TAGT Pulse: A monthly newsletter for members
The Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented connects and empowers educators and parents
to meet the unique needs of gifted and talented individuals through awarenessadvocacy and action.

May 2011 
In this issue

TAGT Today

2011 TAGT Professional Development Conference:Gifted 3.0Austin, Texas, November 30–December 2
     • Registration
     • Schedule
     • Location and Lodging
     • Business Partners
A conference-within-a-conference especially for psychologists that will focus on the assessment and identification of gifted youth.
NEW: Register early for multiple 2011/2012 Professional Development conf... (PDF) with existing funds before they disappear.
Curriculum Potpourri
TAGT is now acceptingproposals to present (PDF) at the 2011 Curriculum Potpourri, Friday, December 2!
3rd Annual Research Symposium at the 2011 TAGT Professional Development Conference, encouraging graduate student research in gifted education: PDF Flyer
Gifted in the News
Gifted Exchange
Gifted Exchange
The Fear of Gaps
News Observer
ASCD Express

The Journal
eSchool News

Texas Politics @ Chron.com

The Houston Chronicle
State EdWatch
Texas Tribune
Texas Tribune

Class Struggle
TAGT Resources
TXGifted.org has listings of fun things to do and suggested reading for kids! Feel free to send (non-commercial) suggestions to Tracy Weinberg attweinberg@txgifted.org.


Tim GangwerWhat Is Visual Teaching? 
Timothy Gangwer, Author/Educational Consultant, Visual Teaching Alliance
During a rehearsal of Debussy’s La Mer, Maestro Arturo Toscanini found himself unable to describe the effect he hoped to achieve from a particular passage. After a moment’s thought, he took a silk handkerchief from his pocket and tossed it high into the air. The orchestra, mesmerized, watched the slow, graceful descent of the silken square. Toscanini smiled with satisfaction as it finally settled on the floor. “There,” he said, “play it like that” (Fadiman, 1985).
We are in the midst of a profound paradigm shift. We are moving from a period in which the language of production and manufacturing dominated our way of seeing the world; now, ideas about information and communication shape our discourse. Could it be that we are actually in the midst of an even deeper change—one in which the pendulum of worldview is swinging from a more masculine, word-based culture to one that is more feminine and image-based?
It is hard to argue with the observation that the generation of G/T students now moving through our educational system is by far the most visually stimulated generation that system has ever had to teach. Having grown up with cable television, video games, computer software for education and entertainment, and the Internet, our students are truly visual learners coming of age in an increasingly visual world. Notwithstanding individual differences in intelligence and learning style, I believe this generation of learners needs to be taught the way they learn best—with visual stimulation accompanied by active learning strategies. As educators, we need to prepare our G/T students for the world in which they will live and work. We must allow this understanding of the visual nature of our students to influence our teaching techniques and the educational technologies we employ. We need to become Visual Teachers (see additional resources at: visualteaching.ning.com).

Detective GirlCommon Myths in Gifted Education, Part 3
The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) has compiled a list of the most prevalent myths in gifted education, complete with supporting links with evidence explaining why the myth is untrue.
Myth: Gifted students make everyone else in the Class smarter by providing a role model or a challenge
Truth:Although teachers try to challenge all students they are frequently unfamiliar with the needs of gifted children and do not know how to best serve them in the classroom. The National Research Center on Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT) found that 61% of classroom teachers had no training in teaching highly able students, limiting the challenging educational opportunities offered to advanced learners.[1] A more recent national study conducted by the Fordham Institute found that 58% of teachers have received no professional development focused on teaching academically advanced students in the past few years. Taken together, these reports confirm what many families have known: not all teachers are able to recognize and support gifted learners. Click here for more


Tracy WeinbergCapitol Watch 
Tracy Weinberg, Associate Director

The House and the Senate have passed Senate Bills 1 and 2, which deal with fiscal matters and school finance, and Senate Bill 8, which gives "administrative flexibility" to school districts. All three have crossed the Governor's desk and have become law.
The school finance bill will spend approximately $4 billion less than what would be needed to maintain current spending levels combined with the projected growth in student enrollment. All districts can anticipate approximately a 6% reduction for the coming school year, compared to what would have been available under the current funding formulas.  In the following year, wealthier school districts will have a larger share of the funding reductions than poorer ones. Find out more on the Advocacy and Government Relations Page at TXGifted.org.
Texas Capitol
Federal Funding for the Javits Program 
National Association for Gifted Children
Although the Javits Gifted & Talented Students Education Act was de-funded in fiscal year 2011 when Congress passed the final, compromise, "continuing resolution" to fund federal agencies and programs in April, the fiscal year 2012 process has begun and there is work to be done!
Gifted students have been fortunate to have long-time friends in the Congress who lead the effort to secure support for funding for the Javits program each year. Once again, letters were sent to the chairmen of the House and Senate Labor/HHS/Education subcommittees urging continued funding for the Javits program. Representatives Elton Gallelgy (CA-24) and Joe Courtney (CT-2) and Senators Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Bob Casey (PA) led the effort once again in fiscal year 2012. It's critically important to show appropriations committee leaders that there is support for this special-needs population of children, especially in this difficult fiscal climate. Click here to see the House andSenate letters. Here is the list of cosignerswho have added their voices to the letters this year. NAGC will continue working with CEC, our members, and other supporters to coordinate our efforts in Congress this year.
The House appropriations subcommittee that determines spending for the departments of Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education is meeting on July 26 to map out spending for fiscal year 2012. The subcommittee's decisions about spending are typically approved with few, if any changes, by the full appropriations committee, making it all the more important that our voices are heard on behalf of the Javits program. [TAGT urges our members, especially those living inRepresentative Kay Granger's district (TX-12) to contact her as Texas citizens and voice your support.] Find out more on the NAGC Legislative Advocacy page.


Columbia University Conducts "Unique Child Study"
Parents of gifted and twice-exceptional students are encouraged to participate

Researchers at Columbia University's Paul F. Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences are studying how children who are unique in some way are identified and developed. They are currently collecting stories from parents with children who have been identified as gifted, children who have unique artistic, scientific, or physical abilities, children on the autism spectrum, and children who have been identified as having attention disorders.
While all children are unique, the goal of this study is to identify how children with unique developmental abilities or trajectories develop over early childhood. Parents have different experiences and observations of their child's development and they have different personal resources with which they access services or programs. Parents also differ in the type and extent of their support networks and social relations. And finally, parents make different decisions when finding the right academic, extra-curricular, or other placements for their children. This is an opportunity for these parents to tell their stories. Survey responses will help increase understanding of the experiences of unique children as well as their development over time.
These researchers are collecting stories of parents of unique children through an online, semi-structured survey:http://uniquechildstudy.org; you can also find the study on Facebook. You can help their research tremendously by participating and/or encouraging other parents to participate in this study.


Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented
1524 S IH 35, Suite 205 • Austin, TX 78704
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