Inspired by Mihalyi Csikczentmihalyi's concept of flow, the Belin-Blank Center's FLOW stands for Focused Learning On your Work . These experiences are designed to engage educators with the most relevant issues in serving the needs of talented and gifted students in a convenient setting. FLOW experiences will use the webinar format, utilizing Zoom for participation. Instructions for connecting to Zoom will be sent upon registering.

The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person's body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficulty and worthwhile.

Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi

Online Teaching and Learning in a Covid-19 World: Technology, Tools, Resources, and Strategies for Success

Tuesday, September 15, 7:00 - 8:00 Central Time (Log-on begins at 6:30 PM)

Sponsored by the Belin-Blank Center and the Iowa Talented and Gifted Association

No charge to participate, but registration is required

COVID-19 has brought the need for effective online teaching and learning into sharper focus than ever before.  How can teachers minimize the challenges that some advanced learners face online (e.g., distractions related to almost infinite online resources and underdeveloped self-regulation)?  Which tools can facilitate effective communication with gifted learners and among students with similar abilities / interests?  Online learning can maximize the efficacy of self-directed learning and independent investigations for gifted/talented students.  Learn about strategies, tools, and resources for facilitating online teaching and learning.

Dr. Miller will continue the interaction about online teaching and learning beginning on September 21 with a class called Differentiating Projects with Technology: Online Teaching and Learning in a COVID-19 World. More details on how to enroll are available on this page.

Join us live or sign up for the recording:

Register NowImage link to webinar registration


Dr. Jenelle Miller, director of Accelerated Academics, is a leader, consultant, and advocate in the field of gifted and talented education with an innovative approach to serving the challenges of high-ability learners who have unique gifts and talents.

Jenelle received her Doctor of Education degree in Administrator Leadership for Teaching and Learning, her Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Classical Ballet. She has been a licensed and certified teacher of gifted students in the public-school system in both California and Iowa for more than 20 years along with a teaching endorsement in gifted education and Master Educator license from the state of Iowa.

Jenelle is an advocate for talented and gifted students, providing resources and support for high ability homeschoolers and their families. Through Accelerated Academics, her Private School Satellite Program, she personally provides synchronous and asynchronous individualized curriculum and instruction in an online video conference setting. Furthermore, she is a Certified Educator for Renzulli Learning, an interactive online system that supports strength-based personalized learning in all subjects and utilizes this learning platform to create engaging projects for her students.

Previous FLOW Opportunities Available for Purchase

To purchase a recording of a previous webinar for $30 please contact the Belin-Blank Center at belinblank@uiowa.edu.

Problem-Based Learning

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is a collaborative process that immerses students in real-world, complex situations, allowing students to both deeply understand the content areas associated with the situation and improve skills in research, higher-order thinking, decision making, and more. Participants will learn more about the fundamentals of PBL that engage students and enhance learning.

Presenter: Shelagh Gallagher

The Best-Kept Secret in Gifted Ed: Above-Level Testing

Above-level testing is one of the best-kept secrets in gifted education. It's an extremely powerful way to help us find the students who need gifted education services and to match those services to their academic needs. Learn about useful tests and other tools. What do the results mean? What options do students have based on test results and other information? How can Talent Searches supplement the information gathered in school? What resources are available to educators and students? A few hours invested in understanding students' capabilities can provide a rich set of information that helps us truly tailor their educational experiences.

Presenter: Dr. Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik

Identifying and Serving Gifted, Advanced, and High-Ability Hispanic/Latino Students: Moving the Cause Forward

This Webinar will focus on identifying and serving this unique, intra-ethnically diverse group of students. Implications, recommendations, and practices for learning, teaching, and leading will be shared. When programs, services, and advocacy are part of a dynamic infrastructure designed to meet the needs of our best and brightest Hispanic/Latino students, opportunities for experiencing success know no boundaries.

Presenter: Dr. Jaime Castellano

Nurturing the Potential of Twice-Exceptional Students: Practical Guidelines for Understanding and Supporting 2e Students

The commonly used term for gifted students who also have disabilities is “twice-exceptional,” a simple phrase that does little to suggest the complexities in meeting the needs of twice-exceptional (2e) learners. Participants will explore ways of better understanding and meeting the needs of 2e students, including developing academic strengths and facilitating social-emotional growth.

Presenters include:

  • Alissa Doobay, Supervisor, Psychological Services, Assessment and Counseling Clinic, Belin-Blank Center
  • Joy Goins, Staff Psychologist, Assessment and Counseling Clinic, Belin-Blank Center
  • Megan Foley-Nicpon, Associate Director for Research and Clinic, Belin-Blank Center, and Associate Professor, Counseling Psychology Program
  • Susan Assouline, Director, Belin-Blank Center, and Myron & Jacqueline Blank Professor of Gifted Education

Grading for Gifted Learners: Fair Isn’t Always Equal

The National Association for Gifted Children has provided national standards for Pre-K through Grade 12 Programming Standards in Gifted Education. Standard 2, Assessment, notes that "Students with gifts and talents demonstrate advanced and complex learning as a result of using multiple, appropriate, and ongoing assessments." Pre-, formative, and post-assessments are all important when providing appropriate programming for high-ability learners, but as Rick Wormeli has noted: "Differentiated instruction is a nice idea, but what happens when it comes to assessing and grading students? What's both fair and leads to real student learning?" Following the Webinar, those who enroll in the workshop will focus on readings from Wormeli's book, Fair Isn't Always Equal (required for workshop).

Acceleration: From A Nation Deceived to A Nation Empowered

A Nation Deceived, the two-volume publication that explored the strong research basis supporting the acceleration of gifted and talented learners, is ten years old! Updates to the research are available in the new publication, A Nation Empowered, due out in 2015. The workshop reviews new findings, as well as helping participants develop appropriate policy for their schools, districts, and/or states.

Family Issues and Giftedness

“Gifted children have gifted parents!” This statement implies the giftedness is embedded in family dynamics. This webinar will explore a) how family interactions are related to giftedness; b) give an overview of methods that explore these interactions; and c) give suggestions how counselors and educators can effectively work with families of gifted children.

Counseling in Gifted Education: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

Counseling is considered an integral part of educating the gifted child. This webinar session will a) provide a historical overview of counseling the gifted; b) highlight 10 major areas of research related to counseling the gifted individual; and c) apply these findings via recommendations for practice for counselors, teachers and other educators.

Objective Decisions about Whole-Grade Acceleration: Using the Iowa Acceleration Scale

The Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS) has been successfully used by educators and administrators throughout the country since 1998 to objectively determine if a student would benefit from whole-grade acceleration. The IAS guides a child study team (including educators, teachers, parents, and other professionals) through a discussion of the academic and social characteristics of the student.


Support for gifted and talented programs and services has not been consistent throughout history in the United States. One of the challenges is the continuous sense of anti-intellectualism, even though that same hostility is rarely apparent toward those who excel in sports, dance, art, or music. Additional challenges have included a belief that gifted programs are "elitist," and that talented learners will "make it on their own."

Cognitive Abilities Test

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is a K-12 group-administered instrument designed to assess students’ abilities in reasoning and problem solving using verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal symbols. The Webinar will provide an opportunity to explore the use of the CogAT (new Form 7) for the identification of gifted students, including traditionally underrepresented students. Participation will provide opportunities to better understand identification issues in general, and the benefits of including the CogAT as one option among multiple measures, in particular.