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In This Issue
Best Science Books of 2011
Opera and Popcorn
Kids and Hearing
Gripes of Gifted Children
Pasta and Geometry
Grant for Science Teachers
Quick Reading Level Evaluation
In Minnesota: Math Program for Talented Youth
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.


Dr. Ruf will speak on Levels of Giftedness at the Minnesota Council for Gifted and Talented (MCGT) Resource Fair Saturday, March 10. 
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We send our first greetings of 2012 to our readers. This could be quite a raucous year, considering the exuberant political scene and the weird weather around the globe.

It will be interesting!


Best wishes,


Kathy Hara, Editor 





From Brain Pickings, by Maria Popova:


In order for us to truly create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these ideas and build new ideas - like LEGOs. The more of these building blocks we have, and the more diverse their shapes and colors, the more interesting our creations will become.  





Best Science Books of 2011

I just discovered Maria Popova's Brain Pickings and I want to include her own description of this siteBrain Pickings because I like it so much: Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, culling and curating cross-disciplinary curiosity-quenchers, and separating the signal from the noise to bring you things you didn't know you were interested in until you are.


What led me to Brain Pickings was a link from another website to a list of the 11 best science books of 2011, which I thought would be of interest to our readers.  



Opera and Popcorn

Met in HDAre we as parents encouraging our children to appreciate classical music? What about opera?


Here is a great way to expose our children (and ourselves!) to opera that is affordable and engaging: The Metropolitan Opera presents The Met: Live in HD, which transmits live performances to neighborhood theaters. Each opera in the season is featured in live performance, and a host adds to the experience with behind-the-scenes chats with the soloists and other key personnel, such as set managers. Making the operas even more accessible, the dialog is subtitled in English, and the cameras close in on the action.


Since we're discussing opera, I would also like to pass along Tom Huizenga's blog on the National Public Radio website, Confessions of an Operaholic. It's fun and interesting reading, with plenty of accompanying recordings.


Kids and Hearing

Did you know that even minimal hearing loss can affect social interaction, communication skills, behavior, emotional development, and academic performance? Unfortunately, 47% of teens say they are not concerned about hearing loss from use of personal audio technology.


To raise awareness about hearing health, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)  developed the Listen To Your Buds campaign. The campaign educates the very young about practicing safe listening habits such as turning down the volume and taking listening breaks when they use personal audio technology so they can avoid the devastating, lifelong effects that can accompany hearing loss.


The website includes lots of information about kids and hearing issues, with specific information for parents and educators.


 Gripes of Gifted Children


A recent SENG newsletter included a thoughtful article by Judy Cardarella, A Consultative Approach for Working with Gifted Students Based on "The Eight Great Gripes of Gifted Kids." The Gripes themselves were developed from surveys and included in the book The Gifted Kids' Survival Guide: For Ages 10 & Under, by Judy Galbraith, and begin with "No one explains what being gifted is all about." 


Pasta and Geometry


Apparently eating pasta has inspired more than a few scientists to consider the geometric properties of the many available shapes. Here's a fun article recently published in the New York Times. It also has links for anyone who wants to do a little more research on the mathematical possibilities.



Grant for Science Teachers

Amgen, Inc., is a biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets human therapeutics for serious illnesses. Amgen also supports programs that advance science literacy and in 1991 they launched the Amgen Foundation to facilitate that goal.  


Since 1992, the Amgen Foundation has awarded over $3 million to public and private school science teachers through its annual awards program, the Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence. Criteria upon which judges select the winners include a teacher's ability to effectively engage students while deepening their scientific understanding and a plan for the use of grant money to improve science education resources in their schools.


The deadline for application is Monday, February 13, 2012. Eligibility depends on area of residence, and teachers must have taught science for at least three years.



Quick Reading Level Evaluation

DearTeacher.com is a website devoted to giving expert advice to help all children succeed in school.
Every week for more than 25 years, Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts have answered the questions of readers in newspapers across the country, offering advice on such parental concerns as phonics, standardized testing, dyslexia, grades, homework, college admissions, and much more.


A new addition to their website is a checklist that will tell parents, in just a few minutes, the level at which their children are reading. Using lists of words, this quick assessment gauges levels from preschool through 12th grade.



In Minnesota: Math Program for Talented Youth

Looking for a challenging alternative for your talented mathematics student in grades 6-12? The University of Minnesota Talented Youth Mathematics Program (UMPTYMP) provides highly accelerated courses which are specially designed to provide students with an intense academic experience that will stimulate their mathematical interest and abilities. The program is offered through the University of Minnesota School of Mathematics Center for Educational Programs (MathCEP).  


Students currently in grades 5-7 must be identified and recommended by their schools as eligible for entering UMTYMP at the Algebra level. These students may then register to take the UMTYMP Algebra Qualifying Examination. The registration deadline is March 1, 2012.


Educational Options

EO LogoVisit www.EducationalOptions.com to learn about how Dr. Ruf's 4-Step Process will empower you to get your bright child's needs met. The website also includes many articles written by Dr. Ruf and others about gifted issues; categorized lists of books recommended for those seeking more information about their gifted children and themselves; Dr. Ruf's speaking schedule; an archive of this monthly newsletter, beginning in 2006; and more.                 
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TalentIgniter invites you to browse the many features offered on its website, including the following:

  • Dr. Ruf's TalentIgniter Blog 
  • The Parents' Picks section (with recommendations for parents of eager little learners, starting at infancy will have more age groups to be added as we find volunteers to send in their ideas to us! Please contact us at support@talentigniter.com if you have products and resources to recommend.) 
  • 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!  
  • Self Esteem Test for Children and Self Esteem Test for Teens, filled out by the child with feedback for the parents. 
5 Levels of Gifted: School Issues and Educational Options
5 Levels coverFormerly titled Losing Our Minds: Gifted Children Left Behind), 5 Levels of Gifted, published in 2005 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. 
Keys to Successfully Raising the Gifted Child
Keys ebook cover
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., Keys to Successfully Raising the Gifted Child is for parents who are new to the idea that their children might be intellectually advanced or gifted. This ebook 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. 

Deborah Ruf

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