JUNE 30 & JULY 1 2006
Welcome to a special extra Gifted Resources Email Newsletter. Here very belatedly is the report I have been promising to write on the Tasmanian Conference.
On FRIDAY 30 June evening there was a presentation by the keynote speaker Dr Diana Whitton, Senior lecturer in education at the University of Western Sydney.
What works: Parents and teachers as partners in gifted education.
For the successful education of gifted students parents and teachers must work in harmony to understand the needs of the student. Through a careful examination of the parents’ knowledge and the three facets of education, parents and teachers will develop an understanding of how to assist their child in school. The three facets are the academic, social and organisational elements to teaching and learning.
Diana is a Senior lecturer in education at the University of Western Sydney.She has worked in gifted education for the last 20 years undertaking graduate study at the Universities of Charles Sturt and Connecticut. She has published in journals and books on gifted education as well as presenting at international, national and local conferences. She
is currently working on an e-learning project with Department of Education and Training (NSW) for gifted students and a mentoring program for teachers of gifted.

This was a very interesting and informative session and we were given our handout notes in the form of a little 8 page booklet which we had fun folding ourselves. The booklet contained the diagram which Diana expounded on further during the Saturday keynote session and several of her ‘top ten’ lists such as Advice for new parents, Advice on academic aspects of giftedness, Organizational development of gifted children, Advice on Social development and parenting, 10 authors on gifted education and 10 of Diana’s current favourite books’just to read’

After supper Judy Travers from CELO gave an insight into the role of CELO in gifted education in Tasmania

TITLE: About CELO – The Centre for Extended Learning Opportunities
Tasmania is very fortunate to have CELO which offers many excellent initiatives. I was so impressed with the session and with talking to the representatives from CELO during the evening that I attended their session on the Saturday as well.

On SATURDAY 1 July after a welcome from Jane Beattie, President of TAG Inc and Sharyn Gill, Principal of Campbell St Primary School the Conference was opened by Lin Thorp.

Dr DIANA WHITTON then gave the Keynote Address : Doorways to Achievement: Opening teaching and learning to gifted students
When considering planning differentiated curriculum for gifted students the four layers of planning need to be considered. These are the context, students, differentiation strategies and teaching cycle. If these layers are considered from the lowest level we start with the Context, which comprises the community, school, year/grade level and the class. A sound knowledge of the school and community will assist the teachers in knowing the types of students and parent group they will be working with.
The second layer is the Facets of the students. To be considered are the students’ academic background and ability, their physical development, social/emotional development and their spiritual well being. The spiritual wellbeing may relate to a particular religious group or to the uniqueness of the student, which closely relates to their understandings and beliefs on a wider level.
Above the student layer is the Differentiation layer which includes the four areas of the curriculum that need to be addressed to ensure the curriculum is differentiated for gifted students. This includes the content to be taught, the processes used in teaching and learning, the creative products that the students will make, and the environment in which the teaching and learning will take place.
The top layer is the actual Teaching and Learning process – knowledge of students and self, leads into the planning, implementation and evaluation of the teaching and learning cycle.
Overarching all the layers are the Philosophy and Policies of each school on meeting the needs of gifted students.
This framework underpinning the planning and preparation for gifted students will be analysed in light of the Essentials for Learning.

These were my choices for the elective workshops
Session 2.B Sue Urban
TITLE: Open the door to The Learning Federation Learning Objects … what, why and how?
What are Learning Objects from the Learning Federation? Why have they been produced and how can I use them in teaching and learning? The Learning Objects are available FREE to all schools, through their sector representative, and they are AUSTRALIAN.
This presentation will highlight learning objects and the digital assets and how they are a useful resource in enriching content available to our students….in a fun way!
http://www.thelearningfederation.edu.au/tlf2/showMe.asp?nodeID=242 http://www.edna.edu.au/edna/go/pid/2901  http://www.teachers.ash.org.au/jmresources/learning_objects.htm
Learning Objects are small self contained interactive online resources which are suitable for use with interactive whiteboards. They do need guidance from the teacher to prevent the students getting so involved in the games that they miss the learning. Sue has written worksheets for use with learning objects which provides this guidance.

Session 3.A Betty Smith, Christopher Waterhouse & Amanda Lear
TITLE: Strategies for Success for Gifted and Gifted/Learning Disabled Students
Three speakers will provide stimulating information and strategies from separate points of view-Amanda Lear speaks as a Gifted/Dyslexic who holds 2 university degrees. She is a dynamic speaker who describes the strategies she utilised to achieve her goals-2 university degrees. She already works at executive level and is passionate about early intervention and identification for the next generation.
Christopher Waterhouse is a Gifted, Award winning Tasmanian with a diverse background in Public Speaking, Radio, Music and Theatre. He will present an entertaining presentation from his experiences with teasing and bullying issues.
Betty Smith will introduce important aspects of her Award winning book, “Success Stories-In Spite of Early Learning Problems” which provides inspiring, motivating and practical strategies for effective learning outcomes for parents, teachers and students.

This was an absoulutely inspirational session. Amanda and Christopher were both brilliant speakers. Betty’s book is on my ‘to read’ list!

Session 4.B Angela Cook & Wendy Fletcher
TITLE: Online Learning – a doorway for highly able / gifted students4.
The Centre for Extended Learning Opportunities (CELO) was set up in late 2004 as part of the major restructuring that followed the implementation of the Essential Learnings. The primary focus of CELO is provision for highly able/ gifted students. This provision includes assessment and other guidance officer services, resources, face to face extension programs including the KidzED holiday program, planning and education program assistance for schools, links with the University of Tasmania and the supported delivery of online extension programs.
Online learning provides a doorway to the engaging, stimulating and challenging programs and subject matter that is so pivotal to the education of students who are highly able / gifted. This is particularly important in the Tasmanian context as student numbers may be small and so working in ability groups may not be possible.
Research supports the provision of online learning, identifying many areas in which benefits are gained by students who are highly able / gifted. This paper looks at those benefits, and what they may mean for students who are highly able / gifted, their classrooms, teachers and parents.

For all the details of the services offered by CELO click here

Session 5.C Jenny Tayler
TITLE: The Essential Learning’s and your gifted child: Maximising opportunities
The model of concept-based instruction which underpins the Essential Learnings framework is strongly supported by the research findings into both brain-based learning and the preferred learning styles of highly able and gifted individuals. This presentation will spend some time looking at the potential within the Essential Learnings to cater for the needs of bright students, and give some suggestions and clues to positive conversations with parents and teachers about curriculum.
Session 6.C Jo Freitag
TITLE: Gifted Resources -Signposts to Cheetah Portals
This presentation describes how the non profit information service, Gifted Resources, attempts to disseminate information relating to the concepts and realities of care for the gifted and point the direction to doors of opportunity for achievement
Based on the analogies of the cheetah to a gifted person (Is it a cheetah? by Stephanie Tolan c.1996 http://www.stephanietolan.com/is_it_a_cheetah.htm) and the signpost to Gifted Resources, this presentation will discuss the methods used to meet the information and resource needs of teachers, parents and service providers who care for gifted students. Acting as a signpost to sources of information and service provision, Gifted Resources functions as a library, bookshop, news service and service locater. Utilising a website and email newsletter it assists in communication and networking between those involved with the care of gifted students and publicise the doors of opportunity that are available.Through the presentation of seminars, guest speakers and film discussions, Gifted Resources acts as an educator on topics related to giftedness and seek to help increase knowledge and dispel myths.Gifted Resources also endeavors to provide a point of contact and encouragement for those who care for the gifted.To see my Presentation go to  http://www.giftedresources.org/ then About Us then click on Read Jo Freitag’s Presentation Signposts to Cheetah Portals.
Session 7.C Kate Tucker
TITLE: Pathways to Understanding the Social and Emotional needs of Gifted Students.
What expectations do we as parents and teachers have of our highly able/gifted students? How can we better understand their social and emotional needs? During this session we will explore the myths and realities surrounding these issues to gain a better understanding of the uniqueness of growing up gifted…