The Louisiana State Museum will be home to the summer program for gifted students hosted by College of Education Assistant Professor Jennifer Jolly.

College of Education offers summer program for gifted children

While most children spend their summers outside the classroom, others will partake in a unique learning experience.
College of Education Assistant Professor Jennifer Jolly will host a two-week gifted summer program that assists children in creating an independent study project.
Students will spend time with graduate students from the College of Education who are enrolled in the gifted education capstone course. The program takes place at the Louisiana State Museum and the Louisiana State Library, giving the students an opportunity to use primary resources for their projects.
"Primary resources are what make both of these places unique," Jolly said. "So many students rely on the Internet for information, which has typically been filtered through several different sources before it ends up on a Web site. Working with primary resources allows the students to come to their own conclusions rather than those based on a secondary source."
Ashley Pierce, public information and events coordinator of the Louisiana State Museum, said the museum features several thematic exhibits on the diverse aspects of Louisiana history, industry, and culture.
"The museum includes two permanent exhibitions, ‘Grounded for Greatness: Louisiana and the Nation,’ and ‘Experiencing Louisiana: Discovering the Soul of America,’" Pierce said. "Topics range from the Louisiana Purchase to Sportsmen’s Paradise and Mardi Gras traditions throughout the state."
Since the program is an independent study, the camp participants will be able to design a project of their choice based on their interests and the research they find. but the project must explore something about Louisiana. Jolly said past projects have included a homemade flag, a model airplane, historical figures, or a newspaper.
Jonathan Nester, an algebra and geometry teacher at Westdale Middle School, will be assisting Jolly during the summer program. He is currently in his third year teaching gifted children and eventually would like to be Secretary of Education.
"The best part about working with gifted children is being able to ask them a series of questions with rapid responses," Nester said. "The kids are way smarter than I am, and it’s nice to be pushed sometimes."
The program serves as the practicum for College of Education graduate students, giving them a chance to apply what they have learned during their course work. In return, the campers can enjoy a low facilitator-to-child ratio along with interaction with the graduate students. The LSU students get a greater knowledge of working with the independent study model.
"Students work with teachers and facilitators who have training in gifted education," Jolly said. "Independent study is a recognized model to use with gifted students. It has no imposed ceiling and is driven by the students’ interests, allowing students to study a topic in great depth."
Jolly came up with the idea for the program as a way to bring social studies back into the curriculum.
"Social studies is given little attention in school these days," Jolly said. "The focus is primarily on math and reading. Many students may only receive social studies instruction once a week. This gives students an opportunity to study about Louisiana in a deep and meaningful way."
She presented the program and her findings at the April 2009 annual conference of the Council for Exceptional Children in Seattle, Washington. She said the response was positive, especially from Louisiana natives.
This year marks Jolly and the College of Education’s second annual camp program. The camp takes place June 8 through June 19 and begins at 8:30 each morning. It is available for children in grades three to eight and is $75 per child. Space is limited, so early registration is encouraged.
For more information or to receive a registration packet, contact:
Jennifer L. Jolly, PhD
Louisiana State University
College of Education

Holly A. Phillips | Writer | Office of Communications & University Relations
May 2009