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 nmgifted@gmail.com 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.

Sincerely,

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 nmgifted.org, or on linked social media.

Continue reading

Report: NAGC State Affiliates Conference

At the beginning of March this year, Dr. PJ Sedillo (NMAG President-Elect) and I attended the annual State Affiliates Conference in Washington, DC. Attendees (teachers, administrators and gifted specialists) from across the country met to talk about issues related to children identified as gifted, both in our respective states, as well as nationally. Our report focuses on the new ESSA.

President’s Report on the Every Student Succeeds Act

Photo report: Senator Heinric Christy Jewell-Roth Dr. PJ Sedillo

Christy Jewell-Roth, Senator Martin Heinrich, and Dr. PJ Sedillo in Washington DC during the NAGC State Affiliates Conference.

One topic, in particular, was of great interest to those of us in gifted education, that of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In December 2015, President Obama signed this federal legislation into law. As you likely already know, this is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and will replace No Child Left Behind, beginning in the 2016-17 school year. There are some great provisions in the law that relate to gifted students, which have not been there previously. Continue reading

Spring 2016 Newsletter

Spring is Here!

Spring 2016 NewsletterGreat ideas and information are blooming with all of the spring daffodils, forsythia blooms, and plum blossoms. You’ll find some of them right here in our newsletter, compiled by Jessica Carlisle, our Newsletter Chair. We’re looking for contributors, so join us! Email Publicity Chair Steve Heil to write for NMAG.

 

PARCC and Gifted Education

The PARCC, who publish the eponymous test used to measure educational progress toward college and career readiness in New Mexico, has released version 4 of its Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual.  Accommodations for PARCC are specifically targeted at English language learning students and those with 504 or IDEA disabilities. Gifted students who are not ELLs or twice exceptional are not part of that group.

PARCC Homepage Screen ShotI have met many educators who have written testing accommodations into individual plans for gifted students.  I have myself.  For those smart students who have the slow, deliberative processing style of a creative person, it can be tempting to extend testing time.  Students who express anxiety around testing or who are affected by high levels of perfectionism may present a need for a customized testing experience as well.

Fortunately, the PARCC provides two sets of features that may be applied to any student: “administrative considerations,” and “accessibility features.”  Administrative considerations include small group settings, special timing allowances, or frequent breaks.  The PARCC’s accessibility features include spell checking, highlighting, selective text-to-speech, glossaries, and noise buffers.  But which features should you consider for your gifted students?  The answer is dependent on the purpose of and way we interpret standardized tests.

The Purpose of Standardized Tests

Ask any random group people why we give standardized tests, and you’re likely to get as many answers as you have conversations.  Policy makers and school administrators use tests to evaluate the efficacy of programs and teachers.  Colleges and special programs employ them to determine the likely success of candidates and select participants.  Teachers may see tests as diagnostic tools for best planning educational opportunities. In the era of Value Added Modeling, tests become opportunities for greater pay and accolades on one hand and liabilities weighing against their evaluations on the other.  Parents might view tests as a measure of whether their students are doing well in school or which school to select.  Students may see tests as measures of their success or failure or simply trials to get past, depending on their experience.

While some purposes of testing may have more merit than others, any meaningful use of a test requires that it be reliable and valid.  Reliable tests produce consistent scores.  Valid scores measure what they purport to measure. And both reliability and validity require that test administration be controlled.

If validity and reliability are dependent on standardization, why do we give some students accommodations, changing those usually controlled conditions?  Because for some students, accommodations produce a significantly more valid and reliable result.  In my humble opinion, this should be the test of when to allow a change to the standardized administration of a test, through accommodations, administrative considerations, or accessibility features. Continue reading

NMHU Offers Gifted Endorsement Courses

Only 3% of colleges and universities across the country offer courses in gifted education and the need for courses are high. (VanTassel-Baska & Stambaugh, 2006)  According to the National Association for Gifted Children  (NAGC), 61% of classroom teachers in the U.S. have no training in gifted and talented, yet gifted and talented students spend over 80% of their time in their regular classroom. Further, with so few opportunities for graduate courses in gifted education, we cannot expect teachers to effectively address the needs of gifted learners. (Ford, Grantham, & Whiting, 2008)

Gifted Programs at NMHU Student Centre

NMHU Student Centre

According to the report, National Excellence: A Case for Developing America’s Talent  (October, 1993), “Teachers must receive better training in how to teach highlevel curricula. They need support for providing instruction that challenges all students sufficiently. This will benefit not only students with outstanding talent but children at every academic level.”  For these reasons State of New Mexico educators who instruct gifted individuals must have an endorsement in Gifted Education.

Continue reading

Project-based Learning with Kayaks

My middle school students are currently working in collaboration with the New Mexico Wildlife Center to learn the physics of kayaks through building their own personal, functional kayak.

Students are learning about buoyancy, resistance, kayak design, riparian ecosystems, and weather. We are spending the winter months building the kayaks so that we can explore water habitats in the spring.

Espanola Kayak Class

At the 2015 NMAG Fall Institute, Alicia Cotabish presented on both project-based and problem-based learning. She highlighted the differences as well as the way in which they are appropriate for high ability learners. There are numerous advantages to using project-based learning with gifted learners including:

  • It is interdisciplinary
  • It is aligned with curriculum and supported by NAGC Gifted Programming Standards
  • It allows for in depth inquiry and problem solving
  • It lends itself to differentiation and scaffolding
  • Student can take ownership of their learning
  • It allows for collaboration, critical and creative thinking
  • It can motivate and engage students
  • Students are addressing real world, authentic problems

Continue reading

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