Monday, September 26, 2011

Hoagies' Page Top 10 articles...

You know Hoagies' Gifted Education Page for it's resources. Any question that you have about gifted, you can be assured that there's a page of answers on Hoagies' Page. Differentiation? Yup. Acceleration? Uh, huh. Underachievement? Definitely. Twice Exceptional? There's a whole section on that! Games and Toys for gifted kids? That's another whole section!

But did you know that Hoagies' Page also has articles, great reading, answers, success stories, research, and more, with authors from "just a parent" to world-renowned gifted professionals. Come visit for a few moments, and read the most popular articles on Hoagies' Page?

11. Advocating for a Grade Skip: A Portfolio of Research by Sandy. Sandy offers a great example of a portfolio showcasing the "whole child" in preparing for those sometimes difficult "grade skip" meetings...

10.5 So, the thing is…
I never wanted to be one of THOSE moms
by Barbara Cooper. When I need a laugh, I read "So, the thing is…" by Barb Cooper. Do you feel like you've become one of "those moms?"

10. Why do my child's test scores vary from test to test? by Carolyn K. Intelligence vs. achievement tests, group vs. individual tests, tests from different publishers using different size and make-up of normalization populations... no wonder parents and teachers can't make heads nor tales of all the scores and how they compare!

9. Gifted Readers and Reading Instruction by Dr. David Levande. What should reading instruction for the gifted reader look like?

8. Parent's Unofficial Guide to Gifted IEPs and Gifted IEP Meetings by Todd McIntyre and Wayne Mery. In Pennsylvania and some other states, the gifted mandate requires that gifted children receive an individual Gifted IEP specifying their academic levels and needs. How can parents and teachers make this document worthwhile?

7. Why Should I Have My Child Tested? by Carolyn K. Why should a child be tested? How old should they be at test time? What kind of results are you hoping to get from the testing? Can testing now be difficult? These and other questions answered...

6. The 10 most commonly asked questions about highly gifted children by Kathi Kearney. Answers, too!

5. How Can I Prepare My Child for Testing? by Aimee Yermish. Aimee tells us what we should, and shouldn't, do to prepare our gifted kids for testing and assessment.

4. Assessing Gifted Children by Julia Osborn. This classic article compares simple testing with full gifted assessment... the difference is key.

It's gratifying to report that three most popular articles on Hoagies' Gifted Education Page, and five of the top ten, are all written by... Carolyn K. Me. Feels funny to say that. I think I need to go reread the links on Imposter Syndrome.

3. Testing and Assessment: What Do the Tests Tell Us?. A companion article to "Why Test?" continues the odyssey of testing and assessment and understanding the results.

2. What is Highly Gifted? Exceptionally Gifted? Profoundly Gifted? And What Does It Mean?. With today's tests it's not easy to find a clear demarcation, but differences are clear when you compare levels of gifted children. Labels don't matter, but planning for the gifted child's education must take his or her level of giftedness and resulting needs into account.

1. Reading Levels of Children's Books: How Can You Tell?. The answer is... it depends. There are more measures of reading level for children's books than you have fingers. Often, different measures give different results. Is the reported reading level based on vocabulary and sentence complexity, or on the length of the book, or the emotional maturity of the content? Does it matter? Find out here.

There are lots more articles on Hoagies' Page, Miraca Gross on aspects of acceleration, Kathy Kearney on highly and profoundly gifted, Linda Silverman on 25 years of gifted evaluations, Success Stories by parents and educators, and more. Be sure to stay a while and read!

Tell me, what other articles would you like to see on Hoagies' Page?

Hoagies' Page Top 10...

As you've noticed, I haven't had much to say on Nibbles and Bits. I'm hoping to change that, so I'm starting a new series of posts I'll call the Hoagies' Page Top 10. Top 10 lists are all the rage, and the Gifted community could use a few more, right?

To get myself going, I'm starting with an easy Top 10 list, one that's given me pause to think. With an average of over 4500 unique visitors worldwide daily, what are the Top 10 most visited pages on Hoagies' Gifted Education Page? A few of the pages surprised me... maybe you'll find some new surprises, too!

10. Hoagies' Kids and Teens Links. I'm glad to see this page on the Top 10 list, because it's a page near and dear to my heart. Kids & Teens Links are just that, links to great sites for our gifted kids and teens, organized by topic of interest. From the main Links page, kids can visit any of 23 pages of interesting, safe links, from Art, Theater, Music to Programming, from For the Love of Words to Brain Teasers, Logic & Optical Illusions, from Multiplication (and Other Arithmetic) Links to Engineering, Physics & Mechanics and more. There's even a special page with links for gifted Young Kids!

9. Educators, Counselors, Psychologists, and Administrators of the Gifted. Another heart-felt page, the Educators page was not one of the original pages. When I first started in advocacy, I met a few folks that gave me the impression teachers and parents were on opposite sides of the table, a "them vs. us" mentality. I quickly learned that this is untrue; we are all in the business of raising and educating our gifted kids together. At the same time I learned that teachers, doctors, psychologists and counselors are almost universally not trained in gifted children, and are facing the same steep learning curve we parents face. We're in this together!

Gifted Education, Gifted Programs, Curriculum Resources, Differentiation, Grouping, Gifted in Middle School, Counseling the Gifted, Special Topics, Profressional Books, Educational Theories, Brain Research and Learning Theories, Continuing Gifted Education Programs, Continuing Gifted Education Programs, and Gifted Help Wanted! are all available here.

8. Schools for the Gifted Child. A simple list of schools across the U.S. and world, either designed and implemented explicitly for gifted children, or recommended by gifted parents for their unique programs suited to the gifted child. At the top of the page, you'll also find links and an e-book all about selecting a school for your gifted child.

7. (Free) Online High School Courses. Originally collected immediately after Hurricane Katrina by Kathi Kearney, this page links to free high school, AP or college level courses, available in full right on the internet. Topics range from Calculus to American History, Politics to Chinese, Whether used as full courses, supplemental coursework, or enrichment materials, these courses may be free, but they are priceless resources for the gifted student and teacher.

6. Gifted 101: A Guide for First Time Visitors. This introduction to both giftedness and to Hoagies' Gifted Education Page is a great place to get started, and an easy way to learn about the resources on the 1100+ pages of the site.

5. An Inventory of Tests. An alphabetical list of all the tests and assessments you might encounter as the parent or teacher of a gifted child, with information and links about each measure. Is it a group or individual test? Is it an intelligence measure, an achievement test, or simply a survey about the child's characteristics? Is it explicitly for use with gifted children, or more commonly used for all children or just disabled children? These are all important questions!

4. Parents of Gifted Children. The original page of the site, this is the portal for parents and everyone who wants to learn about gifted children. Characteristics,
Identification, Testing, Highly Gifted, Traditional School, Home Schooling, Programs including Distance Learning, Saturday & Summer Programs, Talent Search, and College Planning, Parenting, Social/Emotional Aspects, Special Needs or Twice Exceptional, Gifted Support including Conferences and Gifted Online Communities, Gifted Books, Gifted Education Resources including Longitudinal Studies, Bibliographies and Journals & Magazines.

Frequently Answered Questions including Acronyms, Analogies, Early Graduation, Enrichment, Gifted Quotes, Grade Skipped and Successful, Never Say Bored!, Plateauing, Professionals and Psychologists recommended for their work with the gifted, Reading Levels, and Why Memorize Math Facts? among others, dozens of Success Stories and lots of things to smile at in A Lighter Note round out the Parents topics.

3. Hoagies' Kids and Teens is the Kids portal into Hoagies' Page. In addition to
Kids and Teens Links
, find the Hot Topics Reading Lists, Smart Toys and Games lists, Movies that feature gifted kids in a positive light, Magazines, Nerd Shirts, Software, Contests & Awards, More Reading Lists, and Kids Speak Out, a publication area for the kids themselves.

2. Brain Teaser, Optical Illusions and Logic Links is the most popular of the Kids & Teens Links pages, with an amazing and entertaining collection of puzzles, games, optical illusions and more.

What is the most commonly visited page of Hoagies' Gifted Education Page? You guessed it: Hoagies' Gifted Education Page! Visit Hoagies' Gifted Education Page and see what you've been missing!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spatial fun with Android apps

Our family amusement with saying "there's an app for that" has finally started to wane... So it must be time to share my findings with you. I've found apps for keeping my shopping lists, collecting all my store loyalty cards and even an to make my phone act like a magnifying glass. I've found apps to turn the Droid into a Kindle and a Bible. But some of my favorite apps are the free (and a few nearly free) games.

Any Droid game app list must begin with my favorite card game for gifted kids of any age: SET. (search the Market for Set Enterprises to get the real game). SET is the ultimate visual matching game. Match (or don't match) the shape, color, number and fill of the icons on each card to create sets of three cards where each of those characteristic is either the same or different on all three cards. But don't hand your phone to your gifted child... You may never get it back! Even with the SET app on my Droid, we still love to play the real SET card game at home.

How about a game of mirrors? Chromatron is the game of laser and mirror puzzles. Can you place and rotate the mirrors, combine the lasers, mirrors and filters to combine and separate colors, and reach all the targets in each tableau? Puzzles teach new skills along the way, like combining and splitting beams to create new colors. And then the puzzles really get Tricky!

Vexed Pro is a free chain reaction gravity puzzle. The puzzle is to get rid of all the cubes by sliding or dropping 2, 3 or 4 cubes into adjacent positions; touching matched cubes makes them disappear. Make each puzzle a little harder by making par, solving  the puzzle in the least number of moves possible. There are thousands of puzzles, from Beginner to Impossible and every level in between! Vexed Pro will keep you entertained for a very long time!

Rush Hour is a well known diversion for gifted kids (and their parents) from Thinkfun. In Rush Hour, puzzles get progressively harder as you try to free the red car from the traffic logjam. Cars can only move forwards and backwards, and may start the puzzle facing north-south or east-west, complicating the gridlock. The free version offers dozens of challenges, and the paid version, hundreds more. Rush Hour is must have for any Droid.

Space Physics is a Rube Goldberg puzzle combined with gravity. Can you move the ball to the goal wheel by adding shapes and forces to move it along? Draw quickly, or the ball will fall off the screen! But fear not, you can always start over. Again, the free version offers many challenges, but in case you run out, there's a paid version with tons more fun!

My latest find is Bubble Blast II. Another free app, Bubble Blast II challenges you to clear all the bubbles on the board with the least number of "touches." A touch turns the bubble touched to the next larger size and color, and if  the bubble turns red, it sends off chain reaction  bubble touches in all four directions. The puzzles start very simply, and get successively tougher. You can retry each puzzle as often as you like, but you will have to solve it to move on to the next harder puzzle.

Bubble Blast II even offers clues, but you can only receive one clue every 24 hours, and I suspect it will lower your overall score... I didn't try it to find out. There's also an arcade mode where time is of the essence. I'm more of a puzzle person myself.

Looking for a game that combines words and spatial strategy? Try Words with Friends! A favorite iPhone app now available on the Android too, Words with Friends lets you play that famous Hasbro word game with your friends on either phone platform, in your own time. Have a few minutes to wait at the doctor's office? Play your turn. Your friend (or a random stranger, if you choose) takes their turn when they have a chance. It's a fast way to turn a minute of lost time into a thought-provoking social activity!

That's all for today... I'm sure these games will give every Android user more than a few hours of lost, or saved, time. Next column, great word games for the Android.

And if anyone would like to offer Hoagies' Page an iPad or iPod Touch, we will offer similar columns for iApps! ;-)