Agenda and Session Info

Schedule of Events

Thursday, October 22, 2015

8:30am - 3:30pm Pre-Conference Leadership Event
3:30 - 6:00pm Early Check-in for Conference
5:00 - 7:00pm Friends of CAG Reception - Cash Bar & Hors d'oeuvres (all invited) Sponsored by the Neag Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development at the University of Connecticut

Friday, October 23, 2015

7:45 – 8:30am Check-in / Continental Breakfast  / Exhibitors
8:30 – 8:45am Welcome - Dr. Dianna Wentzell, Commissioner of Education
8:30 – 10:15am Keynote Address – Janna Peskett, Mindset Works
10:15am – 10:45am Coffee Break / Exhibitors / Book Sales
10:45am – 12 noon Signature Series / Breakout Session 1
12 noon – 1:15pm Lunch / Friend of the Gifted Award
1:15pm – 2:30pm Signature Series / Breakout Session 2
2:30pm – 3:00pm Coffee Break / Exhibitors / Book Sales
3:00pm – 4:15pm Signature Series / Breakout Session 3
4:30pm – 5:30pm Book Signings / Exhibitors / Cash Bar

Saturday, October 24, 2015

7:45am – 8:30am Check-in / Continental Breakfast / Exhibitors
8:30am – 8:45am Welcome
8:45am – 10:00am Breakout Session 4
10:00am – 10:15am Coffee Break / Exhibitors / Book Sales
10:30am – 11:45am Mini-Keynotes – Del Siegle or Kathryn Haydon & Jane Harvey
11:45 a.m - 1:00pm Lunch / Exhibitors / Book Sales
1:00pm – 2:15pm Breakout Session 5
2:15pm – 2:30pm Coffee Break / Exhibitors / Book Sales
2:30pm – 3:45pm Breakout Session 6

Thursday, October 22, 2015

8:30 – 3:30pm Pre-conference Leadership Event for District and Building Administrators, G/T Coordinators, Board of Ed members, Legislators

Meeting the Needs of Your Gifted and High-Ability Learners on a Tight Budget

This special pre-conference program is designed for an audience of district and building administrators, board of education members, other educational leaders and policy makers. It focuses on key concepts and models for meeting the needs of advanced learners in a time of limited resources. The speakers are nationally recognized researchers in gifted education and talent development who have spent their careers researching and developing successful initiatives to support gifted and talented learners while responding to the needs of all students.
All registrations include lunch.

8:30-8:35am Katie Augustyn / Bonnie O'Regan Welcome and Introduction
8:45-10:00am Dr. Elissa Brown Gifted Learners and Common Core Learning Standards: Implications for schools & classrooms
10:15-11:30am Dr. Catherine Little Buzzwords or Ballast? Quality Elements in Curriculum and Instruction for the Gifted
11:30-12:15pm Lunch Welcome remarks
12:30-1:45pm Dr. Joseph Renzulli, Gara Field, Julie Martin-Beaulieu, Robert Gilbert, Kathleen McCoy The Administrator's Role in Total Talent Development Programs
2:00-3:15pm Dr. Joyce VanTassel-Baska A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America's Brightest Students

3:30 - 6:00pm Early Check-in for Conference

3:30 - 7:00pm Exhibitors / Book Sales

5:00 - 7:00pm Friends of CAG Reception - Cash Bar & Hors d'oeuvres (all invited)

Friday, October 23, 2015

7:45 - 8:30am Check-in / Continental Breakfast/Exhibitors

8:30 - 10:15am Welcome / Keynote
"Ignite Learning with a Growth Mindset" 
Janna Peskett, Director, Digital Content and Curriculum Design, Mindset Works

Frequently we see high achieving students thrive on challenges, but then crumble and shut down in the face of a failure. What can we do to produce more resilient and persistent gifted students who understand the value and necessity of hard work and laborious effort? Janna Peskett, a growth mindset expert from Mindset Works,  will explain how student motivation and resilience is a result of effective learning strategies and a growth mindset, the belief that mastery can be achieved through effort, and not inborn talent. New research shows that our implicit beliefs about intelligence determine our educational outcomes. Learn how to help students develop self-efficacy and resilience through the growth mindset - a fundamental idea that underlies all motivation, achievement, and success in school and in life.

10:15 - 10:45am Coffee Break / Exhibitors / Book Sales

Session 1: 10:45 - 12:00 noon

Dr. Joyce VanTassel-Baska - Accelerating the Gifted in the Age of the Common Core

A Nation Empowered provides an update to the watershed work initiated by A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America's Brightest Students. A Nation Deceived informed us of research-based practices for challenging academically talented youth. A Nation Empowered tells the story of how well we have applied what we have learned. The purpose of A Nation Empowered is to inform educators, parents, and policy makers of current research on acceleration, how that information has been applied to educational policy throughout the nation, and how educators can use the findings to make decisions for their brightest students.

Breakout Session 1:

Dr. Carla Brigandi

Rigorous Creativity?
Ten different uses for a paperclip? In this session, participants will learn about classic creativity techniques, but equally important, they will also learn how to use these fun and engaging cross-curricular techniques to increase academic rigor and support student thinking.

Damon M. Piletz The Gifted Child and the Common Core Learning Standards: Building Strategies for Total Development
With new mandates and federal ideals, we need to remember that the Common Core Learning Standards are your building code and the renovation design is up to you. They are the rules of the game instead of a strategy for ensuing success in a game.
Dr. Elissa F. Brown Identification of Gifted Learners: Why and How?
Concerns about identifying gifted learners, particularly those from traditionally under-represented groups, have caused administrators and teachers difficulty in terms of politics, procedures, and determining appropriate service delivery. This session will explore the larger educational landscape with regard to identification as well as provide practical tools and tips for administrators and teachers.
Dr. N. Gail Herman Teaching Children Philosophy (TCP) Through Children's Literature
This session is based on Dr. Tom Wartenberg's TCP class at Mount Holyoke College in MA. I will share strategies for students in grades K through 6. Using trade books, we retell folktales to initiate philosophical discussions within a theme of civil discourse free of logical fallacies. Listening and responding with respect is emphasized as well as how to construct responses and refine ideas. Students come to see that building on what they hear by listening carefully to others' ideas leads to a satisfying disagreement or agreement, where everyone can see what the points are.
Dr. M. Katherine Gavin Raising the Common Core Math Standards to New Heights for Our Talented Elementary Students
How can you increase challenge and spark motivation in your math classes? Three new field-tested units from the NAGC award-winning Project M3 series can help. Participants will engage in in-depth investigations that develop critical thinking and creativity while focusing on advanced concepts.
Lorrie-Anne Monte Innovating Intuition: Creative Thinking Strategies for Affective Development
Gifted learners may experience social/emotional concerns in learning and relationships. Given GT students' capacity for higher-level thinking, creative thinking strategies may foster development of problem-solving skills. We will explore strategies to help students develop creative problem-solving strategies for lifelong use.
Dr. Susannah Richards The Reality Is: Recently Published Nonfiction Books Kids Will Want to Read
Tell me more about Emerson or how to be a cheetah scientist. With the increased attention on reading and writing expository text in the Common Core State Standards, it is imperative that teachers and students be able to engage with high-quality informational texts. This session will highlight a diverse variety of recently published nonfiction texts that they will be able to use to ignite readers to create meaning. An extensive booklist and suggestions to use the titles in the curriculum will be shared.  
Dr. Patti Drapeau Higher Order Thinking and Assessment: Realizing what Counts
The presenter demonstrates how to assess thinking by showing criteria that are quantitatively and qualitatively specific, measureable, and observable. The presenter addresses how to assess thinking in formative or summative assessments as well as how to show growth over time.
Nathan Levy Powerful Strategies to Enhance Learning of Gifted Students
This workshop explores numerous, proven ways to reach gifted learners in challenging ways. Participants will leave with new strategies and specific ideas to help pupils become better creative and critical thinkers. Bring your thinking caps and your funny bones.

12 noon - 1:10pm Lunch, "Friend of Gifted" Award

Session 2: 1:15 - 2:30pm

Breakout Session 2:

Dr. Susan Baum '2E: Twice Exceptional - a film by Thomas Ropelewski': Part 1 (Documentary Screening)
Here is your opportunity to view the award winning documentary by Tom Ropeleski about students who are both gifted and challenged with learning, attention, or social issues. This moving film will allow you to hear from students, parents, teachers and professionals about their insights of what it is like to be twice exceptional. There will be time for questions and discussion following the screening during the next breakout session (moderated by Dr. Susan Baum).
Dr. Sally Reis Challenging Talented Readers in Your Classrom or Gifted Program
(grades 1 - 8)
This session summarizes research on telented readers and research-based instructional strategies for these students. The special needs of this group ardiscussed as are specific differentiated strategies that enable them to make continuous progress in reading using the Schoolwide Enrichment Reading Framework (SEMR) with three phases of reading instruction. 
Dr. Carla Brigandi Academicize Enrichment!
Learn how to combine elements of acceleration, including structure and rigorous learning methodologies, with elements of enrichment, including interest and meaningfulness. In this way, gifted students get the best of both worlds! Participants will have access to online resources.
Dr. Rachel R. McAnallen Creative Mathematics Is Not an Oxymoron within the Core Curriculum
Arithmetic could be defined as answering the question whereas mathematics could be defined as questioning the answer. Mathematics can be highly creative in its own right when taught through a conceptual base rather than a procedural one. Teaching through a conceptual base fosters creativity in the student and excitement in the classroom.
Neesha Nanda Rahim Empowering Innovation: 3D Printing in the Classroom (suitable for beginners!)
Join us on a hands-on journey into the world of 3D printing in this fast paced workshop for educators who want to explore how to use this cutting-edge technology to inspire innovation and creativity in the classroom. You'll leave with a real taste of how CAD works, an opportunity to get a free printer for your classroom and a list of free, educator-tested resources guaranteed to light up your students' eyes.
Cindy Nottage & Virginia Morse IIM – A Successful Research Model for Gifted Students (Gr. 3-8)
Do your students find research assignments difficult? Do even your gifted students hand in plagiarized, poor quality work? Help is at hand! Learn CCSS-based strategies from a proven research model, The Independent Investigation Method, that give support where students experience difficulty and enable G/T students to maximize their talents in rigorous independent studies.
Damon M. Piletz The Gifted Mindset: A Catalyst for Developing the Immovable
In the present climate of education, recognizing one's mindset seems to get a lot of attention. Use of the label of "gifted" can be a catalyst for overall development and not of complacency. This workshop will focus on the major areas that gifted student should be improving and developing to truly be a gifted, life-long learner.
Olivia Delaney, Alyssa Chmura & John Lombardo What Lies Beneath: Arts and the Core Curriculum
The aim of this workshop is to illustrate interdisciplinary lessons as a technique for incorporating arts into the core subjects. The activities provided are designed to engage students globally, socially, and academically while adhering to Common Core Standards.
Dr. Catherine Little & Rebecca O'Brien

Project SPARK: Promoting High Potential at K-2
Project SPARK is implementing the Young Scholars Model, an approach to seeking and nurturing high potential among students from traditionally underserved populations, in several New England schools. We will share elements of the model and details from our first year.

2:30 - 3:00pm Coffee Break / Exhibitors / Book Sales

Session 3: 3:00 - 4:15pm

Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli - An Infusion Based Approach to Curriculum Enrichment: Jazzing Up the Common Core

The widespread adoption of the Common Core has promoted enthusiastic interest among gifted education advocates and several promising practices for adapting standards have been contributed to the literature in gifted education. This presentation describes a practice that can be used in regular classrooms and in cases where adapted standards for high achieving students have not been implemented. The practices use a curriculum enrichment infusion process that guides teachers through the steps necessary to select, inject, and extend higher-level thinking skills, creativity training, and the application of knowledge skills into any and all regular curricular content.

Breakout Session 3:

Dr. Susan Baum '2E: Twice Exceptional - a film by Thomas Ropelewski': Part 2 (Follow-up Discussion)
Moderated by Dr. Susan Baum, Director, National Institute for 2E Research and Development at Bridges Academy, CA. Discuss Ropelewski's film and other 2e issues with an expert in the field.
Dr. Sherry Earle, Kathy Crosby & Nancy Bradley Bouncing Back – Developing Resiliency in Gifted Children
All children face challenges in life. We can assess risk factors such as lack of connectedness, repeated daily stress, perfectionism and lack of practice with stressful events. Gifted children can develop the skills needed to bounce back from difficult situations.
Susan Dulong Langley Identification of Gifted Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners: On a Pathway to Understanding
English Language Learners (ELLs), are the fastest growing population of learners in the United States. However, despite their growing numbers, ELL representation in gifted programming continues to lag behind traditional populations of learners, as well as other underserved populations of learners. Whether in the classroom or gifted programming, what are the important considerations in meeting this diverse population's needs? In this session, we will explore how we can leverage what we know from research into meaningful, manageable ways to recognize and meet the needs of gifted ELLs.
Dr. Patti Drapeau  Is Differentiation Really Working with Gifted Students?
What one teacher thinks is differentiated another teacher thinks is differentiated but not differentiated enough for gifted students. The presenter identifies strategies that make a real difference for gifted students and suggests ways to make differentiation doable, possible, and effective.
Jonathan R. Craig &  Dr. Jessica Lodwick Native Americans and Archaeological Puzzles for kids
How do archaeologists interpret the past and what do artifacts mean? Native Americans left clues and pieces of puzzles to their ancient past that kids can decipher by inquiry, investigation and interpretation.
Lydia H. Gibb & Jennifer Travers The Power of Play: Supporting the Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Children
As practitioners, we have experienced the powerful effect of play in helping gifted students cope with everyday stresses. We will share strategies in a demonstration and discussion format.
Dr. Barbara Swicord Working the Future
Are your students prepared for jobs that don't yet exist? While the future is uncertain, we can teach students to solve complex problems and be self-directed learners, becoming experts in emerging fields. Explore strategies to prepare for future careers with confidence and creativity!
Lavinia Southam & Meghan Geary  Writing in a Differentiated, Gifted Classroom
Writing is a wonderfully versatile teaching tool in a differentiated, gifted classroom because it is the one area where teachers can assign a single topic and yet reach the abilities of every child in their classroom.
Matthew Worwood Project-Based Learning: The Role of the Creative Thinking Advocate
Digital technology is an essential ingredient to the implementation of a 21st Century classroom. Utilizing these technical marvels we now have a genuine opportunity to increase creative output in students. This presentation will showcase creative thinking methods that can be easily incorporated into project-based learning, with special emphasis on the ideation process and how we as educators can better advocate for the production of original products that have value to an intended audience.

4:30 - 5:30pm Book Signings / Exhibitors / Cash Bar

7:00 – 9:00pm Dive-in Movie

Saturday, October 24, 2015

7:45 - 8:30am Check-in / Continental Breakfast / Exhibitors

8:30 - 8:40am Welcome

Session 4: 8:45 - 10:00am

Breakout Session 4:

Dr. Marcia A. B. Delcourt Bridging the Achievement Gap for Able Middle Schoolers
The Early College Academy prepares high potential low-income adolescents to improve their achievement, confidence, and habits of mind. In this session strategies used to assist these students to apply to and be accepted at competitive urban high schools will be presented.
Kathy Kennedy & Lisa Beth Savitz Families and the Connecticut Core Standards
This workshop will connect caregivers with the Common Core in Connecticut. Learn: where we are in implementation, why the PTA is involved, what myths surround the standards and assessments, ways to support student learning at home, and how the PTA can help you.
Nicole S. Waicunas Enjoyment, Engagement, and Enthusiasm for Learning: Enrichment Clusters
Engage in student-driven, real-world learning experiences! Teachers will discover how to utilize their own interests to enable students to engage in work as practicing professionals, applying advanced content and methods to develop products and services for authentic audiences.
Dr. E. Jean Gubbins Infusing Critical and Creative Thinking Skills Into Curricula
Learn how to promote "learning to think" and "thinking to learn" among your students by focusing on complex issues that reflect real-life problems. Transform approaches to curricula by using questioning skills; cubing; role, audience, format, topic (R.A.F.T.); and tiered assignments.
Karen Beitler Science/Math Integration for Earth's Sake
In this hands-on workshop, participants will participate in innovative activities that illustrate the science and math behind real-world ecology concepts such as carrying capacity, natural resource use, habitats and biodiversity. Presented strategies include group problem-solving, graphing/analysis, and role-playing simulations.
Rebecca O'Brien & Kelly L. Kearney SPARKing High Potential
The high potential shown identifying that potential can be difficult. We will model interactive lessons focused on elicit- ing behaviors indicating high students from historically underserved groups doesn't always look like "typical gifted behavior.
Dr. Aimee Yermish Within Normal Limits: How To Spot Real Problems In Gifted Kids
There is a broad range of "normal" behavior, and gifted kids' intensity often pushes the boundaries of that. Some- times, the child's issues are just quirks. Sometimes they are minor problems being made worse by an unhelpful environ- ment. Sometimes, they are serious problems. We don't want to overpathologize what's normal, but we also don't want to miss a real problem that really needs prompt intervention. I will talk about how we can tell the difference and how we can explain what we're seeing in ways that professionals can understand. Bring your questions!

10:00 - 10:15am Coffee Break / Exhibitors / Book Sales

Mini-Keynotes: 10:15 - 11:45am

Dr. Del Siegle - Advocacy for Gifted Children

The frequently cited quote, "If you are not at the table you are on the menu" certainly applies to advocating for gifted children. Without strong voices that draw attention to their needs, gifted children will not have the necessary resources to reach their full potential. During this session, we will discuss strategies for productively advocating for gifted students with audiences that range from your child's classroom teacher to a U.S. senator.

Kathryn Haydon & Jane Harvey - Creative Thinking: A Path to Happiness and Deeper Learning

Is everybody really creative? In this dynamic, interactive session, the presenters will shed light on the science of creativity and its power to deepen learning and support growth. Participants will actively engage their own creative thinking and problem solving in the process. You will return home with inspiration and strategies to help you nurture creative thinking and problem solving in the classroom, in your family, and beyond.

11:45 – 12:45pm Lunch / Exhibitors / Book Sales

Session 5: 1:00 - 2:15pm

Breakout Session 5:

Dr. Rachel R. McAnallen Creative Problem Solving for the Spatially Talented Student
Tangrams are probably the least expensive but the most powerful set of manipulatives in the math teacher's geometry toolbox. Beginning with flips, slides, and turns, (reflections, translations, and rotations) proceeding through geometric vocabulary, similarity and congruence, then concluding with the grand finale of the Pythagorean Theorem, the tangrams can be used for teaching geometry at any grade level. Besides using the tangrams for geometry, in depth fractional problem solving at an algebraic level can challenge the most mathematically talented student in the classroom. This age old puzzle can bring excitement and fun into the math classroom and turn around those students who have been traditionally bored with the memorization of geometric terms and vocabulary.
Dr. Aimee Yermish "If You're So Smart...": Coaching to Improve Executive Functioning
Most of the interventions suggested for helping gifted kids get their work done, keep track of stuff, manage time, and the like, involve imposing adult will on an uncooperative child. But that doesn't work well at all... We will explore executive functioning, how to figure out what's really going on, and practical ways to intervene. Learn to work with your child (or your spouse, or yourself!) to make long-term change. Bring your questions!
Dr. Laura F. Main & Dr. Marcia A. B. Delcourt Improving Creative Thinking and Problem Solving Performance
Creative thinking involves critical thinking and problem-solving. This complex set of skills should have a more prominent place in the 21st century classroom. Find out how to infuse style training into classroom activities and improve problem-solving performance.
Erik M. Francis Now THAT'S a Good Question!
What is a good question—or rather, how does a good question address the cognitive rigor of college and career ready standards? Learn how to develop good questions that challenge and engage students to think deeply and communicate the depth and extent of their learning using oral, written, creative, or technical expression.
Dr. Susan T. Berry Parent Drop-In
If you're a parent of a gifted child or adolescent and have a question about your child you'd like to share with a psychologist who specializes in gifted children, drop in for a brief chat with Dr. Berry.
Nicole S. Waicunas The Goals, Gifts, and Growth of Authentic Research
Finding out how to capture students' attention, hold it, and then, enable them to dig deeper into researching that
which interests them is every teacher's dream. This workshop will enable you to discover the interests of your students, capitalize on them, and enable your students to truly own their work, share their work, and be motivated to discover the best that they can be.
Kelly Lomax The Never-Ending Story-of Learning
We are training future leaders of our world. We must embrace this charge by keeping students engaged with rigorous (which is different from difficult) opportunities to grow as learners. Participants will learn strategies, including an overview of Talents Unlimited, that you can include in your class to write your own "Never-Ending Story of Learners."

Session 6: 2:30 - 3:45pm

Breakout Session 6:

Dr. Susan Baum 2e: Twice Exceptional a film by Thomas Ropelewski: (Documentary Screening and discussion)
Here is your opportunity to view the award winning documentary by Tom Ropeleski about students who are both gifted and challenged with learning, attention, or social issues. This moving film will allow you to hear from students, parents, teachers and professionals about their insights of what it is like to be twice exceptional. There will be time for questions and discussion following the screening.
Sarah Hack Co-Constructed Learning: Increasing Motivation
Teachers often watch groups lose motivation during co-constructed learning. How do we avoid pitfalls and ensure that co-constructed learning helps gifted students increase motivation and academic achievement? This presentation is aimed toward deepening knowledge of co-constructed learning while boosting engagement.
Dr. Gail N. Herman Family Story Writing and Storytelling
The book Tales of Mischievous Martha: New York City Wanderings, Foster Care, and Orphanage Life will inspire stu- dents to write about their own experiences and those of their families. Martha's stories are true, short, humorous, and sometimes sad. Book samples from G/T and regular classes will be shared. The process is fun as well as instructional. Audience members will participate in several activities and be given a handout and online link to this writing process. The Core is addressed, of course!
Erik M. Francis R.E.I.D. to Learn: Research, Experiment, Investigate, Design
Learn how to challenge and engage students to examine and explore concepts and content by having them R.E.I.D. to Learn: Research, Experiment. Investigate, Design. Use open-ended, text dependent questions that challenge and engage students to gather the information they need. Students will process knowledge and think more deeply as they draw their own conclusions and generate their own ideas about what they are learning.
Gena M. Rotas Reducing Stress and Anxiety with EFT or 'Tapping'
In order to develop advanced thinkers, educators and parents need new skills and strategies to help children manage their well-being, regulate their emotional state, and support their success. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or Tap- ping is an easy, simple and fast skill to reduce anxiety and fear, in order to help children flourish.
MaryGrace Stewart The Whole Apple
The core isn't the whole apple, nor is CCSS the whole of education. This session presents a repositioning of CCSS and testing in a deductive model that increases learning in ways that increase insight and discernment, especially for bright students.

To volunteer or for more information contact: Bonnie O'Regan, Conference Chair at

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