NDAGC Quarterly Newsletter

January 2023, Issue 9

NDAGC Resources Created Especially for Administrators & Parents

It is clear that gifted students are found in every cultural and economic strata and every grade level. From rural North Dakota to our larger cities, gifted students in our state have educational, social and emotional needs. Some students’ needs may be identified and programmed for while other students are left unidentified and underserved. Some students may be achieving at high levels while others are underachieving. Regardless, NDAGC wants to be a resource for you and as such created two simplified documents, one for administrators and one for parents, entitled - Gifted in North Dakota. The documents are our effort to boil down that which is essential to know for administrators and for parents and provide a list of high quality related resource links.

NDAGC also wants you to know that we are here for you. Please contact us with your questions at gifted@ndagc.org or consider becoming a member and taking advantage of our many learning opportunities.

There is No Evil in Using the Term Gifted

The field of gifted education continues to vacillate on its use of the term “gifted.” First used 154 years ago by Sir Francis Galton, the term continues to be associated with elitism despite the field’s efforts to uncouple the perceived relationship between elite talents and elitist attitudes. Much like “he-who-must-not-be-named” in the Harry Potter series, gifted is the term that many gifted programs feel they must avoid. In some North Dakota districts, the gifted program goes by a name like “schoolwide enrichment.”

Some districts with gifted in the program name want to replace the gifted term with something more inclusive (though with no intent to change the content of the program). National discussions suggest terms like “talent development” or “high performance.” This rebranding has always been in consideration as the perceived value of gifted programming fluctuates with changing political priorities between excellence and equity. Even those trying to save the term gifted want, in the name of equity and inclusion, to label behaviors, not students, as gifted.

The historical and original meaning of giftedness did not emphasize the behaviors of gifted individuals, but rather the personality of the gifted person. Early researchers of giftedness were psychologists - not educators - interested in understanding the social, emotional, and intellectual needs of individuals who demonstrate exceptionality. Experimental psychologists like Sir Francis Galton, Alfred Binet, and Lewis Terman studied gifted individuals and deduced the inherited nature of high intelligence and its association with success. Educational psychologists like Leta Hollingworth believed that environment contributed more to gifted intelligence than genetics and that gifted students needed a specialized educational curriculum to support their special needs in the classroom. Meanwhile, personality psychologists like Annemarie Roeper, one of the namesakes of the Roeper Review, focused her research on the psychological experiences of gifted children and their inner unconscious and conscious wonderings. Annemarie Roeper’s daughter, Linda Silverman, a psychologist at the Gifted Development Center, eloquently summarized the contributions of psychologists to the gifted movement by saying that:

psychologists seek to understand the individuality of each gifted child. They apply a whole

person perspective that puts emphasis on who these children are and not on what they

contribute or can contribute to the world. They see value in gifted children irrespective of how

they perform. They see value in understanding how their emotional needs are different from

other children’s needs—an essential task when working with twice-exceptional gifted students in particular.

This emphasis on the gifted person spotlights giftedness as a genetic and stable feature of a gifted child’s identity that must be addressed well into adulthood. Silverman called this central feature of the gifted personality “asynchronous development,” that should function much like the North Star when considering any intervention for gifted children.

It is my belief that our current trend to put emphasis on gifted behaviors, talents, and achievement is shortsighted from a psychological and historical point of view. To cultivate talented behaviors, if that is a goal, one cannot neglect the social, emotional, and intellectual needs of our gifted children, which drive performance outcomes. More importantly, helping our children understand and appreciate their giftedness as a stable part of their personality and identity, whether this leads to achievement or not, should be a goal in itself. We cannot do this if forced to separate the gifted person from their gifted behaviors.

Gifted education should function as a safe haven that helps a gifted student feel understood. This framework is not elitist in attitude, approach, or outcome because the goal toward self-actualization is not comparative. Rather than rebranding the term gifted, gifted education should embrace it, applying the meaning of the term as originally intended—to help the world see and understand a population of children with exceptional and unique developmental needs. In this application, the field should strive even further to help gifted students and the world see the ways they are gifted. In other words, help these children understand the particulars of their giftedness. The more adept at understanding the strengths and vulnerabilities associated with their gifts, the more empowered gifted students will

become in managing, directing, and cultivating them. There is no evil in using the term gifted.



Yee Han Chu PhD, MSSW, BS, BA

Dr. Chu is the immediate past president of NDAGC and is the academic support and fellowship opportunities coordinator at the University of North Dakota. Dr. Chu studied gifted education, worked as a clinical social worker, and earned her undergraduate degrees in genetics and psychology.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of NDAGC or UND.

Pursuing your Dreams: One Student’s Perspective from Grade School to Med School

My mom's textbook was full of anatomical drawings that drew my attention with each turn of a page. I begged her to let me study with her, although 'study' was generous for what I was attempting. My five-year-old self could not understand the information before me, but I still asked questions in a quest to make sense of the pictures. My wonder about the human body was born as I listened like an eager student, and not the child I was, to my mom discuss her studies in nursing school. So began my journey into medicine.

As a gifted student, I excelled in my science and math classes. I never really questioned whether I was smart enough to go into medicine, but I also saw myself excelling in several different fields. Many gifted students have what is referred to as multipotentiality, meaning they possess many aptitudes that would allow them to excel in many things. Career planning – I have found – is more complex because I needed to find a career that utilized my various strengths. I was lucky to find my path early in life, but the path was neither straightforward nor easy to follow. Pursuing a professional program of any kind can be costly in terms of time and money. It requires preparation, sacrifice, dedication, and resilience. If you are reading this, it is likely you are a student considering such a path for yourself, or a parent or teacher that has a child in your life who has expressed interest in medicine. There is one big question that often looms like an elephant in the room:

How do I know medical school is for me, my child, or my student?

I want to offer some points of wisdom to help you answer this question:

  1. Pursue your passions/What brings your child to life?My passion manifested itself at a very young age and it never faded even as I grew. When I asked my mom about how she recognized my early interests that led me to medicine, she spoke about how I would come to life when I talked about subjects like science and the human body. I would often accompany my mom and my grandpa at his various doctors’ appointments, and she told me how I would ask the doctor many questions. My eyes would light up and I would tell everyone I met about what I learned from the doctor. This excitement continued into high school. She recalled many times I would come home from my work at the hospital and discuss what I learned or what I saw. Now for my mom, this excitement was easy to see as I was not the most talkative child. As a parent or a teacher, try and take note of what makes your child light up. There might be many things or there may be just a few, but it will be in fostering those passions that you can help your child find their future career. Take advantage of local programs that may be offered to help you or your child explore those interests, or invest in reading materials that allow for a deeper understanding of those topics. If you, yourself, are reading this and trying to figure out what your passions are, start taking note of your emotions. What do you find makes you truly happy or inspired or proud? Those are what you want to pursue. I began to research the process of becoming a physician when I was in high school, but it is never too late or too early to begin familiarizing yourself with the process. Some college majors are easier to pursue with pre-med because many of the med school prerequisites are the same, but medical schools accept students with art majors, engineering majors, and everything in between.
  2. Find opportunities to exploreIf you have recognized medicine as one of your passions, now is the time to fan that flame and find opportunities to explore the field. One thing that makes medicine so great is just how expansive it is as a field. You can be a doctor, a nurse, a physical therapist, the list goes on. For a time, I thought maybe veterinary medicine was the route I wanted to take. When I was in high school, I was able to get a job working in a vet clinic, which quickly helped me realize that I much preferred taking care of people. I then took a class to get my nursing assistant license and worked in both the nursing home and hospital setting. After four years of that work, I transitioned to the emergency room where I began working as a technician. Once I graduated, I used my forensic science degree to secure a job as an autopsy technician for the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office in Minnesota. Through my various jobs, I was able to explore various sides of medicine. However, your path may look very different. If you or your child is not yet old enough to have a job, there may be opportunities for volunteering or shadowing at your local healthcare facilities.
  3. Find a mentor (or mentors) – Connections can be your best friend. Talking to your school’s career or guidance counselor can be a great place to start or even your or your child’s primary care physician. I found many mentors just through conversation. Quite often the people I spoke with at work or at school would know of someone who could provide more information and guidance if they could not provide it themselves. And it is always beneficial to find people to support you or your child on the journey, even if those mentors do not know much about the process themselves. Perhaps they can help edit applications or provide a listening ear. Pursuing medical school is hard and having a support network around you or your child can help with weathering that storm.
  4. Never give up – At the end of the day, if you or your child has decided that medical school is the goal, perseverance and resilience will be necessary. I, myself, am a reapplicant. My first time applying, I was rejected from every single medical school I applied to without any interview offers. I took this failure in stride, figured out where my application was lacking and took a year to strengthen it. This is when I took jobs at both the emergency room and the medical examiner’s office. I took Spanish courses at my local community college to begin learning the language and to boost my GPA. I contemplated retaking my MCAT and only decided against it after carefully weighing the strength of my application against the schools I planned to apply to. I had hard discussions with my mentors to figure out if my dreams of becoming a physician were realistic. This time around, I have already secured one acceptance and several interviews. You will have to come to accept rejection and failure as part of this process, but these are not bad things. They are opportunities to learn, grow, and foster coping skills that will make you or your child an even better physician.

Allison Anderson is a 2020 graduate from the University of North Dakota and currently serves as the executive assistant for NDAGC. She participated in the Honors Program during her time as an undergraduate and will be continuing her education this summer when she will begin pursuing her M.D.
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January Webinar

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To view recordings of past webinars and ignite sessions, visit https://ndagc.org/Webinars&Ignite
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Virtual Learning Opportunities for Parents and Families

One of the most common myths of parenting a child with gifts and talents is that it must be “easy”. Our kids have big dreams, and at times big feelings. Helping your child manage these big feelings can at times be challenging. Thankfully, there is a wealth of learning opportunities for families to learn how to best support their child. The following are a few offerings to guide you on your path to better understanding of your child’s needs.

NDAGC’s Webinar Archive

Our monthly webinars and access to our webinar archive is a free benefit to our NDAGC members. In our archive, parents will find the following presentations:

Helping your Perfectionist Child Feel Good Enough (February 2020)

with Yee Han Chu

Understanding the Gifted Child: Exploring the Social-Emotional Needs of Gifted

Children (broadcast October 2020) with Beth Ustanko and Emily Jones

Providing Coping Support to High School Students in AP Courses: A Review of

the ACE Program (December 2020) with Yee Han Chu

Introduction to Bloom’s Taxonomy for Parents & Families (March 2021) with Beth Ustanko and Jolene Beckman

Now They’re Going to Find Out I’m a Fraud: Combatting Imposter Syndrome in the Gifted Brain (August 2021) with Matt Zakreski, PsyD

Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development

There is a full archive available of recordings from 2021-2022 presentations. Parents may find the following presentation of particular interest:

Constructive Collaboration with Your Child's Teacher (broadcast Thurs., October 14, 2021) with Pam Peters - University of Connecticut https://vimeo.com/626710910

Gift-a-Palooza 2023: Feb. 2-4, 2023

Gifted & Thriving's 2nd Annual Virtual Summit on Giftedness & Neurodiversity features keynote speaker Dr. Matt Zakreski. From the event description, “This 3-day event is dedicated to helping individuals and families in the Gifted and Multi-Exceptional community move from a place of surviving to thriving by coming together to share and explore unique experiences, challenges and joys.”
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Think, Ponder, Ruminate, Surmise! Ideas to Increase Student Development of Thinking Skills

For many educators, this time of the school year brings extended opportunities with their students. The numerous fall and winter breaks are over and now they can really dive deep and help students accomplish their learning goals. Teachers often welcome this occasion of fewer breaks to set or adjust goals with their students and focus closely on student growth. Educators are tasked with helping each of their students attain adequate yearly growth. This is not a small feat. It’s also important to help students grow their thinking skills. The next paragraphs will highlight some tried and true “go-to” activities and resources to develop student thinking skills.

If you’re looking for a resource that is easy to use and can be used in every lesson you teach right now, look to Gifted Guild’s Depth and Complexity Question Stems by Ian Byrd and Lisa Van Gemert. This resource is extremely user-friendly. It takes the question stems discussed in the book Depth and Complexity (same authors), and puts them into a well-organized, question-stems-only resource. It is separated into 4 sections: The Elements, Content Imperatives, Disciplinarianism, and Content-Area Questions. This resource is a no-frills, get-right-down-to-it aid to implementing Depth and Complexity into every lesson and will most certainly get your students thinking more deeply.

For a more extended project, consider having your students create a documentary. Use a theme that can expand into many areas of interest. For instance, a group of students may be very concerned about climate change and the impact it is having on our planet. Allow each student to become an expert in some facet of climate change e.g., the greenhouse effect, water pollution, deforestation…you get the idea. Each student conducts research and writes a script for their part of a group documentary. The scripts are edited by fellow group mates, and the entire group determines the order of the script so the documentary flows well for the viewer. The students also need to write transition scripts to nicely move from one component of their theme to another. Each student uses photos and video clips which tie nicely to their script. After rehearsing, the students create a video documentary with each group member reading their part as a voice-over to their photos and video clips. These ideas just scratch the surface. Students will want to perfect their video editing skills, voice inflection, etc. but, once students catch the bug for creating documentaries, they will certainly want to do more.

Maybe you don’t want to embark on a project. If online, quick activities are what you desire, check out KenKen Puzzles at kenkenpuzzle.com, Hashi Puzzles at conceptis.puzzles.com, or a variety of puzzles at brainzilla.com. Although these puzzles seem like games to students, they are developing deductive thinking skills and logic which can be applied to curricular lessons in your classroom.

Lastly, the website Mensa for Kids at mensaforkids.org offers many resources for students and teachers. From lesson plans to activity plans to TED Connections to Games, Mensa for Kids has so many resources for you to use. Some of the resources are ready for immediate use, and some may require a gathering of materials on your part. In any case, you will not be disappointed with the offerings on this website.

Happy thinking!

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Northern Sky Astronomical Society - University of North Dakota

2nd Wednesday of the month at 7pm

The UND Northern Sky Astronomical Society is meeting at the UND Aerospace building inside the Atmospherium (planetarium), Odegard Hall 3980 Campus Road. The public is welcome.

How to Make A Star Wheel and Observe the Night Sky | Sky & Telescope - Sky & Telescope (skyandtelescope.org)

Belin-Blank Center

Computer Science Python Fundamentals

  • Start anytime!

  • Access ends June 30, 2023

  • Grades 7-9

Learn computer science at your own pace and without the pressure of grades! Computer Science Python Fundamentals will teach you how to think computationally, solve complex problems, and prepare you for advanced computer science courses.

Cost: $199

Fargo Public Library

For more information about the Fargo Public Library program, please call Lori West at 701.476.5977.

Red River Zoo - Fargo

LEAP (Learn, Explore, and Play): Caregiver and Child Classes

Take an adventure with your toddler! Toddlers and their favourite adults can come to join us on a short, fun, guided adventure through the Red River Zoo and encounter exciting age-appropriate animals close-up!

This program runs from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM.

$18 for members and $20 for non-members. This fee is NON-REFUNDABLE

Ages 2-5 must be accompanied by an adult.

February: Reptiles and Cold Climates

March: Animal Babies

April: Animal Habitats (Prairies and Grasslands)

May: Migration and Movement

Critter Camp

Critter Camp is for children ages 4-6 years old. This program is designed to introduce classes and Camps at the Red River Zoo without their adults. Children will be dropped off at the zoo and enjoy crafts, games, activities, and animal encounters in alignment with the theme for their week.

Camp runs Monday through Friday In addition to camp, your fee covers a t-shirt for each camp your child is signed up for.

Morning Session 10 am-12 pm, Afternoon Session 2 pm-4 pm

June 5th-9th Discovering the Dakotas

June 26th-30th Creepy Crawlies

July 31- August 4th Zoolympics

Homeschool Zoo School

This season's classes are taking a deeper dive into the animal kingdom and exploring how we care for animals in our accredited facility.

These fun learning opportunities are divided between ages 6-8 and 9-11.

Classes for the 6-8-year-olds will be 2 hours, and classes for the 9-11 will be 2.5 hours. Topics covered will be the same, but each class will be customized to the development of the given age of the group.

$35/child for non-members, $32/child for members. This fee is NON-REFUNDABLE

Funding Assistance is Available

If you have any questions about this class, feel free to email our education department at education@redriverzoo.org

February: Scales and Tails

March: Jaws and Claws

April: Animal Appetites

May: Mythbusters

Explorer Camp

Explorer Camp is for children who have completed 1st or 2nd grade. Kiddos will be dropped off at the zoo and enjoy crafts, games, activities, and animal encounters in alignment with the theme for their week.

Camp runs Monday through Friday in the morning or the afternoon from 9 am-12 pm OR 2 pm-5pm. In addition to camp, your fee covers a camp shirt for each camp your child is signed up for.

June 12th-16th Gotta Find them All

July 10th-14th Zoo Engineers

August 7th-11th What’s In Your Backyard? (All About Urban Wildlife)

Discovery Camp

Discovery Camp is for children who have completed 3rd or 4th grade. Participants will be dropped off at the zoo and enjoy crafts, games, activities, and animal encounters in alignment with the theme for their week.

Camp runs Monday through Friday in the morning or the afternoon from 9 AM to 12 PM OR 2 PM to 5 PM. In addition to camp, your fee covers a camp shirt for each camp your child is signed up for.

June 19th-23rd Navigating Through Nature

July 17th-21st The Ultimate Veterinary Adventure

August 14th-18th It’s A Wonderful (& Wild) Life

For more information, visit

www.redriverzoo.org or contact the zoo at 701.277.9240 or education@redriverzoo.org

Grand Forks Public Library

Teen Novel(ties) Book Box (ages 12-18)

This bi-monthly themed box will allow teens to enjoy a book handpicked by a librarian, paired with an assortment of cozy, bookish trinkets (such as candy, stickers, bookmarks, pens, and more)!

The only requirement is that the recipient needs a Grand Forks Public library card number.

Sign Up: fill out this form.

How It Works

If you are on our list to receive the Teen Novel(ties) Book Box, you will be contacted when the box is ready for pickup:

  • The box can be picked up at the front desk or via Curbside.

  • Take the box home, open it, and enjoy the contents.

  • It will be checked out for two months.

  • The box and book can be returned to the front desk or the book drop in front of Grand Forks Public.
    (You get to keep the other items in the box.)

  • Await your next box of goodies!

Upcoming Themes

  • March 2023: Greeking Out

  • May 2023: Who Arted?

2023 Winter Reading Program

Cozy up with a story this winter. Join the 2023 Winter Reading Program for reading fun & activities all winter long. Register at: