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IYGC 2013- On Celebrating International Year of Giftedness and Creativity (WCGTC)

January 2, 2013 1 comment

Photo by Magdzia s under Creative Commons Licence

On Giftedness and Celebrating Giftedness and Creativity in many places…  let us begin…

So…… While the New Year (2013) has already arrived in some places of our great spaceship earth, is about to arrive here, and may still be almost a day away in yet other countries… I think it safe to say that for most, it is an occasion which is eagerly awaited and welcomed… the letting go of what troubled us, and a new opportunity to embrace hope and wonder and possibilities….

It would be unrealistic of me to not to say or acknowledge that many of us are grateful to have made it through another year, through whatever extraordinary stories of strength, joy, pain and fortitude…However, it is also realistic of me to hope that we, individually and as a community, the gifted and talented community, will face this new, upcoming year with renewed hope and joyful enthusiasm, compassion and understanding,especially if things aren’t exactly as were hoped, and the strength to know when we need to let go and find new, unique ways of meeting challenges placed before us.

It kind of reminds me of when I was a child, trying to figure out why a certain kite I had made wouldn’t fly/get off the ground.. the consternation that came with what had to be done to it to make it work, adding a bit of weight here,  lengthening it’s tail, and  then, the joy of letting go, taking the materials and perhaps something more, and redesigning it all together…   I was constantly ‘accused’ of deviating from original instructions when working on a problem and trying to transform it into / allowing it to become something new..   The end products did not always look like conventional kites, however  I can say that surprisingly enough many of them did indeed take to the skys…

Creativity in this life is important, creativity is daring to be different, and in daring to be different we find ourselves capable of being/becoming/creating something unique in this world.  A something, which against all odds, may actually work… teehee…  Creativity can also be found in the most unlikely places, as seen below, and can bring a whole new meaning to recycling or even ‘junk art’… Creativity is.. well…it is “HOPE….”

This year, 2013, is our year of “hope”,   hope as an international community, to celebrate the International  Year of  Giftedness and Creativity. I am asking, in this brand new year we have, this 2013, that we all take a good  look at our individual (gifted awareness) kites.  I know each will be different from the next, child, parent, teacher, advocate, practitioner, researcher  or organisation, association, support group be it local, national or international.  One may be a box kite, or a chinese dragon, or a simple diamond, or a shape as yet unknown, and although they might not all agree with each other, I am positive that each has a very interesting story behind how it was constructed and or kept afloat.  You may have creative ideas and plans that will perfect your kite in the future, redesigns and reconstructions, or the way that you (will) reel in/out your spool as you manage the dips and dives your kite may take.

Very soon we will be asking for you to share some of these stories, as well as information on how you, your organisation or country plan on celebrating giftedness and creativity this year, so that we may help you share this with the rest of the world.  We also hope to have a number of activities during the year as well, which participants can join in. It is hoped that we can all be positive and enter into this with the spirit that within all our different experiences, efforts, samplers and examples – lie a greater good that will add to the richness of our diverse community, learning from each other and further and enhance our abilities to support and advocate, and strengthen the ties that bind us.

I also hope that there will be forgiveness and understanding if things do not go exactly as one planned as that is in essence part of the inherent chaos in creativity, and in knowing this, that we will embrace whatever new trijectories may need to be followed during this time, with joy and wonder.

A fair wind for our communal gifted awareness kite?  Let’s hope so… let’s give it the best chance we’ve got.. together…with all our other kites, of the many shapes and colours,  let us help it rise… with your/our many coloured celebrations of giftedness and creativity… Let us leave conflicts behind and work on becoming more visible in 2013- worldwide… again, for reflection: What will your kite look like this year? How will you shape it? What unique features do you hope it will contain? In what way would you have it add to our Communal Kite?… and when you get there, don’t be afraid to share it with us so we may share it with others too..

The celebration will culminate in the 20th anniversary World Council Conference in Kentucky, where we hope to highlight the shared efforts made by our worldwide community, and which in turn will keep our communal gifted awareness kite flying high, and we hope, that it will be experienced by many.. And, while your thinking on this, please do take a moment to visit the Conference website and have a look at  the wide range of strands on offer, and consider  either attending or contributing as  an individual as a way of  celebrating in 2013.

Let’s go fly a kite, up where the air is bright, let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring, up through the atmosphere up where the air is clear, Let’s all go… fly a kite……. “!  (from the soundtrack of Mary Poppins-Movie)

On Giftedness and ‘It’s alright to be Bright!’- The UK celebrates a 2012 Gifted Awareness Week!- October 20th to 27th

October 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Giftedness and  ‘It’s Alright to be Bright!!…’

It is wonderful and exciting to see another country in the world celebrating giftedness with a whole week dedicated and focus on this endevour.  I particularly like the title ‘It’s Alright to be Bright!’,  as this is at the very core of what we would like our children, and of course the rest of the gifted and talented population to feel.

From what I understand from the, The National Association for Gifted Children Britian,  this particular week has actually been around for quite a number of years.  Although  the most recent economic downturn, has meant that it’s celebration has been been on a slightly more modest scale,  this one will prove to extremely  exciting from what I hear.

There will be many many events for kids and their families and teachers, and to facilitate this the organisers, Rebeca Howell and her team, have produced a wonderful booklet with ideas to share:

It’s Alright to Be Bright Booklet 2012

The booklet is based on Science Fiction and Future Fantastic, and should prove to be very engaging for any number of age groups.

 

It is a National initiative, and the aims of the ‘It’s Alright to be Bright Week are:

  • Celebrate the diversity of children’s gifts and talents, whether football or frisbee, maths or mechanics, literacy or languages
  • Help children understand the value of their abilities
  • Raise children’s confidence in their gifts and talents
  • Raise awareness of the social and emotional needs of gifted children and the essential support required by their parents and carers

     

    We are hoping that all those who are participating have a wonderful week, and that many are encouraged to take part in this very important event.  A great way to advocate while raising awareness in a fun and focused way.

    The NAGC is a Non-Profit Organization in Britain and exists to give every child with high learning potential the opportunity to grow in confidence, thrive and achieve fulfilment.

    Rebeca Howell, of the NAGC Britain,  also took part in the International Blog tour organised for the WCGTC  International Week of the Gifted 2012, – celbrating gifted awareness events around the world- it is well worthwhile to read her wise and wonderful contribution entitled What is at the Heart of Giftedness?’

    Happy It’s Alright to Be Bright! Week!

 

Giftedness and the Centre for Talented Youth Ireland (CTYI) public meetings

October 10, 2012 Leave a comment

 

 

The Centre for Talented  Youth Ireland is a provider of enrichment courses  for academically able students, on Saturdays during the school year, and for several weeks, over a number of sessions during the summer.  A number of these for older participants, are also residential. It also provides a selection of University style  courses for students of all ages and abilities, who wish to enjoy this experience.

The Centre for Talented Youth Ireland is holding a number of public meetings and the dates for these so far can be found below:

Dublin: Thursday 11th October at 8pm in the nursing building at DCU.

Cork: Friday 12th October at 8pm in the River Lee hotel.

No registration required,  and all who are interested may attend.  Further dates will be posted as they are become known

#IWG12 Giftedness and: Krissy Venosdale and her Venspired Posters for Gifted Classrooms

August 12, 2012 6 comments

The World Council for Gifted and Talented Children and the International Week of the Gifted 2012/ International Year of Giftedness and Creativity 2013-

July 29, 2012 Leave a comment

The World Council for Gifted and Talented Children and the International Week of the Gifted 2012/ International Year of Giftedness and Creativity 2013-

It has been a while since this blog touched on these happy events. Rest assured it is not because they have been far out of mind. On the contrary, there have been a lot of back channel thoughts and creative ideas bubbling away in various directions as the dates have been approaching.

The World Council for Gifted and Talented Children and the New Zealand World Conference 2013 sub-committees have been hard at work organising for these events. In the spirit of community,  and to allow as many distinct contributions as possible, we are inviting both members and non  members of the organisation to take part.

It is a joyous thing to realise that we as a global gifted community will soon be celebrating our Year of Giftedness and Creativity during 2013. A year in which to explore ways of expressing what makes us who we are. This is an opportunity for our children, and the people who care and work with them, to share and celebrate through their creativity and innovation, experiences, activities and products related to, and born out of the essence of giftedness and talent.  An opportunity to share how life might look, if  giftedness was  to make life whole and happy for them.  The  20th World Conference 2013 in Auckland is also taking place   (Don’t forget to visit the Conference Blogsite), during the International Year of Giftedness and Creativity. We are hoping  to see many of you there,  perhaps sharing your stories, or experiencing that of many others.

Last year, the first International Day of the Gifted was successfully celebrated in August 2011. On the run up to the day, many people participated and contributed, from all parts of the globe, in a number of initiatives that were being worked on.

Themes that were highlighted on that day, during the World Conference 2011, in Prague, consisted of:

1) Honouring all gifted & talented awareness-raising efforts being made worldwide within our communities.

2) The celebration of gifted children.

The energy and good will that was generated from this event, and the material produced to celebrate it, spread out and remained tangible a long time after the event. This was apparent in the blogs and posts that were being written and shared along many of the digital and social networks, worldwide. It gave off a spark, lighted a flame, a flame that once fanned, blew a great gust of wind. This wind picked up a kite, an idea, which would be called The International Year of Giftedness and Creativity 2013, and culminate in the World Conference 2013.

Enter the International Week of the Gifted 2012- (Second week August)

Building on the wonderful sense of camaraderie and community that was felt during the IDG2011, and, in view of the many time differences and suggestions from folk around the world, it has been determined  that  the IDG should evolve into an IWG or International Week of the Gifted. Allowing for greater participation, or time for folk to think of ways to participate, mark or celebrate the week.

It also feels like a good week for reflecting on how gifted awareness movements have grown since last year.  In celebration of this growth, this years’ 2012 collection of awareness events is somewhat larger than last years, and can be accessed below, or at the link above.  Please note that only those events that I was made aware of have been included. If there are others that should be added, I invite all to please let me know through a comment on this blog.  This year a number of conferences were also included, also as gifted awareness events.  There are so many more than last year.  Will your country’s story include starting a national awareness event? If so.. let us know!!

Secondly,   the International Week of Giftedness 2012 is an ideal  awareness week to be thinking and planning ahead for the International Year of Giftedness and Creativity 2013,   based around a theme (admitting to have been partially inspired by Stephanie Tolan, one of my favourite ‘Elders’ in our circles) of  ‘Stories and story sharing’.

This #IWG12 will be celebrated with  a blog tour, inviting members of the gifted community across the globe to think about, and contribute their ‘stories’ of what they coul/might do, or what they might make happen next year…#IYGC,  after all, creativity does begin with ideas..  and with a little luck, giftedness can help make it happen.

  • ¨Remember:  Stories can take many shapes and forms.  Hold an event or an activity and tell the story  of how it unfolded, share stories of good practice, Art- a painting that tells it’s own story, or through music,  the story of how an invention got built, a cultural story of giftedness,  the stories of our children, our parents, ourselves;  developing stories/literature for gifted students, stories about creativity, creations and their creators, stories about gifted experiences…  your story of what an ideal environment for gifted education would look like… Stories of  gifted awareness events and how they came to be..
  • Stories:  Can be expressed/delivered though  a range of many mediums such a  video,  audio,  writing, photography or Art the choice is yours.

Moving forward, what will the ‘story of you’ or  the story of your celebration of giftedness and or creativity look like over this next year?

  • Do you have ideas you could suggest for others to do?
  • Perhaps your story will be culturally distinct and unique and would interest others how you might celebrate in your own country/land/tribe?
  • Do you have ideas that may be good for a class/school to do which would be effective and stand out?
  • Maybe an inventors’ fair, and the story of a young inventor who went far?
  • Are you a young scientist, math whizz, environmentalist or social entrepreneur with a story waiting to happen?
  • An Artist, a young writer, would like to celebrate by painting a picture, writing a story, writing a book.
  • Are you, or your students involved in poetry, drama or musically inclined, could you include this as you develop your gifted story for next year?
  • Perhaps your story includes writing a book, a chapter on giftedness yourself?
  • Are you about to embark on an important piece of research over the next year, and able to tell us how you hope your story will go?
  • What activities and approaches might we use to help foster motivation/self esteem/fruition of potential/self worth in our young folk (and adults) over the next year?
  • Are you presenting at the conference in NZ and willing tell us something about your topic?
  •  Might your story include starting a parenting group, or perhaps a kids’ club of a unique type?
  • Do you have a story sharing good practice?
  • Or will you share a story or stories of an individual or individuals emerging excellence/greatness in their area of passion, documenting this through a painting, photos or video?
  • A story of incredible wonderfulness in regards to 2Eness.
  • Will you tell a story of starting a new school/educational environment unique and welcoming for unique and interesting minds?
  • Will your story be one of unwavering advocacy in the face of a difficult situation, and survive?
  • Are you/will you be homeschooling this next year, might you keep a journal of how this story develops, helping others who may come after you?
  • Will your story simply be starting an annual gifted awareness event, or a conference?
  • What will you and/or those around you create, so that we may all share  in celebrating the soul and heart of giftedness?

#IWG12Second week, August 2012– We will celebrate with a  blog tour over the week, in honour of the upcoming International Year of Giftedness and Creativity 2013. This tour invites any who wish to blow a breath of air at our communal kite of giftedness, attach a bow of an idea onto it’s tail,— help it start to get it off the ground, simply by taking part, to contribute a blog post with your stories/ideas, and help others to see what can be…

We are hoping that the #IWG12 will give our gifted global community’s beautiful kite a good head start with your ideas. We are looking forward to letting the celebration start in earnest from January 2013th with your stories and their progression, throughout  the #IYGC year and during the World Conference 2013 in New Zealandwhere we hope to see that many of your stories have become reality, and even better, hoping that many of you may come and celebrate, tell/show us how your stories developed in person.

This event has been initiated by the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children through the sub- committee on the International Year of Giftedness and Creativity. It is being run in joint collaboration between the World Council for Gifted and Talented Childrens subcommittee and the New Zealand World Conference 2013’s International Year of  Giftedness and Creativity, and Social Media subcommittees.

We would like to invite the gifted community to take part in this initiative.  If you feel you would like to contribute to this blog tour, please contact Mary St. George at  <mail4mary@xtra.co.nz>, and send in your contribution, and/ or  a link to your blogpost for   review and scheduling.

You can pick up an image or a bannner to use on your site from the International Year of Giftedness Blogsite , to promote  this event. Be mindful, once you use the image or banner on your site,  to link it back to the IYGC Blogsite to show your support.

Those who wish to contribute, but do not have a blog are welcome  to do so too.  Just send in your contribution to Mary, at the email above, and it will be scheduled to be guest hosted either on the IYGC blogsite, or if traffic is heavy, on either this one or Mary’s or rescheduled for a following day.   We very much appreciate your contributions.

Please note;  This initiative is meant to be joyful and celebrative in nature, meaning positive and inclusive. We will welcome all contributions of this nature, and all contributions will be monitored for this.  Any contributions which are felt to be at risk of intentionally upsetting or damaging individuals personally or the organisations they are supporting, will be vetted, and may,  regretfully,  not be posted.

On Gifted nests and Birds of a Feather

June 13, 2012 Leave a comment

‘On Giftedness and Birds of a feather…’

Firstly, I want to say that I very honoured to have the opportunity to take part in the New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week 2012 Blog tour. As last year it does appear to be quite international again… and I may yet be inspired to write a second contribution before this tour is over, however for this contribution I have decided to focus on a past memory that might be helpful in  terms of sparking off some advocacy ideas… Do please feel free to click on the link below to follow more blogs along the tour….

Recently, I have noticed that there have been a few discussions from folk in different parts of the world tossing around the idea that if the gifted community wishes to educate, reach and or foster a greater understanding of our populations, we should not only be reaching out/speaking/working/presenting within our own groups, rather than just flying together,

we should also be seeking out opportunities to give of ourselves in other circles.  I believe this is a good thing, and brought back some old memories which did affirm this.

Many years ago, once upon a time and long ago, I happened to be the chairperson of a gifted organisation which no longer exists.  I had started to organise a conference for the fall of that year  (sometime around the turn of the century…  I like saying that.. makes it sound kind of ‘historical’.. teehee)…  using the ancient computer in my kitchen and a dial up connection… as one does.  I remember thinking that it would be good to try and see if we could increase our footfall and came up with the idea of reaching out to groups that might have a lateral component to our own.  I was also involved with a group called Spectrum, which kind of saw itself as an umbrella group for other groups supporting children with what we called at the time ‘hidden special needs’.  Things like ADHD, Aspergers, Dyslexia and the like.

And so.. a conference called ‘Coping with Complexities’ was born.

Careful thought went into the choice of a broad spectrum of speakers, all who were gifted advocates but also a good number  of whom  might have had an additional passion/interest/expertise in a secondary area.  These included folk like Dr. Shirley Kokot from SA who was also doing work in the neurodevelopmental area,  Dr. Sheilagh Gallager from USA, who at the time was also researching the incidence of Aspergers in gifted populations and Dr. Ellen Feidler (USA), who’s presentations on Intensities in gifted left not one person in the audience with a dry eye…  Dr. David Carey, who specialised in ADHD,   to name a few.

As there are a fair bit of crossover issues within some of the spectrum groups and our own, it turned out to be a good idea, as these groups became very supportive, and helped to promote and advertise the conference quite a lot.  It also led to peripheral interest groups making contact and wanting to advertise or attend the conference.  Folk that as a gifted community would want to reach, such as members of the National Educational Psychologists group,  Occupational Therapists,  Resource and learning support teachers groups, and a number of University researchers .  This in turn led to a wider interest from the main teaching and school community, which might normally not have attended a conference aimed at  strictly gifted and or gifted ed.  It also reached out to a wider parent community.

Along with those previously mentioned, we had several other local folks in gifted sharing their wisdom.  Among these were  Dr Sheilagh Gilhenny and Colm O’Rielly from CTYI here in Ireland and Julianne Stevens, MA,  who was working and teaching here in Ire, at the time, but was from Aussie and had trained in gifted and who was also   a committee member of our organisation.

Through the sterling efforts of the committee members that fall, and the generosity of the speakers, peripheral groups interest and a lot of interesting conversations we managed to pull off a very well attended conference, that had an incredibly diverse mix of attendees, including a large number of mainstream teachers ,  of which many that I spoke to where very glad to have attended and felt they had learned a whole lot.   At the time I recall that it felt very good to know that we had reached so many, many people who would otherwise not have been exposed to the information we wanted to get out there.

I spoke to many new, stealth-  ‘gifted’ folk who felt that attending the conference had made them comfortable enough to ‘come out of the wood work’ and interact in that community on that day..

come out of their shells…  perhaps even grow some wings and fly with it for a while…  A good day..

I mention all this, because sometimes it is good to hear about other s experiences, but also because sometimes the things we do can come back and show us an impact that we made which we might never have known about.

Yesterday, I spent time at another conference.  At this conference I was the ‘crossover’ speaker/presenter, as the conference was on for Teachers in Special Education.  Most of the issues that would have been dealt with were for children on spectrums somewhat different than our own. I was pleasantly surprised with the turn out for the session,  however the most  heartening and eye opening bit  for me was when two teachers came up to me after my presentation, and introduced themselves as two mainstream teachers that had attended the other conference so many years ago and had spoken to me at the time.  They said they had learned so much at that conference long ago, and that when they saw I would be at yesterdays IATSE, they had decided to attend  for the gifted session.  Life can be funny that way…

I guess the lesson here is that it is important for us to not be afraid, and try and reach out to many other communities if we can, especially those that might be carrying a feather or two of a similar colour, or who might, with a little nurturing grow some wings and fly with us for a while, maybe helping to contribute to the richness of the support we are looking for.

So next time you plan a conference, maybe, think about how you can attract others who might come into contact with our kids… or .. perhaps have a look at conferences in your area and think, could you perhaps be able to contribute a presentation that might just reach some important folk which could further  the cause?  You might be one of those that helps to add a few new members to our flock..  and grow a number of nice new feathers too… ;-D

On the International Year of Giftedness and Creativity 2013

June 13, 2012 7 comments

‘Our world is woven from many textures, colours, sizes and threads, and so are we, may we care for our fabric, keep it bright and light, and everchanging…we must be careful not to tear it apart, giving it a chance, inspiring our hearts….. ‘ L. Graves 2012

On the International Year of Giftedness and  Creativity 2013

As we are moving on into this year and the next, I thought this might be a good opportunity to touch on this subject again.  The International Year of Giftedness and Creativity, 2013. It is an exciting idea. A year to celebrate, create and validate gifted, talented and creative souls, and broadly based on the theme of ‘Stories’.

An opportunity for young, old and in-betweenies to think of how we can express ourselves through our stories, experiences and expressions of  our inner self.  Stories can be told//take form in an amazing number of ways.. Through a written word, painting, video/film, song, poetry, dance routine, construction, invention.   They can be altruistic, historical, A how-I(we)-did-something (achievement)- got somewhere.  The best Stories in our lives, the snapshot of what makes us who we are, and can help others understand the essence within that we all work with on different levels, are those that usually come from the heart, where ever we are, and whatever culture we are from/living in.  Stories in any form are wonderful teaching aids and theses stories can add richness to others lives and experiences. This richness may in turn become the thing that saves the soul of  yet  another gifted child. They are important to share.  Researchers, Parents, Children, Teachers, Psychologists, Educators, Family members, Activity leaders, Schools and Homeschools all have important voices and experiences that may add to a communal celebration of our community, and possibly help others in the world move that one step closer to understanding.

Now would be a good time to start think towards next year and how you or those around you, or that you work with  might  take part in this celebration. There will be more on this later on in the year, however before I go I felt I would like  to share a story of my own with you, an important experience in my life.

This is a Poem I wrote some time ago.  It  came back to me last night as I was falling asleep, and the thought  that it carried an important story, and was an important message to get out there and that it was quite possibly  clamouring for a spot on the New Zealand Gifted Awareness Blog tour... It is a voice that wants to be heard.. We must always be conscious of what kind of an impact our actions may have on the children we come in contact with, especially those who may not be so black or white,   in the gifted or non-gifted sense… but perhaps many hued….So for all the creative/visual types, and also in view of the fact that next year will be the International Year of Giftedness and Creativity, and some very Creative people in New Zealand will be hosting the WCGTC 2013 Conference, ‘The Soul of Giftedness’, – and creativity would be an inherent part of any gifted soul… I offer again, a personal experience in a poem….   Also, Please do not forget to also Click on the Blog image below to follow the tour to find the most wonderful collection of writings on gifted and be amazed as it unfolds!!!!…… )

 

Sometimes, as teachers and/or parents, in our busy worlds we can forget how much of an influence we may have on those precious souls in our care..  the emergence of a rare talent/creativity in any form, can often be tentative, and fragile and unsure.. often a product of  incredible sensitivity. It can be  most painfully squashed, and take years if  ever, to  have the confidence to appear again… often only if  met by another who understands..

“Unforgotten”

(by me!!- Leslie S. Graves)

You asked us

to draw a beautiful memory

We each had

Lovely coloured crayons

supplied

a blank paper and eyes

opened wide

We were only four, some of us

were even five

with tumbling fingers

scribbling hard, each

Hoping our picture

would please teacher

Ah..but I was one who considered

before I scribbled

and instead of dreamy shapes

I drew a train

complete with whistles, coal and flame

on tracks,

It’s engineer waved a cane

and shouted

‘ALL ABOARD’

You were working at

your desk

Did not notice, pick mine

out from  the rest

At the end of the day

during circle time

you asked us to identify

and take home our

drawing

Mine came up, next  to last

two hands came up

You who failed to see

my hand that worked so

diligently

Gave it not to me

but to another child

And then you wondered

why I cried and

would not love the

Circle left on that

last sheet as if it were my own

I would never draw again

Until many years had flown

Until a kind man

In another school saw a

doodle in a book

With passion

His eyes wide open

His heart sincere and true

Placed a pencil back into

my hand

and said.. welcome home

‘Hello World’- Drawing by Leslie S. Graves- 2011