Archive for May, 2013

My experience with Destination Imagination

May 26, 2013 Leave a comment

di_logoI’ve just returned from Knoxville, Tenn., where I attended the Global Finals of Destination Imagination (D.I.), an organization that encourages kids to solve open-ended challenges that require technical skill, artistic talent, interpersonal skills — or maybe all of that and more.

This year, I’ve managed a team of kids as they’ve learned new skills, foremost among them the ability to cooperate and work together as they navigate the creative process. This week, I’ve watched as kids from all around the world came together to celebrate the ingenuity and creativity of the work they’ve done this year.

What kids do in D.I. is hard to explain. Sometimes they create a performance. Sometimes they build a structure designed to hold hundreds of pounds. Sometimes they build vehicles that run a course to earn points. Sometimes they conceive and implement community service projects. The specific details of the challenges vary from year to year, but what is always true is that the kids use their own minds and hands to solve them. All the ideas must come from the kids, and they have to translate those ideas into a performance, a project, a structure, whatever their challenge requires, without interference from parents, teachers, or anyone outside the team.

I’ve watched this concept in action, and it works. It teaches the kids to be self-reliant and independent, and in the end, the teams have tremendous pride in knowing what they’ve achieved, on their own.

Here in Georgia, D.I. does not draw as many teams as a similar organization called Odyssey of the Mind, and in my opinion, that’s a shame. My team and I are refugees from the Odyssey program, and while Odyssey loyalists can disagree, my personal experience has been that D.I. is more supportive, more positive, and more fun than Odyssey ever was.

If you’re interested in creating a team at your school, in your neighborhood, with your Boy Scout troop, or anywhere, check out the Destination Imagination web site. Registration for new teams won’t open until August, but now is a great time to start planning. The Affiliate Director for Georgia, Dave Lohrmann, is a terrific resource who can answer questions and help you get started. Please tell him Dori sent you.



Contact senators now about gifted education policy

May 17, 2013 Leave a comment

According to a bulletin from the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), a bill that would call for greater support of education of gifted children will be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in the next few weeks.

The bill, known as the TALENT Act (S.512), requires that states release the data they have collected about gifted students’ achievement, allowing the public to better understand how we are serving gifted students from various socio-economic groups. It also would require  professional development for teachers in identifying and serving gifted students; allow the use of Title I funds to be used for training teachers in gifted education; and provide funding for continued research into the most effective methods of teaching gifted students.

How can you help? Contact our U.S. senators, Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, and ask that they sign on as co-sponsors of this legislation.

National education policy has not made gifted education a priority. Let’s make our voices heard!

Categories: Advocacy and policy

Summer courses for kids who crave more math

May 14, 2013 Leave a comment

The Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science is offering a summer special on its online series of math courses for highly talented students.

Order the three-course series before June 1 and you’ll receive the discounted price of $134.95.

IMACS is intended for middle-school students whose high intellect enables them to learn foundational concepts of math, which are then applied to topics in the standard high-school math curriculum. Completing the Elements of Mathematics: Foundations coursework in middle-school will enable these kids to take IMACS’ college-level math courses during high school.


Categories: Enrichment

300 followers — thank you for reading!

May 9, 2013 8 comments

Today, this blog hit a major milestone: 300 followers.

I am flattered and humbled. Three hundred people think what I am doing here is valuable and worthwhile. I never imagined, when I started this web site several years ago, that it would be so well-received.

In honor of this achievement, I’d like to take a moment to say thank you to my followers. Your decision to subscribe tells me that my work is helping you give your gifted child a better experience. And that’s why I do this. To help.

I receive no payment for my research and writing time. I accept neither advertising nor paid announcements. My only reward comes from knowing I’ve aided other parents like me in meeting the challenges inherent in raising gifted children.

Thank you for your support.


Categories: Uncategorized

Ten80 Racing Challenge revs up STEM curriculum

May 8, 2013 Leave a comment

student racing challengeLast week, students from a dozen schools around Atlanta took part in the U.S. Army’s Ten80 Racing Challenge, an event that brings STEM concepts to life.

Ten80, created as a NASCAR initiative for STEM learning, is an educational program for middle schools and high schools. It combines high-level math with real-world technical skills in a curriculum aligned with Common Core standards.

Students in Ten80 spend the school year building remote-controlled vehicles for maximum speed and stability, and can even incorporate high-tech elements — such as robotics or alternative energy sources — into their cars. They can choose to compete against other schools from around the country, or just use this project-based learning as an enhancement to teaching STEM.

Schools can purchase the curriculum with available funds or with grants, or can apply for a sponsorship from the U.S. Army. Getting the curriculum in place can take up to a year, so plan ahead if you’d like to bring this to your school.

Categories: Enrichment

Alpharetta mom seeks homeschooled girls for a LEGO robotics team

May 6, 2013 Leave a comment

I am passing along a note I received last week. I’ve heard only good things about the FIRST LEGO League.

I am Sunitha Jayakumar, homeschooling mom to a 10 year old gifted girl. I am looking to start a Girl Scouts Robotics FLL team (First Lego League), for the coming year. The team can have a maximum of 6-7 girls. The meetings will be at my place in Alpharetta (near McGinnis Ferry Rd). Please pass on this information to any homeschooling girls interested in joining the team. The age group is 9-14 years.

Thanks for your help.

You can contact Sunitha by reconstructing this e-mail address:

sunitha_jay AT yahoo DOT com

Application deadline for Advanced Academy at UWG is June 1

May 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Advanced AcademyThe Advanced Academy of Georgia, a residential program located at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, is now accepting applications for Fall 2013.

The Academy mostly admits rising high-school juniors and seniors, although the school will consider younger students of exceptional ability.

Advanced Academy can be an ideal environment for students with both the intellect and social maturity to get an early start on their college experience, in an environment where they have like-minded peers.

Unlike some early college options, Advanced Academy is one of a handful of programs in the United States where a high-school student can learn in a college setting — including living on campus — while earning both high-school and college course credits. That means they begin earning credits for a college degree, while at the same time fulfilling the requirements for their high-school diploma.

The application deadline for both admission and need-based financial aid is June 1.

Categories: Beyond K-12