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McWane Science Center

In This Issue: Conference Highlights and GEM

Table of Contents Features for Winter: Awards........................................................8 Conference Highlights.................................4 GEM..........................................................13 Heart of a Gifted Specialist........................23

Columns: App Review................................................11 Book Review..............................................22 Contests & Real-World Competitions.........16

Gifted Buzz is looking for contributing authors. Share your resources, passions, and expertise. Email submissions to Put Gifted Buzz in the subject line. If a submission is received after the deadline, it may be considered for the next issue.

Issues are published

Deadline to submit

Winter -Dec 1

Nov 20

Spring- April 1

March 20

Elementary Teachings................................10

Summer- July 1 June 20


Fall-Oct 1

Sept 20

High School Help........................................12 News from the Middle.................................15 Parent's Corner..........................................18 President's Message....................................3 Resources..................................................11 TED Talks Playlist......................................17 Upcoming Events.......................................22 YouTube Playlist........................................17

Gifted Buzz Created using Canva

Editor: Shirley J. Farrell, Ph.D. Assistant Editor: Jason Mayfield Contact us at

A Message from the President: Greetings, It was so good to see everyone at our 2017 Alabama Association for Gifted Children conference. We welcomed over 430 AAGC members from all over our great state to McWane Science Center this year. It’s exciting to be able to host an event for like minded individuals specifically designed to meet the needs of gifted students. As we moved forward this year to provide new opportunities for our members, AAGC board members were thrilled to be able to offer conference scholarships for first time attending gifted specialists and to parents of gifted students. This is a milestone for our organization in that we are now able to give back to our members by providing educational opportunities for those who had not previously been able to experience our conference. A special thanks to those who encouraged parents and gifted specialists to take advantage of the 2017 scholarships. It’s an exciting time of growth for Alabama Association for Gifted Children as we look to the future and plan for the continued success of our organization. We are currently wrapping up plans for the 2018 AAGC Conference. We will send an email to you when plans are finalized. AAGC is approaching our sixth year to celebrate January as Gifted Education Month. I want to challenge every single AAGC member to actively participate in GEM this year by choosing one activity a week that will help raise awareness of the importance of gifted education. This year we are offering a GEM Challenge Choice Board (Gifted Buzz, p.13) to help in planning weekly activities. I would like to encourage you to view our padlet to share ideas and learn about what others are doing during GEM. Also, let us know the great things you are doing by posting on AAGC Facebook page and tweeting using #ALgifted. If all 430 AAGC members will commit to participating in one activity a week during January to advocate for gifted students, our impact would be tremendous. I can’t wait to see the amazing accomplishments in gifted education as we move forward together. Rita Sparks AAGC President If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself. - Henry Ford

2017 Conference Highlights

Honoring AAGC's Past Presidents

AAGC Board of Directors

2017 AAGC Awards of Excellence

Student of the Year: Patrick Shelby County Schools

Gifted Coordinator of the Year: Sherri Mann Morgan County

General Education Teacher of Year: Ashley Gilbert Birmingham City

Administrator of Year: Dr. Willie Goldsmith Birmingham City

Gifted Specialist of the Year: Achievement Angela Hollis inLifetime Gifted Education: Dr. Vestavia City Shirley Farrell Troy University

2017 AAGC Art Logo & Video Contests Art Logo: Isabella Montgomery County

Student Video Contest

Whole Class 3rd-5th Grade Teacher-Susan Mitchell Third Grade-Lucas /yafq69lg Teacher-Kim Jared

Fourth Grade-Casen /cdNnvzBlCig Teacher-Kim Jared

Whole Class 6th-8th Grade /watch?v=i7vlPtekfDs Teacher-Jason Mayfield

2017 AAGC Grants & Scholarships

S T N GRA Cherry Moody Shelby County "Digital Fab Lab" $497.92 Lindsey Thigpen Alabaster City The "Future is Here: Exploring with Virtual Reality" $1000.00 Rebekah Austin Shelby Count, "Robot Revolution" $989.97

Teacher Scholarship Jaime Smith of Fayette County. Kattie Hendrix of Talladega County. Lissa Blankinship of Birmingham City. Victoria Pendley of Baldwin County. Elizabeth Pierce of Baldwin County.

Lisa Hurley Conecuh County "Under the Deep Blue Sea" $500.00 Lindsey Irvin Shelby County "Sheep Brain Dissection" $494.51 Lisa Elkins Lawrence County "Gifted Voices through Video" $700.00 Michelle Griswold Shelby County "Blast Off: Rocket Engineering" $636.66 The following teachers received scholarships to cover the conference registration fees.

Angela Drown of Enterprise City. Kelsey Riker of St. Clair County. Annie Emmertson of Mobile County. Beth Sanders of Pike Road Schools.

A special THANK YOU to our Deluxe Platinum Conference Sponsor Troy University is a public, historic, international university with more than 154,000 alumni. Students choose TROY for its quality academic programs, reasonable costs and availability of financial aid, as well as its outstanding faculty and flexible in-class, online and blended class offerings. Troy University offers incredible opportunities and the personal approach to teaching that can help students achieve more than they ever thought possible. TROY calls it the “Trojan Warrior Spirit,” and it’s at the heart of everything we do.

y r a t n e m e El s g n i h c a Te

How do you differentiate for the gifted students in your pull out classrooms? We know that gifted children are not all the same. Although we use concept-based curriculum units with our students, we must differentiate to meet the unique learning needs, abilities, interests, and passions of your students. Students are identified gifted creatively and/or academically.

Therefore, our units, lessons, and activities must include differentiation to support our gifted students and advance their giftedness. Do you tier activities knowing all of your students are not advanced in each subject area? How do you meet the social emotional needs of your students? This column will have tips and strategies from YOU. Yes, we need you to share your tips and strategies that you use to meet the unique, diverse learning needs of your gifted students. Send your articles to

High School Help Consultative services with high school teachers can be difficult when you have high caseloads and/or few gifted specialists within a school system. However, there are resources at the ALSDE MOODLE site that can help you work smarter and not harder. When you click the link to the gifted pages on MOODLE ( you'll find many resources to share not only with teachers of advanced courses but share with curriculum directors, instructional coaches and counselors. ALSDE Gifted Module: Gifted 101- This module includes a pre-test, video PowerPoint focusing on gifted behaviors through the lens of overexciteabilities and hypersensitivities, post-test, and certificate upon completion. ALSDE Gifted Module: Differentiation- This module includes a pre-test, video PowerPoint focusing on an overview of differentiation using several strategies, post-test, and certificate upon completion.

These MOODLE offerings include a PowerPoint/video recording, handouts, and examples of differentiation strategies. These strategies include: Pre-assessments Curriculum Compacting Independent Study Contracts Diversified Materials Critical & Creative Thinking Experiences Differentiated Learning Stations

RAFTs and Tic-Tac-Toes Open-ended assignments & Questions Tiered Assignments Kaplan's Depth & Complexity Literature Circles Socratic Circles Real-World Connections

App Review SMARTIFY This is the "Shazam" app for art. Smartify is a free app that allows you to scan and identify artworks, access rich interpretation and build a personal art collection in some of the world’s best museums and galleries.

Free IOS and Android

Resources TinEye Reverse Image Search TinEye is the first image search engine on the web to use image identification technology, instead of using keywords, metadata or watermarks. When you submit an image to be searched, TinEye creates a unique and compact digital signature or 'fingerprint' for it, then compares this fingerprint to every other image in the index to retrieve matches. TinEye does not typically find similar images; it finds exact matches including those that have been cropped, edited or resized.

Math Playground This web site has been around since 2002. Games and videos on math concepts from first grade to high school.

Giant Panda Cam Check out the Giant Panda Cam at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. Toggle between the two cameras to view the three pandas.

This is the official TinEye extension for Chrome. This extension works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

Critical Thinking Poster Click the link to download a colorful critical thinking from Enokson. Print copies for students to use the question stems.

International Children's Digital Library FInd free, online children's books from around the world. The ICDL Foundation promotes tolerance and respect for diverse cultures by providing access to the best of children's literature from around the world.

Alabama gifted children need YOU as their advocates in order to reach their full potential! Did you know that Gifted Education Programs are barely funded in the State of Alabama? The Alabama legislator allocates a total of 2.5 million to be used across all school systems. This amount of money doesn't fund teacher units. Join other advocates across the state as we strive to collaborate with State Legislators and Administrators about the value of gifted education for both our students and our state. Advocates for Gifted Children recognizes the need for educational excellence. We believe that every gifted child has the right to learn something new every day. When we address the emotional and social needs of gifted learners we increase the likelihood that they will be productive citizens and reach their maximum potential. Thus, supporting gifted children we increase the likelihood that Alabama will move to higher levels of productivity and economic growth. Benefits to students who participate in gifted programs: • enhanced leadership opportunities • development of informed opinions • exposure to various perspectives and points of view • establishment of goals leading to career options • exploration of post-secondary education opportunities • demonstration of 21st Century Skills: creativity, imagination, collaboration, cooperation, service to others, and problemsolving strategies • participation in field experiences and service learning • growth in social-emotional domains • development of autonomous lifelong learners and responsible citizenship Benefits of gifted education to the State of Alabama: • advancements in new technologies • leadership in business, community, schools, and state leadership • attraction of businesses that require innovative individuals • increased pool of inventors and entrepreneurs • productive citizens who will contribute to the state’s economy and a global society

Check out AAGC's Advocacy web page to access guides to help you advocate effectively: / ml

Contact our legislators, state school board members, and our governor. Our message: Gifted Education is Important

Send in photos of students participating in GEM challenges to

Ideas: Twitter, write a letter, e-mail, make an appointment

Your Choice

Invite legislators to your classroom. Have your students create, write, and send the invitations.

In what unique way are you choosing to be involved in GEM? Share with us!

Share the great things you are doing in your classroom. Tag legislators & AAGC Facebook Page.

View our padlet to gain ideas from others educators on how they are promoting GEM.

Click here to share what you are doing on our padlet.

Steal like an artist and use some of those ideas to promote GEM in your classroom and community. t

Tweet legislators about the importance of gifted education. Use #ALgifted Twitter Tip Beginners: Create a Twitter account. Search for and retweet @alabamagifted Experienced: Tweet to @alabamagifted.

Express gratitude for our supporters. Write thank you notes, make phone calls, send email messages, & use social media to send thanks. #ALgifted. Recognize & give thanks to students or parents who have participated in GEM Challenge.

Take the ultimate challenge and visit Montgomery with your students. Have students speak to legislators about the importance of gifted education.



January 5, 2018

AIAA Foundation Classroom Grant Program $250 WHO: K-12 Teachers WHAT: The AIAA believes that one of the most significant means to inspire and advance the future of Aerospace is to fund grants to meet the unmet and unfunded educational need of students. This program promotes aerospace education activities in classrooms from kindergarten through twelfth grades. The program encourages development of innovative aerospace activities within the prescribed curriculum.

February 1, 2018

NEA Foundation Student Achievement $2,000-5,000 WHO: Public Education K-12 Teachers WHAT: The NEA Foundation believes public education should stimulate students’ curiosity and excitement about learning and help them become successful 21st-century global citizens. Grant funds can be used for resource materials, supplies, equipment, transportation, technology, or scholars-in-residence. Although some funds may be used to support the professional development necessary to implement the project, the majority of grant funds must be spent on materials or educational experiences for students.

Spring submission April 1, 2018

Krystal Foundation STEAM Grants Average amount $22,000 WHO: K-12 schools and nonprofit organizations WHAT: Throughout the year, Squaring is Caring grants will provide K-12 schools and nonprofit organizations with funds that will allow them to make further investments in STEAM education in their classrooms. These grants will be distributed by The Krystal Foundation throughout the year, and directed towards providing better educational and enrichment opportunities and programs to all students.

Varies throughout the year

Pets in the Classroom Up to $150 WHO: PreK-9 public or private school teachers WHAT: Two grants are available for teachers to purchase a classroom pet and one grant is available for maintenance of the pet throughout the school year.

JANUARY 15 – APRIL 15. The application system closes when 350 submissions received.

Academic Enrichment Grants $10,000 WHO: Schools or non-profit organizations WHAT: The McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation offers Academic Enrichment Grants designed to develop in-class and extra-curricular programs for programs that nurture the intellectual, artistic and creative abilities of children from lowincome households. The Foundation considers proposals that foster understanding, deepen students’ knowledge, and provide opportunities to expand awareness of the world around them.

News from the Middle By Jason Mayfield What's worse than speaking to a group of adolescents? Try speaking to their teachers. As a seasoned veteran presenter at AAGC (and probably a boring one which is why I've noticed it), I've found teachers to be a tough audience to break from phones. I have rested comfortably in my selfrighteousness for years until I noticed myself drifting on the second day with the keynote. Makerspace? What did I need to pay attention to that for? I'm an English teacher. We don't have time in middle school for "niffty gifty"

projects. It was then I was reminded of the power of attention, my lack of inattention, and my need to practice what I find faulty in others. Naturally, I didn't have to wait long to find Nick Provenzano had a message for me. Time and again, Nick stressed how important practical projects were for the classroom. Instead of the always ready essay, he encouraged us to even see interpretive dance as a way to "get" the material. I instantly thought of my dancers at school and how excited they'd be to pursue a dance about the class book. I resolved to pay attention better next year.

Contests &                 Real-World Competitions DEADLINES


January 18, 2018

CSPAN's Student Cam 2018 StudentCam is C-SPAN's annual national video documentary competition that encourages students to think critically about issues that affect our communities and our nation. This year students in grades 6-12 are asked to create a short (5-7 minute) video documentary on a topic related to the new 2018 competition theme, "The Constitution & You: Choose a provision of the U.S. Constitution and create a video illustrating why it's important to you."

February 1, 2018

EngineerGirl Essay Contest 2018 “Engineering for your Community” is the theme of the National Academy of Engineering’s EngineerGirl Essay Contest 2018. Writing theme is convince local or national officials to improve public infrastructure.

March 17, 2018

Global Spark!Lab Invent It Challenge The Invent It Challenge is an annual competition that inspires students around the world to unleash their inner inventor! Using Smithsonian’s Spark!Lab Invention Process, students brainstorm new inventions to solve global problems. Students age 5-21 may enter the contest.

April 19, 2018

3M Young Scientist Challenge The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is the nation’s premier science competition for grades 5-8. This one-of-a-kind video competition has sparked the imaginations of hundreds of thousands of students and enhanced science exploration, innovation and communication across the United States.

Different contests each month

Cricket Magazine Submit original work according to the monthly them.

TED Talks Playlist Talks to Watch with Kids

Fun, informative and captivating talks to inspire young minds. A performance of "Mathemagic" by Arthur Benjamin. Underwater astonishmentsby David Gallo The genius puppetry behind War Horse by Handspring Puppet Company Hands-on science with squishy circuits by AnnMarie Thomas Science is for everyone, kids included by Beau Lotto & Amy O'Toole The astounding athletic power of quadcopters by Raffaello D'Andrea A promising test for pancreatic cancer ... from a teenager by Jack Andraka

YouTube Playlist All About Dinosaurs Everything you ever wanted to know about dinosaurs, in one place.Check out these YouTube videos all about dinosaurs, curated by Nat Geo Kids!

All About Dinosaurs Dinosaur Song Fun Facts About Fossils Top Ten Dino and Fossil Discoveries with Steve Brusatte - Walking With Dinosaurs DINOSAUR BONES ♍ Fun Facts About T-Rex! Tyrannosaurus Rex Facts All About The Spinosaurus Dino Ventures-Spinosaurs What Happened To The Dinosaurs? What Really Killed the Dinosaurs? All About Dinosaurs Finale

Parent's Corner

Permission to reprint granted by NAGC.

Permission to reprint granted by NAGC.

Book Review This book is for perfectionists written by a perfectionist! Lisa explains the causes and the consequences of trying to attain perfection, and how this tendency relates to other areas of concern including negative thinking, stress, procrastination, risk avoidance, and lack of motivation. Her humor and real experiences makes this book easy to read. She provides practical steps to help individuals of all ages to learn how to be resilient and build selfesteem. This is a book that should be in your professional library!

Upcoming Events DATE


January 11, 2018 7:00 PM

Twitter Chat

January 25, 2017 7:00 PM

Twitter Chat

Use #ALgifted when you participate in the Twitter Chat.

By Amanda Smith LinC Teacher

The Heart of a Gifted Specialist

Hidden Lake Elementary School Dothan, Alabama

How do I advocate? What do you say when the words can't conveyWhat do you do when opinions stand in the way? How do you stand up and stand in and stand forWhen others have barricaded the door? You set the example, you set the paceYou show them each day in the way you run your race. You model, you model and model some moreExhausted and tired you play with kids on the floor. You build bridges and close gaps and light a small spark. You plan lessons with passion and teach with the heart. You explain with your teaching not just with typed plansYou teach kids to think with their brains and work with their hands. You make sure that they know that different is fineYou make sure that they know they can color outside the line. You build creativity and thinking and vision and hopeJust when you feel like giving in, you tie another knot in your rope! For these kids you will fight, for their recognition you'll striveOthers will doubt that your teaching will make a difference in lives. But, not know it! You'll do whatever it takesThrough learning and gaining and failures and mistakes. You'll fan the embers-you'll extinguish kid's fearsYou'll encourage them to keep trying through anger and tears. Some targets you'll miss and some targets you'll hit, Through it all you'll show perseverance and your kids will learn grit. So, how will I do it? Show others that gifted kids don't fit the mold of our thoughts? Very simple-I'm right there with them-thinking outside the BOX!

Gifted buzz winter2017  

Newsletter of the Alabama Association for Gifted CHildren

Gifted buzz winter2017  

Newsletter of the Alabama Association for Gifted CHildren