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In This Issue
Video Gaming Can Increase Areas of the Brain
Kiwi Crates
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Increase in Ability Grouping
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In Minnesota: MCGT Annual Conference

Keeping Up With Dr. Ruf
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We hope all our readers are enjoying the fall weather, as we head into Thanksgiving and the holiday season.

As I mentioned in an earlier newsletter, Dr. Ruf and I are looking at making some changes. Because Dr. Ruf wishes to devote more time to writing and speaking, she has decided to cut back on testing. This means she will no longer accept NEW clients as of March 2014. For all existing clients - anyone who has worked with Dr. Ruf prior to March 2014 - please be aware that she will continue to work with your families, either in testing siblings or consulting.

As for me, I plan to retire from Educational Options at the end of February. I will continue working with TalentIgniter, however. That will include putting out the newsletter every other month and becoming more involved in social media.

Dr. Ruf and I are both looking forward to these changes. You will probably hear more about our plans in the next few months.

Best wishes,


Kathy Hara, Editor         



Video Gaming Can Increase Areas of the Brain

Video gaming can increase the size and abilities in some areas of the brain.

Did you have to read that sentence more than once? Did you ever believe playing video games could be so beneficial? According to recent studies, video gaming causes increases in the brain regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning, as well as fine motor skills. Read more about this study in the article provided by the Max Planck Society for medicalxpress.com.

Kiwi Crates

Are your kids into crafts? Then they will love Kiwi Crates! These are packages that arrive at your doorstep once a month and are filled with inspiration and everything else necessary for hands-on projects. Designed around themes, the monthly projects help your child explore with arts and crafts, science activities, imaginative play and more.  Parents or family can purchase one Kiwi Crate at a time, or they can buy a monthly subscription.  


The Smart Teenager's Brain

Smart Teenage Brains May Get Some Extra Learning Time is quite an interesting article about brain physiology. Published in Shots - Health News from NPR, Shankar Vedantam discusses research by John Hewitt, a neuroscientist, and researcher Angela Brant. While looking at the patterns of optimal learning over a lifetime - especially that period when children soak up knowledge - the researchers discovered through their work with twins and siblings that children with very high IQs had a longer time during adolescence where they continued to learn at a rapid pace.


This sounds like the optimal time to play video games!

Increase in Ability Grouping
children-globe.jpgDr. Ruf has always said that "grouping children by age makes as much pedagogical sense as grouping them by height." She has always advocated for allowing children to learn with others of their same intellectual level. So we see it as good news that, while grouping by ability fell out of favor in the 1980s and 1990s, it appears it is regaining some interest in schools around the United States. Last June The New York Times published an article by Vivian Yee, Grouping Students by Ability Regains Favor in Classroom, which you may find interesting.
Protecting Gifted Children in a Social Media World

LiveBinders is a free web tool that helps to organize a person's interests into virtual three-ring binders. Lreinert has set up a Tech & Science binder titled Partnering and Protecting in a Social Media World, which contains a lot of information that would be useful for our gifted children. Topics discussed include digital citizenship, social media, cyberbullying and more. Lots to browse, including articles and videos.

Nurturing Brilliance

A lot of people believe that gifted kids are smart enough to not need much help in school, that they'll be just fine. Here at Educational Options, however, we have worked with enough unhappy children to know it doesn't work that way. In Janine Walker Caffrey's book, Nurturing Brilliance, the author offers good advice to parents on what they can do to nurture the talents of their gifted children. The book is packed with tips for parents to help with their children's journey through their school years, and also offers profiles of gifted children who became successful adults.



Why Students Think They Understand, But Don't
Here's an article published by the American Federation of Teachers which may be interesting to teachers and parents alike. In this article, Daniel Willingham asks the following question: Very often, students will think they understand a body of material. Believing that they know it, they stop trying to learn more. But, come test time, it turns out they really don't know the material. Can cognitive science tell us anything about why students are commonly mistaken about what they know and don't know? Are there any strategies teachers can use to help students better estimate what they know?


Read Why Students Think They Understand-When They Don't to learn Willingham's thoughts on this subject.


In Minnesota: MCGT Annual Conference
Dr. Ruf will present a session on "Levels of Giftedness - How Unusual is Your Child?" at this year's Annual Conference of the Minnesota Council for Gifted and Talented. The conference is Saturday, November 16, at the Minneapolis Campus of the University of St. Thomas.

This year's keynote speaker is
Dr. Ann Robinson, Professor of Education and founding Director of the Center for Gifted Education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.


Go to www.mcgt.net for more information.

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 Kids IQ Test 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.  
  • Milestone Tracker, a free online method to keep those precious memories and details of your child's growing years.   
  • A free resource, Ed Planner is your assistant and guide in planning and tracking your children's education for Grades 1 to 12. It will help you maximize your children's achievements as well as increase their chances of qualifying for highly selective colleges.  
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

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