Fall 2007

   The Gifted Child Bookshelf

By Jerry Flack 

Excellence Doubled – Great Songs Become Memorable Books

Great songs do not have to be performed musically to touch the heart, lift the soul, evoke stunning mental images, or just plain retain their “WOW!” power. Books have inspired unforgettable music, so there is no reason why the process cannot be reversed. Songs-into-books have become a significant genre within children’s and young adult literature in recent publishing seasons. Beloved songs have been transformed into excellent picture books that are appropriate for both elementary and secondary classrooms. 

 Read more about books based on popular and traditional songs
   New Internet Resources

By Dr. M.R.E. Richards

Use the Internet for Basics and Challenges in Science and Math

Well it is time to review some links for support and answers for parents and teachers. Look at these and add to your existing links.

 Read more
   Excellence in the College Search Process

What Qualities do Highly Selective and Competitive Colleges Seek in an Applicant?

By Rebecca Blocher

Each year, seniors march across the stage, and we quite often think how lucky those students were to “get into” the college of their choice. However, to a very large degree, those lucky students made their own success. This is how they did it.

 Learn more about college entrance strategies
   College Essay Topics

This list includes sample college application topics. It would be a wonderful activity for students to write several draft essays on these topics. The tone of the essay is very important. This essay and how the student handles the breadth of the topic is the college’s first window into the mind of the person who submitted the application.

The following are some sample college essay topics.

DIRECTIONS: In 250 to 500 words, please write a paragraph or several paragraphs on the topics listed below. Please portray yourself in a truthful manner. This is one way that colleges will get to know you.

1. Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

2. Think about Wednesday. What comments can you make about its significance in your life?

3. Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.

4. Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you and describe that influence.

   What’s Happening on the Western Slope?

By Bill Schwanitz
Summit Enrichment Advocates

The trip to Science In The Hands Of Kids (SITHOK) in Grand Junction was amazing. The founder is an engineer retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory. Several years back, he started with a few exhibits he’d carry around in the trunk of his car. It has expanded into 130 exhibits in 6000 sq ft in the back of an elementary school. The exhibits range from soap bubbles and pendulums up to fuel cells and robots. The center is staffed entirely by volunteers — mostly other retired engineers.

Grassroots Gifted: The Promise of Potential

By Julie Gonzales
CAGT Information Liaison

In case you haven’t heard the news, Colorado has new legislation to support gifted learners in our public schools. After years of grassroots advocacy and CAGT-sponsored Legislative Days at the Capitol, the Colorado General Assembly and newly elected Governor Bill Ritter publicly acknowledged and endorsed by vote and signature HB07-1244.

 Learn more...

Kaleidoscope • September 2007

Janet Gilbert, CAGT President

Message from the President

Direction: Excellence

Summer is a time of reflection for many educators. Teachers and administrators look back on the past school year and think of their successes and failures: searching for answers to better educate the next group of students. This year I was able to extend my observations of gifted learners beyond the borders of Colorado and the United States.

Not in the too distant past, trips to Europe were the rite of passage for wealthy, college-aged students. This year I personally discovered that college-aged students from all over the world and from many socio-economic levels are traveling for educational purposes. I was able to observe some of these students on a personal level. Their ability to communicate in multiple languages and across cultures was admirable. These students were able to procure temporary jobs to help support their study abroad and build quick friendships to share apartments and knowledge. This experience heightened my awareness that between technology and travel our world is becoming a much smaller space. The need for our students to have second languages, travel and become competitive, not just within their classroom, school or community but with this ever shrinking world is crucial for their success. The academic requirements for gifted learners should expand to meet this challenge.

After this chance to see a world-view of education, I returned to a small rural community in southern Ohio. There, three cousins, all attending small state colleges, bantered with each other, much to my amusement. Each of these students had participated in “talented and gifted” programs at their local school. One is starting his senior year in college. He attends school during the week and returns home to his family’s farm every weekend. He has been able to attain a 4.0 average with little or no apparent study. At this time he has no clear direction for his future and has yet to be challenged in the academic setting. He enjoys the freedom of the farm and may become a writer or he may continue in graduate study. The other two young men are twins who graduated at the top of their class, like their older sister and brothers. They both were able to finish their freshman year with a 4.0. They too are happy with their life in this rural community. This group of highly intelligent young men has the same potential for contribution to the world as the travelers I met in Europe.

What is the common thread that ties the world traveler to the small community or rural student? Direction: Excellence. Each of the young people I met this summer have the choice of many directions to their future. Some have already planned their goals and others are still searching. It is the job of parents and educators to teach these gifted learners how to reach for excellence. This year, on October 1 and 2 at the Marriott DTC, the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented Fall Conference will focus on excellence in gifted education. As House Bill 1244 is unrolled for the state, it is our job to help insure that all students and especially gifted learners have their academic and creative needs met. At this conference parents, educators, administrators and advocates for gifted education will have the opportunity to share with national and state experts proven techniques to reach, teach and motivate gifted students.

Direction: Excellence

Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented

31st Annual State Conference


Marriott Denver Tech Center

October 1 and 2, 2007

Monday and Tuesday


• Dr. Joe Renzulli and Dr. Sally Reis

• Vendors from around the country

• Advocacy Toolkit

• Nationally recognized speakers

• Sessions on Literacy & Giftedness, Twice-exceptional students, Social-Emotional Needs, Elementary and Secondary topics and much more!

• DON'T leave at 3:00 on Monday! Special Events on Monday include a Marketplace with free, classroom-ready lessons and a book signing.

For more information

A Time-Saving Tool for Challenging Gifted Students

A Computerized Strength Assessment and Internet Based Enrichment Program

Joseph S. Renzulli

Sally M. Reis

The University of Connecticut

Although “differentiation” is the contemporary buzzword in curriculum and instruction these days, the time required for teachers to provide truly high-end learning experiences for gifted and talented learners requires that teachers have the resources to do it well. Remarkable advances in instructional communication technology (ICT) have now made is possible to provide high levels of enrichment and the kinds of differentiation that facilitated advanced learning services to students who have access to a computer and the Internet. The Renzulli Learning System (RLS) is a strength-oriented Internet based enrichment program that is built on a high-end learning theory that focuses on the development of creative productivity through the application of knowledge rather than the mere acquisition and storage of knowledge. The Renzulli Learning System goes beyond the popular “worksheets-on-line” or courses on line that, by and large, have been early applications of ICT in most school situations. These early applications have been based on the same pedagogy that is regularly practiced in most traditional teaching situations, thereby minimizing the full capacity of ICT, and in many cases simply turning the Internet into a gigantic encyclopedia rather than a source of information for the application of knowledge in regular curriculum related topics as well as the independent investigative and creative learning opportunities frequently offered in gifted programs. A controlled study of elementary and intermediate school students completed in 2007 (Field) demonstrated the Renzulli Learning System significantly improved the academic performance of students who used the system for 2-3 hours per week compared to students who did not.

Click here to read more
  • Welcome
  • What is Gifted?
  • Colorado & Gifted

Every child has a right to learn something new everyday. Gifted children thrive in learning environments that present challenge and wonder throughout school lessons and activities. Welcome to Colorado's gifted community, where educators, families and community advocates partner for support, instruction, and information in the education of gifted children. This partnership motivates the implementation of school and district goals that provide appropriate educational opportunities for gifted student. The shared responsibility of implementing these goals fosters development of gifted exceptional potential over time.

As a statewide advocacy group, we are focused on improving the lives and opportunities of gifted students. This is accomplished in four main areas:

1) helping people understand the characteristics of gifted students,

2) training teachers in different strategies to create dynamic classrooms that challenge and engage gifted students,

3) providing families with information on how to advocate for the unique needs (both academic and affective) of their gifted students, and

4) supporting statewide and national laws and policies that assure gifted and talented students access to appropriate academic and social-emotional programs.

JOIN us as we strive to improve the educational opportunities for the gifted and talented children of Colorado!

Gifted is a social construct that describes a child/student with exceptional potential given culture, language, and traits of exceptionality. Getting to know the student, his/her interests and family priorities are essential to understand a student’s area of strength and gifted capabilities.

Two common definitions addressed by Colorado educators and parents are from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC). The CDE definition drives state and local policy to implement gifted education program plans.

The NAGC definition provides a holistic construct for reflection and programming.

Giftedness can best be understood by looking at a list of “common” gifted characteristics. But please keep in mind, these characteristics might present in very different ways in different people.

A dynamic expression of “gifted” is often expressed by the term “asynchronous” development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create experiences that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching, and counseling in order to develop optimally." The Columbus Group (1991)

There are 68,663 identified gifted students in Colorado as of the 2014-2015 school year.  That equates to 7.7% of the total student enrollment.  All 58 Administrative Units report they have procedures in place to identify gifted students.  The 2014-2015 gifted education categorical line item in the state education budget was $10,010,269.  Any additional money for gifted education would be budgeted from individual school districts.

Terms that gifted families should be aware of in public schools throughout Colorado:  Exceptional Children’s Education Act, Early Access, Concurrent Enrollment, RtI (Response to Intervention), 2e (Twice-Exceptional), ALP (Advanced Learning Plan), and ICAP (Individual Career and Academic Plan).

Listed below are the state definitions for Colorado.  While the state definitions include age requirements, it is important to remember that these ages are defined only for the purpose of receiving services.

The state definition in the Colorado Exceptional Children’s Education Act CRS 22-20-202 (6)…  "Gifted child" means a person from four to twenty-one years of age whose abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishments are so outstanding that he or she requires special provisions to meet his or her educational needs.

The state rules for Exceptional Children’s Education Act (1CCR 301-8, Section 12) expand the definition to….  “Gifted and Talented Children” means those persons between the ages of four and twenty-one whose abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs. Gifted and talented children are hereafter referred to as gifted students. Children under five who are gifted may also be provided with early childhood special educational services. Gifted students include gifted students with disabilities (i.e. twice exceptional) and students with exceptional abilities or potential from all socio-economic and ethnic, cultural populations.

Gifted students are capable of high performance, exceptional production, or exceptional learning behavior by virtue of any or a combination of these areas of giftedness: 

1) General or Specific Intellectual Ability,

2) Specific Academic Aptitude,

3) Creative or Productive Thinking,

4) Leadership Abilities, and

5) Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Musical or Psychomotor Abilities.


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