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June 2011
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Newsletter June 2011
Hi Valued Customer,
The new look website is now up and live. There is still some tidying up to be done (things I am not yet happy with and things which keep changing when published) but it is now online. I will finish sorting out the final bits when I return home at the end of this month.

In the meantime, if you need to update bookmarks etc, you may find the following helpful: 
  • Consultation information can now be found here where you will also find Tracy Taylor's contact details
  • Holiday programs are now being organised by Saani Bennetts from Quest Lifelearning so you will need to go their site for more information. More details will be in the June newsletter.
  • Parents looking for the EXPLORE test documents will now find them here
  • Philosophy Club information can now be found on the Term Programs  
Also new on the site are some free downloads (along with lots of links to further information). You can find out about the Thinking Ahead journey in Outside the Box, download a list of books worth reading and also some movies to watch out for with gifted characters (look on the Parents page for links to these two). More downloads will be added over time, and various sections of the site will be updated to include more information as well as the links. 

Holiday programs
I have heard from Saani Bennetts at Quest Lifelearning that the program for the holiday workshops is now up and ready. There looks like a great array of workshops and the program will run from 18 - 20 July at Murdoch College with additional workshops on July 21st being held at Swanleigh in Middle Swan. Follow the links from the Quest Lifelearning website homepage to the program and other information about workshops, teachers and how to enrol.

Future Problem Solving Program International Conference
We have just spent a few days in La Crosse Wisconsin where our daughter was competing in the Future Problem Solving International competition. There was more than 2400 students from the USA  and 7 other countries competing in the Global Issues Problem Solving competition as teams or individuals, in Scenario Writing or the Community Problem Solving strand. It was also a wonderful opportunity for these gifted young people to spend some time with like minds, make friends from far and wide and put their mind to the future. The Opening Ceremony, the Variety Night Show and the Awards Ceremony were live streamed this year and you can view them from links on the FPSPI website Teams from Australia did well. There were several teams from WA with the team from MLC coached by JoAnne Starkie awarded 9th place in their division (which comprised more than 50 teams in that section) . A team from Knox Grammar in NSW were placed 2nd in the Senior Division of the Global Issues booklet competition and also won the Action Plan presentation for their division. (If you watch the Awards Ceremony, the winning Action Plan skits are performed at the start of the ceremony).

Breanna was competing as an Individual competitor and although she was not placed, she thoroughly enjoyed the few days, made some new friends and represented Australia on the Senior Student's Forum. If there was any question about whether the skills and process learned in Future Problem Solving is transferable to real life, it was set  aside when Breanna and her room mate used the process to work out how to meet more people and a photo of their process appeared on FaceBook.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Future Problem Solving Program there is plenty of information on the Australian site along with local contacts who can help you out. I would rate FPS as one of the most valuable programs my children were involved in during their school years.

"Parenting a gifted child is like living in a theme park full of thrill rides. Sometimes you smile. Sometimes you gasp. Sometimes you scream. Sometimes you laugh. Sometimes you gaze in wonder and astonishment. Sometimes you're frozen in your seat. Sometimes you're proud. And sometimes the ride is so nerve-racking, you can’t do anything but cry." - Helping Gifted Children Soar (from the Great Potential Press FaceBook page)

  (ap  I hope the rest of the term goes smoothly for you and that the holidays coming up provide a break in routine and a chance to catch you breath. I will look forward to hearing from you along the way.


Derrin Cramer
Go to the new look website
Gifted Children: Resources for Parents and Teachers in WA

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This 150 page A5 size book is packed full of information. It includes current information on programs and competitions plus a vast new collection of websites, useful readings and links to other services and resources. Entries are coded to make it easy to find what you are looking for. 
New stock has now arrived and orders will be dispatched at the end of June.

Holiday Programs
Dates July 18 - 20 at Murdoch College and July 21 at Swanleigh. More more information and the program visit the
Quest Lifelearning

Tracy Taylor


Excellence in Education 2011: Giftedness, Creativity, Development
6 - July 2011 in Istambul, Turkey
organised by the International Centre for Innovation in Education


World Gifted Conference
Prague, August 8 - 12, 2011

The 2nd conference of the
International Research Association for Talent Development and Excellence
26-30 November in Saudi Arabia


Find us on Facebook

As I mentioned in the last newslettfacebook_f_logoer, Thinking Ahead now has a Facebook page. Please come by and if there is something you have found which you think others might also be interested in, leave a link or a message.

Link to the Thinking Ahead Facebook page 

A Puzzle
All Jay's jelly beans are yellow, except for 2. All Jay's jellybeans are blue except for 2 and all Jay's jellybeans are green except for 2. How can this be?? 
Links to Information you might find usefulTA Globe only 

Articles, blogs and Webinars

A challenge to the traditional view of schooling and a look at what standardised testing looks like in the real world

Call to Action: Making Gifted Education Relevant Today  an excellent outline of what may be needed to make a real difference for gifted children.

Is working memory the new IQ?

Harm and the Gifted student – an analogy using being left handed as an example

StarJump webinar series - An introduction to visual spatial thinking and learning, presented by Maxine Cowie 7.30 - 8.30PM Eastern Time on June 22  $30. Run by Australian Gifted Support

Teaching Science Is Bolstered by Fewer Lectures and More Working in Groups 

Exceptionallly and profoundly gifted students: An underserved population  Miraca Gross

We use maths Great video on why math is fun and important  

 Mathematical Minds
 While most people would agree that "math people" are not like "non-math people", it's not always easy for non-mathematical minds to recognize (and appropriately nurture) mathematical ones

Exceptionallly and profoundly gifted students: An underserved population  Miraca Gross 9 child prodigies who actually ended up doing something

Brain calisthenics for abstract ideas - utilizing what we know about the brain and it's ability to classify, this article looks at ways to improve some skills using a bottom up approach.

 Top ten things I wish all teachers knew about giftedness.
An excellent list of points, well worth reading by parents as well as teachers. From a blog written by a NZ lady.

Howard Gardner on the need for a new approach to assessment (from Joe Bower's blog) 

Raising the ceiling

Dr Peter Bishop, Futurist - Looking at change and education part 1 and Part  2    Dr Bishop spoke at the Opening of the Future Problem Solving International competition, urging us to teach about the future as often as we teach about the past (see blog post for a little more information)

Ready to Use Differentiation Strategies This book introduces various low-preparation, low-stress differentiation activities and strategies that can be implemented immediately in any content area in grades 3–5. Each differentiation strategy encourages higher level thinking and intellectual risk taking while accommodating different learning styles.

American Mensa book suggestions – small list currently which is being added to

Change your Story Change your Life Tolan (follows from last newsletter SENG webinar)  

Digital Media

Electric Eggplant multi media company, computer games and graphic novels.

Maths and Science focussed apps for the iPad look for Viruoso(piano),Triangle Solve, Tanagrams & UnblockMe for problem solving, Physics, (there's a PhysicsFree app too), ArithFit, Fractal Factory...  (suggestions come from the Bright Kids list)

Strategy Games - A list of strategies games can be found here (on Hoagies website)

Build It Design It Fidgit

Science Channel experiments

Global Education, Give Peace a Chance. Encourage peace building in preparation for the International Day of Peace on Sept 21st (and beyond).  Also includes activities suited to an Interactive White Board.

Schooling the World  a thought provoking site about culture and education, particularly in developing countries.

The miniature Earth if the earth was a village of 100 people this is what it would look like. This is the updated version with current statistics 

Green school A TED talk about a green school built in Bali from bamboo, with an eye to the future. One interesting comment John Hardy makes towards the end encouraging others to similar projects is 'to build as your grandchildren will'.

Untangling the myths about attention disorder Helps separate what it is and the influences of modern life. Worth a look.

Home school resources
Gifted homeschoolers forum (US)

Homeschool Diner - online enrichment in maths, science, visual arts, music, social studies, language and creative writing plus curriculum by subject 

Homeschool science Supercharged science 

Carnival of Homeschooling - plenty of ideas and links

Linguistics puzzles
Grouped by degree of challenge, with samples from the International Linguistics Olympiad

Using the weather forecast to sneak in some maths learning.... from the Teach Mama blog which aims 'to empower parents by providing them with simple tools and resources they can use to be the best teachers they can be for their children'.

Mr Puzzle -  WHY puzzle - excellent for visual thinkers

I probably should have shared this before the NAPLAN testing, although it is perhaps even more relevant as schools wait for the results. Two teachers and a Microphone rap about standardised testing. It is set in the USA but the issues are basically the same (although so far there is no threat of school closures for low results) 

  Link to the new look website

Link to the Thinking Ahead blog 

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Thinking Ahead Extension Workshops
ABN 50 017 429 348

PO Box 171 Como, Western Australia

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