Strand Sessions

2017 Weeklong Sessions 

Select One Session During This Time Slot to Attend Monday-Thursday. 

1:15-3:00 p.m. 

*Refer to list at bottom of the page for those courses fulfilling endorsement credits.* 

1.         The Magic of Transforming Your Mathematics Class-Bob Bishop (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, G/T Coordinators, Administrators, Parents)

Transform the way you and your students perceive math! Bob will present a magical magnum opus of his best power-packed secret weapons to ensure student engagement and motivation. This strand will focus on (1) developing mathematical mindsets by building positive growth attitudes for mathematics; (2) exploring mathematical brain states by orchestrating positive learning states for the mathematical classroom; (3) enhancing mathematical thinking strategies by developing problem solving tools and computational skills through games and activities; and (4) using mathematical wonder starters to engage students in mathematics with a heart of wonder. You will not only gain ready-to-go activities and a plethora of resources but be prepared for a paradigm shift of fresh ideas when working with advanced students.

2.         Tools and Tactics for Becoming a SUPER Critical Thinker in a Digital Age-Dr. Brian Housand (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, Parents, Administrators, G/T Coordinators, Counselors)

In 2006, we first learned that even the brightest students were easily fooled by internet hoaxes like the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. While we tried to laugh this as the folly of misguided youth, a decade later we witnessed the rise of fake news and its impact on the “post-truth” world of 2016 overrun by an ever-growing network of social media. To fight for truth, justice, and yes, even the American way, this session presents a collection of superhero themed critical thinking activities designed to empower you and your students to discern fact from fiction and to conquer the evils of fake news.  Bring your LAPTOP for this session!

3.         The Making Learning Machine-Linda Stokes (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, G/T Coordinators)

Current observations of activities our students are involved in seem to be centered around devices that are held in their hands – is it exposing new worlds or hindering?  Where are the talents of our children being developed?  How can we balance techniques?  What would make our classrooms shine and strengthen learning through adventures, art, teamwork and STEM?  How would your class like to leave a mark on the world, participate in community projects and have a consistent chance to develop their own visual/special skills? Join us on a Scottish Storyline Adventure, an amazing technique used to make any topic into an interactive, investigative, and incredible learning experience, and learn how easy it is to set up a weekly art program in your room.  These skills will be used throughout their lives as children learn to shape their own future.

 4.         Teaching the Underachiever: Strategies That Work-Margo Long (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, Parents, Administrators, G/T Coordinators, Counselors)

 Underachievement is one of the most frustrating conditions for parents and teachers when working with the gifted. This session explores how to be proactive with best practice strategies when working with this ever-growing student population. We know that many students in our programs and classrooms are not reaching their potential because of a variety of factors. We now have available many answers and strategies that can encourage student engagement and to motivate these young, resilient learners. Come learn how to identify different types of underachievers, develop a partnership with parents, and find out what specifically can be done to bring about productive change.

5.         Up-Side Down Identification: Undetected Brilliant Visual-Spatial Learners and How to Find Them in Your District Dr. Peggy Wenner (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School, High School, Parents, G/T Coordinators, Counselors)

Idaho code includes five areas of giftedness for identification: Intellectual, Specific Academic, Leadership, Creativity, Visual/Performing Arts. Few districts identify and serve students in areas other than intellectual and academic areas. Some elementary programs attempt to incorporate leadership, creativity, and the arts in their programs. However, in doing so, districts are still limiting services to those who qualify through their intellectual and academic abilities—and not specifically seeking out the gifted visual-spatial child.

What about the gifted child whose special abilities fall into visual-spatial realms, and who will only surface if we screen for their gifts? What about the 2E child whose learning disability may cover amazing potential in the arts, or creativity? What about children with IQ’s that would qualify for gifted services, but whose performance limits their participation in your program? How can we better identify and serve these undetected brilliant children? This strand aims to provide tools for recognizing gifted creative, visual-spatial children. We will discuss novel, even creative ways to serve them. 

A pilot program developed by the Idaho State Department of Education, the Future Design Academy, aims to serve creative, visual-spatial gifted children who are not currently served in a full-time program. We will share the STEAM approach to teaching arts and engineering activities to a small group of children. We will discuss success—and failures, even in identifying those who are gifted in the areas the program seeks to serve. We will review the vision of the program and some of the actual integrated projects the children completed.

6.         Gifted Kids Facing Life with Grace and Grit- Dr. Tom Hébert (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School, Parents, G/T Coordinators, Counselors, Administrators)

Gifted kids have a need to develop self-understanding and learn how to face the challenges of adolescence with self-assurance and determination. Teachers can help them reach that understanding and develop confidence and grit through effective classroom strategies. This strand offers an overview of the social and emotional issues facing gifted kids and how teachers can address their needs in classrooms. Through discussions, analyzing case studies, investigating online resources, and exploring contemporary media, teachers gain a better understanding of their students and learn strategies to support their emotional well-being and develop their determination to succeed.

7.         Wired for Genius! Sparking Student Inquiry, Creativity and Motivation in our Schools-Susan Wolfe and Scarlett Randall (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School, G/T Coordinators, Parents)

Engulfed in rapid economic and social change, countries throughout the world are reorganizing educational systems. The United States is no exception. High performance and satisfaction at work require a need to direct one's own life, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world. To prepare our students for life outside the classroom, the school day must provide creative opportunities to select and solve real-world problems. Well designed and executed curriculum that embraces and fosters creativity will spark creative graduates, ready to attack and solve the world's pressing problems.

Embracing the science of creativity, this session will help you better understand creativity and how to develop this essential element in your students. Participants will examine the latest findings in neuroscience and psychology and learn and experience how artists and innovators throughout history developed practices and habits of mind that promote creative thinking. Enrich your classroom with doable frameworks and technology that embed creative learning experiences seamlessly into Common Core. You will see an increase in student perseverance, intrinsic motivation, and creative output. Genius Hour, Project-Based Learning, and "Real World" classroom activities that provide students the freedom to innovate, create, and change the world will also be explored as the presenters shares their journey with "make and take" sample projects and resources. Get inspired to embrace and tap your deepest creativity and bring what you learn back to your classroom this Fall.

8.         Technology Learning CommunitiesDr. Angela Housand (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, Parents, G/T Coordinators, Administrators, Counselors)

A Technology Learning Community (TLC) is an unconference for educational settings. The TLC puts students in the driver’s seat as they share their knowledge and expertise about technology tools for learning. In an unconference setting, students and teachers are equal participants as they exchange information and ideas to advance productivity using digital tools. Learn how to implement a TLC in your school and empower gifted students to become masters of technology skill and leaders in a new era of communication and innovation. Bring your LAPTOP for this session!

9.         Igniting, Delighting and Cultivating Talented Readers, Writers, and Thinkers in a Contemporary World– Dr. Susannah Richards (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, Parents, G/T Coordinators)

This strand focuses on strategies to meet the needs of talented readers, writers and thinkers in a contemporary world. Topics to be addressed include traits of talented readers & writers; differentiation of reading and writing instruction; the role of interest assessment; evaluating curriculum materials and books; and creating engaging reading & writing experiences for talented readers with print and electronic materials. The focus will be on 21t century literacy skills to provide these students with experiences to help them grow as readers and writers. This will include how to develop critical skills to evaluate fake versus real news. Integrated throughout the strand will be strategies to organize literacy instruction to escalate reading/language arts/English instruction to facilitate rigorous thinking experiences for literacy development for these high-level language users. In addition to strategies to escalate reader responses to literature, examples of strategies to use web-based resources such as SeeSaw, Piktochart, Padlet, Evernote, Vokis, and other Web 2.0 online tools will be used to demonstrate varied strategies to both motivate readers and writers as they respond to literature.

Select One Session During This Time Slot to Attend Monday-Thursday

3:15-5:00 p.m.

10.         Innovate Like Edison-Dr. Larry Rogien (Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School, G/T Coordinators, Administrators)

Innovate Like Edison is an approach to categorize the innovation process into five broad competencies: solution-centered mindset, kaleidoscopic thinking, full-spectrum engagement, master-mind collaboration, and super-value creation. Each competency is characterized by five individual elements, making it easy to understand and grasp the building blocks of innovation. Based on the book by Michael Gelb, author of How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci.

11.       FROM CURIOSITY TO CREATIVITY: Technology and Today’s Gifted Students-Dr. Brian Housand (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, Parents, Administrators, G/T Coordinators, Counselors)

A common characteristic of gifted students is a seemingly insatiable curiosity, and thanks to the power of the Internet, the answer to almost any question is only a few clicks away. Today’s gifted students also have unprecedented access to powerful tools designed for creative production and worldwide distribution. As educators how can we tap into students’ interests and purposefully guide them towards meaningful products? Together, we will explore viable options for transforming you and your students from consumers of information to producers of new knowledge. Bring your LAPTOP for this session!

12.       “Reno Room”: Gifted Learning Gliding into the Future–Linda Stokes (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, G/T Coordinators, Parents, Counselors)

What if Michelangelo and Leonardo could design a Renaissance Classroom?  What would it look like?  What would they emphasize?  Did they know they were brilliant or just “doing what they could to make a buck?”  Do your students get a chance to explore and find their passions and or purpose?   Why is it important to “hook” kids and excite them about their learning?  Join us to learn new and old techniques that will help you cover all the bases…but with creativity embedded.  A new view of integration of art, history, literature and all those wonderful common goals we keep striving to attach to their brains.  Portfolios, gradeless report cards, and establishing responsibility for their learning.  Come explore some of the elements for effective challenging students who need additional challenge in our learning environments.

13.       Poetry and Literature –Michael Clay Thompson (Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, Parents, Administrators, G/T Coordinators, Counselors)

It is not unusual for poetry to be sidelined in the language arts, receiving scant attention, based on misguided stereotypes about what poetry is and what its value is to an educated mind. Its value, however, is so critical as to make it intellectually necessary, and it contributes powerfully to the language of great literature. As for literature, school systems are sometimes phasing out or reducing their literature curricula on the also misguided notion that literature is less necessary than some of the more concrete areas of language arts. In fact, it is literature that provides the overwhelming encounter with spelling, grammar, vocabulary, complex ideas, human depth, interpretive experience, and the essence of articulation that students need if they are to grow beyond conventional levels of education. This strand will examine both poetry and literature, as well as their relationship to each other and their relationship to the development of the intellect.

14.    Open Science and the 21st Century Student Naturalist (Grades 6-12)–Jeff Danielian (Upper Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, G/T Coordinators)

Using the Multiple Menu Model as a framework, the curriculum presented allows students to pursue an interest in the natural world, focus on the methodologies needed to conduct field work, see and ponder connections they perceive, and embark upon a problem solving approach to some naturalistic issue in their own neighborhoods. Participants of this session will be exposed to the unit of instruction, receive handouts of various lessons, view samples of student work, be guided through the entire process of entering students in the American Museum of Natural History's Young Naturalist Awards, with a foundation in the online open science platform The Encyclopedia of Life. Participants will also visit the University Library, Greenhouses, and Natural Science Department. This session is ideal for those seeking to develop environmental literacy in their classrooms.

15.       Helping Bright Boys Become Awesome Men- Dr. Tom Hébert (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, Parents, G/T Coordinators, Administrators, Counselors)

Boyhood is filled with wonderful possibilities and difficult challenges. Guys growing up gifted today have to negotiate a culture that may not be supportive of their talents, interests, and favored ways of learning. This strand explores teaching and mentoring strategies to provide gifted males the tools they need to become awesome young men. We examine methods for keeping them actively engaged in school and achievement oriented. We explore how to connect curriculum to the varied interests of boys and develop those interests into creative productivity. We examine athleticism and the important role of involvement in extracurricular activities. This strand also provides participants with strategies to support boys in building authentic friendships and maintaining healthy father-son relationships.

16.       Creative Circuitry –Scarlett Randall and Susan Wolfe (Primary Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, Parents, G/T Coordinators)

Electrical circuits are the foundation of our modern, technology-driven lives. Everything from simple light bulbs to complex devices depend on electrical circuits to function. The basic structure of each of these devices is the same: there is a power source, which is connected to some wires, which are connected to a device that uses the power to do something useful. In this strand, you will learn basic circuitry and vocabulary, and engage in activities and lessons embedded with the new science standards. Participants will create a circuitry notebook with working LED’s and make simple projects to use in the classroom such as light up cards and holiday pins. Come to this session to learn, play, and have fun!

17.       Building Resiliency-Dr. Angela Housand (Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers, G/T Coordinators, Administrators, Parents, Counselors)

No one emerges at the top. In reality, the most successful individuals have a long list of failures that led to their accomplishments. Yet many gifted children expect to “get the right answer” on their first attempt and once faced with truly challenging situations, give up before trying. This session provides strategies for supporting gifted youth as they engage in the struggles that lead to meaningful success in school and in life.  Bring your LAPTOP for this session!

18.      Windows, Mirrors and Doors: Creating Curriculum for a Culturally Responsive Classroom-Dr. Susannah Richards (Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teachers, G/T Coordinators, Administrators, Counselors)

What are the characteristics of a culturally responsive classroom? How do the choices teachers make in identifying, creating and implementing curriculum help young people explore the world? What are the ways that we can help students to explore their communities from local to the world using internet sites and social media tools to connect to the world? The focus for the strand will be on integrating diversity into ELA and content area curriculum as well as providing opportunities for students to explore different perspectives. The strand will include an overview of the recently published books for youth (focusing on the last 5 years) that provide windows, mirrors and doors for students to find themselves and affirm people from different cultures, ethnicities, lifestyles and genders. With over 6800 books for youth published each year, it may be difficult to locate books that explore diversities as the focus or as part of the narrative or images when diversity is the not featured focus. The session will include access to an extensive bibliography and overview of campaigns (#WeNeedDiverseBooks, ReadingWithoutWalls, etc. to help teachers integrate diverse books into the curriculum.)

Edufest Weeklong Sessions:

Strands specifically address the “Foundation” requirements to fulfill endorsement credit.

2, 4, 5, 6, 15, 17 (Institutes 1-6)


Strands specifically address the “Curriculum” requirements to fulfill endorsement credit.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 (Institutes 1-6)


Strands specifically address the “Creativity” requirements to fulfill endorsement credit.

1, 2, 3, 5, 7 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18 (Institutes 1-6)


Strands specifically address the “Social and Emotional” requirements to fulfill endorsement credit.

4, 5, 13, 14, 15, 17 (Institutes 1-6)


Those of you taking Edufest for credit will want to select strands and institutes based on type of course you are taking.  Select those courses that help you to fulfill your course requirements. You can check with your strand leaders.