As we move into this fall season of 2020, we acknowledge that many of you are feeling swamped. We know that you may be dealing with various learning formats if you are an educator. Perhaps you are face-to-face, perhaps you are virtual, or perhaps you are in a hybrid model. The possibilities are endless, and the workload is heavy, heavier than ever before. We know that you are tired and feeling an exhaustion that you never knew was possible.
Perhaps you are a parent or guardian of a gifted child or adolescent, and are struggling with the new paradigms of schooling. Perhaps you are worried about your child, and are wondering how to keep your child challenged, motivated, engaged, and in love with learning. Perhaps you have sensed that educators are being asked to mitigate the effects of the emergency schooling last spring, and that your child is frustrated with the pace and content of learning so far this year.
Perhaps you are an administrator charged with educating all students, and want to ensure that all learners are learning new things every day at school, in whatever setting this is occurring.
If any, or all of these scenarios ring true, we have some great news for you! As many of you know, the fall 2020 WATG conference, “Hands On - Minds On: Now More Than Ever” has gone virtual! Being virtual offers so many positive ways to mitigate the stress of our current situations.
First of all, we will be offering the same dynamic, cutting edge, inspirational programming that you have grown accustomed to when attending our previous conferences. Check out our full schedule and registration here, and allow us to share some of the highlights.
Sunday, October 18 will feature teen events and a parent conference. The teen conference will engage students with fabulous fascinating hands-on learning presented by Gearbox Labs. Students will be coding, experimenting, and creating in their own homes with materials sent to them in advance. Now, more than ever, our teens need time to be with other teens who are interested in some of the same things.
If you are a parent or guardian, the parent conference on Sunday, October 18 will be a warm and inviting place to be. Parents will join in a facilitated zoom conference, and will share the joys and challenges of parenting gifted kids. Our facilitators, Dal and Jackie Drummer are nationally certified SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of Gifted) trainers and facilitators, and have almost 100 combined years working with gifted kids. Every year this workshop has received high acclaim. Parents find this gathering to be stimulating, comforting, humorous, and reassuring, and this year you can do it from the comfort of your own home! Now, more than ever, parents need each other.
Monday, October 19, we will kick off the remaining exciting lineup of speakers, including keynoters Dr. Marcia Gentry and Dr. Brian Housand. Dr. Gentry will speak on the topic of “missingness” in gifted education in our state, citing data, and offering concrete ways to identify and serve diverse populations. Dr. Housand will offer more concrete ways to pave the way for better and fairer services for all gifted learners. Both of our keynote speakers will offer breakout sessions on timely topics, and will share resources and materials.
Monday, October 19 and Tuesday, October 20 will feature nearly 40 sessions on topics that will offer new insights, challenge your thinking, and give you fresh perspectives and ideas. And the best thing about all of these workshops is that they, too, can be viewed from the comfort of your own home, or from your school. Most of our workshops will be recorded so that you can view them on demand, or listen to them more than once. Session recordings will be archived for 60 days. In this way, our premier virtual conference provides you with more flexibility than ever before possible. You will save travel time, hotel expenses, and can fit them into your schedule. Think of them as a treat that you give to yourself, and you can even enjoy them with a beverage of your choice! Now, more than ever, we may need inspiration and reassurance.
Perhaps you are looking for more materials or resources that are cutting-edge for your gifted learners. Our exhibitors will be ready and eager to help you, and to answer all of your questions. You can chat with them virtually, and even order materials online, saving you time and energy.
Many of you may be longing for the face-to-face camaraderie of a live convention, and for some equally lively dialog on topics related to gifted education. Maybe you just want to catch up with old friends or make new friends! Maybe you want to “pick the brains” of colleagues. We’ve got that covered too! Sunday evening, October 18 at 6:00pm, our Zoom Unconference will help to fill that void. We will be offering eight rooms to choose from, with each room focusing on one of these topics: Equity in Gifted Ed, Parenting Can Be Lonely, Twice Exceptional (2E) Students, Acceleration in Our Schools, How to Become a WATG Board Member, Advocacy Within a School, Advocacy at the State Level, and Gifted Potpourri - Bring Your Questions. Fix yourself a snack, pour yourself a beverage, put your feet up, and zoom in! It will be so good to see your faces and hear your voices, and simply be together! Now more than ever we need each other!
If this is your first time accessing a virtual conference, please don’t worry. Our platform is very accessible and intuitive, and more directions will be made available to you as you register.
During these uncertain times, we all deserve some moments of pleasure. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled
You read "Ulysses,” I'll Eat Potato Chips: Science Defends Simple Pleasures researchers in Europe found that short term hedonism may be as satisfying as long term accomplishments. Indeed, these scientists confirmed that things that bring us pleasure are exactly what we need during these difficult times. For many of us in the field of gifted education, learning and growing and sharing and being with our “tribe” are exactly the pleasures that we need right now.
So, do yourself a favor, indulge yourself, and register for the fall 2020 WATG Virtual Conference “Hands On - Minds On: Now More Than Ever.” We guarantee that now, more than ever, you will be glad that you did!