SIG eNewsletter: The Gifted Student

Sponsored by the
Colorado Association for the Gifted and Talented
Colorado Association for the Gifted and Talented

June 2014

In this issue:

From the President's Desk

A letter from Barbara Swicord, President of SIG:

Summer is such a wonderful time, isn’t it? I’m not just talking about the welcome weather, especially for those of us suffering through a tough winter this year, or the typical summer activities that center on water sports, cookouts, and variation in our daily schedules. To me, summer is an attitude. It’s a feeling of fun, of adventure, of doing different things than we do the rest of the year. It’s also a time when people are likely to try new things, experience new challenge through new things, and connect with more people doing those new different things. This attitude is one that we value here at SIG and carry with us all year long. Not only do we hope gifted and talented students will use summers to find their passions and take on challenge in an atmosphere free of external barriers and fear of failure, we also embody this attitude in how we organize our programs all year long.

We spend the year, in our summer attitude, working to discern the best ways of providing challenge, fun, socialization, and content of importance and interest to our students. We incorporate all the feedback we receive, pay attention to current and potentially future global phenomena, and focus on our mission of engaging students at a level appropriate to their abilities and needs. We interact with lots of families and educators (see our May training photos) in the process. We interview hundreds of potential summer staff members. We plan, organize, and make improvements in our plans all along the way. It is a flexible, organic process for us in setting up our summer and online programs because meeting the needs of our students is a flexible and organic process, a summer-like process!

Kevin’s column gives you some concrete examples about how our courses fit into this process. Elsewhere in this newsletter we highlight our Amherst campus program – a very lovely place to be in the summer! Speaking of family feedback, we also share Amy Harrington’s very interesting article on raising profoundly gifted children.

This newsletter is the last one until fall as we focus now on our students while they are at our camps and online.

We wish for you a summer attitude this season as well as all year long. We hope you too will think creatively about all that you do, attempt new challenges, learn new things, think about the future, and be happy with all the wonderful things that make you unique. Our wish is that you have intriguing stories to tell at the end of August. Oh the possibilities!

We’re off now to camp. I hope you are too. See you in September with our new lineup for 2015!

Barbara Swicord
President, Summer Institute for the Gifted

Kicking It Back with Kevin!

Hello again everyone! As you might expect, this is an extremely exciting and eventful time for us here at Summer Institute for the Gifted. We are just a few short days away from our summer, campus-based programs opening, and there is much to do: ensuring everything is set on our campuses, processing admissions applications, engaging in professional development with our administrators and faculty and other staff members, developing courses for 2015, preparing next season's catalogs, and plenty of other things that enable us to offer high-quality day and residential programs for you and your family. Of course, the great reward for each of us is seeing how your children enjoy and benefit from their time with us learning, challenging themselves, renewing acquaintances, and making new friends.

As I reflect upon the past few months, I am particularly proud of the array of new courses we will offer this summer. We have worked hard to develop courses that reflect the needs of our gifted youth in this evolving world, rife with upcoming opportunities that we can only imagine. In addition to our traditionally popular courses, you will notice in our new offerings an emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, fostering creativity, and taking an active role in shaping the future.

From our Biopsychology course’s psychological investigation of how neurotransmitters act upon our mental and physical faculties, to Mathematical Masterpieces: Fermi and the Golden Ratio’s journey into the interdisciplinary and intuitive elements of math with a focus on “real world” applications, to Future City Design and its examination of ecologically- and fiscally-responsible, practical urban planning, we are thrilled to open the doors to our classrooms and inspire your children to thrive in these new, engaging areas of inquiry.

STEM education in particular appears to hold great promise as a field of study for gifted students, as it integrates the traditional, crucial disciplines of mathematics and science with creative, “real world” elements of technology and engineering that can bring such learning to life. With an emphasis on the connected nature of these concepts, students often find that they are increasingly able to organize STEM-based learning, and retrieve it when necessary, as the mind retains concepts well when they are connected to several areas of knowledge as opposed to those learned in isolation from other disciplines. With the ever-expanding role of technology and the unlimited potential of scientific discovery in our world creating new industries and careers, immersing our gifted students in STEM education is a solid strategy for pursuing global well-being, as well as personal fulfillment.

As an advocate of students pursuing a multidisciplinary education, I would be remiss in not mentioning our new courses in a variety of other disciplines, particularly those designed to help develop creativity. Offerings such as Philosophy: Diving into Deep Thoughts, pondering philosophical thought through the ages and its relevance to the present and future while fostering students’ personal philosophies, The Art of Making a Short Film,stimulating a new generation of cinematographers by surveying master artists and their works as students produce and direct their own short films, and Eureka! Inventive Minds at Work, which gets to the heart of who inventors are, what they do, how they assess the world and its needs, and the ways they transform their thoughts into action using a diverse range of academic and practical talent, were designed with the intent of nurturing our students’ creative urges. It is our goal that such offerings will not only inspire thought, but action, innovation, and imaginative solutions for the improvement of our future world.

Summer offers an opportunity for us to put our creativity and reasoning into action, and we are confident that you and your children will be impressed with the results of the hard work we have engaged in since the close of last year’s programs. Thank you for being a vital part of what makes SIG great! We can’t wait to share it with you this summer.

Until next time,

Kevin Wickersham
Academic Director
Summer Institute for the Gifted

Apply Now to SIG's Fall Online Program

SIG Beyond: Fall Online Learning Program
September 24 - November 18, 2014
Application Deadline: September 10

Cost: $425.00 plus $25 application fee
Returning ONLINE STUDENT discount – $25 off

The SIG Beyond Online Learning Program is an exciting 8-week online program for Gifted and Talented students. These courses offer students curriculum beyond what is offered during the school day, are wide ranging in potential interest areas for individualized learning, and engage students in hands-on learning while applying school content through speaking, writing, researching, analyzing, reasoning, and questioning.

Courses (see course descriptions)

  • Magic Carpet Expeditions (Ages 7-8)
  • Biology of Me (Ages 7-8)
  • What's the Chance? (Ages 7-8)
  • Nanotechnology - Think small! (Ages 9-10)
  • Web Game Design: Scratch the Itch (Ages 9-10)
  • Nuclear Physics (Ages 11-12)
  • Business Basics (Ages 11-12)
  • Scriptwriting, Page One, Re-write! (Ages 9-12)

Eligibility: This program is open to students who have been identified for a gifted & talented program or who can demonstrate eligibility for any SIG program.

Additional Information

  • Students will need access to the internet on a regular basis, as well as basic word processing and presentation software (such as Word and PowerPoint). Students should have a level of comfort with creating new documents and presentations, navigating the web to conduct research (younger students will be provided select links), and saving/uploading documents; parents may need to provide assistance to students not comfortable with these tasks.

  • Specific login times are not set, as students attend from several time zones. Assignments are posted on a weekly basis (typically Monday, though this is class dependant), and have varied due dates throughout the week. Students should expect to need to access the online course at least 3 different times during the week in order to accomplish all tasks on a timely basis. All courses follow this basic format.

  • Instructors are typically SIG summer instructors that have experience teaching in an online format. Instructors and students interact through the course learning management system (LMS); students can also email instructors for additional information. Student email addresses are not shared with other students; however, students can interact with each other via discussion posts and LMS messages.

Learn more about the SIG Fall Online Learning Program

Campus Spotlight: Amherst College

Amherst College is ranked 2nd (2014 U.S. News and World Report) among top liberal arts colleges and occupies a spacious 1,000-acre campus in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts. The New England spirit is evident here. Surrounded by quiet, safe neighborhoods, within a short walk to town, Amherst offers ivy-covered dorms within easy walking distance to classrooms. Students love coming to Amherst College for the spectacular campus setting, the award winning Valentine dining hall, and fun times on the Main Quadrangle - better known as "The Quad."

Fun Facts!

  • The Amherst College motto is Terras Irradient, meaning "Let them give light to the world"
  • Amherst is Alma Mater to many notable people, including three Nobel Laureates, numerous Pulitzer Prize winners, and a Chief Justice of the United States. Local attractions include the Beneski Museum of Natural History, Emily Dickinson Museum, and a wildlife sanctuary.
  • SIG has been on campus since 1998!

SIG offers many options for students who wish to attend this program:

  • Residential Program for students ages 9-17
    Students choosing this option will participate in the full curriculum of SIG including a 4-period academic day, evening programs, Saturday Get-Away Days and Sunday Activity Days. Students live on campus in dormitories.

  • Day Commuter Program for students ages 9-17 (8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.)
    Commuter students participate in the full 4-period academic day, lunch and recreation period. They do not participate in any weekend or evening activities. Commuter students must be dropped off at 8:30 a.m. and picked up at 5:30 p.m.

  • Extended Commuter Program for students ages 9-17 (8:30 a.m. - 9:15 p.m.)
    Extended commuter students will participate in the full 4-period academic day, lunch, recreation period, dinner and all evening activities, as well as Saturday Get-Away Day trips. Extended commuters do not reside on campus or take part in Sunday activities.

Learn more about SIG at Amherst College

SENG Director on Raising a Profoundly Gifted Child

Amy Harrington, Director of SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted), has written a piece regarding her experience in raising a profoundly gifted child. The piece includes strategies and tactics she has used and suggests.

Excerpt: Profoundly gifted children are the outliers amongst outliers. These children are intense, creative problem solvers who have voracious appetites for learning. A profoundly gifted child will have intense focus on passion areas and will fully commit to anything of interest to the exclusion of almost everything else. Or, at least that has been my experience while raising my own profoundly gifted boys and working with gifted families. My oldest child is one of those children who just doesn’t fit any mold. He doesn’t know where the proverbial box is, and he is so far outside of it that it is merely a notion he once had to deal with while in school. He has a rage to create, innovate, invent, learn, produce, think, discuss, analyze, and deconstruct every aspect of the world. This is a child whose brain is never idle, and when something is mundane, he is challenged to endure the impossible.

Read more: Raising a Profoundly Gifted Child

Puzzle Corner

Replace each set of dashes with an 8-letter word. The same 8 letters must be used for both words.

The _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ showed the zoo’s visitors the best way to _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ the animals.

Submit your answer online at The first student who submits the correct answer will receive recognition in the next issue of The Gifted Student!


Last Month's Puzzle

What letter should replace the question mark?

BTR    JPF    UYD    E?C

A: H. Add together the alphabetical values of the two outer letters to give the alphabetical value of the center letter.

Congratulations to Clio from Austin, TX, for being the first to respond with the correct answer to last month's puzzle!

May Site Administrators' Meetings – Recap!

Two weekends, one incredible feeling: pride. Twice in May, SIG Central had the pleasure of hosting our Residential, Day, and Commuter Site Administrators for an intensive, informative, and interactive training session – and what a blast it was! We feel so confident in our staff and know that they are well-prepared to provide your child with the most spectacular summer enrichment yet! Here are a few photographs of the training in action.

Connect with SIG on Social Media!

Social media is a driving force in many of our lives. Here at the Summer Institute for the Gifted, we see it as a great way to connect with those who are just as passionate about gifted education as we are!

We often hear from parents of alumni that SIG summers were some of the best their children ever had! If you are a SIG parent, we encourage you to pass this along to your current or former student(s) so that they can stay up-to-date on SIG happenings.

Through social media outlets, SIG provides updates on everything from gifted education resources to details about our various programs, from puzzles and learning strategies to event announcements across the country. Stay connected with us throughout the entire year by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

SIG on Facebook:
SIG on Twitter:
SIG on LinkedIn:

The Summer Institute for the Gifted is a program of the National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT), a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. NSGT also offers a University Prep program at various locations nationwide.

University Prep Facebook:

We look forward to connecting with you!

Upcoming Conferences & Events


CAG Summer Teacher Institute and Demonstration School
June 23 - 27, 2014
Granite Bay/Roseville, CA

Personalizing Learning through Differentiation & Technology
June 25 - 27, 2014
"Differentiation & Technology," Keynotes: Marcia Imbeau, Brian Housand, Jann Leppien, & Kathryn Picanco
Whitworth University, Center for Gifted Education
Spokane, WA


PG Retreat
July 2 - 6, 2014
Annual summer program for adults and children organized by and for the families of profoundly gifted children
Glyn Eyrie Castle, Colorado Springs, CO

ICIE conference on Excellence and Innovation in Education
July 7 - 10, 2014
"The Creativity - Innovation Challenge," Keynotes: Chris Rogers, Ken McCluskey, Todd Lubart, Patrick Blessinger, Christopher Chapman
Paris, France

University of Connecticut's Confratute
July 13 - 18, 2014
The Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT

PG Retreat
July 16 - 20, 2014
Annual summer program for adults and children organized by and for the families of profoundly gifted children, new this year
Reisterstown, MD

SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) Conference
July 18 - 20, 2014
"Growing Gifted Globally"
San Jose, CA

CAG Summer Teacher Institute and Demonstration School
July 21 - 25, 2014
Santa Barbara, CA

11th International Dabrowski Congress
July 24 - 26, 2014
"Creativity: Transforming Perceptions of Reality," Keynotes: Laurie Nixon and Linda Silverman;
Solara Resort & Spa, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

International Group for Mathematical Creativity and Giftedness (MCG) Conference
July 28 - 30, 2014
University of Denver, Denver, CO

Spread the News!

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