SIG eNewsletter: The Gifted Student

April 2016

Sponsored by the Georgia Association for Gifted Children (GAGC)

In this issue:

SIG is a program of NSGT, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization

From the President's Desk

A letter from Barbara Swicord, President of SIG:

Barbara Swicord, President of SIGThink GREEN this month! Due to the fact that April 22 is Earth Day and due to gifted students' great concern over global ethical, scientific, and equity issues, those of us who work with gifted students could think of GREEN as an acronym for this month: Gifted Rally Earth's Environment Now. The emphasis on environmental concerns that Earth Day provides this month is a wonderful opportunity to capitalize on our students' interests surrounding Earth Day topics and behaviors. Earth Day, of course, is celebrated on April 22, and on this day events are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection worldwide. First celebrated in 1970, it is now celebrated in more than 193 countries each year.

On Earth Day 2016, the landmark Paris Agreement is scheduled to be signed by the United States, China, and 120 other countries. This agreement, within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), deals with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance from 2020. This event provides a timely impetus for learning about the complex aspects of getting so many nations to work together to solve global issues as well as providing motivation to understand as much as possible about global warming issues and topics. If you are an educator, we encourage you to use this real life event to engage and motivate highly capable students in the research and discussions about the future of the planet they will inherit.

There are countless ways to incorporate Earth Day content into a differentiated curriculum. It's a great way for students to be given time, access, and motivation to pursue related topics of interest to them, either individually or in small cluster groups. They may be interested in the scientific aspects of environmental protection, social awareness, financial impact, political issues, or any number of other related topics that appeal to their personal passions. They may also wish to get involved directly or indirectly in events, community and global service projects, or in advocacy or lobbying efforts on behalf of the planet. They may even be interested in planning, organizing, and implementing their own events and projects.

Whether at home or at school, here are a couple of ideas for projects/research to get students started.

  1. Waste not, want not! According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2008 the average American created more than 4 pounds of garbage waste every day. Students can research and analyze current waste statistics as well as ways to reduce the amount of waste. Research can include intriguing facts about recycling and ideas for repurposing re-usable items. Research also can include information about the recycling facilities, processes, finances, and programs in their cities and towns. Young and older students will engage in this topic at their level of understanding and interest.

  2. Energy Conservation:  Add activities to raise awareness regarding wasted energy, in the home and on the road. Although the EPA found that "in 2008, Americans saved more than $19 billion and avoided greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 29 million cars through choices they made with energy-saving measures and energy-efficient homes," Americans can continue to improve energy-use efficiency. Have students research ways to reduce electricity in the home and gas on the road. Should you use a clothesline instead of a dryer? Which is more energy efficient: driving, riding a bike, or riding a bus to school? Why? What kinds of innovations have automobile engineers made in cars that impact energy usage? What trends do you see for the future in this field?

  3. Give a Hoot. Don't Pollute! Pollution was one particular issue that prompted the founding of Earth Day. Students can research and analyze current laws regulating emissions from factories and vehicles, the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers that can pollute waterways, and the disposal of hazardous materials like batteries and electronics. How much progress have we made since Earth Day was first established?

Encourage students to take personal responsibility in protecting and preserving the planet. Make vows to engage in such practices as:

  • Using recyclable water bottles and lunch bags
  • Planting  trees
  • Writing letters to Congress in support of environmental legislation; writing editorials and articles, blogging, journaling about your efforts
  • Recycling paper at school and at home
  • Interviewing local environmentalists and their organizations
  • Create a fundraiser where all proceeds go the local recycling center or endangered species

Resources abound online for Earth Day-related activities. Don't let this opportunity pass to impress upon our future leaders how important their role is as responsible present and future caretakers of the planet. This type of curriculum is indeed personal – GREEN, but ripe for picking.

At SIG we have many courses that capitalize on students' interest in global and environmental topics. For example, 13- and 14-year-olds might be interested in Global Science: What Future Leaders Need to Know. Or, 15- to 17-year olds might be interested in Environmental Engineering: Designing for Sustainability. Our younger students (ages 5-6) might like The Bare Necessi-Trees, or Zoos by You for the 7- and 8-year-olds or our 9- and 10-year-olds might enjoy In the Balance.

We hope we'll see your students in our programs this summer, whether in these courses or others. Come join us as we prepare students for their future lives as empowered custodians of themselves as well as of the Earth. Our deadlines are fast approaching, so don't wait too long!

Barbara Swicord
President, Summer Institute for the Gifted

Campus Spotlight: UC Berkeley

Campus Spotlight: UC BerkeleyUniversity of California, Berkeley, is the leading public university in the country. Berkeley's reputation for academic excellence combined with its beautiful campus and Northern California location make it a unique and exciting educational experience. The roots of the University of California go back to the gold rush days of 1849, when the drafters of the State Constitution, required the legislature to "encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral and agricultural improvement" of the people of California.

Fun Facts!

  • Alumni include Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple, and Beverly Cleary, a renowned children's author.
  • Over 19 million fossil samples are housed in the Berkeley museum collections.
  • SIG has been on campus since 2005!

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

  • Residential Programs 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 Getaway Day and Sunday Activity Days. Students live on campus in dormitories.
  • Extended Commuter Program for students ages 9-17 (8:30am – 9:15pm)
    Extended commuter students will participate in the full 4-period academic day, lunch, recreation period, dinner, and all evening activities, as well as a Saturday Getaway Day trip. Extended commuters do not reside on campus or take part in Sunday activities.
  • Day Commuter Program for students ages 9-17 (8:30am – 5:30pm)
    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 8:30am and picked up at 5:30pm.

Learn more about SIG at UC Berkeley

Local Day Programs Filling Fast for 5- to 12-Year-Olds – Apply Today

SIG Day Programs provide instruction in several dozen courses during their regular academic schedule and engage students in recreational activities every day. Courses are taught at levels appropriate for gifted students who are ages 5-12*, covering humanities, mathematics, sciences, and multi-disciplinary courses.

Many classes are full, and many sites are close to capacity. We are encouraging parents to apply earlier than they normally would for our day programs. These include:

Apply Now

*Lunch is provided and extended day supervision is available for all students who attend the Day Programs (ages 5-12, ages vary by campus). Please visit for locations and dates.

Meet Your 2016 SIG Program Director: Christine Provencher

Meet Your 2016 SIG Program Director: Christine ProvencherChristine Provencher is the Program Director for the SIG programs at Emory University, the University of Miami, and Woods Academy this year. Christine spent 7 years as Vice President of SIG and Deputy Director of NSGT before semi-retiring to Florida at the end of the 2014 season. Her passion for gifted education and dedication to the SIG mission drew her back to us in the summer of 2015! In her new role as Senior Program Director, Christine is responsible for overall campus program planning, as well as Student Activities oversight. In her free time, she enjoys playing golf, bike riding, reading, and spending time on the beautiful Florida Gulf Coast beaches!

Give SIG Students a Boost!

Give SIG Students a Boost! Here at SIG, we believe that all gifted students, regardless of their financial situation, should be able to experience the academic rigor and enrichment that they deserve. We strive to provide as much scholarship funding as we possibly can so that these students may attend gifted and talented programs.

Through, we are selling custom SIG t-shirts and collecting donations online. The profit from each item purchased will go toward SIG scholarships for gifted and talented students in need. If you are able, we encourage you to purchase one or more and show your support proudly.

International shipping is available! Wear your shirt to the airport when you travel!

With your help, we can fully sponsor many deserving, motivated children to participate in SIG programs. Overall through Booster, we've raised almost $6,000! Help us reach our goal and support fellow gifted students.

View and purchase a SIG t-shirt

This campaign will end on April 20, 2016. 100% of all funds raised will go to SIG scholarships.

SIG Spreads the Word – Webinars, Information Sessions, Conferences

SIG has been busy communicating our mission of “enriching minds where creativity thrives” and engaging the gifted community on their paths of self-discovery and empowerment. Here is what we have been up to:


WebinarsFour interactive webinars were presented on our residential and day programs for this summer. The webinars explored Residential & Commuter Programs (ages 9-17), as well as Day Programs (ages 5-12). The SIG team provided a comprehensive overview of campus options, enriching academics, and social offerings. The webinars also detailed the structure of campus programs, including eligibility criteria for admission to the programs. At the end of the webinars, there was an opportunity to ask questions. Please visit our Webinars page where you can find the recordings.

Information Sessions

Info SessionOur next live Information Session will take place on April 26th at 7pm at UC Berkeley. Registration begins at 6:45 with program presentation and questions to follow. This is an opportunity to learn and ask questions about the programs and speak one-on-one with SIG staff and other parents. Please RSVP to and parking information will be forwarded.


ConferencesDr. Barbara Swicord, our SIG President, has been representing SIG at quite a few gifted education conferences. These conferences include the Annual Conferences for CAG, GAGC, and the upcoming NJAGC. Program Director Hillary Jade has presented at the IAGC Annual Conference. SIG has also supported the Connecticut Association for the Gifted Minds in Motion events that offer interactive workshops for gifted youth.

Puzzle Corner

On each row place a three letter word that can be attached to the end of the word to the left and to the beginning of the word to the right to give a longer word in each case. When completed, the initial letters of the three letter words will give another word reading downwards. What is it?

COW _   _   _ HOOD
CHECK _   _   _ URGE
FISH _   _   _ BALL
CAT _   _   _ KIN
COWARD _   _   _ BOX
END _   _   _ PLUG
FORE _   _   _ SAW

Courtesy of MENSA

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 number should replace the question mark?

Puzzle Corner






Courtesy of MENSA

A: Two. In each square add the two numbers on the left to get the top right digit, and minus them to get the bottom right digit.

Congratulations to Lauren from Blue Bell, PA, for being the first to respond with the correct answer to last month's puzzle!

Upcoming Conferences & Events


CEC Convention and Expo
April 13 - 16, 2016
Keynote: Temple Grandin
St. Louis, Missouri


Montana AGATE Spring Conference
April 14 - 16, 2016
"Rediscover Creativity," Keynotes: Lisa Van Gemert and Ian Byrd, Hilton Garden Inn, Great Falls, Montana, USA. Parents are welcome to attend our evening events, free of charge. Parents of "Twice Exceptional" Children: You can apply for a parent training scholarship from PLUK (Parents Let's Unite for Kids) to attend the AGATE Conference.


Ottawa Area ISD Annual Gifted Conference
April 15, 2016
Ottawa Area ISD-Educational Services Building, Holland, Michigan, USA. In partnership with Michigan Association for Gifted Children


Beyond IQ (BIQ) Boston
April 15 - 17, 2016
Keynote: Aimee Yermish
Holiday Inn, Boxborough, Massachusetts

Active in Komuns
April 17, 2016
The Moore Elastika Building, Miami, Florida

SIG Will Be There

UNC Wilmington Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) Program
April 22, 2016
"Powering Up Potential," Keynote: Brian Housand
Watson College of Education, Wilmington, North Carolina

SIG Information Session
April 26, 2016 @ 7pm
Dr. Barbara Swicord and Program Director Kate Kossar will be there
Learn about the benefits of a SIG Residential or Commuter Program
UC Berkeley, Wada Room, Berkeley, California

SIG Will Be There

LAUSD Educating the Whole Gifted Learner
April 30, 2016
Los Angeles, California

SIG Will Be There

Massachusetts Association for Gifted Education (MAGE)
April 30, 2016
Academy Hill School, Springfield, Massachusetts


Australasia 2015 Programme Gifted & Talented Study Day
May 9th to 20th, 2016 depending on venue
This study day offers a unique provision for academically gifted students, Venues: Perth, Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne. Junior gifted programmes will be offered in July and August at the following centres: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Perth, Nelson, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch.
ICIE conference on Excellence and Innovation in Education
May 18 - 21, 2106
"Creativity – Innovation – Latest Development in Research & Practices," Rijeka, Croatia

Lego Brickfair            
May 21 - 22, 2016
Royal Plaza Trade Center, Marlborough, Massachusetts


Spread the News!

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