Gifted elementary students work out their minds in FLEX program

Many of ​Alamance County’s academically gifted students gathered at Elon University for continued learning.  

By: Madison MacKenzie ’18

Elon University’s seventh annual FLEX Program took place from July 11-20, and culminated on Wednesday afternoon for the 32 gifted students with presentations of their final projects to teachers and parents.

The FLEX Program, which stands for Formative Learning Experience, is an internship that students in the Master of Education (M.Ed.) Gifted Program are required to complete in order to receive their licensure to teach gifted students.

“The course is a culminating experience in which teachers in the M.Ed. Gifted Program collaborate to design and implement project-based curriculum for gifted learners,” said Professor Emerita of Education Glenda Crawford, who teaches the graduate course. “Criteria for the curriculum include personalized content, creativity, enrichment, challenge, critical thinking and real-world application.”

The third through fifth graders worked on a project called ‘Foodtopia: Celebrating the United States.’ For this project, students learn about increasing tourism and economic growth by working in groups to organize hypothetical state festivals centered around the state food. The children even received a visit from the Greensboro Parks and Recreation team, who advised them on how to run a festival. The groups are currently in the process of making their proposals and presented them on the final day.

The sixth through eighth graders are focused on innovation and improving everyday products to be more successful. They identify the flaws in the product, fix them with their personal innovations, and present their new products to a panel of judges. This allows the students to focus on research, planning, and presentation skills.

“It’s just so heartwarming to see the gifted students so engaged, because so often in classrooms they’re not,” Crawford said. “Some people have this idea that more gifted kids can just get it on their own. Well that’s not fair, because that is not meeting their intellectual needs.”