It’s not often a freshman or sophomore college student has the opportunity to help certified teachers with an assignment that in turn helps their gifted and talented students in their school district.

Recently, students majoring in education at Lamar State College–Orange completed critical thinking projects which were recycled by participants in the Gifted and Talented (GT) Institute. The Education Division at LSC-O is in partnership with local school districts to prepare their teachers to meet the needs of gifted and talented students.

The Education Division at LSC-O began doing customized training for area schools about four years ago and continues with the Gifted and Talented Institute. The education division has developed its own curriculum for teachers of gifted and talented and high-achieving students based on guidelines set by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The Education Division caters to the needs of the district with materials for all Gifted and Talented teachers.

Since gifted and talented teachers must have additional professional growth hours above their standard teaching certificate, LSC-O provides a 30-hour training institute. The one semester institute is in an informal, but structured atmosphere. At this time West Orange-Cove CISD teachers are attending the institute. In the past Orangefield ISD has also participated in the high school gifted and talented training.

The LSC-O Introduction to Teaching students had to create and design a critical thinking project in the form of a model of what they thought was a perfect classroom. They had to research the components of a classroom and bring it to life in a confined area.

The projects from last semester’s class were used at the Gifted and Talented Institute. The Gifted and Talented teacher participants used some of the same projects to assess or evaluate what was learned as a result of project-based learning.

Teachers were assigned to small groups to come up with criteria and assessment. They had to look at the research and projects completed by the LSC-O student and evaluate the project using the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy evaluation.

Other components of the institute include foundations of instruction for the gifted; using multiple intelligences in problem and project based learning; application of problems and project based learning; brain based learning and critical thinking; understanding how the brain works to think; critical and complex thinking; nature, needs and expectations; instructional approaches; differentiate instructions; and creating and implementing a plan.

The instructor for the Gifted and Talented Institute is a long-time educator,

Dorraine Babcock, who has worked for LSC-O since the spring of 2003. She was one of the first instructors for the Accelerated Certification for Educators (ACE) Program. She continues to be a trainer of other educational trainers, instructor for Associate of Arts in Teaching majors and College Success classes, and is the Coordinator of clinical teachers for the ACE Program.

If any school district would like more information about gifted and talented training or other customized training, they should contact Brenda Mott, director of education, at 409-882-3053.