Special Topics

2019 Special Topics information coming soon

Special Topics include a range of topics filled with information sharing, inspiration, demonstrations, hand-on activities, examples, interventions, and/or innovative ideas on various educational subjects and issues. Presentations are an hour and half in length and held one to three evenings from 600-7:30 PM. 


2018 Special Topics 

MONDAY

A. Wonder-Full Moments in Mathematical Magic-Bob Bishop (Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators)

Join Mr. X, The Math Magician, as he demonstrates and exposes some amazing puzzles, brain teasers and magic tricks that teach math and science concepts. We will provide give-aways and prizes for all who come to this. These activities will get the student's attention, make lessons more memorable, build positive rapport with students and provoke wonder. 

B. Five Areas of Gifted and Talented Supported with Mastery Education-Kelly Brady and Marita Diffenbaugh (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

Join us for deep dive into 5 Tenets of Mastery Education and discover how these can support deeper learning by activating student agency within a gifted and talented learning environment. This session will provide educators with time to work together to share ideas, provide feedback, and investigate specific strategies which can be applied in their own schools or districts. 

C. The Beauty of Mandala in Art and Mathematics-Diane Garmire (Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

The beauty of the mandala is seen in nature, aesthetics, art, religions and cultures around the world. Participants will explore how mandalas are ever present in science, mathematics, cultures and art.  The hands-on portion of the presentation will be to create a nontraditional mandala on paper.  The opportunities for personal expression and composition are limitless. Come and relax as you lose yourself in quiet thought. 

D. Edufest Book Club-Margo Long (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

Edufest Book Club is a tradition at Edufest each year. Come explore an exciting new book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink. Teachers are always looking for strategies that help students better learn and achieve. As Daniel Pink provided with his book Motivation he adds another dimension of practical planning and understanding to increase learning, production and success. The ideas are applicable both to adults and students. Margo’s excitement and energy will certainly encourage lively discussion and interesting inquiry. 

E.  National History Day in Idaho- Heidi Wiesner (Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators)  

This session will focus on how to begin implementing the National History Day in Idaho program in your GT classroom.  National History Day in Idaho is an exciting way to engage students in history. The program pulls students out of the classroom and into the world of the professional historian. Students track down information about historic people and events by exploring archives, libraries, and other resources. This research leads to new insights and original conclusions that students use to prepare exhibits, documentaries, websites, papers, and performances. These projects are entered into competitions in the spring at local, affiliated, and national levels, where they are evaluated by professional historians and educators. The program culminates at the national competition held each June at the University of Maryland at College Park.

F. Twice Exceptional Learners- Beth Faddick and Leona Alexander (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

Who are twice exceptional learners? In these three sessions, we will cover the characteristics and identification of twice exceptional students and discuss their social emotional needs. We will share instructional strategies you can implement in your classroom to provide differentiation. You will leave with lots of practical ideas and resources. Monday will focus on identification. 

G. Diversely Gifted-Susan Solomon (Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators)

 

This session will focus on the implementation of practices for equitable identification of historically underrepresented populations.  Primarily, highlighting how using Universal Screening procedures and Child Find practices to ensure a school’s GT subpopulation percentages closely reflect the school’s overall subpopulation percentages.



H. Setting Goals for the More Advanced Path: Provecus Via, a High School Cub for Honors Students-Kristina Batalden (Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

After noticing a disparity between students taking easy courses and receiving high honors and accolades vs. students taking more difficult, challenging courses and getting no recognition, a club was born!  Skyline High School in Idaho Falls is proud to share its goal-setting Honors Club program inception, activities, and hopes for the future.

  

TUESDAY

AA. Chess: Its More Than a Game-Bob Bishop (Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators)

Why is Chess the iconic game for those with a higher intellect?  How can you begin an interest for chess in you gifted program? Here is a fun way to introduce gifted students to practical life lessons from the game of chess,  to introduce the concept of strategic thinking and how it can be applied to life, and to raise the awareness of the social/emotional value of Chess along with the intellectual values.  You do not need to be an expert or know how to play chess to come to this class. 

BB. Parent Night- Growing Courageous, Efficacious Kids Who Can Advocate for Themselves-Margo Long (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

The foundation of development and learning for students who display gifts and talents include both the social and emotional. This session focuses on using strategies and creating psychological safe environments that foster positive and productive learning for our children. The result is children who understand resiliency, grit, tenacity and courage based on solid decision making, good choices and ethical values. 

CC. STEAM’D! Learn about Future Design Academy-Peggy Wenner(Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

Learn how to create an integrated STEM plus Art and Design program for your gifted students.  Future Design Academy has focused on finding/creating a problem and solving it.  Dr. Peggy Wenner will share some of the highlights of the fully integrated program, with help from Diane Garmire, art instructor.  This program was taught at Reuseum in Boise, and we will discuss how you might create your own program making use of community resources around your school.  We will share the final lesson, revolving around using the physics of motion to build an automaton, with cams, a wooden box, and puppets to tell a Greek myth.  Student samples from Mountain Home may be on display. 

DD. The Student at School is the Child at Home- Jeff Danielian (Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

Education is about understanding, not merely the knowledge related to a specific discipline or parental /educational strategy, but an understanding of the immense variation of our children's social, emotional, and educational backgrounds, which demand individualized acceptance and consideration. The development of higher order thinking skills and problem solving techniques, creativity training, and autonomous learning should serve as the foundation for the emergent and realized potential of the children we raise and the students we teach. Learn more about the strategies, practices, tools and resources available to parents and educators, while recognizing that a focus on interest and learning style can provide a wealth of experience. 

FF. Twice Exceptional Learners- Beth Faddick and Leona Alexander (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

Who are twice exceptional learners? In these three sessions, we will cover the characteristics and identification of twice exceptional students and discuss their social emotional needs. We will share instructional strategies you can implement in your classroom to provide differentiation. You will leave with lots of practical ideas and resources. Tuesday will focus on accommodations, social emotional support, and strength based goal setting.

GG. Meet with the Experts Session-Providing a Variety of Services for Students Identified for Gifted/Highly Capable Programs-Conference Speakers (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

Do you have questions that you would like to pose to our conference speakers about issues in the field of gifted and talented education?  Well, this is the session for you.  Come prepared with questions to ask these people who have all worked with advanced learners in a variety of grade levels, coordinated g/t programs, lead state-initiatives for the advocacy of these students, and conducted research in many areas related to giftedness.  This is an informal session where conversation and dialogue will be the focus as we collaborate on solutions. 

HH. Self-Advocacy: The Power of a Child’s Voice-Tamara Fisher (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

As coordinators, parents, teachers, and counselors, we often find ourselves in the position of advocating for the gifted youngsters in our lives. Yet, at some point, they will need to know how to advocate for themselves. How can we nurture this important life skill and foster a life-long willingness to tactfully speak up for their own learning needs? Is it possible to teach gifted students to speak up without them seeming arrogant about their abilities? Topics covered in this presentation will include strategies for developing this important skill in gifted youth and discussion about the appropriateness of self-advocacy. 

 

WEDNESDAY

AAA. Talent Development and Healthy Mindsets: Helping Gifted Students Develop Their Full Potential-Melanie Schrader (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

Learn how talent is developed to its highest levels, how the brain learns, and thinking patterns that reinforce growth, learning, and talent development. Walk away with a better understanding of the social and emotional benefits of supporting talent development of gifted and non-gifted learners in your classroom, school, or home. Understand how you can better support all children in developing their gifts and talents to the fullest. Understand how to promote and help students and children sustain healthy mental habits for achieving success in life. 

BBB. The Boy, The Bird, & The Coffin Maker and Other Great Picks for Gifted Readers- Rebecca Crosswhite (Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents)

What are you reading? Top book picks for gifted and talented students. 

CCC. Developing the Freedom to Think-Dr. Jann Leppien (Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

A focus on developing thinking skills allows all students to take charge of their own learning, deepen their understanding, and become more engaged. To cultivating students’ thinking and alertness to thinking requires a set of tools and strategies for educators to use in their classrooms.  This session will focus on the varied practices/strategies/and routines that can be used to deepen understanding and foster desire for students to make their thinking visible as they interact with peers. If you have iPads or laptops please bring them with you to this session. 

DDD. Cinematherapy and the Implications for Social and Emotional Counseling of Gifted Adolescents-Jeff Danielian (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

Cinematherapy, a four-step process of engaging viewers in self-reflection, allowing them to understand their own lives and explore effective methods for coping with difficulties or struggles. By providing gifted adolescents with the resources to deal with society, parents, teachers, and counselors can prepare them for social and emotional hardships they may face. This session will explore the process of cinematherapy, identify characteristics of gifted adolescents, and provide examples of films that could be used as a means for aiding in the social and emotional development of these young individuals. The examples and applications will be focused on gifted male adolescents; however the principles can easily be applied to gifted female adolescents.

FFF. Twice Exceptional Learners- Beth Faddick and Leona Alexander (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

Who are twice exceptional learners? In these three sessions, we will cover the characteristics and identification of twice exceptional students and discuss their social emotional needs. We will share instructional strategies you can implement in your classroom to provide differentiation. You will leave with lots of practical ideas and resources. Wednesday will focus on instructional strategies and providing rigor, depth, and complexity. 

GGGMaking in the GT Classroom-Susan Solomon (Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

This session will focus on how the Maker Movement has grown in recent years and how the practice of Making is especially beneficial for Gifted students.  Will also discuss ways of establishing a MakerSpace as a learning resource for your whole school or for the GT classroom.

HHH. Primarily Thinking: Thinking Skills Activities for Primary Grades-Tamara Fisher (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, GT Coordinators/Specialists, Parents, Counselors, and Administrators) 

Can Kindergarteners solve – and then create their own – analogies? You bet they can! The use of thinking skills activities is one great way to provide intellectual challenge for children in the primary grades. It also doubles as an excellent means for uncovering potential giftedness in this often-overlooked age-level. While most schools wait until students are well-into their fourth year of schooling (3rd grade) to begin identifying gifted students, the use of thinking skills activities in the primary grades can provide a valuable tool for beginning that process years earlier – so that appropriate academic intervention services can be delivered in a far more timely manner. This session will focus on sample thinking-skills-based activities for primary grades and a discussion of the needs of primary-aged gifted students.

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