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              April
2012  
 


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& TalentIgniter 
Newsletter 
 
In This Issue
MIT Expands Open Courseware
Free Will and Neuroscience
Neurological Mechanisms of Moral Decision-Making
Annual SENG Conference
How Smart is Your Cat, Part 2
Building Skills Through Play
Online Studies for Computers, Math, More
In Minnesota: When Teens Need a Different Educational Approach
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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Greetings!
 
As many of you know, Dr. Ruf has spent the last three months testing gifted children on the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Fourth Edition (WPPSI-IV) on behalf of Pearson Education, Inc. for the purpose of norming the test for giftedness. Over the course of this time she tested approximately 50 children.

 

The WPPSI-IV will be available for use this fall. Based on the most current literature in the field and feedback from clinicians and experts such as Dr. Ruf, this significant revision from WPPSI-III will place a strong emphasis on developmentally-appropriate, child-friendly features, and includes new measures of working memory, processing speed, and inhibitory control.

 

Again, we thank all of you who participated in this study with us. It was a great pleasure for us to work with you and your wonderful children.

 

Best wishes,

 

Kathy Hara, Editor 

      

  

MIT Expands Open Courseware
MITMassachusetts Institute of Technology has recently announced a new program expanding the school's open courseware offerings. For the past 10 years, MIT has posted course materials for almost all of its classes, to the extent it now offers nearly 2,100 free online courses.

 

With the new program, MITx will give students access to online laboratories, self-assessments, and student-to-student discussions. Also, for the first time, open courseware students can now earn official certificates.

 

Read more in the New York Times article, M.I.T. Expands Its Free Online Courses, by Tamar Lewin.

 

 

Free Will and Neuroscience

Do we, as human beings, have free will? Can scientists, in studying the brain, find the answer? Anthony Gottlieb ponders that question in an article, Neurons v Free Will, published in the March/April issue of More Intelligent Life magazine.

 


Neurological Mechanisms of Moral Decision-Making
Brain

In a recent article in the Harvard Magazine, The Biology of Right and Wrong, Peter Saalfield looks at the work of Joshua Greene in trying to determine the source of our moral decision-making. Does it come from intellect or emotion? Or perhaps from both?

 

The article presents an interesting look at the use of brain-scanning technology in conducting moral psychology experiments.


 

Annual SENG Conference
SENG 2012 Poster
SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) has opened registration for its annual conference, Shining Light on Giftedness. This two-day event will be July 13-14 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and it will focus on empowering families and communities. It will include inspiring keynote speakers, helpful exhibitors and sponsors, model parent group training, and there will also be a special program designed specifically for children and teens.

 

Visit the SENG website for more information. 

 


How Smart is Your Cat, Part 2
Did you do the cat IQ test that I wrote about in February? If you did, we thank you and hope it was Cat IQfun! 

 

To remind you, our young friend Alex had won top honors in his school's science fair with his project "Is it Possible to Develop and Administer a Cat IQ Test?" which was in the category "Behavioral and Social Sciences." This unique project won Alex a trip to his state's Northwest Science Expo in March.

 

At the Expo, a total of 406 projects were judged and Alex's updated and revised project came in second place in his category.  In addition, it was one of the 26 projects from the Northwest Science Expo that was seconded to the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering as Rising Stars) science fair, the national middle school science fair.

That means Alex is collecting cat data again.  If you missed the cat IQ test the first time, you have another chance! So if you have a cat, or if you know anyone with cats, go to/send them to http://www.catiqtest.org/. Any data at all (even if you think that the cat "failed" due to lack of interest/cooperation/etc.) would be a tremendous help to Alex.

Thank you!

 

 

Building Skills Through Play
               Swish card game

One of our readers recently recommended a game to us - Swish - that her "very spatial" 8-year-old son loved. It "really makes your brain work in new directions," she said.

 

Swish is a spatial card game where the cards are transparent but are printed with different colored balls and hoops. The object is to "swish" every ball into a hoop of the same color by flipping, rotating and stacking the cards. With various levels of play, the game is fun for all ages.

 

Swish was developed by ThinkFun, a company that was founded by a husband and wife team who dreamed of changing the world through play. Their mission statement is to "Ignite Your Mind" and is for "people of all ages who want to challenge their mind and sharpen their skills and to build reasoning and creative thinking skills through play.

   

Online Studies for Computers, Math, More
Physics image
A good friend of ours has been tipping us off to some great online resources that are especially useful for homeschooling families. Educator.com is a site that offers many classes in the subjects of Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Computer Science. It also has classes in Music Theory - think garage band!

 

In Minnesota: When Teens Need a Different Educational Approach
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The MCGT Homeschool Chapter is sponsoring an evening on Tuesday, April 17, with Wes Beach, teen advisor to the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum and founder of Beach High School

 

Beach will lead a workshop oriented to parents at 7 p.m. at the Edina Community Center, Room 350-52, 5701 Normandale Rd., Edina. In addition, teens aged 12 to 20 who are interested in early college, unschooling, partial homeschooling, traveling abroad, or any other atypical experience during the high school and early college years will have an opportunity to meet Wes Beach on that date from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.  

 

Beach will tell the stories of several people who spent their teen years in ways that made sense to them rather than in accordance with the dictates of a school, and then went on to reach the goals they chose for themselves, usually in higher education. He will explain how these paths are possible, and during this workshop will answer all your questions.

 

Please RSVP to sstrohmer@gmail.com. All teens who RSVP and attend the event will have their names entered into a drawing for one of two $25 Amazon gift cards! 

 

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.                 
 
TalentIgniter
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TalentIgniter invites you to browse the many features offered on its website, including the following:

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
78 children 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
www.EducationalOptions.com
 www.TalentIgniter.com
763-521-4565

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