October 20, 2011

French Education System

October 20, 2011
They say that we are better educated than our parents' generation. 
What they mean is that we go to school longer. 
It is not the same thing. 
 ~Richard Yates

Dear Friends,

Please join us for a lively discussion on How to Work the French Education System with guest speaker Florence Créneguy on Thursday November 17th. We hosted Mme Créneguy a year ago and it was one of our most popular events. It was a clear indication of how little we  understand the system and how few opportunities there are to talk about it with people in the know. Space is limited, meeting is open to everyone, but members have priority. RSVP mandatory.

Guest speaker: Florence Créneguy

Thursday November 17, 2011  -- 19h30-22h00

RSVP: Deadline mandatory by November 10, first come first served.
Email: giftedinfrance@gmail.comSubject: French Education
            Space is limited to 20.
Admission fee:  5 euros for GiF members, 10 euros for non-members.
Location: 75016
Description (Presentation is in English): 
“Mme Créneguy will explain how the French system works from primaire through Lycée, some ‘problems’ that gifted children encounter in the traditional system; ideal grades for skipping/grade acceleration and some options your child may have outside of the ‘classical’ track for entering and succeeding in Lycée. This talk is generally aimed at helping parents manage the French system by understanding how it’s structured and opportunities to make it work for your child. With your RSVP, please send along your questions, with the ages and grades of your children.  This will help us understand the needs of the participants. General information on the French system can be found at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_France.

Background on the speaker:
Mme Créneguy is Enseignante Education Nationale et Formatrice pour Enfants Intellectuellement Précoces pour AFEP
She has been a teacher of gifted children for more than 15 years. She currently teaches in the secondary section of Ecole Gerson, a Catholic semi-private school (in the 16th).  She also gives talks on behalf of AFEP to teachers and parents around the country and participates in conferences and meetings about gifted children in France.  She is French, but speaks English quite well. She has participated at previous GiF meetings. We are grateful for the time she taking to help us better understand our education system.

Munchies/Potluck: Please bring along something to drink or eat, something very easy you can pick up from the grocery store to add to the nibble selection. No stress!

Gifted in France is a loi 1901 non-profit association. GiF does not endorse speakers or their material, but aims to provide a wide variety of ideas and discussions about the educational, emotional and social needs of the gifted and twice exceptional population.

See you soon.

Best regards,

Helen Sahin Connelly
President, Gifted in France

October 13, 2011

Story of Stuff

October 13, 2011
Modern technology,
Owes ecology,
 An apology.
~Alan M. Eddison


Date and time: Sunday November 6, 2011 at 14h00-17h00
RSVP: Mandatory  
Email:  giftedinfrance@gmail.com, Subject: The Story of Stuff
Participation Fee:  10 euros / Checks payable to Gifted in France.
Location: 75016, near Radio France
Workshop led by: Corinne Coughanowr, Ph.D. Chemical Engineer, 
specializing in recycling, waste management and sustainability

We all know something about recycling, but have you ever wondered where all the stuff we buy comes from? What about where it goes when we throw it out? How often have we thought about all the steps that occur before that new iPod or T-shirt joins our possessions? How was it made, where did all the ingredients come from, who was involved…?

In this workshop, we will start with the short film “The Story of Stuff”, then look at the materials that make up our possessions, and start thinking upstream, downstream and in circles to understand the production and utilization of our everyday goods, and options for their “end of life."

This is an interactive workshop for kids, age 9-14+, parents are welcome to stay and participate as long as there is enough space.

We are grateful to Corinne for her time and interest in helping us understand The Story of Stuff!

See you soon,

Helen Sahin Connelly

October 8, 2011

Common Misdiagnoses and Dual Diagnoses

October 7, 2011
Not all who wander are lost.
~J.R.R. Tolkien

Dear Friends,
Please join us for a viewing of Dr. Webb’s webinar on common misdiagnoses of gifted children and adults. Bring along your partners, pass the word to your teachers, administrators, health care professionals and others helping your children. This is one of my favorite discussions on the subject gifted, talented and twice-exceptional children.  
Space is limited, RSVP is always mandatory in advance.
Common Misdiagnoses and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults.
90-minute Recorded Webinar Presentation
by James T. Webb, PhD
Thursday October 20, 2011 – Two presentations, choose one.
Midday   11h30-14h00 (bring your lunch)
Evening  19h30-22h00 (bring a light snack for the table)
RSVP: Deadline mandatory by October 16.
Email: giftedinfrance@gmail.comSubject: Misdiagnoses. 
Please specify which time you are attending.  Space is limited to 20.
Cost: Free for GiF members and Message members, 10 euros for non-members. 
(Checks payable to Gifted in France).
Description of the webinar, presented in PowerPoint format.
“Because they lack training, mental health professionals are misdiagnosing gifted and talented children and adults as having mental disorders. The characteristics of gifted/talented children and adults - particularly if not understood at school, home, or work - often are mistaken for significant behavioral or emotional problems that can be misdiagnosed as Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Conduct Disorder, or Bi-Polar Disorder... Parents and educators, therefore, must become more informed about these issues. 
However, for other children and adults, their giftedness is related, but often overlooked, for diagnoses that are accurate such as Existential Depression, Bi-Polar, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, Sleep Disorders or Multiple Personality Disorder. That is, these children and adults do indeed have dual diagnoses - giftedness and some disorder. It is important that the aspects related to giftedness not be overlooked or misunderstood by professionals.
This session provides information to help parents, educators, and health care professionals understand how they can differentiate gifted behaviors from behavioral pathology. Dr. Webb will describe commonalities and contrasts between the characteristics of gifted children and adults and the behaviors described in the DSM-IV that are used by mental health professionals to make differential diagnoses. In addition, Dr. Webb will discuss dual diagnoses and how treatment approaches with gifted children and adults often need to be modified.”

Related article: Counseling, Multiple Exceptionality, and Psychological Issues
“Dr. James T. Webb founded SENG in 1981, and is the lead author of award winning books including Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults, Guiding the Gifted Child, A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children, Grandparent's Guide to Gifted Children, and Gifted Parent Groups: The SENG Model. He was previously President of the American Association for Gifted Children, on the board of directors for the National Association for Gifted Children, President of the Ohio Psychological Association, and a member of the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Webb was recognized as one of the 25 most influential psychologists in a national survey published in Gifted Child Today.”  This webinar is a production by SENG.
Gifted in France is a loi 1901 non-profit association. GiF does not endorse speakers or their material, but aims to provide a wide variety of ideas and discussions about the gifted and twice exceptional population.
More meetings for adults and activities for kids coming up soon.
Best regards,
Helen Sahin Connelly
President, Gifted in France

October 3, 2011

Paris Science Fair

October 3, 2011
Dear Friends, 
In case you have not heard, here is some information about the two big SCIENCE events happening in Paris over the next couple of weekends - for  families and individuals as well as schools. Take a few minutes to walk through the links and RSVP where necessary.
October 6-11, 2011 - Museum of Natural History.  
Click here to go the page where you can choose and RSVP the films you want to see. They book fast. Great for the family, depending on the film you chose. Great location too! 

October 12-16, 2011 - throughout Paris, see links below.
Many science institutions and museums are participating in activities geared to schools, families and professionals. Some of the major museums like the Palais de la Decouverte and Cite des Sciences are open for Free to the public on 15-16 October. Other museums, universities, and institutions are also participating in this nation-wide festival.
Take a few minutes to look through the following links to choose something of interest. It can get a bit overwhelming when so many outlets schedule city-wide events, but hang in there, keep your searches simple and manageable for the family.a. go to this link for general info
    c. when you reach the link under 'b' then  --- chose your "region" "department," "villas," "Dates" (chose the weekend 15-16, unless you can go during the week; "types de public," will let you enter your desired age group, then hit return. A list of activities around Paris, for example, will be listed below. You can start your research over again, using different criteria.
See you soon.
More information from GiF coming your way soon. 
Best regards, 
Helen Sahin Connelly

September 26, 2011

Little Mad Scientist

September 26, 2011
Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity 
killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly.”
~ Arnold Edinborough
Ages: 4-7 years-old
Date: Sunday 9 October 2011
Meet: in the lobby at 10h30
Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt
75008 Paris
Museum: 01 56 43 20 20
Must RSVP by 4 October, by email, Julie Harris julie.harrisguiader@gmail.com
Dear Friends,  
We are kicking off the 2011-12 Little Mad Scientist season, with a meeting on Sunday 9 October at 10h30, at the Palais de la Decouverte. The purpose of this group will be to expose children to all things science throughout the year.  
The meeting place will be in the lobby at 10h30, just in time to buy entrance tickets (7 euros for adults, free for under 6's, 4.50 euros for ages 6-25).  In addition to their temporary and permanent exhibits, each day (or by 19h00 the day before) the museum releases a schedule of activities from which to choose. Here's an example of one for today. The "Electrostatique spectaculaire " is a crowd-pleaser, for example. (It's usually a popular activity, so you want to be in place ahead of time.)   When you get to the museum, you can either walk around with GiF members and discover the museum on your own, or join in one of these activities, providing it's age-appropriate. (Please note that if you have a membership to the Cites des Sciences, it usually works at this museum, so bring it along. There's also a coat and stroller check-in and there should be plenty of room on a Sunday morning before the midday crowd pours in.) 
The group can pause for lunch around 12h00  (bring your own lunch or buy it at their small snack bar.)  After lunch, you can opt to choose a second or third activity according to interest, go to a nearby park or leave for the day. 
For this outing, please RSVP to Julie, julie.harrisguiader@gmail.com Subject:  Little Mad Scientist. This event is open to GiF members.

We look forward to developing and growing the Little Mad Scientist Club. We welcome parents leading talks, doing show and tell, and sharing their expertise with children. 
Thank you Julie for leading the October 9th event, and thank you to Heather for leading last April's visit.  We hope to hear from more parents who can volunteer for other science-related venues in the coming weeks and months.
Best regards,
Helen Sahin Connelly
Gifted in France

September 9, 2011

Plasma/Tokamak 3...



September 9, 2011
Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent
life exists elsewhere in the universe is that
none of it has tried to contact us.
~Calvin and Hobbes

with guest Physicist Steve M. Elliot:
(design by S. M. Elliot)
Workshop on Tokamak Pulsed Confinement Magnets            
DATE: Sunday October 9, 2011
TIME:   14H00-16H00
AGES:  9-14+up
LOCATION: Same as before
RSVP:  September 20th, Cost: 10 euros


High magnet fields are required to compress the plasma in the Paris Small Tokamak, which is being created under the direction of Mr. Elliot.  "Practical magnets cannot be operated continuously due to a severe heating problem. The problem may be solved by operating the magnets with very short, high power pulses followed by a cooling rest period. The workshop will focus on challenges and solutions for designing suitable magnets and a pulsed power supply to drive them. An experimental plasma compression magnet used with the Paris Small Tokamak will be demonstrated along with new computer simulations of Paris Small Tokamak operation. Attendees are encouraged to bring a digital camera or cell phone with a camera function, if available, for recording observations of Tokamak operation." Also, bring your notebooks, and handouts.


Parents are invited for a brief introduction to the activity at drop off time, and a summary at the end. During the workshop, parents are invited to gather at the nearby Cafe Les Ondes for a little brainstorming and friendship session.

Note to our young scientists: We will also be getting ready to start our own blog on what we've done to date.  If blogging, graphics design, illustrating, or writing... --even writing songs and poetry about our beloved Paris Small Tokamak -- is of interest to you, please let me know as soon as possible. When emailing about the blog project, indicate your area of interest, if you have one, though it's not mandatory. This is all a work  "in progress," and we'll figure it out as we go.

As always, we are indebted to Mr. Elliot for all his time and devotion to this project. 

See you all soon! 

Best regards, 

Helen Sahin Connelly
Gifted in France

April 27, 2011

Happiness and Education

Peter Gumbel and Wenda Sheard
Saturday May 21, 2011 at 10h30-13h30
American University of Paris

  • RSVP:  Due to space and security reasons, RSVP is mandatory by Saturday May 14th. Please email: giftedinfrance@gmail.com, Subject: Gumbel/Sheard 
  • Cost: 10 euros per person. Checks, payable to Gifted in France, must be received in advance.  
  • Location:  American University of Paris, 75007
Organized by Gifted in France and Hosted by the American University of Paris

French Schools, and the Elusive Search for Happiness, Peter Gumbel
Journalist, teacher, author of,  "On achève bien les écoliers,"
Out-Of-The-Box Education Ideas,
Wenda Sheard, J.D., Ph.D.
Educator, attorney
 Over the past three decades, a growing body of academic research has highlighted the importance of enjoyment and fulfillment as important learning tools. If you are passionate about a subject, you're more likely to excel at it - and in excelling, derive more intellectual satisfaction out of it. Instinctively, that seems obvious, and there are now more and more studies to prove it. The latest is the new international PISA report, published in December, which clearly demonstrates that teenagers around the world who read for enjoyment score much higher in tests than those who don't. Yet in France, the notion of enjoyment or happiness at school remains taboo. The heavy national curriculum leaves little room for pleasure, and instead relies on the opposite, punishment, as a principal pedagogical tool. Learning in a French classroom all too often is a passive activity, and
highly stressful. It can sap the self-confidence of even the brightest children. On TV talk shows and in the media, there's no shortage of so-called experts who continue to insist that learning is only effective if combined with suffering. In his talk, Peter Gumbel will discuss the importance of happiness at school, why France is such an exception, the prospects for change - and what concerned parents with children in the French system can do to compensate for and counteract the difficult classroom culture.

Peter Gumbel is a British-born former journalist for the Wall Street Journal and TIME Magazine who now works at Sciences Po, where he directs the Center for the Americas and teaches at the Journalism School.  His critical book about French classroom culture, "On achève bien les écoliers" (Grasset), created a national stir and hit the non-fiction best-seller list when it was published in September. He has lived in Paris since 2002, and has two daughters at school here. You can follow discussions on the impact of the book on Facebook. 
 Dr. Sheard will begin by sharing philosophical quotes by John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, J.S. Mill, John Dewey, Margaret Mead, Albert Einstein, and Leta Hollingworth about gifted children and their education. Dr. Sheard will then describe how educational gold standards—the curriculum, the teacher, the diploma, the grade level, the report card—are all constructs of convenience that creative parents and teachers can by-pass by focusing on the true purposes of education. Unique education ideas—theo-therapy, anthropology-lensing, meta-cognition learning, hobby immersion, credentialing by alternative means—can provide positive experiences that protect children’s minds and souls from negative education environments around their bodies. The social and emotional considerations for choosing education ideas for certain children will be considered. Many ideas cost little or nothing to implement, and most take advantage of a child’s natural curiosity.

Wenda Sheard is an attorney, teacher, and mother of three twenty-something gifted children. After practicing law for nearly twenty years, she earned a Ph.D. in political science with an emphasis on education policy. She currently serves as a trustee on the Council of Management of the UK’s National Association for Gifted Children, and she is director emeritus of SENG, Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted based in the US. Dr. Sheard is a recipient of an Ohio Association for Gifted Children award, a presenter at state and national gifted conferences, and a writer of articles about gifted children. She has helped teach the highly gifted portions of on-line gifted education courses and has presented at teacher in-service days. From 2004-2006, Dr. Sheard lived in Hangzhou, China and taught at Hangzhou International School. She currently lives outside London and teaches at TASIS, The American School in England.

This is a community event organized and sponsored by Gifted in France and hosted by the American University of Paris. We are grateful to the AUP for its support in hosting this educational gathering.

Please be sure to RSVP in advance as space is limited to 70 people; please email: giftedinfrance@gmail.com, Subject: Gumbel/Sheard. Checks must be received in advance to secure your space. Please mail checks payable to Gifted in France, 39 ave de Versailles, 75016 Paris. Space will be given on first come, first served basis.

Gifted in France is a non-profit loi 1901 association, aimed to help parents, educators, and mental health professionals understand the social, emotional and educational needs of gifted and twice-exceptional children.

If you would like to become a member of GiF, the annual membership is 30 euros, good for a year from the time you join, and for the whole family. Gifted in France organizes educational meetings for adults and enrichment activities for children, including the annual Paris Spelling Bee.

Best regards,

Helen Sahin Connelly

April 4, 2011

Creativity Workshop for Parents and Kids

April 4, 2011
Think left and think right and think low and think high. 
 Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try! 
~Dr. Seuss,

Please take note of the different dates, and
RSVP deadlines, see below.

FOR PARENTS, Tuesday May 3:
Developing Your Child’s Creative Thinking Ability:
Strategies for Parents and Teachers
With Dr. Joyce Juntune
(a recorded Webinar in PowerPoint presentation by SENG) 
  • Morning: Tuesday May 3, 12h30-15h00     OR
  • Evening: Tuesday May 3, 19h30-22h00
  • RSVP:     Mandatory by April 22, reply to this email, indicate your choice of time, space limited.
  • Cost:      10€ for non-GiF members, 5€ for members.
Webinar description:
Creative and innovative thinking are valued as skills in today’s rapidly changing world. Creativity also provides an important and necessary outlet for gifted children. What can parents and teachers do to make the development of creativity a natural part of family and school life? Join creativity expert Dr. Juntune for activities that foster creative and critical thinking in younger and older children.  
Please feel free to invite your partners, friends, teachers and others who want to learn how we define creativity, how we develop and nurture it, statistics about why children are generally more creative before they enter their formal schooling years and how we can avoid some of the pitfalls that discourage creative and innovative thinking. 
RSVP is mandatory, space is limited, Slides to the PowerPoint will be distributed. 
"Joyce Juntune is a Lecturer in the Department of Educational Psychology at Texas A&M University. She teaches graduate level courses in gifted education and undergraduate courses in creativity. Dr. Juntune was one of the developers of Project REACH – a staff development program for integrating creative thinking into content area classrooms, and served as its Director for 5 years. She was the Executive Director of the National Association for Gifted Children for ten years and the Executive Director of the American Creativity Association for six years. She has traveled extensively across the United States and Canada providing training to thousands of teachers in over 500 school districts in the areas of creative thinking, instructional improvement, differentiated curriculum, creative problem solving, and gifted education. She has also provided training in creative thinking and problem solving to law firms, hospital and health care professionals, corporate managers, small business owners and managers, and members of the transportation industry."
FOR CHILDREN, Sunday May 1
Creativity Workshop for Children, 8-14 years-old
With Cybèle Troyan and Cathy Altman Nocquet.
  • Date:        Sunday May 1, 2011, 14h45-17h00.
  • RSVP:      Mandatory, by April 22 to this email, activity limited to 12 participants, please reply to this email, indicate your child’s name, age, grade, and your cell number.
  • Cost:  10€, This is a fund-raiser for GiF. Cathy and Cybèle are graciously donating their time.
  • Location: Near Radio France, 75016
Activity description:
Art teacher Cybèle Troyan and Creative Writing teacher Cathy Altman Nocquet will lead a two-hour session of art and writing exercises to give kids' creativity a healthy jolt. Kids and parents will come away with new ideas for creative activities at home. Parents are welcome and encouraged to stay for a brief introduction about the subject before the activity starts with the children. We are grateful to Cathy and Cybèle for their time and expertise.
GiF is a non-profit, loi 1901 association. If you wish to become a member, the form is attached. The annual membership is 30 euros for the year, from the time you join, and good for the whole family.
Related links:
Thank you for your continued interest and support.
Best regards,
Helen Sahin Connelly

March 24, 2011

Little Mad Scientist

March 24, 2011
Children are one third of our population and all of our future.”

Ages: 4-7 years-old
Sunday April 3, 2011
Meet: in the lobby at 10h30
Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt
75008 Paris
Museum: 01 56 43 20 20
Click HERE for map: 
more info click here:   http://www.palais-decouverte.fr/index.php?id=339

Dear Friends,
Get ready to start a series of visits to science museums with GiF’s Little Mad Scientist meetings, where the aim is to expose children to all things science throughout the year. Our first visit will be to Palais de la Decouverte on Sunday April 3 at 10h30. We will meet in the lobby in time to buy entrance tickets (7 euros for adults, free for under 6's, 4.50 for ages 6-25).  Children and parents will chose a couple of topics to focus on based on how well you know the place.  We will pause for lunch around 12h00 (you can bring your own sandwiches and just buy drinks there in their small snack area, which also sells sandwiches, cookies and drinks.) After lunch, we can chose the second or third activity depending on the group’s interest.  After that and depending on the weather, we can get our sillies out by going to a nearby park.   

In addition to instilling and encouraging interest in science and technology, another important project goal is for children and parents to meet like-minded peers.

We look forward to developing and growing the Little Mad Scientist Club. We welcome parents leading talks, doing show and tell, and sharing their expertise with children. (Please note that if you have a membership to the Cites des Sciences, it should also work at this museum, so bring it along. There's also a coat and stroller check-in and there should be plenty of room on a Sunday morning.)

Best regards,

Helen Sahin Connelly
Gifted in France