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Home of the Ruf Estimates
of Gifted Online Assessment
March 2011
In This Issue
Questions You Never Thought to Ask
Improving Your Memory
Full Option Science System (FOSS)
Are Great Britain and the U.K. the Same Thing?
Gifted Programs in Danger
Achieving Sustainability in Gifted Education
Your Own Personal Art Museum
Epsilon Camp for Math Lovers
Keeping Up With Dr. Ruf

Minnesota Council for Gifted and Talented Seventh Annual Resource Fair, Saturday, March 19, 2011, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Edina Community Center, 5701 Normandale Road, Edina, MN. Dr. Ruf will speak at 9:00 a.m. about "What is Gifted?" and at 1:00 p.m. on "Education and the Gifted Child."


We are certainly living in interesting times. Although so much of the news around the world is discouraging, let's decide to be "irrationally exuberant!" I hope that you will find some of the following articles to be inspiring - or at least simply interesting.



Kathy Hara, Editor





One of young children's most adorable qualities is their credulity. They really seem to believe most of what they are told-from the incredible (Santa Claus exists!) to the counterintuitive (the Earth is round even though it looks flat) to the normally unobservable (people have lungs). But when you stop to think about it, children's willingness to believe even more mundane facts conveyed through language is pretty remarkable. Why should they take your word for it that they live in a place called "Virginia," or that the four-legged animal licking their face is called a "dog?"


To read more of this article by Vikram Jaswal, go to the link posted below in the article "Questions You Never Thought to Ask." 

Questions You Never Thought to Ask

Who could resist reading an article titled In Praise of Irrational Exuberance? That's how Virginia Postrel leads off while pondering whether a flourishing economy depends on delusion. And wouldn't you be interested to learn when a child develops skepticism? As much as that's possible to know, Vikram Jaswal will tell you in his summary of current research.

All this and more can be found at Big Questions Online. This website features columns, blogs, videos, and Tweets.  It even features BQ Daily Links (today's feature is "Why Do We Love to Scare Ourselves?")  

Improving Your Memory

Since I can't even remember who directed me to this website, I guess I'd better sign up for it.


Lumosity.com, developed by Lumos Labs, is an online tool for enhancing cognitive abilities - through brain games! Drawing on the newest developments in neuroscience, Lumosity.com offers brain training exercises that work, no matter how old you are.


It looks intriguing. There is a subscription fee, but they also offer a free trial period.


Full Option Science System (FOSS)

The FOSSweb is the official site for the inquiry-based FOSS science curriculum. It is a place for parents and teachers to find support, resources and fun activities for their students in kindergarten through eighth grade. 


The FOSS program has been supported over the past 20 years by the National Science Foundation and the University of California at Berkeley. Based on the notion that science is an active process, they have developed a curriculum that will excite and challenge students and teachers.  


Not everything on the FOSSweb is intended for the classroom. One of their suggested activities is to engage students in photography. The participant chooses a challenge from a list of options, takes pictures based on the challenge, then uploads their photos to Planet FOSS, which is then shared online. One of those options, for example, is called Force and Motion, and the challenge involves taking pictures of examples of high speed and low speed, or perhaps to photograph evidence of gravity.


Are Great Britain and the U.K. the Same Thing?

Just for fun, here is a really good five-minute lesson to help you learn the difference.



Gifted Programs in Danger

Even while there is so much focus these days on improving overall educational performance in public schools, gifted students all too often are getting left behind. "Local school districts, with permission from the Legislature, have been systematically taking money from the [gifted] programs to cover budget shortfalls," says Jennifer Golan in her New York Times article, Gifted Programs Go on Block as Schools Must Do With Less. And, unfortunately, gifted children all over the country are paying the price.



Achieving Sustainability in Gifted Education

The Reaching Forward National Conference on Gifted Education was held in Rotorua, New Zealand in March of 2009, with the theme focused on achieving sustainability in gifted education. Although the information submitted by the presenters is two years old, it is still completely relevant.

Everywhere in the world gifted education has had a history of fluctuating support. Yet if gifted children are truly to have their needs met, gifted education must become a permanent part of our education system.  


Speakers at the conference covered many issues within this topic, including research into placement and grouping, practical ideas for workable classroom programs, and other relevant topics. This website contains a full list of all speakers, their abstracts, and where available, access to a PDF, Powerpoint or written paper from their presentation.


Durer's Father Your Own Personal Art Museum

Have you ever wanted to walk along the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles? Or perhaps to study Albrecht Dürer's Portrait of the Artist's Father at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence? Well, the Google Art Project is a website that will take you there. With floor plans that will take you to every room in the museums, and arrows that will walk you around all 360 degrees of each gallery, you can get up close and personal to each work of art. In fact, you can zoom in and count every whisker on Dürer's father's face. And you can save your favorites in your own personal collection.

This website doesn't feature every major museum in the world - the Louvre is missing, for instance - but the 17 museums do include such greats at the Tate Britain, the Van Gogh, the Metropolitan, and the Hermitage. So this website is quite a find, especially for students of art. 

Epsilon Camp for Math Lovers

New this year, the Epsilon Camp is a summer residential camp for the exceptionally and profoundly gifted, age 8 to under 11 years, who love math. Epsilon students will be exposed to mathematics enrichment not available anywhere else at this time for their age. Begun by the founder of the MathPath camps for older students, this camp will be held in Colorado Springs July 24 to August 14 (with an option to attend just the first two weeks). 


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Newsletters from Educational Options

If you like this newsletter, you may wish to subscribe to our Educational Options Newsletter, as well. Issued once a month, this newsletter contains completely different content from the TalentIgniter Newsletter. To subscribe, simply send an email to Kathy@EducationalOptions.com, and write "Subscribe to Newsletter" in the subject line.
To see visit the Educational Options Newsletter archives, visit our website at http://www.educationaloptions.com/newsletters/newsletters.php.

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TalentIgniter invites you to browse the many features offered on its website, including the following:
  • Dr. Ruf's Talent Igniter Blog 
  • The Parents' Picks section (with recommendations for parents of eager little learners, starting at infancy with more age groups added weekly!)
  • Book Recommendations for people wanting to learn more about gifts, talents, and how to develop both!
  • Detailed insider information about the Ruf Estimates of Levels of Gifted Online Assessment, the inventory parents fill out to know how to help their own young children thrive.
Keys ebook cover
Keys to Successfully Raising the Gifted Child

You know your child is gifted. But how does that impact day-to-day life and your role as a parent?

Written by Deborah L. Ruf, Ph.D., and Larry A. Kuusisto, Ph.D., this ebook is for parents who are new to the idea that their children might be intellectually advanced or gifted. The book addresses important parenting issues, including what to actually tell your child about his or her giftedness, how schools approach learning differences, best ways to provide emotional support, sibling rivalry, and more.

The book delivers lots of provocative information that will lead to hours of good discussion, debate, and further investigation and research by group or class participants studying the gifted and talented.

The book is available for purchase at www.TalentIgniter.com/products.

5 Levels of Gifted

5 Levels cover5 Levels of Gifted: School Issues and Educational Options (2005) (formerly titled Losing Our Minds: Gifted Children Left Behind). 5 Levels of Gifted, published by Great Potential Press, combines four years of data gathering from 50 families with nearly 30 years of research and experience in the field of giftedness, individual differences, and high intelligence. The book is aimed primarily at parents and vividly describes the upper 10 to 15 percent of the intellectual continuum in human beings from birth to adulthood as manifested in their behaviors, thoughts, accomplishments, and test scores. She introduces the concept of Levels of Giftedness and makes it very clear how many factors contribute to a person's intellectual levels and achievement.