Shaping Tomorrow with Legos™

Many gifted enrichment programs have at the heart of them complex, problem-based activities. These WeDo’s and Mindstorms afford opportunities to develop engineering process skills. Do you have a future engineer in your class? Check it out.

Shaping Tomorrow’s Creative Problem Solvers Symposium

Hosted by LEGO® Education

Join us for an engaging, hands-on workshop focused on bringing STEM and other 21st-century skills to life in elementary and middle school classrooms. Discover how the LEGO Education building experience can help students develop their analytical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving skills, while preparing them for the jobs of tomorrow.

Date: November 8, 2016

Location: Sandia Vista Elementary School, 6800 Franklin Rd. NE, Rio Rancho, NM 87144

Who: Open to elementary and middle school educators (including principals, teachers, administrators, and more).

What: three hands-on workshops that will cover creative ways to engage students in robotics, science, technology, engineering, and math.

Do you have a workshop or professional development opportunity you would like us to post at Drop me a line.

Fall 2016 Newsletter

Download the printable Fall 2016 Newsletter file here, print up a hard copy and peruse at your leisure in the teacher’s lounge or anywhere. Interested in writing for the website and print newsletter? Contact Steve Heil, Publicity Chair.

Press Release from Santa Fe: Equitable ID and Services

We’ve decided to repost this press release from SFPS as a clear articulation of a vision that aligns well with our association’s vision for education in New Mexico. This is also a pivotal theme of our October 14 & 15, 2016 Institute for Gifted Education.

Santa Fe Schools Improve Equity in Gifted Education

June 14, 2016, Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe Public Schools, building on its commitments to diversity and world-class schools, has embarked on a multi-year mission to increase the identification and improve services to gifted students through its new program of Services for Advanced and Gifted Education. By identifying and removing barriers to participation, SFPS SAGE has started on a path to establish strong gifted programs across all schools, including students from every background.

Giftedness, according to the National Association for Gifted Children, is defined as high performance or potential in about the top 10% of a field or domain.   The State of New Mexico provides supplemental funding to support services for a portion of the intellectually gifted, around 3-7% of the total school population.  To maintain motivation, growth in skill and knowledge, and interested in school, these students generally require more advanced curriculum than their grade level provides.  In addition, some subgroups of gifted students, such as those with extremely high levels of ability, specific learning challenges, or those who will be in their family’s first generation to attend college, may need special services to help develop potentials into results.

In past years, gifted students have been found in Santa Fe schools using a series of IQ, achievement, and thinking skill tests that were administered when a parent or teacher felt very strongly that a student may be gifted. While the tests measure a broad range of abilities associated with good educational and life outcomes, and are highly reliable, this system failed to identify many of our gifted students.

Why? IQ scores and the likelihood of a student being nominated for testing are both influenced by students’ previous opportunities. Students who are culturally different, linguistically diverse, or economically disadvantaged are underrepresented in gifted programs across the United States, since they are less likely to get referred for testing in the first place and, if tested, are on average less prepared to score well on the tests.

To reduce this inequity, Santa Fe School’s SAGE program has trained teachers to better recognize characteristics of giftedness, and in addition to teacher and parent nominations, mined achievement test scores to find and automatically refer high-performing students.  Improving equity in testing, SAGE is using tests that can be delivered in Spanish as well as English, and compares each student to others with similar previous opportunities.  More than 800 students, or about 1/20 Santa Fe public school students, were tested this past school year. Continue reading

Gifted Educator Jobs in Santa Fe

New gifted education job opportunities are popping up with Santa Fe Public Schools. Thanks to Geoffrey Moon for giving us the word. Geoffrey is Past President of NMAG. He coordinates the SFPS district-wide FTAP GENIE identification process resulting in the current high demand for teachers of gifted at all levels. Full disclosure, I’m working with Geoffrey too, and excited to be helping as the district make great gains toward the initiative articulated below in the job posting. Join us!

This particular posting is for itinerant positions working closely with Geoffrey. But there are also site-based positions to be linked here soon. Check back for those updates or contact Geoffrey Moon for more information.

SFPS has embarked on a multi-year plan to transform our special education services to all special education students including gifted. Initiatives include intensive teacher training and support, 1-1 assistive technology, and state of the art digital and curriculum resources.

Santa Fe 2016-2017 SY – Gifted Itinerant Teacher,  JobID: 1916

To apply you will need this link to the full SFPS jobs list.

Here’s a hint: If you are actively searching for jobs and have another district’s application started with Applitrack, you can transfer most of the info you’ve inputed over to other districts, like Santa Fe, who also use Applitrack.

Do you have an job opening to share? Let me know and I’ll post it.

Gifted Education Job RRPS

Looking for jobs? I received a request this week from Lynne Bagby at Rio Rancho Public Schools to post this job opportunity for the 2016-17 school year.

Full Time RRPS Gifted Reading and Language Arts at Mountain View Middle School.

Click this link to download the PDF that Lynne provided.

Mountain View Middle School RRPS ELA Job

Contact: Jennifer Molina, Assistant Principal.

Do you have an job opening to share? Let me know and I’ll post it.


Call for Award Nominations

Dear NMAG members:

Please consider nominating someone you know who is doing an outstanding job advocating for gifted students, either serving as an administrator or advocate benefiting gifted students, or serving as a teacher of gifted students. We would like to recognize these people at our Annual Meeting on October 15.

These recipients will receive a framed certificate and a lifetime membership in the New Mexico Association for the Gifted. There are many people supporting gifted students in New Mexico; please join us in recognizing a few of the outstanding educators. Your nomination form (Award Nomination Form 2016 NMAG) needs to be emailed to by August 26, 2016. The nomination form is attached.

Thank you for your thoughtful nominations. I hope to see you on October 14 & 15 at our Fall Gifted Institute where we have some outstanding people presenting.


Geoffrey Moon

Past President, New Mexico Association for the Gifted

Thumbnail of 2016 Award Nomination Form

Click the image to download a .pdf nomination form.

Vendor Tables for 2016 Fall Institute

You’re invited to sell your wares at a table during the 2016 Fall Institute at NMHU Rio Rancho Center, October 14 & 15, 2016.

Click the button below to pay now the $20 fee for table space for either or both days of the Fall Institute.

Type of items to be sold

Draft Legislation for 2017

In late June I met with State Representative, Christine Trujillo, to propose legislation, drafted by NMAG, to benefit the students of New Mexico’s public schools.

Christine Trujillo Supports Draft Legislation from NMAG

NM State Representative Christine Trujillo, District 25

Christine Trujillo, a retired educator, has represented District 25 in Bernalillo County since 2013. She is currently a member of the House Appropriations & Finance Committee, the House Education Committee, and the Legislative Education Study Committee. In 2015 she sponsored the memorial HB 5 Gifted Day  at the legislature. She has agreed to work with our board to put forward ideas for gifted and advanced students in the next legislative 60-day session in January 2017.

A huge thank you to our past president, Geoffrey Moon, for getting the board started on the writing of these legislative ideas!

As you read through the bullet points, please feel to offer additional ideas that we may have forgotten. You can comment below (log in with an existing Google or Facebook account if you wish) or  email us your thoughts and ideas. Continue reading

Beyond AI Creativity in School

After the initial chest constriction and moment of panic, I started to think rationally about the latest artificial intelligence (AI) news: Google engineers made a machine that can compose music. It’s the stated goal of Google’s Project Magenta to make “compelling” music and art. The example I listened to, with variations on a theme of the first notes of “Twinkle Twinkle,” sounded like music to me, with simple patterns that drew me in and more complex patterns that held my attention, a nice balance of elaboration and simplicity, every dimension of composition calculated by algorithms. But could it ever generate an inspired performance?

From Ernest Edmonds' "Light Logic" exhibition 2012. Edmonds is a pioneer of interactive, computer-generated artwork.

From Ernest Edmonds’ “Light Logic” exhibition 2012. Edmonds is a pioneer of interactive, computer-generated artwork.

Cognitive Scientist, Margaret Bowden, on MIT’s Technology Review, calls this algorithmic art made by AI “combinational creativity,” essentially imitation remixed. She points out that AI’s processing is “hugely limited by relevance blindness.”

The processing that leads to contextual relevance will be a monumental leap for AI, and I won’t speculate about how soon or how likely it will be that engineers can get machines across such a chasm. Although Project Magenta piques my interest, as a teacher helping to develop students’ talents, I have much more optimism about the potential of children and youth to make that same leap from imitation to inspiration. Continue reading

Anti-discrimination Letter

At our last board meeting we discussed the issue of convening the 2017 national convention in North Carolina, which has legislated a ban on policies of anti-discrimination against diverse sexual orientation and identity that we in our organization support.

Anti-discrimination laws protect persons of diverse sexual orientation and identity.

In consideration of this conflict, NMAG’s board advises the National Association of Gifted Children to relocate the 64th National Convention. NMAG Secretary Kathrine Kelton wrote this letter from NMAG to Dr. George Betts, President of NAGC. Please read it and join us in this request with a comment, either here on, or on linked social media.

Continue reading

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