The Kaleidoscope classroom at Fairyland School is a pull-out program for gifted students taught by a teacher who is certified in teaching gifted students. Students use this time to work on project based learning assignments related to and extending the standards, creativity, and STEAM (science, tech, engineering, art, and math). The students also have time to pursue personal topics of interest. The class structure emphasizes research and independent, student driven learning. Gifted education is funded by the state of Georgia for students who qualify through a rigorous testing process.
The Georgia State Board of Education defines a gifted student as “…a student who demonstrates a high degree of intellectual, and/or creative ability(ies), exhibits an exceptionally high degree of motivation, and/or excels in specific academic fields, and who needs special instruction and/or special ancillary services to achieve at levels commensurate with his or her abilities.”
The gifted program is designed to meet the very specific needs of these students and extend competencies in the areas of cognitive skills, learning skills, research and reference skills, communication skills, and metacognitive skills beyond the experience of the regular classroom.
The Georgia State Department of Education governs the procedures for identifying and placing students in the gifted program.
The Gifted and Talented Program offers qualifying students an opportunity to develop the following skills:
- Advanced Communication Skills Standard: Learners will engage in diverse and authentic learning experiences which will allow them to develop and apply innovative oral, written, visual, and nonverbal communication skills across disciplines.
- Advanced Research Skills Standard: Learners will gather, decipher, and determine credibility of information from a variety of sources and integrate information thorough analysis of content.
- Creative Thinking & Problem Solving Standard: Learners will insightfully evaluate a variety of problems and arrive at innovative conclusions.
- Higher Order and Critical Thinking Skills Standard: Learners will analytically critique a system or set of complex ideas, utilizing logic and reasoning skills in novel ways, to create and/or modify knowledge.
The Multiple Criteria Identification Process assesses students in four areas and requires that students meet minimum score levels in any three of the four areas in order to gain admittance to the gifted program. The minimum score requirements in the four assessment areas are:
- Mental Ability – a score greater than or equal to the 96th percentile on a standardized test of mental ability. An APS mental ability assessment must be given. Students must complete the entire APS identification process before any eligibility decisions are finalized.
- Achievement – a score greater than or equal to the 90th percentile in reading or math on a standardized achievement test or a score of at least 90 on a student generated product or performance as judged by a panel of qualified evaluators.
- Creativity – a score greater than or equal to the 90th percentile on a standardized creativity instrument or a superior rating on a student generated product or performance as judged by a panel of qualified evaluators.
- Motivation – 90th or greater percentile on a Motivation Rating Scale (K-8), or superior product/performance with a score of 90 or greater of 1-100, as evaluated by a panel of 3 or more qualified evaluators, or winners of academic competitions as determined by the Office of Gifted and Talented.
Special Project: Pollinator Garden
Fairyland School has started a pollinator garden. Pollinator gardens are important feeding, resting, and reproduction areas for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Pollinators are in danger due to pesticides and loss of habitat. Our garden is meant to be an outdoor classroom used by all classes at Fairyland Elementary. Students can study life cycles, soils, plants, insects, and much more. One long-term goal of Mrs. Brown and the gifted education department is to become a Monarch Watch station in order to collect data on the beautiful and declining Monarch butterfly. Our garden is planted, and our next step is to educate teachers and students about the habitat and to organize volunteers to help maintain it.