Two third- and fourth-grade English language arts and social studies teachers at Zachary Elementary — Jess McKowen Patti and Molly Bryan Talbot — were invited by William and Mary College to co-present at the Center for Gifted Education’s Professional Summer Institute June 29-30 in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Before presenting at the summer session, the center asked the teachers to write books on how to develop challenging Common Core-aligned math lessons for gifted and advanced students.
Patti authored the book for third-grade students, while Talbot wrote one for fourth-graders.
In addition to the first set of books, they were asked to author additional ones: Patti’s second book is on the same topic but for advanced fifth-graders, and Talbot’s is on Common Core-aligned lessons for gifted and advanced third-graders in English Language Arts.
The first set of books are available now, and the second set will soon be published, they said.
Their 12-hour presentation at William and Mary was for teachers of gifted students from all over the country and outlined how to design challenging math curriculums for the students.
“Our goal for educators was to have them leave with more knowledge about the academic needs of gifted students and feel prepared to design research-based lessons for their classrooms,” Patti said. “We also shared some of our original, research-based and Common Core-aligned lessons from our books with the educators.”
Their session at the institute was titled “Designing Challenging Math Activities for the Common Core State Standards Elementary Classroom.”
The women said that in math, gifted students should have opportunities to explore topics in the regular curriculum at substantially greater depths, as well as to engage in activities not ordinarily taught to all students.
“The session also explored guidelines and strategies for designing math activities that exemplify characteristics of good curriculum for gifted learners,” Talbot said.
As presenters, they shared classroom-tested ideas and activities for providing “highly able” students with challenging enrichment activities in math and information about addressing the Common Core standards and related assessments, they said.
“We were very honored to have worked with the wonderful people at the Center for Gifted Education and with Prufrock Press to have these books published,” Talbot said. “We’re looking forward to more opportunities in the future.”
“We’re thankful for all of the professional learning opportunities we’ve been afforded by working in the Zachary Community School district,” Patti added. “It’s helped us gain the necessary knowledge to complete these recent achievements.”