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How Do You Solve a Problem for Maria?

Imagine the kind of student who always finishes her work early, the kind of inquisitive student always with a question at the ready and who comes in each day brimming with ideas - this is Maria. The kind of student, who, when teachers have a full class and a thousand things to get through, even the very best sometimes struggle to give her the attention she deserves.

Students like Maria lead Lakeside Elementary teacher Lisa Millard to develop and pitch “Gifted on the Go” at Teacherpreneur. She noticed great students sitting, unengaged, in Hamilton County classrooms, and great teachers struggling to help: “I wanted to try and fill that void for our teachers and our students. The challenge was to find a way to do this so that it was student led, fun, and not a burden on the classroom teacher.”

What if busy work didn’t have to be about staying busy? Or iPads weren’t just a distraction?

Gifted on the Go, a backpack filled with independent projects, guided lessons and supplies designed for elementary students, provides a unique solution - when a student like Maria is done with her work, she can jump into a project designed by a gifted teacher. Rubrics help to guide students towards success, as well as to inspire and challenge. The packs launched this January, and are now being piloted in more than a dozen different classrooms around the district.

Lisa and her team regularly produce and distribute new projects, keepings students work new choices - and keeping the burden off of other classroom teachers. Currently, projects feature everything from fine art to castle walls.

The prototype has met with such success, it’s already been adopted by another Teacherpreneur team. The Passage, a mobile classroom at Hardy Elementary and lead by Brittany Harris and Colleen Ryan, brings learning out into the community. Students and parents meet with Hardy teachers on a retrofitted bus, with a WiFi-enabled, high-tech classroom on board. Brittany, when she read about Lisa’s project, immediately reached out to find out how she could stock the Passage. Voila: Gifted on the Go, on the go!

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