Nebraska Association for the Gifted


Wednesday 2/15/2023 In Person - FULL

We are in person for ONE DAY and LIVE
ESU#3 in LaVista 9-00 AM-4:00 PM

Keynote Emily Kircher Morris

The Neuro-Diversity Podcast is her claim to fame Emily founded the Gifted Support Network, an organization that provides resources and support to parents and educators of gifted and high-ability children of St. Louis.

Emily Kircher-Morris, LPC has dual Master's degrees in Counseling and Education and specializes in the area of giftedness throughout the lifespan. She is the author of 2 books, Teaching Twice Exceptional Learners in the Classroom and Raising Twice Exceptional Children a handbook for parents! Click on her image to learn more.

Building Your Gifted Toolbox Sessions

 This year we are all about helping educators build their gifted toolbox! This one-day event will be packed with options to take back and use the next day. Sessions were curated from the many great midwest educators and specialists making things happen in education today. No better way to spend a WEDNESDAY!!

Register Today!

Visit our event page to register today! The conference is $150 per person in addition to event fees(approximately 3%). If using a credit card, processing fees will also be applicable(3 to 5%).

Session Schedule

10:15-11:00 Session Descriptions

Empowered to Choose:
How to Design Learner-Driven Learning

Designing student-centered learning experiences can feel overwhelming when learners are not accustomed to being responsible and empowered to lead. In this session, we explore how to teach students to become learners who are capable of leveraging technology and personalizing the set of learning strategies they employ to not only be at the center but also to be the drivers of their own learning experience.

Andrew Easton
Nebraska ESUCC


Middle School Math Groups:
How to Engage the Gifted Student

Meeting the needs of middle school students can be challenging. Underachievement, perfectionism, anxiety, and a slew of other potential social and emotional needs can get in the way or cause students to become disengaged. Participants will leave this session with ideas and strategies on how to boost student engagement as well as problem-solving skills by running small math groups.

Breanna Prochnow and Cara Walz
Lincoln Public Schools


Practical Strategies to Identify
K-2 Learners

Young Elementary students are often under-identified for fear of the impact it may have on their future educational path. However, these years can be the most instrumental in building a love for learning and establishing positive habits -- if Gifted student needs are met. In this session, we will discuss the power of identifying students in these primary grades, tools to help differentiate early skills from long-lasting deep thinking, and ways to put it all in practice with young learners. Attendees will leave with practical resources and strategies for identifying and meeting the needs of K-2 Gifted Learners.

Sydney Weddleton
Lincoln Public Schools


Dual Session: Social Emotional Concerns in Gifted Populations

Gifted students are noted for their intellect, yet a good program must also focus on social emotional needs. Because overexcitabilities, perfectionism, and underachievement often go hand in hand with giftedness, professionals must be able to understand the origins and also how to respond to maximize positive outcomes.

Gifted children are likely to be more intense than their typical peers. Experiencing the world with such intensity, sensitivity, and awareness can present challenges. However, these overexcitabilities can also be rewarding and lead to great successes, innovations, and wonderful creativity. This presentation will explore Dabrowski’s five overexcitabilities and why they matter for gifted kids and their teachers.

Liz Ebers-Truesdale
Lincoln Public Schools


11:15-12:00 Session Descriptions

Keep Them Thinking:
Games to Support Gifted Learners

This presentation will provide information about a variety of games that enhance the learning and strategy toolbox for gifted students, including math, verbal, visual-spatial, and strategy types. Emphasis is on games that enhance thinking and motivation within the classroom context. 

Joan Jacobs
Nebraska ESUCC


Differentiation for High-Ability Learners:
Practical Strategies for All Classrooms

In our classrooms, we see a range of abilities. Some students need support to access the content, but we have students who need extensions. This session will explore several ways to create in-depth learning opportunities for High Ability Learners within the general education classroom. Participants will walk away with strategies and examples to apply to their own classrooms.
Sheyanne S. Smith
Nebraska Department of Education


Wheeler Around the World:
The Anatomy of a School-Wide Enrichment Project

How can HAL facilitators engage learners across an entire school? How can we inspire all educators to think outside of the box and bring some joy back to learning? At Wheeler Elementary School, we took on this task by developing a School-Wide Enrichment Project called, "Wheeler Around the World". In this session, you will learn how the project is structured. We will explain how we collaborated with teachers in our school, in our district, and even in the world to bring this unique learning opportunity to our school. Wheeler Around the World has had a profound impact on our school community, and we will provide you with the tools to create a similar project.

Tami Brookhouser & Dayna Derichs
Wheeler Elementary School/ Millard Public Schools


Differentiated Books and Activities That Show Evidence of Higher-Level Thinking

Teachers often find it difficult to know what evidence helps support a recommendation for students to participate in a gifted program. We will look at activities from math, literature, and beyond that readily help teachers in data collection for trying on students, and for identifying students as Gifted.  

Jacob Hanseling
Lincoln Public Schools


1:00-1:30 Session Descriptions

Linking Curiosity to Content

This session will focus on using a hook to begin class--a video, photo, art piece, text, graphic, etc. that requires only a few minutes of classroom time but inspires students' curiosity. Linking this hook to the content area enhances the wonder, creativity, and engagement in the regular lesson. These initial few minutes can revitalize instruction for students and teachers with fresh ideas and questions, motivating students to continue thinking beyond the classroom while helping teachers streamline instruction.

Jeanne Weisser
Lincoln Public Schools


Anxiety in the Classroom

This presentation will address a variety of strategies teachers can use to help students manage their symptoms and develop positive coping mechanisms. Teachers will consider how to help anxiety become the catalyst for positive thoughts and actions.

Michelle Kiesel
Lincoln Public Schools


A Computer Science Curriculum for Elementary & Middle School Students

An overview of a freely available Bricklayer textbook will be given whose content is suitable for elementary and middle school computer science curriculums. This textbook, the first of a series of Bricklayer textbooks, focuses on the creation of rectangle-based art similar to the De Stijl and Hard-Edge art movements of the 20th century. The ed-tech used is browser-based and mobile-friendly, requiring no software to be downloaded. Links to all ed tech are given in the textbook.

Watch the Book Trailer Video
Victor Winter
University of Nebraska-Omaha


Addressing Ethics, Economics,
and Social Issues

Today's gifted students are interested in justice and equitable treatment. But, what does that mean and how can we talk about it in the classroom? I can't wait to share a new curriculum guide with 16 engaging lessons that will help you address difficult topics at the intersection of ethics and economics. Lesson topics include: What is economic justice? What do we do about the homeless? Do businesses have a social responsibility? Should private companies operate prisons? and SO MUCH MORE. I'll discuss the entire curriculum project and demo select lessons that you can immediately take back to your classroom. The entire curriculum is online and available at no financial cost.

Dr. Jennifer Davidson
Nebraska Council on Economic Education & UNL


Innovation Competitions in Engineering

Coming Soon!

Laurie Little, Jen Schneider,  and Kaitlyn Cattau
Waverly Public Schools District #145


2:30-3:30 Session Descriptions

Dual Session: Purposeful Independence and K-2 Literature Activities
Examining Behaviors Through an Elementary Gifted Lens

Creating flexible grouping can be difficult for primary-level teachers, because their students may have short attention spans, little ability to manage their time and no writing skills. As a result, they end up teaching everything as a whole group, thus often depriving their gifted students of new learning opportunities. How can teachers manage two or more groups? Presenters will discuss how to manage multiple groups. Participants will leave with ideas for how to keep multiple levels of students happily occupied so that all of them can have instructional time with the teacher.

Students may be overlooked for gifted identification for a variety of reasons. The presenter will make participants aware of the various behaviors that may prevent a teacher from seeing a student through a gifted lens.

Michelle Sievers
Lincoln Public Schools


Best Practices in Gifted Education:
Eleven Ideas to Improve Your Programming

Whether you are teaching gifted classes, implementing an existing program, or getting a program up and running for the first time, this session will help you consider best practices as well as pitfalls to avoid.

Joan Jacobs
Lincoln Public Schools


Identification Proportionality

Proportionality is an important part of ensuring that a school's identification system is equitable. This session will focus on the importance of proportionality, demonstrate ways that a district can check on proportionality, and give suggestions on how to fix systems that lead to disproportionate populations in High Ability identification systems. 
Adam Larson
ESU #3


HAL & MTSS: A Natural Connection

This breakout session aims to align the NeMTSS Essential Elements with High Ability Learners (HAL), as well as demonstrate what HAL–MTSS integration looks like and provide further information on how HAL fits into your school’s MTSS. Nebraska emphasizes MTSS and the role it plays in continuous improvement, and integrating HAL into MTSS will help create coherence for all students. Integrating HAL into MTSS promotes responsive programming, supports continual service to meet needs, and breaks down silos between HAL and the general education classroom. HAL–MTSS, when implemented with fidelity, is hypothesized to have a positive impact on HAL students' academic and social-emotional development. HAL students often make the least amount of growth in a year. Improving our responsiveness to their needs will not only help HAL students but the school as a whole.

Sheyanne S. Smith
Nebraska Department of Education


Inquiry-Based Activities for People and the Planet

Discover hands-on activities -- collaborative problem solving, modeling, and simulations -- that combine mathematics, science, social studies, and ELA skills, while building awareness of human-environmental interactions. Stimulate discussion, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills on timely global issues that empower gifted students to address real-world challenges. Receive lessons matched to state standards.

Amanda Steiner
University of Nebraska at Omaha