Springfield Elementary tries out gifted-and-talented teaching for all students
By Paul Bowers, firstname.lastname@example.org, Nov 27, 2016
Graylon Nell wasn’t giving a lot of hints to her third-grade math class at Springfield Elementary. During a lesson on place values one recent Tuesday morning, she challenged students to suss out the meaning of the digit 1 in the number 1,389.
“That one costs one thousand,” said a boy sitting nearby on the floor.
“It costs 1,000, so I have to pay 1,000 to put that there?” Nell responded.
“Can someone add on?” Nell said to the class.
For five minutes the students hashed it out. They spoke in turns, refining each other’s ideas and building a working definition of numerical place values. The conversation took longer than a traditional lecture might have, but, Nell hoped, the students would not soon forget a lesson they taught themselves.
Nell hasn’t always conducted her classroom this way. For the past two years, her school has been trying a new approach.
Using part of a multimillion-dollar grant for Title I schools in the area from the U.S. Department of Education’s Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program, Springfield has sent all of its teachers for training in gifted-and-talented education strategies developed at the College of William and Mary. They attended summer classes at the College of Charleston and will have opportunities for continuing education.