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Home of the Ruf Estimates
of Gifted Online Assessment
August 2011
In This Issue
2011 Young Naturalist Awards
National Book Festival
Database for 2e Resources
Knowledgework Foundations
Zero Robotics
Kids and New Technology
Early College Consortium
Online Language Programs
Keeping Up With Dr. Ruf

Besides her years of expertise as an educational consultant, Dr. Ruf also is well established as a national and international speaker on all issues of giftedness. 



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Dr. Ruf will be presenting at the 58th Annual Convention of the National Assn. for Gifted Children (NAGC) in New Orleans November 3-6.


Dr. Ruf will present a breakout session on Levels of Giftedness at the MCGT Fall Conference on Saturday, November 12.   


This month marks the first year of TalentIgniter's existence.

How are we doing so far? We would love to hear whether or not we have helped you in your journey with a gifted child or as a gifted adult - especially if you have done the Ruf Estimates of Gifted Online Assessment. Just hit "Reply" and send us a note. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

And just to let you know, we are working on some new products, which we hope to have ready for you very soon.   



Kathy Hara, Editor


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The following are comments by Aidan, age 13, one of the winners of the 2011 Young Naturalist Awards (see article below): 


I received the inspiration for my expedition from nature. My research project studied the complex design of trees and how they are more efficient than humans in collecting solar energy. The idea came in a flash by looking at tree branches and suddenly observing that there was a pattern in the natural design. The answer to the riddle was there for everyone to see. As I learned and experimented more, nature inspired me to think of useful ways to help save the environment by creating a new way of arranging solar panels.  


I think the most pressing scientific issue today is pollution and the destruction of natural resources. Many of our problems around the world come from the way we are quickly using up the Earth's resources, like trees, without replacing or saving them. Pollution is a big scientific and social issue that threatens to destroy the environment, the world and humans. We need to learn how to overcome this problem and solve it using science.



2011 Young Naturalist Awards


A 13-year-old 7th grader from New York, Aidan, recently was among the winners of the Young Naturalist Awards. Aidan presented a paper, The Secret of the Fibonacci Sequence in Trees, in which he studied the design of trees and connected that to a new and more efficient way of arranging solar collecting panels.


Now in its 15th year, the Young Naturalist Awards is sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History. It is a research-based science competition for students in grades 7 through 12, and recognizes the accomplishments of students who have investigated questions they have in the areas of biology, Earth science, ecology, and astronomy. The competition is open to students throughout the United States and Canada, who are invited to conduct their own scientific investigations.


Go to the American Museum of Natural History website to read Aidan's research, as well as 11 more research papers and other information submitted by these young naturalists.


Book Festival poster National Book Festival


For those who live in or are traveling to the nation's capital, here's a great event to plan for: the 11th Annual National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. More than 100 authors will participate, and there will be "genre pavilions" and performances for all ages at the Family Storytelling Stage.


President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are honorary chairs for the event, which is free and open to the public. It runs Saturday and Sunday, September 24 and 25.  


The Library of Congress website also features an online guide for kids and teachers, with writing tips and information about how to host your own book festival.

Database for 2e Resources


Did you know that as many as one-fifth of gifted children may have some kind of learning difficulty? These children are described by the term "twice exceptional," or 2e.  


Glen Ellyn Media has a website that supports parents of the twice exceptional, as well as a bi-monthly newsletter. Now this organization has launched a new resource, the 2e Professional Database. The database, constructed by a member of the 2e community, is designed to make it easier for parents to find resources for assessment, counseling, advocacy, and more. It lists professionals who understand giftedness, and then describes their particular areas of expertise in support of the various exceptionalities.  


Glen Ellyn Media is introducing the 2e Professional Database with a small core of professionals, and now invites others to refer names to the list. Users can see the site at www.2edb.info, and they can submit names at www.2edb.info/submit/, using the username 2edb and the password access77.


    2e DB 


 Knowledgework Foundations

Empowering education leaders to create systems that evolve with the needs of today's learners - that is what Knowledgework Foundations is all about.
As an educational operating foundation, KnowledgeWorks believes that learning in the 21st Century should be fundamentally different than it is today, and that our country is in dire need of education reform that embraces a new way of thinking.

Knowledgework Foundations has more than a decade of experience implementing approaches to high school education that prepare students for tomorrow's challenges, teaching them to create, adapt and solve problems. With a presence in more than 100 schools in more than 20 states, KnowledgeWorks is working to formalize the pathway between high school and postsecondary success.


Learn more about the work that Knowledgework Foundations is doing by checking out their website at http://knowledgeworks.org.



 Zero Robotics


MIT is sponsoring Zero Robotics, a robotics programming competition for high school students (grades 9 through 12) in which participants will write programs for controlling a satellite in space! The robots involved are miniature satellites called SPHERES, and the finals are aboard the International Space Station.


Teams compete by programming a SPHERES satellite to achieve the game objectives while competing or collaborating with other contestants. These satellites race against each other to win the game. The goal is to build critical engineering skills for students, such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training, and team work.


Teams need to start forming as soon as school begins, as the kick-off event is September 10. Go to http://zerorobotics.mit.edu/ for more information.  



 Kids and New Technology


Here's an article that had me at hello - or at least in the first paragraph, where the author describes how parents freaked out over the terrible influence of comic books in the 1940s and '50s.


In The Ninny State, an article published in the New York Times on June 24, 2011, Emily Bazelon discusses parents' fears about the influence of all the new technology. While not urging that all caution be thrown out the window, she does encourage that parents learn to distinguish between real threats and perceived threats. It's an interesting read.


 Early College Consortium


Many bright students in high school may be better served if they are able to start college early. In fact, there are many programs available now and more in the planning stages. Many of these programs vary greatly in their purpose and missions, however.


The National Consortium of Early College Programs, newly formed, hopes to "invite collaboration, model best practices, and provide clarity of the traditional mission and purpose of early college." Part of the goal will be to provide families, educators and counselors with good information about what it means to go to college early and what options are available.


For more information, read Allie Grasgreen's article online at Inside Higher Ed.



 Online Language Programs


Middlebury College, a small college in Vermont which is known for its rigorous language programs, is now offering an interactive language program to pre-college students, from kindergarten to 12th grade.


Besides offering access for all students to gain world language skills, Middlebury is also offering schools and districts complete language packages that will include professional development and assessment. These packages are designed to accommodate different goals, age groups and learning styles.      


Click on the Middlebury website to learn more about the products offered.  



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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. It's so much more than just a kid's IQ test! 
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.