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Back to School Webinar Series on Gifted Learners

For those interested in starting their new school year by learning about (or getting a great refresher on) gifted and advanced students, a six-week series of webinars hosted by the National Association for Gifted Children begins next week (Wednesday, August 22). They come as a package (buy one, get all six), and are all tailored to helping teachers gain insights about and strategies for the advanced outliers in their classrooms. The first two focus on "Addressing Learner Differences," the middle two focus on "Curriculum Strategies and Classroom Practice," and the final two have a "Focus on Teaching."

It all kicks off on the 22nd with Yours Truly at the helm, talking about "Characteristics, Learning Styles, and Motivation," i.e. how to spot gifted learners, how to acknowledge and meet their learning differences, and ideas for capitalizing on (or eliciting) their motivation. [I do not get paid for doing the webinar, so this post is not an attempt to profit from my own advertising.]

The following Wednesday (August 29), join Megan Foley Nicpon from the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa as she talks about "Creating a Caring Classroom: Practical Strategies for Aiding Social and Emotional Development." This webinar will feature information about affective issues facing gifted learners, strategies for nurturing their social and emotional development, and ideas you can apply within your curriculum to support them in these areas.

The September 5th webinar will feature Julia Roberts and Tracy Inman, both from The Center for Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University. Their topic is "Instructional Strategies for Differentiation within the Classroom," and they will offer a plethora of tools, resources, and strategies that teachers can utilize to reach the diverse learning needs within their classrooms. I have seen Julia present on similar topics before and she is not only an engaging presenter but also thoroughly knowledgeable about differentiation strategies and philosophy.

Jann Leppien of the University of Great Falls (Montana) will present about "Strategies for Enhancing and Improving the Quality of our Curriculum Units" on September 12th. She will offer "strategies for incorporating student interest and relevance into curriculum and instruction." Jann is a curriculum expert and every time I see her present I'm amazed at her knack for taking the topic deeper and deeper. She has extensive experience with curriculum (creating, writing, researching) and excellent ideas for how we can tweak our curriculum and content to better reach our advanced learners (in addition, of course, to all our other learners).

"Motivation, Communication, and Collaboration" are at bat on September 19th with Lauri Kirsch (Supervisor, K-12 Gifted, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Tampa, FL) and Sally Krisel (Director of Innovative and Advanced Programs, Hall County School System, Gainesville, GA). Their webinar will feature ideas for how to navigate "the system," collaborate with others in your area, and evaluate programs. Both of them have years of involvement traversing such waters and I've no doubt they will have many ideas and strategies to offer. I've known Lauri for a few years and just met Sally for the first time at the Hormel Gifted and Talented Symposium in Minnesota in June. They are wonderful and, since I hail from the western U.S., I find their southern accents delightful!

The series wraps up on September 26th with Brian Housand of East Carolina University (well-known for his "60 Tech Tools in 60 Minutes" sessions) and Jennifer Beasley of the University of Arkansas. Their topic is "Revive, Refresh, and Renew: New Ideas and Resources for the New Year." They will discuss the latest in what the education world has to offer for "at your fingertips" tools and resources to use in the classroom.

More information about the whole webinar series, and each individual session, can be found here. Online registration is available and you can also get a site license (for larger groups).

Happy Learning! :o)

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