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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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Articles from December 2010

Parent Groups to Support Gifted Children

Friday, December 31, 2010 - by CFertig - Category: Gifted Education, Parenting Gifted Children, Teaching Gifted Children
 
Realizing that quality gifted education exists in places where there are strong parent groups, two organizations—the National Association for Gifted Children and Prufrock Press—have come together to create an eBook that can be downloaded for free. Starting and Sustaining a Parent Group to Support Gifted Children is filled with advice and examples that come directly from the experiences of parents of gifted children. The multitude of ideas, resources, and stories are presented in an easy-to-read format that is anything but intimidating.
 
Parents do make a difference, and when they are involved, change happens—perhaps not as quickly as we would like, but it does happen. Some of the topics covered in this eBook include
  • Reasons for Starting a Parent Group
  • Ways to Organize Your Parent Group
  • Pitfalls
  • Building Support
  • Turning Support Into Advocacy
  • Tips for New Parent Groups
  • Building an Accepting Culture
  • Resources (Internet Resources are presented as hot links so you can connect directly to websites) 
The formatting and layout of the book is excellent. It is punctuated with real-life stories that draw in the reader and help him to identify and personalize the information. The advice presented does not get lost in theory; instead, the suggestions and strategies are concrete. Bullets, fonts, and color are used so that the reader’s eyes quickly find the most important material.
 
Since Starting and Sustaining a Parent Group to Support Gifted Children is so well presented and is free to everyone, it makes sense for all advocates of gifted education to take a look. In addition to parents, teachers and administrators would also benefit from viewing the material. This would be an excellent tool for educators to recommend to parents of gifted students.

Lost in Lexicon—Clever, Imaginative Reading for Gifted Students

 
Are you looking gifted for curriculum for a literature unit, a literature/math unit, or an enrichment group? Here is a great idea.
 
Pendred Noyce is a physician, educator, and writer. She is creative person who has used her talents to come out with a book for young people that combines a good story with word games and mathematical thinking. The book would be good (in my opinion) to use with middle to upper elementary gifted students. Lost in Lexicon: Adventure in Words and Numbers was originally written for Noyce’s son Damian’s ninth birthday to challenge and entertain him.
 
But wait...Lost in Lexicon is both a book and a website. The website is filled with supportive teaching material, including
  • Character sketches from the book
  • Challenging games and activities
  • Ideas to extend concepts in the book (i.e., Greek and Latin roots, the coordinate plane, poetic meter, mathematical slope)
  • Word challenges
  • Discussion questions
  • Noyce’s keynote address to the Iowa Science and Mathematics Teacher Educators Summit, titled Grand Challenges and Inspiration: Lighting the Fire in the Next Generation. The address is not only inspiring, but it is also filled with some excellent resources for working with gifted kids in math and science.
  • From the same Iowa Summit, Noyce includes the transcript from her breakout session, Can Math and Literature Mix in the Middle School? The ideas the author presents might be used with middle school students, but could also be used with gifted students in upper elementary school. Suggestions are presented not only for Lost in Lexicon, but also for Flatland by Edwin Abbott and The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.
  • Two teacher-created units using Lost in Lexicon: "Teaching Plot Structure and Types of Conflict," and "Teaching Characterization."
Pendred Noyce also has a blog titled View from the Windowseat. While the blog covers many different subjects, with a bit of hunting, you will find even more ideas to use with Lost in Lexicon.
 
Three more novels in the Lexicon series are planned, along with other books for young people.

More Online Resources for Gifted Education

 
In the past, I have listed many excellent websites that contain compilations of resources for gifted education. Recently, several more have come to my attention.
 
Exquisite Minds is created and maintained by Stacia Nicole Garland, a national award-winning teacher who worked with gifted children for 16 years. She includes practical, user-friendly information for both parents and educators as well as a long list of links of "Brainy Games."
 
While 96 Essential Sites & Blogs for Gifted Homeschoolers is designed for homeschoolers, it also contains some great websites for children who are more traditionally educated. If you are looking for ideas that support or supplement your student’s interests and abilities, you will find many ideas here. Topics include
  • General Blogs for Gifted Homeschoolers
  • College Prep
  • Science
  • Math
  • Writing
  • The Arts
  • Forums 
Related Gifted Education Web Sites, from the American Psychological Association has an extensive alphabetical listing of gifted associations, programs, university connections, schools, research organizations, and publications.
 
Top 10 Gifted Education Blogs, from OnlineDegrees.org, lists links to the best blogs in gifted education. I’m pleased to say that Prufrock’s Gifted Child Information Blog is included in the list.

Fun, Enriching, Science Activities for Gifted Kids

 
ZoomSci, from PBS Kids, has some great science experiments to do in classrooms, in enrichment groups, or at home. Numerous experiments for kids are available in the following areas:
  • Chemistry
  • Engineering
  • The five senses
  • Forces and energy
  • Life science
  • Patterns
  • Sound
  • Structures
  • Water
Many of these experiments are accompanied by excellent videos showing actual kids performing the activities. I started watching these videos and had a hard time stopping because they were so engaging and fun. The website also encourages viewers to send in their findings from the experiments.
 

Interactive Body, from The BBC, is designed for the older set. It provides engaging activities that help students learn about body parts, including

  • Organs
  • Muscles
  • Skeleton
  • Senses
  • Nervous system
The first three activities (organs, muscles, skeleton) have the viewer rotate and place the various body parts in a virtual human being. The website also explains the various functions of the body parts.
 
There is also a detailed section on puberty. Some of the information in this section may even surprise some adults.

Educating High and Low Achievers in the Same Classroom

 
Everyone seems to agree that the American education system needs to be fixed, but the debate rages on about how it should be changed. One year research points in a direction, only to point in the opposite direction a few years later. It’s no wonder that educational programming is constantly in flux.
 
In his article All Together Now?, Hoover Institution fellow Michael Petrilli states that the greatest challenge facing America’s schools is the enormous variation in students' academic levels.
 
By the fourth grade, there may be a six-year span of reading abilities in a classroom. Addressing all of these levels is a daunting task for any teacher. Over the past four decades, schools have gone back and forth between ability grouping and tracking in reading and math to arguing that confining youngsters to lower tracks hurts their self-esteem.
 
Once policy incentives like No Child Left Behind (NCLB) were instituted, there was a shift to prioritize low-achieving students. As a result of this, the performance of the lowest 10 percent of students shot up, while the achievement of the top 10 percent of students stagnated, leaving parents of gifted students displeased.
 
The answer, according to the ed-school world, is differentiated instruction. Using this method, one teacher instructs a diverse group of students, but manages to reach each one at precisely the appropriate level. Every child receives a unique curriculum that meets that individual’s exact needs. In reality, most teachers agree that it is very difficult to accomplish this.
 
Michael Petrilli visited Piney Branch, an elementary school in Takoma Park, Maryland, where both high-ability and low-ability students have made remarkable gains on test scores. At this school, every homeroom has a mixed group of students that represents the diversity of the school. Then, during the 90-minute reading block, students spend much of their time in small groups that are appropriate for their individual reading levels. These groups are fluid. If a child in a slower reading group progresses, that youngster can get bumped up to a faster group.
 
For math, students are split into homogeneous classrooms. All the advanced math kids are in one room, middle students in another, and struggling children in a third. If capable, an advanced group of math students may work two years ahead in the curriculum.
 
During science, social studies, and specials, the students are back in heterogeneous classrooms. Even then, teachers work to differentiate instruction, offering more challenging, extended assignments to the higher-achieving students.
 
But it gets more complicated. In an effort to retain gifted students who were testing into highly gifted programs at magnet schools, Piney Branch formed cluster groups of students at each grade. Therefore, in one classroom in each grade, there are 12 or so gifted students, along with another 12 or so who are working at grade level. Teachers agree that handling these various groups requires extensive planning and training. In addition, the teacher needs to be someone who is well organized and creative.
 
There are many different ways to approach the education of gifted students. This is an example of the methods used by one successful school. In order to replicate this success, a school needs to have strong support from the district, the principal, the teachers, and the parents.

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.

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