Making small changes in the classroom for gifted learners was the focus of the annual Fall GT Conference in Gifted Education.
Baylor University School of Education’s Center for Community Learning and Enrichment hosted the conference on Saturday, Oct. 4, in the Cashion Academic Center on the Baylor campus. More than 190 educators, administrators, and students attended the event. The conference featured local and national speakers in the field of gifted education.
The name for this year’s conference was “Differentiation: Make Just One Change,” and the conference sessions offered educators specific teaching strategies for different subject areas and grade levels. There was also a special session for administrators to discuss challenges in supporting gifted students.
Dr. Mary Witte, director of Center for Community Learning and Enrichment and lecturer in Curriculum & Instruction for the School of Education, organizes the fall conference each year.
Witte said, “There were so many topics presented that are relevant to teachers right now, such as understanding the Texas Performance Standards Project, where teachers facilitate the research of gifted students; new ways to incorporate technology for both teachers and gifted students; and how to make our state standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, more rigorous for gifted students.”
Corina Kaul, MA ’14, a doctoral student in the Educational Psychology department, said it was an honor to meet Dr. VanTassel-Baska. “Her willingness to discuss the social and emotional needs of gifted children with me individually was a highlight of the day for me,” Kaul said.
The smaller breakout sessions at the conference were presented by gifted-and-talented educators from Waco, Belton, Midway and Bosqueville school districts. Each small session provided teaching strategies for elementary or secondary gifted students in a specific content area.
“This conference was different from the past, because the participating districts decided who in gifted education they would like for their teachers to hear and suggested outstanding teachers from their own districts to present practical teaching strategies,” Witte said. “It was a collaborative effort and worked out beautifully!”
Story by Kianna Ford
Photos by Kate McGuire
For more conference photos, see our Facebook album from the GT conference.