joshwriting: (Default)
I miss Voyagers. That's what I would normally (school year) do on a Thursday afternoon.

Instead, I am flying to Chicago and thence being driven to BIQ Midwest, or what there is of it. I will get to see nifty fun people and do some serious exploration of family dynamics. Might even see some kids - anything's possible!

I'll be on and off during the weekend, I expect.
joshwriting: (Default)
The regular program still is not where I would like it to be. That said, I think it was overall very successful this year. From a glance at the evaluations and direct feedback to me or relayed to me, people were generally pleased with what they got from the conference, both in content and in mixing. Some of the happiness, to be fair, was from seeing the children and/or teens thriving, but some of it was from presentations. "How can we get him to be more actively involved in research?" "If they can put together that kind of program, why can't we?" "I think that presentation has changed how I think about things, how I approach life."

There were requests for more or different, as well - more about the writing process, deeper into one or more strands, less focus at times on an individual member's issues and more on the overview and broad issues. And "but if this is at that time, then I won't be able to see it! I thought it was going to be at a different time." This was, of course, because it was going to be at the other time, but the speaker was running late. I, of course, am responsible for this because I know that that speaker has that issue and I meant to remind him. But I am not solely responsible - the speaker, too, is responsible. And it is very clear we prefer to have him over giving up because he is sometimes tardy.

We had some old speakers and some new. To an extent, the old speakers spoke about old topics, but not totally. In fact, 35% of all presentations were by people who had never presented at BIQ before. 70% of presentations were new - either new topics or a deeper level of an old topic.

I find both of those numbers to be pretty remarkable.

OTOH, we did not get the "Read this before coming to this session" trick off the ground this year. I think I need to delegate that task to somebody else.

My first presentation went remarkably well, considering how woefully underprepared I was. I think I can do a better job - and I DO owe my attendees a bit of a write up - if and only if they send me a note seeking it! We went beyond the usual level of conference Dabrowski stuff - with nobody asking for or getting a primer. I think that made a difference.

My second presentation was rapid-fire learning styles with a bunch of the YAs, most of whom I know, though not only from prior BIQs. Son of a former roommate, for example, was one attendee. A couple were Voyagers kids, but in a different venue. It was interesting to work with them at BIQ - and different from how they were on a regular basis.

My final presentation was the keynote on Sunday. I had hoped, until the last minute, to be able to lure a mystery keynote from the southlands, but that was not to be. So, I did it. My topic was the Creativity/Emotion Interface. I talked about Creative Problem Solving vs. Creativity and the notion that there is, somehow, a 'template' for greatness, as one book on the topic suggests. I talked about the idea that all creativity should be to address a problem - sharing, among other things, experiences I had in my first course on the subject, at Boston University in 1979.

I explored the notion that being artistic requires production, rather than mind/worldview - and the thought that I am an artistic person, a musical person, even though producing either is generally beyond my talents. How do the messages we send to our children, to ourselves, influence creativity, nurture it or deny it? How best might we support it - or lend it support that does not come from us? What questions can we ask, what steps can we take? How do we make such determinations?

I probably provided some answers. I really don't remember what all I said. Maybe somebody who was there at the time will...
joshwriting: (Default)
It's Monday morning. I am still tired, though far less so, obviously, than when I got home last night. I am not yet really up, but I can tell you that my legs, calves in particular, feel as if I spent the last three days largely on my feet walking around!

I had a good time at this year's BIQ - far better than last years for reasons too numerous to begin to list. Less sturm und drang, to say the least.

Where to start? I guess with support. I had more, let myself accept more than I had going into previous conferences, and the combination of that and a year's experience for a couple of people made a difference in a variety of ways. [ profile] cogitationitis coordinated vendors, resulting in our actually having vendors! (I have had as many as 2 or maybe 3 once before, I think, but never 5 or 6. I missed having David Fox there. I don't know what happened with that and will try to find out, though I am sure it was not from lack of effort on Lisa's part. I gather, some from 2nd hand and some from personal discussion, that some of the vendors are definitely interested in returning next year, which is a happy thing.

Logistically, transportation of those without their own means of transportation was my biggest headache for the conference. I had people from 4 different states who had difficulties being able to get to the conference. I managed to arrange for the Massachusetts and New Hampshire folks to make it easily enough. Through the good graces of Susan (designated spousal unit), the Vermont person made it to the conference, and then [ profile] wenzel helped her get back to college. The New Yorker ended up in New York. Maybe we can do better next year.

Friday had more paid attendees than usual, plus the usual mix of speakers and YAs who arrived early for the conference. There were about 15 of us for lunch, a smaller group talking in the morning, and then a bit larger for the afternoon. It was, in the words of one attendee, a very intense discussion - he felt that a newcomer might be scared away by it, but the newest of the newcomers did not seem, to me, to be scared.

We talked about so many different things. A lot of the morning focus was on differentiation and the afternoon on social/emotional needs, but really both halves were about those needs. What is resilience, how can it be nurtured, what is the role of the school, the role of the classroom teacher in that process? [ profile] siderea, who joined us for her first time, had just been at a day-long seminar on depression and had much to share with us from that, as well as her general involvement in the discourse as we explored meaning and needs. I really hope she comes back, preferably for the entire weekend next time! (She was, in many ways, less new than the other new attendee, having been dealing with me off and on for 15+ years. The other, while teaching for 13 years, is new to gifted, and this group is very different than most gifted conference attendees tend to be.) But yes, Lisa, you still need a working definition of Differentiation, I know!

[ profile] persis handled the children's program - and given the events and stresses in her life apart from my conference (and even ignoring them), she did a great job by all reports so far. She has correctly observed that knowing genders of the children in advance might be a useful thing, though, having reviewed my walk-ins, I think the trend/issue she saw on Saturday morning would not have been predictable. The walk-in children leaned heavily towards the male, younger group.

Children were 25% of our attendees, a fairly common percentage for us. In some ways, it creates a bit of stress, I think, because the parents can't focus as much on their own immediate needs when they may be pulled away at any given moment, but I think the trade-offs of having the program strongly outweigh that issue/potential negative.

The kids seemed to have a ball, overwhelmingly. New friends, old friends from prior BIQs or other events... groups coming together, breaking apart and reforming into different groups. Arika, who ran 4 children's program sessions, is amazing to watch with her kids. I particularly enjoyed watching one session in which she seamlessly integrated a couple of the older YAs into her group of much littler children - and all seemed to have fun with it.

We had a fairly substantial influx of new faces and this was reflected in the YA program as much as anywhere. I spent less time with them than I would have liked, but it seemed like a good and fun mix of folks. Some of the older YAs spent less time there than in years past, and one observed to me that she felt old. Her observation was that what was being done seemed to be what the younger folks needed/were looking for, so it shouldn't be adjusted for her, or anything, but that did not mean it was a fit for her, either.

End of part 1, I guess. The next part, I will discuss the adult program a bit, the keynotes, my presentations, and a bit of the business side of things.
joshwriting: (Default)
In particular, I am hoping that [ profile] siderea, [ profile] dmnsqrl, [ profile] superfinemind, [ profile] baronet, [ profile] panterazero, and [ profile] queen_of_wands will notice this. (I am very aware that [ profile] queen_of_wands is up to her ears in packing and transitioning... but I still hope!)

The whole form can be found at

Call For Proposals

Beyond IQ: Theory and Practice with the Highly and Profoundly Gifted

Emotions and Creativity
April 13-15, Radisson Hotel, Chelmsford, MA

Proposal Deadline: Proposals are due January 31, 2007!

All proposals should relate directly to the general topic of the conference, which focuses on understanding the characteristics, needs, and paths unique to the highly and profoundly gifted. The themes of Emotions and Creativity are important to the conference, but are not the only subject we are discussing. In your abstract, please specify the relationship of your proposed presentation to the topic and, if appropriate, the theme.

Proposals for the Pre-conference workshops should be directed at Teachers, Administrators, or Counselors. Each Pre-conference workshop period is 3 hours.

Proposals for the Conference can be for adult sessions (introductory, intermediate, or advanced), young adult sessions, or children's workshops for ages 6 - 12. Unlike the pre-conference sessions, all conference sessions are 65 minutes in length. Adult sessions must include a minimum of 20 minutes for discussion and questions. The young adult sessions should be highly interactive and concentrated, and allow for at least 60 minutes of discussion. The children's workshops are to be discovery-based learning.

Accepted presenters will be responsible for expenses related to conference attendance, including costs for travel, accommodations, and printing. The lead presenter will receive a complementary conference registration; additional presenters will receive a 50% reduction of their conference registration fee.

Overhead projectors and screens will be provided on request. Other audio-visual equipment may be available and should be requested with the proposal.


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