Dr. Hope E. Wilson was honored at the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) during the organization’s annual conference in Charlotte, NC, during the 2017-18 school year. Dr Wilson, an associate professor at the University of North Florida and president-elect of the Florida Association for Gifted Children, was awarded NAGC’s 2017 Early Leader Award for her service in the field of gifted education at the local, state, and national levels.
The Early Leader Award is presented to people who are within 10 years of receiving their doctorate and have made significant contributions through leadership and service in support of gifted children. Early leaders actively participate in NAGC and other organizations for the gifted, as well as advocate and educate others about the needs of gifted students.
In an interview with the University of North Florida Journal, Dr. Wilson said, “In our country, we have many great laws to protect students with special needs. But we don’t have any legislation nationally that protects the needs of our gifted learners. So, part of my research is to find out what those needs are and what happens when states and counties develop programs directly tied to gifted learning.”
As a member of the Innovation Collaborative board of directors and executive committee, Dr. Wilson leads the organization’s K-12 Effective Practices Research Project and has been active in other organization initiatives.
“NAGC is committed to providing opportunities and resources to better understand and serve all gifted and talented children,” said M. René Islas, NAGC Executive Director. “The awards program shines a light on those who are making a difference in supporting gifted children as they reach to achieve their personal best.”
“I am honored to receive this award, as I continue to work and advocate for gifted children in Florida and across the country,” said Dr. Wilson.
Juli Salzman, Music Specialist, Northside Elementary, Angleton, TX
We had some 2nd graders present uses of technology in the music classroom at our district’s Technology Showcase. They did such a great job that three other teachers and I selected and coached a group of eighteen 3rd, 4th and 5th graders to become STEAM Ambassadors. We taught them how to make presentations and confidently speak to groups about STEAM activities and benefits. We presented at the Music and Technology Conference of Houston during the 2017-18 school year. The kids also presented the music items they shared with elementary music teachers in the Greater Houston area. Marcelo Caplan, from Columbia University of Chicago and the creator of an awesome after-school STEAM program in the Chicago area was the keynote speaker.
Children learn best when they are exploring authentic problems that are relevant to them and their communities. But today, children have less freedom to explore. Those children who come from restricted environments have even less opportunities for rich, exploratory experiences than others. So teachers often rely on literature to introduce new contexts and new worlds in which children can reason.
Integrating literature and the STEM fields is an easy leap for most instructors. For 45 years, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the Children’s Book Council have worked together to identify the most Outstanding Science Trade Books for young scientists. But in the past few years, new questions have emerged. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are subjects in themselves. But STEM is more than that: it is a creative state of mind. STEM is naturally integrated, and includes arts, social studies and any other realm in which young learners can ask questions and solve problems.
So in 2016 NSTA convened a panel of representatives from technology, engineering, mathematics and science educators to redefine what the Best STEM books might represent. Their conclusion: Subject matter content didn’t really matter. What was important was creativity, divergent thinking and the spirit of invention. STEM thinking might involve science or mathematics, but it might equally involve social studies or the arts.
A year of discussions resulted in a rubric, and an invitation to publishers. “Send us your “BEST STEM books that illustrate innovation so that we can encourage this sort of integration.” The result: about 350 submissions to a panel of representatives from five associations. The panel identified 21 books that illustrated how creativity and ingenuity could work. The list included books about inventors, artists and architects and stories about stubborn young “makers” and a crafty pirate with a plan. To see that list, click here.
In 2017, 22 books were selected from over 330. They included music, architecture, art, and even coding skills without words or computers – all representing the best in integration. See them here.
Dr. James Catterall, Collaborative Thought Leader and founding director of the Center for Research on Creativity, passed away unexpectedly last year. Collaborative Advisory Council member James Palmarini, Director of Educational Policy for the Educational Theatre Association published a blog in honor of Dr. Catterall in which he wrote, “The arts education community lost one of its champions….Dr. Catterall has been called “the father of arts education research” and I don’t think that’s hyperbole. Over four decades, his landmark studies showcasing the impact of arts experiences on students has been the benchmark that advocates, policy makers, teachers, fellow researchers and a host of others have used to make the case for arts education programs in our schools and communities….His work serves as the bible of proof as to why every student should have the opportunity to engage in art making as part of their school career. Reports like Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development and his seminal longitudinal study, Doing Well and Doing Good by Doing Art, in which he tracked the connections between high involvement in arts learning and general academic success in students over a twelve-year period, offer rigorous evidence of what those of us working with students—whether in theatre, music, dance, or visual arts—have witnessed time and time again: that encouraging children to create and share the art that they make and do helps them become better, more positive human beings able to make their way in the world today and for the rest of their lives.“
Objects in Motion
The barely perceptible hum I almost missed,
the tiniest oscillation on the screen,
was the dancing line of the first fireball returning.
Time as a tidal pool became clear,
how to stand quietly at its edge and look back in,
and later, looking back in, it became easy
to count every pulsar and nebula,
asteroid and comet, moon and meteor.
Not far from a field of corn on one planet,
next to a car parked beneath the pinball sky,
one person takes a small step forward
into the arms of another. I think,
from this distance, of their particulate image
rolling out in waves, riding the seahorse photons,
of the small step, of their arms enfolding,
of their stepping again and again into comforting arms,
the eternal momentum of objects in motion.