Winter 2014

  Winter Kaleidoscope
December 2014
Holiday Greetings to ALL!  

I hope the end of 2014 brought you joy and quality time with your families and friends.  I wish you a safe and prosperous 2015 as we bring in a new year.  With the new year, I want to thank each of you for the incredible work that was accomplished during my two year presidency.  We passed laws, built bridges, connected with the right people to make good things happen for the gifted community.  Under the leadership of our new president, Terry Bradley, this work will continue with the intensity and focus needed.  Terry has put together a new board of incredible and energetic people.  We will go deeper into her vision and goals at our annual Winter retreat. We need each of you to attend because this work can't be completed by a few - it takes commitment, planning and follow through.  I will be there to do whatever is needed to continue the growth of the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented.  


Buckle up, because the ride is going to be fast and fun!  I invite you to join myself, Terry and the new team in making a difference for the advanced and gifted learners in Colorado!


Cheers and best wishes for 2015!

Dr. Blanche Kapushion



Two students were presented at the Fall Conference as CAGT Distinguished Student Award Winners for the school year 2013-2014.  They both received a Certificate of Excellence from Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented and a $500 cash scholarship.

Maya Dawson was the Junior Division winner (ages 7-9).  She was nominated for her excellence in leadership, academics and creative arts.  Maya has been touted as a “natural leader” and “in a league of her own.”  She is interested in “making the world a better place,” which is evident in her fundraising efforts for a local animal shelter and Water for People Charity that raises money for sustainable water pipes in areas that lack natural water resources.  She loves creative writing and sings in a vocal group.  She hopes to pursue a career working with animals or she would like being a singer, author or inventor.

Lily Mott was the Senior Division winner (ages 10-12).  She was nominated for her excellence in academics, leadership and creative writing.  Lily was described as “intellectually talented” “extremely well spoken”, and “mature beyond her age.”  She also “seeks to be the leader of any group” and possesses “unparalleled work ethic.” Lily has received numerous awards for film production, spelling bee, poetry, literature. Lily recognizes the importance of leadership, which she displays in school and on sports teams.  She aspires to become a CNN reporter or a governmental authority figure.

Information about this awards program for the school year 2014-2015 will be posted on the CAGT website soon.


What's New In Young Adult Literature: Top Ten 2014

Dr. Bob Seney

Professor Emeritus

Mancos, Colorado

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


These Novels are my personal Top Ten Reads of 2014. 

All books listed meet the Halsted/Seney criteria for books most appropriate for gifted readers.


Acampora, Paul           I Kill the Mockingbird (ms)                                                                  2014


Daugherty, Jill           Abandoned Courage (Book 2) (hs/ms)                                                2013

                                    Defining Courage (Book 3) (hs/ms)                                                     2014

                                    Note: Jill is one of our own Colorado GT teachers


DiCamillo, Kate          Flora & Ulysses (e)                                                                              2013

                                    2014 Newbery Medal Book:  Holy Bagumba! 

                                    Thematically, more than Philosophy 101!


Extence, Gavin            The Universe Versus Alex Woods (hs) #*                                               2013

                                    Wow! For the philosopher, the scientist, and the mathematician.

                                    Deals with assisted suicide. Sophisticated. Literary allusions to the work of Kurt Vonnegut.


Sedgwick, Marcus         Midwinterblood (ms)                                                                            2013

                                        2014 Printz Medal


Sloan, Holly G.             Counting by 7s (e/ms)                                                                          2013

                                      One every teacher should read.


Vanderpool, Clare        Navigating Early (ms)                                                                          2014


Wolitzer, Meg              Belzhar (hs)#*                                                                                     2014

                                    2014 Printz Honor [A first novel – Relates to the Works of Sylvia Plath]

                                    This is my Tom Hebert Memorial Novel for 2014.


 Tom is our colleague and my good friend at the University of Georgia and he uses YA lit in various projects with students – the designation is so named because in an elevator at the 2005 NAGC Conference he said we were not going to get off until, I decided which of my Top Ten was my favorite!



# Language Alert

* Situation Alert

e = elementary school

ms = middle school/junior high

hs = high school

SR Student Recommended

TR Teacher Recommended

[ To read the initial list of books that included the top ten and more, click here. ]

Book Ends

Jerry Flack, University of Colorado


Struck By Lightning: Poetry and Lee Bennett Hopkins

If more politicians knew POETRY and more POETS knew politics,

I am convinced the world would be a little better place in which to live.

                                                                                                                        John F. Kennedy



April is National Poetry Month in the United States. This representation of “Book Ends” in the Winter edition of The Kaleidoscope focuses on two vital subjects. First, hopefully readers of this article –  parents, teachers, librarians, administrators, and other mentors – will particularly shine spotlights on the magical wonders of poetry in the education of gifted and talented youths at the very least during the month of April. Even more vital is a daily, year-long celebration of poetry. Second, the key poet to whom this special edition is dedicated is the most prolific poetry anthologist in the history of children's literature in both the United States and the world, Lee Bennett Hopkins. The influence of Lee Bennett Hopkins cannot be overstated. He is a poet and poetry anthologist of incredible productivity. He is noted as the inventor of the picture book poetry anthology as a literature genre. He loves poetry and children and he has been a strong advocate for gifted students for several decades. He is equally an extraordinarily kind and gracious man who has generously contributed vital answers to questions posed in an exclusive interview for this special poetry issue of The Kaleidoscope. Further, as part of the “K” interview he shares one of his original poems with Colorado readers. He speaks to those who educate gifted students, but even more to the point, he speaks directly to students. Hopefully, Kaleidoscope readers will share every single word Mr. Hopkins voices with Colorado's gifted and talented students in their homes, classrooms, and at special events (e.g., Super Saturday sessions).


Tests, tests, tests. Yes, it is crucial that ALL Colorado students be literate and understand the sometimes arcane intricacies of mathematics. But, poetry is life's breath. Where indeed would the literate world and an intelligent nation be without the poetry of Homer, Chaucer, Shakespeare, the King James Version of the Bible, “The Star-spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful,” “The Gettysburg Address,” Robert Frost's “The Gift Outright,” and “We Shall Overcome”? A nation and a world without poetry is verbally impoverished; its people are word paupers.


Ballads, odes, blank verse, haiku, cinquain, limericks, acrostics, rondeaux, vers libre, stanza, rhyme, rhythm, metaphor, simile, and much, much more. Many are the forms and tools that verse wordsmiths may use. What really matters is that there should always be time for poetry in homes and in classrooms. Poetry in the curriculum well serves current and future young poets.

A good poet is someone who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms,

to be struck by lightning five or six times.

                                                                                                            Randall Jarrell

[ To read this article in its entirety, click here. ]

Websites and Supports in Science and Math for the Winter of 2014


M. Richy Richards


It’s cold outside, and with the time spent staying warm inside looking back over time is a perfect way to end the year.



Explorations Though Time is an online series of interactive web based units to understand fossils, life on Earth over time, and paleontology. There are other links with access to many other supporting portals.  If you want student-centered access try It includes life has a history.


The American Museum of Natural History has a new exhibit on paleontology and student interactions to support it at . This exploration includes learning what paleontology is and there are Pterosaurs trading and card game with printout information cards on pterosaurs- the reptiles not dinosaurs. On the left hand side are links to resources in anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, Biodiversity and the Brain.


Planned units for you to explore directly from the experts!

On-line the Butterfly pavilion in Westminster

Denver Botanic Gardens

National Botanic Gardens



[ Happy hunting with the rest of these resources, found here. ]

  • 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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