On April 12, 2013, nearly 75 educators met at the Elmbrook Schools District Office to discuss gifted and talented students and the RtI (Response to Intervention) initiative in Wisconsin. At the request of the educators interested in challenging gifted learners, the Wisconsin RtI Center is creating a database of evidence/research-based extensions for gifted students under the RtI framework that will be shared with interested educators in Wisconsin. To submit ideas to be considered for this database, please visit this site:
Bi-annual submission deadlines are May 15 (Spring) and October 15 (Fall).
As the database is vetted and populated, gifted educators will be able to easily find recommended resources for their learners. Stay tuned for more information!
Thanks to all of the day’s participants, and to Jean Paulus from Wauwatosa, Elyce Moschella and Kelli Kwiatkowski from the Elmbrook Schools (organizers), and Heidi Erstad from the Wisconsin RtI Center for a day well spent.
We may want your old files.
WATG is working with archivists at the Wisconsin Historical Society to document the history of organized advocacy for gifted children in Wisconsin.
Please contact us at email@example.com if you have any of the following materials to donate. Our plan is to submit the materials during Winter 2013-14, so please don’t send documents to WATG at this time. We’ll be in touch with you about when and where to donate.
- WCGT, WAEGT or WATG board of directors’ files including,
- budget and/or year-end summaries
- committee reports
- policy and project records
- successful grant applications and reports
- legal files
- meeting minutes
- identified photographs
- position papers
- press releases
- project files
- reports, including those on internal workings of the organization
NOT WANTED: These materials are usually unusable or have minimal historical value:
- Regional GT Network documents (ex: Greater Dane County Talented & Gifted Coordinators’ Network, Whitewater Talented & Gifted Network, GT Consortium of CESA 7, etc)
- University and College gifted programming documents (ex: UW Extension College for Kids, Video and Radio series, Badger Brain Games)
- WCATY documents
- Inaudible and/or unlabeled audio recordings
- bank statements
- blank stationary
- cancelled checks and/or check stubs
- cash journals
- conference planning files and registration forms
- routine correspondence (Thank-you notes, dues statements, hotel reservations, etc.)
- files of newspaper clippings and magazine articles on topical areas
Dear Educators and Parents,
The Mensa of Wisconsin Foundation is currently looking for projects to fund for the 2013 fiscal year. Yes, I said "fund"! We focus our giving on worthy projects in the areas of literacy and gifted education where we can really make a difference. In the past, our giving was primarily to libraries, some schools and the Capitol Science Fair. Starting this year, I'd like us to get some money into the hands of educators who are working directly with gifted Wisconsin children. We do not usually donate to general operating funds, but would be happy to help a gifted ed teacher from a poor district travel to the WATG conference for professional development, for example, or to fund a special classroom project for gifted students, or to help defray the costs of a SENG parent group facilitator to help set up your group.The Mensa of Wisconsin Foundation is a small philanthropic organization established with an endowment by the members of Mensa of Wisconsin in 1986 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt foundation.
MOWF was created to support and engage in educational, scientific, literacy and charitable endeavors. These endeavors include supporting, encouraging and conducting scholarship and awards programs to assist deserving individuals in their pursuit of education, training and research. Individuals or groups requesting funds must be a resident in the area served by Mensa of Wisconsin, i.e., the state of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
For more information and to apply, please visit http://www.mowf.org/GrantSeekers.html. Please also feel free to contact me directly with questions. And spread the word!
Secretary, Mensa of Wisconsin Foundation
In a quandary about what to get the gifted person in your life? Here are a few suggestions from various sources. I’m going to skip well-known toys like Lego ® or Star Wars and share some neat things or neat stores we’ve enjoyed over the years.Toys/gifts to consider
Zome: There is something hypnotic about building with Zome. I’ve watched many kids pick up a Zome stick, figure out how to connect it to sphere connector piece in seconds and minutes later have a structure they’re proud to display. Zome, mathematically-designed, uses geometry and provides a hands-on connection to surface area and volume of basic 3D solids. But for kids, teens and adults alike, it’s just a great building fun.
Hobby items: One hobby item we enjoyed was a rock tumbler. It involved a time investment, in research and in actually tumbling the rocks, but it kept our family busy one winter. It’s not a cheap gift, prices start at $50 for a hobby model and over $100 for a more professional model but it can bring hours of non-TV-based fun. Is there some hobby you’ve been thinking about starting with your family? Christmas is a great time to indulge in it.
Books: I loved buying books for my children when they were young. As they’ve gotten older, it’s been hard to keep track of what they’ve read, what they want or like to read and, moreover, what they’d like to have a good copy of. Buying books for others is hard. You can always try to surprise them but for older kids, teens and others, a gift card to Barnes & Noble might be a better idea. One resource I’ve found is Paperback Swap, where you can swap books you don’t want for other books. It’s too late to do this for Christmas, probably, but still worth a mention because it’s free (except for the postage).
Word games: Scrabble, Banagrams, Apples to Apples and Boggle are some favorites that come to mind. Apples to Apples is unique in that it requires some vocabulary and background knowledge. It can be adapted for younger children, if you’re creative and the older children don’t mind.
Creative play: inexpensive musical instruments like a recorder make great stocking stuffers. If the giftee already plays an instrument, branch out into some other instrument for fun. Or for more colorful, creative fun, remember Spirograph? They still sell them. Delving into your toy history can provide some great ideas for gifts. What did you enjoy as a child?
Board/stratgy games: Newer games like Blokus (for builder-types), Settlers of Catan (strategy) and Imaginiff (creative thinking) are great but there are also old classics like Stratego and Risk, great for problem-solving and planning ahead.
Card games: Beyond Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards, there a number of other card games that kids (generally 10 and older) enjoy, including Dominion and Magic the Gathering.
ThinkGeek offers a wide variety of gift possibilities but my favorite things are the t-shirts. They have classic shirts like a big Pi symbol filled with the actual digits but also some unique items like the Electronic Rock Guitar Shirt, which really does play guitar chords, and the Batman raincoat for children, sizes 6 and under.
American Science and Surplus: Science geeks galore love this place. It’s in Milwaukee but has an online store that’s pretty good too. Here you’ll find gifts for every kind of gifted person, not just the science-minded. Think of it as Grandpa’s basement, with all kinds of weird, interesting and unusual thinks.
Some favorite items include the see-through people kits for learning anatomy, which includes a 15-inch tall model of the human body, including skeleton, internal organs and a clear plastic skin, gross but fascinating.
Or if you’re looking for a gyroscope, like one kid I know, they’ve got those here, too.
Last bit of advice, from a teen: ask your giftee what they want. Just because they’re a drummer doesn’t mean they want light-up drumsticks, apparently (especially if they’re a picky teen).If worse comes to worse, there’s always coal, which can spark all kinds of interesting discussions.
Do you have a great gift idea for the gifted during the holidays? Let us know in the comments.
During the Annual WATG Conference October 11-12, three individuals and an organization received special recognitions as outstanding in their field and contributing to Wisconsin’s gifted and talented students’ education.
The first recipient was Kelli Kwiatkowski, who received the Outstanding Secondary Educator Award. Kwiatkowski is both a secondary math teacher and gifted and talented coordinator at Brookfield East High School. Her commitment to excellence and personal integrity has earned her the distinction of being a highly respected member of her school and school district. Her principal glowingly described her pioneering and innovative teaching practices which have made a significant impact on the teaching and learning at Brookfield East.
Tammy Van Dyke was the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Administrator Award. She was recognized for her immeasurable contributions to gifted children in the Green Bay Area Public Schools. Van Dyke was instrumental in opening the Langlade School within a School for the Academically Gifted. She has been the leader, cheerleader, and “work horse” for this innovative Grade 2-6 program that successfully opened this September with an enrollment of 72 students and a waiting list in excess of 20 students.
The President’s Award was presented to Waukesha resident Sarah Kasprowicz, a 5th grade teacher in Merton Public Schools and past president of the Association. In recognizing Kasprowicz, current WATG president, Deb Douglas said: “Sarah has been a mentor and ally - encouraging, teaching and providing comic relief. Instead of taking a well-deserved break after serving as president from 2009-11, Sarah volunteered for another term on the board serving as both recording secretary and networking chairperson. She has also led the organization into the world of 21st century through active use of social media.”
Also honored was the John Michael Kohler Arts Center as the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Organization Award. It was recognized because of its commitment to nurturing the artistic and creative gifts of the children and adults of northeast Wisconsin. Its mission reads in part that “Education shall be a fundamental tenet of all programming. The Arts Center shall continue its leadership roles of nourishing diversity and building community through the arts.”
Over the years, the Arts Center has offered art classes for students and their families, with scholarships always available, early learning programs for pre-schoolers that welcome young children into their first “classroom” experience, professional development for educators who want assistance in integrating art into their classrooms, Arts Center staff members to come to schools to present information about their exhibitions, school tours customized to meet the needs of the group and the annual Youth Art Month exhibition celebrating the multifaceted talents and artistic achievements of Sheboygan County’s youth while recognizing and applauding the devoted art educators who encourage and guide these young artists.
WATG is proud to recognize each of these award winners and salutes their contributions to the field of gifted education in Wisconsin.
Each year the Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted supports students across the state who plan to attend a summer enrichment program. The fund for these scholarships comes from investment income supplemented by sales from a silent auction, books and merchandise sold at the Fall Conference.
This year $2,000 was shared among ten applicants for a variety of programs in creative writing, music, and engineering for example. 2012 Scholarship Recipients:
Milo Ambord, Hartland WCATY Robotics
Alexis Goethel, Onalaska Lakeland Music Camp
Madeline Goethel, Onalaska Lakeland Music Camp
Christopher Kennedy, DeForest College For Kids
Emily McGuire, Waukesha Red Oak Writers
Camerone Pape WCATYCreative Writing
David Routier, Hewitt STEM Naval Academy
Drake Sarkauskas, Eau Claire WCATY Robotics
Andrew Sobczak, Germantown Music for All
Madison Winsand, Menomonie UW - Engineering
WATG welcomes donations to their scholarship fund at any time by contacting the office address: 1553 Smithfield Dr.; Sun Prairie, WI 53590 firstname.lastname@example.org
by Amy Gilgenbach, WATG Board Member
I recently was a parent chaperone for my son’s middle school robotics team as they traveled to California for a large, international robotics competition.
Riding a wave of middle school ambition and high hopes, not to mention anticipation about visiting Disney, the students were excited and ready for the trip.
They had worked hard the last year preparing: designing and building the robot, competing in local matches, troubleshooting problems, strategizing and practicing.
Our team was focused on doing the work themselves and, for the most part, eschewed adult help. The designing, building and even programming of the robot was done by the kids.
This is a group of extremely smart kids, some of whom are officially identified as gifted and others who probably should be identified. They knew they were capable of building a good robot and they made sure we knew it, too.
In the end, they did indeed build a good robot. They also took a risk and made some changes before this last competition, changes that would enhance the robot if they worked but caused extra nail biting as the deadline drew nearer.
After spending a day settling in, getting the robot inspected and, possibly most importantly, visiting Disney, the team was ready for action. The first day consisted of a practice match in the morning then two qualifying matches in the afternoon. After an uncertain practice match, they won their qualification matches and ended the day on a high note.
The two next days brought more challenges – a problem with the robot, erratic judging, and watching a rival team succeed when they began to falter.
Our students watched as adults from the rival team worked on their team’s robot, coached students at the matches and strategized with other teams, did everything except, of course, drive the robot. It wasn’t fair, one of our kids said, because it was almost like they were competing against adults. But it is common occurrence in robotics, which relies on skills middle schools students may not have, like programming.
It is a modern-day soap box derby dilemma and for the kids with a heightened sense of justice, it was hard to watch. But mostly they were good sports about it and focused on what they were doing and not on what others were doing.
The competition was a pressure-cooker for the kids and each one handled it differently. Most of the time, a short walk and a snack helped. Stepping away from the pit (work area), walking with a friend to get ice cream and wandering the convention center that was packed with students from all over the world or stepping out into the sunny California day brought much needed relief.
We knew going into this that our job as chaperones
was to make sure no one got hurt or lost. What we learned, though, was that we also needed to make sure the kids were weathering the intensity of the
competition and, dare we hope, enjoying the experience.
Watching the team on the last day, I realized we
had succeeded. They had tied or lost (most by only one or two points) all their recent matches but as they lined up at the field for their second-to-last match, they were joking with each other and the other competitors and dancing to the loud music.
All was good.
Things were even better for the last match: our team had found a way to add music to their robot, using a newly-unveiled part and installing and programming it the night before. If they couldn’t win the competition, they were at least going to have fun with it. They used the new part in that last match, playing Mission Impossible. Oh, the ironic sense of humor of gifted kids.
Since the trip, I recently had the opportunity to
speak to a coach of a successful academic decathlon team. She mentioned that most of the students all thought of something they could have done better.
It’s that perfectionism, she said. But balancing the pressure of the competition and enjoying the experience was something she hoped to instill in the students on their trip.
“Sometimes they get so caught up in the competition that they forget to enjoy it. We want them to be able to look back and say, ‘That was fun!’” she said.
There were so many successes from our trip, successes not reflected in the rankings:
1. One of the students solved a problem that had been plaguing the robot off and on since the
2. Another member conquered their fear of flying to go on this trip;
3. The students got to talk and interact with students of other schools and nations;
4. They all learned so much, not only about robotics, but also about others and themselves;
5. And, most importantly, they all had fun.
The Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted invites students in grades K - 12 to submit designs for the WATG 2012 Annual Conference logo. The logo will appear on materials related to the conference, including brochures and program booklets. The design should provoke thought or intimate feeling and should relate to this year's theme- Gifted Lives: Engaged, Enlightened, Empowered. It will also need to be easily reproducible (bold black and white recommended) with the design original being submitted in black and white and no larger that 5 X 7.
This year's contest winner will be presented with an award and gift at the WATG 2012 Annual Conference Awards Dinner, which will be held at the conference on October 11th at the Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan
(not Wisconsin Dells).
The Logo Contest entry form can be found at the WATG website- http://www.watg.org/
. The deadline date for submission of entries in May 31, 2012.
At the annual Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) Representative Assembly, held Saturday, April 21 in the Wisconsin Dells, the 796 registered delegates to the RA unanimously voted to approve the new Gifted and Talented resolution, brought forward by WEAC’s Exceptional Education Committee. Resolutions reflect the core beliefs of the organization. As an Exceptional Ed committee member, I was able to work on the creation and revision of this one, along with other educators and committee members. It reads as follows:
The WEAC supports gifted and talented programming in all areas and levels and recommends that education employees participate in the development and implementation of such programs. Programming for gifted and talented students in regular education programs must include necessary modifications, including appropriate materials and curriculum. An adequate level of services and staff, along with ongoing professional development, are necessary for effective implementation of best practices for gifted and talented education.
The WEAC believes that all students identified as gifted and talented shall have an educational plan that aligns with current standards, with appropriate accommodations and/or modifications for each student. The Council further believes that funding for gifted and talented education must be provided at levels sufficient to ensure effective local implementation.