Charting A New Path

At Riverside Elementary School, gifted students from traditionally underrepresented groups attend summer school to extend their learning on the general curriculum and prepare for the upcoming school year. These Young Scholars benefit from supportive teachers committed to a model of instruction focused on critical thinking and real-world problem solving.


In her role as a Gifted Specialist, April supports teachers throughout the school year.

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April enjoys working with Young Scholars

Melissa and April are part of the Young Scholars instructional team at Riverside Elementary School. Along with their colleagues, these teachers work all year to provide learning opportunities for gifted students from traditionally underrepresented groups. At Riverside, Young Scholars attend summer school to gain exposure to the curriculum for the upcoming school year. The summer’s overarching themes of systems and patterns help students make connections between what they learn at Riverside and what they experience in their daily lives.

Sample Systems Curriculum (coming soon)

During the regular school year, April, the school’s Gifted Specialist, helps teachers plan and execute differentiated lessons. In the summer, however, she teaches her own K-2 class and regularly mixes her students with Melissa’s third and fourth graders. This type of arrangement has initiated more risk-taking and peer teaching for students in both groups. The teachers plan to combine classes again tomorrow; Melissa’s older students have a more thorough grasp of the concepts of prediction, patterns, and systems and should prove quite helpful to the younger students while they also hone their own leadership skills.



Charts April uses to review yesterday’s class

Blank Charts

Graphing handouts for today’s lesson

Cooperative groups provide students with an opportunity to learn from each other.

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Students use Power Point to create a pie chart based on their data.

Melissa and April understand the critical need to create a classroom atmosphere of high academic achievement for all students. Young Scholars need to be both challenged and nurtured. The teachers today act as facilitators, encouraging students to make connections, problem-solve, and help each other. Teacher questioning serves as a way to guide students to bigger understandings and concepts.



With laptops, markers, chart paper, and rulers at their disposal, the cooperative groups work to visually represent the contents of their bag of M&Ms. They then compare the graphs to predictions they made yesterday. Melissa assists one group generate a pie graph to display their data using Power Point. April checks in with another group working on a bar graph and questions to informally assess the students’ understanding of mathematical concepts.


Students reflect on the graphs and their predictions from yesterday.

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April asks students to compare their graphs to the ones they made yesterday

April invites students to share their graphs and reflect on the similarities and differences among all of the graphs. Students compare their individual predictions with each group’s graph displayed on the board and the teachers tie the lesson into the larger concepts of systems and patterns. At the conclusion of class, the students play a game of jeopardy and the teachers one last time assess student understandings. This fall, these Young Scholars will be presented with much of this content again and the teachers hope this summer experience will provide added knowledge, skills, and confidence to this emerging corps of student leaders.



Student generated graphs

Jeopardy Power Point

Young Scholars Resource Center

Young Scholars strategies are carried over into the school year.





Lesson Handouts

Student Work Samples