follow me on Twitter.
Dragons in Literature
Gifted kids relish theme-oriented studies. These studies allow students to study a topic in-depth and at a higher-level of thinking than many traditional units.
One fun, interesting, and non-conventional theme for study is Dragons in Children’s Literature. If you have a student who might find this topic interesting, there are some good resources available.
Tina L. Hanlon
, Associate Professor of English at Ferrum College in Virginia, has assembled an annotated bibliography on Dragon’s in Children’s Literature
. Included in the bibliography are picture books, novels, poems, background resources, and a paper/essay (the essay is particularly interesting) that Hanlon presented at the Children’s Literature Association Conference in June 2002. Using the extensive information that Hanlon offers could be a basis for a wonderful study of dragons (from those in Beowulf to Harry Potter) and their role in literature. Sometimes dragons are regarded as a symbol of evil and, as Hanlon states, sometimes as ”watered-down images resulting from the attempts of modern Americans to protect innocent children from the violence in traditional literature.”
Links to additional supportive materials can be found at The Dragon Theme Page
, created by the Educational Technology Center at Kennesaw University in Georgia.
Material on the Web sites listed above could be a basis of study for very young children through high school students and beyond.
Meteorology for Gifted Students
Do you have a student who is interested in the weather? Weather affects our lives every day, yet it is a subject that few of us understand in-depth.
Meteorology and climatology are sciences that deal with the atmosphere and its phenomena. In addition to predicting the weather, scientists attempt to identify and interpret climate trends, understand past weather, and analyze today’s weather.
Meteorological research is applied in air-pollution control, agriculture, forestry, air and sea transportation, and defense. Meteorologists might analyze or develop numerical models, monitor rainfall and issue river stage warnings, or fly in aircraft investigating hurricanes.
Atmospheric Research Centers
Local, State, and National Weather Services
Manufacturers of Meteorological Instruments
Private Consulting Firms
Radio and TV stations
Satellite Research Centers
If you want to teach about various aspects of weather, or if you have a student who is interested in the subject, there are some great resources available on the Internet.
This is an excellent science/math Web site for academically talented youth. Search on “Weather” to find articles, Internet links, contests, book reviews, reports, interviews, and information about educational expeditions.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
In the upper right quadrant of this Web site, you will see a couple of rows of rectangular boxes, including Weather, Satellites, Oceans, Climate, Coasts, and Research.
The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)
Check out the section “Students and Educators,” which contains many good informational resources; classes and quizzes (many of them free); career information; a data base of colleges and universities; digital libraries; teaching/learning modules; webcasts; podcasts; and animations.