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Carol Smith’s TAGT Experience 2011

January 17, 2012

Good morning,

We are back from TAGT in Austin.

We need to be vigilant in supporting our gifted program in Coppell.  I was amazed at the drop in attendance this year.  Districts that have always attended in the past did not send delegates to the conference.  Some attended because they were presenters and that is the only way they could attend.   The budget crunch is a reality and the gifted programs are already feeling the pressure.  This is the time we need to band together and become stronger advocates for our gifted population.  We cannot let money dictate our lack of interest or response to conferences and training.  As Bertie Kingore, the keynote speaker said, “All children have the right to learn at their highest level of readiness—even the gifted.”  How are we going to provide those experiences without our teachers and specialists providing a program of continuous learning for the uniqueness of the gifted population through unconditional encouragement of in-depth study?

Our country is in need of our gifted students for the future jobs in our country that haven’t even been determined. I attended a session on Giftedness, Creativity and Leadership by Dr. Benny Hickerson from SMU.  She hooked us in with 3 companies today that need leadership-American Airlines, Congress and the NBA.   We agreed that our gifted are the ones that possess the intelligence to make effective decisions that result in something both original and useful that will pull our country into the lead among others.  Gifted Leadership Characteristics:  Idealism, Refusal to accept the status quo, creative problem solving skills, preference for complexity , depth of understanding and knowledge in areas of interest, extreme sensitivity and passion!  Can you see these in your child?  I do-everyday that I see the gifted in my classroom.  I want to continue to develop these skills in our students in Coppell so they can make a difference in our world.

The Wednesday conference at TAGT that I attended was for the Sandra Kaplan icons for Depth and Complexity in all subject areas presented by Erik Mickelson.  I now have more experience of activities to introduce the concepts in my classroom and to connect the learning to the icons.   I talked with Dr. Mary Christopher at the conference and she is sending me the information from Abilene Christian Univ. where she is the professor of the gifted department on the summer conference that Sandra Kaplan is presenting. Ms. Kaplan is the creator and developed the Depth and Complexity material   I feel that if I attend this conference, I can train our teachers at Wilson on the use of the icons and bring much more depth and complexity to our learning for all students on our campus, especially any ELL.   My dream is to train teachers in the use of the icons that have been purchased for our campus and for us to have a common language for students to extend their thinking and learning in all grade levels.

I cannot thank you enough for the opportunity you afforded me to attend the TAGT conference this year.   My technology training increased with a twitter workshop, blogging workshop and digital storytelling workshop.  This knowledge will be implemented into the classroom immediately.  I can’t wait to have students make some digital stories and to share them globally.  Isn’t it exciting how we can share information with others around the world these days!  Dr. Arnie Abrams of Southern Oregon University shared Web Links for our online resources for planning and organizing digital stories, media files for digital stories and for producing digital stories.  The most wonderful information was that he gave us tips on the resources and which were the best and were free.  He was a fantastic presenter and shared how a student can create their own digital story that can be used across the curriculum.  He also shared a teaching model for teachers that I would like to share with our campus.

I could not have participated in the great experiences at TAGT without the support of the CGA and I thank you for the scholarship.  May we continue to work together to support our children in Coppell.  You are our voice in a big way in Texas.  Please keep advocating for our gifted and make yourself heard now.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Carol Smith

GT Specialist

Wilson Elementary School

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