Did you attend the spring conference in Helena this year? We would love to hear from you about your expereince! If you did not have the chance to return a paper evaluation after the conference please fill out this Google form so we can plan for next year's conference. Thank you for joining us in Helena. We will see you next year in Great Falls April 14-15, 2016.
The annual SAT Challenge and Summer Scholarship Awards Ceremony and Banquet was held Friday April 10, 2015 at the Great Northern Hotel in Helena, MT. Middle School students were honored and rewarded for their achievments by the members of the AGATE board. Six students were awarded scholarships from AGATE to use toward an educational program of their choice. Award recipients shared their writing with the group at the banquet. AGATE Keynote presenter Ian Byrd delivered and inspirational and motivational address to the students about the challenges of being gifted. He urged them to aspire to being great instead of being perfect. The winners of the SAT Challenge were honored and asked to address the group with a short bio and their plans for the scholorahip money. All scholars were presented with a certificate, a medal and a set of earbuds from Carroll College.
AGATE Scholarship Winners
Amanda Mazur, Lolo
Noel Migliaccio, Florence
Analise Migliaccio, Florence
Marias Oelkers, Belgrade
Emi Wilson, Bozeman
Karissa Tu, Bozeman
SAT Challenge Winners
Reading: Marias Oelkers, 7th Grade, Belgrade
Reading: Grace Tallman, 7th Grade, Bozeman
Reading: Lucy Sirrs, 8th Grade, Missoula
Math: Conrad Lee, 7th Grade, Bozeman
Math: Oliver Chinn, 8th Grade, Missoula
Writing: Sophia Dilorenzo, 8th Grade, Great Falls
Writing: Jonathan Noble, 8th Grade, Livingston
Composite: Lucas Hamling, 8th Grade, Bozeman
Composite: Owen Mitchell, 7th Grade, Bozeman
Click here to view the latest edition of AGATE's newsletter. Topics of interest this month include,
President’s Message by Holly Shupert
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!
If you live in Missoula or Bozeman areas, you may want to participate in the local gifted parents' Facebook groups, COMPASS POINTS and Gallatin Gifted Group. You'll find out about the local group's events, plus other opportunities for gifted kids in the area. We're looking forward to seeing your posts about things of interest for families of gifted kids, too.
Whether you live there, or elsewhere in Montana, you still want to "like" Montana AGATE's Facebook page.
Does anyone want to start a Facebook group for gifted parents elsewhere in the state? We'll be happy to help publicize it.
Your 7th or 8th grader can take the SAT, find out how he or she compares to other gifted middle-schoolers, and potentially earn a $300 scholarship. How? By signing up for the Montana AGATE SAT Challenge.
Deadlines are looming, though. November 25 is the late registration date for the December 7th SAT test. December 27th is the regular registration deadline for the January 25th SAT.
Consult the SAT Challenge flyer or read more on our website.
Gifted kids need to have opportunities to be with other gifted kids in order to find friends with similar interests. Here’s a way to facilitate that…
Destination ImagiNation is a fantastic program to help kids unleash their creativity. It is usually done as a weekly after-school program with teams competing at the end of the year. But sometimes it is difficult to get kids to sign up for “DI” and make a commitment to be part of team. Here’s a chance to let your gifted kid “try on” Destination ImagiNation for just one evening, and see if he or she likes it before making a commitment.
Elementary students (K-5) will work to solve up to five Instant Challenges at “Creaturz Cache”:
We're thrilled to welcome Valerie Tummarello as AGATE's new Parent Involvement Chairperson.
Valerie is a parent of two sons identified as gifted at Stevensville schools in the Bitterroot Valley. She has volunteered for approximately eight years with the Stevensville parents' group which advocates for gifted students in Stevensville schools. She's also been a classroom volunteer for students of all abilities, served on the Ravalli County 4H Council, and has been a Destination Imagination team manager. Valerie's sons have enjoyed participating in school sports (baseball, soccer, tennis), band, speech and debate, 4H, science fairs, Boy's State/Nation, Tae Kwondo, and assorted other interests.
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area where she worked in corporate finance for approximately 15 years, Valerie holds a B.S. from U.C. Berkeley and an MBA from Columbia University. Valerie is currently enrolled at the University of Montana, School of Business Administration, where she is completing coursework in support of obtaining her CPA designation.
Valerie believes in the work and mission of Montana AGATE and wants to strongly encourage all curious parents (and educators) to attend the annual conference. The AGATE annual conference provides innovative ideas for engaging young minds and information to support and guide parenting and education advocacy.
Are you wondering how you can get involved? We have immediate openings for a Legislative Liaison and a Webmaster/Social Media person. Or, you can run for one of the elective offices in the election at our spring conference.
One lucky school in Montana will win $12,000 to help their school learn to differentiate instruction for all students. Will yours be the winner?
The money must be used to provide professional development, books, book studies, classes, speakers, activities, materials, and/or trainings in the area of differentiated instruction.
To apply for the grant, your school must submit an application by December 1st, 2013.
Learn more on our Differentiation Grant page.
Let's put out the welcome mat for the new members of Montana AGATE's board of directors:
Region 5 (Western Montana) Representative:
Gayle Roege is a doctoral candidate at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, seeking a degree in Education Policy Planning & Leadership with an emphasis in gifted education. For thirty years she has worked with and advocated for gifted students from pre-school through the graduate level, primarily in Montana rural schools, including one-room, multi-age classrooms.
One of Gayle's areas of interest is whether gifted students derive unique benefits from participation in visual art activities.
Region 3 (South Central Montana) Representative:
Rebecca Mundt teaches Extended Studies for Billings School District 2 serving 5 schools, teaching approximately 85 gifted students in grades first through sixth. A graduate of the University of Idaho, she holds a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education and a M.Ed. in Special Education.
Her 28 years of teaching includes experience with learners at every point along the learning spectrum. Rebecca raised two gifted twice exceptional children who are now young adults 26 and 31. This journey developed a depth of understanding and insight into the parenting and education of the gifted from childhood into adulthood.
Joe Helbling is an assistant professor at Carroll College and Director of the popular Carroll Summer Gifted Institute. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut where he worked as a graduate researcher and consultant for the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.
Joe's professional interests include game-based learning, arts in education, literacy, talent development, and whole-school improvement through gifted education pedagogy. His hobbies include backpacking, espresso, and spending time with his wife and two daughters.
Effective with our April meeting, several current board members changed positions:
Please congratulate these volunteers on their new positions.
Any time you want to contact one of our board members, you can find their email addresses on the About Us page of our website.
We're still looking for a Parent Involvement Chairperson and a Legislative Chairperson. If you think you might be interested, email Holly Shupert for more information.
Our next board meeting will be held September 14, 2013, via audio- or video-conference. It would be great to have the open positions filled by then.