On April 24, Hillcrest Professional Development School’s gifted and talented (GT) students presented their independent study projects alongside Baylor School of Education teaching candidates. From start to finish, Baylor candidates guided GT fourth graders through the development of their research projects.
“We learned so much about researching and about how to find information and analyze data,” sophomore teacher candidate Lindsey Adams said. “After we got Claire’s surveys, which were just open-ended questions, she had to figure out what format she wanted to present to her viewers.”
Claire Smith was one of nine GT students matched with two teacher candidates for the project. Her topic included the history of pizza, a survey conducted of her class, a cookbook, and her own brownie and Nutella-covered creation.
Hillcrest students chose topics that appealed to their particular interests. Other topics included the Lewis and Clark Expedition and Sacagawea, Arctic wolves in comparison to humans, King Tutankhamun, Michelangelo and more. The students showed their research to other Hillcrest students of all grade levels with the use of Powerpoint, brochures, posters and/or games.
Hillcrest GT student Morgan White said that a Sacagawea coin inspired her project. “My teacher candidates helped me by making everything so perfect,” she said. “They helped me with putting it all together with the board and cards!”
The Baylor students are enrolled in a class taught by Educational Psychology Senior Lecturer Dr. Janet Bagby. The Introduction to Teaching Gifted and Talented course is a requirement for teacher candidates seeking GT certification.
“The course provides information about the characteristics of gifted and talented learners and their needs,” Bagby said. “Students learn the role of a teacher and instructional strategies related to guided research that are then applied to their teaching experiences.”
Both the Baylor students and their Hillcrest GT students use curriculum developed by SOE Professor of Educational Psychology Dr. Susan K. Johnsen. Her curriculum, Independent Study Program, guides them through the research process. Candidates teach students higher-level thinking and help them develop an effective study question based on the evaluation criteria, Bagby said.
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By Briana Rojas