AGATE newsletter, August 2014
Greetings! As a parent of three gifted children, at varying stages of matriculation, I am often asked why I am involved in AGATE. The answer is easy. At a very basic level, we all desire children to be healthy, happy, experiencing personal and academic growth. We all want the educational needs of all children to be met. The development of each child’s talent is essential to fulfilling this desire. As Julie Andrews sang in the Sound of Music, we must “start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start.” We already know that each child’s learning success begins in the home. Repeated studies have shown that children who live in “healthy and happy” homes are better prepared to learn at school. However, even children from healthy and happy homes are each different from each other, including those who have been labeled “gifted and talented”. The label does not mean they are better or worse than other students; it means their brains are developing significantly differently. A new study published this summer reports on how some video games your students may have played this summer effects developing brains.
In the June/July 2014 issue of Neurology Now, Amy Paturel, M.S., M.P.H. reports on how video games effect the developing brains of children and teens in her article “Game Theory”. “In a study of 45 adolescents, playing violent video games for only 30 minutes immediately lowered activity in the prefrontal regions of the brain compared to those who participated in a non-violent game. “ (page 34). “’The prefrontal cortex – the locus of judgment, decision-making, and impulse control – undergoes major reorganization during adolescence,’ explains Tom A. Hummer, Ph.D., assistant research professor in the department of psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. That executive control center is essential for weighing risks and rewards and for putting the brakes on the pursuit of immediate rewards (like gaming) in favor of more adaptive longer –term goals (like next week’s chemistry test). ‘ Id.
I am not saying that all video gaming is unhealthy. To the contrary many games help students increase visual capabilities, strategize, and learn to perform multiple tasks at one time. However, I do think that showing students the MRI scans that show what the violent gaming is doing to their brains will help them understand the importance of their gaming behavior. I know when I showed this to my son and his friend they both turned off the video game and went outside to play. Sometimes a picture does say a thousand words.
Paturel, Amy. “Game Theory.” Neurology Now June/July 2014 Print
As we prepare for school I thought you might find some of the following books and websites interesting to explore as you finish this summer.
www.Byrdseed.com Ian Byrd has a wonderful website that has free and subscription offerings for teachers, parents, and gifted students. He has a free monthly newsletter with lesson plans, games, and things to spark discussion with the children in your life and he has a free weekly spelling list of foreign words that we use on a daily basis.
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/neurok.html Dr. Erik H. Chudler has a good website for students entitled “Neuroscience for Kids”. This site is fun way to learn about the nervous system. He also has links to lots of wonderful articles on anything affecting your brain and nervous system. You can also request to get a free newsletter from Dr. Chudler by e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mindset The New Psychology of Success How We Can Learn to Fulfill our Potential by Carol S. Dweck. This is a great book to help reevaluate how you approach goals in your life and how your mindset effects more than your talent to bring success.
Living with Intensity Edited by Susan Daniels, Ph. D. & Michael M. Piechowski, Ph. D. This book is five years old but a good book to help you understand students who learn differently because they are gifted and talented.
Intelligent Life in the Classroom by Karen Isaacson and Tamera Fisher. An inspirational book for all teachers filled with humor and wisdom to improve your classroom with the love for learning.
A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children by James T. Webb, et al. This is a valuable and comprehensive book that I believe all parents of gifted children should read. It explains the lingo and helps you understand your children.
I look forward to meeting you at MT AGATE’s Conference in Helena on April 9-10, 2015. We will be announcing our keynote speakers soon and are very excited! Conference is a nice time to meet many new people and to see and visit with those you have known for a few years as you learn and explore new and exciting ways to teach and connect with your students and children. As you plan your budget this month, please remember in addition to providing the opportunity for you to learn how to better prepare for and engage with gifted and talented students, MT AGATE offers renewal credits and college credit when you attend our conference.
See you soon!