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March 27, 2017
Shannon Barry

Growing Up Gifted

Learning Through Play

I have always processed things differently than others around me. This has been, since childhood, a constant of all of my experiences. In school I was always focused on the creative: writing my own short stories about my stuffed animals and conceptualizing the emotional arc of my peers' short-lived relationships. Worksheets left me with too much room to fret and the tedium of the normal school day was the perfect invitation for my anxieties to manifest in full. I succeeded in my classes but never thrived, and was told by my teachers and friends alike that I took things too seriously. I was never able to understand how to make something matter less to me the way my friends seemed to be able to do with ease. Though I never had an issue cultivating and maintaining friendships, I spent the first few years of my schooling feeling undeniably isolated and misunderstood. 

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March 18, 2017
Rachael Rufino

Special Needs: Our Top Resources for Every Parent and Teacher

Learning Through Play

Below are some of our favorite resources for teachers and parents who care for children with special needs.  With input from special education teachers and parents around the world, we have compiled a well-rounded list of inclusive teaching methods, support groups, exercise programs, safety strategies and original SpEd infographic.  Click here for our previous blog post on Twice Exceptional Toys.  With Autism Awareness month approaching, we hope highlighting these resources will help to promote inclusion, health and learning in all environments for the disability community.

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March 13, 2017
R. Elaine L. Smith

"At-Risk" Brains and Games

Kids And Creativity, STEM Education / Play, Learning Through Play

Mary and I are two teachers, who have been teaching science in some form or another since dinosaurs roamed the earth (at least that is what we tell our students).  Personal communications changed dramatically with the advent of an affordable personal computer.  Social media, such as Myspace, appeared facilitating communication across long distances, classrooms, age and gender gaps.  At the same time, cell phones became cheap and available.  Now there is opportunity for constant communication from a variety of platforms ranging from Facebook to Twitter to Snapchat. During this time period, we have observed that social communication has become a premier driver of the adolescent brain at the same time that the focus and effort required for academic success has been diminishing.

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March 11, 2017
Sophie Miller

Twice Exceptional Toys

Learning Through Play

Over the next few weeks, different countries around the world will be celebrating the gifted learners in their communities. Australia’s fourth annual Gifted Awareness Week will launch on March 12. Meanwhile, in America, Autism Awareness Month starts on April 1, celebrating and advocating for children and adults on the spectrum.  Twice exceptional learners bring aspects of both parts of their exceptional nature – their gifted minds as well as their learning differences – into the way that they take in information and learn about new topics. In celebration of differently abled learners around the world, we wanted to share some of the excellent toys and games that you can purchase for your child.

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March 06, 2017
Alana Hackes

Imagination Appreciation: The Power of Playing Pretend

Kids And Creativity, Creativity, Learning Through Play

I grew up with seven boys—three of them were my brothers, two of them my step brothers, and the other two were my next door neighbors. We were all around the same age—the greatest age difference between the oldest and the youngest was six years—so we spent a lot of time outside playing games together. One of our favorite games to play was called “Be Whoever You Wanna Be,” which was just a really long name for playing pretend. Sometimes we would pretend to be characters from our favorite show or sometimes we would pretend to be warriors from a made-up race. The possibilities—and the hours we spent playing these various types of pretend games—seemed endless.

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February 18, 2017
Sophie Miller

Incentivizing Learning

Learning Through Play

My mother says that I began reading overnight. One day, she recounts, I was begging her to read me Hop on Pop on repeat, a wish that she refused out of sheer exhaustion of the book’s lacking plotline. The next day, she found me alone in my room, reading Hop on Pop aloud to myself. At first she thought I had memorized the book – how hard could it be? But when she put a different, less well-loved story in front of me I could read that too. When presented with the options of either going without the story or figuring it out myself, reading all of a sudden came quickly and naturally to me.

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February 13, 2017
Carol Tang

Finding the Time to Play

Kids And Creativity, Creativity, STEM Education / Play, Learning at Home, Learning Through Play, STEM, STEAM

Dr. Carol Tang is the Executive Director of the Children's Creativity Museum in San Francisco. She is on the Board of Directors for the National Afterschool Association, the How Kids Learn Foundation, and Artists United as well as a reviewer for the academic journal, Afterschool Matters. She previously was employed as the team lead for out-of-school time grant making portfolio at the S.D. Becthel, Jr. Foundation, the director of the Coalition for Science After School, and head of exhibitions and public programs at the California Academy of Sciences. Carol has a Ph.D. in paleontology and is the author of the Jurassic articles in the Encylopaedia Britanica Online. You can reach her on Twitter at @CarolTang1.

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