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Sally Walker, Ph.D. -- Presentations


Parallel Curriculum

The overview of National Association for Gifted Children's new Parallel Curriculum Model will give participants an opportunity to preview the newly completed model and to work with it in a guided setting. The goal of the workshop is to begin establishing familiarity with the model and the capacity to apply facets of the model to curricular areas of interest.

The Parallel Curriculum model is a cumulative model of past curriculum models rolled into one. It is multi layered so that the curriculum can be more adequately altered to meet the needs of diverse learners. It is easy to see where standards fit and how they can be adapted. By looking at the model you will see possibilities for constructing quality curriculum with multiple choices for implementation.


Differentiated Instruction
Or --Gifted in the Regular Classroom

In most schools and classrooms, the goal is to provide a program that offers every child the opportunity to experience intellectual challenge, accomplishment and delight in learning. The problem exists when programs or curricula typically don't respond to the intellectual needs of the student who already knows the material.

If we are to provide students with the same educational opportunities for growth and learning as their peers, we must view their "special needs" and make special adaptations in programs and activities. Strategies, techniques and tools that help teachers meet the diverse needs of students in their classroom, will be demonstrated and discussed. "Instead of" rather than "more of the same" activities will be given. Sally will address: Why we need to differentiate, assessing knowledge, curriculum compacting, independent study, tiered instruction, product development, and assessment.


Classroom Differentiation for the Young Gifted Child
Grades pre-k through grade 3

Many educators believe that young gifted children cannot or should not be identified until at least third grade. We know through experience that these children exist at younger age. Young gifted children need a different type of curriculum if they are to learn anything new, stretch beyond their already vast knowledge base, and grow, rather than stagnate. Their frustration with one-size-fits-all curriculum may turn into misbehavior or withdrawal. Ideas and strategies will be shared and demonstrated to help classroom teachers and parents challenge the capable young children they know.

Gifted Education Institute Training (Consists of background, history, myths surrounding gifted education, program administration, characteristics, identification of gifted students, curriculum options, program delivery models, social-emotional needs of gifted students, evaluation of students and program, and advocacy) This course is required in Illinois to teach gifted students. Each one of these topics is a workshop.


Critical and Creative Thinking Extensions for the Classroom

Critical and creative thinking extend the curriculum beyond the knowledge and comprehension level. Participants will have a chance to explore different kinds of thinking, recognize their preferred way of learning, recognize different ways students learn and implement creative and critical thinking strategies into their classroom curriculum. Actual hands-on activities will be shared. Participants will leave with ideas that they can use the next day in their classrooms.


Curriculum Development

What is curriculum? Is it standards? Textbooks? District curriculum? State curriculum? We will look at the components of curriculum. Come with your curriculum guides, texts and ideas. Your job will be to:
• Build and align curriculum to meet your students' needs.
• Identify what you do well and build on it.
• Identify areas want to improve upon, and set goals. Explore connections.
• Develop comfort with differentiation
• Align curriculum picture with standards
• Shop for ideas.


Products to Stop Copying

Today it is harder to have students produce work that is really original. It has become so easy to copy and paste from the internet that little processing of information or originality occurs. We will explore creative products that can enhance learning, along with creating criteria and rubrics for their evaluation.


Program Evaluation

Why is it necessary to do a program evaluation? How do you know if you are on the right track? Or if you have arrived or still have miles to go? What is involved? What questions need to be asked? What makes evaluation useful?

Effective program evaluation begins with asking the right questions. In order to get the answers you need to build program improvement, the appropriate questions need to be asked. In examining program evaluation planning, we will look at what is in place that works, and what input is needed to be to make the program even better.


Topics Specifically for Parents


Characteristics that Drive You Crazy
Or--The Gifted Child: Do You Have One?

Your Gifted Child is a unique individual who shares certain characteristics with other gifted children. You've probably noticed that your child learns differently, behaves differently and reacts differently from other; yet trying to specify what is so different about your child seems like an impossible task. We all can think of instances when the gifted child does charming, precocious or embarrassing things. Their behavior is impressive and/or unexpected. By looking closely at the characteristics these youngsters exhibit, we can more ably identify and meet their special social and emotional needs. We will also discuss how the child's special needs place demands on you.

You will discover what you have done right, along with what you must do to make sure your child's social and emotional needs continue to be met. Meet other parents and teachers who share your joys and concerns.


Surviving Giftedness

Today it seems like the message is "Be the best you can be, as long as you don't stand out." It's OK to excel in sports, but academics are another matter. Our society has a double standard. We want the gifts your child has, but not the inconvenience of dealing with giftedness. We will also discuss how the child's special needs place demands on you and will look humorously at continuing to cope with, live with and experience giftedness.


The Right Stuff (What You Have Done Right and What You Can Do To Improve)

It is not easy to raise a child today. Parents are often blamed, rather than praised for doing their best. We will look at characteristics that promote success and characteristics that impede success. Strategies that parents can employ to strengthen characteristics that promote success will be explored. We will help parents to see how kids can soar by removing the imposed ceiling rather than forcing them into a prescribed mold and expecting them to fit.


Why Gifted Kids Need Support and What You Can Do

Why is it that so many educated people believe that the gifted students do not need anything different? Are they afraid that by giving the child who already has more, that we will widen the learning gap? What do gifted students need? And how can you speak up for them?

Parents need to become advocates rather than adversaries. An advocate is one who espouses, defends or pleads the case of another. Our society seems biased against bright people; perhaps our democracy fears that an elitist group will emerge. Parent advocates are needed, as they have the knowledge (or ability to find out) and wisdom it takes to fight for our children. The children cannot do it by themselves. They have not lived long enough to have the experience or wisdom it takes, regardless of the knowledge they possess.

If children are to reach their potential they need ALL the help that they can get. Parents and schools and government need to work together.

This presentation will focus on what makes the gifted student different, what needs result from this difference and how you can help by speaking up for this student.

 For information about scheduling Dr. Walker as a presenter, please contact us.