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About The Author  
Joel McIntosh

Joel McIntosh
I'm the publisher at Prufrock Press. I've been involved with education for more than 20 years and hold a masters degree in gifted education. I've been a classroom teacher and a parent (still am that). In addition to this blog, you can follow me on Twitter. Feel free to contact me by e-mail if you have any questions about this blog or Prufrock Press.

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Prufrock's Gifted Education Blog Has Moved

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted Education, News From Prufrock Press

We’ve moved the Prufrock Press blogs to a new location. You can now find all of our blogs consolidated into a single blog at

We’re sorry for the inconvenience. Our new blogging platform gives us lots of new, great ways to communicate with our readers. Stop by and give it a look.

See you there!

Attention RSS Subscribers:
If you previously subscribed to our RSS feed, please resubscribe to our new feed at

Using Twitter at the 2011 TAGT Conference

Monday, November 21, 2011 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Technology, Gifted Education

Attending this year's Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) conference in Austin, TX? Stay in touch with other conference attendees through Twitter.

  • Recommend conference events,
  • share your thoughts about sessions,
  • discover links to web sites that expand upon session topics,
  • and learn about special offers from exhibitors.

Visit TAGT's "TAGT Tweets" web page for complete instructions for joining Twitter and following tweets about the TAGT conference. The page includes a short video about setting up a Twitter account, adding people whom you wish to follow on Twitter, how to find others interested in gifted education, and how to use the #tagt2011 hashtag.

The Final Entry for Prufrock's Gifted Child Information Blog

Friday, August 12, 2011 - by JMcIntosh

Carol Fertig's New Website

Today, my friend and author, Carol Fertig, posted the final entry in her wonderfully informative, Gifted Child Information Blog.

The blog appeared weekly on the Prufrock Press website for more than six years. Over the years, Carol has done a fantastic job of pulling together advice and information for gifted education teachers and parents. She has been an inspirational voice for so many in the field of gifted child education.

Join Carol on her new website—she is cooking up some exciting new writing projects there, and I know you will enjoy reading her work. Also, if you are on Facebook, please take a moment to visit and "Like" her author page on Facebook.

I wish this talented friend, author, educator, and mother all them best. She is an amazing contributor to the gifted education community.

Math Dictionary for Kids iPad App on Sale for $1.99

Friday, August 12, 2011 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Math, Technology, News From Prufrock Press

Math Dictionary for Kids iPad App on SaleBack-to-school sale! Through the end of August, the Math Dictionary for Kids iPad app is on sale for only $1.99! With more than 100,000 copies in print, the print-edition of "Math Dictionary for Kids" is the #1 homework helper for kids. Now this best-selling book comes to the iPad with powerful tools to help any student achieve success in math!

How many sides are in a dodecagon? What's the difference between an ordinal number and a cardinal number? With the Math Dictionary for Kids iPad app, you can search through more than 400 illustrated math terms to quickly find the definitions and examples you need to solve many math challenges.

Perfect for kids in grades 4–9, this interactive app includes illustrated, concise explanations of the most common terms used in general math classes, categorized by subjects that include measurement, algebra, geometry, fractions and decimals, statistics and probability, and problem solving.

Parents and teachers will love the independence the Math Dictionary for Kids app provides students, especially in its Quick Reference Guide section, which gives step-by-step instructions for solving the types of problems commonly found on homework assignments. This section also includes handy formula lists, measurement conversion tables, and easy-to-use charts on factors, multiples, prime numbers, and square roots.

Based on the best selling #1 math homework helper, this app is must-have for kids and parents alike!

Features include:

  • More than 400 illustrated terms and examples
  • Alphabetical scroll list or search options
  • Favorites function
  • Note-taking function
  • Six additional Quick Reference Guides
  • Word of the day function
  • E-mail and printing capabilities

Available on the App Store

Prufrock Press' Journals Have a New Home at SAGE Publications

Sunday, June 05, 2011 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted Education, News From Prufrock Press

Prufrock Press' Journals Have a New Home at SAGE Publications

The last couple of weeks have seen two important milestones pass.

My daughter, Christina, graduated from high school. I’m so proud of her and the young woman she has grow to be, and I’m excited that she will be moving on to attend college at the University of Oklahoma. On the other hand, watching her move on in her life comes with a tinge of sadness. With similar, if less intimate, emotions, I want to announce that Prufrock Press’ peer-reviewed journals (Gifted Child Today, the Journal for the Education of the Gifted, and the Journal of Advanced Academics) have been acquired by SAGE Publications. Like my daughter, Prufrock’s journals are moving on.

For more than twenty years, with the leadership of some wonderful editors, these journals have been an incubator for the best ideas in gifted education. The journals are at the forefront of gifted education practices and theory and they are a place where advocates and researchers in the field can discuss and debate what should happen next.

I love the work we have done with these journals, but the business side of running a successful academic journal has changed dramatically over the last five years. For journals to thrive, they need the specialized focus of a large journal publishing house. Several months ago, SAGE contacted me saying that they were enthusiastic supporters of gifted education and the journals we publish. As one of the leading international publishers of journals, SAGE could offer our journals increased availability, a wider audience, and a secure future.

I liked that their focus was on finding ways the journals could reach more readers, both nationally and internationally. In the end, I made the decision to move the journals to a new home at SAGE Publications. I am convinced that under the care of SAGE, the future growth of the journals is now secure and healthy.

This has been a bittersweet decision. The journals have been an intimate part of Prufrock Press, and I am incredibly proud of them. I know we have made a positive impact on practice and scholarship in the field, and I have loved working with the talented, creative editors of the journals. However, it is now time to send all of my kids off on their various new paths … to encourage them to move on.

Q&A About the Jacob's Ladder Reading Program

Monday, March 28, 2011 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Reading-Writing-L.A., Gifted Education, Language Arts

Jacob's Ladder Reading SeriesOur best-selling Jacob's Ladder Reading Comprehension Program offers educators a wonderful tool for increasing reading comprehension and critical thinking skills among students. Whenever Prufrock Press exhibits Jacob's Ladder at education conferences, teachers ask questions about how the program works and whether the program can be used with all students in a mixed-ability classroom. I've prepared this blog entry in hopes of answering some of these questions.

Does Research Support Using the Program With All Students?

Emphatically, yes. Jacob's Ladder was developed at the College of William and Mary as part of a federally funded Department of Education research grant. Although there are many reading programs focused on developmental readers, there are very few research-based reading programs designed to teach advanced reading comprehension skills. Jacob's Ladder fills this gap.

Research conducted using Jacob's Ladder in Title 1 schools shows that the program increases reading comprehension skills for all students in a mixed-ability classroom. The researchers concluded, "when compared to students who used the basal reader only, those students who were exposed to the Jacob's Ladder curriculum showed significant gains in reading comprehension and critical thinking."

For an overview of the research supporting the use of this product, please download What Works: 20 Years of Curriculum Development and Research for Advanced Learners.

What Skill Sets Do the Ladders Represent?

The program is organized around the metaphor of ladders. There are six types of ladders representing different types of reading skills and each ladder has "steps" that represent increasingly difficult variations of the skills represented by the ladder. For example, Ladder A focuses on sequencing, implications, and consequences. At the lowest step of Ladder A, students sequence information found in a reading. At the highest level, students are asked to identify the short-term and long-term consequences of actions and events in a reading.

The types of reading skills addressed by each ladder are listed below:

  • Ladder A: sequencing, cause and effect, and consequences and implications;
  • Ladder B: identifying key details, classification, and generalizations;
  • Ladder C: literary elements, inference, and interpretation of theme or central idea;
  • Ladder D: synthesis of information through paraphrasing, summarizing, and creative synthesis;
  • Ladder E: understanding emotion, expressing emotion, and using emotion; and
  • Ladder F: planning and goal setting, monitoring and assessing, and reflecting.

How do the Readings and Ladders Work?

Each book in the Jacob's Ladder program contains between 8-10 short stories, 7-10 poems, and 4-6 nonfiction selections. Following each reading, a series of activities from the ladders are presented to students. Teachers may choose to have students complete all activities on the ladders or limit students to only certain activities presented. For example, emergent readers may be assigned activities from the lower steps of a ladder, while more advanced readers may be assigned multiple activities from the ladders.

Let's look at an example from Jacob's Ladder: Level 1: After reading one of Aesop's fables, students first encounter Ladder A, which includes the following tasks:

  • list the events that occurred in the fable (Rung A1—sequencing),
  • build a chart showing the various cause and effect relationships in the fable (Rung A2—cause and effect), and/or
  • discuss the long-term consequences of one of the main character's actions (Rung A3—consequences and implications).

Next, from Ladder B, students would be asked to:

  • discuss the mental images the fable created in their mind and list the specific details from the tale that supported the images (Rung B1—details),
  • identify the actions of one character that could be characterized as helping another character (Rung B2—classifications), and/or
  • determine the moral or "lesson" the fable is attempting to deliver (Rung B3—generalization).

Can I Use the Program With Cooperative Learning Groups?

Yes. Although the activities and readings can be done by students individually, Jacob's Ladder is ideal for small groups. The readings and activities may be used in a number of different grouping patterns. The use of small groups provides excellent opportunities for student discussion of the readings and collaborative decisions about the answers to questions posed.

Does the Program Include Assessment Tools?

Yes. Pre- and postassessments are included. The pretests should be administered, scored, and then used to guide student instruction and the selection of readings for varied ability groups. Both the pre- and postassessments, scoring rubric, and sample exemplars for each rubric category and level are included along with exemplars to guide scoring.

Prufrock eBooks Protected by Adobe Digitial Editons on Your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch

Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Technology, News From Prufrock Press

Thanks to one of our customers, Paul Brindze, for this great solution for getting our eBooks with Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) protection onto Apple's iOS devices (iPad, iPod Touch, and the iPhone).

This information only applies to Prufrock's eBooks that have Adobe Digital Editions protection (look for "ADE Protected" in the product format description). This information does not apply to our socially stamped eBooks, as these books can be easily installed on any device that can handle standard PDF files.

ADE protected eBooks sold on the Prufrock Press website can be read on any of Apple's iOS devices using the free Bluefire Reader application available on Apple's App Store.

For detailed instructions regarding transferring your ADE eBook to your iOS device, please read the excellent write-up about transferring ADE protected eBooks to Bluefire Reader at the Dear Author website.

Prufrock Press Acquires Cottonwood Press

Tuesday, November 09, 2010 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted and Talented Children, Gifted Education, Language Arts

I would like to share some exciting news with you.

Today, my company, Prufrock Press, announced the acquisition of a wonderful publishing house, Cottonwood Press.

Colorado-based Cottonwood Press is a leading publisher of more than 85 engaging education products for the language arts classroom. Cottonwood Press' titles have been enthusiastically used in K-12 classrooms for 25 years.

This exciting and creative company built its reputation on quality language arts materials with a flair for humor and creativity. Cheryl Thurston, the publisher at Cottonwood, created a company beloved by language arts and English teachers around the country.

I am honored that Prufrock Press will be the new home for Cottonwood's excellent product line.

I invite you to learn more about our acquisition of this fine publisher of respected products. For more information, click here to read our press release about our acquisition of Cottonwood Press.


Social Networking for Advocates of Gifted Kids

Monday, November 08, 2010 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Technology, Gifted and Talented Children, Gifted Education

This year at the NAGC convention in Atlanta, GA, I'll be moderating an exciting panel discussion titled, "Social Networking for Gifted Education Advocacy, Professional Development, and Communications."

Web-based social networking tools allow parents and teachers to coordinate advocacy efforts, learn about gifted education resources, and share ideas about gifted education and parenting with a global community. Social networking tools like Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and web-based discussion groups offer a rich source of support and information about children who are gifted. This panel discussion will explore how parents and teachers of gifted children can use these tools to coordinate advocacy efforts and improve classroom practice

The panel is comprised of some of the country's most popular gifted education social networking advocates:

Join us at the NAGC Convention for this great panel discussion:

Date: Saturday, November 13, 2010
Time: 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM  EST
Room: Atlanta Ballroom E


Save 20% When You Download eBooks From Prufrock Press!

Monday, August 30, 2010 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Parents and Educators, Technology, Gifted Education

Download eBooks from Prufrock PressI'm so excited to announce that Prufrock Press now offers many of its best-selling titles as downloadable eBooks. Whether you seek classroom-ready activities that can be printed immediately for student use, or you want to leisurely read a book on your computer or eReader, Prufrock Press offers a wide selection of exciting eBooks!

As someone who enjoys reading our books, you will find our eBooks offer many advantages over traditional print books. eBooks provide a convenient, inexpensive, and immediate way to read the very best information from Prufrock Press.

Save 20% and Pay No Shipping Charges

For a limited time, save 20% when you purchase eBooks from Prufrock Press. I want to give my customers an incentive to try our new line, so all of Prufrock’s exciting eBooks are discounted at 20% off the retail price of print books through December 31, 2010. Plus, because there is no physical book to ship, you will save on shipping charges.

eBooks are convenient and immediately available. Keep your entire library of classroom materials and professional development books in one easy-to-reach location—your computer. Because eBooks are immediately downloadable, they are instantaneously available for use.

Click here for more information about Prufrock's line of eBook products.

Complimentary Download: RtI and Gifted Education

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted Education, Teaching Gifted Children

Complimentary Download of the Summer 2009 Special Issue of <i>Gifted Child Today</i> on the Topic of RtI and Gifted EducationYou can now download a complimentary copy of a special issue of Gifted Child Today on the topic of Response to Intervention (RtI) and gifted education.

RtI is a key component of educational reform in the United States. For gifted education, RtI represents many important opportunities and challenges. To help education professionals take a proactive look at the ways gifted education and the needs of gifted students fit within the RtI initiative, Gifted Child Today’s editor, Susan Johnsen, Ph.D., and the journal’s editorial board invited two prominent professors (Mary Ruth Coleman, Ph.D. and Claire E. Hughes, Ph.D.) to guest edit a special issue of GCT on the important topic of RtI and gifted child education.

After that special RtI issue of GCT was published in the summer of 2009, it quickly became one of the most widely read issues in the peer-reviewed journal’s history. In fact, Prufrock Press, the journal’s publisher, had so many requests for additional copies of that issue, extra copies from the original press run were quickly sold out. It seems that many individuals, universities, and gifted education programs around the country were using the special issue for professional development purposes.

To encourage the widest possible exposure of this important topic to gifted education professionals, Prufrock Press has made the decision to offer this issue of GCT free of charge as a downloadable PDF.

Click here to download a complimentary copy of the Summer 2009 issue of GCT.
Please note: The PDF is large (7.5MB) and, depending on your Internet connection, may take several minutes to download.

Prufrock Press hopes this free downloadable copy of GCT will be helpful to you as you explore the topic of RtI and gifted education. Please feel free to pass this information along to others who might be interested in this topic.

More Pre-K Pupils Qualify for Gifted Programs in NYC Schools

Friday, May 07, 2010 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted and Talented Children, Gifted Education

More students are qualifying for gifted kindergarten programs in hyper-competitive New York City schools, but a spike in the use of tutors and test-prep programs by privileged families may be playing an outsized role.

Apparently, parents in NYC are hiring tutors and buying IQ test-preparation materials for their four-year-olds! The problem is so bad that the results from the identification instruments used are becoming invalid. In this recent New York Times article, one Prufrock author, Dr. Susan Johnsen, makes an important point: “Any test is susceptible to test preparation, and that’s why you start to invalidate those assessments.” Dr. Johnsen supports the use of a wide variety of tools for assessing giftedness in kids.

Read the full article, "More Pre-K Pupils Qualify for Gifted Programs."

TONI-4: Test of Nonverbal Intelligence, 4th ed., Available in May

TONI-4: Test of Nonverbal Intelligence, 4th ed.

Let me give a quick notification to any gifted education coordinators, school counselors, or district-level diagnosticians involved with gifted child identification.

If you are currently using the TONI-3 as a part of your school's gifted child identification processes, please note that the TONI-4: Test of Nonverbal Intelligence, 4th ed., will be released in mid-May. The TONI-4 is a completely revised instrument and will replace the older version of the test.

The TONI-3 is no longer available, but we will be shipping the TONI-4 in just a few weeks.

Announcing Prufrock Press' Web Affiliate Program

Friday, March 19, 2010 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Technology, General Education, News From Prufrock Press

Prufrock Press’ Web Affiliate Program

A Dynamic Partnership

I’m proud to announce Prufrock Press’ new web affiliate program.

If you write a blog or manage an education or parenting website, Prufrock’s web affiliate program offers an exciting way to generate additional revenue for your site. As a web affiliate, you will receive a 10% commission on sales made by individuals coming to Prufrock Press’ website from your website.

In the past, when bloggers or web masters created web links to our books for their readers, they provided a link that directed the readers to a major online retailer like I want to change this by offering an incentive to link directly to the Prufrock Press website.

I would much rather service my customers directly. We provide a superior experience to that of the large online retailers. (Ever try to reach a real person on the phone at those retailers?) If you have a question about a book or need help with an order, my customer service department is available by phone, e-mail, or fax (that information is on the bottom of every page of our website and catalog). Our attention to building relationships with our customers is simply something that the major retailers don’t offer.

To encourage bloggers and web masters to directly link to Prufrock’s website, I asked our programmers to build a web affiliate program that is superior to that of the major online retailers.

If you write a blog or manage an education or parenting website, visit Prufrock Press’ web affiliate page for more information about participating in this program.

Differentiating Instruction for Gifted Students (Podcast)

Saturday, March 06, 2010 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted and Talented Children, Gifted Education, Podcasts

Differeniating Instruction for Gifted Learners in a Mixed Ability ClassroomIncreasingly, teachers grapple with the task of differentiating instruction in a way that challenges every student in a mixed-ability classroom. While there are many effective approaches to accomplishing this goal, Prufrock Press' series, Differentiating Instruction With Menus, is one of the best ready-to-use resources available on the topic.

In today’s podcast, I speak with Laurie Westphal, the author of Prufrock's Differentiating Instruction with Menus series. After teaching science for more than 15 years, both overseas and in the U.S., Laurie now works as an independent gifted education and science consultant and as a very popular Prufrock Press author.

I asked Laurie to join the podcast today to discuss the idea of adding student choice into a classroom as one way of differentiating instruction in a mixed-ability class of students.

Listen to the Podcast

Click here to listen to the podcast

(approximate length: 22 minutes)


Click here to listen to or subscribe* to this podcast on iTunes

(requires that you have iTunes installed on your computer)


* If you wish to receive notifications when new podcasts are posted, you need to subscribe to Prufrock Press' "Gifted Education Podcast" on iTunes or subscribe to the "Podcasts" RSS feed in the left column of this blog (see "Categories/RSS"). Click here to read instructions on using RSS feeds.

A "Mysterious" Way to Teach Scientific Inquiry

Thursday, March 04, 2010 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Science, Gifted and Talented Children, Gifted Education

Green Ghost Board Game When I was a kid, I loved mysteries and ghost stories and games. When I was about six, my parents gave me a board game called “Green Ghost.” For the life of me, I don’t remember the details of how the game was played, but I remember that the entire board game glowed in the dark. The point of the game was to make your way around a haunted house with trap doors and attacking ghouls. One fun gimmick of the game was that you had to wait until after dark to play it if you wanted to experience the glow in the dark effect.

As a teacher, I never lost my love for the good mystery. I tried to bring elements of the mysterious into the classroom. My high school students and I played with writing descriptive passages from the home of Jack the Ripper, collected local ghost stories, and discussed the ways in which mystery writers construct their tales.

Science Sleuths: Solving Mysteries Using Scientific InquiryWhen I first saw the prospectus for Science Sleuths: Solving Mysteries Using Scientific Inquiry, I was thrilled. The authors, two science teachers, wanted to develop a tool for teaching scientific literacy and inquiry using detective mysteries as their framework.

As the project developed, I became more and more excited. The authors began constructing a book with full-color “evidence” posters, crime logs, crime scene evidence, and a cast of questionable suspects. The crimes they created were intriguing—an art gallery heist, a mysterious death at a bed and breakfast (yes—they called it “Dead and Breakfast”), and a mysterious death at a software company.

Each of the activities in the book requires students to use inquiry, research, and the tools of scientific exploration to solve mysteries. Students must think and act like forensic detectives to succeed. Working in groups, students race to beat the clock as they attempt to determine which suspect should be charged with the crime.

I’m incredibly proud of this book. The authors have a knack for making science fun. The kid in me is pretty envious of the students who will get to experience Science Sleuths in their science classrooms.

Prufrock Press Selected by "Publishers Weekly" as Small Publisher Standout

Tuesday, March 02, 2010 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted Education, Special Needs, News From Prufrock Press

Prufrock Press Selected by Publishers Weekly as Small Publisher StandoutI'm very excited to announce that Prufrock Press was featured in the March 1 edition of Publishers Weekly as one of the nation's fast-growing small publishers. The recognition comes on the heels of 21% sales growth for the company from 2007-2009, attributable to Prufrock's aggressive development of new titles, a market-driven approach to publishing, and soon-to-be-released digital editions of our books.

Prufrock Press was one of only 11 small publishers featured in the industry news magazine's annual list of fast-growing small publishers. Publishers Weekly's Small Publisher Standouts list highlights independent presses in the United States who were exemplary in terms of growth in sales, number of new titles released, and number of employees.

A Commitment to Digital Books

I was very pleased that the article took the time to emphasize our exciting plans for growth in 2010. For example, Publishers Weekly's 2009 list focused on small publishers with the "ability to seize opportunities quickly." The article specifically noted Prufrock Press' commitment to digital editions. While other small presses have taken a wait-and-see approach to digital content, we are committed to offering our books in digital formats to our customers. By the end of the second quarter 2010, we will offer digital editions of most of our titles through our website and through all major ebook channels.

Expanded Categories of New Titles

In 2009, Prufrock Press released 35 new titles. In 2010, we plan on releasing 50! We plan on adding new subject categories such as ADHD, behavioral disorders, and strategies for inclusive classrooms to our already growing line of products for parents and teachers of students with learning disabilities. We also plan to grow our advanced learning and gifted education line with exciting new curriculum products, professional development resources, and college planning guides.

I want to thank all of our customers for their ongoing support and feedback. We simply couldn't have grown so fast without the continued loyalty of our customers.

Click here for more information about Prufrock Press' listing in Publishers Weekly's Small Publisher Standouts list.

Proposed Exams Could Allow Students to Graduate Two Years Early

Friday, February 19, 2010 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted and Talented Children, Gifted Education, College Planning

A provocative eight-state initiative that could change the way high schools work was launched this week. The National Center on Education and the Economy announced a plan to pilot a national board examination for high school students. Results of the exam would allow many students to graduate two years early and attend junior colleges or move into the work force.

Each of the eight states (Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont) have pledged that in selected schools, students will be given a national board examination at the end of their tenth-grade year. Students passing the exam could graduate from high school and immediately enter junior college or the work force. Those passing students wishing to enter more rigorous four-year universities could begin taking advanced college preparation classes. Students failing the national board exam would be required to begin taking remedial classes designed to prepare them to pass the national boards the following year.

National Boards Progress Flow Chart
The junior and senior years of pilot high schools would focus on either remedial education or advanced college preparation classes exclusively.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided a $1.5 million planning grant to help get the program running. According to the New York Times, the project organizers expect to cover additional implementation costs by applying for a portion of the $350 million in federal stimulus money designated for improving public schools.

To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about this project. On the one hand, it will allow public high schools to intensely focus resources on two goals: helping struggling learners meet national standards and preparing advanced learners for the academic rigor of the university. However, it will dramatically change the way the last two years of high school are organized and experienced by students. I'm also a little less than enthusiastic about a plan that assigns struggling learners to remedial classes based on a single type of test. It is not clear how much flexibility is allowed under the plan.

Regardless, this project is incredibly interesting and has the potential to impact high schools in a significant way. It will be interesting to see if research data coming out of the pilot schools support the plan's implementation on a nationwide basis.

NCLB Stagnates the Progress of Some Gifted Learners

Saturday, February 06, 2010 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted and Talented Children, Gifted Education

Under NCLB, the academic progress of high-ability learners who are economically disadvantaged, English Language Learners, or historically underprivileged minorities has stagnated. That is the conclusion of a new report from the Indiana University Center for Evaluation and Education Policy. The report, Mind the (Other) Gap! The Growing Excellence Gap in K-12 Education, concludes that after nine years of NCLB, these students "represent a smaller proportion of students scoring at the highest levels of achievement."

In fact, the report makes it clear that while high-ability students from traditionally "over-represented groups" faired relatively well under NCLB, high-ability students from traditionally under-represented groups have made little progress. The report concludes, "whatever the effectiveness of ESEA/NCLB in shrinking the achievement gap at the level of minimum competence, there appears to be little comparable improvement at the advanced level."

From the report, "the final conclusion is clear: there has been little progress in substantially reducing excellence gaps since the passage of NCLB."

Download Mind the (Other) Gap! The Growing Excellence Gap in K-12 Education (PDF format, 1.7 MB)

Connect With Gifted Education Advocates Via Social Networking

As a teacher or parent of gifted children, you know that finding others who share your passion for gifted education can be difficult. Finding information, resources, and support for gifted children can be a struggle. However, I believe that the growth of social networks offers a way to overcome the isolation that many advocates for gifted children feel.

The opportunities to become involved with other gifted education advocates using the Internet and social networking are numerous and rapidly growing.

For example, one gifted education advocate with whom I recently corresponded, Deborah Mersino, organizes weekly online chats during which gifted supporters from across the globe join in something called a "Twitter chat." If you are interested, join Deborah for a Twitter chat tonight to discuss "Delving Into the Digital Age: Tools & Tips for Teachers and Parents of Gifted Kids" at 7:00 p.m. EST. If you miss tonight's chat, simply visit Deborah's blog to find the date and topic for the next chat. Anyone can join the discussion, and doing so is very easy. To participate in tonight's chat, simply visit TweetChat, follow the set-up instructions, and use the special "hashtag" #gtchat in step 2 of the setup process.

Yesterday afternoon at Prufrock Press, my staff and I launched two exciting opportunities for our customers to connect and discuss gifted education topics of interest. As of yesterday, we began using both Twitter and Facebook to help our customers and other gifted education supporters to reach out to one another.

Follow the ongoing discussion about gifted education and advocacy for gifted education by following our Twitter feed. My staff and I have started posting lots of interesting ideas, resources, and comments related to gifted education. By following us on Twitter, you can join in that discussion. All you need to do is join Twitter and follow our Twitter feed. Click the icon below to join the discussion on Twitter!
Follow Prufrock Press on Twiter

Become a fan of Prufrock Press on Facebook. We have big plans for building interesting and engaging content for our Facebook page. My editors will be encouraging discussions, posting pictures from gifted education conferences, and keeping you updated on the latest news in gifted education. We want our Facebook page to be a rich source of news and information about advocating for and teaching gifted children. However, don't just become a fan of our page--visit the page, post your ideas, and join in the discussion. Click the icon below to join the discussion on Facebook!
Follow Prufrock Press on Twiter

I want to emphasize that my staff and I want to use our Twitter and Facebook presence to help connect our customers and fans with each other. We will use these tools to build an exciting, interactive social network focused on friendships, information, resources, and support. The more gifted education supporters who join us, the more exciting the experience will be. So, get involved today by joining Ms. Mersino's weekly chats, following Prufrock Press on Twitter, or becoming a fan of our page on Facebook.

Our Shameful National Commitment to Gifted and Talented Children

Monday, December 14, 2009 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted and Talented Children, Gifted Education

The National Association for Gifted Children recently released its "State of the Nation in Gifted Education" report. The report offers a frustrating picture of this nation's commitment to providing a quality education to our most talented students.

The report concludes. . .

  • Gifted programs are embarrassingly underfunded--Gifted education is without support at the federal level, and states do a poor job of funding programs. Thirteen states have no gifted education funding at all, and most other states provide only token support.
  • Teachers are untrained and underprepared--Training in gifted education identification and teaching methods is seldom a requirement for teachers, even teachers working in specialized programs for gifted students.
  • Services offered to gifted students are haphazard and piecemeal--Gifted students often can expect fragmented and uncoordinated services and opportunities.
  • Gifted education has no accountability--Absent any reporting or accountability measures to ensure that services are delivered equitably, there is no way that local districts or states can monitor and improve gifted education services.

The report's "Executive Summary" concludes that:

Our nation needs a comprehensive, national gifted education policy in which federal, state, and local leaders work together to ensure that all gifted and talented students are identified and served by well-trained teachers using challenging curriculum to meet their advanced learning needs. Supporting teacher training and professional development, designing and sharing model identification and service programs, and eliminating policies that obstruct students from receiving appropriate instruction are core elements of a national strategy to support our most advanced learners. A greater investment in these children is a greater investment in our nation's future. (p. 4)

"Amen," I say. But I have little optimism that this problem will find its solution on the national level. My experience with gifted education over the last 20 years leads me to believe that there is little will at the national level to tackle this problem. Politicians and special interest groups discount gifted education as elitist and unnecessary, regardless of the realities that gifted kids are facing in our schools.

On the other hand, at the local level, parents of gifted children hear such nonsense and call it ridiculous. These parents have real kids who are gifted and need quality services. They push schools and administrators to implement programs at the local level. As a result, we have a patchwork of quality programs and wide disparities in gifted education from one school district (or even one school) to the next.

I wish I had more optimism about gifted education leadership and funding at the national level. However, over and over, it seems that truly effective advocacy is wielded by parents at a grassroots level. Unfortunately, this fact will continue to cause wide disparities in gifted education until we find the national will to face this country's shoddy approach to educating gifted children.

Three Prufrock Press Books Win Prestigious Gifted Education Awards

I'm so proud to announce that three outstanding books published by Prufrock Press have been named winners of the prestigious 2009 Legacy Book Awards, which recognize outstanding books published in the United States that have long-term potential for positively influencing the lives of gifted children. The Legacy Book Awards are sponsored each year by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT), the largest state advocacy group of its kind.

This year, the Legacy Book Awards recognized three outstanding books for educators, parents, and students. Strategies for Differentiating Instruction: Best Practices for the Classroom (2nd ed.), by Julia L. Roberts, Ed.D., and Tracy F. Inman; Raising a Gifted Child: A Parenting Success Book, by Carol Fertig; and Social-Emotional Curriculum With Gifted and Talented Students, edited by Joyce VanTassel-Baska, Ed.D., Tracy L. Cross, Ph.D., and F. Richard Olenchak, Ph.D., are the winners of the 2009 Legacy Book Awards.

For more information, visit our 2009 Legacy Book Award announcement page.

Nine Research-Supported Facts About Gifted Education

Monday, October 19, 2009 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted and Talented Children, Gifted Education, Teaching Gifted Children

In 2008, Dr. Sally M. Reis (University of Connecticut) prepared a National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) position paper listing facts that we know to be true about gifted education.

She limited this list to include only conclusive statements that can be supported by many years of research findings about gifted education. Certainly, she could have included others; however, the idea behind this list was to collect those statements that had so much solid support, they could be considered established facts.

As I read over Dr. Reis' list, I found it frustrating that what we do in schools diverges so radically from what we know is best for gifted kids. How many gifted children attend schools where most, if not all, of the facts listed below are ignored? How many parents have heard a school administrator reject acceleration as an option for gifted kids? How many untrained general education teachers "differentiate" for gifted students by just giving them more work? How many schools ignore high-ability learners in order to myopically focus exclusively on teaching minimum skills to struggling learners?

The NAGC position paper is helpful for gifted child advocates because it explicitly establishes what we know to be true about gifted education. Let me share the information included in Dr. Reis' report:

  1. The needs of gifted students are generally not met in American classrooms where the focus is most often on struggling learners and where most classroom teachers have not had the training necessary to meet the needs of gifted students.
  2. Grouping gifted students together for instruction increases achievement for gifted students, and in some cases, also increases achievement for students who are achieving at average and below average levels.
  3. The use of acceleration results in higher achievement for gifted and talented learners.
  4. The use of enrichment and curriculum enhancement results in higher achievement for gifted and talented learners, as well as other students.
  5. Classroom teachers can learn to differentiate curriculum and instruction in their regular classroom situations and to extend gifted education strategies and pedagogy to all content areas.
  6. Gifted education programs and strategies are effective at serving gifted and high-ability students in a variety of educational settings and from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic populations. Gifted education pedagogy can also reverse underachievement in these students.
  7. The curriculum and pedagogy of gifted programs can be extended to a variety of content areas resulting in higher achievement for both gifted and average students. Some enrichment pedagogy can benefit struggling and special needs students when implemented in a wide variety of settings.
  8. Some gifted students with learning disabilities who are not identified experience emotional difficulties and seek counseling. High percentages of gifted students do underachieve, but this underachievement can be reversed. Some gifted students do drop out of high school.
  9. Gifted education programs and strategies benefit gifted and talented students longitudinally, helping students increase aspirations for college and careers, determine postsecondary and career plans, develop creativity and motivation that they can apply to later work, and obtain more advanced degrees.

Read the entire NAGC position paper, "Research That Supports the Need for and Benefits of Gifted Education." The position paper includes references to the research studies that support each of the conclusions listed above.

NAGC Virtual Convention Delivers Captivating Speakers Live at Home

Friday, October 02, 2009 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted and Talented Children, Gifted Education, Parenting Gifted Children

Can't attend gifted education's largest convention? Not a problem! Now you can watch the National Association for Gifted Children's most captivating convention speakers at home on your computer.

Gifted Education Publisher, Prufrock Press, Sponsors NAGC's Virtual ConventionThis year, for the first time, NAGC is offering a convenient and inexpensive "Virtual Convention." As a virtual conference participant, you will be able to hear and see important presentations during the conference from any computer that has Internet access.

In fact, I am so excited by this concept that I contacted NAGC and offered for Prufrock Press to sponsor the Virtual Convention this year.

Don't let shrinking budgets and travel restrictions keep you from being a part of the largest and most informative national conference devoted to classroom innovation, gifted education, and high-ability learners. Register for the NAGC Virtual Convention and experience a full-day of content-rich sessions on Saturday, November 7. Attendees will have access to 17 live convention sessions. NAGC is offering three different convention strands: practical ideas for teachers, support for parents, or a focus on critical issues.

Those who register to participate virtually will also be given access to an online portal in which they can discuss topics, post documents, etc. in order to reach out to fellow attendees in advance of the live webinars.

Update [10/15/09]: NAGC Virtual Convention attendees can receive one university continuing education unit (CEU) throught the University of California at Irvine. This CEU may be used to document professional development hours and can be submitted to your district to meet requirements for salary advancement.

Visit NAGC's Virtual Convention home page for more information or to register.

Building Differentiated Learning Objectives With Web Tools

Sunday, August 23, 2009 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Technology, Free Activities and Lessons, Gifted Education

For some teachers, building differentiated learnings objectives, lesson plans, and units is part of the fun of teaching. It comes naturally for these teachers. For others, it can be a real challenge. For either group, writing learning objectives can require a commitment of time. As schools increasingly emphasize the use of varied, differentiated learning objectives, a teacher's planning time can be stretched.

The Differentiator!For those wanting to save a bit of time or add a spark of creativity to their learning objectives ... enter Ian Byrd, a creative and energetic California teacher. Ian has developed a clever Web application called "The Differentiator." This is a fun little tool that allows you to use a Web interface to build learning objectives by choosing from a set of predefined thinking skills, content, resources, student products, and group sizes. For example, using Ian's site, I created the following in a matter of seconds:

Students will contrast [thinking skill] the multiple points of view of green energy [content] using newpapers [resource] to create a press conference [product] in groups of three [group size].

You may need to do a little additional editing after you build an objective.

The Differentiator is free, and it is certainly worth giving it a try.

Once Ian realized how popular The Differentiator was, he spent some time this summer building a more comprehensive tool called ExtendAMenu. This new tool allows you to build differentiated learning objectives using various types of extension menus and keep a record of those objectives stored online.

Ian has posted a screencast demonstrating the use of ExtendAMenu. ExtendAMenu costs $20.

Win a Free Set of Differentiating Instruction With Menus 

Ian and I have worked up a special drawing that will allow four lucky teachers to win a free set of Laurie E. Westphal's elementary-level Differentiating Instruction With Menus or her middle school level Differentiating Instruction With Menus (each set is a $79.80 value). To enter the drawing, visit the ExtendAMenu contest page.

Finally, if you just want to read Ian's thoughts and practical ideas for the gifted education classroom, you can visit his Web site Byrdseed: Practical Ideas for Your Gifted Classroom. The Web site if full of solid information about gifted education and gifted children.

Addressing Back-to-School Social Anxiety

Friday, July 24, 2009 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Special Needs just posted a great article on "Addressing Back-to-School Social Anxiety" with your children. From the article:

Many preteens and teens are less than enthusiastic about the prospect of returning to school in the fall. But how can parents know when anxiety about the social challenges of the new school year is more serious than normal back to school jitters?

Is your child just shy and introverted, or does she not want to return to school because she has social anxiety? Is it “just a phase” or does it constitute a disorder?

The article includes several important insights from Dr. Bonnie Zucker, the author of Prufrock Press' Anxiety-Free Kids: An Interactive Guide for Parents and Children. In the article, Dr. Zucker offers great tips for overcoming social anxiety and several suggestions for using the summer months as an opportunity for preteens and teens to work on their social skills.

Recently, the Washingtonian magazine named Dr. Zucker one of the top 10 therapists in Washington, D.C. I'm very proud to have her as one of our authors.

Immediate Action Needed to Save Federal Gifted Education Funding

Thursday, July 16, 2009 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted and Talented Children, Gifted Education, History Education

The National Association for Gifted Children has called for "emergency" action to save federal funding for gifted education. However, if you wish to help, you must act before the end of business today.

Federal funding for gifted education is on the chopping block, and your action is needed. The only federal funding for gifted child education is known as the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act. While small in comparison to other education programs, this funding supports important programs and research focused on identifying and serving disadvantaged gifted students. These limited funds were cut out of the proposed 2010 federal budget.

Please consider e-mailing or calling your congressperson and asking that at least $7.5 million be reinstated in fiscal year 2010 for the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act.

Please suggest to your congressperson that funds currently earmarked for local special projects be directed to fund the Javits Act. These special projects funds have already been budgeted, so ask that some of these dollars be allocated toward gifted education. By simply shifting these funds, federal spending would not be increased.

The National Association for Gifted Children has posted detailed instructions related to contacting your representative in Congress.

Keep in mind that you must act today.

Macbeth: The Monster Interview

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Advanced Placement, News From Prufrock Press, Language Arts, Podcasts

Prufrock Press recently released Advanced Placement Classroom: Macbeth, the last installment in its four-part Advanced Placement Classroom series. Like the series' previous installments, including volumes devoted to Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Hamlet, this teaching resource focuses on developing advanced reading comprehension and analytical skills while providing students with a greater historical context for understanding the story and its tempestuous cast of characters.

Co-author, Daniel Lipowitz has taken this a step further, hosting none other than Macbeth, who, fresh from the battlefield, joins him in this episode of his podcast series Lip On-Line. In this "Monster Interview," Lipowitz transcends time acquiring  affectations of Elizabethan linguistics to create an interview persona appropriate for his Shakespearean subject.  Set immediately after the murder of MacDonwald, the interview primarily focuses on Macbeth's (and to a lesser extent Lady Macbeth's) literary reputation, to which the Scottish rogue supplies a unique perspective.  Not unlike the exercises in AP Classroom: Macbeth, Lipowitz's podcast offers an interactive and introspective method of examining the play.  And it's fun.

Listen to the Podcast

Click here to listen to the podcast

(approximate length: 14 minutes)

Do the Goals and Aspirations of Gifted Young Adults Differ by Gender?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted and Talented Children, Gifted Education, College Planning

As the nation embarks on high school graduation season, the New York Times blog, "The Choice," ponders several important issues raised in a study that sought to compare male and female high school valedictorians. Published last summer in Prufrock Press' journal, the Journal of Advanced Academics, the study reveals significant disparities for parents and educators to consider as we examine gender issues among gifted students.

The blog's author, Jacques Steinberg, writes:

The goal of the study, by an economics professor at Meredith College in North Carolina, was to examine the college choices, intended majors and career aspirations of high-achieving boys and girls, and see if there were any differences. Specifically, the study examined 150 valedictorians from high schools from the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, and surrounding counties.
Its main conclusion? That when stacked up against the boys, the female valedictorians tended to choose less selective colleges and plan careers in lower-paying occupations. While the girls were more likely to major in the humanities and social sciences, the boys were more likely to plan to major in math, computer science and engineering.

The results of this study seem to indicate that out-dated thinking about the education and career choices are still alive and well, even among our brightest young men and women. While this study was somewhat limited in scope, it raises important questions about how we parent and educate bright and talented females. Certainly, an excellent education can be received at less selective colleges, and majoring in the humanities and social sciences may be more about one's passions and interests than low expectations. However, these choices should be based on explicit decisions about what is best for a talented student, rather than social expectations imposed on young women by schools, parents, and the media.

Read the full text of the blog post, "Do the Ambitions of High School Valedictorians Differ by Gender?".

Parenting Gifted Children: A Beginner's Guide to Finding Support

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted Education, Parenting Gifted Children

Although I have made gifted education my business, I'm frequently stumped when it comes to specific questions I receive via e-mail about parenting gifted kids. Frankly, any wisdom I might have about the questions I receive would be dwarfed by the collective wisdom of other parents of gifted children and the excellent Web resources available.

As such, I've developed some recommended online starting points for parents of gifted kids who are seeking help, information, and answers. This list is by no means comprehensive! There are hundreds of fine Web resources for parents of gifted children. However, the resources below, in my opinion, ought to give you a good start.

Local Support Groups for Parents of Gifted Children

Most importantly, if you are not already a member of a local support group for parents of gifted children, I would suggest you that join such a group. To locate a group near you, contact your state's National Association for Gifted Children affiliate. Your state's affiliate should have some knowledge of the various local support groups in your area. Parent support groups are wonderfully helpful as you navigate the issues related to parenting a gifted child.

E-Mail Listservs

Let me suggest that you join one of the e-mail listservs devoted to parents of gifted children. Subscribe to one of the listservs below and pose your question to the members of the mailing list. You are sure to get a quick response from one of the hundreds of other parents who subscribe to these lists.

GT-Families Listserv — This is a listserv for families of gifted and talented children. To subscribe, send a message with "subscribe GT-Families firstname lastname" in the body to

TAGFAM Listserv — Similar to the listserv above, this also is for families of gifted and talented children. To subscribe, send a message with "subscribe tagfam firstname lastname" in the body to

American Psychological Association's Gifted Child Listserv — This is an e-mailing list of more than 400 researchers, scholars, parents, and educators who are interested in information concerning gifted children and advocacy on the behalf of gifted children. To join the list, simply send an e-mail to Ashley Edmiston asking that you be added as a member of the CGEPNETWORK listserv.

Web Sites

There are many excellent Web sites that might be helpful to you; however, I would recommend that you first visit the following:

  • Davidson Institute for Talent Development — The Davidson Institute for Talent Development Web site features a database of many excellent online articles about parenting and educating gifted children. Although the Davidson Institute is devoted to supporting profoundly gifted children, the database of articles found on its Web site provides helpful information for parents of any gifted child.
  • Hoagies' Gifted Education PageIf you visit no other Web site, visit this wonderfully rich source of information and support for those of us involved with gifted children. Hoagies' Gifted Education Page offers resources, articles, books, and links. I highly recommend it.
  • Prufrock Press' Gifted Education Web Resources and Blogs — Over the years, we have tried to provide lots of free, unbiased information, articles, and links for parents of gifted children on our site. Start by visiting the Parenting Gifted Children section of our Web site. Then, visit Carol Fertig's Gifted Child Info Blog.

There are many other fine online resources for parents; however, I wanted this blog post to give you the resources you need to "get your feet wet." Once you have explored the options above, you'll want to visit Web sites hosted by the National Association for Gifted Children, Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted, and the many other online resources you discover along the way.

99¢-$1.99 Web-Only Clearance Sale of Gifted Education Books

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted Education, News From Prufrock Press

Prufrock's Annual Clearance Sale Ends May 15, 2009Here 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

Friday, April 10, 2009 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Technology, Gifted Education

Gifted Education on TwitterIncreasingly, 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.

Follow My Gifted Education Tweets on Twitter

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.

Anxiety-Free Kids - Helping Children with Anxiety Disorders (Podcast)

Monday, March 30, 2009 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted Education, Special Needs, Podcasts

The topic of today's podcast is one that impacts many children, including those who are gifted. In this podcast we discuss the topic of helping children who suffer from anxiety disorders. Research shows that if left untreated, children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, to have less-developed social skills, and to be more vulnerable to substance abuse.

When do a child’s anxieties cross the line from typical worries to an anxiety disorder, how do you know if your child suffers from anxiety, and what can you do to help?

To answer those questions, I've invited Dr. Bonnie Zucker to discuss this important topic with me. Dr. Zucker is a clinical psychologist who conducts therapy with children and families in both her private practice and at the National Center for Phobias, Anxieties, and Depression in Washington D.C.

Dr. Zucker is the author of Prufrock Press’ recently released, Anxiety-Free Kids: An Interactive Guide for Parents and Children.

Listen to the Podcast

Click here to listen to the podcast

(approximate length: 38 minutes)


Click here to listen to or subscribe* to this podcast in iTunes

(requires that you have iTunes installed on your computer)


 * If you wish to be receive notifications when new podcasts are posted, you need to subscribe to Prufrock Press' "Gifted Education Podcast" in iTunes or subscribe to the "Podcasts" RSS feed in the left column of this blog (see "Categories/RSS"). Click here to read instructions on using RSS feeds.

"Facets of Gifted Education" -- An Interview With ... Me

Thursday, March 19, 2009 - by JMcIntosh - Category: General Education, News From Prufrock Press

I recently had the chance to be interviewed by Laura Vanderkam, a co-author of Genius Denied and the author of the Gifted Exchange Blog.

If you get a chance, click this link to read the interview. It's a short piece, but it covers a wide range of gifted education topics (changes in the field of gifted education over the last 20 years, differentiated instruction, and some opportunities the field faces in coming years), and it touches on some of the publishing plans here at Prufrock Press.

Thanks to Laura for conducting the interview and posting it on her blog!

Summer Archaeology Camp

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Science, Gifted and Talented Children, Gifted Education

Hands-On Archaeology: Real-Life Activities for KidsI've always enjoyed the subject of archaeology. In fact, one of the first science books Prufrock Press published was Hands-On Archaeology: Real-Life Activities for Kids (now in its second edition). Written by renowned archaeologist John White, Ph.D., this book shows any teacher or parent how to help kids become young archaeologists. Imagine the thrill students will experience as they discover artifacts from the past. There isn't a single student who won't love the activities in this book!

Today, I received a brochure from the Center for American Archeology advertising their 1-week to 3-week archaeology summer programs for kids. The CAA's High School Field School offers teenagers the opportunity to participate in authentic archaeological research designed to learn more about the prehistoric peoples of the Lower Illinois River Valley, one of the richest archeological regions in the Midwestern United States.  Working with the CAA staff and interns, teens will have the chance to learn the basics of field excavation, laboratory processing, and how archeologists develop their interpretations of sites based upon the information they collect.  It’s a great way to explore the field of archaeology in a hands-on manner.

The program sounds both fun and educational, and I wanted to bring it to your attention.
Limited scholarship support is available for girls, and students 16+ can earn college credit. For more information, visit the CAA's High School Field School information page.

A Parent's Introduction to Learning Options for Gifted Kids (Podcast)

Monday, December 08, 2008 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Parenting Gifted Children, Podcasts

Parenting gifted children can be a challenge. Parents are often presented with a menu of learning opportunities for talented kids. From special accelerated classes and dual-enrollment college programs, to homeschooling and online courses, the decisions about quality learning opportunities can seem endless.

Raising a Gifted ChildLast week, I sat down with Carol Fertig, the author of the new book, Raising a Gifted Child: A Parenting Success Handbook, in order to help make sense of some of these many options.

In addition to authoring her new book, Carol is the editor of the periodical Understanding Our Gifted, which is published by Open Space Communications. She is also the author of Prufrock Press' very popular "Gifted Child Information Blog." She is a parent and has been involved in gifted education as a teacher and administrator for more than 20 years.

In our interview, Carol and I touch upon a wide range of learning options for gifted kids and ways that parents can become involved in sorting through those options.

In her interview, Carol makes reference to four important Internet resources:

Listen to the Podcast

Click here to listen to the podcast

(approximate length: 17 minutes)


Click here to listen to or subscribe* to this podcast in iTunes

(requires that you have iTunes installed on your computer)


 * If you wish to be receive notifications when new podcasts are posted, you need to subscribe to Prufrock Press' "Gifted Education Podcast" in iTunes or subscribe to the "Podcasts" RSS feed in the left column of this blog (see "Categories/RSS"). Click here to read instructions on using RSS feeds.

Ability Grouping for Gifted Children (Podcast)

Monday, November 24, 2008 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted Education, Podcasts

This blog features a new media format. I'm experimenting with podcasting as a way to share information here on the blog.

I wanted a way that I could bring my readers some short, focused interviews about topics important to gifted education.

Simply click on one of the links at the bottom of this entry to listen to the podcast (use the latter link if you have iTunes installed on your computer).

Today's topic is one that impacts gifted kids in schools on a regular basis. In the past, gifted children often were placed into special gifted classes or accelerated learning groups. The thinking went that gifted children learned at a faster pace than other kids, and if you could group gifted children together it was easier for those students and their teachers to move at a faster pace through the class' subject matter.

However, the practice of grouping students by ability has become a controversial topic in many schools. As a result, during the last few years we have seen the dismantling of special gifted classes. We've seen teachers move away from the use of ability groups in their classrooms.

How are gifted students affected by this change and does it make sense to move away from ability grouping?

To answer these questions, I've invited Todd Kettler to join me in discussing this topic. Todd is the director of Advanced Academic Services at Coppell ISD (Coppell, TX), a district outside of Dallas. Todd is on the editorial advisory board for the Journal of Advanced Academics and is the chairperson of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented's Research and Evaluation Committee.

Todd makes reference to the research supporting ability grouping in his interview. For more information on this topic, there are two excellent resources:

Listen to the Podcast

Click here to listen to the podcast

(approximate length: 25 minutes)


Click here to listen to or subscribe* to this podcast in iTunes

(requires that you have iTunes installed on your computer)


 * If you wish to be receive notifications when new podcasts are posted, you need to subscribe to Prufrock's "Gifted Education Podcast" in iTunes or subscribe to the "Podcasts" RSS feed in the left column of this blog (see "Categories/RSS"). Click here to read instructions on using RSS feeds.

Exciting Reading Program that Challenges Gifted Learners

Monday, November 10, 2008 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted and Talented Children, Gifted Education, Language Arts

Jacob's Ladder Reading Comprehension ProgramI'm very pleased to announce our newly released Jacob's Ladder Reading Comprehension Program.

We just got back from exhibiting at the annual conference of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). We took plenty of these books to display and sell at the conference, and we sold out on the second day!

I heard from so many people at the conference that they are looking for a field-tested reading program that works with kids of all ability levels--including gifted children. When field-testing this program, the staff at The College of William and Mary's Center for Gifted Education found solid achievement gains among mid-level and struggling students. The key difference between this product and others is that it also showed solid gains among gifted students. So many other programs really are geared to only address the needs of struggling students. This program offer a great tool for teachers in mixed-ability and gifted classrooms.

I've created a combination pack that allows you to buy the entire series at a savings ($109.95 for the complete set).

Developed by the Center for Gifted Education at The College of William and Mary, the Jacob's Ladder Reading Comprehension Program targets reading comprehension skills in learners by moving students through an inquiry process from basic understanding to critical analyses of texts. Students in grades 2–8 will learn to comprehend and analyze any reading passage after completing the activities in these books.

In the form of three skill ladders connected to individual readings in poetry, short stories, and nonfiction, students move from lower order, concrete thinking skills to higher order, critical thinking skills. Each book, geared to increasing grade levels, includes high-interest readings, ladders to increase reading skill development, and easy-to-implement instruction. The ladders include multiple skills necessary for academic success, covering language arts standards, such as sequencing, cause and effect, classification, making generalizations, inference, and recognizing themes and concepts.

To read more about this exciting new reading program visit the Jacob's Ladder Reading Comprehension Program product page on the Prufrock Web site.

Don't Gifted Children Play the Guitar and Sit in Their Seats!?!

Monday, September 01, 2008 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted and Talented Children, Gifted Education, Teaching Gifted Children

Last week, I spoke with a friend of mine who was in the middle of finishing two weeks of teacher orientation. On one afternoon, the teachers at her school heard a presentation about gifted children. During an afternoon break, one of my friend's table-mates commented that she imagined most gifted kids would be able to play the guitar because she only knows one gifted person, and he plays the guitar with great skill.

Another teacher explained how shocked she was to learn during the previous year that one of the boys in her class was gifted. She was shocked because "he never sat still." How could you be gifted and be out of your seat so much?

Then, last week, CNN posted an article by a free-lance journalist titled, "Is Your Kid Really Gifted? Probably Not."

The money quote from this article was:

"Gifted" has become one of the most tossed-about words in the parenting lexicon. Unfortunately—sorry, but let's get this out of the way right up front—it's also one of the most misused.

While there were many things about this article with which I disagreed, I did think this one paragraph held much truth. There is no end to the misceptions about who gifted kids are and how best to serve them.

Even among experts, there is some disagreement. Currently, there is a solid debate raging on in the gifted education community about whether we should only identify gifted kids who are performing at high levels or whether we should include kids who show potential for high performance, but do not yet (and may not ever) exhibit it.

The most infuriating aspect of this discussion is that giftedness exists along a continuum of human performance and ability. There is not a single agreed upon "line" we can draw that says, "on this side of the line you are gifted, and on that side you are not." Anytime a school or counselor makes the decision to label a child gifted, there is an element of the arbitrary in that decision. A couple of years ago, Prufrock posted an article titled "Definitions, Models, and Characteristics of Gifted Students" by Dr. Susan K. Johnsen. I invite you to read this article in its entirety. The article offers an overview of the many ways giftedness has been conceptualized and the many characteristics of gifted kids.

The article explains that there are many types of gifted individuals. For example, some exhibit gifted abilities and exceptional intelligence in many areas and some tend to exhibit gifted abilities in only specific subject areas. In other words, what a gifted child "looks" like can vary as much as snow flakes.

For example, Dr. Johnsen explains that kids with exceptional general intellectual abilities might exhibit the following characteristics to a high degree:

  • Has an extensive and detailed memory, particularly in an area of interest.
  • Has vocabulary advanced for age—precocious language.
  • Has communication skills advanced for age and is able to express ideas and feelings.
  • Asks intelligent questions.
  • Is able to identify the important characteristics of new concepts, problems.
  • Learns information quickly.
  • Uses logic in arriving at common sense answers.
  • Has a broad base of knowledge—a large quantity of information.
  • Understands abstract ideas and complex concepts.
  • Uses analogical thinking, problem solving, or reasoning.
  • Observes relationships and sees connections.
  • Finds and solves difficult and unusual problems.
  • Understands principles, forms generalizations, and uses them in new situations.
  • Wants to learn and is curious.
  • Works conscientiously and has a high degree of concentration in areas of interest.
  • Understands and uses various symbol systems.
  • Is reflective about learning.

On the other hand, according to the article, a child with exceptional talent in the specific subject area of mathematics or science might exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Is interested in numerical analysis.
  • Has a good memory for storing main features of problem and solutions.
  • Appreciates parsimony, simplicity, or economy in solutions.
  • Reasons effectively and efficiently.
  • Solves problems intuitively using insight.
  • Can reverse steps in the mental process.
  • Organizes data and experiments to discover patterns or relationships.
  • Improvises with science equipment and math methods.
  • Is flexible in solving problems.

The point I would like to make in this blog is that being gifted may look quite different from one child to the next. A little less overconfidence in our clarity about who the gifted child is and is not might be helpful as the school year begins. Let's keep that idea in mind as we look for those kids who might need special gifted education services.

Now, if you don't mind, I believe I will go back to sitting still while I play my guitar.

Cuil: A New Web Search Tool for Gifted Students

Thursday, July 31, 2008 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Technology, Gifted Education, Teaching Gifted Children

Cuil Search EngineIf you teach Internet research skills to gifted students or if you spend time yourself looking for great gifted education teaching ideas or parenting tips, the newly launched Cuil Web search engine may be of interest to you.

Cuil (pronounced "cool") seems like a good option for students conducting Web searches because the search results display is free of advertisements and sponsored search results. Also, the layout and images used for search results are more pleasing to the eye. I think kids would be more attracted this kind of design than they would those of other search sites.

For those of us used to other seach engines, Cuil's two- or three-column layout is a little hard to get used to. However, once I got familiar with the way Cuil organizes search results, I found it to be a reasonable alternative to other search engines.

One nice feature of the site is that it is more graphically attractive that other search sites. Each search result is displayed with an image than is (theoretically) associated with the site. Cuil is still working out a lot of kinks in this area. Conduct a search for "Gifted Education" and notice that almost all of the images displayed next to search results are covers of books published by Prufrock Press. I don't mind, but I suspect the Gifted Education Program Web site for the Victoria, Australia, schools isn't too keen on having our old "Clearance Sale" graphic representing their site.

I'm sure Cuil will resolve some of it's rough edges over time. Overall, it is a search engine that you may wish to recommend to your gifted students when they conduct Web research.

[Update: April 10, 2009]

After watching this seach engine evolve over the last several months, I'm going to have to withdraw my recommendation. Frankly, it's just not very accuarate with it's results (seach for "Gifted Education" on Cuil and the National Association for Gifted Children doesn't even appear on the first page). The pictures that Cuil associates with web sits seem arbitrary, and the "Explore by Category" section to the right of the results is so random that it is of limited value. I thought this site would develop into an exciting, advertising-free, and visually-oriented search engine, but it has beed a disappointment.

Save Time and Find the Latest Web Information With RSS

Sunday, July 13, 2008 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Fun and Interesting Stuff

If you are like me, you gather a lot of news, teaching ideas, and parenting tips from the Web. Each day, I visit several news sites, technology sites, teaching blogs, and gifted education blogs and sites. If I had to check every one of those sites to see if new content had been posted on a given day, I would spend a great deal of time checking each site individually.

Thankfully, there is a solution to this: RSS (Really Simple Syndication). An RSS "feed" is an easy way for a Web site to notify users of new content, as if to say, "I've got a new article posted. Here is the title of the article and a sample of what it is about. Would you like to read the article?" RSS offers a fantastic way to keep up to date with your favorite Web sites' most recent posts.

In fact, both of Prufrock's blogs have several handy RSS feeds located on the left side of the page (see "Categories/RSS"). The links to the RSS feeds are the little orange broadcast icons.

Finding Newly Posted Web Articles is Easy With RSS

BloglinesThere are several great tools out there designed to help you with RSS feeds. For example, is a free, Web-based RSS reader (or "aggregator"). You set up a Bloglines account, add the RSS feeds from your favorite Web sites and blogs, and then Bloglines keeps up with new content posted to those sites. For example, in the image to the right, you can see a small sample of some Web sites I like to read. The feeds that are not in bold are sites that do not currently have new information. The ones in bold have new articles, and the number in parenthesis tells me how many. If I want to read the new articles, I simply click on a feed's title and I get a summary of all the new content.

Some browsers like Safari (Mac or PC) and Internet Explorer 7 (PC) have RSS capability built right in. Want to test if your browser can manage RSS feeds without special plug-ins? Just click this link to the RSS feed for my blog. If you get a listing of articles, you have an RSS-capable browser. If you get a bunch of code, you'll need to use a Web service like Bloglines, a browser plug-in, or a stand-alone application.

If you use Safari on your Mac or PC, Apple has posted simple instructions for using RSS feeds. If you use Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft has posted instructions as well.

There is a pretty general video overview of RSS titled, "How to Use RSS Feeds" at It's not detailed enough to explain everything, but it offers a nice advance organizer.

For a more thorough, step-by-step explanation, click here to read an article by Paul Stamatiou titled, "Getting Started with RSS."

Gifted Children and International Baccalaureate (IB) Schools

Sunday, June 22, 2008 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted Education

The Hoagies' Gifted Education Page has reprinted an article that offers an overview of International Baccalaureate (IB) schools and considers whether they meet the special needs of gifted children. The article, titled "To IB or Not IB," provides a special focus on IB's implementation in Michigan's public school system; however, overall the article is informative for anyone interested in IB schools and gifted children.

[Modified on July 14, 2008]

One of this blog's readers, Jonna, commented that the article I've cited above is not as general as she expected. She felt that it focused a bit too much on Michigan's public school system. I think she has a good point.

I did a bit more research and found an article on the topic of AP and IB programs from Gifted Child Today that was published back in 2002. I believe the information still holds true, so I am providing that article in the form of a downloadable PDF for those of you would would like to read it. Click this link to download "The Advanced Placement Program and the International Baccalaureate Programme: A History and Update" from the Winter 2002 issue of Gifted Child Today.

High-Achieving Students Harmed by No Child Left Behind

Thursday, June 19, 2008 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted Education

The evidence that the nation's current education initiative, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), harms the academic achievement of advanced students continues to mount.

According to two studies performed by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Washington, increased emphasis on helping students with a history of lower academic achievement results in lower performance for high achievers.

Today, the New York Times ran a good article, "Report Sees Cost in Some Academic Gains," which reviews the study's results and the implications of those results.


May Clearance Sale on Gifted Education Books

Thursday, May 01, 2008 - by JMcIntosh - Category: General Education, Gifted Education, News From Prufrock Press

Prufrock's May 2008 Clearance SaleAs many of you know, once a year, I need to clear out some of our oldest or overstocked titles to make room for our exciting new releases for the next school year.

Each May, 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.

Save money on exciting classroom materials during Prufrock's year-end inventory clearance.

Order before May 31 and receive these books for 99¢–$1.99! Supplies are limited, so please act quickly.

Click here to visit our "Web-Only Clearance" sale.
[Link Removed: Sale Ended on May 31, 2008] 

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.


Support Javits Funding for Gifted Education Research and Programs

Friday, March 21, 2008 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted Education

Gifted education supporters in the U.S. Senate are circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter urging the appropriations committee to allocate $11.25 million for the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act in 2009.

The Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act is the only federal program that specifically addresses the needs of gifted and talented children. The act was passed in 1988 to support the development of talent in U.S. schools. The Javits Act does not fund local gifted education programs. The purpose of the Javits Act is to orchestrate a coordinated program of scientifically-based research, demonstration projects, innovative strategies, and similar activities that build and enhance the ability of elementary and secondary schools to meet the special educational needs of gifted and talented students.

The Javits Act focuses resources on identifying and serving students who are traditionally underrepresented in gifted and talented programs, particularly economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient, and disabled students, to help reduce gaps in achievement and to encourage the establishment of equal educational opportunities for all U.S. students. Click here to download a PDF file that offers an overview of some of the ways in which the Javits program is making a difference for students from underrepresented populations.

Contact Your Senators and Urge Support

We have until April 1 to help secure Senate cosigners for the letter. Please contact your senators and urge them to support gifted children by adding their name to the Grassley/Dodd letter which urges the appropriations committee to allocate $11.25 million for the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act. Click here for a copy of the letter, as well as the list of senators who have already added their names. Fifty three members of the House of Representatives have already cosigned a similar letter.

Contacting your senators via the Web is easy. Just visit the U.S. Senate's Web site, locate your senators, and fill out a brief Web form. 

When I filled out my two senators' Web forms, I wrote the request copied below. Feel free to use some or all of the information I wrote when you contact your senators.

I am writing Senator [NAME OF SENATOR] to urge [HIM/HER] to support gifted children and gifted education by adding [HIS/HER] name to the Grassley/Dodd "Dear Colleague" letter which is currently being circulated in the Senate that urges the appropriations committee to allocate $11.25 million for the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act in 2009.

The Jacob Javits grants are very important to gifted education and gifted children. The Javits Act focuses resources on identifying and serving students who are traditionally underrepresented in gifted and talented programs, particularly economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient, and disabled students, to help reduce gaps in achievement and to encourage the establishment of equal educational opportunities for all U.S. students.

I hope the Senator will support the Jacob Javits Act by signing the Grassley/Dodd letter.

Thank you for considering this request.

Best wishes,


Online Advanced Math Enrichment Courses

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Math, Gifted Education

Online Advanced Math Enrichment CoursesOne of our authors, Sandra Berger, recently pointed me toward a great Web site for parents of children needing extra math challenges beyond what’s offered in the classroom. Art of Problem Solving is a Web site geared to boost problem solving and other math skills through online courses, an interactive community, and textbooks for contest preparation.

The site’s newest focus is Math Jams, a series of online courses aimed at helping students in grades six and up who are planning to participate in MATHCOUNTS, a national mathematics contest. According to the site:

Math Jams are free online classes hosted by Art of Problem Solving for a variety of purposes. Some Math Jams are improvisational problem solving sessions, some are informational sessions about prominent programs, or college admissions, or other topics of interest to our students. Other Math Jams include reviews of major contests, such as the USAMTS or the AMC series of tests. Instructors employ the same Virtual Classroom for the Math Jams as used in our more structured online classes.

Upcoming courses include Introduction to Geometry (March 3–August 18, Mondays from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. CST) and Introduction to Number Theory (February 28–May 15, Thursdays 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. CST). The Introduction to Geometry class includes a full course in geometry for students in grades 7–10 who have a strong background in the basics of algebra. The Introduction to Number Theory course covers fundamental principles in number theory, such as divisors and multiples, prime numbers, composite numbers, remainders, number bases, and modular arithmetic for grades 6–9.

To enroll, or for more information on the courses (including diagnostic tests), visit the Art of Problem Solving course information page.

In order to attend a Math Jam, you must first log on the Art of Problem Solving Forum, then click the Classroom button on the left panel of the site up to 15 minutes before the Math Jam begins. The Virtual Classroom should then open automatically. One of the biggest benefits I’ve found of this site is that the Math Jams courses and membership in the community forum are free—a great resource for parents!


Join the Association for the Gifted (CEC-TAG)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted Education

I would like to ask the readers of this blog to consider joining a dedicated group that speaks up for gifted kids.

For many years, I have had the great pleasure of collaborating on many exciting projects with the Council for Exceptional Children's The Association for the Gifted (CEC-TAG). CEC-TAG is made up of individuals from across the nation and world who are devoted to gifted children.

Speaking Up for Gifted Kids Without a Strong Voice

I think this organization has touched my heart because of its tireless work for gifted children, especially those gifted kids who don't fit our preconceived notions—gifted kids from diverse backgrounds, gifted kids with Asperger's syndrome, gifted children with physical disabilities, and other children who are twice-exceptional.

Simply put, this is an association dedicated to challenging assumptions about gifted children and championing their cause. I am a member of this organization, and I would like to personally invite you to join me in becoming a member as well.

Join CEC-TAG and Receive Exciting Benefits

The benefits of joining this professional organization are very compelling. Your annual membership includes the following:

  • Four issues of the Journal for the Education of the Gifted (JEG) per year (includes online access to current and past issues)
  • Six issues of Teaching Exceptional Children
  • Four issues of Exceptional Children
  • Quarterly newsletters from CEC and from CEC-TAG
  • A discounted member rate for all meetings of CEC and TAG
  • 30% discount on all CEC products
  • 10% discount on Prufrock Press products
  • Peer-to-peer support
  • A network of colleagues who are leaders in the field of gifted education

For 50 years, CEC-TAG has been the leading voice for special and gifted education. CEC-TAG establishes professional standards for teacher preparation for the field, develops initiatives to improve gifted education practice, and ensures the needs of children and youth with exceptionalities are met in educational legislation.

Become a member of a team of professionals devoted to (a) improving educational opportunities for individuals from all diverse groups with gifts, talents, and/or high potential; (b) sponsoring and fostering activities to develop the field of gifted education; (c) supporting and encouraging specialized professional preparation for educators; and (d) working with organizations, agencies, families, or individuals who are interested in promoting the welfare and education of children and youth.

How to Join CEC-TAG

You can join CEC's TAG Division in two ways.

Download a CEC-TAG Membership Application
Click here to download a membership application in PDF format that can be completed and mailed or faxed to the CEC offices.

Join Online
Visit the Web site of the Council for Exceptional Children and select the "Membership" tab near the top of the Web page. Please remember to join the TAG Division when your reach the division membership area of the online membership application.

Thank you for considering this request. I honestly believe in the cause of this organization, and I hope you will consider joining CEC-TAG.


Prufrock Launches New Gifted Education Online Journals Platform

Saturday, February 02, 2008 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted Education, News From Prufrock Press

Prufrock Press' Gifted Education Journals OnlineThis week, Prufrock Press launched its new online journals platform. We now offer online access to current and past articles from all of Prufrock's gifted education and advanced academic journals.

We've been working on this project for more than a year, and we're very proud of this new online resource. The site features the following:

  • 10 years of back issues for most journals (with more to come);
  • Articles searchable by journal, title, author, and abstract;
  • Complimentary article downloads for current journal subscribers; and
  • Pay-per-view options for nonsubscribers.

Active subscribers have complimentary access to any journal to which they subscribe. If you are a current subscriber, login information and a temporary password will be published on the back of the next journal issue you receive in the mail (the Winter 2008 issue of Gifted Child Today has already been mailed and includes this information).

For non-subscribers, the Web site offers a pay-per-view option.

Let me invite you to visit Prufrock Press' Online Journals for Gifted Education and Advanced Academics.

Alternatively, you can reach individual journals directly by clicking on the following links:

Prufrock Acquires a Line of Books Formerly Published by Zephyr Press

Thursday, January 24, 2008 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted and Talented Children, News From Prufrock Press

I am thrilled to announce that Prufrock Press has acquired a group of selected titles formerly published by Zephyr Press. Some of these books are fairly recent releases and some are classics. I always felt that Zephyr had some wonderful titles, and I wanted to bring a select group of them over to Prufrock. I felt that they would be great additions to our growing line of products supporting gifted and advanced learners. I had been working for almost a year to get these titles, and I'm proud to announce that the agreement is complete and the books are in our warehouse!

You can see the entire line of products in a special area of our online catalog devoted to the titles formerly published by Zephyr Press.

However, let me take a bit of time to tell you about some of these exciting books.

Strategies for Great Teaching: Maximize Learning MomentsStrategies for Great Teaching

This is a fun book filled with quick and creative teachings ideas that help students make connections with the content you are teaching. For example, this book offers lessons in which students

  • play the part of television reporters, interviewing other students about content they have learned;
  • create visually complex pictures and graphs to represent information or concepts;
  • use mathematical symbols to capture their understanding of relationship and events inherent in the content; and
  • play a classroom version of the old television game show, "The $10,000 Pyramid," to identify patterns and seek meaning.

I like the practical, teacher-friendly way the authors share their strategies. They provide lots of examples to illustrate the teaching ideas they share.


A Kid's Guide to Creating Web PagesA Kid's Guide to Creating Web Pages

I love this book. Written for kids who want to create their own Web pages, the language and instructions are easy to follow and straightforward. The book leads readers step-by-step through the basics of building a Web page. This is an exciting book for any kid who wants to move beyond the basics of "canned" Web 2.0 Internet tools. The emphasis for this book in on fun and creativity.

Also, the lead author of this book is a teenager! Literally written by a kid for kids, this book is a great guide for young Web designers.


Brain Food: 100+ Games That Make Kids ThinkBrain Food: 100+ Games that Make Kids Think

All about fun ways to get kids to stretch their brains in creative and complex ways, this book contains more than 100 mental exercises guaranteed to make kids think. The book includes

  • word games,
  • math games,
  • logic games,
  • memory games, and
  • much more!

I like the fact that this book has a bit of an international flavor. It is filled with fun games from around the world that challenge and stimulate young minds. From the Japanese strategy game Hasami Shogi, the traditional African game Wari, to the deductive game Witch Hunt, to the word challenge Wordbuilder, this book is packed with mind stretching tools that encourage complex thinking skills.


Learning vs. Testing: Strategies That Bridge the GapLearning vs Testing

Okay, I'm not a fan of the cover, but what is inside this book makes it a real winner. As teachers and parents, we all know bright kids who just don't perform well on tests. There seems to be a disconnect between the child's learning and their ability to perform well on typical school assessments. Yet, for better or worse, these assessments are a part of their educational experience.

In this book, the author offers practical strategies to help students learn how to learn and process information in ways that more closely match how they are being tested. Intended for teachers and parents wanting to help raise student grades and test scores in reading, spelling, math, and vocabulary, the strategies provided are designed to bridge the gap between how students learn and how they are tested.


More Exciting Books ...

That is just four of the twelve books we acquired. For the sake of brevity, I'll save my discussion of the other titles for a future blog post. However, I will tell you that these additional titles include some spectacular books for social studies teachers, math teachers, and teachers interested in employing problem-based units in their classroom.

Stay Tuned to hear more about these new titles!

History Enrichment Opportunies and Summer Programs

Friday, January 18, 2008 - by JMcIntosh - Category: Gifted Education, History Education

This week, one of my readers wrote to me with the following question:

My son is 10 and loves history, but no kids his age share that interest. I think he would enjoy meeting people his age who also like history! Are there any history camps out there? Or any “young historian clubs” or anything? I have no idea where to go to look for something like this. Do you know of anything, or could you point me in the direction of someone who might?

In writing this blog, I quite often find that I get a question for which I am not the best person to compose an answer. This was the case here, so I turned to Sandra L. Berger, the author of our recently published, The Ultimate Guide to Summer Opportunities for Teens.

I'll post Sandra's Response below. Because the parent posing the question was from Michigan, that state is slightly more represented in the response.

The following programs will have information and/or sponsor courses that may interest your son. This is not a complete list, but it should give you a good start. Please do not be put off by the word “gifted” in the program titles. The term describes a program, not a child. These programs often include a diversity of children who are interested in advanced topics.

  1. It's likely that the Center for Talent Development (CTD) will have something for your son. At the very least, he will find peers who share his interests—many math kids are equally interested in history. To enroll in CTD, your son will need to take an above-grade level test—Midwest Academic Talent Search (MATS). The deadline is February 4.
  2. The Center for Talented Youth, another talent search program, at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore offers summer enrichment classes throughout the U.S. The Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP), a third talent search program, is located at Duke University.
  3. Check with local universities. Many universities offer special summer enrichment programs for talented young people. For example, Michigan State University Youth Programs offers a variety of summer programs for students your son's age.
  4. The Summer Institute for the Gifted has numerous courses on history and philosophy. They tend to be on the expensive side so be sure to apply early if you want to inquire about financial assistance.
  5. Check with your state’s gifted education association. They may be able to point you in the right direction. Visit the National Association for Gifted Children's Web site for a list of state affiliates of NAGC.
  6. Visit the web site of your state's department of education. For example, the MI Department of Education sponsors summer opportunities for children who live in your state.
  7. Your state’s government or historical society may sponsor some event. For example, the Michigan state government Web site lists several resources and programs for kids..
  8. Jr. Discovery offers summer enrichment programs for students completing grades 6–8. The four-week program features the "Skills for the Mind & Body" curriculum where students can choose from over 30 interactive workshops.
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